Monday, August 31, 2009

Strategic Capitals

Welcome to the eleventh instalment of the EVE Blog Banter, the monthly EVE Online blogging extravaganza created by CrazyKinux. The EVE Blog Banter involves an enthusiastic group of gaming bloggers, a common topic within the realm of EVE Online, and a week to post articles pertaining to the said topic. The resulting articles can either be short or quite extensive, either funny or dead serious, but are always a great fun to read! Any questions about the EVE Blog Banter should be directed here. Check out other EVE Blog Banter articles at the bottom of this post!

This month's banter comes to us from Joe Brusati a long time reader of CrazyKinux's Musing, who asks the following: CCP states that T3 Strategic Cruisers are just the start for the T3 line-up. In future Eve expansions what would you like to see as the next T3 ship type. Please be specific on details about what role this ship would play, cost of manufacturing, and the different modules that would be available for it, and of course you must give your T3 ship a name!



Man, a little bit of game design time again, eh? This time on my favourite of subjects, Ships. So let's get cracking.

First off, let's look at the tech levels.

Tech I - These ships are your basic starter vessels for all pilots but are still useful for veterans because of their cheap replacement cost and the fact that their performance improves with better skills and better equipment. A Thorax for example is a perfectly good hard hitting ship in the hands of a 3 year veteran, while a Rifter remains the most popular of frigates. Similarly on the upper scale, the Raven is a very popular and capable PvE ship and long range fleet battles are dominated by Apocalypses at the moment.

Tech II - If you've got the money, T2 ships give better defenses and available slots combined with numerous specialized bonuses. And that last part is the important part: specialized. These ships are typically designed for one role and are maybe capable at doing two in a pinch. Covert Ops are sneaky probing scouts with no DPS, HACs can do awsomse damage and take some abuse for a cruiser, Interceptors are the last word in tackling, Marauders are the ultimate PvE ships, etc. The specialization is a strength but also a weakness, one that most people don't realize even if they exploit it. If you see a Manticore you know its using Torpedoes and bombs with covert ops cloak and no tank. Conversely you see and Ishtar on scan you know you are facing a tough platform with elite drones. Its hard to be surprised by a Tech II ship because there is only so many optimal and effective ways to take advantage of the platform and its bonuses.

Tech III - These ships were designed to not only match or be superior to Tech II cruisers, but to be flexible. Its easy to forget when critiquing Tengu setups on battleclinic that the entire role of the ship could change with the swapping out of one or two sub systems. In essence, if you see a Strategic Cruiser on scan you don't know what it can do until you engage it.

So, with that as a basis, what do I want to see for the next T3 ship type? Strategic Frigates? Well, that might be cool. Strategic Battleships? Oh, now we're talking. But let's go outside the box. Let's think big. Real big. No, BIGGER.

Strategic Capitals.

That's right, I went there. Why? Because right now Capitals are boring because there is only a handful of types: the defenseless mover (freighter), the logisitics (carrier), the shooter (Dreadnought), the bigger logistics (mothership), and the DOOMSDAY DEVICE (Titans). They all operate pretty much same across the factions, they are predictable and getting to be very unexciting in terms of gameplay options. Its time to spice things up.

The Design

The Strategic Capital ships would have 5 subsystem slots just like the Strategic Cruisers. Each slot would have 3 or more subsystems available to it just like the Strategic cruisers. Let's take a closer look, shall we?

Defensive Subsystems - You would have your basic stuff here, a system for resistance boost, a system for active tanking (which would allow the respective capital rep module), a system for buffer, and like its smaller brethren a system for installing warfare link modules in the high slots. In addition I'd allow it to install two warfare links instead of just the one (without requiring the command processor module).

Electronic Subsystems - A system for improved targeting, a system for improving racial electronic warfare (e.g. energy neuts with a range of ~50km maybe?), a system for CPU boost, a system for allowing fighters to be deployed that also added 25,000 m3 to the drone bay and allow the assignment of drones to other pilots.

Engineering Subsystems - I'd follow the Strategic cruiser lead here and have the usual capacitor recharge, capacitor amount, power grid amount, and heat damage absorption systems. But at the same time, I'd add to one system the ability to fit a Siege module, another the ability to fit the Triage Module, and a third the ability to fit an Industrial Core. Finally the fourth would come with a hundred thousand cargo bay (maybe, not convinced on that last one).

Offensive Subsystems - Ok, now we're talking! One subsystem would allow hardpoints and fitting for capital weapons. A second subsystem would add more drone bay and drone control for fighters (i.e. extra drone controlled per level so that at level five the ship could potentially field 10 fighters like a carrier). Another would forgo offensive capabilities and add a ship maintenance array and corporate hanger as well as bonuses to remote repair modeules. A fourth one to allow covert ops cloaking, jump bridging, and covert cynos as well as a smaller corporate hanger for storing fuel and bombs for deep strike missions.

