Odyssey Ship Balancing
A few weeks before a big expansion hits usually is the time for reflection on how well we have packed things together. In our case here, it’s all about having a final look at the ships we are tackling for Odyssey. And by “we”, I mean our team of rabid ship designing slave-monkeys, mainly CCP Fozzie and Rise.
So total, we are bringing you 40 revamped hulls in the next expansion, 4 of these being new – which fit as part of a Navy theme to complement the recent storyline events in New Eden, as requested by our evil CCP Soundwave and Seagull overlords.
Click to enlarge
So, let’s have a look at what’s changing for Odyssey and make sure our balancing boys worked properly – otherwise they aren’t going to eat for a while.
As mentioned several times throughout the year, we are going change many skill requirements in Odyssey. Since this has been extensively covered beforehand, we highly recommend you read at the proper blog for more details so you can prepare accordingly, even if it is quite late at this point.
Short summary is that:
- Destroyers and Battlecruisers skills are being split in four racial versions and being reimbursed
- Skill requirements are changing for 23 ship classes (Rookie Ships, Navy Frigates, Destroyers, Cruisers, Navy Cruisers, Battlecruisers, Battleships, Navy Battleships, Carriers, Supercarriers, Dreadnoughts, Titans, Electronic Attack Ships, Interdictors, Heavy Assault Cruisers, Recon Ships, Heavy Interdiction Cruisers, Command Ships, Industrials, Freighters, Mining Barges, Industrial Command Ship and Capital Industrial Ship)
For Odyssey we decided to revamp the full line of Navy faction ships, all the way from Frigates to Battleships, as well as adding the new Navy Battlecruisers.
To start off the process we did a balance pass on the four Navy Frigates, which are very popular for their moderate prices and generally strong abilities, especially in Factional Warfare space. These ships needed smaller changes than the others. The Republic Fleet Firetail received the most significant overhaul, getting a stronger damage bonus and significantly more HP. The other Navy Frigates received smaller tweaks, mainly to their fittings.
The next step on the Navy overhaul was the eight Navy Cruisers. These ships were suffering very severely from all the problems inherent with the old Tier system. The higher tier versions (Omen Navy Issue, Caracal Navy Issue, Vexor Navy Issue, Stabber Fleet Issue) were decent ships in their own right, although overshadowed to a certain extent by the newly buffed T1 Cruisers. The lower-tier versions (Augoror Navy Issue, Osprey Navy Issue, Exequror Navy Issue, Scythe Fleet Issue) on the other hand, were terrible.
So we have given these ships the full Tiericide treatment, splitting them into Combat (Augoror Navy Issue, Caracal Navy Issue, Vexor Navy Issue, Stabber Fleet Issue) and Attack (Omen Navy Issue, Osprey Navy Issue, Exequror Navy Issue, Scythe Fleet Issue)
- The Omen Navy Issue is trading some hit points in to get a lot more speed and range. With new bonuses to Laser optimal range and damage it will zip around the battlefield skirmishing with the best of them. Pilots will need to manage capacitor carefully with this ship, but it will be deadly in the right hands.
- The Osprey Navy Issue will fly much like an improved version of the Tech 1 Caracal, using mobility, range and an exceptional six midslots to control the battlefield.
- The Exequror Navy Issue is doubling down on its old role as an all-in blasterboat. It’s keeping the double damage bonus that made it unique among blaster cruisers, and gaining a new turret to place it clearly at the top of the cruiser damage per second charts. However it will need to be in close to do that damage, so in the game of Exequrors you either win or you die.
- The Scythe Fleet Issue is the first in a grand project to redeem the Minmatar tradition of split weapon bonuses. Instead of the old system where pilots were pushed into using two different highslot weapons, the new Fleet Scythe has double-strength damage bonuses for both projectiles and missiles. This means that it is very powerful with either weapon system and an opponent will never know what to expect when they see a Fleet Scythe on scan.
