Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Capitals Online

Over at Eveoganda blog Rixx Javix has posted a two part about capitals and Titans in particular:

http://eveoganda.blogspot.com/2010/10/g ... itans.html
http://eveoganda.blogspot.com/2010/10/g ... art-2.html

Part of the second post:
Carriers Vs. Titans
As I said in the last post I strongly believe the Capital class of starships is grossly unbalanced right now. The Super Carrier/Carrier class, the Jump Frieghter, the Titan have each in their own way added to this unbalance. I picked on the Titan for very simple reasons. First of all it is the biggest. While I'm sure an individual somewhere has built their own Titan for some reason or another, they are almost exclusively the result of Alliances or large Corporations. This is what I meant by the "less like a sandbox and more like a corporate boardroom" comment, anytime the individual is removed from the equation it's bad news for the player base in my opinion. Me being an individual and all.
James at Inanity and Doom also chimes in:
http://kantlavar.blogspot.com/2010/10/i ... etter.html
Capital ships, supercapitals, and titans shouldn't be commonplace on the battlefield. There should be major time, effort, blood, sweat, and tears to even build one, let alone deploy one. Destruction of one of these ships should hurt, not be a common thing. Make them threats on the field, not targets.

Therefore I say, CCP, jack up the requirements. Make those skills take longer. Make it cost much more to build the damn things. Make them own the goddamn battlefield in response. But you shouldn't see hundreds of capitals and supercapitals fielded at a time by just one alliance.

I posted comments at both posts, disagreeing with Rixx that Titan jump bridges were a main cause for the demise of sniper battleship fleets (removal of the area effect doomsday that required tanking was far more crucial, combined with the new scanning mechanics that makes warping in on enemy fleets 150+ km away easy, the nerfing of ECM range, and the subsequent enabling of sig tanking afterburner HACs), and I disagreed with James that increasing skill training times would make any difference since once you have the skills, you have them forever after.

I do however agree that something is out of balance. Power in null sec is determined by supercaps now, with dreads and carriers as support and subcaps as mere filler and specialized support (i.e. scouts, tacklers). Being an owner of a supercarrier I'm nervous of any talk to change the ships or their cost or skill requirements as I don't feel the ships themselves are to blame but rather the environment they exist in.

There are several reasons for the proliferation of supercaps as ships of the line.

1) The bigger you are, the more affordable they are. Its a feedback loop that once started can only be stopped by another supercap power. As an alliance grows, it takes space which includes moons with valuable moon mining. This feeds a lot of ISK into the alliance wallet, which can be invested in supercap production, which allows supercaps to be produced and sold to members at discount prices, which allows the alliance to become stronger and grow and acquire more space... with more resources to exploit.

Fundamentally: moon mining with little effort is too profitable for alliances.

AND

There is no penalty to holding moons without sovereignty. (Does sov costs still escalate with empire size or did that not get implemented?)

2) Supercaps are easy to make. Sure, there is a lot of upfront setup such as securing the blueprints or BPCs for the capital ship components and ship itself, and anchoring a POS with proper assembly arrays, but once all that is in place you need basic minerals. Sure, a lot of them but still simple basic minerals from mining asteroids or melting down items. This means that procuring raw materials is relatively easy whether you rely on alliance members to mine or you buy them cheaply in bulk from miners in high sec.

Consider the much more involved processes in Tech II and Tech III production. Now imagine that extrapolated to supercaps. It doesn't need to increase the material cost but simply making it more difficult to make the ships would definitely cut down on their number and usuage.

3) Capitals are more tactically flexible. Despite being unable to use stargates, capitals have more flexibility to travel across the universe using cynos and a negligible fuel cost. This gives them far greater tactical utility than a fleet of one hundred battleships would have, even if they used a titan jump bridge whose fuel costs are considerable for so many ships.

4) There is no effective counter-measure to supercaps other than other supercaps. While it is possible to destroy a Titan or supercarrier with only sub-cap ships, you need effectively a perfect storm of conditions to do so: a tackled ship, a few hundred of your allies, hope your opponent does have a hundred or so of their sub-cap ships, and enough DPS to kill the ship in 15 minutes if he logs off. On the other hand, a small handful of supercaps can hotdrop a tackled titan and kill it in a few minutes.

