So after seeing the fallout from the ECM changes, and the awkward state dedicated electronic warfare ships are in, I did some soul searching over the useless remains of my Griffin Navy Issue (I use it for used laser ammo storage and housing for my dancers. They’re well-cared for). I came on some poignant questions about the purpose of fleet ewar ships in this game, namely these two:
-Why are EWAR ships used so much less than logistics vessels, when both classes of ships are built around specific modules?
-What can be done to increase EWAR ship usefulness in relation to combat and support vessels?
At the end of the day, logistics will always have a purpose in a fleet instead of damage because support is essential in any kind of team fight; we see this in virtually every MMO or RP game that has some kind of a support class or character, dedicated or not. Disruption, however, isn’t a common thread, and is often mixed in either as a form of aiding in survivability or horizontal warfare.
So with this understanding in mind, I think I’ve found a solution to what’s been plaguing EVE for years in regards to EWAR ship balance, and the roles they play.
Firstly, we have to realize that regardless of situation, the two most important things a pilot needs out of a ship are the ability to survive a fight, and destroy an enemy. This is really, really basic stuff but it’s important to remember because Logistics ships accomplish both of these but t1/faction EWAR ships cannot accomplish both of these effectively. Their support role has to be expanded in order to be useful enough in a fleet compared to DPS or support.
So going off of this mindset, stay with me and consider this proposal:
ECM, Sensor Damps, Tracking Disruption, and Target Painting all need to be overhauled with support scripts to benefit allies as well as disrupt enemies, and have their modules moved to High slots, like Remote Repair modules.
There are very, very good balance reasons to do this, chiefly among them is how we’d see some good parity with Command links, with ewar ships offering more targeted support or combat utility. Utility high slots would also gain more value, making a number of ships such as the attack frigates useful (and Triglavians to an extent). Let’s cover how this would be set up with each racial EW type next.
-Tracking disruptors would be renamed “Tracking Control System”, and add a third script that would allow them to function like the old Tracking links, providing support to turrets (and possibly a fourth script for missiles). If we look at how this would work effectively, imagine how useful it would make the Amarr lineup. For t1, the Crucifier and Arbitrator would be extremely useful in almost any setting due to their ability to augment their allies’ turrets while knocking down the enemies; range control is core to a successful engagement, and people who ignore it pay dearly.
-Remote Sensor Dampeners would be renamed “Auxiliary Sensor Jack”, and gain a third script for remote sensor boosting. Like the Tracking Control system, this would aid heavily in range control and sniper fleets, and not change its role while increasing the number of situations it’s applicable for.
-Target Painters would be renamed “Ship Wake Manipulator”, and gain a script that can be used to reduce the signature radius of allied ships. The effectiveness of this (and potential for abuse) can be balanced with some harsher stacking penalties to multiples being applied, but could definitely aid in protecting vital targets in a fleet like logistics vessels, or providing a little bit of a tanking cushion for reps.
-ECM will retain the same name, but will be reworked so each racial ECM gains a script that can increase the sensor strength of allied vessels with the corresponding type of sensor. This can allow ECM boats to support Logi as well as disrupt them, and as make fleets harder to find with combat probes, opening up the gameplay for ECM significantly. While i don’t necessarily agree with the recent changes to ECM, I think the old system was poor as well for the reasons outlined during the change. Altering it to fulfill a support role if needed mitigates its relatively low power and usefulness as a module for how many slots it can take up, and moving it into the high slots solves a myriad of issues as it pertains to “which jam do i fit for fleet lulz”
All these changes are designed to give EWAR ships the same kind of weight in a fleet that Logistics carry, as a flexible ship that can aid the fleet through disruption or augmenting their abilities. Support in a group takes many more forms than just heals, so having something designed to help groups adapt to changing combat situations better should be at the core of their gameplay.
Now, let’s take a look at what i’m proposing for the ships themselves.
-All t1, faction, and t2 EWAR frigates and cruisers move 1 mid slot to 1 high slot.
-Disruption Battleships keep the same slots, but get their bonuses reworked.
-All EWAR ships gain some form of combat bonus to reflect their need for flexibility as well as being high priority targets.
-The Blackbird andBellicose both gain 1 extra fitting slot.
-All Disruption battleships get their range bonus to their ewar as a role bonus.
-All EWAR ships suffer a 20% reduction in their capacitor pool, and a 20% reduction in scan resolution (to compensate for the many buffs their receive). This can be explained from a lore perspective as a sacrifice to accommodate so much high-tech equipment on their ships, and should help offset power creep at the higher levels. It can also be compensated for with cap boosters and gang support.
-The Griffin changes to a new 3/4/2 slot layout, and gets its capacitor usage bonus to ECM exchanged for a 15% bonus to Light Missile and Rocket launcher Kinetic damage per lvl (still has just 2 launchers).
