Adding flavor to your faction meal
I have always been fond of my old Ford Escort. Sure, it was creepy old, slow, bulky, cumbersome and remained some sort of unwanted ancestral legacy passed away from generation to generation in my family, but it was doing what is was supposed to do: leading me where I wanted to go with no "electronics" or any other fancy stuff they put in our cars today just to make them light up like fragile Christmas trees and costing a spleen to replace when they eventually break up.
However due to its decaying age, it wasn't keeping on par with modern standards anymore, especially with their so-called "security", so I sadly had to get away from it before they would start taxing me extra for driving a car that was morally painted as a hearse. You know who I am referring to.
Unfortunately, trying to escape this obsolescence principle by playing EVE Online instead of this "In Real Life" MMORPG doesn't work as well, since four-wheeled cars are replaced with pod-piloted space vessels and no analogy is deseperately more suiting than faction ships in the first place.
When they were first designed, it was believed they would be high in the food chain as they boasted improved performance over standard hulls at that time. However, as expansions passed, new vessels were introduced, mostly tech 2, but also higher tiers in the case of battleships, all of this turning faction ships into vessels nobody wants to fly because of their antiquited attributes next to their acquistion tag.
However here, we don't want you to upgrade to other ships or pay taxes by flying them (you are already going to do that by staying in some rookie corporations, remember?). We want you to keep using them, to reverse that obsolescence course, and that is why, with Dominion's release, most of your faction ships are going back to the factory for an instant, free-delivery-under-warranty upgrade package (batteries not included).
I just wish they would have done the same for my Ford Escort; scammers, all of them.
Since the general attributes of these ships are already available on the Test Server Feedback forum channel, it would be redundant to list them here again; instead this blog will focus on explaining the reasoning implied to balance faction ships and provide answers for questions asked during the feedback process.
Before we go any further, it is good to explain that faction ships are sorted into two separate sub-categories with different roles and capabilities:
Faction ships obtainable through high/low-security space based empires (Amarr, Caldari, Gallente and Minmatar) are named navy ships.
Faction ships obtainable through low/null-security space criminal organizations (Angel Cartel, Blood Raiders, Guristas, Sansha's Nation and Guristas) are sorted as pirate ships.
Q: Why are Rogue Drones not offering me ships?
- A: Rogue Drones do not care about politics, marketing or profit and as such you can't have their stuff, no matter how cool they may look. More accurately, they literally are the ship they infest, so any cohabitation with a pod-pilot would be short at best.
Q: Can we have ships from mini-factions like the Equilibrium of Mankind?
- A: Offering EoM ships to players would either mean having them drop through loot somehow, which is not really acceptable, or require them to be a fully fledged pirate organization, with territory, asteroid belt infestation, LP stores, agents and complexes. Doing so is a tremendous task which is not planned or even considered at the time being.
Individual attribute changes are available here.
Enhanced for military duties, navy ships are improved combat platforms over their base tech 1 hull versions; they are meant to keep the same role (with some exceptions) than their regular versions when they have any, and only require their base race spaceship command skill set to be flown. Due to their acquisition method and general availability, we determined they should have attributes located between tech 1 and tech 2, mainly designed to be versatile in the functions they can accomplish. Which led us to the following:
1. Navy frigates: the goal was to revamp them into a relatively cheap mix of interceptor and assault frigates, with neither the speed of the former or the firepower of the latter.
Imperial Navy Slicer: wields good damage projecting capabilities, at the price of reduced tackling efficiency and CPU problems.
Caldari Navy Hookbill: provides a good offense/defense balance with its 5 medium slots and 3 bonused launchers.
Federation Navy Comet: delivers excellent close range damage supported by its improved drone attributes.
Republic Fleet Firetail: almost comparable to an interceptor it terms of speed and agility, but lacks damage capabilities.
Q: Why is the Caldari Navy Hookbill a missile instead of a hybrid platform?
- A: We are aware Caldari ships offer more options than just missile platforms, like ECM and hybrids, but the Caldari Navy Hookbill is based on the crow, kestrel and Hawk to some extent, and supposed to be in line with the Osprey Navy Issue, Caracal Navy Issue and Raven Navy Issue which are designed to be missile ships.
Q: Why is the Republic Fleet Firetail losing its 25% speed bonus?
- A: It receives an in-built 15% speed boost with the changes and remains the fastest navy frigate. Increasing that bonus back to 25% would put it in line with Interceptors while having all the other boosts it receives now, which would not be in line with other navy frigates.
2. Navy cruisers: already boosted for Empyrean Age and thus were not looked into for Dominion. We do not dismiss the possibility of having another pass at them in the future, but this is not planned at the time being.
3. Navy battleships: we first boosted tier 2 navy battleships to justify their price tag, which means increasing their versatility a bit with extra fittings, drone bay and maneuverability when necessary. We also created tier 1 navy versions only obtainable through Factional Warfare LP stores in an effort to boost their rewards for participating players.
Q: Why not keeping the Scorpion Navy Issue as an ECM platform?
- A: First of all, we do believe a faction ECM platform would break the balance next to the Caldari Recons and Black Ops; also, would you really appreciate a faction ship, which has high chances to be called primary by itself, to carry even more importance to the enemy fleet commander by being E-War based, especially when it devotes most of it med slots to fit ECM modules instead of a tank? Finally, the Caldari battleship line was lacking a solo-platform which was asked for quite some time, that the 8 med slots of the Scorpion Navy Issue provides without sacrificing too much tank due to its shield resist bonus. Or you may use it as shield-tank wall for gangs. In all cases, we believe it provides more roles in its current version as it would as an ECM platform.
Q: Why does the Dominix Navy Issue and all other navy ships only have 350 calibration points?
