Monday, April 18, 2011

Division of Concerns

I spend a lot of time thinking about super carriers and the effect that they have on the current state of the game. That they need to be balanced is obvious, the question is merely how. Simply cut back on fighter bomber DPS? Limit their ability to attack structures? Lower jump range as I've proposed in the past? Fewer hitpoints? New mechanics for spooling up jump drives? Something else?

I'm sure the devs at CCP are reviewing ideas and will come up with something sooner or later (although my faith that they will come up with the right solution has diminished a lot since the sanctum nerf) but today I want to do some simple blue sky re-imagining of the carrier and super carrier classes (as I feel you can't address one without addressing the other).

The Problem

The problem is that carriers and supercarriers do everything.They are Jacks of All Trades.
Got a need? Get A Carrier!
DPS? Fighters and Fighter Bombers, or hordes of smaller drones! Repair? We get armour/shield/energy transfer bonuses! Fast flexible attack? Hotdrop on a cyno on an enemy gang! Moving assembled ships? Ship maintenance bay! Need to make in space module changes? Ship maintenance array! Need to move modules or fuel? Corporate hangers! Need some leadership bonuses? We can fit warfare link mods!

While it might be realistic that a large ship can do so many functions, it leads to difficulty balancing the ship for a specific role. Or on the other hand, it artificially increases the cost of the hull, which leads designers to increase its main role to be worth that much ISK, but overbalances it to overpowered. Case in point: super carriers.

The Solution

The carrier and supercarrier classes get divided up into 5 classes of ships.
Do One Thing Really Well


Supply Ship : Ship Maintenance Array / Bay at 1.5 million m3, Corporate Hanger at 20,000 m3. Carrier jump range and hitpoints, small drone bay.
Estimated 500 mil build cost

Logistics Platform: Bonuses to Shield/Armour reppers and energy transfers, can use triage. Carrier jump range and hitpoints, small drone bay.
Estimated 750 mil build cost

Carrier: Can use fighters and fighter bombers, get one additional fighters/fighter-bombers per level (but not drones!). Carrier jump range and hitpoints, large drone bay, bonus to local tank.
Estimated 1 bil build cost

Command Carrier: Can use multiple warfare links with bonus to racial version like fleet command ships. Gets two additional drone per level. Carrier jump range and slightly more hitpoints, large drone bay, bonus to local tank.
Estimated 1.5 bil build cost

Super Carrier: Can use fighters and fighter bombers, get two (not three!) additional fighters/fighter-bombers per level, can use projected ECM. Original super carrier range, decrease in hitpoints from supercarrier.
Estimated 5 bil build cost

Combine these changes with an increase to dreadnought jump range to match carriers and you now have a valid reason to choose dreadnoughts over the lighter super carrier. Sure the SC can produce more DPS (albeit roughly 75% of what it used to be able to do) it is not as survivable as it used to be nor as flexible as the dreadnought.

By giving the Carrier access to fighter bombers, it has roughly the DPS of a sieged dread while having more flexibility (the fighters/fighter bombers follow target through warp). The Command Carriers don't have damage but provide light support drones and leadership bonuses.

Conclusion

Yes, this represents a significant nerf to current super carriers and I'm OK with that. By dividing up the concerns of the current classes into specialist roles the ships are easier to balance and can costed appropriately for their abilities.

Will this ever happen? I doubt it because it represents a lot of development work and sadly major overhauls of existing classes has seem to become a taboo subject in development land in CCP. However, one can only hope that something is done to bring the capital ships inline with each other and with sub-capital ships before it is too late.

8 comments:

  1. rather than a simple comment you inspired a post :)
    http://manasi.eveplayer.net/?p=2555

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  2. The first ship on your list is a Rorqual. The Rorq just needs its range increased and that stupid, ridiculous ship carrying limitation removed.

    And rather than your logistics platform, I'd also love to see an Escort Carrier that could light short-range jump bridges, use reps, have a very small ship bay, and field a standard number of fighters/drones. Something to escort small-gang fights and add a little muscle.

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  3. By "standard" for the Escort Carrier, BTW, I mean "five". No +1 per level bonus to drones or fighters launched.

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  4. Re: Escort Carrier: I know somewhere I thought we should have a Orca-sized carrier for combat that uses gates and can go into High Sec. Nowadays I worry that it would merely push battleships further to the side. :/ Mayhaps that is another issue alltogether.

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  5. I've always wondered at the possibility of the tech 3 battleships (when they come out in like 2020, lol) having a "Pocket carrier" configuration. Or maybe an entire new class for the pocket/escort carriers.

    On that note, what you're proposing here could be easily worked into a t3-esque modular system for the carrier class of ships, which essentially replaces both carriers and SC's with a modular capital ship that can be configured to do a few (but not all at once) of the things the current ships can do.

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  6. so how would such a change be implemented? what would current carrier / super carrier owners do with their ships? How can CCP address such a drastic change?

    I love your suggestions and they feel just right, but bringing them into the game will be near impossible without having a huge nerf bat hitting lots of folks in the head and causing multiple threadnaughts of drama...

    We can still hope though... EVE Forever and all that...

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  7. @Planetary Genocide: Funny you should mention that: http://www.ninveah.com/2009/08/strategic-capitals.html

    @Quivering Palm: Yes, that is the biggest problem. Current carriers and super carriers would have to suffer a significant nerf to accomodate this and players would be furious, but the again, the speed nerf was a similar hard bat to people with expensive implants and tech II rigs on tech II ships so... *shrugs*

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  8. @Kirith yeah that's a bloody old post, I haven't worked that far back in your backlog of stuff to read, I've been switching between your blog, Ironfleet's, flashfresh's, and the LiE podcasts... hehe.

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