Thursday, June 02, 2011

Wyvern Versus Abaddon - Rough Analysis

Yesterday, in a comment to my post, SW said:
Kirith - my understanding is that SC damage to subcaps is minimal at best (of course you have aggregated damage from dozens of supers but that's aggregate damage). Did they bring such balanced super+subcap fleets that your leadership really couldn't get enough pilots to make it a fight, or was there a higher-level lack of desire to lose internet spaceship pixels?

This isn't pointed at you - but leadership who chose not to fight even at the subcap level, or failed to do so successfully. It's not like they had enough Titans to DD your entire subcap fleet in one volley, or did they?
I was so taken aback that someone that Supercarriers were a minimal threat to sub-caps that I simply replied:
A supercarrier can launch 20 Orge II or 20 Warrior IIs, etc. A supercarrier has hundreds of thousand effective hitpoints, a powerful ECM burst. Titans doomsdays work on battleships, cruisers, etc in some (many?) cases.

Simply put, your average sub-cap fleet (hell, cap fleet) when hotdropped by 20-40+ supercarriers and titans dies while taking none of the enemy ships with them.

Add to that the enemy subcap fleets and titan jump portals and you have a recipe for disaster.
Today I want to add some basic EFT numbers to my assertion.

Our target supercarrier will be me Wyvern with an estimated 2.7 million shield points and 90% shield resistances at the least. We're going to ignore shield recharge for this discussion.

Our opponents have a fleet of Abaddons, let's say geared for damage in the range of 1000 DPS with pulse lasers and drones. Nice easy round numbers.

So if you had a fleet of 50 Abaddons firing on the Wyvern, it would go down in about 9 minutes, ignoring shield recharge and other ships repping it, getting jammed from the ECM Burst, losing ships, etc.

Now our Abaddons have 166,000 armour hit points at average 75% resistances and the Wyvern using Fighters does about 2000 DPS per second. That means the Wyvern kills an Abaddon every 6 minutes, ignoring reps from logistics.

So what happens when 10 Wyverns meets 50 Abaddons? Before the first Wyvern can be destroyed about 15 Abaddons are dead, making it impossible for the remaining 35 to actually kill that Wyvern in 9 minutes, and every 6 minutes another 10 are dead... simply put, the Abaddons would be wiped out without a single Wyvern loss.

Double the number of Abaddons and you have more success until the enemy doubles the number of Wyverns. And so on.

To put it quite simply, I'd estimate that for a sub-cap fleet to defeat a super carrier fleet it needs about 10 to 1 odds, and I'm wondering if that its perhaps an exponential growth ratio. And throw on to all of that the 15 minute logoff timer meaning a subcap fleet has to defeat its target in a set amount of time before it is safe, and you get the frustrating situation facing battleship pilots today: barring extraordinary circumstances, a subcap fleet cannot win against a supercap fleet.

(The situation gets worse with the massive armour hitpoints of the Aeon or the higher damage fighters of the Nyx.)

* * * * *
I realize this is a dead horse, but the fact remains Supercarriers are overpowered. Too flexible against any target (except large POS towers), massive tactical and strategic range, and a tank that requires massive firepower to overcome. In ones and twos, they can be dealt with; but in 10s and 50s they are an unopposable force without your own fleet of them.

We could move up to Dreadnoughts and we would find the situation only marginally better as they have a lot more hitpoints but do only marginally more damage unless in siege mode, and with the numerous spies in the organizations any large mobilization of dreadnoughts will either warn the enemy to retreat from the field or the more likely possibility of get more supercaps online.


  1. The RL equivalent of supercaps were rare due to their long construction time; their large capital cost; and the extensive staffing, upkeep, and fueling costs.

    EVE has captured the first two to some degree, but does not address the last one, the Operation and maintenance costs.

    POSs take significantly less capital cost and construction time and yet have constant fuel requirements. Should capital ships also have such requirements? In my opinion, all assembled ships should have this monthly requirement, and the fuel costs should not be linear, but exponential to the mass of the ship. 10 Battleships may be equivalent to one supercarrier, but the supercarrier’s hourly costs should be more than 10 x the battleship’s. And btw, that fuel usage is like the POS’s – 24 hours per day, for any ship with a pod in it. Run out of fuel and modules go offline.

    The RL equivalents also had staffing issues: training and maintaining (paying) ship crews. While training is covered via the pod pilot, paying the ship crew is not. Perhaps ship crews can be a consumable, depleting over time. CCP recent canonized ship staffing levels, perhaps looking toward this ?

    I guess the biggest question would be would ongoing costs help the situation at all? I am not knowledgeable enough to have a good opinion. However, I am of the opinion that hourly O&M costs should be part of EVE, and that may reduce the use of oversized ships for menial tasks (ratting in supers, for example).

  2. True...conditionally. For someone bound within the tight box of "this is the way fleet doctrine goes, and how it always has been" you will lose time and again to massed supercaps.

    However, if you know what you're doing supercarriers pose little to no threat to a massed group of subcaps that know what they're doing. The reason behind this is twofold.

    1) All of the damage that supercarriers do (excluding smartbomb damage which is negligable) is done through their drones. A smart fleet commander going up against a bunch of supercarriers would fit accordingly with a firewall fleet composition with heavy smartbomb useage. Any drones sent towards the fleet would be torn apart in the meatgrinder of smartbombs. The only possible counter would be to deploy sentries, which again, if the FC is smart he will be on top of the supercarriers neuting and bumping them so they can't warp as the ecm bursts go off; this also removes sentries usefullness.

