Hey all, surprisingly it doesn’t look like this has been talked about too much, so with that in mind I’d like to offer some criticisms of the HAC meta that was created in early 2018 with the introduction of Assault Damage Controls, and a rebalance of HACs in general.
Heavy Assault Cruisers and more specifically Muninns currently enjoy the position of go-to fleet ships whenever something important is on the line. This isn’t unusual for this game, as constant theorycrafting by committed players has always created an environment where one ship sees widespread use. The problem this time around is that the aforementioned changes have put HACs in a position that to my knowledge has never been enjoyed by another subcapital ship in Eve. I’m using Muninns as an example but I’d like to be clear that Eagles share many of these issues. The Muninn has become a true ‘do it all’ ship, able to engage nearly any class of ship comfortably.
Want to kite? Put on a 50mn and enjoy 100+ km ranges, 200k EHP, and a speed of nearly 2,500 m/s.
Want to brawl? You don’t even need to change the fit! Just load phased plasma or EMP and go nuts with 450 dps out to 50km, the same speed and agility, and the same 200k EHP.
Want to go against missile boats? Missile travel time means you have all the time in the world to hit your ADC and broadcast for reps!
Want to kill capitals? You can again use the same exact fit and shred capital fleets while fighters struggle to keep up and HAW Dreads struggle to track you.
Want to kill tiny ships that should be able to out-transversal you? Load Titanium Sabot and chuckle as that 4 km/s frigate realizes the error of their ways.
The Muninn is not a cheap ship at 300 - 350 mil fully fit, however I don’t believe that justifies its encroachment on the roles of several other classes of ships; especially when you take into account how easy it’s been to make ISK since their reincarnation. Take the era before this where feroxes filled the meta as an example. Feroxes were a powerful ship in their time, but they had their sets of disadvantages. They were slow as hell, they were damage locked to kinetic/thermal, and the tracking of railguns wasn’t great. That meant there was room in the meta for the likes of cruisers and battleships, and those ships indeed saw widespread use. You could use T1 battleships for more important fights and bashes, machariels for anti-capital combat, AB cruisers like the ANI for brawling, hurricanes for kiting, jackdaws and corms for sov warfare, combat interceptors to kill light ships.
In the current meta though, Muninns don’t have the disadvantages the ferox had, and can fill every single role described above. They’re so disgustingly powerful that to trade evenly with them you either need to bring munnins yourself, or tick/pipebomb/boson them. They can both track and outrange frigates and destroyers. They wipe cruisers and battlecruisers in every category. They don’t quite have the damage of battleships, but they have the tank of them and can outkite battleship guns, and even outrange many of them.
What HACs need is a role that they can fill, not to be the be all and end all of subcapital combat.