- A: Rigs are supposed to help tech 1 ships to close the gap with more specialized and efficient ships like faction and Tech 2. That explains why faction ships have three rig slots but 350 calibration, and tech 2 only 2 rig slots.
Q: Why nerfing Navy Battleship shield recharge rate?
- A: We estimate keeping the current Tranquility shield recharge rate would make them imbalanced in light of the new changes, especially for the Dominix and Scorpion Navy Issue. While passive shield tanking is supposed to be possible with some ships with great efficiency (Drake, Rattlesnake...), navy battleships are not part of the lot.
Q: The Republic Fleet Tempest sucks.
- A: The current Fleet Tempest changes are supposed to go on par with CCP Nozh changes to projectile turrets, so keep that in mind while doing your calculations. Also, due its current slot versatility (6 med/6 lows) there are always going to be people that prefer a certain setups over others, thus it is not possible to make everybody happy no matter how we change it. However, we feel the current slot changes (5 med/ 7 lows) and the shield/armor hitpoint swap will help more as the almost mandatory PvP med slot equipment would inevitably conflict with a shield tank.
Q: Why are faction battleships are subpar next to pirate battleships?
- A: That's intended as they are supposed to be more accessible and less specialized than the later. Furthermore, navy ships require only one set of spaceship command skills to fly, while pirates need two.
Q: Why having camouflage skins on navy battleships?
- A: The black and white skin you were used to on the Megathron Navy Issue has never been the proper Gallente Navy version paintjob and this is why it was changed. As some of you guessed, the correct one was already used on the EVE store Megathron Navy miniature. We are deeply sorry you may not like the new skins, however this unfortunately remains a matter of taste. But if you ask me, my preference would be that dreadnoughts in siege mode should transform into huge space robots with vacuum cleaners.
Individual attribute changes are available here.
Pirate ships have focused, niche role they excel to. Due to their high acquisition cost and rarity, it was decided they should either be on par with Tech 2 ships of the same class or even slightly above them.
1. Angel Cartel: the embodiment of speed, hit and run tactics.
Q: Why removing the projectile tracking bonus of the Machariel?
- A: The proposed changes make the Machariel as agile as a battlecruiser, and its primary role is supposed to be a hit and run vessel that "kites" its targets. In such circumstances, a falloff bonus will help more at medium ranges than a tracking bonus would.
Q: Why does the Machariel not have a 8/7/5 layout?
- A: This is quite a dilemma. While shield tanking would definitely help to keep the ship nimble by fitting low slots with appropriate modules, it would still conflict with PvP tackling equipment, which defeats the intended role of that vessel. Furthermore, it will keep a speed advantage even if armor plating a ship is your hobby.
2. Blood Raiders: this pirate organization was always supposed to excel at capacitor warfare and movement impairing capabilities, while keeping a decent damage output.
- Q: Why removing one turret from the Ashimmu?
- A: 4 turrets with 100% damage would be quite equal to a Phantasm while keeping its energy draining and webbing capabilities, which is out of balance. This is partly compensated by the added 10m3 dronebay.
3. Guristas: a controversial change if there is one, the new Guristas ship line-up focuses on drones, excellent shield tank with some missile abilities.
Q: Why does the Gila have a 400m3 dronebay when the Ishtar has 375m3?
- A: Guristas in their new form are dedicated drone users, and remember we want pirate ships to be at least as potent as tech 2 attribute wise. While Gallente focuses on drone and close range damage, Guristas dedicate themselves to drone, shield tank and to a lesser extent, missiles. Furthermore 25m3 is hardly a noticable difference for the expected price difference between an Ishtar and Gila.
Q: The Rattlesnake is as useful as an unplugged microwave in the Sahara desert.
- A: While it does less damage than the other pirate battleships or even a close range fitted Dominix, remember it can project damage further with the missile velocity bonus, while having an amazing shield tank. On a passive tank configuration, it can hardly be stopped with ECM (drones and high Gravemetric sensor strength), sensor dampeners (still drones), tracking disrupted (no turrets), cannot be energy drained (passive shield tank) while itself using energy neutralizers and hardly feeling the side-effects.
4. Sansha's Nation: combine energy weapons and shield tank in an mean-XL package
- Q: Why nerfing the Phantasm shield hitpoints?
- A: This was part of the overhaul itself to bring all pirate factions on the same level and you may notice the Nightmare shield increased in the process. In exchange the Phantasm received a bit more capacitor, targeting range and radar sensor strength.
5. Serpentis: deliver close range face melting damage at the expense of defense.
Q: Why having the huge damage multipliers on the Daredevil and Vigilant?
- A: When they were created, theses ships had a fixed number of graphical turret hardpoints set. Trying to raise that limit now would look cumbersome at best and create other issues, which is why we opted for this solution instead, so no, this is not a typo.
Q: Why is the Vindicator is so close of the Kronos in terms of performance?
- A: It is not. It has more agility, more speed, more Magnetometric sensor strength, more drone bay, more armor buffer, a different slot layout while its web bonus helps it reach its role at point blank range. The Kronos on the contrary is more aimed for PvE activities, even if its three spare high-slots may be used for capacitor warfare in PvP, we do not want to nerf it on that aspect since it is supposed to be part of a sandbox game to adapt a ship outside its original purpose. An armor repairing bonus may bring the Vindicator too close of a Hyperion, and force modules to be used when we again want to leave a bit of setup flexibility in its fittings.
To end with
Remember that due to the magnitude and nature of this change, you may fly a ship that has its slot layout changed during Dominion. If that is the case we highly recommend you to dock before the expansion downtime to minimize any issue that could possible arise after. For example, we don't want you to engage an opponent without realizing you have your microwarpdrive or turret moved into your cargohold, as this would have nasty consequences on your vessel life expectancy.
- CCP Ytterbium