Rebalance for ECM

modules
game-mechanics
redesign

(Tikkirei) #1

TLDR: Give ECM the NSA treatment. Instead of affecting the number of targets a ship can lock, a successful jam now makes a certain set of modules cost more capacitor to activate than the ship can possibly have.

At Fanfest, a corp mate of mine asked Fozzie about the possibility of a fifth low on the post-rebalance Obfuscation Manifold Tengu. For background… the armor tanked ECM Tengu has been a staple of wormhole brawls for years. Last year’s T3C rebalance left the armor ECMgu with only four lows. It’s now far too squishy to even consider bringing on grid and this has contributed to the deterioration of the brawl meta. Fozzie provided my corpmate with a response that was curt and to the point, stating:

I will not do anything to buff ECM.

Fozzie’s opinion on the matter was understandable… but disappointing to hear. ECM has long been a hot button topic for EVE. Its manner of control, a hard denial of target lock and all actions dependent upon it, is frustrating for its victims and offensive to their gaming experience. On the other hand though… it can’t simply be removed from the game. It is the only ewar flavor for the Caldari Faction, numerous skills and ship types are built entirely around it, and… despite how irritating it can be to play against… it serves a unique and important function by allowing interaction and control in fights where damage alone is insufficient break the tank/reps of key ships (jamming out application, reps, tackle, etc…). In my opinion, this last point is sufficient reason for why ECM should remain in the game in a way that achieves this goal but in a more agreeable manner.

Rework for ECM:

Targeted ECM no longer has any effect on the number of targets a ship can lock. Instead, a successful jam will increases the activation cost of the following sets of modules by 10M GJ:

Energy Neutralizers
Energy Nosferatus
Remote Armor Repairers
Remote Capacitor Transmitters
Remote Shield Boosters
Remote Sensor Boosters
Remote Sensor Dampeners
Remote Tracking Computers
Stasis Webifiers
Target Painters
Targeted ECM
Tracking Disruptors
Warp Disruptors
Warp Scramblers

This change would allow players to still keep targets locked, to use turrets/launchers, to direct drones, etc while preserving the ewar interactivity of ECM. This also gives CCP a great deal of freedom to decide what actions it wants ECM to affect. Perhaps jamming logi is too strong? No problem, remove remote armor and shield reps from the list of included items. Maybe we don’t want ECM to be so binary? That’s fine. Instead we could simply double or triple the activation cost of remote armor repairers instead of denying use altogether. Or perhaps we’d rather attenuate performance by applying an effect strength penalty to the modules (other than scram/disrupt) rather than making the module temporarily unusable via a giant cap penalty. What if you decide it’s time to give Caldari that second form of ewar it’s always wanted? Perhaps two flavors of ECM are in order, one that interacts with ewar, and a second set of modules that uses the same mechanics but interacts with a separate set of modules (turrets / launchers, tracking / guidance computers, etc…)

Long story short… changing the mechanic away from target lock and towards the ‘networked sensory array’ treatment would ease the frustration of the mechanic, preserve its core functionality, allow for more minute balance, and open more gameplay possibilities for CCP to implement if they so desire.


(NotTheSmartestCookie) #2

The only good thing about this post is that you did not make it in the General Discussion forum.


(Maulthia) #3

This reeks of “I got jammed one time and didn’t get to get on all the killmails I wanted, so if I could have just activated my cap-less guns all would have been well to get on the km”

GJ on successfully baiting people to post on the Eve-O forum though.


(PinkMonkey Dragon) #4

nope. Just turns them into a weird sort of neut/nos. No good.

Here’s one. Make a type of counter… OH … wait… there is one.

No, i mean, is ee your point on wanting the tengu back to do a thing it used to do. I want it back to do something i used to do too. U used to be able to use is, as a FW poliot, to go pvp in high sec and catch FW people mining and hauling–it could tank even the NPC police in jita if it HAD to. I had even, a few times, used it to camp the high-sec side of the tama gate for war targets. it 100% cant do that now. It cant tank it, it doesnt have enough cap, and nothing on gods green earth can make it do either one of those ever again (let alone both).

ECM–maybe, have ccp install a chance-based mini game as a counter. Say you get jammed, if you choose, you could click on the jam icon and up pops a mini-game. Sort of a maze–that you cant see, with 4 marks on the other side. You can click the 4 possible exits on the other side, you only have 2 chances. ONE, if you click it and reach the right exit, it unjams you. If you fail the first time, you are jammed 5 more seconds than normal, but you get a 100% chance that THAT ecm wont jam you next cycle. If you miss BOTH, you lose the game on that ecm and it closes with your 5 extra seconds, ecm free to jam you again.

