An Assault Frigate Idea

(Garresh) #1

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?

The idea:

Role Bonus:
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.

Additional Notes:
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.

(Scipio Artelius) #2

+1 for trying to improve the game.

Before T3D, assault frigates were powerhouses of lowsec PvP. Overnight, they disappeared.

When T3D were banned from small plexes, assault frigates made a bit of a comeback, but they could definitely do with some more love.

(Lady Ayeipsia) #3

Given that AFs already have and MWD role bonus, would this afterburner bonus be used?

Also… Why not balance the AFs in a different manner… Reduce the cost.

(Garresh) #4

To be clear, I was implying to ditch the mwd bonus entirely. I should have said as much.

(JC Mieyli) #5

hawk says hello


treading on succubus territory

sorry thats just my feelings afs definitely need a rework but not to abs
and not necessarily overall buffs

each faction has unique afs and they all need to be reworked individually

the main issues with afs is that they cant get in novice sites
yet pirate frigs can

(JC Mieyli) #6

also nerfing a hawk doesnt make a jackdaw any more viable
its true hawk outclasses jackdaw but we all love hawk because its such a good af
i think if anything afs should be split into two distinctions
kiters and brawlers

in this case maybe a hawk would get bonuses to rocket damage but penalties to rocket range
while a harpie would lose its rail bonuses and gain bonuses to lms and speed but lose some tank

keep each faction close to its weapon type
like wolf can be ac brawler with strong scrams
jaguar arty kiter with strong webs

retribution would be pulse brawler with web bonus
vengeance would be beam kiter with 10mb drone bandwidth

ishkur and enyo can stay pretty much where they are
but with bonuses to suit the roles

a few slot layout changes
and role bonuses to suit the roles

and let them in novice sites
why t2 frigs cant get in novice sites
all pirate frigs are accessible and shiny targets

(Lady Ayeipsia) #7

Please don’t remove the amarr missile AF just to make weapons match. Better to make the amarr vengeance s rocket ship like the hawk. Keep the Harper as rail but with the range focus and make the retribution the kitey beam amarr boat.

Otherwise, you remove one of the only armor rocket frigs.

(JC Mieyli) #8

ok im not gonna disagree but what does it bring
to the ammarr race and to gun kiters
people dont train amarr to kite with rockets

i think thats a problem with players train amarr because they want to use lasers
not rockets

(JC Mieyli) #9

and the truth is beams are so good anyway i dont know why amarr needs missile frigs at all
like check my kb i run a beam punisher and its fine
all beams need is maybe a little tracking assistance
and by assisatnce i dont mean buff

i mean punisher already gets 5 lows its pretty op despite what people think

(Garresh) #10

JC you seem pretty informed on the topic. I saw you posting in the other thread. Got any ideas? It seems like everyone(myself included) is throwing out weird ideas so if you’re experienced with AFs I’d be interested.

(JC Mieyli) #11

well firstly theres an imbalance in that pirate frigs have superior roles and can get into novice sites plus theyre shinier killmails
theyre engageable and worth going after except the mordus one you generally avoid that like the plague

i think the first problem with afs is that they cant get in novice sites so you can only engage them in small sites where they can either be mobbed by destroyers or backed up by destroyers

the reason they can only get in smalls is probably due to them being too tanky and outclassing other frigs with their tank

the other problem is the time it takes to train them
its not a fast or easy ship to train into and the result of training into it is pretty underwhelming in the overall meta

so maybe 3 things can be done initially
reduce the time it takes to train them
allow them into novice sites
and im guessing probably reduce their tank to make them balanced for novice sites

i think immediately this will make them more attractive ships to fly and engage

but that leads us to the second conundrum of where they should sit in the meta
they are already cheaper than pirate frigs and more expensive than faction frigs so in terms of power it seems okay to put them somewhere between those two
but what about their role

pirate frigs already have specialised roles and other ideas of giving afs a particular role pigeonhole them and push other ships out of the meta

well they are assault frigs so should they be focused on combat
probably but we already have t1 and faction frigs for that
and if we make them balanced for novice sites they become nothing more than glorified faction frigs with more training requirements and a nice little orange tag

so they need some kind of specialisation that separates them from other combat ships
while not being so good or so specialised that they push other ships out of the meta
and not so unique that they get pigeonholed

i could come up with a million and one ideas of how to do that
but in the end people are always going to have differeing opinions and arguments against every idea suggested

personally i would see them immune to d-scan while in warp or something
so they can still be scanned in space but you cant see them coming in when they land on you
this would probably make it easier to get into fights and catch people unaware

(Lady Ayeipsia) #12

Look…by the time you reach assault frigs you probably fly more than one race. And what about the Caldari pilots who like missiles and want to head into armor comps next to join fleets. Amarr has some of the best choices. Let’s not take that away from them.

