Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Optimal Range

EVE circa 2006

One day long ago some developer deep in the bowels of Fortress CCP decided that the minimum distance an object could be that one could choose to warp to was 150 km, the reasoning of which has been lost to the sands of time. (Note: Minimum warp distance is 50km as you can choose to warp to 100km to an object 150 km away.)

We don't know the exact reasoning for this selection but we do know the outcome. When I started back in 2006 Sniping Battleships, especially Megathrons, dominated a lot of the large fleet warfare because their optimal range was in the sweet spot of ~160 km: close enough to do considerable damage but far away enough to make getting tackled or bubbled difficult. Remember, this was the age of Next-To-Impossible probing so unless you had things in the right position to begin with, or the enemy was unlucky/bad, catching the sniping battleship fleet was a challenge. The big tanks (especially in the age of Arear of Effect titan doomsdays) and long range damage projection were more useful than the low mobility.

Things changed.

Probing mechanics changes which made probing out an enemy fleet on grid within seconds instead of minutes a reality, so suddenly a sniping fleet stood the risk of getting bubbles within 10 seconds, forcing them to move close under that magic 150 km number in order to prevent the on grid warp of enemy interceptors and interdictors. They also had to avoid getting too close to prevent a fast tackle from crossing the distance quickly, but at the same time had to avoid getting too close to 150 km or else the threat of the enemy burning away and warping back became a possibility.

While the low mobility of battleships was starting to hurt, the advantage of the big tank to survive an AoE doomsday or two evaporated as the weapons were changed to single target lances instead of grid sized smart bombs. The meta quickly adapted to advanced cruisers and cheaper battlecruisers and sniper battleship fleets became a footnote in history for the most part.

Fast forward years to now and once again the game is radically changing.

Grid sizes have grown by an order of magnitude, micro jump drives and jump field generators are changing the mobility of the fleet around the grid, Citadels and new capital designs promise to expand the combat area across hundreds of kilometers.

That 150 km range used to represent "pretty far away" in old EVE, a universal constant that allowed the stitching together of the extremes of the grid of the day. Now its barely a hop skip and jump of the grid now. The question has been raised on twitter and in the CSM if the distance still makes sense or if the developers should look into making it larger.

I think there are some definite advantages to increasing the distance to 250 km or farther. I realize that it could lead to an increase in a sniping meta but at the same time I think it increases the utility of micro jump drives and the larger ships that use them, as well as carving out a larger space for the new carriers to operate not with impunity but rather with some room to operate and make use of those new weapons and abilities.

CCP, its time to try out larger minimum warp to distances. Perhaps expanding it can create a niche for the old battleship to shine again.

1 comment:

  1. Lots of room to boosh people without worrying about multiple booshes taking them too far so that their fleet can warp to them. I like it.