I wanted to put forward an idea to add a new avenue for PVP and perhaps provide some balance between subcap and capital warfare.
In the interests of full disclosure this idea has been inspired by a feature in the game Homeworld 2.
In Homeworld 2 Bomber Frigates can be upgraded with bombs that can target capital ship subsystems. If you zoom in on an enemy capital ship it is possible to target individual subsystems (ie. engines, weapons, production facilities).
Couple of quotes and info from different sites
“One of the most potent uses for bombers is in the removal of subsystems from enemy ships. Once their bombs have been upgraded a few flights of bombers can easily destroy/disable an enemy subsystem in a single pass.”
"now you’re able to take a small group of ships that would otherwise be completely outmatched by such a ship, and you wouldn’t even bother battling, because there’s no way that they could win; well, they might not be able to win now, but if you can have a small group of ships disable the weapons on a capital ship, that becomes a worthwhile exchange. "
Eve doesn’t specifically have subsystems for capital ships, and this may be difficult to code into the game (ie. disabling the jump drive or engines on a capital ship), but we do have modules. Modules in Eve already have a hit point and damage mechanism with the introduction of thermodynamics.
Eve also doesn’t have the ability to zoom in and target a specific module on target ship, but it does have a Ship scanner module that can provide a list modules on a target ship.
I think this could add some really interesting tactical aspects to small gang and fleet battles.
Consider the following options:
Disabling the Doomsday weapon on a Titan
Disabling the 25000mm plate on a Super
Disabling the Capital Shield Booster or PANIC module on a Rorqual
What I would suggest is:
Add a new missile launcher and missile to stealth bombers that can target capital ship modules. This should be restricted to a single launcher per bomber and should not be fitted at the same time as a bomb launcher.
Add the ability to target capital ship modules from the Ship scanner results window.
Damage from the new missile should apply damage to the targeted module in the same way that overheating does.
Targeting time for a module should be based on the module volume attribute in the similar way to the signature radius of a ship affects targeting time (ie. a Captial Shield Booster I module with a volume of 4,000m3 should be faster to target than an Adaptive Invulnerability Field I with a volume of 20m3).
A new skill should reduce the incoming damage by 5% per level in the same way the Thermodynamic skill reduced overheat damage by 5% per level.
Capital ship pilots should receive feedback that a module is being damaged (ie. flashing heat ring around module)
Capital ship pilots should be able to repair a module receiving damage using Nanite Paste but the module would need to be deactivated as normal for nanite paste use.
A few thoughts about the balance of this feature. Obviously we don’t want super cheap bomber frigates to single handedly take down multi billion isk supers and titans.
- Stealth bombers are soft, often described as glass cannons. They should be easily contained by an opposing sub capital fleet.
- The need to fit a ship scanner module for this feature requires the stealth bomber pilot to give up a mid-slot module (e.g. target painter, sensor dampener, tracking disrupter, shield extender, warp disrupter/scrambler)
- The capital pilot should be able to use nanite paste to repair the module while receiving damage (assuming it is deactivated as per normal use of nanite paste). This should allow capital pilots to tank damage from a small number of bombers.
- Optionally the new launcher could require a launcher hard point. This would require the stealth bomber pilot to sacrifice a torpedo launcher. This would effectively reduce bomber DPS by 1/3rd.
- Rigs are immune to heat damage and would therefore be immune to damage from this feature.
- Limiting the new launcher to a single launcher per bomber will limit the effectiveness of single or small groups of bombers.
- The ship scanner module isn’t 100% accurate. It may require multiple scan attempts to find the module you want to target.
- Missile damage should be around 2 HP. This should then require 20 missiles to offline a module with 40 structure HP. (depending on levels of new skills this could range between 16 - 26 missiles. This would require approximately 20 bombers to single volley a single module.
- Capital ships have between 16 and 21 modules. This would require approximately 420 missiles to offline every module on a capital ship (depending on skills).
- Most capital ships would have multiple resistance and buffer modules fit. This would require multiple such modules to be damaged to significantly reduce the tank of a well fit capital ship. Additionally as previously mentioned buffer and resistance rigs would be immune to damage.
- Most dreadnoughts and titans would also have multiple weapon modules fitted, again requiring multiple modules to be damaged to effectively reduce the DPS of a capital ship.
- Carrier/super and Rorqual DPS could be reduced but not completely incapacitated by this feature as drones and fighters can still operate with all ship modules offline.
- Rorqual pilot should still be able to activate panic module before it is damaged, providing time for a response fleet.
The amount of time a stealth bomber needs to be on grid for this feature to work would be significant, making them ripe targets for sub caps.
- Missile flight time requires the stealth bomber to remain on grid until impact (up to 7.5 seconds for a light missile).
- The need to target the capital ship first, then run a ship scanner (possibly multiple times), then target a module and add missile flight time would add up significantly.
- As previously mentioned damaging a single module on a capital ship would not completely incapacitate it, thus requiring multiple modules to be targeted and damaged to be effective.
Range limit requires relatively close range combat. Well within the effective range of an opposing sub capital fleet.
- A light missile launcher on a stealth bomber has an effective range of 19-39km. The new Launcher should have similar range.
- The Ship Scanner II module has a max range of 60km and falloff of 30km.