Shiny new nerfbat is locked and loaded
Greetings, my name is Tuxford. I've been working with TomB and Hammerhead for almost a year now. As you may have read in his recent dev blog, TomB has been promoted to the position of lead game designer and has passed the bat over to me. He and I are, most of the time, in agreement about what needs to be done and share a pretty similar vision of what combat should be like. As a result, you shouldn't expect a dramatic change of direction when it comes to balance.
I've gathered a small list of modules and items we are looking at in the near future. I might have forgotten to put something in, but all the major changes should be included here along with a few minor ones.
People often approach me about blasters. The biggest issues they have with them are tracking, high cap use and high CPU need. The grid requirements are also a bit, well, inconsistent. It seems the smaller the blasters are, the more grid they need, compared to railguns.
The real problem here is that there is really no point in using the larger autocannons compared to the smaller ones. At first you would think they do more damage but considering the small clip size of the larger autocannons they do roughly about the same damage over time when you factor reloading into the equation.
I've heard a lot of complaints about the tracking of these guns. I can't promise you a tracking boost but I have to admit that it was rather humiliating losing a Thrasher to a Rifter because my guns couldn't track. The lower-tier artillery (1200mm, 650mm and 250mm) also seems a bit sub-par when compared to lower-tier railguns (350mm, 200mm and 125mm).
As I have already posted, the Tachyons are getting a boost. On TQ they do about 1% more damage than the megabeam. The boost should put them at about 5% more, which is reasonable considering their higher cap use and fitting requirements.
I've already posted about the Typhoon. The most recent changes are that it's getting a cruise and siege launcher rate of fire bonus instead of the turret optimal range bonus. The optimal range bonus wasn't really doing anything for the Typhoon, because projectiles don't have that great of an optimal range, but rather the range is in large part because of high falloff. Also, since it's only getting a bonus to half of its onboard weapons systems, it better be a good bonus.
These guys are expected to fit a Covert Ops Cloaking Device and a Scan Probe Launcher but don't really have the CPU to fit them, especially the Cheetah and Anathema. They could do with a bit of a fitting boost, but I don't want them to become super EWAR cloaking frigs. It would be nice to able to fit something else than a cloak and a probe launcher.
The Jaguar, the Vengeance and the Hawk are getting some love. The Hawk becomes more missile-oriented, but the changes to the Jaguar and Vengeance are bit more fuzzy. I've already posted in this thread, but the changes aren't final so we're probably gonna see another thread about these ships.
We are also looking into giving them their fourth bonus, but I've said it before: assault ships aren't really underpowered in general, so giving them a fourth bonus might just upset the balance between them and other classes of ships.
Their signature radius is also larger than on the tech 1 ships they're based on. Actually, their signature radius is more in line with interceptors than assault ships, so that's going to get an increase.
Gallente Recon ships
Pretty simple really, it could do with a bit of a higher bonus to its warp scrambling range.
Electronic Counter Measures still do not have a decent counter. We can go a lot of ways to "fix" this, like boosting ECCM modules, or making some changes to the ECM itself. TomB posted a bit about this sometime ago here.
Bigger = better when it comes to nosferatus. That might not necessarily be a bad thing but the only way to counter a nos is by using a nos, so a frigate can't sacrifice some of its slots to defend itself from a battleship's nosferatus. Personally, I'd want to see some counter-nosferatu mods rather than adding "tracking" to it.
These guys are pretty similar to ECM in the way that their desired result is that the attacked target can't target anyone. So with an ECM "nerf," we've got to be careful not to make sensor dampeners into a better, easier to fit ECM.
I know, not really EWAR, but kind of gives you the same results as a tracking disruptor. These don't really work right now. The only missiles that aren't too fast for them to hit are torpedoes and torps need 3 Defenders to take them out. I've been fiddling with stuff like increasing explosion range and I think I have formulated a cunning plan to fix them.
Tech 2 ammo
They seem to be either overpowered or underpowered. Tech 2 ammo is a bit different from tech 2 modules. The tech 2 modules are just in general better than tech 1 modules at the price of a bit more fitting. The tech 2 ammo is a bit more specialized and not suitable for all situations.
Precision missiles lower your ship's velocity. The thing is, though, that a raven pilot usually couldn't care what his velocity is. The range is awesome, so it's not likely to be outranged. Its signature radius is already huge so it's not relying on transversal velocity for its defence. This means hardly any penalties at all, and this pretty much goes for javelin torps as well.
For frigates its a different story though, the extra damage you get for the small explosion diameter is not worth the velocity penalty it inflicts on you, and that goes for the javelin rockets as well.
Ammo and Crystals
I've been hearing a number of complaints about this ammo. The long range ammo has poor tracking, which doesn't really matter that much when you're 200km away. Some of the high damage ones might have too harsh or too lenient penalties and need adjustment.
Is that all then?
Hardly, we still feel that combat is too short and are always looking for ways to prolong it. There are a lot of ways to do that, boosting resistances more, shield boosters/armor repairers, even more hitpoints and so on. That has to be done carefully though because if we increase resistances and regeneration of shield and armor we might create unbeatable tanks which is not really what we want to do.
On the other hand boosting hitpoints has its own problems. Most defence system are totally dependent on the capacitor and prolonging combat, of course, affects ships that have smaller capacitor since they will run out sooner.
As you can imagine it's not an easy challenge, but in the end prolonging combat will be worth it. Once you have room to think in combat we open up for things like sub-system targeting and heat management, which you can read more about here.
So no more then?
Lists have a tendency to grow and change, but these are some of the bigger projects and some of the smaller ones.