Thursday, September 27, 2012

A Look Back : Remote Sensor Dampeners

There is a cycle of life to the power of ships in Eve.

When I started, Gallente was the top of the PvP heap, specificially the blaster Megathron. Changes happened and after a while Gallente was the worst and Amarr was the best. Then lately Minmatar up until the buffs to hybrids and Gallente ships. The cycle continues.

Once upon a time, Remote Sensor Dampeners were the top dogs of the electronic warfare theatre. Even considered better in many cases than the usual ewar whipping boy, ECM. Why? Well, several reasons.

For one, a tech II damp on an unbonused ship gave a target 42% penalty to targeting range and a 42% penalty to scan resolution (i.e. affecting lock times). For smaller ships with already short ranges they could find themselves having to get suicidally close to the enemy in order to engage, and large ships found their lock times almost twice as long.

On top of that power, you could combine multiple damps for even more pain. Suddenly your 50 km lock range is dropped to around 17 km with two damps on you, and a similar scale in jump of lock times. ECM, on the other hand, has no benefit to apply multiple jams on a target besides perhaps extending jam if it works.

To make matters worse, there was no chance based mechanic to sensor dampeners as compared to ECM. You target, you activate the module, and the enemy is affected. The typical use case was to break the opponent's lock and laugh as he moved in closer to his new lock range and then have a 30-60 lock time against you, during which your taking him apart.

And this was on unbonused ships; the Gallente recons were far more deadly with dampeners and could cripple multiple ships without a second thought.

Yes, there was Sensor Boosters to try and counter the effects of the dampeners, but much like ECCM modules its hard to justify taking up a mid slot or two on the chance the enemy has the ewar you are protecting against (although at least sensor boosters gave you a bonus even if you were not impacted by enemy damps, unlike ECCM which does not help much at all).

Eventually as the module became more and more a must have item on all ships, the nerf hammer was applied and scripts were introduced. The modules base effectiveness to lock range and scan resolution was halved, and you could use a script to increase one back to pre-nerf strength while negating the other. On paper it seems like a reasonable change but sensor dampeners disappeared overnight for all intents and purposes, only seen in very specific setups and scenarios.

* * * * *

CCP should be aware of the threat a ubitquious and powerful ewar system can be, and that is why I'm not worried about Tracking Disruptors becoming too power with the advent of the new mechanics where they can affect missiles.


  1. Current TD's are nice in that an unbonused TD (assuming the target is using turrets at least right now) can cause some inconvenience while a bonused ship can severely impact the targets performance. Two bounsed TD are crippling to a turret ships offensive output.

    Post nerf, that just cant be said of damps. A bonused ship need apply 2 damps to get the level of impact of 1 TD, and that's if you're lucky. The tiercide process looks like it will help with this, but if TD will be affecting missiles more love is needed for damps to keep them viable.

  2. Damps are definitely the ugly duckling of the ewar. Post-buff, TDs will be very effective and (I believe) on every other small-gang or 1v1 pvp ship. Damps could be an effective counter to large super fleets or slowcat fleets with huge spider tank ability (prevent them from capping up and remote-repping), but now stacked penalties mean that, even with a dozen damps on a ship, two sensor boosters offset most of their effect.

    Honestly the easiest solution to the supercap problem: buff dampening.