No more bringing in a defenseless logi alt to power your Nightmare through L4s without a care in the world. No more sitting in a AFK Domi for hours on end, no more sitting in a mining ship with a good tank until… wait that still works. This is a nerf to multiboxers and professional mission runners who use more than one account. It’s also a big nerf to new players. One of the first things I did in EvE was joining corp mates for level 4s in my pitifully badly fit and under-equipped ships. Caracals, Feroxes, who knows what garbage was on those, I’ve long since destroyed the evidence. The only reason I don’t have 30 additional losses on my history is because of Marvin MartianVII, an out of game contact who was kind enough to tank for us nooblets so we could tag along.
Newer players will be forced out of missions which is both good and bad, it’s good because it puts them back on the track of self-sufficiency, of learning how to tank, how to participate, and how to contribute. However it excludes them from content; and, more importantly, from group content. Before my rather rude introduction to EvE PvP, the most enjoyable part of EvE was playing these missions with friends. This will make that far more difficult to do. No longer will the NPCs just bash against the toughest brick in the fleet, now they will spread fire to all and sundry, reducing those newer players who don’t know how to tank to fiery metal hulks.
On the other hand maybe an object lesson like every cruiser and BC in some missions hitting my Ferox (one of the more easily tanked ships in the game) and crushing it like an egg would have made me learn my tanking lessons before I started PvPing. Maybe not.
The overall effect? Less money in the game, this will slow down the rate of money entering the game, by an admittedly small percent, and it will change who it goes to. Now new players are going to struggle more to make isk. They will have to either cram enough tank in to survive the odd aggro they will now pick up in level 4s, or find another source of isk. Or they can stop playing because EvE is to hard. It’s generally impossible to make a change that nerfs older players without nerfing younger ones harder. Older players are infinitely more adaptable, experienced, capable, and generally wealthy. New players will have to pick from a lot of other, less desirable choices, either mining. Tedious, dull, newly competitive mining. Faction warfare, which I suspect will see a huge nerf as a “profession” in the near future, and the normal trading, buying plex with real money, manufacturing etc, all of which match them head-on with higher SP toons who can do it more efficiently.
I’m not saying this doesn’t need to happen. I think improving the AI in missions is long overdue. At the same time new players might be struggling. I don’t think it will be terribly serious. The newer, tougher frigates and destroyers replacing the lower tier ships should do great things to ease the pain. The new mining frigate will certainly help a great deal for those of that mind. Still this is the kind of nerf that can REALLY affect people disproportionately. The exact methods and timing of the target shifting should be studied carefully to avoid brutalizing the poor nooblets of EvE. There should be a smoother transition between the levels of missions. Each one is significantly more rewarding than the last, to the point of utterly obsoleting the previous tier once you don’t have to do them anymore.
Old players will adapt, new players will learn or leave.