Thursday, January 10, 2013

Ferox Followup with Fozzie

So CCP Fozzie responded in his thread on battlecruiser changes and I am not going to go over everything he  said but focus on the topic near and dear to my heart. The Ferox. He said:
Why is the Ferox keeping the optimal range bonus? A damage bonus would be stronger for blasters and nobody snipes with a Ferox! 
There's a couple of things going on here. I completely think that PVP Ferox fits will continue to be mostly blaster fit after these changes, I want to be clear that we are not trying to force people into rails with the optimal bonus. However there are a few reasons we decided on keeping the optimal bonus:
1) The Blaster Ferox works quite well with the current stats, and the optimal bonus is in fact useful with blasters (especially with Null or Void ammo, as well as alongside a TE module) and creates a nice (if subtle) gameplay distinction between the Ferox and other blaster ships. We were weighing the option of switching the bonus to damage, but chose to add the extra turret instead. This way the blaster Ferox fits get more DPS while also keeping their range benefit (at the expense of tighter fittings).
2) We have metrics on how people are fitting their ships, and many of you may be surprised to know that the most common highslot modules fit to Ferox in the game are named 250mm rails. There is actually a significant number of people using the Ferox for turret based PVE that many veteran players can easily overlook.
3) The issue of balance between long range fit Combat BCs and Tier 3 BCs is an important one. In the end the solution will likely revolve around making sniping with medium weapons and sniping with large weapons more distinct. I'm not expecting people to use RailFerox fleets in pvp after this point release, but while also keeping a strong BlasterFerox alive I want to put the ship in a place where it can benefit from any changes we make to both help medium rails specifically, and the balance between medium and large long-range weapons in general.

I can agree that the current blaster Ferox has a decent performance curve going for it in various situations, primarily due to a big tank that does not require low slots. I can also see the point on 250mm rails being the most common fitting due to I remember mission running in the Ferox with rails back when I was a newbie (and it only had 5 turrets, take that youngsters!). So simply choosing to tweak the current fit to make both camps happier with just a 7th turret is an obvious path to take.

Point 3 is where it gets interesting. He says "[i]n the end the solution will likely revolve around making sniping with medium weapons and sniping with large weapons more distinct." That is interesting. What I expect this means is that right now there is no real attractive reason to choose medium railguns for a particular range when large rails on the "Attack Battlecruisers"; for most use cases the large guns will always do more damage and the edge cases where they don't are not plentiful enough to call for medium guns.

However, if things can be tweaked such that the large sniping guns have more trouble hitting targets, just enough to make FCs consider reshipping to BCs with medium sniping setups, than keeping the optimal range bonus on the Ferox will be a good option to take to make both Rail-rox and Blasterox setups viable.

Exciting Times.


  1. Gosh, that's going to be a very fine balance to strike. Nerfing the accuracy of large guns (and presumably missiles) at long range is a buff to sig tanking which means that Muninn, Tengu doctrines may become stronger relative to Battleship doctrine. And already battleships are in poor state in nullsec fleet doctrine. The Goons and HBC have abandoned their Maelstrom doctrines and Foxcats is good but relies on firewalls for defence and is intended as a hard counter to missile fleets.

    So what we may see then in the Summer expansion is a massive buff to the hit points of battleship hulls. If sig tanking is so superior and will be made more superior with large weapons becoming less accurate the only solution for the ships with no sig tankiness is thicker armour.

  2. CCP Fozzie does his first "double down." He's learned from the best.

    For the record at skill level V, that 10% range bonus gives 1700 meters additional optimal range to Void and 3100 meters additional optimal range with Null.

    Someone let me know if you notice.

    In the meantime: facePALM.

  3. Not sure if you are agreeing or disagreeing with me, Jester... (how do I do a cocked eyebrow?)

    Anyways, let me double down as well in case its a disagreement: in my experience, with void especially, the extra ~1700 meters (from 3380 meters to 5060 meters, plus 3130 falloff in both) on the slow assed Ferox does not make a difference because you're either faster than your target and close the distances quickly, or slower and out of range quickly anyways. With Null, the difference is better since with falloff it gives you the option to try and fight out of web / scram range.

    All that being said, Optimal bonus is not *bad*, but its ok.

    1. Sorry, I should have been less oblique.

      This bonus is useless for blasters, and seeing Fozzie of all people trying to defend it as otherwise is quite amusing. He's making the exact same arguments about ship fitting that would cause him to be made fun of if he made them in PL's recruiting thread. We should use rails on Feroxes because most people do? Really? How interesting.

      Sorry, I did it again. ;-)

      "Double down" is my term for it when CCP is challenged on something dumb and instead of saying "You know, on due reflection, I do believe you are correct", they come up with a bunch of silly arguments to try and defend the dumb.

      I'm afraid I hear quiet footsteps sneaking up behind me and the sound of a club passing through thlouyhgbj

  4. OK, I thought that was what you were getting at upon a second read, but my first impression was that you were facepalming me. Its all good.

    I agree, it seem Fozzie drank some of the "Batten down the hatches" koolaid on this.

  5. 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.