Capital ship balancing

By CCP Tallest
| Comments

I am proud to announce that this winter, we are going to release some long-anticipated ship balancing. Specifically, capital ship balancing.

For a long time, there has been an outcry in the community that fleet fights are stagnating and are just not as fun as they should be. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of pages of forum threads dedicated to this subject both on the official EVE Online forums, other EVE forums, as well as in blogs and articles. There is no shortage of opinions on this subject from players, devs and CSM members; the main concern that has been stated over and over again is that the proliferation of supercapitals is mostly to blame. Supercapitals can effectively deal with any size of target, and killing them takes a tremendous amount of damage. What this means is that with very few exceptions, the fleet with the most supercarriers wins. Huge, expensive ships should obviously be powerful, but there needs to be a way to fight back.

While not everyone agrees that supercarriers are to blame for everything, there were some issues that kept popping up:
 

  • Supercapitals are too hard to kill.
  • Supercarriers are far too versatile.
  • The Titan superweapon is too powerful.
  • Dreadnoughts are not good enough.
  • Remote ECM Bursts should not work on ships immune to ewar.
  • Sub-capitals are useless in fleet fights.

Supercapitals are too hard to kill

We wanted to make them a little bit weaker, but not gut them completely. We're doing a simple 20% reduction in Shield, Armor and Hull hitpoints on both supercarriers and titans.

Supercarriers are far too versatile

The reason that supercarriers can deal with any size of ship is the versatility provided by its massive drone bay. Having access to almost unlimited combat drones of all sizes and being able to launch 20 of them at a time means that they have an answer to almost any situation. In fact, we found that drones on capital ships in general to be detrimental to the way fleet fights should work. If you want to deal with sub-capitals, you should bring your own sub-capitals or a carrier. Supercarriers will now have a smaller drone bay and will only be able to put fighters and fighter bombers in it. We are increasing the signature resolution on fighters so that they deal less damage to smaller targets. We are also completely removing the drone bays of titans and dreadnoughts. Seeing as we didn't want to take damage away from dreadnoughts, we're boosting the damage bonus of Siege Module I to compensate for the loss of drones. The Moros had its drone bonus changed to a capital hybrid turret rate of fire bonus.

The Titan superweapon is too powerful

Once we decided to reduce the capabilities of the supercarriers, we had to make sure that the "supercapital blob" wouldn't simply be replaced by the "titan blob." This meant that we had to do something about the superweapons. The big problem with the superweapons is that they can take out the crucial logistics and command ships of the opposing fleet in the first few minutes of a fleet fight, which severely reduces the capabilities of any remaining sub-capital ships. To fix this, we are changing the superweapon so that it cannot fire upon sub-capital ships (capital ships being Freighters, Jump Freighters, Carriers, Dreadnoughts, Capital Industrial Ships, Supercarriers and Titans).

Dreadnoughts are not good enough

One of the biggest problems with dreadnoughts is the fact that you have to commit them for 10 minutes at a time with siege mode. We are shortening the duration of Siege Module I from 10 minutes to 5 minutes and cutting the Strontium Clathrate cost in half. Dreadnoughts in siege mode will also no longer be affected by Remote ECM Burst. There was some discussion about boosting the dreadnoughts further, but we want to see how they play out with the other capital changes first.

Sub-capitals are useless in fleet fights

The changes we're making should have a big impact here. Capital ships will have fewer drones to attack sub-capitals. Fighters will deal less damage to sub-capitals. Superweapons won't be able to shoot sub-capitals. Supercarriers will have fewer reserve fighters and fighterbombers, so having your sub-caps take down fighters and fighter bombers will have more of an impact on the fight.

Logging off should not be a viable tactic

Then there are the logoff mechanics. When you log off your character in space, the ship you are piloting disappears after 15 minutes. This, coupled with the millions of hitponts that supercapitals have, means that very few supercapitals are actually being destroyed. When a fleet is losing a large supercapital fight, they can simply log everyone off and be confident that they enemy fleet will only have enough time to kill a handful of their supercapitals. This kind of meta-gaming is not only un-fun but it just doesn't make much sense. When you commit your ship to a battle that should actually be a commitment. Only by winning or by making a tactical, well planned retreat should your ship be able to survive. It has been said that spaceships are serious business and they damn well should be. We are changing the logoff mechanics in such a way that as long as your enemies are actively engaged in fighting you, logging off is not going to save your ship.

The end. Except it's not the end at all.

As a part of our efforts to refocus towards FiS, these balancing changes are going to be the first of many, making sure that we continually balance and shake up EVE for years to come.

In conclusion, here is a full list of the changes we're making.

Supercarriers

  • Drone bay can only hold fighters and fighter bombers.
  • Reduce Shield, Armor and Hull hitpoints on all Supercarriers by 20%.
  • Reduce drone capacity.
    • Aeon, Revenant and Wyvern: 125000 (25 total Fighters + Fighter Bombers)
    • Hel and Nyx: 150000 (30 total Fighters + Fighter Bombers)
  • Remote ECM Burst: Does not affect ships that are immune to electronic warfare (Supercarriers, Titans, Triaged Carriers and Sieged Dreads)

Fighters
 

  • Increase signature resolution to 400. (This change has been cancelled due to feedback from the EVE community)

Dreadnoughts

  • Remove drone bay from all dreadnoughts.
  • Siege Module I: Boost damage bonus from 625% to 700% to compensate for loss of drones.
  • Siege Module I: Duration time reduced to 5 minutes. Fuel cost -50%.
  • Moros: Remove drone bonus.
  • Moros: New bonus: 5% bonus to Capital Hybrid Turret rate of fire per level.

Titans

  • Remove drone bay from all titans.
  • Reduce Shield, Armor and Hull hitpoints by 20%.
  • Superweapon: Cannot shoot sub-capital ships.

Logoff timer
 

  •  After a player logs out, there is a check for player aggression every 15 minutes. If you have been aggressed, the timer extends for 15 minutes; if you have not been aggressed, you disappear as before. Note: this is only for player aggression and will not change what happens when you log off during fights against NPCs.

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