    2) In high lag situations, drones very rarely work as intended. In the last fleet fight in 3g I think it was, when the NC called a logoffski, the lag was very bad. When our super fleet jumped in, Sala was already in lowish shield. When all our supercarriers dropped fighterbombers, it raped the node and none of them did much/any damage to him, allowing him to complete his logoffski. If the supercarriers kept their fighters in, sala would have died from the titans and other stuff there.

    The reason the NC died is quite simple. Carebears make for shit pvpers, and very few of you had any interest in developing new tactics, or reusing older tactics(firewall BS) against us.

    You had the numbers, you had the isk, but you lacked the motivation and courage to utilize them, and that is why, at the end of the day, we are pvpers, and the NC lost their space.


    PS-Nothing personal against u, just pointing out some flaws and what I've seen from the NC in general. I'd still like to call u a friend, or at least a friendly acquaintance.

    PPS-Titans are ENTIRELY another matter as they do not suffer the ill effects the siege module has on dreads thus they can rip thru conventional subcap fleets with relative ease while DDing important/hard targets such as t3, commandships, or anything that tickles the titan pilot's fancy.

    PPPS-Subcap fleets work a lot better when you have logistics pilots who know what theyre doing and esp work well when you have a proper amount (we were flying fleets a quarter or less the size of your fleets with thrice the logis).

  3. Wow a blog post in response :o

    Ok, the drones/fighters were an oversight on my part, I was thinking of the FBs which don't do much damage against subcaps due to sig radius (my understanding - I'm NOT a supercarrier pilot). I don't consider logoffski in the middle of combat a valid tactic - I consider it a valid sneak-attack tactic (fleet on comms logged off in a system ready to log in and strike), but logoffski to save your ship in combat is a crappy move. If you are an SC pilot, and you are in a combat situation, your alliance should be prepared to put you in a new hull today or tomorrow (at the latest) – or you shouldn't be an SC pilot in combat. Don't fly what you can't lose, right?

    I'm sure changes have to happen to the capital + class of ships - there's a big gap in terms of performance from Carrier/Dreadnaught to SuperCarrier then Titan. Maybe that's a Tier 2 Carrier or Dread (like Battlecruisers) - but that's a different discussion. At some point, a big part of this game is about shooting internet pixels at each other. If you choose not to engage (even in a guaranteed losing situation) every time, people who want to shoot pixels won't fleet up with you. That was the real failure in this war for the NC in my opinion. Fleet is up for hours, idling at a POS, and the FC decides not to engage. Next time, some of those folks won't fleet up because it's a waste of time. Rinse and repeat. Your leadership had to, at some point, choose to engage (heck, even C0nvicted and/or Dead Terrorists often chose to engage when they knew they would lose) - and they didn't. Sometimes the best choice is to fight (and lose) just to get better at the fight. It's a game - if your leaders aren't playing to fight maybe they shouldn't play where you need to fight for survival or growth. Either way Kirith, I hope for the best for you.

  4. @LordsServant

    Although it is possible to keep subcapitals alive when fighting a supercarrier-only fleet, you can't kill any of them so engaging would accomplish nothing -- unless you're trying to take down a jammer, which is what you're doing, not us.

    Once the jammer is down, supercapitals are all that matters. They walk right over any other class of ships, and we don't have enough supers to compete.


    You might think that logoffski lacks e-honour, but e-honour is not a consideration when significant assets are at stake. If we hadn't logged off we would have lost our entire super fleet for nothing, and supers are not as easy to replace as you think. Say we lost 90 supercarriers; to replace those the next day we would have to have 90 holding alts trained for supercarriers (about 10 million SP each); 90 already-built supercarriers (3.5 years of CSAA time); and they would have to be properly fit, for a total cost of about 20 billion isk each (1.8 trillion total). RMT can replace small numbers of supers quickly, but nobody has a ship replacement program like that.

    We did engage. We engaged three times, lost twice and now we don't have the numbers any more. Hostiles "produce" more supers than we do, so there's no way to even the odds; the war is over, and from now until major capital/super changes they are invincible.

  5. @Parasoja

    I won't buy the 3.5 years of CSAA time argument. That's based on having ONE CSAA running, and you can't tell me that the dozen +/- alliances holding several dozens (I won't say hundreds) of SOV systems there is only 1 CSAA going.

    Now let's talk ISK. Rough estimates are 230 Technetium moons in EVE (and we both know that's low). Pretending the NC only held 1/3 of those moons for the 1.5 years Tech has been booming, gives the various alliances roughly 7.5 TRILLION ISK. So let's pretend that 75% of that goes to ship reimbursements and alliance maintenance fees (a total of 300 billion ISK per month, BTW), leaving a mere 2 trillion ISK to buy raw materials to build SuperCarriers. At 12 billion ISK each in build cost for a SuperCarrier that is still well over 100 SuperCarriers AND the ISK for PLEX to have a parking toon for each one.

    If the hostiles produce more Supers than you did in the north, you have to ask why. Because your alliances had the space, and resources to easily match their production.

  6. You are partially right, and the answer is two parts.

    One: Mismanagement.

    Tech income doesn't go to supercapitals. Replacements yes (depending on the alliance), subcapital replacements yes, new supers no. I can also personally confirm that they are produced on demand, not ahead of time.

    And yes, that income SHOULD have been going to supers. It's something I mentioned in our super channel multiple times when higher-ups were present. If leadership had centralized technetium income and redirected it to building supers, we would be the invincible ones now. But they didn't.

    Two: Bots and RMT.

    Russians are macro empire and their rats produce minerals, thus high super production; and WN came out of nowhere (they were a minor NPC null alliance until quite recently), gaining something like a hundred supers in the space of a few months. They didn't get 2+ trillion isk from moons in insmother or from ratting taxes.