28 Ships Later
Ship and Module Balancing in Odyssey 1.1
Ahh summertime in Reykjavik. Famous for its constant sunshine, occasionally tolerable weather, and a very empty CCP office. Many Icelanders take their summer vacations during the same period in July, which means a slow period for CCP’s Iceland office.
This year however, CCP Rise and I are taking our vacations a little later (the timing of mine ment that I could attend the August 23rd Toronto EVE Meet!) which meant that we were left alone in the office with few distractions and lots of time to balance ships!
This blog will go over the ship and module balance changes we are releasing in the EVE Online: Odyssey 1.1 patch on September 3rd.
Like previous balance summary blogs, nothing here will be new to those of you who diligently follow the stickied threads in the Features and Ideas section of our forums, but since not everyone reads those posts we’re collecting the changes here and linking to the relevant threads for further reading.
All in all, there are 28 completely rebalanced ships in Odyssey 1.1, as well as major changes to medium weapons, nosferatu modules, gang links, armor repairers and shield boosters.
Space Trucking with Industrial Ships
Since CCP Rise has already written a Dev Blog covering the changes to the industrial ship class, I’ll keep this section brief. All 12 tech one Industrial Ships are being revamped in Odyssey 1.1 to ensure that all four races have viable options for hauling their stuff and that every industrial ship has a role.
As part of this revamp, some industrial ships are being renamed:
- Iteron to Nereus
- Iteron Mk. II to Kryos
- Iteron Mk. III to Epithal
- Iteron Mk. IV to Miasmos
- and Badger Mk. II to Tayra
The other Dev Blog has full explanations for the reasoning and flavor behind each name choice, and is definitely worth reading.
As for the actual stats, each race will have one industrial with a full-sized cargobay, in the same ballpark as the current Iteron Mark V. Each race will also have one industrial that sacrifices some of that cargo space to gain more hitpoints and faster travel, so that player can choose which type of hauling they need.
We are also converting four existing haulers into more specialized roles with dedicated bays for certain items.
- The Hoarder is gaining a dedicated ammo bay that can hold all kinds of charges, from normal ammo to cap boosters to nanite paste.
- The Kryos is getting a specialized mineral bay.
- The Epithal will have a bay dedicated to commodities produced through planetary interaction.
- The Miasmos gets a bay that can hold ore, ice and unrefined gas.
Weightier Heavy Assault Cruisers
The Heavy Assault Cruiser (formerly known as Heavy Assault Ships) class was among the first classes of Tech Two ships released in EVE way back in 2004, so it is fitting that they are some of the first Tech 2 ships to get their full rebalance pass as we begin to turn our attention to the more advanced ships of EVE.
Heavy Assault Cruisers are one of the classes that fit most uncomfortably into the general guideline of T2 as more specialized ships. Both HACs and AFs fit square in the middle of the “Combat” role category, which is by its nature more generalized than most other roles. We spent quite some time investigating different options for extra specializations, but most of those would have ruined the character and value that the HAC class has developed over the years. In the end, the decision was made to focus the HAC specialization towards durability and electronics, representing the higher quality manufacturing that goes into Tech 2. HACs gain a new role bonus that reduces the damage they receive while moving at microwarp speeds, continue to sport their very strong racial resistances, and enjoy very high sensor strength, lock range, and capacitor regeneration. This is a more subtle specialization than the very obvious and direct specialization given to recon ships or covert ops, but it is an area of focus that matches the Combat category and the place that Heavy Assault Cruisers occupy in the spectrum of EVE’s ships.
The biggest across the board change to the HAC class in 1.1 is the addition of the aforementioned role bonus; a 50% reduction in the Microwarpdrive signature radius penalty that matches the bonus enjoyed by their little brothers the Assault Frigates. It can be easy to underestimate the value of a bonus like this since the tracking formula in EVE is a little obscure, but in practice a well piloted HAC will now take significantly less damage from guns and missiles while MWDing. Combined with the high damage resistances, a mobile group of Heavy Assault Cruisers will be fearsome, especially combined with remote repairing support ships.
