Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Return of the King

Last March I had three posts discussing the meta of ship hull sizes in the current low sec Meta. In Downward Pressure I talked about all the mechanic changes that encouraged the meta to favour smaller ship sizes. Then in Swimming in a Shark Tank I looked specifically at Battlecruisers and Battleships and their available roles in low sec and concluded that "Battleships need more abilities that other classes can't perform" in order to see more general use of the hulls. Finally in Battleship Ecosystems I talked about where Battleships might carve a niche in the meta of low sec without reverting to the "large ships only" meta of previous years.

One factor I missed in all the theorizing about the downward pressure on Battleship use in low sec was the psychological power of the ever-present threat of capital hotdrop from low sec powerhouse on any battleship operations.

Imagine you are a moderate sized faction warfare entity in this past summer and have an opposing IHub to bash to take a system. You suspect the enemy faction will form up to resist so you consider a battleship fleet that can deal the damage necessary to bash the IHub but also the tank and firepower to fight off the enemy fleet. HOWEVER, you operate within the jump range of several powerful low sec entities with access to dreads, carriers, and titans and have been known in the past to hotdrop fleet of any considerable tonnage or value. They have scouts/spies and cyno alts everywhere and the jump range of battleship-blapping dreadnoughts (with Loki webbing of course) means they can reach the entire warzone with ease any time they please.

When combining that factor with all the other downward pressures I talked about in terms of mobility and cost, the decision for fleets in the warzone was to avoid battleships and use cheaper and faster Attack Battlecruisers for when DPS was needed, and anything smaller for all other operations. Even if a hotdrop didn't occur all the time, it happened enough to create a chilling effect on the use of battleships; natural selection on ship types if you will.

Phoebe changed that dynamic much like it changed everything else related to capital ships.

With a massive jump range nerf and jump fatigue penalties, using capitals (or titan jump bridges) became a strategic decision instead of a tactical one. I've discussed how this limitation on large scale capital operations opens the door to small scale use of fewer capitals by smaller entities in local scenario, but the unexpected upshot of Phoebe is the Return of the Battleship fleet.

Without the constant threat of hotdrop from more distant entities, Battleships retake the throne as the best fleet to use for general application of heavy combat. The combination of tank, damage, and range along with micro jump drives give a battleship fleet the power to take on and hold the field against many other fleet types. This is valuable for strategic operations where holding the field is the primary objective compared to simple roaming and random encounters. While local capital are still a factor to consider, they typically don't have the numbers or backup to be an existential threat to the battleship fleet in low sec; indeed the opposite is true as we find that battleship fleets are a greater threat to small scale capital use in low sec than other capitals!

Due to the large spread in numbers, wealth, and abilities of low sec entities, not to mention the inherent nature of faction warfare complex size restrictions impacting fleet composition, I don't foresee large hull warfare dominating to the exclusion of all others. Indeed, the preliminary stats on the Amarr Confessor Tactical Destroyer promises some great fun at the lower end of the scale (both for the pilot of the ship and the pilots of the ships that get kills of them). But make no mistake... the King has returned and he's pissed.

Aideron Formup


  1. There are rumour flying around that aura api is being use to spy on gallente' s enemies?

  2. As a part of the senior leadership of Aideron Robotics, I have not seen any evidence that the Aura app or api has been used for any intelligence gathering. Quite frankly, Eve who and other such 3rd party sites provide more than enough for us.

  3. I love battleships but never had a reason to fly them because of the constant threat of capitals.

    Finally training them above level II. Yay!

  4. so what's your connotation of strategy vs tactics?

    1. You'll need to more specific in your question. I'm not sure what answer you are looking for.

    2. When he's talking about capital use and strategic vs tactical, I believe he's refering to the fact that most entities are using their capital forces to push strategic goals. For instance, you want to take system X but to take system X you have to have N DPS and possibly Capitals on standby ready to escalate/assist. Tactical being more akin to a flanking maneuver since your enemy can't necessarily see the hot drop coming until the cyno is lit.