Thursday, December 03, 2015

The War On Logi - Overview

Bad Graphics are free here at
Yesterday while talking about Command Destroyers and how they are part of the War On Logi that CCP seems to be waging, I decided to go deeper into the topic today and give an overview for what the war looks like and why its being waged.


As I said, I noted how the most effective use for kidnapping via the Command Destroyer was to disrupt logistic wings of fleets since losing even a single member could be disastrous for a fleet. While it can be argued that in this particular instance it simply a spin off effect of the desire to introduce a new cool tool to the box of pilots, I think it is telling that there is a lot similar things coming in the near and far future that also have a negative impact on the ability of logistic ships to repair friendly vessels.

Most damning is the remote repair module tiericide changes coming this month (emphasis mine):
Remote armor, shield and hull reps all now have falloff (this falloff reduces effectiveness as you get further from your target, just like the neut falloff)
Armor reps are more focused on optimal, Shield reps are more focused on falloff.
Frigate logistics skews further towards falloff, while cruiser and larger bonuses tend to apply equally to both optimal and falloff.
Rep cycle times are getting slower (~20% slower for armor reps and ~60% slower for shield reps). This will make target switching more powerful against overwhelming logi numbers, and increase danger of overhealing. Overall providing more room for very good logi pilots to shine.
Overall rep/s is remaining fairly constant since rep amount per cycle is increasing.
Capacitor use on shield and armor reps has increased a bit. Logistics ships are getting larger cap pools (but not better cap/s recharge) to compensate. Overall this makes it harder to be fully cap stable but easier to fly with a logi that isn't quite cap stable if you're not repping constantly.
Base ranges on the reps have increased, and ship range bonuses are smaller to compensate. This makes the skill curve less steep and buffs non-range bonused RR ships such as RRBS and T3 Cruiser logi.
 And here is one of the graphs for T1 Logi cruisers remote rep ranges before and after changes:

No matter how you cut it, their maximum effectiveness range is reducedso they need to be closer to the action to maintain best reps, their cap stability is lessened, and their ability to rapidly respond to target switching of the enemy fleet is hampered.

Throw on top of all of that you have the news from the capital changes in the future such as:
- titan doomsday that can displace a portion of your fleet across the system (goodbye logi wing!)
- remote area of effect supercarrier ewar besides the remote ECM burst; imagine what a remote sensor dampener field could do to a logistics wing
- only triage-capable Force Auxilliaries can use remote reps so you can't have massive remote repping blobs any more since triaged ships can't receive remote reps
- can't refit with a weapons timer

Overall there is a definite theme to break down the ability of fleets to act like a brick and resist damage. But why?

Behind The Nerfs

Right now I'm willing to bet if you asked people what the major problems are in PvP that logi would not figure high in the responses. This is because logistics as it stands right now is balanced in that it is readily available, fairly straight forward to use with practice, and has known counters such as electronic warfare, cap warfare, and positioning tactics (i.e. attempting to warp in on the hostile logi ships).

But I believe the issue is that we've become so used to it and how it affects the meta we don't see the fundamental flaw, and perhaps CCP has. Let's walk through an example to illustrate the point.

Say you have two small fleets moving to engage each other, Fleet A with 15 DPS ships and Fleet B with 20 DPS ships (i.e. no logi). Assuming everything else is equal and they fight it out to the end, no retreat. Its obvious Fleet B will win because the aggregate damage will remove the enemy fleet from the field before the incoming damage will destroy their own fleet, but still they take some attrition so that the end result is 15 ships destroyed but they still lost say, 8 or 9 friendlies. The winning side is happy because they won the battle and can loot wrecks or take the objective, and the losing side goes off to reship but has some satisfaction because they damage the enemy fleet and if they get back fast enough will have an advantage in the next fight.

Now let's do the same fight, but this time Fleet A is comprised of 10 DPS ships and 5 Logi while Fleet B has 14 DPS ships and 6 Logi. The first fleet does not have enough DPS for long enough to break the logi wing of fleet B (when you include resists and the like) but the 14 DPS ships were enough to overwhelm the logi wing of Fleet A so if it remains it gets wiped off the field without inflicting any damage on the enemy.