- The Augoror Navy Issue is built as the ultimate cruiser brawler. With bonuses to armor HP and a huge 25% per level damage bonus for three turrets, it can take advantage of a strong buffer tank and two utility highslots to outlast its opponent.
- The Caracal Navy Issue is the first in a new tradition of Caldari Navy missile ships with bonuses to explosion radius. This bonus allows the ship to apply damage much more effectively than most, and it will be able to tangle with a wide variety of opponents.
- The Vexor Navy Issue is getting a big increase in drone bandwidth, making it the most nimble ship capable of fielding a full flight of five heavy drones or sentry drones. A bonus to drone velocity and tracking replaces the old blaster bonus, ensuring that a Navy Vexor focused purely on drone damage will be a force to be reckoned with.
- The Stabber Fleet Issue is receiving the smallest changes of all these Cruisers, as it is already the most effective and most used Navy Cruiser. Small tweaks to hitpoints and mass for polish is all this ship needs to remain balanced and desired.
We felt those vessels were overstepping a bit on other classes, mainly Cruisers and to some extend Battleships. However, since Tech 1 Cruisers have been buffed in Retribution and Tech 1 Battleships are receiving the same treatment for Odyssey, only small tweaks are necessary. That is why we are only giving them small decrease in mobility, scan resolution and signature radius for now, even if we are going to keep watching them in the near future.
Yes, we do know Heavy Assault Cruisers are being overshadowed by them as well, and we will come to them in due time, oh yes my precious, we will.
For Odyssey we wanted to give a strong emphasis on the four main Empire factions and we believe there is no better way to build excitement than releasing Navy variations of the already popular Battlecruiser hulls.
- The Harbinger Navy Issue was a tough call to balance. Going for a traditional Amarr combat philosophy of “slow inflexible brick with guns everywhere” proved to be disappointing during internal playtests. We thus opted to give this vessel something that often lacks in the Imperial Navy line, flexibility by giving it an additional 5th medium slot and swapping its medium energy turret capacitor reduction bonus with a tracking bonus.
- As explained in our previous Blog, we did not wish to directly improve on the already good capabilities of the Drake, which is why the Drake Navy Issue instead offers extended flexibility with better mobility and damage application than its regular Tech 1 counterpart.
- Choosing between which hull to pick between the Brutix or Myrmidon proved to be tricky for Odyssey – we finally picked the former as we foresaw some heavy role overlap for a possible Myrmidon Navy Issue with the Ishtar, Vexor Navy Issue, Gila or even Dominix. As a result, the Brutix Navy Issue is a ship that directly iterates on the strengths of its predecessor, with improved low slot layout and better damage application.
- For the Minmatar, we decided to bring the old, pre-nerfed flexibility of the Hurricane back into the Fleet brand. As such, you will find the Hurricane Fleet Issue to be an extremely versatile and familiar ship, with many possible configurations to choose from.
- Regular corporation LP stores, blueprint offer: 200,000 LPs plus 100 million ISK for 1 run blueprint copy (BPC)
- Regular corporation LP stores, built ship offer: 250,000 LPs plus 1x built Tech 1 Battlecruiser plus two Cruiser sized Nexus Chips
- FW Loyalty Point stores, blueprint offer: for 100,000 LPs plus 10m ISK for 1 run BPC
- FW Loyalty Point Stores, built ship offer: 100,000 LPs plus 1x built Tech 1 Battlecruiser plus two Cruiser sized Nexus Chips
Tech 1 Battleships
Odyssey will forever hold a special place in that empty and black spot where our hearts used to be for rebalancing one of the most iconic classes of the game, Tech 1 Battleships. Next to other vessels we’ve tackled as part of the “Tiericide” initiative in the previous expansions, Tech 1 Battleships were relatively well balanced by stat, the problem laid in their role distribution. As explained below, some of them required creative thinking to rebalance, and we do hope the results will shift the meta-game in interesting ways for the upcoming months.
