Practicality of Carriers

I’d really like CSM input here to get an idea on where these ships fall in place as far as CCP is concerned.

As far as I know, carriers mostly fit into PVE, anti-subcapital warfare, and support. To my understanding over recent years, carrier ratting has been mostly killed by scarcity, BRM, and ESS. There are these new CRAB beacons, but a HAW fit dread can outperform them in the same role of destroying the subcapital ships while providing much more value in tank and the inability to be defanged either through killing fighters or applying EWAR to them. I don’t think there’s any kind of PVE that a dread doesn’t do better.

As far as anti-subcapital warfare is concerned, carriers have been repeatedly nerfed in the role they are apparently supposed to be unmatched in. In one patch, CCP nerfed light fighter speed to the point to where heavy fighters have a higher base speed than their lighter counterparts (e.g. Tyrfing II —> Einherji II). I never understood how a game developer could look at that nonsensical scenario and say “Yeah, this is fine”, but it is what it is. Carrier DPS is nothing to scoff at by any means and this hasn’t changed, but when you consider all the nerfs and crippling weaknesses like having fighters destroyed, jammed, or interfered with by drones or other fighters… a HAW phoenix can also apply threatening (and applicable) DPS to subcapital ships with much higher-staying power and none of the flaws. I guess the point is that if a carrier is going to have its primary role nerfed so much with all of the remaining liabilities in place, then why wouldn’t I just spend billions of isk on a HAW phoenix instead?

There are also support fighters, but those have been suppressed with nerfs and the fact that their EWAR strength (See Cenobite and Dromi) often do not outweigh the value of sacrificing an entire slot that could potentially provide another 700-900 DPS with another squadron. They were also entirely removed from supercarriers because CCP seems to want to shift carriers away from the support role entirely and more to DPS. At that point I question why you wouldn’t just fly a dread or titan if you want pure DPS that can’t be defanged. I predict burst projectors will probably be removed or nerfed next.

On top of that, with the scarcity patch inflating the cost of capitals, It’s not really a personal or playstyle decision at this point anymore, it’s the fact that after all the nerfs are considered, if you just compare the value of these options on paper, carriers either don’t make sense, offer too little value for their now increased ISK cost, or only offer niche tactics in comparison to something else. Simply enjoying the playstyle isn’t enough to motivate me if its been nerfed to the point of not providing much more, equal, or even less value than something else while now initially costing 3x as much due to CCP’s scarcity stunt.

This isn’t to say that carriers suck or they aren’t powerful, but I think they’ve been nerfed to the point to where I don’t really see practical value in investing in them for a general role. I’m not going to say “LITERALLY UNPLAYABLE!!!1!” but I think CCP has jabbed them enough times to the point that I will say “What rational person would use this anymore when they can just use X?”. They just appear to me as just another, slightly better, or mostly worse option for any use case. If not that, then they are no longer worth the ISK to satisfy a given use case that can be covered by something else. The price of the ships have gone up, and value they provide have only ever decreased because of nerfs. Most players are probably going to look at the numbers (DPS, EHP, application, the fact that your primarily weapon system can’t be jammed or defanged) and just say “Yeah I’ll stick with my HAW phoenix or revelation instead”. They are versatile and can perform multiple tasks unlike dreads, but when you nerf their performance in every single task they can do, people are just going to use something else that has a much sharper performance.

Where exactly are these ships supposed to practically fit in? They’ve been watered down so much that I can’t see any sharp strengths or roles that can’t be matched by something else anymore, unless I’m missing something or not understanding something. Is there any major content or activity where a carrier is actually required or strategically preferred to anything else, or is it just because players like flying the ship and the option of flying a carrier exists?

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As per the words of CCP Aurora during Fan Fest:

“Carriers are at the same time overpowered and completely useless, which is a strange state for a ship to be in.”

@Brisc_Rubal @Mike_Azariah

The prices will come down as the blueprint changes work out and folks start making them again. Yes, they’ve been nerfed over and over again, but that’s because they are so good at what they used to do. You’re always better off with a carrier than a HAW dread, because the carrier can move - the NSA only takes a minute, as opposed to the siege module, and you don’t have to use it to lock a target. They are still very good in groups, they’re great to hit structures with, especially if you’re skynetting.