Would sort of feel a little more like being able to hack your way out of a jam–like a pilot should be able to on their ship. ya know? Since you cant target anything while jammed, it would be an easy thing to do–what else do you have to do anyway? lol


(Arthur Aihaken) #5

Why not have a successful ECM result reduce the number of targets by say 5. Counters to ECM would then be signal amplifiers and auto targeting systems.

It would be very hard to completely ECM larger ships that can lock multiple targets - even with several successful ECM rolls. This actually provides a reason to train Advanced Target Management to V.

Ships with ample utility highs (such as the Leshak or Nestor) could effectively achieve 15 or more eligible targets. Signal amplifiers also provide defense against sensor dampeners.


(Old Pervert) #6

Your change makes ECM useless. Worthless. It’s just a neut with a longer range, much lower effect, and is easily mitigated.

It has no immediate impact, which for pretty much all ECM boats is utterly essential to their survival.


(Dark Engraver) #7

Nooooope.

Also how dare you!


(Ember Fireheart) #8

Hmm, I feel that for all the other race’s their e-war helps to deal with their weaknessess:

Gallente are enemies of Caldari who are the sniper race so to stand a chance they force their opponent’s to come in closer with damps.

Amarr enemies of Minimatar who are fast and track much better than them, are projected with tracking disruptor’s to force the mini ship’s to slow down (reducing their transversal) so that they track better allowing the Amarr to track as well.

Minimatar enemies of Amarr who are much tankier than them with their tiny sig’s are lit up brightly with target painter’s so that the amarr doesn’t just sig tank all their damage.

Caldari enemies of Gallente are trolls by nature so they spent months and months coming up with the best way to troll their enemies with ECM, it doesn’t counter their weakness but it at least gives them a good laugh.

If caldari have good range and want to kite then by far the more logical e-war would be a mass projector which increases enemy ship’s mass making it harder for them to turn allowing Caldari to stay at range easier without the gallente getting ontop of them with their blasters.


(Seraphia) #9

The problem, in my opinion, with EWAR is an age-old problem with any loss-of-control mechanic in any MMO-- it doesn’t feel good to be on the field but be useless.

Now EVE’s implementation you can at least defend yourself and move around, which makes it feel less stifling than stunlocks in other MMOs. But the fact of the matter is taking control away from the player of what they’re doing is both the essence of “unfun” and the essence of forcing tactical gameplay.

Some games have gotten around this by reducing the impact of stuns to heavy damage output loss, or goofy UI mechanics that make it HARDER for the player. The first is just a cosmetic change, and improves player perceptions, so that’s good. The second has serious issues because it hits players of different ability-- both skill and physical-- differently, it especially hits people that use adaptive devices to play games hard and EVE is not and never will be a twitch game, so that doesn’t really fit for EVE.

So at the end of the day, that leaves mechanics like reducing turret tracking or damage/repair/boost/banana output as viable because they “feel” better, or going a different way.

I don’t have an answer, except that I think EVE has far too much of a binary nature. You’re jammed or not. You’re scrammed or not. But that’s compounded by the fact these states are also continual– once someone has a jam on you, or a scram, or a web, or whatever else, it’s not going away until they’re dealt with somehow. For webbing that’s fine, for scramming I’d like to see some limits that force pirates to be proactive and deny hunters the ability to scram a capital and sit there for 20 minutes while their alliance gets a kill team together. But that’s beyond the scope of this post.

So I would suggest either Diminishing Returns, where as time goes on you slowly build resistance to whatever is being used on you until they’re forced to let the DR cool and leave you unsuppressed or change tactics (switching from jam to neut or something), or at the very least add a refire timer so you can’t use EWAR as a “stunlock”-- it would let you jam when you need to in order to do what you’re trying to do, but avoid locking pilots into uselessness long-term, forcing you to have a plan and intelligently time your EWAR resources. If that happens then you could reasonably buff EWAR without it ruining the gameplay experience.


(James Zimmer) #10

Your post is probably one of the best posts I’ve ever seen on why ECM is hated so much. Thanks for the thoughts.

Great idea, very similar to citadel points and scrams. However, I think that making someone sit in a ship waiting on a cooldown timer to do their primary task is not good gameplay for ships that don’t have a lot of tank, and diminishing returns would probably be better.

Another way you could do this is change ECM from being a deny-lock module, to a break-lock module, like a burst ECM jammer. This has the advantage of having no impact on ECM jam chance calculations, meaning that you could probably implement it reasonably easily. Obviously, this would be a huge nerf, so ECM would probably have to be made stronger in other ways: Higher jam chance or faster cycle times.


(James Zimmer) #11

I don’t think this really solves the root of the problem, which is that it’s unfun to have your ship get absolutely shut down. Most ships don’t need to target much in a fight, so if you merely reduce the number of things people can target, in most cases, you haven’t done enough to make the ECM ship worth using. If you increase the jam chance to make ECM more useful, then you’re back to square one where ECM is just shutting down ships.

