New Navy Frigates Soon™?

Less than 24 hours ago Incredible_Cat posted a screenshot of a video showing a varaint of the Probe-class vessel. The T1 Minmatar Exploration Frigate but with some interesting changes.

Update: 2022-09-16 20:16: I can confirm the Magnate Navy Issue can fit an Expanded Probe Launcher II with barely any fitting costs on Singularity. [IMAGE]
Update: 2022-09-16 20:03: Hoboleaks confirms navy-variants of the T1 Battelcruisers and T1 Exploration Frigates have been added to the Singularity Test-Server.
Update: 2022-09-16 17:59: The official Eve Online Account tweeted the video of the Probe.

In the image one can see the headline “Feasibility Study” and a subline reading “Probe-Class Frigate Upgrade” that’s also “Experimental” but with the status “Approved” in big green letters in the bottom right. It get’s more EHP for shield, armor, and structure; Increased velocity, better sensor strength but therefore lost it’s drone bay. For comparison: The T1 Probe can launch up to three light drones.
More interestingly, a highslot was added, CPU output seems reduced by 40tf but Powergrid buffed by 15MW, and it also may or may not get a bonus to fit an Expanded Core Probe Launcher for combat probing. Technically it only speaks of “Scanner Probe Launcher”. Which may or may not include the Expanded module.

Minmatar Probe “Feasibility Study – Status: Approved”

According to the another user, the item you need to view the full video in game is called “Corrupted Trinary Fragment” and can be looted from Minmatar Diamond NPC wrecks in the Faction Warfare systems.

Overall, we seem to have a ship here streamlined to work as a combat platform, possibly to scram-kite well with four midslots and improved speed. However, if I guess the meanings of the symbols correctly, it may use split weapon systems with two slots for turrets and two for launchers. This would be following a tradition of many Minmatar T1 and Navy ships. Of the four, slots one would likely be used for a Probe Launcher.

Mutaplasmids?

A row of capsuleers started speculation if this could mean mutaplasmids for ships instead. The red and green colored attributes remind some of the look of abyssal rolled modules.

I vaguely remember CCP Rise talking about it briefly in an episode of the <10 Podcast. But it was more a technical question if it would be possible to abyssal roll ship hulls. The answer was “yes”, since the mutaplasmid system has been built to work with basically everything in the game that has attributes. But there were no plans for it.

This was a while ago and maybe this technical question has riped to become an actual thing. But personally I kind of doubt it. It doesn’t feel like it would fit in with the rest of CCPs communication so far.

Hidden in Plain Sight?

With many – including me – focused on the idea of Navy Destroyers, after the supposed leak during CCP Auroras presentation on Faction Warfare, Navy Exploration Frigates seemed too obvious to follow up on. At least to me. But with this video appearing in-game, it seems all the more likely.

I could very well imagine some people at CCP coming up with a “fake leak” having big trouble hiding their gigantic grins from us after watching us fall for it. 😁 That’s the kind of deception I’d expect from Eve-players. And even if I’m wrong give too much credit here for CCP Aurora’s acting capabilities, and it really was just an accident, then it’s still a fun thought. Now back to what we actually have.

The devblog about the “Uprising” expansion features all four of the Exploration frigates: Magnate, Heron, Imicus, and Probe in the cover art.
As well as the four Battlecruisers that currently lack a navy-variant: Prophecy, Ferox, Myrmidon, and Cyclone. Plus a mysterious Drake hovering above it all. We already have a Navy Drake though, so maybe that’s just artistic freedom? Hmm…

CCP’s cover-art for the “Uprising” expansion in Quarter 4 of 2022.

What I found suspicious but unlikely to be a hint at first was the Magnate as a “placeholder” for the “new ships” that shall give you “the edge on the battlefield”.
The wording of this would make the stats we see in the “approved” and “experimental” Probe all the more likely: A Republic Fleet variant to unlock and utilize in upcoming content around Faction Warfare. If you have scrolled through the devlbog, you also may have noticed the animation of a Probe spinning two paragraphs after the trailer.

Uprising Mini-Roadmap

While I like the idea of having more accessible ships for Combat Probing than the skill-intensive T3 destroyers and cruisers, I worry a bit that the new ships may lack some uniqueness. Will an Imperial Navy Magnate just be a more expensive Punisher that can also scan down stuff?
I’m unsure if that’s cool enough to really get me excited. I hope these ships will offer some quirky and more unique ways to fit them as well. Maybe a bonus to the empire-specific secondary E-War that’s not yet covered as described in my previous post. 🤔 While that would be interesting, these attributes would compete with the T2 Electronic Warfare frigates.

One thing I could see here is a real “Combat Probe” *badum-tss* shaking up the meta around exploration and hunting explorers. They may very well contest the Astero’s spot in that niche. That would indeed be nice.

Tweet by Khaprice Hesperax

Hints on Content?

Could the attributes of the found Probe even be a hint on the kind of content we may see coming with “Uprising”?
Combat Probing was something you can fit a regular T1 Exploration Frigate, a Sunesis, and also a Covert Ops for. But the hulls do not get a fitting-bonus on Expanded Core Probe Launchers like T3 ships do. That always meant you had to sacrifice fittings on these hulls to make it work. Very much gimping any ability to perform in a combat situation. This Probe-variant might be able to do both.

Maybe scanning becomes more relevant in the context of the expansion. If you remember, I have written down an idea trying to include scanning in a not-so-old post:

Another form [of exploration] could be to Combat Scan down some NPC ships. But add a little twist: If they notice your Combat Probes on d-scan for too long, they move to another safe spot. So you have to narrow down their location first via d-scan, before you launch these probes. Maybe let even that lead to triggering the Convoy Ambush mentioned above.

Non-Combat Objectives for Faction Warfare

And here is another crazy idea: Imagine if the Navy-Issue Exploration Frigates could circumvent Acceleration Gates. Meaning they could warp directly to a ship inside a gated site that they have scanned down. This would be SO broken… On second thought, I’d rather not have that. 😬

Soon™

I admit these last parts are lots of tinfoil, but also a lot of fun writing. And I’ll laugh a lot when I see how close or far I was in the coming weeks. 😉

According to the mini-roadmap image, we should know before the end of September. When I’m not busy practicing for the AT, I’ll sure keep an eye out for any news.

And what do you think? Navy Exploration Frigates seem likely. Were the “Destroyer” leak a planned hoax? And would you like to fly an Imperial Navy Prophecy? Am I totally wrong and this will be T3 instead of Navy ships?!

More links to keep tinfoiling:

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