So CCP Rise (nee: Kil2) posed on the Eve online forums the first proposed pass of the Battleship rebalancing coming this summer.Gallente
Keep an eye on those threads because they are changing from feedback already. Just two days in and the Hyperion got an update to its update (and looks very scary if I do say so myself).
Lots of other bloggers are going to tear down the stats and changes and tell you the winner and losers (like Orakkus for example) but I'm going to look at the overall meta and what the devs are trying to do.
The reason we had tiers before was primarily to give a sense of progression. You'd start at the first frigate (e.g. Bantam), progress upwards to the next tier with more slots/stats/ability at a higher price point. Then start over at tier 1 cruisers, and later tier 1 battleships. But the main problem with this is that the highest tier ships typically overpowered the lower tier ships especially in PvP and thus forced players to a few ship types while the majority languished.
That is why tiericide was begun starting at tech 1 frigates and continued in tech 1 cruisers: make them equal in power but with differing roles. The results have been nothing short of astounding as all sorts of ships that were rarely used have seen a resurgence.
Battleships will be trickier though as despite having tiers they also had a lot of built in roles associated to them. For example, in the Caldari lineup the Rokh was the sniper ship, the Raven was the short range PvE ship, and the Scorpion the EWAR platform. In Gallente the Dominix was the cheap drone master, the Megathron the blaster master, and the Hyperion... well, it saw a lot of station undock games. I never said it was a perfect system. The point is that almost all 12 battleships saw some use somewhere, albeit some more than others. And every ship has its fans for its current model.
So CCP is trying to create even more distinctive roles for the ships and in the process fix some of the ships that were more underused than others (like the Hyperion, the poster child for unloved battleships). To do so and follow the modus operandi they used in frigates, crusiers and battlecruisers means that one Minmatar ship and one Amarr ship had to be basically gutted and redone.
Why is that?
Well, CPP decided to really emphasize that each empire faction has two combat philosophies. For Caldari its Missiles and Hybrids. For Gallente its Hybrids and Drones. For Minmatar its Projectiles and Missiles/Drones and for Amarr its becoming Lasers and Drones/Missiles. This is why the Prophecy and Cyclone battlecruisers got revamped into missile spewing drone boats.
So when they looked at battleships and their overall plan and decided to go with two combat battleships and one attack battleships for each faction (excepting Caldari who get one attack (Raven), one combat (Rokh), and one Disruption so the ECM Scorpion can live on). The attack models are meant to be faster and more agile with less tanking while the combat versions are bigger slower fighters that are differentiated by using different main weapon systems.
For Gallente these conditions was easily done: Hybrids on the Hyperion, Drones on the Dominix, and a faster Megathron.
For Minmatar, this required converting the Typhoon to look more like a Cyclone: Missiles and drones as a combat model, Maelstrom as the projectile combat ship, and the Tempest as the attack ship.
For Caldari, Rokh is the combat ship, Raven the attack ship, and the Scorpion gets to be the only disruption battleships (for now).
But for Amarr, its a hard choice. All three were laser ships that saw use and were loved in some niche or another (I personally am a huge fan of the Abaddon). But one of them had to convert to follow the line of the missiles and drones. And CCP Rise et al chose the Armageddon to sacrifice on the altar of tiericide. It and the Abaddon will be the combat versions while the Apocalypse will be attack vessel.
As mentioned, I suspect that CCP plans to add four more battleships in the future to give the other three factions disruption battleships and Caldari a true Missile combat battlecruiser.
Of course, this is all very, very wrong.
To be precise, I think the changes to the Armageddon and Typhoon are ok, and I have no issues with bringing the old tier ones up to speed with the tier threes, or even revamping underused ships to be more palatable.
But in Eve's meta, what good is an Attack battleship going to be, when Attack battlecruisers can cover the same ground with more speed and mobility and same calibre weapons? How fast and nimble can a battleship be? Worse, if you change them and make them too fast they will obsolete the battlecruisers in the process.
Without built in bonuses to the new Micro Jump Drive (or something else), these ships will find themselves caught between faster and cheaper battlecruisers and tougher combat battleships.
Am I wrong? Comment below.
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For the record, this is what I speculated back in January:
What we can say for certain
The number of slots on each hull will standardize, most likely on 19. There will be at least one Combat vessel, probably two: one for each of the factions' main weapon types (and people who think missiles are Amarr's second weapon type are deluded; its drones and the tech 2 Khanid ships are an anomaly, get over it). The power grid, CPU, and hitpoint values will be standardized.
What we can guess with some confidence
Now we get to the meat of the post.
The Armageddon is going to lose turrets and the laser bonuses and gain drone space and a tank bonus to complete the Amarr drone line (Tormentor, Dragoon, Arbitrator, Prophecy).
The Typhoon is going to get the Cyclone treatment and go pure missile with two missile bonuses and a sixth missile hardpoint. I'm willing to bet the Raven gets a seventh missile hardpoint as well (to follow the Drake/Cyclone dynamic).
The Rokh will keep the optimal range bonus, the Hyperion the active armour tanking bonus.
Each faction will have two Combat battleships, but the third will be more of an Attack variant with better speed and maneuverability. Caldari is the exception in that their third will remain Disruption.
What we can wildly speculate on
I had proposed in my August post that each of the factions would have one of the three battleships be a disruption vessel, much like how the Caldari have the Scorpion. After much discussion and thought I am not confident that the developers have the intestinal fortitude to radically overhaul an Amarrian, Gallentean, and Minmatar batteship that currently has a lot of fans. Its easy to change ships that hardly anyone uses, much harder to choose to alienate some players for the good of all.
Instead I'm going to speculate that CCP is considering adding a fourth battleship to the mix so that each faction has two Combat, one Attack, and one Disruption variant. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the Amarrian one will use neutralizers and nosferatu as its disruption type similar to the Dragoon destroyer, while the Gallentean version will stick with tried and true Remote Sensor Dampeners. The Minmatar one is harder; will it be a missile and target painter like the Bellicose (giving Minmatar two missile battleships) or will it go with projectiles and a webber bonus?