Ah, quiet Friday afternoons. Time for some out of the box idea brainstorming (much like this).
Today we are going to consider ships, specifically new ship types I'd like to see. These have no hope of being implemented but it makes me feel better. OK then, off we go.
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The first ship class I want to talk about is a tech II version of the Tier II Battlecruisers that were released last year; the Drake, Myrmidon, Hurricane, and Harbinger. What pray tell can we do with these ships that has not been done with the Fleet and Field Command Ships?
Well, when the new ships were released so was the new Exploration content. Seems serendipitous then that Tech II versions somehow make use of that content. One of the problems with Exploration is that you are best suited to using Covert Ops frigates to find the Exploration sites but then have to dock and switch into another ship class to actually make use of the site you find, whether its a miner or combat vessel or whatever. In Empire this is not a huge problem (more of an annoyance) but in low sec and 0.0 it can be extremely frustrating. It would be nice if there was a ship capable of scanning the sites out and allowing some ability to investigate them and clear out any rats.
Enter the Explorator class! I envision ships with 7-8 high slots but only four weapon hardpoints compensated by the role bonus of 100% damage like the Marauders get. This allows for impressive damage but also allowing extra ultity high slots for salvagers and Scan Probe Launchers.
The ship should also get a scan duration reduction bonus like Covert Ops ships do but applying only to Scan Probe Launchers and not Recon Probe Launchers (to discourage it from being used as a PvP combat ship). The mid and low slot layouts can be the same and the ship's tank can be increased slighty with Tech II resistances like HACs and Command Ships.
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The next ship class has to be a Tech II version of the Teir III Battleships: the Rokh, Hyperion, Maelstrom, and Abaddon.
One thing that is missing from the game is the idea of a pride-of-the-fleet ship that normal players can aspire to. Marauders are canidates but have that weak sensor strength making them useful more in PvE than fleet battles. Command Ships have many useful properties but are too small compared to the fleets of battleships in hard core 0.0 combat. Dreadnoughts are too limited to specific situations. Motherships and Titans are only for the elite hardcore players who live and breath 0.0 and are the centres of large alliances. Carriers are more support vessels than all out fleet combat/command vessels.
I want something with the attainability of the Marauder class and utility of a battleship and Command ship. I want a Flagship!
But I don't want just a Command ship in a Battleship hull. It has to be unique and special somehow. Its easy to dream up special modules that only the Flagship can use, but that seems like a cop out. Instead I decided to think about mechanics.
One of the cool things about being in a fleet is the fleet-warp ability the Squad/Wing/Fleet commander has. But what it the Flagship can you the ability to warp Wings and Squads not directly under your command to designated objects or bookmarks? (This is instead of having to direct the Wing/Squad leader to initiate warp.) Such an ability could allow a Fleet Commander to direct a battle faster and more efficiently with fewer mistakes.
On top of this unique ability, a pilot in the Flagship should be able to bring up the solar system map and see markers indicating where pilots of the fleet are located to increase his comprehension of his fleet's disposition. It would be ultimately cool if the same map could show beacons for enemy ships that his fleet can currently see (i.e. on the grid with them). I don't know how feasible that is, but that would be very cool and supremely useful for a fleet commander.
The ship itself can have similar DPS and tanking to its Tech I counterparts, perhaps even slightly degraded DPS. The trade off for the warp command and tactical map would be well worth it in my opinion.
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Last but not least, I was thinking about carriers (for obvious reasons). Or rather more specifically Fighters.
Fighters are super-heavy drones (more like the size of Assault Ships) that only Carriers and Motherships can use. They do a lot of damage (almost twice a Heavy Tech II drone) and are very tough (5 times or more the defenses) and have special features like following targets through warp and can be assigned to other pilots.
A top skilled carrier can launch 10 fighters, and with additional Drone Control Units it can field up to 15. A mothership can launch 20 or 25 with Drone Control Units. But what about a ship that only launches 5?
We'll call it a Light Carrier. It would be slightly larger than a Battleship but nowhere near as big as a Carrier (i.e. it would be sub-capital sized). It would not have a Ship Maintenance Array or Corporate Hanger as they are more logicistical puposes and the Light Carrier is not a logicistic ship. It would also eschew any jump capability but instead use stargates. As such it could enter high sec.
Offensive capability would be similar to Carriers: no turret or missile hardpoints and fewer slots overall than a carrier. Armour/Shield/Structure would be half of that of the carrier at least. The main purpose of this ship would be to be able to launch and assign up to 5 fighters which provides a DPS around 400-500. I would also allow the ship to install Drone Control Units so it could get up to 7-8 fighters total, but that would need to be looked into.
"Why would we want to have a Light Carrier when a Dominix would seem to suffice?" Well, fighters are the idea: they can be assigned to other pilots, can follow targets in warp, and generally are damn cool and it would be nice to see them more often.
"Would these ships be ultimate mission runners?" Hmmm, yeah, bit of a problem there. Their superior-than-battleship defenses would make them ideal for running missions and the DPS from the fighters would definitely be sufficient to kill the rats. On the other hand, running a mission in a Marauder right now with its potential 800+ DPS and Tech II tanks is not exactly hard either; a slower Light Carrier might not be ideal for mission compared to a Golem or Kronos.
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That's all I have for now. Enjoy!