The individual ships are also receiving significant changes and improvements, including new drone bonuses for the Ishtar, active repair bonuses for the Vagabond and Deimos, and a new missile velocity bonus for the Sacrilege. Check out the Features and Ideas thread for all the details and discussion!
Command Ship Changes You Can Believe In
The final class of ships to receive a complete rebalance in Odyssey 1.1 is the Command Ships.
These Tech 2 Battlecruisers are intended to be the ultimate in fleet boosting vessels, combining bonuses to warfare link strength with strong defenses and excellent damage application. We are removing the old distinction between the “Fleet” Command Ships that had bonuses to links but nothing else, and “Field” Command Ships that were built for combat. Now all Command Ships will be able to simultaneously provide link bonuses as well as dive into the thick of battle. The two Command Ships for each race reflect the two main Tech 2 weapon styles for each race, and all have bonuses to two disciplines of warfare links.
Amarr: Armored and Information warfare
Caldari: Siege and Information Warfare
Gallente: Armored and Skirmish Warfare
Minmatar: Siege and Skirmish Warfare
All command ships will be able to activate three warfare links simultaneously, and will have two free highslots available to fit links without sacrificing primary weapons. The Command Ships are also all getting the higher strength Tech Two resistances that previously were only found on the “Fleet” Command Ships.
The combat capabilities of many command ships are also being upgraded, including the Claymore becoming a missile boat, the Vulture and Damnation gaining damage bonuses, and the Eos picking up dedicated drone bonuses and more bandwidth.
All in all these ships should be very attractive as bonus providers and leaders of fleets of many sizes, that can mix it up on the frontlines while boosting the effectiveness of their whole fleet.
For all the details and discussion, head over to the thread in Features and Ideas.
Affecting the Effects: Warfare Links
In conjunction with the Command Ship changes we are also making significant changes to all of the warfare links, their bonuses and multipliers.
Warfare links are modules that increase the effectiveness of every pilot in your fleet, and are therefore highly prized force multipliers that can have a huge sway on the course of a battle.
One highly controversial aspect of warfare link mechanics is the fact that they currently apply their bonuses to everyone in the star system, no matter how far away. This means that a ship that is sitting in a safe spot on the other end of the system, or invulnerable inside the force field of a starbase, can have a huge impact on any fight that its fleet mates engage in. We do not believe that this mechanic encourages the best game experience, so we are working to remove these aspects of warfare links and replace them with more compelling gameplay. For Odyssey 1.1 we are not yet ready to force warfare links into the field of battle, but we are taking steps to bring them into better balance as we prepare for larger changes in the future.
The first major change that warfare link pilots will find after Odyssey 1.1 releases is that they can no longer activate their warfare link modules inside a starbase forcefield. To activate their boosts they will need to leave the protection of the shield and make themselves vulnerable to counterattack. We are not enforcing this change on mining links at this time (as we believe that a rebalance of the Rorqual will be needed before forcing mining links out of a force field) but all other warfare links will carry this new restriction.
Secondly, we are making a major series of changes to the bonuses and modifiers applied to each warfare link. All the details can be found in the Features and Ideas thread, but the key points are:
- Reducing the strength of defensive (Armor and Siege) warfare links and the Skirmish Warfare: Interdiction Maneuvers link to bring their effects into balance.
- Shifting more of the bonus from warfare links to the modules themselves and away from the skills and implants to ensure that the path to train gang links carries gradual benefits at each step along the way instead of presenting a learning cliff that is only useful once complete.
- Reducing the bonus provided by Strategic Cruiser Warfare Processor subsystems from 5% per level to 2% per level to ensure that Command Ships take their rightful place as the strongest boosters.
- Adding a new effect to the Information Warfare: Sensor Integrity link so that it provides extra lock range as well as sensor strength.
