We Can't Stop Here - Ship and Module Balancing in Rubicon
Hello again daring capsuleers. If we keep meeting like this I’m going to start to think the universe wants us to live happily ever after together.
This is CCP Fozzie once again bringing you a dev blog covering our oh-so-close at hand EVE Online: Rubicon expansion which releases tomorrow (!) November 19th. This blog goes over the large variety of ship and module rebalances that will be hitting your hard drives tomorrow.
Like the similar blogs we produced for Retribution, Retribution 1.1, Odyssey, and Odyssey 1.1, this will be a summary blog that covers all the balance changes in the expansion. All of these changes have been discussed extensively on the forums over the past few months and if you have been reading Features and Ideas every day and/or flying on our Singularity test server nothing here will be a surprise to you.
As most of you know, rebalancing is a constant project in our development of EVE Online. We rebalance ships and modules every expansion for a variety of reasons.
- We rebalance to improve the variety of ships and modules that are viable for our players to both fly and produce.
- We rebalance to shake up the combat meta and give smart players opportunities to show off their abilities by becoming the first to find new powerful tactics.
- We rebalance to keep different tactics and systems in check and prevent overpowered mechanics from ruining enjoyment for everyone.
We have been very happy with the results of our rebalancing initiative over the past year and a half, and we know many of you have enjoyed the results as well. We’re hoping that with your help we can continue this success well into the future.
And now without further ado, let’s look at Rubicon’s changes!
I’m mentioning these changes briefly here because they affect much of the ship balancing in Rubicon, but you should read CCP Masterplan’s recent dev blog to get the whole picture.
In Rubicon we are changing the way ships accelerate and decelerate while in warp, which will have the significant effect of making warp speed matter much more. The result is that small fast ships will warp faster, larger slower ships will warp more slowly, and tech one cruisers and large hold industrial ships stay the same. Like I said, nobody explains these changes with as much style as CCP Masterplan does.
The Interceptor class is receiving some very significant changes in Rubicon, the first and foremost being the large advantage they gain from the warp speed changes. All eight Interceptors are also receiving a role bonus that makes them immune to warp disruption bubbles in nullsec space. Combined these two changes make Interceptors the undisputed champions at their core role: mobility. Interceptors can screen and scout for fleets, hunt down and catch fleeting enemies, or dive deep into the vulnerable underbelly of a sprawling nullsec empire before the defenders can respond in force.
Beyond the class-wide changes, each individual Interceptor has also received a complete balance pass, with several of them getting dramatic updates.
- The Amarr Crusader's changes mainly revolve around fittings. Lots more powergrid and CPU allows a lot of options for more damage and tank. We're shaving a bit of HP off the top but the Crusader remains one of the beefiest interceptors (for all that's worth).
- The Amarr Malediction is getting some big changes, with one highslot being moved to a lowslot, providing a lot more options for damage modules, tank or fitting modules. It is also receiving a more flexible damage bonus and extra armor hitpoints.
- The Caldari Raptor is receiving a major role rework, being moved from the fleet focused line to a more combat heavy role. It gets a new shield resistance bonus as well as upgrades across the board to hitpoints, fittings, capacitor, speed and agility.
- The Caldari Crow is also being shifted in role, moving from the combat line to the fleet focused line. It receives the very significant upgrade of a fourth midslot (in exchange for its excess highslot) and gains the scrambler and disruptor range bonus that the fleet interceptors share.
- As one of the healthiest current Interceptors, the Gallente Taranis is remaining mostly the same. It benefits from slightly lighter mass and of course, the bubble immunity and warp speed upgrades common to the whole class.
- The Gallente Ares is first of the new and improved line of Roden Shipyards Tech Two Gallente ships. As such, it is gaining a new bonus to small hybrid turret optimal range alongside its tracking bonus. With three turret slots, it will be effective with both blasters and small railguns.
- The Minmatar Claw is getting a small increase in projectile turret damage, significantly higher powergrid and CPU, more speed and agility and the extra lock range that it has been crying out for.
