Right now it’s completely nonviable to use a Recon (either Force or Combat) for armor fleets. An armor Lachesis has less about half of the EHP of a shield Lachesis. An armor Curse has less than half the EHP as a shield Curse. Either ships are technically armor ships but the slot layout simply doesn’t permit the armor tank. The Huginn is not as bad and its tanks for armor and shield are closer together but that’s because of the bad slot layout of Minmatar ships. No point in mentioning Caldari recons because they Caldari recons.
This makes it impractical and a waste of a fleet member slot if someone wanted to bring one of those to an Machariel or Eos fleet. Shield tanked recons trade lots of their Ewar utility, but there is no point in having a Huginn in an armor fleet with 3 webs and 2 paints or a Lachesis with 3 points and 3 damps it simply cannot tank even getting sneezed at.
Sure, you could bring T3C but they are T3C and not recons and they do not have the same efficacy as recons when it comes to bonuses. A Proteus, for instance, has a laughable point range compared to a Lachesis.
To fix this I have a few ideas:
A new recon for each race that is armor focused instead of shield focused when it comes to slots. This would be the most flexible solution because you could just use the same hull or a different cruiser that is currently underused in the T2 field. Slots could just be switched around from 7/4 of the current Lach to 4/7 on a hypothetical new armor focused recon, and raw Shield and Armor HP could also just be switched around (or stay the same as a Lachesis already has more raw Armor than Shield). Fitting resources don’t really have to change as these ships have tons of CPU and PG to spare as it is.
What could be problematic is that it would create yet another ship for the already vast number of available ships.
Another possibility would be a mode switcher like the T3D have. You could switch between Shield and Armor mode and would only receive corresponding bonuses for either or to prevent super tanked ships. With the mode switch, slots could change around as above. This could be interesting for a time when CCP finally gets around to create new models for the cruisers. These could then have flexible parts that make it clear in which mode the ship is.
To prevent accidental mode switching in space, this should only be possible when docked.
Another way would be to use subsystems similar to T3C. The T2 Recons could receive sub system slots that for sub systems to focus their stats on either shield or armor.
That’s a really interesting idea. Would probably require some serious recoding of the fitting system but it would definitely elegantly solve the issue of creating new ship modes, new sub systems or new ships, and it would keep the downside of less ewar for more tank tradeoff in place.
Supertanking shouldn’t be an issue because you can already dual tank recons and many do for cynos. Nothing would really change in that regard. The problem is that armor alone is nearly completely nonviable.
Shield versus armour is a bit in favour of shield fits, I think.
Shield tank modules are mainly mid slot modules and armour tank modules are only low slot modules. Notice the difference: mainly, versus only.
Shield tanks with spare low slots can add a damage control and power diagnostics systems to get even more shield EHP, as well as shield flux coils or shield power relays for more passive shield regeneration, but those last two aren’t really relevant in this problem for recon EHP.
There are no mid slot modules to improve the EHP of armour tanked ships.
But that’s an additional problem to the one Recons have, their slot layout.
For a ship type like Recons that heavily relies on mid slots to do their work, it is only normal that they have more mid slots than low slots, which means that if you sacrifice those mid slots which are meant for EWAR in order to get more survivability, a shield tank works much better on them than armour tanks.
If it were the other way around and the ship had more low slots than mid slots, an armour tank would be favourite, but even then a shield tank could work due to the extra shield EHP you can get out of low slots.
To make armour-tanked recons viable, could it be a nice idea to add a new module for mid slots that somehow increases the survivability of an armour tanked ship?
Add more low-slot EWAR buffing modules like the ECM 'Signal Distortion Amplifiers’ for other types of EWAR as well and change the slot layout of EWAR ships to lose one or two mid slots in favour of low slots.
It would result in fewer yet stronger EWAR modules if they choose to focus on EWAR, or if they give up some EWAR in favour of more survivability it would result in more balanced shield EHP amounts versus armour EHP amounts due to more balanced slot layout if they pick either to match their fleet comp, unlike the current situation where a Lachesis either has 80k EHP for shield fits versus below 50k EHP for an armour fit.
In my opinion that’s a problem if there is only 1 ship that can do this role. For everything else you have at least 2 choices, like for Logi, HAC, HIC, etc. Recons only have 1 ship and it’s wholly unsuited for one tank type.
