Capital Ships In Dominion
Every ship needs its niche, a specialized role at which it excels without too much overlap from its closest relatives. With multitasking behemoths like the Capital ships, such balancing becomes a very delicate matter considering the sheer scale of their power. The differences must lie in how and under which circumstances they best project that power - our aim for Dominion is to sharpen distinctions by emphasizing or introducing unique abilities in that regard.
In this blog we will briefly explain the upcoming changes to capital ships, their weapon systems and the intended effects of these.
Motherships still on the drawing board
During the development of Dominion we have been looking at the whole of capital ship warfare and in particular the Motherships--reviewing their place on the battlefield and our goals for them as designers. We're unhappy with the role they currently occupy in practice and after much deliberation and testing we aren't happier with the direction we were taking them as anti-capital Supercarriers. In too short a time we've redesigned a ship class that doesn't have a unique enough role or serve a diverse enough purpose. These are massive ships that require amazing amounts resources to produce. They are part of the power equation of EVE's unique and important Alliance Warfare. As designers we need to do is take a few steps back, deliberate more (with your help), go through more testing (also with your help) and really perfect the Mothership redesign.
Regrettably, we've come to the point where we can no longer commit to making Motherships the monsters they're supposed to be for Dominion. However, we are going to continue refining their schematics, keep our welding torches hot and you should see them undocking from the shipyards again once we and the community are happy with their balancing.
This means NO CHANGES WILL BE MADE TO MOTHERSHIPS IN DOMINION. Since they are part of the original rebalancing effort, the DEPLOYMENT OF FIGHTER BOMBERS WILL ALSO BE POSTPONED.
XL Turret Balancing
Currently on Tranquility, XL Turrets are balanced around Dreadnoughts. The tracking speed, damage output and performance of XL Turrets in general are modified significantly by the siege module as well as ship bonuses. In order to allow the XL Turrets to be viable on other ship classes, aside from the Dreadnoughts, various tweaks were required.
Base tracking speed values of the XL Turrets will be decreased greatly to reflect their role as heavy weaponry. Massive, hull-breaking guns just don't turn as quickly. This does affect Dreadnoughts out of siege mode quite a bit, as they're not able to track sub-Capitals as well. The siege module tracking penalty will be reduced to -50%, which allows Dreadnoughts to track a lot better while in siege mode compared to their current Tranquility incarnations.
The difference in DPS between variations of the XL Turrets has been reduced, since the huge damage bonuses (625% with a siege module, 500% on a Titan) made the difference in DPS too large.
Short-range XL Turrets have been reworked. Currently on Tranquility their range restrictions prevent them from being used against starbases. Capital ship fights rarely if ever happen at short distances. We decided that the short-range XL Turrets needed to have better range and a higher damage output to make them a viable choice for the combat situations pilots actually engage in.
Tranquility - Siege mode tracking, 1.0 ammo range modifier. Target - Signature Radius: Dreadnought, Velocity: 1
As you can see from this graph, the old Dual Giga Pulse Laser excelled in range and overall performance.
Tranquility - Siege mode tracking, 1.0 ammo range modifier. Target - Signature Radius: Dreadnought, Velocity: 50
When the target starts moving the advantage became even more apparent.
New Values - Siege mode tracking, 1.0 ammo range modifier. Target - Dreadnought, Velocity: 1
The new values give each weapon type a unique advantage. The Ion Siege blaster has the highest amount of damage, while lacking in optimal and falloff. The Dual Giga Pulse Laser has a range advantage. While the 6x2500mm Repeating artillery might look poor, the fact that it doesn't consume any capacitor must be taken into consideration. With a single Gyrostabilizer it overtakes the Ion Siege blaster in damage and has excellent falloff.
New Values - Siege mode tracking, 1.0 ammo range modifier. Target - Dreadnought, Velocity: 50
The altered picture of XL Turrets in action against a moving target looks a lot better. The Dual Giga Pulse Laser is no longer the obvious choice.
The long-range XL Turrets have also been tweaked to give each turret type an advantage of its own.
Tranquility - Siege mode tracking, 1.0 ammo range modifier. Target - Dreadnought, Velocity: 1
The graph above shows the current status of long-range XL Turrets on Tranquility. The difference in damage is quite substantial, and the Quad 3500mm Siege Artillery seems to have no advantage (apart from the obvious capacitor consumption).
New Values - Siege mode tracking, 1.0 ammo range modifier. Target - Signature Radius: 1500, Velocity: 1
The new and altered picture shows the difference in damage has been decreased, as well as a clear siege artillery falloff advantage.
Due to the changes made to XL Turrets, Citadel Missiles/Torpedoes and projectile turrets, the Naglfar became an absolute monster, not in a good way. The weapon bonuses on the Naglfar had to be adjusted to keep the balance intact.
Citadel Cruise / Torpedoes
A second capital missile weapon system is being introduced in Dominion, the Citadel Cruise Missile Launcher. The Citadel Cruise Missiles will not differ greatly from the Citadel Torpedoes that currently exist on Tranquility, offering the long-range choice for damage. We adjusted the Citadel Torpedoes to fill the role of a close range bombardment weapon better.
The new version of the Citadel Torpedo follows the same trend as other unguided missiles. The explosion velocity is slightly higher than that of the Citadel Cruise Missiles (or 2250) which means target painters will have to be utilized in many situations to achieve full damage potential. They do considerably more damage than their missile counterparts, with reduced range and velocity.
The explosion radius of Citadel Cruise Missiles will be set to 1500, which differs from the current 1000 explosion radius of Citadel Torpedoes on Tranquility. This value has remained the same throughout many capital ship changes since capital ships were introduced with a signature radius of 1000, causing imbalances with the weapon system.
The increased explosion radius also affects starbase structure hit quality, to counter that we're increasing the signature radius of the larger structures.
New Values - Target - Dreadnought
This graph shows the difference in damage and range between the newly balanced Citadel Torpedo Missiles and the newly introduced Citadel Cruise Missiles.
The Titans primary value should be as a fleet's logistical backbone. Although this vision has not been fully realized, it continues to be the goal. They shouldn't become the ultimate choice when it comes to direct damage, a seat already occupied by Dreadnoughts. Many might argue that due to their price and availability they never will be. There is some truth in that, but history has taught us that balancing by price is never a good idea.
As announced in previous blogs, the Titan superweapons are being changed from being a field-cleaning anti-subcapital weapon, to a more reasonable "death-ray" type of weapon. This undoubtedly changes under what circumstances Titans are utilized and hopefully results in a more enjoyable experience for all participants in the capital battlefield (except, you know, for those hit by the death-ray...).
Along with the new superweapons, Titans receive a 100% damage bonus to either the XL turrets or the Citadel Missiles/Torpedoes per skill level. With a full rack of weapons, their damage potential becomes slightly more than that of a Dreadnought in siege mode. Together with the fact that they don't receive a penalty towards tracking nor missile explosion velocity, the XL/Citadel fitted Titan becomes very effective. We feel that the advantage is not so pronounced as to threaten the Dreadnought as a direct damage-dealer when all factors are taken into consideration.
Titans will also receive a massive hit point boost, allowing them to wreak havoc on the capital battlefield for longer periods of time.
As we said, roles are what matter. With these changes we hope to achieve a more balanced battlefield and synergy between the capital ship classes. The changes to XL turrets mean that the Dreadnoughts become more versatile in dealing the direct damage they're meant to. The Titans with their new superweapons and bonuses to XL turrets will hopefully promote more enjoyable fleet engagements. And once again, we will continue to scrutinize the role of Motherships and how best to achieve that, through continued testing and balancing.