Thursday, October 22, 2015

Tech III Destroyers and the Current Combat Ship Meta

On the latest High Drag podcast Random and Fintarue got into a discussion about Tech III Tactical Destroyers and how the meta of combat ships is a little broken right now. I'm going to dive into a small investigation of the current "small" combat ship meta and discuss how things can be changed.


The ships we are going to be looking at are combat ships that are cruiser sized or smaller which are: Tech 1 combat frigates, navy frigates, pirate frigates, Tech II assault frigates, Tech 1 destroyers, Tech III Tactical destroyers, Tech 1 combat and attack cruisers, navy cruisers, faction cruisers, Tech II assault cruisers, and Tech III Strategic cruisers.

We are not looking at specialized ships at these hull sizes such as attack frigates, interceptors, interdictors, etc as they have roles away from purely offensive damage and defensive. Attack cruisers we will consider as they are less differentiated compared to combat cruisers and have some role overlap with the other vessels we are looking at.

There are four main factors to consider for combat ships: offensive, defensive, maneuverability, and cost. 

Offensive covers not only raw DPS, but factors such as alpha, range, lock speed, tracking, neutralizers, auxiliary ewar like jams and tracking disruptors, and tackle modules.

Defensive covers local tank, whether it be active or passive or speed, and takes into consideration the ship's signature.

Maneuverability also considers speed but also agility and warp speed.

Cost simply refers to the ISK price to replace the ship and its modules when destroyed.


I roughly evaluated the ship classes on a scale from 1 to 10, one being the worst and 10 being the best (for Cost, worst is highest cost). I threw the values into a chart:
And then made a graph (you guys love graphs I hear):

Now its a little skewed because I classed all the cruiser sized ships as maneuverability 1 because I'm not super familiar with the differences between a Vexor, Vexor Navy Issue, and Vigilant, and Proteus for example, but the glaring sore point on the graph is that for the high maneuverable ships, Tech III destroyers stand head and shoulders above the others and the cost differential between them does not make up the difference. And as noted elsewhere in podcasts and blogs, Assault ships, which had a niche as a hard hitting but costly alternative to Tech I and Navy frigates, are completely squeezed out by a ship that hits harder, has more tank, had equal or better maneuverability, for a slightly higher price tag. And I can even see why the Tactical destroyers can be preferable to some cruiser alternatives... has anyone seen Ruptures since the Svipul came out?


Sad to say, Tech III destroyers need a balancing pass, but as Random and Fintarue said, Assault ship definitely need some love as well to distinguish them from destroyer alternatives. 

Tomorrow we'll talk about ideas for the struggling assault ships.


  1. While this is a useful exercise, I need to quibble with some of your data around maneuverability (a known issue as you say). Navy/pirate cruisers are definitely faster, at least in their shield variants, than T3Ds. A Cynabal and Omen Navy Issue can all exceed 2,000 m/s without any trade-offs, and I've flown Stabber Fleet Issues and Vagabonds that are in that range as well. All are definitely faster than T3Ds, which are actually quite slow now, in comparison with nano ships. The biggest issue facing them is their lock speed, which is typically too slow right now.

    And let's not talk about the Vigilant or Ashimmu, which can murder any small ship from relative safety - one tracking disruptor and a web can destroy anything fit with small guns, and the general T3D lack of drone bays means it's quite susceptible to tracking disruptors on ships that can dictate range.

    I'm not sure I'd say they're overpowered, as much as they're more powerful than current metas. To get into small plexes, unquestionably they're king of the hill. But for everything else, they're actually quite squishy.

  2. Sorry Tav, but you're not making a fair comparison now, a mwd fitted T3D will aslo easily do over 2km/sec and comparing (oversized) afterburners T3D's against mwd cruisers is apples and pears.

    Also if your small guns get rendered ineffective by a single TD you're a terrible pilot :P Sure a web and a TD could be an issue but you're using 2 valuable midslots at that point to counter just small ships. For which you most likely give up you ability to run a sustained active tank or any counterplay vs. neutralizers (sin you won't have a free mid of an injector) so now you kill small ships at the price of likely getting destroyed by anything in your own weightclass vOv