-Griffin Navy issue gets a 4/4/2 slot layout, with the 85% range penalty being exchanged for 50%
-Kitsune gets a 4/4/2 slot layout as well, and gets its jammer activation cost and capacitor bonus exchanged for a 15% kinetic rocket and light missile damage bonus per level, and 10% bonus to missile velocity per level.
-Blackbird gains a 5/6/3 slot layout, and exchanges its ECM range bonus for a 10% bonus to Light, Heavy, and Heavy Assault Missile kinetic damage.
-Falcon gains a 6/5/3 slot layout, with it exchanging its ECM cap usage bonus for a 10% bonus to medium hybrid optimal range. 5% hybrid damage bonus goes up to 10%.
-Rook gains a 6/6/3 slot layout, and loses a launcher slot. It gets its damage increased to 10% kinetic missile damage, and exchanges its ECM cap usage bonus for a 15% bonus to ECM optimal range and falloff.
-Scorpion gains a 7/7/4 slot layout, with it getting another launcher hard point and its ECM effectiveness boosted to 20% instead of 15%. Both the range bonuses combine into a 20% increase to ECM optimal and falloff as its role bonus, and it gains a 10% bonus to Heavy, Cruise and Torpedo damage.
-Widow remains unchanged.
-The Maulus retains its current slot layout, but exchanges its capacitor usage bonus for a 10% bonus to drone HP and speed. +5 drone bandwidth, +10 drone capacity.
-The Maulus Navy Issue retains the same slots and bonuses, but gains a massive +20 drone bay and +25 bandwidth. This gives it more heft with being able to use 5 medium drones, as well as opening up interesting gameplay with EWAR drones.
-The Keres gains a 4/4/2 slot layout, and exchanges its sensor dampener capacitor bonus for a 15% bonus to Small hybrid turret damage.
-The Celestis gains a 5/4/4 slot layout, and loses its optimal range bonus in favor of a 10% bonus to Drone HP and Drone speed, as well as massively expanding its drone bay. it gets +100 drone capacity and +75 drone bandwidth, allowing it to field a full flight of heavy drones or sentries, albeit without any damage bonus. Like the Maulus Navy, it is designed to be effective with EWAR drones as well as getting a respectable increase in damage without being too oppressive.
-The Arazu gains a 5/5/4 slot layout and loses a turret. It gets its damage bonus increased from 5% per level to 10%. It gains +35 drone capacity and +10 drone bandwidth.
-The Lachesis gains a 6/5/4 slot layout, and exchanges its tracking speed bonus for a 10% damage bonus per level, as well as gaining +50 drone capacity and +25 drone bandwidth.
-The Dominix gains a 50% bonus to Warp Scrambler range as a role bonus.
-The Sin exchanges its inertia bonus for a 20% bonus to warp disrupter and warp scrambler range per level.
-The Crucifier gains a 3/2/4 slot layout, and retains the same bonuses. +10 drone bandwidth.
-The Crucifier Navy Issue gains a 4/2/4 slot layout, and has its range penalty reduced to 50%. It gains +20 drone capacity and +15 drone bandwidth.
-The Sentinel gains a 4/3/3 slot layout, and exchanges its capacitor bonus for a 15% bonus to Tracking Control System optimal and falloff range.
-The Arbitrator remains the same.
-The Pilgrim gains a 5/4/5 slot layout.
-The Curse gains a 6/4/5 slot layout.
-The Armageddon gains a turret and missile hardpoint, and its range bonus moved to a role bonus. The new battleship bonus is 10% bonus to Tracking Control System effectiveness
-The Redeemer gains a 6/5/7 slot layout, and exchanges its laser bonuses for 20% bonus to Energy Nos/neut range, 10% to Nos/neut effectivness, and 15% bonus to Tracking Control System effectiveness.
-The Vigil gains a 4/3/2 slot layout, and exchanges its target painter range bonus for 10% bonus to Rocket and Light Missile explosive damage.
-The Vigil Fleet Issue remains the same.
-The Hyena gains a 4/3/3 slot layout, and exchanges its bonus to signature radius for a 10% bonus to Rocket and Light Missile explosive damage.
-The Bellicose gains a 6/4/4 slot layout. Bonuses remain the same.
-The Rapier gains a 6/5/3 slot layout. Bonuses remain the same.
-The Huginn gains a 7/5/3 slot layout and a turret hardpoint.
-The Typhoon gets its 5% bonus to missile explosion velocity replaced with a 10% bonus to Target Painter effectiveness, and a 50% bonus to Target Painter optimal range role bonus.
-The Panther loses its projectile bonuses and turret hardpoints, instead gaining 4 launcher hardpoints. It gains a 15% bonus to Torpedo, Heavy, and Cruise missile Explosive damage per level. It gains a 10% bonus to Target painter Effectiveness, and a 40% bonus to Stasis Webifier optimal range.
Each of these changes allow all of the Ewar ships to be effective at support as well as combat, and can adapt to a wide variety of tactical needs and situations without having too much damage or tank compared to combat ships in the same weight class as them.