Warning: Stupid Tired Idea Post
So Assault Frigates are in an interesting place. They’re mediocre in many ways, but at the times they’ve been good they’ve been very good. It’s just they can’t seem to find a niche where they are balanced and still useful.
Compared to other frigates, they’re remarkably bulky and slow. They also are just as vulnerable to cap warfare, which limits their value when factoring in their cost.
This is all compounded by the fact that if you increase their speed or agility they may very well outclass interceptors. And that’s basically the rub of it. They can’t become too fast or they outclass interceptors, and they can’t become too high damage or tank or this combined with their sig could make them overpowered.
So what would make them powerful but limit their ability to punch up excessively, while also preventing them from overshadowing interceptors or functioning as a tackle replacement?
Afterburners capacitor cost is reduced by 100%
Afterburner overheating effect increased by 100%(Could be 50-75% as well)
Frigates live and die by their speed tank. There are additional tweaks such as fitting and agility with AFs that need work as well, so the role bonus in isolation wouldn’t be a whole solution. But the issue with them is why use them over a faction frigate? Well, now there’s a reason. If they get neuted out hard they still can mitigate incoming damage by a massive degree, allowing them to not get instablapped. However, their cap resistance doesn’t apply to their tackle preventing them from acting as an interceptor alternative. This is further reinforced by their overheating effect causing them to reach speeds that are very fast, but just shy of true interceptor speeds. And this effect doesn’t apply to microwarpdrives, so no dramiel-tier speed shenanigans.
With this, they operate in a middle ground where they are clearly brawler ships, but are capable of closing gaps and staying mobile in a fight. They are much harder to pin down than other frigates, but not so fast they become interceptor replacements, or god tier kite fits.
It may become necessary to add an additional increase to burn damage, preventing them from operating in overheat for too long. Also, there remain several fitting problems and agility issues with them compared to other frigates, which others have already discussed in great detail. If requested I can dig up some blog posts and reddit analysis on AF agilitt and fitting inconsistencies.