Tuesday, September 18, 2018

ECM - Here We Go Again

Oh look, a new dev blog about balance changes (EVE still does those?):
Everyone's favorite form of E-war has been due for an update for a very long time.
As a victim, watching your ship die while jammed without anything you can do about it feels bad. As an ECM user the system doesn’t feel great either when you get unlucky and miss a lot of jams. We would love to improve both sides of this coin by giving ECM more consistent behavior while also toning down the helplessness that comes with being jammed.
At the same time, we feel it's important to preserve and even improve the role ECM plays as one of few disruption tactics for logistics and other forms of support.
Ugh. ECM up again? Ok, let's see what they try this time...
To start us on a path towards a healthier balance for ECM, we are making one critical change to its mechanics: while jammed, you can always lock the ship that is jamming you.
This change will dramatically increase the feeling of agency and control for the victim. Rather than sitting helplessly while jammed, you will always have the option of fighting back. It will be up the ECM user to stay out of range, abuse tracking, or otherwise avoid retaliation.
The downside here is that in the short term, balance for ships focused on ECM may be a bit out of whack. We are looking at some small buffs to fitting and tank for ECM ships with this release to help them survive against return fire, and long term we hope to be able to increase jam strength to make ECM more consistent across the board. Your feedback will be critical in ironing out those changes going forward.
To give credit where it is due, this is an interesting take on the old beast. It will give pilots something at least to do while that 20 second timer is counting down and shooting at the ECM ship seems like a decent action option.

Of course, the value of that option varies dramatically depending on your engagement envelop versus the ship jamming you, and gives an inadvertent nerf to short range and/or fragile jamming ships. Poor Kitsune.

But its still a chance based mechanic which really doesn't fit well with a lot of the rest of EVE's ship mechanics.

If I were given control, I'd argue for breaking remote sensor dampeners into two, the current remote sensor dampener that reduces lock range when range scripted, and move the lock time increase mechanic to ECM modules, perhaps making them break lock when first activated and then while on the target it makes the target's lock time longer. You could even increase the effect the close it is to optimal. No randomness, no restricting of options, just causing disruption.

I'd also consider getting rid of stupid racial variants (talk about complexity for the sake of complexity only) but if that would not fly, you could increase or decrease the effect based on whether its a matching racial type or not.

Anyways, we'll see how CCP's milquetoast approach goes.

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