- The poster boy for fleet interceptors that are already working, the Minmatar Stiletto doesn't need all that much work. A good bit less mass helps it keep some distinct areas of advantage over the new Crow.
Overall we’re very excited to see the new and improved Interceptors in your hands tomorrow with Rubicon, and we hope you are too. Zoom zoom.
**Electronic Attack Ships**
Electronic Attack Ships have been underutilized since their introduction years ago and in Rubicon we wanted to give them a much needed shot in the arm. The whole class is receiving significant upgrades, especially in the range at which they can operate.
- The Amarr Sentinel is seeing its energy vampire and neutralizer range bonus doubled from the previous 40% per level to the new 80% per level. This will allow it to use its signature capacitor warfare modules at ranges of up to 31km!
- The Caldari Kitsune’s ECM optimal range bonus is being increased to 15% per level, and most importantly it is also receiving a strong boost to base lock range to allow it to take advantage of its range.
- The Gallente Keres will be receiving a larger 15% per level bonus to warp disruptor and scrambler range, giving it significantly better options as a powerful tackler in small fleets.
- The Minmatar Hyena is getting two upgraded bonuses in Rubicon, with its old MWD capacitor use bonus being swapped for a 10% per level bonus to Target Painter optimal range. It is also seeing its stasis webifier range bonus doubled to 40% per level, making the Hyena a powerhouse for mobile fleets with 30km webifiers.
Every Electronic Attack Frigate gets a bit of extra hitpoints, some higher lock range and a very significant increase in capacitor recharge rate. We expect these ships will see much more use after Rubicon releases, and we can’t wait to see how you players make use of their new strengths.
Interdictors are a crucial class of ships for nullsec warfare, as they drop the warp disruption spheres that prevent enemies from fleeing the field of battle en masse. They are receiving significant changes in Rubicon, with vastly increased survivability, improved damage output, and a new mechanic for using their namesake interdiction sphere launchers. All four interdictors will also arrive on their targets much faster thanks to the Rubicon warp speed changes.
The Interdiction Sphere Launcher is having its reactivation delay removed, and replaced with a three bubble magazine, five second cycle time and a long 60 second reload time. The launcher will also be limited to one fit per ship. This change provides new fitting options for Interdictor pilots who no longer need to shoehorn on as many bubble launchers as possible and allows new interesting tactics involving the three bubble magazine separated by the reload time.
All four Interdictors are receiving upgraded resistances and a new 10% per level reduction in Microwarpdrive signature radius penalty to significantly increase their survivability and begin to change their reputation as flying coffins.
- The Amarr Heretic gets its missile bonuses applied to lights as well as rockets, and gains an extra launcher for people who want to fit it with damage in mind. It also receives an armor resistance bonus that helps it compete with the Eris for armor tanked dictoring. The combination of the mass decrease and the base speed increase lead to MWD speeds much faster than it currently enjoys and much quicker turns.
- The Caldari Flycatcher sees its kinetic damage and missile precision bonuses increased significantly in strength, as well as picking up some fittings and shield hitpoints. It also enjoys a big mass decrease which improves MWD speeds quite a bit.
- The Gallente Eris is the next in the new Roden Shipyards designs. Switching away from the split weapons and giving Roden a focus on hybrid turret optimal and tracking lends itself especially well to railguns but also works well with blasters. However for most normal fleet uses the most significant Eris changes are the huge amount of mass it lost (leading to vastly improved speed and agility) and the extra fittings.
- The Minmatar Sabre is the baseline for these ships and is seeing the smallest changes. We're taking away a bit of its agility to put it in line with the others, but giving it some more shield hitpoints and a significant drop in sig to compensate.
As an interdictor pilot myself, I know firsthand how good it can feel to drop a perfectly placed bubble on your horrified opponents. We hope these changes will help many more of you enjoy that feeling in the weeks and months after Rubicon.
