Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Assault Ships Strike Back

Quantum Rise (aka QR) had several changes that alone were fairly minor (some may disagree) but combined had the result of making the Assault Ship frigates viable once again. Here's how.

Change #1 - Base Speed Rebalancing
In general, the hierarchy of base speeds and agility of combat vessels is now as follows from fastest to slowest:

Frigates > Destroyers > Cruisers > Battlecruisers > Battleships > Capitals

Before QR there were some major discrepancies such that some cruisers (*cough*Vaga*cough) were faster than all frigates. That has been redressed.

In addition, speed modules and implants have been adjusted, stacked nerfed, and/or just plain removed so that Ludicrous Speed is no longer obtainable.

Change #2 - Warp Scramblers
There are two types of modules that can prevent a ship from warping away: warp disruptors which are long ranged and can be overcome by one warp core stabilizer, and warp scramblers which are shorter ranged but require two warp core stabilizers to be defeated. Since warp core stabilizers have negative impacts on combat ship effectiveness, warp disruptors were the defacto choice 99.9% of the time.

In order to kill the two birds of MWD speeds being hard to deal with and not seeing warp scramblers being used much, they boosted the warp scrambler so that it not only prevents enemies from warping away, it disables any equipped micro warp drives. Its like a stasis webifer that only works on ships going really fast.

Change #3 - Stasis Webifers
Speaking of these modules, they were also changed so that instead of slowing a ship down to 80-90% of their current speed they now only slow a ship down 50-60% of their speed.

Change #4 - Missile Damage Formula
From the patch notes (emphasis mine):
All missile types have been balanced to ensure that oversized missiles do not have too much of an effect on smaller ships. As before, ships are still protected from larger missiles by their signature radius. When going sufficiently fast, the damage taken from missiles is reduced by the signature radius to speed ratio, rather than just speed. Going faster or reducing the signature radius will reduce missile damage further. For a ship with the same signature radius as the missile's explosion radius, the missile's explosion velocity indicates the speed at which the missile damage starts to get reduced. The new formula allows for speed tanking using afterburners. In fact, afterburners will in general be more effective than micro warp drive for speed tanking missiles.
End Result:
Small ships using afterburners can avoid damage from missiles and tracking easier then pre-QR. Since the Assault Ship is a frigate sized hull with cruiser-like damage, it has benefited the most out of these changes.

Why afterburners? An enemy with a scrambler and a webber will put your ship to about 50% or less of its base speed if you use a MWD, but only 50% of your enhanced speed if you use an afterburner.

Why small ships? Since the new missile damage takes into account signature radius, a small ship going decently fast can get a decent damage reduction from heavy missiles and bigger. In addition, the less effective webbers means that larger ships will still have tracking issues even if they get the small ship caught whereas before a small ship webbed was pretty much doomed to cruisers and bigger.

One of the biggest hits against Assault Ships before QR was that they were about as effective as Tech 1 cruisers for a much higher price tag. Now they boast better speeds and better survivability from larger ships over cruisers and combined with their agility that makes them definitely worth their price tag. Wolfpacks of assault ships are going to qucikly become one of the most dangerous sights to see in New Eden. Case in point:
The fleet was:

San Rintu: Kitsune-class electronic attack ship;
Kulmid: Harpy-class assault frigate;
Mr Frog: Ishkur-class assault frigate;
Shae Tiann: Ishkur-class assault frigate;
euan8: Ishkur-class assault frigate;
Khaled Urduni: Jaguar-class assault frigate;
Mynxee: Jaguar-class assault frigate;
RnProphet: Jaguar-assault frigate;
Pacifist Priest: Retribution-class assault frigate;
Jorge Belda: Vengeance-class assault frigate;
Loth'nwenar: Wolf-class assault frigate;
Maltrox: Wolf-class assault frigate;
RoninData: Wolf-class assault frigate;
Jiremjahu Menasseh: Crow-class interceptor;
Thrac: Crow-class interceptor;
VB Sarge: Stiletto-class interceptor;
flashfresh: Rifter-class frigate;

17 ships.

A hell of a lot of DPS.


  1. I believe I heard someone in our group estimate our fleet was packing over 2K dps combined. It was rather fascinating to see how fast the three BS's we took out went down...even with one of them taking more than 110K damage. So yeah...while I enjoyed flying AFs before, they are more fun than ever.

  2. Indeed.... it has to be said the ol' AF got a fair boost...

    No doubt those AF T2 BPOs out there just became a bit more valuable.

    Haven't got any yet.... but the gallente and minmatar ones look pretty appealing.