What I'm trying to say is that most battles between fleets involving logi come down to a tipping point where one side can break the enemy logi and win the battle and the other side just plain dies. There is no or little attrition inflicted by the losing side and the winners win big. This is why fleet commanders scream for more logi pilots all the time and as fleets get bigger and more expensive the logi wing becomes a larger portion of the fleet (like seeing ten Cerberus HACs with ten Basilisk logi).

We who have been playing in this environment have internalized this logic and for the most part have come to accept it, its part of our culture. But its easy to see from the outside why this dynamic is offputting if you take a few steps back. Consider describing the second battle to someone not familiar with the game and their reaction would be "Fleet A lost everything and didn't take any ships in Fleet B down?! Sounds stupid..." Attrition in warfare is a basic concept everyone understands but the current logistics-fueled meta currently negates that concept.

I agree I highly simplified the scenario to make a point and there are a lot of factors that come into battles that impact the outcome beyond simple logistic count, but the tipping point of a battle exists and can be experienced often if you PvP in a regular fashion. The downside of this tipping point is that it encourages smart fleet commanders to calculate DPS versus rep amount and decide not to engage altogether because "there is no point, we can't break their logi". If logi were less of a factor, then attrition warfare comes into play more often in pitched battles and the logic can become "we may not win but we came to fight and we'll take some of them with us". This is a more familiar attitude to people outside of EVE's meta and one that can be more easily understood by the larger audience.

The Crystal Ball

The War on Logi is part of a broader campaign the CCP has been launching that could be titled The War on the Blob (TM). There have been many initiatives over the past year to make players more active in piloting their ship and fighting with thought and intent rather than just locking primary and hitting F1, broadcast for reps.

- changes to fleet warp mechanics
- killing multi-input aides like ISBoxer
- Phoebe jump mechanics nerfing capital jumping tactical and strategic utility
- Fozzie Sov's distributed capture warfare mechanics across constellations
- Force Recons getting Dscan immunity
In the future:
- area of effect doomsdays (Scythe, Hand of God) and more area of effect electronic warfare
- Remote Rep capital blobs will be a thing of the past as Force Aux cannot repair each other under triage
- Dreadnoughts / titans getting weapons for fighting subcaps
- carriers with long distance fighter operations
- much larger grids

All of these things have, to one degree or another, negative impacts on mindless blob warfare, forcing fleets to spread out at a minimum and think and act more independent at a maximum. Expect to see more features and changes that encourage smaller groups of capable individuals and discourage n+1 blob warfare.

1 - Not 100% sure on this point due to changes to ship bonuses, still want to see the end result in game before being certain.


  1. "[I]f it remains it gets wiped off the field", or Fleet A brings ECM, negates the power of the enemy Logistics, and comes out ahead.

    DPS vs Reps is not a complete equation. There is a triangle of 'counters': DPS vs Reps vs ECM. Pretending ECM doesn't exist is what has lead people to argue, incorrectly, that Reps needs to be nerfed. If CCP looked at the history of balancing, and their previous actions, they would realise that the ECM nerf of 2012 (and of 2009) was heavy-handed and some-what misguided. (As with most of CCP's balancing from that era!)

    Increasing the range of ECM would strengthen counters and weaken Logistics' power.

    Let us look at what was changed in 2012:


    *Reduce Optimal Range and Falloff of all ECM modules by 10%
    *Add to the Optimal Range and Falloff bonus on ECM range bonused ships by 2.5% for the Blackbird and Tengu Obfuscation Manifold (bringing it to 12.5%) and 5% for the Scorpion (bringing it to 25%)
    *Add four new racial sensor compensation skills that increase each type of Sensor Strength by 5% per level (Requires Electronics 4, rank 3 skills in the Electronics category)

    (With thanks to TMdC [how many people get the chance to say that!])

    Asher Elias, a strat-op level FC for the CFC, and Arrendis, leader of the CFC's RepSwarm, both identified the problem with Jams and Damps as their limited range. By simple positioning, a Logi-ball could be ~120km off the enemies fleet, and thus utterly un-interdictable by the enemies' ECM. Warping a second group of ECM/Damps on the field was similarly useless, because the range of Jams/Damps was less than that of the enemies DPS. In short, you couldn't place ECM anywhere, without it getting shot, or being ineffective.