The Marauders are some of the most dramatic changes were are making for Rubicon, and so it’s fitting that these are the changes that have garnered the most passionate feedback from our community and the changes where our designers have made the most adjustments to the plan to ensure that we send you the best possible result.
Marauders are seeing their role reimagined, with the new ship split into two roles that it can change between at will.
In normal operation the Marauders gain a new bonus to Micro Jump Drive reactivation delay, allowing them to jump about once a minute. They keep their old active tanking bonuses, and the Kronos and Paladin swap their stasis webifier bonuses for damage projection bonuses.
The most visible and dramatic change comes when the Marauder pilot activates their new Bastion Module. When in Bastion Mode, the Marauder cannot move. However in exchange it receives a catalogue of new advantages including immunity to electronic warfare, vastly improved defenses, and further increased damage projection to hit hard at long ranges. The Bastion Module has a cycle time of only one minute, but the Marauder cannot use stargates or dock for a full minute after the Bastion cycle ends.
The result is a ship that can quickly jump 100km in any direction, enter a special mode for increased range and tank, and then jump again a minute later. The new Golem, Kronos, Paladin and Vargur will excel even more at their old role in player vs. environment content, as well as being open to whatever other creative uses we know you players will find for these open ended mechanics.
**New Sisters of EVE Faction Ships**
These new ship additions in Rubicon have been thoroughly covered in CCP Rise’s recent dev blog, so I’ll be brief here and heartily recommend that you read his blog for all the details.
In Rubicon we are proud to release two special new ships, the Astero frigate and Stratios cruiser. These ships are produced by the Sisters of EVE faction and are built with exploration and long-term deployments in mind. They can both use covert ops cloaks, they both use drones as their primary damage method and they both sport stout armor tanks. They also have bonuses to scan probing and hacking. All in all they are excellently well rounded ships that can engage in many kinds of activities, including being perfectly suited for the new Ghost Sites that are also releasing in Rubicon.
These ships are available only from loyalty point stores from the Sisters of EVE faction and we know that many of you are eager to get your hands on them. Only one day left!
**Rapid Missile Launchers**
Another hotly discussed set of changes are our new series of Rapid Missile Launchers. We are releasing the new Rapid Heavy Missile Launcher in Rubicon, and at the same time introducing a rebalance and refocus to the Rapid Light Missile Launchers. These launchers shoot missiles that are one size smaller than the ships that use them and are therefore especially well-suited to targeting smaller ships with precision.
The new paradigm for Rapid Missile Launchers is the ability to deal large amounts of damage to a wide variety of targets in a very short period, followed by an extended pause to reload. They essentially provide the option to frontload damage, which should be especially useful for clearing smaller ships as part of a mixed fleet.
Check the discussion thread for all the numbers and details, and let us know what you think once you try out these launchers for yourself!
**Command Ship Model Changes**
As a follow-up to the successful Command Ship balance changes made in last summer’s Odyssey 1.1 release, we are also making a cosmetic change to four of our eight Command Ships. The goal is to move them over to hulls that match the Tech One combat BC that shares their weapon type, creating some more variety, opening up options for our art team in the future, and making the differences between the command ships more intuitive.
As part of these changes:
- The Absolution now has a Carthum Harbinger hull
- The Eos now has a CreoDron Myrmidon hull.
- The Nighthawk now has a Kaalakiota Drake hull.
- The Sleipnir now has a Boundless Creations Hurricane hull.
These changes do not affect the performance of the ships in any way, although they do change the base tech one blueprint used to invent them.
**Until Next Time**
Thank you all for journeying with me through our Rubicon ship and module balance changes. We are very happy to be able to release these updates to you as part of the expansion tomorrow, and we hope you will enjoy using these ships and modules as much as we enjoyed designing them.
This marks the end of my pre-Rubicon dev blogs, so I wish you all a wonderful last evening of Odyssey, and I’ll see you ingame tomorrow as we welcome Eve Online: Rubicon together!