Chiming in here, once, for the record. Long post with multiple TL;DRs in bold.
Let’s look at a example of EHP progression from Cruiser up to TItan. I’m preferential to Amarr ships (plus they’re notoriously strong when buffer fit) and all entries assume max skills, a single DC2, a single appropriate T2 plate, a single T2 EANM, and 3x T1 trimarks. Yes, I realize that this is an utter peasant fit for Titans and Supers and it’s ignoring the cost of the rest of the fit (which can be substantial), but I wanted an apples to apples comparison. Also, I’m using ISK price (and estimating for the Titan and Super) but really we should be looking at the build cost (which I don’t readily have access to). So treat this as a very, very rough approximation.
- Avatar: 6.5 million EHP, ~65 billion ISK cost, ~100 EHP per million ISK
- Aeon: 4.8 million EHP, ~35 billion ISK cost, ~138 EHP per million ISK
- Revelation: 1.5 million EHP, 1.95 billion ISK cost, ~790 EHP per million ISK
- Archon: 1.15 million EHP, 1.35 billion ISK cost, ~852 EHP per million ISK
- Abaddon: 112k EHP, 214 million ISK cost, ~523 EHP per million ISK
- Prophecy: 75k EHP, 62 million ISK cost, ~1209 EHP per million ISK
- Maller: 33k EHP, 20 million ISK cost, ~1617 EHP per million ISK.
There are two big discrepancies that stand out to me.
The first (highlighted in bold) is the jump in raw EHP from battleships to carriers. But I don’t see that as a problem in and of itself, I see that as a symptom of the real problem, which is the second discrepancy, which I’ve highlighted in italic bold.
The trend in ISK efficiency of ship hulls (that is, how many EHP you get for the build price of your fit) inverts between battleships and carriers. In this regard, smaller subcaps, Titans, and Supers seem to follow roughly the same trend, but Carriers, Dreads, and Battleships seem out of place. I see three ways to fix that:
- Drop the raw EHP of dreads and carriers without reducing their build price.
- Increase the raw EHP of battleships without increasing their build price.
- Some combination of 1 and 2.
All of these solutions present their own unique balance issues.
For #1, Carriers and Dreads are already effectively cannon fodder for targeted Doomsdays, which greatly contributes to the overall supremacy of Titans. Many large nullsec fights in recent history have just been reduced to large Titan fleets volleying smaller capital ships off of the field. Reducing their EHP will only compound that issue. So, in order to address #1, you have to also give a serious look at targeted Doomsdays, and the overall balance of power among the Capital lineup.
For #2, subcaps are already balanced around current battleship EHP values, so increasing those would require a massive re-work of DPS and EHP for the entire subcap lineup. Also, combat-oriented PvE content would require a massive rework since battleships would become significantly harder to kill and subcap DPS would likely be increasing.
For #3, well, anytime you mix two balance issues together, things get complicated.
(Hey @Sabus_Narian, do you understand now why I wanted to have this conversation separate from the idea of allowing capital ships into hisec? Each issue on its own is already incredibly complicated.)
Now, does the trend in ISK efficiency with increasing hull size have to be a linearly decreasing relationship? (i.e. do we need to drop carrier EHP by half or double battleship EHP?)
Capital ships are, and always should be in a class by themselves, separate from subcaps. I don’t necessarily see a problem with there being a discrepancy in ISK efficiency at that transition point between caps and subcaps, but I think there is an issue is with the magnitude of it. Right now, there’s about a 50% discrepancy, I think a 25% one would be far more balanced overall (other issues notwithstanding). (Yes, this is purely my gut feeling, I have no hard data to back this up, just experience and intuition.)
- TL;DR #1: reduce the raw EHP potential of Dreads and Carriers by 25%, or increase the raw EHP potential of Battleships by 25%, or do some mix of the two totaling about 25%.
The other issue here is more subtle, and that is that Titans and Supers effectively have such large EHP pools that in typical combat settings (i.e. not a fleet dropping on a single ship) you get into a traditional N+1 situation where the only way to win is to field more Titans and Supers than the other side.
- TL;DR #2: The current meta N+1 established by the massive EHP pools of Titans and Supers needs to be looked at, but only after addressing TL;DR #1. This adjustment would need to extend well beyond just their EHP
As for capital ships in hisec, one of my largest concerns with that (and I have many, which I’ve laid out here) is the possibility of using buffer-tanked capital ships as highly gank-resistant haulers. If the EHP of carriers and dreads were reduced to the levels proposed by the OP, that would go a long way towards reducing that concern. However, in order to drop their EHP by 50% or more, you’d have to also reduce their mineral cost accordingly; anything else would be far too heavy-handed a nerf to capital ships. Could this work? Possibly? But doing so would likely destroy a massive chunk of existing player wealth and dramatically alter the dynamics of combat all throughout New Eden. This seems like a huge change to make in a single go just to justify allowing formerly restricted ships to operate in hisec.
(I’m not considering Titans, Supers, or Rorqs here since there is a large consensus (including myself) that believes that they have no place in hisec. They’d be even more broken in this regard.)
- TL;DR #3: Nerfing capital ship EHP enough to allow them to operate largely unrestricted in hisec could work, but would almost certainly break ship balance in many unpredictable ways.