    CCP, in balancing without regard for history, are shooting themselves in the foot.

    1. Oh, my god, "lead" should be 'led'.

      This is what I get for changing tenses in the middle of sentences.

    2. I agree that ECM is often used as a counter to ECM, I tried to stress multiple times in my post that the meta is for the most part comfortable with sub-cap logi as it stands.

    3. Ok, that whole sentence is a train-wreck of incorrect tenses and participles.

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  3. "Right now I'm willing to bet if you asked people what the major problems are in PvP that logi would not figure high in the responses. This is because logistics as it stands right now is balanced in that it is readily available, fairly straight forward to use with practice, and has known counters such as electronic warfare, cap warfare, and positioning tactics (i.e. attempting to warp in on the hostile logi ships)."

    Only... it's not. ECM is not used as an effective counter to Logi most of the time, because it's not ship-efficient. If you have 50 DPS ships and 20 logi ships in one fleet, and 50 DPS ships and 20 ECM ships in another fleet, the fleet with 20 logi will win. ECM is chance-based, meaning that only a percentage of that 20 logi will be jammed out. Those logi not jammed can maintain a fleet. Plus, ECM ships tend to be squishier than logi, so the ECM will be alpha'd off the field faster than the logi will be alpha'd by the opposing DPS ships.

    ECM will always be out-valued by logi in any fleet because of the chance-based aspect. Plus, there's nothing preventing logi from fitting for sensor strength and further exacerbating the advantage.

    "ECM can counter logi" is not an argument that bears out in fleet fights; if it was, we'd see "Need more ECM peeps" pings instead of "Need more logi" pings. The fact that it's not in the meta means it's not optimal, and suboptimal might as well not exist.

    Logi needs a nerf, both to overcome the need for alpha doctrines and to provide some consolation for the losers. Logi should stem the flow of blood, not prevent it entirely.

    1. Though I'll probably write a longer response out later, I have to point out that " we'd see "Need more ECM peeps" pings instead of "Need more logi" pings" is more a function of how many people are willing to fly either category, than a measure of their 'meta-effectiveness'. It is also a function of how many people have the ability to use said ships.

      I've been in multiple fleets where we've absolutely needed more DPS than anything else, but they're not the norm. I think your ECM vs Logi point also (at least in Low-Sec) misses the combined DPS/ECM nature of most, especially armour, doctrines.

      Finally, 50 DPS 20 Logi vs 50 DPS 20 ECM is not exactly the most realistic comparison I've ever heard. :P

  4. And of course, no discussion whatsoever of the impact on logi in PvE situations.
    These changes will be catastrophic to incursion runners.

    In a PvP situation, both sides are impacted by the nerf equally, assuming both sides have roughly the same ship complement. But of course, there is zero chance CCP is altering how the PvE AI works when switching targets, and it will be impossible in some situations to keep ships alive when the PvE ships switch targets. Plus. you KNOW that PvE logi is not impacted by these changes.

    1. OK, my question to you is this: How is moving from one optimality to another a catastrophe?

      Incursions used to be run with (topically) ECM Scorpions, because no-one could counter all the incoming DPS. Shifting incursions to a 7-3 or 6-4 ratio (for VGs) will, I acknowledge, nerf Isk/hour. However, it can be worked around, unlike a payout nerf.

      Still, I recognise that there could be unintended PvE consequences.

    2. If it goes as far as a 6:4 ratio, that means a drop of 25% in applied DPS, and with the AI logi's still operating at full strength, that means a heluva lot more than a 25% drop in ISK / hour. And that does not even begin to deal with the loss of player ships that will most certainly take place.

      This is a disaster.

    3. " And that does not even begin to deal with the loss of player ships that will most certainly take place."

      Except it kinda does. Unless you're bringing Logi to look pretty, you will still not lose any ships.Since that's why you're bringing extra Logi, right?

      Even with 50% more reps and boosts, not double Logi, you should not lose anything.

  5. I love playing support roles. I see this nerf as them bringing the logi role in line with the other support roles. I would like to think there's more to this game than tackle, dps, and logi. I've never understood the people that say ECM is boring.

  6. Is that the new canadian leaf?