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.