Thursday, October 13, 2011

Supercarrier Nerf: Overall, Not Enough

In the dev blog Capital Ship Balancing CCP Tallest outlines his proposed changes for capital ships in the upcoming winter expansion:
In conclusion, here is a full list of the changes we're making.

  • Drone bay can only hold fighters and fighter bombers.
  • Reduce Shield, Armor and Hull hitpoints on all Supercarriers by 20%.
  • Reduce drone capacity.
    • Aeon, Revenant and Wyvern: 125000 (25 total Fighters + Fighter Bombers)
    • Hel and Nyx: 150000 (30 total Fighters + Fighter Bombers)
  • Remote ECM Burst: Does not affect ships that are immune to electronic warfare (Supercarriers, Titans, Triaged Carriers and Sieged Dreads)

  • Increase signature resolution to 400
  • Remove drone bay from all dreadnoughts.
  • Siege Module I: Boost damage bonus from 625% to 700% to compensate for loss of drones.
  • Siege Module I: Duration time reduced to 5 minutes. Fuel cost -50%.
  • Moros: Remove drone bonus.
  • Moros: New bonus: 5% bonus to Capital Hybrid Turret rate of fire per level.
  • Remove drone bay from all titans.
  • Reduce Shield, Armor and Hull hitpoints by 20%.
  • Superweapon: Cannot shoot sub-capital ships.
Logoff timer

  •  After a player logs out, there is a check for player aggression every 15 minutes. If you have been aggressed, the timer extends for 15 minutes; if you have not been aggressed, you disappear as before. Note: this is only for player aggression and will not change what happens when you log off during fights against NPCs.
 These changes, especially in respect to the super capitals are a good start... but not enough.

For supercarriers, the 20% cut to all hitpoints is a good start but the issue with Slave implants helping armour ships is not addressed. And they will still have tens of millions of effective hit points meaning that the only way to kill the supercap fleet you have tackled is to bring in your own supercap fleet.

Allow me to reiterate: the only effective way to wipe out a supercap fleet is STILL another supercap fleet. While the effectiveness of that supercap fleet has been reduced vis a vis subcaps, and while the danger to that fleet is increased vis a vis the removal of 15 minute logoffski, and while individual supercaps caught by subcaps are more vulnerable due to hit point decrease, they are still for all intents and purposes invulnerable to subcaps when facing them with similar order of magnitude numbers. That is to say, 30 supercarriers are not at much risk from 150 subcaps even with the changes; they can be held in place until the 30 hostile supercarriers arrive, but otherwise they are still relatively safe.

So, what would I do?

Well, the boosts to dreadnoughts are interesting but I still think they are not enough as the firepower of 30 supercarriers will decimate any dreadnought fleet in short order. And you don't want to nerf super carriers into obsolescence again by reducing their hitpoints too much (although disabling slave implants effects on capital ships is called for). Ultimately I still think a new sub capital ship with an anti-super-capital weapon is the most balanced solution, introducing a rock-paper-scissors-lizard-spock dynamic to the equation.

All that being said, these changes outlined above are a good first step to evening the playing field for null sec alliances (but is it too late?... ).


  1. You do realize that in the scenario above, the logged off 30 super carriers will now stay in the game (and not disappear) for as long as it takes for the 150 subcaps to kill them? (the game will check for aggression ever 15 minutes) All it will take is for ONE guy to shoot the ship every 15 minutes for it to stay in space. Once this nerf goes through, the only way is downtime to occur to 'save' your ship via logofski.

  2. I do realize that but due to the fact of cap remote reps and energy transfers and largebuffer tanks,that supercap fleet canwait forever as the subcaps cannot win. Supers are still theonly counter to supers.


    Can't completely confirm this, but looks like fighters are probably not having their signature resolution changed.

  4. Don't overreact to the underwhelmingness of the upcoming supercarrier nerf. If supercapital ships are indeed going to be nerfed enough, to do it all at once would be unkind, unwise, and downright irresponsible. Game changes of that magnitude can make entire subsets of your playerbase quit overnight, but if they have time to see a general trend towards incremental nerfs of their gameplay, they have time to prepare and adapt over the course of three or four smaller nerfs which adjust the game towards the desired end state.

  5. Well said, Widdershins.

    I'm still waiting for word on the Dramiel nerf.

  6. Dramiel nerf is inconsequential to the stability of the game. Even if the Dramiel is mind-boggingly overpowered, its not going to shake the foundations of New Eden. Super capital balancing is critical to the game.

    I agree that overall the winter changes are not sufficient, but also agree with the concept of incremental nerfing to ensure the pendulum is quieted, not simply slapped too hard the other way.

    CCP doesn't want to make SCs useless, just less useful. Right now, they are the ultimate Swiss army knife. They need to have their effectiveness beyond their principal role significantly cut back.

    The comment has been made that capitals are still all but immune to subcaps when at similar numbers, while still potentially being trapped by the subcaps. If that occurs, then the supercaps have been neutralized, meaning that they are NOT fulfilling their intended role of cap killing. If I've pinned down your tanks, then my infantry can move ahead to do their thing. If your tanks are pinned, my tanks can advance without opposition.

    This kind of catch and release (eventually) tactic may reduce the number of SCs working in single packs, so as not to have all their eggs in one basket.

    The fear of a bad outcome will affect strategy and fleet composition more than the chance of that bad outcome. It may be that changing fleet behavior/composition and use of a particular ship class may result in the desired outcome without having to crush SCs with the nerf bat