An Update to Armor Layering Membranes

Layered Coatings (LCs) and Layered Energized Membranes (LEMs), collectively Armor Layering Membranes (ALMs) need a rework. Maybe this would involve some other rebalances, but I feel like there is a niche in the game that ALMs could fill that would not devalue the current Armor Plates and armor resistance mods.

At current, the ALM is designed to be a module that is cheap on fitting but delivers a big boost to armor HP. The problem is that resistance modules completely outclass it in almost every scenario for EHP, without even considering their greater effectiveness inder remote repairs.

Even with polarized fits, additional plates are always superior to ALMs, even into the battleship lineup. The quad plated triple BCU TyFI is better in pretty much every way than both the triple plate LEM triple BCU and quad plate LEM double BCU fits.

ALMs need a niche where they can shine while not encroaching too mcuh on resist modules or making ships like the PNI and NAug too powerful. That niche is in solo or small-gang armor buffer sans logi.
For future reference, the “standard” plate of a class is 1600mm for BS, 800mm for cruiser, and 400mm for frigate.

I propose a smooth (almost) doubling of the benefits of this module. For example, the LEM II, the best option for this module that isn’t faction, currently gives only 15% bonus armor. That only exceeds an additional standard plate once between 4 and 6 plates have already been fitted, which is far too much for any useful application, and then you have to factor in stacking penalties with Trimark rigs, which only hurts the ALM more.

If you use it to bolt more armor onto a 1600mm cruiser or dual 400mm frigate, you’re better off just going with resist mods, and if you do polarized at that scale, it’s just better to go with Medium/Large Shield Extenders. ALMs should feel like they reward oversized plates or tight fits, but they end up relegated to being laughed at the few times they come up on zKillboard. I propose raising their benefit by about 2/3, putting the LEM II at a 25% bonus. If that’s too much, make it only 20%, but it still desperately needs a buff (or resists need a nerf, but that won’t happen in a million years).

At 25%, the module will surpass a plate’s effectiveness after 2-5 plates, depending on the type and whether Trimarks are fitted, which they likely will be. This will allow the ALM family to fill a role both as a supplement to big active reps so they can catch easier (think cruiser XLASB but less pronounced) and as a bonus to buffer when no logi is present. This would make the module significantly more used and give armor cruisers and battlecruisers a better chance in the shield-dominated meta of 2023, especially in the Battlecruiser and Battleship lines. I bet some of you Kronos pilots are crying about repping 3/4 of your armor each cycle but not having the fitting for a plate while keeping all of your big neuts and stuff online.

Anyway, that’s my schpiel, should this balance happen, and how should it be altered? I want to make it clear that I do not fly armor buffer ships, so I really have little reason to want this change for myself, so don’t go there.

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Having a penalty to RR received would bring it more in line with the intended solo play style. That would also allow the module to be over powered for solo play while being next to useless for fleet warfare (and still be balanced,) except in the extreme top end where fleets don’t even bother to repair ships since they get deleted as soon as they’re primarried.

You could also do something weird, like make them less effective the more people are in a fleet with the person with the module.

Interesting, but I don’t see how it could be done. Rep amount is solely on the part of the logi ship, I don’t think you could be able to introduce rep resistance here, but good thought.

Extreme? I thought that that was basically the norm nowadays…

No. Those are two very wierd variables to mix. Also, standing fleets exist. Solo players are often in standing to report intel or be available for a quick drop on a vulnerable target.

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There are rigs that modify this attribute already. It wouldn’t be hard to modify incoming rr using a negative modifier.

There are plenty of fleets that use remote reps. It’s the fleet fights that are so large rr doesn’t factor in that qualify as extreme.

I agree… that’s why I called it weird.

I’m not sure what your point is. If the module is designed for solo play… but the pilot is in a fleet… it defeats the purpose.

… then they’re not truly solo are they?

I’m not sure you understand what a standing fleet is, which is a tad unfathomable to me.

…yes. If they fight alone, they are solo. People join fleets in case they are called back for something. Putting the fleet member limit on there is like giving a pilot a penalty for having a chat channel open. It does the same thing.