Propulsion Subsystems - First off, there would be a subsystem that would allow the strategic capital to have a jump drive (and attendant Fuel Bay) and make jumps while at the same time restricting its ability to use stargates. That means by default these ships could go into high sec via stargates and travel around like freighters and jump frieghters can; put on the jump drive and the stargates can't help you anymore. Another subsystem would increase agility while yet another would allow the ship to avoid non targeted interdiction bubbles.

I'm sure astute readers can start to see opportunities for fun. High sec pocket dreads and carriers, EWAR capitals, command ship capitals, covert ops strike team capitals, the mind boggles at the options and combinations. You could go for a straight up carrier or dreadnought facsimile, but the off the wall options are so very cool and full of possibility. And the best part? The ship can change with the swapping out of modules: dreadnought one minute, high sec ship-ferry the next.

Of course, this flexibility must come at a cost, and it must be high. I'm thinking the 2-3 billion ISK range, probably closer to 2 billion to be precise. That would be for the hull and one of each subsystem. Expensive I know, but so worth it.

Now, naming of the beasts.
Amarr Phalanx - "And lo, did they stand 'fore the beast, shoulder to shoulder, a phalanx of faith."
Caldari Naga - "From there the great god Naga did strike them down."
Gallente Abyss - "If you stare into the Abyss long enough the Abyss stares back at you."
Minmatar Jormungand - "Its body did twist and the mountains did tremble."

To Be Determined...


  1. While interesting, I think CCP would benefit more from something more accessible to all players. How long would it take to aquire enough sleeper loot to build a capital ship? It already takes my modestly sized corp several months of mining to aquire the minerals to build a regular one.

    It would be less of a shock to do something that's already got a T2 variant. Maybe a destroyer, to finally give people a reason to train it to level V? Or maybe the ever popular Battlecruiser?

  2. Accessible to all players: Why? Titans and motherships are not. I'm not saying that the only other T3 ships should be strat caps, but that it would be cool to have them.

    Time to build: immaterial (pun intended). I'm willing to bet that the lure of strat caps would get more large orgs into w-space thus cutting the current production of sleeper mats significantly. Besides, a long production time should not deter us from introducing new stuff, Eve is a long-view game.

  3. Anonymous10:29 am

    interesting ideas, while I am extremely close to Capitals I know so little about them , thats why i went to the battleships vs the capitals. I like the names..except the Naga's just I never liked them.

  4. I think CCP would benefit more from something more accessible to all players.

    Granted, not everyone would be flying one... But a capital ship benefits more than just the guy flying it. A single capital ship benefits dozens of players in that pilot's corporation.

    How long would it take to acquire enough sleeper loot to build a capital ship? It already takes my modestly sized corp several months of mining to acquire the minerals to build a regular one.

    I'd assume the generic mineral cost would be pretty similar to regular capitals... The Sleeper loot would be daunting, but that would just encourage folks to exploit W-space more.

    And more people in W-space is going to increase the availability of Sleeper loot across the board - making T3 cruisers more accessible as well.

  5. yes to "strategic" capitals but why do they have to be a tech level higher then TL 1?
    Capitals are huge ships to me it would make sense to have them configurable. It would make it possible for example to split the multiple roles of a carrier from eachother.
    The subsystems themselves could have techlevels perhaps, while the base ship is T1. could have T1, T2 and T3 subsystems.

  6. If T3 capitals could go into high-sec, it would put at risk all high-sec towers. There would be ransacking and ransoming on a large scale. Of course, it might be the intended result? And a T3 capital might be way more expensive than any POS, too, so its owner would need to carefully balance risk and reward.

  7. Indeed Achernar, that is an intended side effect of my proposal. Right now a medium or large tower well defended with modules can be impossible for anything outside of a major corporation to threaten, and then it might not be worth it. High sec pocket-dreads from Strat Caps would alleivate some pressure but at a costly risk.

  8. I'm wary of training for capitals just because I tend to solo or small gang things most of the time...

    but having a strategic capital that could go into highsec for hauling, or fight it out...the versatility of this ship would definitely make me train for it with no hesitation.

  9. "A fourth one to allow covert ops cloaking, jump bridging, and covert cynos as well as a smaller corporate hanger for storing fuel and bombs for deep strike missions."

    after spending a bit of time in 0.0 this could break the staleness of sov mechanics as they are now. the ability to get cap ships past cyno jammers would crumble many many 0.0 empires and make room for new empires to rise. yet another sideeffect that could have both negative and positive impact on all of eve.