The vengeance is a great rocket ship. The amarr dictor can become a talwar on steroids. The sacralige is a great HAC. Please don’t mess this up just for the sake of symmetry. Keep the rockets in amarr!

(JC Mieyli) #13

ok fine make the vengeance the brawler and the retribution a beam kiter

(Soldarius) #14

RIP Succubus.

(Nikea Tiber) #15

AFs were trash even before T3ds. AFs have been demolished regularly by coercers and thrashers for well over a decade now.

Been covered before, but the major problems with AFs are:

-Lack of mobility parity with their tech 1 counterparts (this has always been the top issue with AFs. The repping power of small modules sucks ass, once mobility fails small rep modules can’t keep you alive for long enough to correct the situation. Your mobility fails as soon as your pod is loaded into an AF).

-Lack of mid slots. This is a problem shared with both shield and armor AFs. As a general rule, there aren’t enough mids to fit necessary tackle on any AF you fly.

-Fitting. Also sucks. Most AFs can’t fit gank tier weaponry and survivability modules at the same time. I know that as pilots we should have to make fitting decisions; these should be relaxed a bit on tech 2 hulls. As I recall, the retribution has less fitting than the punisher. Wtf?

-Vulnerability to EWAR. AFs have poor sensor strength (vulnerable to ECM), poor lock range (damps), poor speed/agility (webs), and a frigate capacitor (neuts). Due to having frigate weapon systems, turret disruption also works quite well on them, especially range-scripted disruption. In addition, due to range limitations, AFs (even kiting AFs) have to fight in heavy neut range, meaning your cap is likely to get alpha’d out from under your.

Strong fixes would be:

-Mobility parity with tech 1 base hulls. This isn’t asking for another class of interceptor, just mobility parity with other combat frigates.

-Increased fitting capacity. AFs fitting capacity isn’t commensurate with other tech 2 hulls.

-maybe more mid slots; I get how an AF would be more combat oriented than say, an interceptor, but as a frigate, dps is never going to be the hull’s primary role, so some space for tackle would be helpful.

-get rid of the (bad) mwd bloom role bonus and instead give AFs a role bonus granting strong resistance to all types of EWAR. AFs fighting in brawl range will gain survivability (reinforcing the frigate role of tackle) as well as a defining role of forcing enemy ewar off grid.

Just the first three would go a long way to restoring the usefulness of AFs. As it is now, AFs are the can CCP has been kicking down the road for a decade or so; they are even less attractive now that T3ds have sped past and flattened the can to the pavement.

(Scipio Artelius) #16

Frigates have never (and shouldn’t) competed on equal footing with destroyers (pilot skill aside).

AFs were great against other frigates though and in numbers outclassed destroyers.

They used to be everywhere in lowsec prior to T3Ds.

I’ll see if I can pull some loss numbers off zkill to show historical data.


Actually, my perception was wrong in terms of any change in AF use. There has been no real obvious change in use of AFs in the last 10 years (orange line = kills, blue line = losses):

There was a dip at the start of 2015 in both kills and losses after the Confessor (Dec 2014) and then Svipul (Feb 2015) were released, but that quickly recovered back to historical levels.

(Lulu Lunette) #17

Are you mad at me

(Scipio Artelius) #18

Hell no. Never. Sorry if you thought that.

(Saladinae) #19

I agree. AF should be a brawling AB boat.

(Saladinae) #20

Doesn’t come anywhere near treading on Succubus territory. Succubus has PERMANENT bonus to non-overheat AB.

The AF only gets a short burst of AB usage ONCE in the entire fight, otherwise he’ll burn out his AB. This dramatically changes the fits (ehp tank vs dps) for both shiplines.

Truly apples and oranges.