When I am solo roaming in FW space, I join standing to see which friendlies are active hunters and which are farmers. This gives me a good read on the activity of the area.

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Fleets have much more utility than a chat channel… like the ability to warp to the other members. You can’t really call yourself solo when you have that option available to you. Your argument reminds me of when people used to claim solo kills when they had off grid links.

Yes, but that point is moot because linking effectiveness to whether you are in a fleet or not is a horrible idea.

Yes you can. I do.

Well, that’s why off-grid links are gone now. But it’s still technically solo. If I boost off a Bifrost before entering a complex, I still am solo, I just worked smarter instead of blingier to give myself an edge.
Please don’t do that. Everyone ignore what I just said about boosts before entering a complex.

No, it’s not. The kill boards may not have recognized the links on the kill mail, but if you’re getting stats from another character, you’re not solo. That’s no different from someone duel boxing and claiming they’re flying solo.

If you don’t do anything, nothing happens and you die. That’s what makes it solo. In the case of remote reps or dual boxing, one player can do literally nothing and still not die due to the reps. This is ignoring things like passive shield tanks, for semantics reasons.

When someone is dual boxing, the power of two ships is brought to bear. This is clearly not solo.
When someone is getting off-grid links, it is just like running with implants. A full set of Nirvanas doesn’t make someone any less solo than someone without. Same with off-grid links. It’s just a stat boost to a ship, and that one ship is still only one ship.
With remote reps there are physically two ships. Sending in an alt first as bait, even if they do no damage, is still physically two ships.
With OGLs, the combat only involves your one ship, therefore solo.

How does this not apply for offgrid links? You’re getting your power from another source. Sure it may be passive, but it’s still power that’s not from the “solo” character.

The same thing applies with off grid links. The second ship may not be on grid with the first, but it still “physically two ships.”

This by itself makes it solo. If the second ship isn’t on grid, all it is in an investment that is findable and killable by someone. It’s like having a mobile depot. If you refit and leave the depot in space, are you not solo anymore since you can be assisted by the Mobile Depot?

mobile depots don’t give you combat stats. nor do they need to be operated by a second account.

Sure they do. Refitting racial jams or resists for specific targets? That can give you another huge advantage.

You can make the same argument for docking in a station and refitting. That’s silly.

I know it’s silly. Kinda the point.

Most simple solution: Just increase their bonus. They already have a “penalty” on RR compared to someone just fitting an EANM into the same slot, even with stacking penalty applied. So they should at least give quite some more eHP.
Makes them useful for purposes where high buffer is needed over resistances.

That would mean to increase their current values by roughly 50%, else the resistance modules will simply stay better as the buffer benefit would be too insignificant compared to the additional resistances you could get instead (which give both buffer and boost incoming repairs). CCP simply forgot that the Armor Compensation Skills boost the effectiveness of armor coatings and membranes, so an EANM II will give 22.5% resistances (without stacking penalty) and still give 19.55% resistances (with 1x stacking penalty), while a layering membrane will only give 16%

tldr (value of the comparable resistance membrane in brackets, with Armor Compensations V):
Layered Coating I: increase from 7.3% to 16% (multispectrum gives 13.1%)
Upgraded Layered Coating I: increase from 7.9% to 18% (multispectrum gives 15.2%)
Layered Coating II: increase from 9% to 21% (multispectrum gives 17.3%)

Layered Energized Membrane I : increase from 13.5% to 20% (multispectrum gives 16.9%)
Compact Layered Energized Membrane I: increase from 14.5% to 23% (multispectrum gives 19%)
Layered Energized Membrane II : increase from 16% to 26% (multispectrum gives 22.5%)

Sounds solid. I like the idea of toying with stacking penalties. It might even make sense to have the modules not be stacking penalized but have their drawbacks not stacking penalized either, like decreasing agility (not mass, not inertia, just agility would be cool) or increased heat damage from low slots or something.

That way you can have something like a cruiser that feels like it has a 100MN AB but all the time. I imagine a buffer dread can have some fun with this. Get a ton of layering stuff and overdrives and a cool MWD and light the thing, burn as fast as possible, and seige. Go thousands of kilometers!