I heard a story once. It was that there was supposed to be three main ways to tank your ships in Eve, one for each of the race and Minmatar who as the improvisational race would borrow from all three.
Caldari would use Shields and thus had a lot of mid slots for shield modules.
Amarr would use Armour and thus had a lot of low slots for armour modules.
Gallente would usee Hull and thus had relatively equal numbers of mid and low slots as hull modules were spread between them.
However somewhere along the way hull tanking became unfavourable to armour tanking, even for the Gallente ships, and while the modules still exist the only viable ways to tank are shield or armour (and less commonly speed or e-war depending on the ship).
So I have a proposal: let's make hull tanking viable for front line combat ships, particularly the Gallente. Why? For two reasons: variety is nice, and it maybe the last change to take Gallente blaster boats over the finish line into respectability. NOTE: To be fair, Gallente boats are looking pretty good for the most part now, but I had a bee in my bonnet about hull tanking so here we are.
Each tanking method has trade offs.
- use mid slots which leaves low slots for damage mods
- have passive recharge
- active tank very well
- take up slots needed for propulsion, tackle
- tend to increase signature radius making it a better target
- cap energy hungry
- use low slots which leaves mid slots for tackle and propulsion
- have passive Energized Adaptive Nano Membranes for resists
- overall uses less cap than shields
- adds mass to ship thus cuts into its top speed
- takes up slots for damage mods
- does not active tank as well as shields
So where would hull tanking fit in? Well, I envision hull tanking having the following trade offs:
- uses both mid and low slots so ships have room for some tackle/propulsion and damage mods
- does not increase signature radius or mass (i.e. reduce speed/agility)
- actively does not use as much energy as either shield or armour tanks
- does not active tank as well as shields or armour tanks
- cannot get as high resists as shields or armour tanks
- you're often fighting in structure which means there is not a lot of room for error
So the result is that a ship choosing the hull tank might not have as powerful tank as an armour or shield tanked ship but it has a smaller signature and moves faster and uses less cap for tank, ideal for blaster ships.
To implement this would not be that hard as the mods for hull tanking are already mostly in the game and require only moderate tweaks to be more useful. Then Gallente ships could be tweaked to make hull tanking an option or even preferable to armour tanking.
Damage Control - (low slot) already a very useful mod on many ships, this one would be mandatory on a hull tanked ship as it (i.e. tech II version) gives 60% resist bonuses on hull hit points. No changes required.
Reinforced Bulkheads - (low slot) gives a percentage increase to hull hit points (25% for the tech II version) but penalizes top velocity and mass. At the very least I would remove the penalties, but a more thorough solution would be to make varying sizes of reinforced bulkheads with set amounts of additional hit points like shield extenders and armour plates and then you could scale the CPU/power grid reqs. As it stands right now, only ships with decent amounts of hull hitpoints benefit from this mod.
Hull Repairer - (mid slots) much like an armour repairer except it goes in a mid slot. Comes in large, medium, and small sizes. Right now its fitting requirements are much lower on power grid but double on CPU compared to similar armour repairer, but repairs a lot less hit points. For example Medium Armour Repairer II fits with 173 PG and 28 CPU and repairs 26.6 pts/sec for 13.3 capacitor/sec, while a Medium Hull Repairer II fits with 50 PG and 66 CPU and repairs 2.5 pts/sec for 2.5 cap/sec. I would fiddle with the stats to get it in the 20 pts/sec for ~10 cap/sec region, and higher fitting reqs.Also, add capital version.
Hull Resistance Plating - (mid slots) currently nothing like this exists in game, but I would add it in to allow a bit more resistance tank for hull tanked ships. Four types with a tech I, tech II, and four meta versions for 24 mods. Each type covers one of the resistances, giving a bonus of 10-20% depending on meta level (stacking penalties apply). Fitting requires are 1 PG and 10-20 CPU depending on the meta level.
Rigs - (rig slots) We would need an additional rig category for hull rigs and the usual rigs for resistance boosting, hull repairer effectiveness, and hull points.
Remote Hull Repairers - (high slots) Currently the mods exist but are very inefficient compared to armour repairs. I would tweak their stats to make them viable for hull tanking fleets.
I'm not going to go ship by ship and detail the changes I would make, but I will say that I would in general switch the armour hit point values with the hull hit point values and change any armour repair bonuses or armour resistance bonuses on ships to corresponding hull bonuses.
Furthermore, any ships with remote armour repair bonuses I would change to remote hull repair bonuses.
The whole slew of information warfare skills and modules I would probably toss in favour of hull boosting skills and modules. I am not aware of any major fleet doctrine that utilizes the Gallente warfare mindlink or modules.
From when I started writing this post to now I've come to realize that this is a more significant undertaking than I first realized. It could have the effect of neutering Gallente from any type of fleet warfare much like Caldari shield ships were for the longest time (and missile ships still are).
Still, I think there is value in at least exploring the concept and seeing if a third way can be found, a less efficient tanking method but more conducive to close range hit and run attacks or straight up bare-knuckled brawling. Last one with structure left wins.