Monday, October 26, 2015

Capitalizing the Changes - Followup

Last spring I wrote two tentpole posts describing the current state of capital ships in the then-proposed Fozzie sov implementation and some ideas for revamping combat capitals to revitalize the line. The tl;dr summary:
There you have it, my vision for capital ships in the post FozzieSov universe. Instead of four classes of ships with multiple overlapping roles you have six ships with specific and interesting roles:
- Carrier : Logistics Platform
- *New* Jump Bowhead : Space Trucking
- Dreadnought : Capital DPS
- Super Carrier : Mobile Assault Base
- Titan : Anti-Capital DPS
- Mothership : Jump Portal Generator
To clear up, I proposed splitting carriers into a logistics/fighter platform and moving the fleet hangers/ship bays to a new ship, and splitting titans into a anti-capital brawler and a new mothership with the jump portal generator. Super carriers I went completely new direction as a mobile base with force field and stuff. Overall I thought my proposal was pretty extreme.

Well was I ever wrong. 

At EVE Vegas CCP unveiled their proposals for capitals and the overall effect of these changes make mine pale in comparison, with much wider radical mechanic changes that changes the capital warfare complexion entirely. The concurrently published dev blog titled Reworking Capital Ships: And Thus It Begins! lays it out. Here are some snippets:

All capitals will now get:
Fleet Hangars
Ship Hangars
The ability to provide refitting abilities to their fleet-mates
We're going to split off the remote repair role from the Carrier and instead they will focus on fighters and support abilities.
Their repair role will go to a brand new set of capital ships.
Force Auxiliary Capitals
Four brand new massive internet spaceships! Force Auxiliary Capitals will take over the remote repair role from Carriers. They will be the only class able to fit the Triage module and the only capital class with bonuses to remote repair modules. They will have limited combat abilities of their own, being unable to fit any guns or launchers. However, we will be giving them a drone bay for self defense. They will never be the damage dealers of the fleet, but instead, they will become the new logistics backbone.
Effective capital-based remote repair will be limited to Triage only
Remote-Repairing Carrier & Super-Carrier fleets will be a thing of the past. The N+1 nature of these tactics encourages enormous blobs and currently the best counter is to bring an even bigger group of your own capitals.
You will be unable to refit while you have a weapons timer
No capital will have complete electronic warfare immunity
All titans, supers, carriers and dreadnoughts will have their HP re-balanced. The Hel and Nidhoggur will no longer be the black sheep of the family, and will have equivalent HP statistics. Titans and supercarriers will be receiving a cut to their total EHP.
We are completely re-imagining fighter game-play
We have a wide range of super-weapons we're looking at for the Citadel Expansion. We had several requirements for all our Doomsdays -
All Doomsdays should be fun for both the Titan pilot and the target
There should be clear counter-gameplay to all Doomsdays
They should be visually impressive
The targeting skills of the Titan pilot are much more important. So are the piloting skills of any target.
Super-carriers won't be left out however! Fighters by their nature can be fighting hundreds of kilometers away from their upercarrier. The super-carriers special weapons compliment this. Building on the Remote ECM Burst, supercarriers will be getting a whole range of remote EWar AOE weapons. The exact details of these weapons aren't finalized, however we're exploring a bunch of option for these, such as:
Energy Neutralizer Effect
Target Painting Debuff
Stasis Webifing Debuff
Tracking Disrupting Debuff
Sensor Damning Debuff
WOW, lots to take in! 

I'm surprised to see they are dividing carriers along the remote rep and fighter capability line as I didn't think CCP was brave enough to tackle the slowcat doctrine with such a large nerfbat. But I welcome this change immensely! It does raise the question if dreadnoughts and the new combat only oriented carrier will overlap roles a bit too much, but I suspect (hope?) that dreadnoughts will be superior at bashing heavy targets and carriers will be superior for fighting sub-caps.

The addition Fleet and Ship hangers and refitting abilities to ALL capitals is a bold move and made me frown until I read that ships could not refit with a weapons timer. One of the most powerful abilities of current carrier is the ability in the middle of a fight to switch from maximum-remote-repping to maximum-tank when you are being primaried by the enemy fleet. I've done this in the last BMTHOKK event and its quite powerful. I'm sure enterprising Fleet Commanders made use of this ability in other unique ways. Well, no more. 

As I had suggested, Super Carriers are getting a big role change. I had considered proposing an expansion of their remote projected effects but worried it might be too overpowering in some cases. Apparently CCP is braver than I! Instead of making them a defensive bastion they are making them a support capital with lots of projected electronic warfare. I approve. This almost makes me want to consider getting back the Wyvern, but I need to see if they can dock in stations first.

The changes to fighters and fighter bombers to make a unified and flexible class of weapons is very exciting. From CCP's viewpoint there will be fewer "objects" to keep track of since it will treat each squadron as a single object, but players will feel like they have more control over what those squadrons can do and are doing. Almost like aircraft carriers in World of Warships... hmmmm..... 

And the new Force Auxiliary capitals... I'm not sure they are going to work. If, as CCP states in the blog, "the bar to killing capitals is limited to what a single Force Auxiliary in Triage can tank" is true, then using them in combat might not be viable in scenario where forces can escalated into massive amounts of DPS. If DPS scales infinitely while repping power flatlines, then players will min-max and abandon the losing proposition to maximize the winning one. In other words, players will just double down on damage if rep can't keep up. I could be wrong.

We have time to digest all the implications of the changes, but I'm very excited for the future of capital warfare. 

1 comment:

  1. A friend of mine, and pretty good theory crafter, made the same comment: World of Space Warships. But heck, why not? Adopt, adapt, improve.

    While I heard differing opinions about the (super)capital changes, one prevalent opinion was that these change have the possibility to make capital warfare more player-skill based, more fluid. In particular the new doomsday weapons for Titans might become a real detriment to static ball-of-ships doctrines.

    I can see myself skilling into capitals with these changes.

    One thing my friend suggested: it'd be nice if the Dreadnoughts could get miniature versions of some of the Titan doomsday weapons.