In the end while they aren’t as good as they used to be, they are still very versatile and folks still use them all the time.

Yep, this is the issue. There are still people who scream that carriers are OP in PvP, and then folks like you that think the opposite. That’s usually a good sign that things are in a good place.

There are people who possess the same divisive attitude against a lot of things in this game if not everything, and most of the time it’s based on how it strictly affects their own individual experience while ignoring all other factors. I’ve personally ran into people who still cry that ECM drones are OP in PvP, but would turn around and say the opposite if they were the one using them. Their opinion isn’t based on whether something makes sense, but instead on “Is this providing a good experience according to my own terms”

There will always be people that fly ships even if they aren’t ideal or make little sense for a given situation.

For this case though, I’m looking at the nerfs (especially the comical patch that lead to heavy fighters being faster than light fighters) and thinking the numbers don’t really add up anymore in terms of the practicality. There are many practical scenarios where mobility isn’t needed for a capital ship to shoot subcaps or provide value. Most players I’ve seen generally commit capital ships in situations where decisive firepower and survivability is needed in a static position, not when they need to move around. A carrier being able to move can provide niche tactical advantage, but that’s offset by a list of liabilities that dreadnoughts do not have to deal with. The only way you can ignore these liabilities is if enemy players for some reason do not feel like exploiting them to render a carrier useless, but that’s not practical. That’s just a trade off and decision players have to make, but if one is going to repeatedly nerf the value carriers provide in the first place, then how does that decision make sense anymore? it may not override “I just like flying the ship and this is fun”, but the thought still lingers.

Is the general consensus that carriers are in a good spot? I really just want to know if they’re going to be kept this way and continuously nerfed or if a different direction is being taken. I wanted to get back in the game, and I do pilot carriers, but I wouldn’t want to continue investing in them if they’re going to keep getting nerfed until I start saying “what’s the point?” I’ve personally met with several pilots that already had that sentiment a little more than a year ago and then left the game when CCP changed something else they didn’t like (for example sub price increase). I don’t want to return to the game just to join that mentality in the next few balance patches and then jump ship when CCP suddenly decides to raise the sub price to $25 instead of $20

I think your question above is a pretty strange one: will carriers continue to be nerfed, and how can this be justified if CCP raises prices again?

Given the nerfs that have been applied already, and the furore over the just-announced price rise, I’m pretty confident in stating that further nerfs to carriers or sub price rises are a ways off in the distance.

If you’re looking for some blanket statement that there will be no changes in these areas for the next X number of years, you won’t get it - who could say that?

No, I’m moreso looking to guage the overall perspective from CSM or anyone who has a hand in the game’s development since their opinion and perspectives are the ones that mostly matter. The sub price increase was just a arbitrary example. I can’t ask “Will there be no changes in these areas for the next X number of years?”, but I think it would be reasonable to ask “Do you think this is okay or carriers are too powerful”?

I’m not concerned if further nerfs to carriers or some change someone disagrees with is far off or probably even 3+ years away. The time period doesn’t really matter, but I gave “the next two balance patches” as just an example. This game is too long-term for something like that. I want to know what the developers think so I can guess if something would reasonably happen at all. What CCP thinks often results in a trend or pattern in their patches and decisions. The trending mentality I see from players is that carriers are too powerful or fine as is. Does CCP and several CSM believe that as well? That’s really my only question if you want it boiled down.

I’ve gotten one “Maybe yes” and one “Probably not” so far.

Tagging works ya know. Helps to tag the csms or even some of the future csms

I don’t expect there to be any immediate changes, no. Like I said, for the most part, I don’t hear complaints about carriers anymore. The main complaints we get about caps these days focus in the price, which I hope is going to start coming down again.

@Innominate @Kenneth_Feld @Merkelchen @progodlegend @Gobbins @Suitonia @Vily @i_Beast

I used to love flying carriers primarily because having to manually fly your fighters and the ship is so engaging. Sadly the last round of nerfs was too much for me when I found myself pinned down by two ab lokis which the fighters couldn’t track. While Brisc is right and carriers are very versatile, outside of a couple of pvp niches like structure grids (did I hear CCP are considering nerfing cap tether) they are a jack of all trades, master of none type hull which puts them at odds with the rest of the cap meta.

Would be great to see them given a more mainstream role which they can excel at outside of large fleet fights.