Monday, October 24, 2011

Pocket Battleships

In the aftermath of World War I Germany had limitations imposed on them by the Treaty of Versailles about how big of war ships they could produce as part of the effort to keep Germany from being a world power again (hint: didn't work out). In an effort to get around this limitation they produces smaller and lighter than normal battleships that still had impressive weaponry. These were nicknamed "Pocket Battleships" by the British.

Last week there was a dev blog published with more details on the Minmatar Tornado and the three other ships (one for each race) coming with it:

We couldn‘t just give the Minmatar a new ship and leave the other factions out (NPC military escalation doesn’t work like that), so, in the spririt of mutually assured destruction,  each of the factions have sent their best engineers and scientists to the drafting boards and will also be rolling out a new tier 3 battlecruiser.

„But isn‘t the Tornado a battleship?“
According to the original concept it was, yes. But when reviewing the armadas of existing ships we came to the conclusion that it would make much more sense to add another tier of battlecruisers instead of a fourth battleship tier, and that the accessibility of bc skills would mean more of these ships might be in the hands of younger, brasher pilots. That means more pew pew pew overall.

What sets these new battlecruisers apart from their lower tier cousins?
The most unique thing about them is that they will be able to fit battleship-sized weapons. Yes, you heard correctly... battlecruisers with oversized guns.
They will be capable of similar damage output as a battleship but obviously all that damage comes at a price.They won‘t be able to tank like a battleship, but what they lack in the tanking department the right pilot should be able to somewhat make up for  with speed and distance management. Those looking to start minmaxing fleets of TÖTALHELLDEATH will have to wait a bit for the stats.
The first thought that came to my mind is "pocket battleships". And while part of me squealed in glee a part of me, a very Bitter Old Vet part of me, had some serious questions.

1) Take a look in that dev blog at the second image. The original submitted concept art and the CCP artist rendition indicate 8 turret hardpoints, that's on one side and let's assume there is 8 more on the other side. That makes 8 guns, battleship sized guns. Will they have enough bonus to fit the largest battleship weapons, or just the smallest (e.g. Neutron blaster cannons versus Electron blaster cannons)? If they can fit the biggest weapons, is there some balance concern about a ship with the order of magnitude DPS of the tier 3 battleships and the signature and mobility of battlecruisers?

2) Tier 1 battlecruisers are already obsoleted for the most part by the tier 2 BCs. Won't this simply negate their usefulness more?

3) Do we really need more DPS?

4) Will this not make many unused battleships even more unused?

Now until we see some numbers this is all just unease. The fact remains that battleships tank better than battlecruisers and there is no indication that these ships will be super tanked like the Drake. And battleship weapons do have serious tracking concerns that gives these new ships a distinct disadvantage in same class conflict.

But I really wish CCP had used a titch more imagination. For example, they could have been tech 1 heavy exploration ships: the scanning bonuses of the Tech 1 astrometrics frigs, the marauder bonus of 100% to weapon damage, but only four cruiser sized weapon hardpoints (so they hit like 8). Utility slots for scan probe launcher, salvager, etc.

Regardless, we'll see what CCP has in mind once we see the actual stats.


  1. Good post. I was actually more reminded of the pre-WW2 so-called "heavy cruisers" built by the U.S. due to the limitations of the 1920 Washington Naval Treaty. They had the same design compromises of "big guns plus thin armor." But while the German pocket battleships never saw significant combat, the 15 U.S. heavy cruisers participated in every early battle of the war. USS NORTHAMPTON and USS INDIANAPOLIS are stand-out examples.

  2. Yeah, heavy cruisers in general are a good name but growing up I went through a phase where I was enamoured with the story of the Graf Spree and that is what came to mind first.

  3. I dont think a Quick dilivery and imagination go together! We are only getting these ships because the eve community pushed so hard for ccp to focus more on eve.. Im 100% sure (but probably 50% wrong) this wasnt originally planned for the winter release. So in the usual CCP fashion we will most likely get an unfinished expansion and poorly thoughtout content!

  4. Hmm.. here's what I think:

    Point 1.) Not sure if you are thinking that 8 turret hardpoints = 8 gun highslots. A second argument on that is that most of the combat ships have several turret hardpoints, but even if fully fit with their maximum turrets, don't use all those hardpoints (could be just asthetic placement for some pilots).