But beyond that, a fleet of enemy supercaps can't be stopped by anything outside of a fleet of your own supercaps. Or a hell of a lot of regular capitals or metric shitton of well coordinated sub-caps, neither option which is very feasible for your average every day operation. Thus "supercap blobs" are well nigh un-counterable, and POS defenses are inadequate to deter these fleets.

Fundamentally, you need supercaps to deal with enemy supercaps.

* * * * *

So what can be done beyond drastic measures like removing capitals or re-architecturing the game? I believe there must be several small changes in order to rebalance the game.

1) Moon mining must be less profitable combined with moon material alchemy must be less useless. Make moon materials have more sources for an even distribution of profit rather than wars over Technitium moons or Promethium moons or whatever the bottleneck in moon materials is today.

2) Make supercaps harder to make. Not more expensive, just more involved. Perhaps supercaps need to be Tech II items requiring fewer minerals but more moon materials. Or perhaps Planetary interaction materials/components are required in the capital ship component blueprints.

3) Lower jump range and/or increase fuel cost for supercaps. In essence, make deploying supercaps more difficult and more costly so there is more of a risk/reward assessment required.

4) Introduce POS modules with anti-capital weaponry. A doomsday sentry gun for example, or a superjammer capable of locking down supercaps. A warp disruption generator like a Hictor has to hold them in place. These modules would be ineffective against battleship fleets but force capitals and supercaps to think twice before engaging.

Implementing some or all of these changes would not alter the fundamental fabric of Eve but it would perhaps balance the scales of power somewhat and make fleet commanders think about whether a supercarrier fleet is called for or not.

3 comments:

  1. I disagree but with different reasons.

    Moon mining IS already MUCH less profitable than previous, quite dramatically so, as a matter of fact we (sys-k ) back in the heyday when moon mining WAS profitable had a 100+ B dollar wallet in 6 months...now that wallet is MUCH less than that. Prices have fallen upwards of 60% for the top three high ends.

    2) the mineral requirements for Supercaps are tough to acquire in some areas without going into too much detail and risk OPSEC getting the minerals is tougher than before, as the sheer volume is massive.

    3) super caps ALREADY have a lower jump range, why should deploying them be more difficult, if CCP didn't want people getting the "ultimate" ship ( in this case the titan or SC) they should not have created the mechanism to GET them. They take time to acquire and MANY people have put in the TIME, now because there are too many they should be gimped?

    4) A Deathstar POS can down a revelation before it exits it's 10 minute stron cycle. How much more dangerous should they be? ( granted a gunner is a requirement here)

    I still do not see the imbalance...just as others felt the same way about Battleships they now have jumped up to the next greater object the SC.

    SC will become like Carriers titans like SC, what is the end game ship supposed to be then?

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  2. The jump range for supercarriers is the same as dreadnoughts.

    I have no issue with their being an endgame ship, except it virtually obliterates any need for dreadnoughts, carriers, or battleships in many if not most cases.

    as for (4), Supercarrier fleets and titans have no fear from any POS. There should be some.

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  3. I like your idea of increasing fuel costs - perhaps also limiting them to 1 or 2 jumps per day (perhaps longer distance jumps, but make it so that deploying a cap/supercap means it's there for the duration.)
    I don't believe it's just a problem with supercaps, but the whole capital class is really not-special. People are willing to throw them around, commit them to a fight they know there's a decent chance is an ambush.

    There is definitely a problem with the logoff timer, that needs to go up to 1-2 hours for an engaged supercap, and probably up to 15 minutes for an unengaged one (Don't log off your cap in hostile space rich-noob, or you die.)

    Don't like the idea of dedicated supercap trapping POS modules - because they'd be rarish, expensive, and there's already too much *must have* modules for a POS. Simply upgrade standard POS warp disruption modules to work on supercaps, or allow for a (potentially expensive) script so the enemy doesn't *know* the POS is fit to kill ill-prepared hot-droppers.

    Another idea that's been mentioned a bit is creating ships that are specifically designed as capital-killers - ships that are individually, relatively cheap (100m?), still require moderate numbers (10?), but are much more effective at killing capital ships than subcapitals currently are. Just like a squad of stealth bombers can take apart a battleship.
    It could even be neat if each race had a cap-killer that was designed to fight a certain capital ship class (Amarr kill titans, Gallente kill Supercarriers,...)

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