As Fanfest is closing in again, and CCP Aurora at a Roundtalbe at last years Fanfestsaid that they are not happy with how Assault Cruisers are at the moment, how they are just too good in everything, and the to go ship for fleet battles, I thought I´ll bring that Idea back up again.
I want to split this suggestion threat into three sections, the past of Assault cruisers, my general Idea for my change, and the reasoning for it. I´m also only proposing a general idea, so no exact values, as those of course would have to be worked out carefully.
Back before the big re-balance with where the Assault DCU was introduced, Assault Cruisers got a small balance pass by increasing their cap, lock range and sensor strength, with the reasoning to make them a bit more resistant to ewar. While this idea looked good on paper, it had the downside that you now had a ship with faster locking speed, higher locking range and a cap that could easily made stable even with higher cap-usage fittings. But I guess it made them more resistant to those ewars?
Some time later a whole new stat/function got introduced into the game, ewar-resistance, which we saw applied to the marauders for example, but when it came to the HACs, the idea to make them more resistant to ewar seemed to have been forgotten?
So with that in mind, I think we could really make it an interesting ship around that.
To start out I would take the stats of their normal T1 counterparts, and reduce their speed, cap, sensor strength, lock range by 10-20%, and give them the role bonus of “+15% ewar resist for every level of Heavy Assault Cruisers” (maxing out at 75% at level 5)
You now have a ship that is a bit slower than it´s T1 counterpart, but barely can be slowed down by webs, has to think a bit more about its cap (Battery/Cap charges almost necessary), but is hard to get neuted, and so on. By reducing the locking range dramatically you can even prevent the current sniper meta you have with them (unless the players sacrifice more slots for it), and give them the tools to actually get close and brawl it out, and still being able to get out again, as when both sides should web themselves, the HAC obviously can easily fly out of his enemies range and doesn´t get locked down.
Additionally, with their T2 resists and the ADCU they should be able to tank, and with a higher DPS than their T1 counterpart they could be able to really get close to their target, without having to fear the ewar that usually is the big problem when brawling. The webbing resistance would also allow them to fly underneath battleship guns again, which became almost impossible with the introduction ob grapplers.
Additionally, by not giving them any range bonuses at all, it would even more force them to be more of a brawler than a sniper/kiter
Now, I of course understand that like that HACs wouldn´t be very viable for fleets, or at least not as viable as they are now, but I feel like they would be in a healthier situation than they are right now and having a specialized role (like all T2s should have), where they are simply better than their T1 counterpart in everything but the pricetag. This could also become a go to ship for solo and small scale fleets, where for large scale, other options would be more ideal, and I think the same philosophy could also be applied to the Assault Frigates.