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 EVE Online Havoc review by our EVE community

EVE Online Havoc review by our EVE community

Faction Warfare will never be the same again

Over the last month, we’ve run a series of bounties and polls trying to get to the heart of what our veteran Just About EVE Online community think and feel about EVE’s latest expansion: Havoc.
This article has been made from the submissions to our Havoc review bounty, our Frontlines’ third vector bounty, our Havoc hot takes bounty, our ship showcase bounty, our corporation projects bounty, and a series of community polls. Consider this the Just About community’s comprehensive EVE Havoc review.

Pirates at the helm

Those who heeded the Deathless’s call know Havoc is all about the pirate life. Havoc introduces Insurgencies, Forward Operating Bases (FOBs), new pirate ships, and the ability to align with the Angel Cartel or the Guristas.
@orikKado, who won our overall Havoc review bounty, neatly sums up both the expansion’s narrative premise and its pirate mechanics:
“The Angel Cartel and Guristas have joined forces with the enigmatic Fulcrum resident - the Deathless - in Zarzakh and have begun their deployment to contest control of the conflicting empire systems. Their desire is to spread corruption, and they’re seeking capsuleers to join their cause. In return, they’re granting access to the Fulcrum and providing Loyalty Points (LP) so aligned capsuleers can access their new ships before anyone else.”
According to our poll, those pirates aren’t going to be short of enlistees:

Havoc’s new ships

In the runup to Havoc, CCP Games released two of its five new ships early: the Mamba and Mekubal destroyers. You can read more about them in our Mamba and Mekubal ship fitting guide. When the expansion launched on November 14, the Mamba and Mekubal were joined by two new pirate battlecruisers: the Angel Cartel’s Khizriel and the Guristas Pirates’ Alligator. In response to our Havoc ship showcase bounty, @EveOnlineTutorials produced excellent reviews of each ship.

The Alligator 

“It’s one of the best additions to EVE Online that I’ve seen in a very long time.” It’s safe to say that EveOnlineTutorials is a fan of the Alligator, an offensive powerhouse with DPS levels that blow their competitors out of the skies. It can use command burst modules and has extremely generous bonuses to heavy missile damage and resistances. After testing it in PvE, EveOnlineTutorials found that it could blitz through level-three and level-four missions.
“This thing is a beast. It’s just so OP. If you put a similar fit on a Drake, you wouldn’t get anywhere close.”
For EveOnlineTutorials, the formidable power of the Alligator is clearly a good thing. But balance is important too. Let us know in the comments if you think the Alligator is too powerful.
As formidable as the Alligator is, there was one criticism sent by orik. Sometimes a meme is worth a thousand words:

The Khizriel

“If you had Alligator vs Khizriel, I don’t think the Khiz would survive.” EveOnlineTutorials isn’t quite so glowing in their review of the Khizriel, acknowledging its decent DPS and visual appeal while noting that it lacks the Alligator’s bite. It can still “rinse level-three missions” but struggles on some level fours. It will hold its own in PvP, but it shouldn’t be a go-to ship for solo pilots. Instead, EveOnlineTutorials recommends using three of them, with one as bait and the other two waiting in ambush just outside of scanning range.
“I can’t help but feel the Khizriel needs more love, more boosts, and more bonuses. Or rather, higher bonuses.”

The Azariel

There is also, of course, the Azariel - the long-desired Angel titan. Seeing as no one has one yet to acquire one at time of publication, it’s not a factor in our review. If you’re an EVE player trying to get one, check out our Azariel BPC bounty for an added incentive. Still, Havoc gets points for properly introducing this fan-favourite behemoth. When it was announced at Fanfest, the cheers echoed from Reykjavik to Húsavík.
Next week, we’ll be running a ship-fitting bounty for the Khizriel and Alligator. Make sure your bounty notifications are turned on if you want to take part. Here’s orik on the new ships and what they mean for the pirates:
“The Angel Cartel, after years of research and setbacks, has finally completed the development of its supercapital ship, a titan called the Azariel. In addition to the new destroyers and battlecruisers in their ranks, this is an indubitable demonstration of the strengthening of these organisations from the shadows.”
By strengthening the pirate ranks, CCP intentionally throws a Havoc-shaped curveball into existing power dynamics. Faction allegiances are being put to the test like never before. And in EVE’s grand political opera, that can only be a good thing.

Faction Warfare and Insurgencies

The pirate factions can now spread chaos across Faction Warfare (FW) systems and beyond. They sow corruption, granting bonuses to all those who ally with them. The empires’ response is to deploy troops and impose suppression. Here’s orik:
“As a pilot, you must now choose whether to fight for one of the four empires or whether the promise of great rewards and access to the Fulcrum will be enough to support the chaos brought by the pirates.”
After aligning with a militia or a pirate group, players can complete gameplay content to increase corruption or suppression, which can effectively change systems’ security statuses. When a system is fully suppressed or corrupted, there are significant consequences for players depending on their alignment. Insurgencies, and their relationship to FW, can be a little confusing. We have another article en route that will explain how they work and how best to get involved.
Our community’s early impressions of Havoc’s consequences for FW were largely positive. Here’s a selection of hot takes:
“Havoc is sparking Faction Warfare and I’m here for it. That’s my hot take. I think fighting for the pirate factions is long overdue and I’m loving it.” @BrotherGrimoire - original post
“I always found FW to be a touch hit-and-miss. Not now though; FW lives! I was out on Friday night in an NPSI Friday Yarrrr! fleet. FW and Lowsec were bopping! Targets were everywhere. Do yourself a favour and settle down in FW space for a few weeks - you’ll have a blast!” @funinc - original post
“Just an hour ago, we reached corruption level five, and the first bubbles are up in Lowsec! So far, it’s a lot of fun. Let the weekend begin so we can give blood to the blood god!” @Kanecarnifex - original post
We also received three critical hot takes. Here they are ranked from korma mild to vindaloo spicy:
“Of the factions to join, I like the Amarr Empire and Angel Cartel the most. But my completely unreasonable and personal issue why I haven’t joined them yet is that I truly dislike the red-orange backdrop of Minmatar space. And that makes up much of the FW area I would have objectives in.” @greybill - original post 🌶️
“I personally dislike that a single faction - the Angel Cartel - is and probably always will be the most popular faction to join. I wish they would have spread out new content between all of the factions involved in Havoc so that the entire playerbase doesn’t just sit in one faction.” @Schadsquatch - original post 🌶️🌶️
“It’s a mess. Not just on the technical side with all those issues but the conflict is also really one-sided. I don’t think the gameplay will be popular for much longer. The only real impact this expansion will have on the game is the ZZ toll road.” @JAKEL33T - original post 🌶️🌶️🌶️🌶️🌶️
If this poll is anything to go by, Insurgency systems will stay hotly contested:

Empowering corporations

Havoc introduced a new project manager role and a range of new corp projects aimed at making projects more useful and versatile. Plus, ISK payments can now be automated. It’s another example of CCP trying to put more power in players hands by enabling corp leaders to set their own missions and agenda. Here’s orik:
“It’s now possible to create corp projects and assign an ISK payment that will be granted to pilots contributing to the expansion of their corporations. The ISK rewards can be dealt out in proportion to each pilot’s contribution. This allows corp leaders to incentivise engagement in content such as Faction Warfare, industry, NPC kills, mineral extraction, the purchase of specific assets, and so on. The possibilities are enormous. Undoubtedly, it’s a tool that when implemented well will provide relief to the tedious and bureaucratic tasks of managing a corp.”
While it may not be the sexiest of new features, it’s one that anyone running a corporation is bound to be grateful for. One of those people is @waddenderas who described it as a “really big and awesome update”. While he does mention a couple of limitations, Wadd has a lot of praise for the new system:
"We can finally reward our membership! Although it’d be great if I could set it to, for example, all K-Space systems. That would be more useful than having to set up 20 projects.”
Two of our community members submitted great video guides on the new corp projects. The first is from Wadd and covers project setup.
The second was sent in by @JAKEL33T and explains the new corp manager role and how payouts work, especially for corps focused on mining and industry. Jake applauds the “niftiness” and utility of the new system and considers it a success: “I really do like the automated payments, it allows you to automate a lot of activities in your corporation.”
Aside from the aforementioned limitations and a potential exploit which will likely be patched, nobody in the community had a bad word to say about the project updates.

Gameplay improvements

Havoc introduced a series of improvements to the new player experience. We’ll hand over to orik to explain them:
“We have enhancements for the tutorial and AIR Career Program missions. There are new sites, the ability to resume missions, better tracking of opportunities, and other tools for assisting new capsuleers.”
Plus, there are a slew of quality of life improvements and seemingly small changes with significant effects on the meta:
“There are improvements in the Photon interface for Omega players, allowing them to take their customisation a step further by changing the interface colours. This is very useful for players with multiple accounts, allowing for easier differentiation between them. There are also changes in the manufacturing costs of titans. One of the requisite materials is now cheaper and the blueprints are more easily purchased with LP.”
For those of us that love seeing titans in action - and let’s face it: that’s most of us - having more titans flying around is something we’re looking forward to seeing again.

EVE Online Havoc: The verdict

EVE fans are as dedicated to their game as any fan is to anything. However, CCP has always struggled with onboarding and retaining new players. In response to another bounty asking for a deeper evaluation of FW’s and Insurgencies’ effects on EVE, @KAZOAR shared the story of his own journey with the game:
“Frontlines is the beginning of an easy entrance to the in-game community for new players. When I started EVE Online, it required watching hours of tutorials to understand the mechanics and what to do in this unfriendly environment. After a while, I found a Nullsec corporation, but they turned out not to be what I was looking for. I finally quit the game for a year for lack of content, but what brought me back was the PvP. I involved myself in the NPSI (Not Purple Shoot It) community and experienced joy in New Eden again.
 
“Unfortunately, something was missing. We were just waiting for the pings, connecting and disconnecting with the fleet, and barely keeping any loot or making any income. Then Havoc released and it changed a lot of things for me.
 
“We joined Discord channels with a standing fleet, people were always in the lounge talking and getting to know one another. We were all here - Volta, Pandemic, Brave, even Goons - flying under one banner. Pirates are flying around killing everything from frigates to capital ships.
 
“As a new player looking for PvP and more info about the game, you now don’t have to choose a corporation or alliance. You can just go on the Discord of your faction, speak to people, and get to understand this universe while having what we all want: fun.”
If other players have shared KAZOAR’s experience, it’s safe to call Havoc a success. It introduces a balanced array of features that should please existing players, assist with the retention of new ones, and stimulate all sorts of delightful chaos around Faction Warfare systems. The longer-term impact of Insurgencies is still to be determined - partially because, upon release, Vanguard will throw another wildcard into that mix with direct implications for Insurgencies and the success of the pirate cause.
Havoc layers new complexities upon Uprising and Viridian’s foundations. It’s setting EVE up for an exciting, dynamic third decade. We’ll let our community poll speak for itself:
Over to orik one last time for his concluding sentiments on Havoc and the pirate threat it introduces:
“Undoubtedly, an interesting challenge now lies upon the empires of New Eden. Fly safe.”

Some text has been amended for brevity. You can find the original wording at the bounties linked throughout this article.
Image credit: Razorien on Flickr
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