    Point 2.) I think that is a huge concern.. and was my first worry as well. I think what we probably won't see are ships with any tracking bonuses or any explosion radius bonuses. Useful against battleships and up... but not all that great against smaller targets. I suspect that this could benefit Caldari pilots the most though.

    Point 3.) I think there is a need for newer players to feel relevant. Eve's big selling points have been these massive fleet on fleet battles, but it takes months, even up to a year, to get a new player viable currently. This could give a place to the guy just joining.

    Point 4.) Well, not really. The major aspect of battleships isn't necessarily their DPS, but their range and tanking ability. The new BC will likely only address range.

  5. Actually you need to go to WWI to look at cruiser/armored cruiser/battlecruiser differences. to see what I mean. In actuality we're only now getting real battlecruisers, the existing ones should be more properly "armored cruisers"

  6. 1) I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that while CCP is going to take Pattern Clarc's design as-is, they're not going to use his given statistics or fitting hardpoints for them since that's totally up to them to decide. We're more likely to see ships that have 6 or so weapon hardpoints for their primary weapon system plus maybe a utility highslot or two (most likely two)

    2) I can see that happening for certain tier 1 vs tier 3 BC's... a glasscannon Brutix will be heavily outDPS'd by whatever the Gallente one is going to be, especially with upcoming hybrid changes, the only balancing factor here is tracking and cycle time.

    3) You can never have enough dakka.

    4) Probably not. The whole reasoning behind using a battleship is that you want decent combined tank and gank ability. These ships are clearly meant to be all gank (and indeed, I see a rise in suicide ganking of Orcas and freighters with these things), and minimal tank, so it's not a complete substitute for a battleship fleet.

    One thing I can see these being used for besides just out-and-out suicide ganking is a counter to battleship-heavy fleet doctrines, especially against things like artybaddons or Arty maelstroms (do people still even use any of those?). Just fit a bunch of Tornados/Gallenteboats with battleship Autocannons and blasters, throw in some logi and command links for speed/possibly sig, and get a covops warpin into the middle of a fleet.

    But I'm shit at eve so idk.

  7. It is also worth noting that we could very well be limited in weapon selection. The most comparable ship we currently have is the stealth bomber class. Its worth noticing that stealth bombers only focus on torpedoes, without giving an option for cruise missiles, heavy missiles, and so on.

    In short... its very possible these ships could be limited to only close range or only long range weapon systems. Following the bomber example I forsee not being able to use blasters, autocannons, pulse lasers or cruise missiles. This would give other smaller ships a more even chance against the ship due to tracking concerns. Yes, it leaves the alpha option open, but that makes younger pilots with smaller walkers welcome in alpha fleets, even with t1 guns.

    Its also worth noting that these same bonuses on the hull could be easily setup to prevent fitting medium guns and a huge tank. A 99% reduction in fitting requirements plus just enough powergrid for one 1600mm or one LSE is my prediction.

    Hopefully we won't be seeing eight BS sized blasters, or 100mn nano cruise missile BCs.

  8. I think you've got a great point about the relevancy of T1 battlecruisers. What are any of those ships used for?

    Prophecy: Bait ship.
    Ferox: Um... who uses this?
    Brutix: Suicide gank ship, possible PvP (but not much)
    Cyclone: Again, who uses one of these?

  9. IMHO CCP needed to do something dramatic to secure their subscribers. They also needed to do something dramatic to bring in new people to the game and hopefully bring some people back.

    There isn't too much that's more dramatic than PEW. What better way to show the refocus to FIS than have new ships? Esp new ships with big guns :)

    I'd love to see a T1 exploration ship as mentioned (though I'm really liking my T3 for that), but can certainly see the value of what CCP are doing.


    So far they already have 8 his lots each I think the limiting factor to their dps will be a lack of tank as all the bc except the drake can't get to bs size tank unless you gimp their dps.

  11. Oh forgot to give info about the link, naga starts at line 534 oracle talos and tornado follow, so really early stats their not even on the test server yet, hopefully we'll get a new sisi build soon. Also some nice new t2 mods in there maybe enough new meat for another blog Kirith hehe would love to hear your thoughts on this stuff.


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