- As we started looking into this class, we realized the Armageddon was in a very precarious position; for being the former Amarrian Tier 1 Battleship, it made sense to provide a hard-hitting turret based option before moving into the Apocalypse and Abaddon. However, removing tiers made us realize it would compete with the Abaddon on the same niche, which motivated us to look for creative solutions to solve this problem. As a result, the Armageddon role is moving away from its standard combat turret platform to a more devious energy neutralizing drone ship.
- Until now the Apocalypse was renowned as a very comfortable hull due to its large capacitor, further enhanced by the Large Energy Turret Capacitor use reduction provided by one of its bonuses. However, it was judged quite dull by our balancing team, and as a result we have changed this previously mentioned bonus to favor turret tracking instead. For moving into the “Attack Battleship” role, the Apocalypse is also gaining mobility and is about to become a damage projection bully at its designated medium-long engagement range.
- The Abaddon was the Amarrian hull in the least need for change, as its role is already potent in multiple scenarios. As such there is not much to write about it, except the armor resistance decrease which is global to many hulls (see below for more details).
- Overall we are pleased with the Scorpion for being the only purely Disruption focused Battleship. Thus its changes were minimal, mainly with a slight increase in hit points and the swap of a high slots in favor of a 5th low slot.
- The old tactic known as “Cavalry Raven” that used that vessel in a speed setup may be coming back as this venerable hull is being moved into an Attack role. Literally, that means the Raven gains mobility and trades one of its two utility high slots for a 7th medium slot. This change also has a very strong synergy with our Cruise Missiles boost, explained below, so who knows, this ship may even be used in PvP situations again. Time will tell.
- The Rokh remains a very solid choice for large engagements, or any kind of situation requiring what we internally call a strong “tank’n’spank” power. As such it’s not affected that much, except again for the shield resistance bonuses being slightly lowered.
- The Dominix, also known as the old war shoe, the flying potato or even the space whale, has seen considerable service over the years. Adaptable in a myriad of ways, we nevertheless decided to swap its role from what essentially was a Turret plus Drones split weapon system to purely focus on the latter. It is now aiming to be much more efficient with Sentry drones than any other ship in-game, which is a distinct advantage.
- The Megathron is one of our favorite hulls in-game. Over the years though, it suffered setbacks as a Blaster platform, due to its poor mobility with plated setups and tight fittings. We want to emphasize its role as the Gallente main gunboat platform by moving it into the Attack role. Technically it means improved mobility, swapping the utility high slot for a 8th low slot and replacing the Large Hybrid Turret Damage bonus with a Rate of Fire one to see further use in fleet engagements.
- The Hyperion has been one of the most delicate problems we had to tackle for Odyssey, as it suffered a role crisis – initially designed as a close range blaster platform, it overstepped on the Megathron, and was ill-equipped to fully use that active Armor tanking bonus with only 6 low slots. As such, we are moving it to be the flexible small gang stepchild of the Gallente Battleship line, by providing it with a versatile 7H / 5M / 7L slot layout and a good dronebay.
- The Typhoon was well known among our player base as the perfect embodiment of the “jack-of-all-trade, master of none” philosophy. While we acknowledge it provided an interesting role on the field, we did not necessarily agree with how niche it remained, or how much skill training it demanded to fly effectively. Instead, we are turning it into a missile launching monster by replacing the Turret bonus with a Cruise Missile and Torpedo explosion velocity, giving it 6 launchers and tweaking its slow layout to 7H / 5M / 7L.
- There was little need to alter the Tempest attributes as its role as a flexible Attack Battleship is well set in stone already. As such, only slight tweaks were made to it, mainly by slightly increasing its hit points, fittings and mobility.
- The Maelstrom role remains healthy and secure, and as such nothing is changing on it.
As we have done with the previous Tech 1 ship classes that have gone through rebalancing, mineral prices for Tech 1 Battleships are going to be adjusted to meet the new “Tiericide” requirements.
