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 is that carriers and supercarriers do everything.They are Jacks of All Trades.
|Got a need? Get A Carrier!|
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 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.
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.