Let me start with a disclaimer: I like capitals. They have an epic role in the game.
When that is said, I feel like they have become so common that they are starting to become the new battleships.
Low sec PVP is especially hurting under their ubiquity.
Most Low sec groups, that have capitals, have them docked up while having a scout/bait out and/or just waiting for a smaller group to call for their assistance.
When they find a target they deem to have no real risk to them, they cyno in, get a kill or two, cyno back to station and dock up.
I’ve had a carrier drop on me when I was alone in a Procurer.
I’ve seen an Avatar class Titan gate-camping a high-sec gate.
I’ve seen, and been in, small BC/BS fleets get dropped by a couple of carriers and/or dreads (with 1 to 4 support vessels).
As late as yesterday I experienced this in a 9 man cruiser fleet. We where hitting some pirates mining ops, and when they hid in station upon our arrival, we decided to go back through the gate to go home. There was a battleship of theirs, baiting us on the other side.
He engaged after a minute or so, and we retaliated.
Not 30 seconds into the engagement: A Force Aux., a Super-carrier and a Carrier cyno’d on field. We had no counter to that. Just a 6 to 8 battleship/cruiser drop would have been an intense and very difficult challenge to deal with. But no…
Forced to leave the battlefield, we retreated with low morale and dissatisfaction of the game. Not because we “lost” the fight, but because the response was so disproportionate. Now we know we cant engage them in low-sec, other than a few strays we might catch.
They are just going to drop their friends capitals on us.
Even if our fleet is easily outmatched in conventional ships, they’ll still go for the nuclear option.
Low-sec used to be a place to let skill decide encounters… Now it seems like overwhelming force is the only viable tactic.
These situations make me sad… Not that I loose some ships, but that I basically always know that there is a capital capable group within range. If they are bored, they can drop in and ruin whatever I am doing.
Even sizeable Battleship fleets have a hard time taking on capitals if they don’t have capitals too.
Nullsec and FW
These issues are not that bad for areas in Null sec (I believe), where player cohesion and communication is far, far better. Null-sec groups have an easier time mustering defences against a capital incursion than a semi-cooperating area of low-sec has.
Response times in low-sec are far larger and fleets (capital and sub-capital) on standby are much, much less organised. I also see less capital ship deployment by Null-sec groups into benign PVP Engagements, as they are more valuable in political battles (Invasions and defence of space).
In low-sec, capital drops are mostly just for kicks, it seems. Swatting enemy fleets that pose no threat to capital fleets.
Honestly Low-sec is beginning to feel like Null-sec’s “wild west” cousin. With entities that are so powerful that they can sweep anyone but groups of their own size/power aside, if they wish to do so.
Faction warfare is not affected as much by this, probably because of the nature of FW space and FW. But it might get there as well.
I wish there was an easy fix for these issues…
One of the things I’ve discussed with people is simply to limit capital cyno jumps to Jump Freighters and Capital Industrials in low-sec. Simply forcing combat capitals to take the gates.
Capital ship usage would become cumbersome and resource intensive to use in low-sec, not to mention risky. Just taking a capital fleet a few jumps could take 15 mins. A fleet, capable of protecting the capitals, would be needed to make them viable for any use. Even moving them.
This would make the capitals a lot more risky to use in low-sec, make more fights and generally make low-sec a more balanced battlefield. Capitals and Super-capitals would suddenly become the oversized, specialized, force-amplifing battleships they are meant to be, instead of “ninja structures” that can jump across an entire !empire! region in one jump.
Side note: I’m emphasizing on empire here, as the empires would be able to control these low-sec mechanics. And it would be desirable for the empires to limit this enormous display of power from the capsuleers.
Hot drops can still be totally overpowering, but would not leave conventional ships against capitals.
At the same time Capitals balance would remain the same in combat, when they finally arrive, that is.
Low-sec would finally return to the hands of the roaming fleets and sub-capital battles.
I know, I know. I might sound a little butt-hurt, but I’ve heard stories from several people that left the game because of this issue. I am genuinely concerned for the low-sec community at large. Many of these issues comes from the rebalancing runs that capitals have received over the years, becoming more deadly to sub-capitals in the process. Especially with the wide-spread nature of capitals these days. I see Low-sec being a victim of unintentional neglect on this specific issue.
So… When all this is said, I want to ask you people:
Have you experienced the same as me? Or have I just been unlucky with my observations of Low-sec life?
Have I missed something, or overlooked some details in the mechanics?
Null-seccers! You too. What are your experiences with Capitals in Null?
Please leave your opinion and suggestions. Much appreciated!
TL;DR: I wish for more balance between sub-capitals and capitals in low-sec. Any thoughts?