Finally, we are also adding new Navy Faction Mindlinks with multiple bonus types for people who wish to mix and match gang link disciplines, and adding the existing mindlinks to the CONCORD LP store so that Incursion runners can obtain them and help bring their price down to earth.
As always, all the details and discussion surrounding these changes can be found in the Features and Ideas thread.
Shooting for a Better Role: Medium Long Range Turrets
For a long time, the medium long-range turrets have been quite underpowered compared to the options available from medium and large short range weapons. The railguns, beam lasers and artillery are quite closely tied with the Heavy Assault Ships and Command Ships, so CCP Rise took the opportunity to rebalance them at the same time as we were covering the ships.
The problem with these weapons was that they are squeezed between many other similar weapons and there were so few situations where they provided a distinct and valuable advantage over their peers. Any rebalance would need to help them find a place between the short range medium guns like pulse lasers armed with scorch ammo, and larger weapons such as the blasters and autocannons found on Talos and Tornado battlecruisers.
The solution settled upon was to push the raw damage of these turrets up at the expense of tracking, moving them a bit closer to the larger guns on the spectrum of EVE weapons. They will have a significant range (and sometimes even damage) advantage over medium short range turrets, while still having vastly better tracking than larger guns.
The exact changes are:
- +15% Rate of Fire
- +15% Damage Multiplier
- -15% Tracking Speed
- +25% Damage Multiplier
- -10% Tracking Speed
- +10% Rate of Fire
- -5% Tracking
These changes should go a long way towards making medium long range turrets a strong and viable option with their own gameplay styles, and will partner well with the changes to Heavy Assault Ships and Command Ships.
See all the details and discussion (including example fits with all the math) at the Features and Ideas thread.
Tanking 1.51: Armor Repairers and Shield Boosters
This one is pretty simple. We are taking an opportunity provided by the warfare link changes to make the next in our ongoing series of iterations to local tanking.
We are increasing the rep amount of all local sub-capital armor repairers by 15%, and increasing the rep amount of most local shield boosters by between 5 and 15%.
All the details on which modules are affected and by how much can be found in the Features and Ideas thread.
The Return: Nosferatu Modules
Nosferatu modules drain capacitor from your opponent and provide it to you, making them very significant modules in a game where “cap is life”. Once upon a time they were extremely powerful, able to remove all the capacitor from an opponent while also providing enough cap for the user to fuel all their power-hungry modules. When they were changed to only drain capacitor from targets with less cap than their owner the result went too far, nerfing them into near-obsolescence.
In Odyssey 1.1 we are taking steps to bring NOS back without re-creating the extremely overpowered situation from the past. Instead of only working on targets with a higher percentage of remaining cap than you have, they will now work on any target that has more absolute capacitor than you remaining. This means that NOS will work very well against any ship larger than your own, which nicely mirrors the strength that energy neutralizers have against ships smaller than you.
All the details can be found in the Features and Ideas thread.
Under 3 Months or your Rebalance is Free: Dominix
Last but not least, Odyssey 1.1 will contain one tweak to the Dominix battleship changes from Odyssey 1.0. The Dominix has become extremely powerful and popular since it was rebalanced in Odyssey, but we have determined that one of its bonuses, to drone tracking and optimal range, was more powerful than it needed to be. So in a very rapid iteration pass, we are reducing the strength of that bonus from 10% per level to 7.5% per level.
See the Features and Ideas thread for more details.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this walk through the ship and module balance changes coming your way on September 3rd with Odyssey 1.1! This is just one of many areas being updated in 1.1, and we here at CCP are all now hard at work on future point releases and the big Winter Expansion coming later this year!
I want to give a special thanks to all the players that contribute to this balance process and help make EVE a better game. All of you who post your feedback in Features and Ideas, who test ships on our Singularity test server, and who vote in the CSM elections all contribute to the direction and details of these balance changes and I know we couldn’t do it without you.
Until next time, good hunting!