IMO, ECM is already, by far, the weakest form of EWAR in the game, but it’s also the most hated. It requires a refit based off of what is on field and has to be near-tankless to be good and has a substantial chance of doing nothing at all. However, if it works, it completely shuts down another ship. Compare that to damps or TD/GDs. Damps don’t require refits at all and TD/GDs require only 2 options, both can fit armor tanks with no EWAR strength loss, and their modules always work. However, they can only effectively shut down ships, not absolutely shut down ships, which makes them feel less oppressive, even though an Orthrus with a 3km targeting range (possible to achieve with a specialized Lachesis + command bursts) or 4km shooting range (possible with a specialized Curse + command bursts) is as ineffective as not being able to target at all, and can be done with 100% reliability.


(Siebmordan Hur) #12

The game would certainly have benefited most by Fozzie’s departure from ccp. And the earlier this occured the more benificial the departure. This is a pretty useless observation at this point however. Many have moved on to never return. Other’s like myself hang around looking for the same fun that we once enjoyed. I am not looking for ppl to agree with this opinion, I don’t need it to hold it.


(Luigi mon-de-sound) #13

You get it. Ecm is the weakest e-war in the game on the weakest ships in the game. Caldari ewar ships have no tank to speak of whatsoever, so the moment your jam fails or if you fail to jam the wrong target your dead.

Most kitting fleets I come across are fitted with damps, the only time you see ECM are with people who are truly risk advirce and will run the moment a fight escalates.


(Ember Fireheart) #14

It’s only weak in blob vs blob warfare but completely broken in solo/ small gang pvp, look at many of the alliance tourney’s for example ecm is even horrible to watch.

I’m sure there is something else ecm can do that would make it not broken in solo/small gang pvp but make it better for fleet use.

And hence a change to ECM is needed and would improve it for both parties.

By far the best response on server of ECM, eve is good in most area’s by giving you options to use while in combat, maybe ecm need’s more tactical option’s to counter it.

Such as changing ECM to be initially stronger but give it 1km optimal and the rest of its range in falloff so that you can burn range to weaken it a lot, at the moment it will still perma jam you at massive range’s.

But then that will make it weaker for fleet use so might be better to change it to a different effect rather than “cannot target anything”.


(Luigi mon-de-sound) #15

I get that people want to change ECM, but I feel like most are forgetting one important thing… Ecm is the only ewar capable of shutting down a carriers dps, changing ECM will prevent small/blops from killing carriers leading to a bigger divide between subs/caps. The question is how much do you want that?


(Ember Fireheart) #16

Then maybe change ecm for an e-war that’s good vs drones :] and go directly to the problem.


(Luigi mon-de-sound) #17

Why even bother making a new ewar. Like it’s been stated before here and other threads calling for ECM nerfs, ECM is the weakest of ewars, on ships with the weakest of tanks, and the slowest race. What more do you want nerfed???

Oh, and unlike other ewar, ECM is only good on those ships with no tank because of the bonus that they have. You can put any of the other ewar and have a greater impact than a unbonused ECM.


(Seraphia) #18

I think I touched on this well. It “feels” in the subjective user experience the most punishing because of how it affects you. Even if you can’t land a hit, if you can pick targets and fire on them you feel in control of your character. If you can’t lock anything you can’t DO anything but mind your own modules a bit. Being helpless isn’t fun, it’s a psychological thing, not a game balance thing.

People are far happier to be hitting 1/10th as often or for 1/10th as much damage than unable to lock anything up 9/10ths of the time, even if the mechanical effects on DPS are the same. Because they still feel in control.


(Old Pervert) #19

I haven’t read any of this thread but for the last two posts. Didn’t even read the OP. But, I just said this in a different thread and as I said it, I realized how much more sense it makes than the current implementation.

Reduce ECM’s chance to jam by a small amount, and dramatically increase their tank. Think “Rook”.

The Rook’s ECM will certainly not have 100% uptime on much of anything (certainly not if fit with multispec) but they have buffer and DPS. Their ECM adds flavour, while they’re still an option for tank and spank.

From an ECM pilot’s perspective:

  • if my jam doesn’t land, at best I’m useless to the fight and at worst, I lose my ship.
  • I can be hard-countered by being shot at - my options are warp away or die.
  • I must be at range.

From an ECM target’s perspective:

  • Stupid ■■■■■■■ ■■■■!!! I can’t ■■■■■■■ do anything about this goddamned ■■■■■■■ griffin.

The ECM pilot’s problems get resolved by having a ship that can hold on grid long enough for reps to land. The ECM target’s problems get resolved by making perma-jamming (by a single pilot at least) a thing of the past.


(z0rberg) #20

FOUND THE GUY WHO’S GONNA GET JAMMED FIRST AND KILLED LAST!