Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Ferox Followup Three - Lack of Imagination

In the comments of my Ferox Followup with Fozzie post I had this comment which really made me agitated.
Truen1ght7:21 PM
wouldn't a damage bonus and removal of the optimal range bonus just make a shield brutix in terms of dps? What's the point? If you're trying to make everything the same in the same way, sure, it's valid. But if you want some real options, you can't exactly do that. Just because us PvPers don't normally use rails doesn't mean we should outright say the optimal bonus should be replaced with damage.
Sure, rail ferox not the best PvP wise. Neither is blaster ferox or god forbid HAM-ferox. Realistically the ship is more of a jack-of-all trades ship and not some tank or dps powerhouse. It still performs well despite that.
First off, one could argue that the Merlin is just a shield Incursus yet pilots are perfectly happy to choose to fly either one and can see that beyond the similar turret hardpoints and bonus that there is enough variety in the two to make either one a different yet viable choice. Similarly, a Ferox and Brutix with identical turrets and bonus would still have other factors to pull pilots in different directions: drone bay sizes, speed and maneuverability, tanking types and qualities, etc, and that's disregarding the cross training time to fly both (which will be longer once the skill changes come in the summer to make Caldari and Gallente battlecruiser skills). 

In other words, I'm OK with both ships having a damage bonus. But that's not what has me agitated. 

When CCP was revamping tech 1 frigates, destroyers and cruisers it was so nice to see ships relegated to the dustbin of history to suddenly see new life and change the landscape of combat. And since the ships shifted into more specific roles (e.g. Combat, Attack, Logistic, and EWar frigates and cruisers) it was easy to overlook the fact that the changes represented a narrowing view of what tech 1 ships could be, and what bonuses they could sport.

But now we are moving into larger ships which ironically are harder to differentiate than frigates. This is because a simple change of a 100 meters per second speed or an extra low slot or extra turret  has a larger impact on a smaller hull than it does on a ship class with more slots/hardpoints to start with or a smaller band of velocity / agility variance. To make matters worse for the battlecruiser and battleship lines, the current vessels are almost all of the Combat variant with the tier III battlecruisers falling into the Attack class. To summarize: lots of ships and fewer methods to differentiate them.

Instead of thinking outside the box to resolve this conundrum, it seems as if CCP's ship designers have decided to simply take the easiest and most direct path: tank and damage. Thus we end up debating whether or not the Ferox should have an optimal range weapon bonus versus a tracking/damage/rate of fire weapon bonus when I think this would have been the perfect time to explore alternative designs.

For example, instead of a damage bonus, give the Ferox (and one BC from each faction) a 5% bonus to scan probes per level. Did your head just explode? I'm sure CCP Fozzie's did, but stay with me. This bonus with a tanking bonus would create a perfect exploration platform for players, able to scan and fight while having some mid slots for code breakers or analyzers. No, its not perfect but it would be a good stepping stone to hardcore exploration without having to run multiple ships and the pains associated therein.

Another example: Give a bonus to scan resolution so the ship locks faster than typical battlecruisers. Might be good for sniping.

Another example: tractor beam range and speed.

Another: Afterburner speed or MWD sig bloom.

Another: Smart bomb damage and range.

Another: Ewar battlecruisers!

Another: warp speed increase.

Another: Scram range.

And so forth and so on. But it seems CCP's ship balancers are focused tightly on # of slots, hardpoints, and tank and gank bonuses to the detriment of anything else for these larger platforms and it frustrates me. I want more, CCP, and I'm willing to suffer a little to get it.


  1. Or how about CCP do something even more radical and recognize the tier 1 and 2 "battlecruisers" for what they really are: heavy cruisers. They should design them for that role; namely, better firepower than cruisers, better defence, and similar or lower speed.

    As it currently stands, a cruiser can mount the same size weapons as a battlecruiser. This is wrong. Take the Moa and Ferox, both ships that I fly. I would love to see Moa restricted to using 180s and dual 150s. Let the heftier Ferox use the 200s and 250s. And let that design philosophy prevail across all ship classes.

    CCP has real-world data to draw on. Why not use it instead of perpetuate the uneducated sci-fi errors of the past?

    1. Who would fly a cruiser then?

    2. Heavy Cruisers are generally Battleship style tank with cruiser Damage and inbetween the two for speed, Battlecruisers are the other way around, Battleship style damage cruiser style speed but lower tank then cruiser.

    3. Armor harby with MWD on can get 650m/s, armor omen can reach up to 1400m/s. Of course omen has less tank and less dps, but it's much cheaper. And for some case, omen is a better choice for roam since it's faster, good enough tank to hold anything it tackles.

    4. Heavy cruisers generally sported 8 - 10 inch guns, with later WWII heavies getting up into the 12 inch range whereas light cruisers (non-heavies) generally sported 5 - 6 inch guns, hence my suggestion that EvE cruisers not be able to use the heaviest of the medium weapons. Heavies generally did not have the range of their lighter brethren, but that's obviously something that can't be accounted for in EvE.

      Again, it's in keeping with thinking outside the box.

      As for who would fly cruisers, well, really, why would anyone fly frigates now, what with destroyers being so much better than frigates?

      I think the point is that CCP needs to stop using sci-fi writers who just pulled concepts out of thin air and maybe look for ways to balance ships that make more sense as a whole system.

      The way things stand now, why fly any battlecruiser other than a tier 3? Cruisers can do the same job as tier 1 and 2 battlecruisers, only much cheaper. And that's wrong :)

  2. I think your alternate suggestions for ships bonuses are nice but feel they are more suited for tech2 ships. That way tech2 ships get a more specialized role in line with CCP plans.
    I like your idea of a probing BC as exploratin vessel. But it would have to be a tech2 BC I think. In the first place because it would fit a more specialized role and secondly because no caldari BC will have a high slot available for a probe launcher (or warfare link).
    As mentioned, if large guns get a tracking nerf it might mean a boost to sig tanking AB HAC's.