- Former Tier 1 and 2 Battleships (Armageddon, Apocalypse, Scorpion, Raven, Dominix, Megathron, Typhoon and Tempest) are being increased to be approximately on par with the current Tier 3 Battleships (Abaddon, Rokh, Hyperion, Maelstorm).
This is quite mandatory for several reasons:
- There is no need to have price differential within ships of the same class if tiers are gone. If all of them have an equally valuable role, price should match.
- We cannot decrease overall costs of Battleships due to the mineral consumption linked with the production of the current Tier 3 Battleships. Doing so would affect the market adversely.
After studying various metrics at our disposal, we concluded increasing the price on such fashion would not affect Battleship acquisition that much due to inflation and increasing wealth generation over the years.
So, in practice:
- The most expensive Battleships are going to be Combat related, with an estimated price around 150m-180m ISK. This includes the Armageddon, Abaddon, Rokh, Dominix, Hyperion and Maelstrom.
- Other Battleships whose role is either Attack or Disruption will settle with an average price of 100-130m ISK. Thus the Apocalypse, Scorpion, Raven, Megathron, Typhoon and Tempest.
As usual, the increase in mineral requirements will be done through Extra Materials that won’t be obtained through refining. All the prices stated above are rough estimates, your mileage may vary depeding on market speculation, conspiracy plots, backstabbing schemes and alliance drama.
As part of something we hinted in our previous blog, Navy Battleships also are receiving some love in Odyssey. As with their Tech 1 counterparts, we are dead set into removing tiers from them so each has a unique purpose.
- The Armageddon Navy Issue performs well and we believe its current role as a laser brawler to be adequate. As a result it is not changing much, except for slightly more hit points, fittings and 25m3 additional drone bay.
- The Apocalypse Navy Issue inherits the same traits as its Tech 1 variation by being moved into the Attack role. This means better mobility, reduction in hit points, but swapping the Large Energy Turret Capacitor reduction with the tracking bonus.
- With the Cruise Missile boost and the gain of an extra low slot, the Scorpion Navy Issue has potential to become an extremely dangerous hull to cope with, and we are going to keep an eye open on this one to make sure it does not asphyxiate other Battleships.
- Inspired from the Drake Navy Issue, his bigger cousin the Raven Navy Issue now provides extended flexibility with 8 launchers combined with a missile explosion radius and velocity bonuses. It also follows the same pattern than its regular Tech 1 counterpart by being moved into the Attack role: more mobility, a 7th med slot at the expense of slightly less hit points.
- The Dominix Navy Issue roughly keeps the same attributes as before, as we wished to keep it unique and were not willing to change it on the same pattern than its Tech 1 counterpart. For being a Combat ship however, it gains some hit points at the cost of mobility and signature radius.
- The Megathron Navy Issue will iterate on the strengths of its new standard variation for being switched to an Attack role with fast mobility and good damage with its new Rate of Fire bonus. It also has room for a utility high slot and more drones in general than its Tech 1 variation.
- We wanted to keep a unique flavor for the Typhoon Fleet Issue by preserving the split weapon bonus, but trying to make it right this time around. As such, this vessel has 7.5% bonus to Cruise and Torpedo damage and 7.5% to Large Projectile Rate of Fire per level, while boasting 8H / 5M / 7L with 6 turrets and launchers.
- Finally, with the Tempest Fleet Issue we wanted to experiment on maintaining a hull flexible enough for multi-purpose situations. As such, while being officially sorted as a Combat this hull offers a good enough mix of hit points, mobility and low signature radius to be considered as an Attack-Combat hybrid.
LP offer changes:
Just like the Tech 1 Battleships, Navy versions are going to be consistently unified in price all across the board. Not only does that mean their Blueprint Mineral requirements are going to be closely matching the prices indicated above, but it means that LP offers for the former Tier 1 Battleships is going to be leveled at Tier 2 prices.
