Op-Ed: Preparation, not Panic – Hyperial Spawns and Stuffed Shirts
I’m somewhat disappointed by the tone and quote selection of UUNN’s reporting on the spawn changes. Very little of substance is offered, while a variety of unsubstantiated assertions are made.
First, the assertion is made (by the author) that “in some instances, the spawn strength has decreased.” Which instances? I’m not aware of any – and we aren’t told.
Second, the assertion is made (by Adiar) that “This is nothing to worry about” – while fiats are nice, he goes on to say that “We have seen Conflux patterns change periodically and see no particular threat-pattern here.”
With all due respect to Mr. Adiar, he is wrong that this is nothing to worry about; and while he may see no particular threat pattern, I disagree. Unlike Mr. Adiar, I will demonstrate my point, as well.
Observe, a selection from a New Dawn flux spawn map, dated 102.05.25
Note that only Bronci Rift and Inner Cloud have threat levels of 6. Outer Cloud is not shown, but it has a “blank” threat level, which equates to a squid-only sector.
Contrast that with this map, dated 110.08.02 – 8 years and 3 months later, by The Trust:
Note that Tranq Major and Bronci Rift have changed places, essentially – but Outer Cloud has only gone up one threat level, as has ZR. Hyperion Gate and The Main Gate remain the same.
Now? Observe – and this is only the enhanced threat for this particular area: (it’s a quick and dirty edit, but it will suffice)
Notice – Trang Major AND Bronci Rift have manta spawns now – as does ZR. Main Gate has mantas, as does Outer Cloud. Hyperion Gate does, as well. What does this mean strategically?
Let’s go back to an earlier map, marking trade routes.
Notice – in 110, you could travel from Wake station to either QC or Hyperial without encountering a single Manta. Glance back at the previous map. Can you do that now? Bronci Rift is a manta sector. Zealot’s refuge is a manta sector. Main Gate is a manta sector. Hyperion Gate is a manta sector. Outer Cloud is a manta sector. Wherever you go, no matter which route you use, you will hit multiple manta sectors. Do you see the pattern now? Let’s show it another way.
Take away all but two of those, and you get our situation just a short time ago. That is a 350% escalation in manta frequency along these routes. That is the threat pattern. Couple this with the fact that there has been three major infestations of The Main Gate bracketing this increase – one which included a major sentient incursion and a running battle – and I once again note that there is an active threat to Hyperial, although I still don’t know why, and would love to hear Dr. Ni’bur’s thoughts on the matter. That situation alone is problematic enough, and a clear threat pattern – but that isn’t all.
The Stith is also an upgrade in threat level – and that is one of two routes into Amananth – formerly the “safer” route of the two. You can get into Amananth with only one manta encounter – but that manta encounter is new. Not least, The Blasted Corner is also now spawning mantas – which eliminates the former “safer” route to OP from QC. You’ll have a good chance to hit mantas on the way to QC from either faction now. Additionally, even the “longer” way to Wake is no longer an option – nor is the “safer” way to Lothar’s Landing. You can only get to Solrain space from Quantar space now by encountering fighter-level Conflux which can travel at least 475v – much, much faster than any non-arty modified tow can go, even at top speed, let alone freighters. Heavy, with the commensurate acceleration rates that implies? You better hope your aim is good, or you have an Antiflux. You probably don’t have nearly enough FF slots to do the job anymore.
It’s facetious, at best, for Mr. Adiar to note that we used to get along without Antiflux – because I can adamantly affirm that there has never, in the history of TRI, been a concerted effort to blockade the trade routes by flux spawn even remotely like this. The closest thing akin to this have been series of infestations meant to isolate every faction from the others – and those included some rather heavy metal sent by the Conflux. Bronci Rift was an anomaly, to forgive the pun, in our early “heyday”, precisely because it WAS the only Manta sector directly located on an inter-factional trade route. Emma had so many visitors precisely because that route through Hyperial space did not have mantas to deal with. Whether Mr. Adiar can see it or not – I can see it – and you can see it too. There was typically a “safer” route, and a “risky” route between every faction – the safer typically being the longer one.
The primary target of this redeployment is very definitely Hyperial. Every route in, out and by that faction has been heavily reinforced. The secondary target seems to be isolating Quantar and Solrain from each other. Octavia’s single addition seems to be primarily concerned with denying the route through OP. The tertiary target is Amananth – and it can easily be argued that this is a side effect of the previous goal, if a propitious one, for the Conflux. These patterns are very obvious – even blatantly so. It is merely underscored by the fact that practically every infest of late has been along those same exact routes. While Mr. Adiar may be a good xenobiologist, or a good business administrator, I would submit that Conflux strategic planning is not on his short list of skills – while I note, with all respect, that such blatant disrespect for the conclusions of a pilot who has made a career out of just that area might be considered reckless behavior. Not on par with intentionally insulting Falcon (which might be considered fatal), ZeroZ95 (which would be an absurdity, as he literally wrote the book on Conflux), or LupinOne – who successfully led TRI’s most famous Conflux Hunters for a decade or more – but perhaps on par with telling vorlon31 how to use his mortars? In any case, I find his comments to be particularly unhelpful, ridiculous, and needlessly combative. Dr. Shai-Den’s comments were non-committal, although they at least recognized that a threat may exist. I understand that she has not been in the public eye much of late, but I would welcome any additional comments she might have, in light of my argumentation above.
As a final note – I found increased threat levels for both Zealot’s Refuge and Outer Cloud earlier this week – they are more occasional spawns than any of the other sectors listed, but they both have spawned manta-class conflux at least once during my recent testing, if less frequently. I would appreciate independent confirmation as well, before I change the classification on an upcoming fluxmap update.However, either sector is merely an additional punch in the gut to the basic premise, whether they are both very rare spawn rates, or I was mistaken in my annotation of spawn records. There is still, whether you count those or not, the same basic strategy in place – and the same pattern applies. There’s no manta-free access to Hyperial, Solrain<->Quantar, or Amananth. Octavius alone has access to both of the other pilot factions. As an Octavian, I don’t find that comforting. Neither should you – despite the fact that a xenobiologist with a second master’s degree in business administration tells you otherwise.
UPDATE: After some fairly exhaustive testing last evening and this morning, I’m almost positive that my previous results were a clerical error while annotating my spawns last week. Neither ZR nor OC is spawning above c4, in dozens of attempts. Thanks for bearing with me. All other sectors listed, however, are most definitely changed, and have been independently verified by multiple pilots.