- The Armageddon Navy Issue, Scorpion Navy Issue, Dominix Navy Issue and Typhoon Fleet Issue LP offer costs are going to be increased to 250,000 LPs in the 24th Imperial Crusade, State Protectorate, Federal Defense Union and Tribal Liberation Force LP Stores.
Module and general changes
Sometimes only looking at ship hulls is not enough to fix specific issues and crippling gameplay. This is particularly true for Odyssey, as we had to closely look at a certain number of attached problems to ensure our Tiericide changes were healthy as a whole.
Long have Cruise Missiles been waiting for some attention – we found them sobbing in their little corner, reminding us of the now extinct age of the ‘Arbalest’ Cruise Missile Launcher I Raven. They begged for mercy, claiming they suffered enough and that they won’t insta-pop Frigates ever again, promise.
And so CCP Rise came forth and said, “fear not, my child” then basked them in his balancing light. And they were grateful:
- Cruise Missile Launchers Rate of Fire has been increased by 5% (they fire faster)
- Velocity of all Cruise Missiles has been increased to 4700m/s
- All Cruise Missiles base damage has been increased by 25%
- To compensate, Cruise Missile Launcher Powergrid requirements have been increased by 200
- Cruise Missile base flight time has been decreased to 14 seconds and their explosion radius has been increased by 10%
As a result, all Cruise Missiles should now hit harder, faster at the cost of slightly tightened fitting requirements and reduced damage application to smaller targets. In all cases, they will complement your Raven or Typhoon setups well and shall blot out the sun. Treat them well.
When rebalancing the Apocalypse and its Navy evil twin, we realized Large Energy Turrets were not only difficult to squeeze in, but also quite capacitor hungry. Since using wrench and duct tape to fit things remains the dedicated area of Minmatar engineers, we decided to soften them up a bit.
- All Large Beam Laser capacitor needs have been decreased by 20%, powergrid requirements have been reduced by 10%
- All Large Pulse Laser capacitor needs have been decreased by 10%
As miscellaneous note, we realized only having 350 calibration on Navy hulls didn’t make much sense since they are supposed to be improvements over Tech 1 ships. As such, with Odyssey they will autoretromagically have 400 calibration instead. These were not the rigs you were looking for.
Balance between the different Dreadnaughts has been an issue for a long time, and their vast increase in use since Crucible has made the problem more pronounced. We want to be very careful with these ships to ensure that none of them get broken, so we are starting a process of small iterations to capital weapons to help bring the class into balance. For Odyssey we are reducing the tracking of capital blasters and autocannons, reducing the range of capital blasters and increasing it for capital pulse lasers, and significantly improving the Phoenix by removing the explosion velocity penalty from siege modules. These changes do not go the whole way, but they are a step in the right direction and we are committed to take those steps carefully and correctly.
Two more modules that will be receiving tweaks in Odyssey are Remote Sensor Boosters and Tracking Enhancers. RSBs are too good for supporting “instalock” gatecaps with large ships, and are seeing their scan resolution bonus lowered slightly. TEs are receiving a reduction in their optimal range and falloff bonuses, to bring them in line with other similar modules such as Tracking Computers.
We are also turning our attention to ship resistance bonuses in Odyssey. These bonuses are among the most powerful in the game, and have been overshadowing other defensive bonuses to a large degree. We have chosen to make a small adjustment to the resistance bonuses on all applicable ships, reducing the per-level bonus from 5% to 4%. Resistance bonuses will still be extremely powerful after this change, but the adjustment opens up some room for us to do more interesting things with other defensive bonuses and create more interesting choices in fitting and combat.
And that’s pretty much everything we are delivering to your doorstep for Odyssey - that is quite some heavy package to carry around. We do hope you will enjoy those changes as much as had crafting them and we can't wait to see how EVE tactical gameplay will shift as a result. Stay tuned for more blogs on what's to follow on the ship balancing menu, and may the pew pew be with you, always.