Mid-slot modules that increase armor tank could be a solution but I could see that they are hard to balance. PDS gives more shield tank but not a whole lot. A similar module for armor for mid-slots would increase the tank but not nearly enough to get to shield tank levels. However, if it gave more bonuses than a PDS (say double or triple armor related bonuses), it could be overpowered if used on other ships like Armor Machariels.
I am not a fan of permanent changes to the slot layout of recons. The shield tanked Lach is undoubtedly strong but it needs the slots to be that strong. If you remove one mid and make it a low slot, the ship loses 20k EHP (I took off one LSE from my fitting, which resulted in EHP drop from 82k to 61k). That’s nasty and makes the shield fitting just barely more survivable than an armor fitting. I don’t think that’s ideal.
Could be an idea, yes. It would give the rather limited usefulness of the module a broader usage scope.
With regards to the cyno issue: You are not moving around when you cyno. Tracking shouldn’t be a big issue. Missile application might suffer but I guess that’s what TPs are for. As for the lost shield tank: I guess one would have to do a little pyfa experiment to see how well and hard a volley of Munins hits with this module running.
Well, +1 for the idea that recons need some love, but I’m reluctant to endorse any particular idea. I think balancing ships is really hard because they are used in PvE and PvP in different areas of space; thus, it’s really easy to overlook something. Indeed, it seems like every other ship balance change results in 8 paragraph tirades about how it is ruining wormhole PvP.
What I will say, however, is that I would rather their survivability be tied more to good piloting, than see them be able to face tank stuff through a brick tank.
Piloting can only do so much. If one of the 2 reasonably available tank types just doesn’t work on ships due to slot layout, piloting doesn’t help - in particular not in the areas where these ships are used the most: fleets. You have to stay on or close to your anchor, which means that you can’t be outside of damage range of the hostiles. This is particularly true for the Lachesis because of the limited point range and its role to keep the primary or a hostile anchor or boosts from warping off. Orbiting the anchor is an attempt at mitigating some damage but that is not as easy as it sounds if you have to keep up with an anchor that is as fast as you. The attempted orbiting effectively turns into a weird keep at range.
If the ships would get a speed bonus for ABs so that it could run around in an AB fitting and keep up with the MWD fleet, you could argue that piloting would be a viable avenue to mitigate damage. But this would indeed be extremely hard to get right because a recon with MWD speed and AB sig sounds ridiculously overpowered.
As far as balance is concerned: With the 1:1 slot layout switch button (and potentially raw HP 1:1 switching) without touching any other stats, the balance should stay the same. You get more armor tank, but no more shield tank, you lose all the utility mids in favor of armor tank lows. You wouldn’t get a 7/7 slots Lachesis with amazing armor tank and 6 slots for points.
What about sig tanking? Of course, I don’t know how everyone will feel about that, but I’d rather see recon survivability be based off of piloting skill (i.e. keep transversal up, pull range, don’t get tackled), than just beef up the tank so that any nullbloc line member gets a bunch of survivability just by flying a fit designed by the corp/alliance theory crafters.
I don’t know how other people look at the ship, but I view it as ship for guys that want to be more than just F1 monkeys, and who can appreciate a ship with higher skill ceiling.
P.S. I have manually piloted when taking agro in large fleet fights, and I am absolutely convinced that it has saved my life on several occasions, allowed me to continue to do my job, and made the enemy waste time as our fleet continued to whittle down their numbers.
Anyway, I’m not saying any of the proposed ideas are right or wrong, just telling you how I look at the ship.
This is not taking away your job or your skill. It’s simply making it viable to use the ship in an armor fleet setting which is currently not viable. The mode switching even allows you to keep the ship as is and use your piloting skills as it gives people the choice to use the armor/shield mode or not. It’s absolutely reasonable that you or other people want to have the massive number of mids for ewar/tackle and don’t need a big armor tank. That would not change.
I agree with your sentiment that they should not get more tank than they currently have. That’s why I suggested that only the slot layout changes and maybe the values for armor/shield switch with it. There would be no more raw armor/shield HP than there are now. Even with the 80k EHP that my current Lachesis has, it still requires careful piloting because it has no sig radius reduction or ADC like HAC have. If gets attacked, it is in danger. That would apply to 80k armor EHP as well. The lower sig radius could help in mitigating some damage but the slower overall speed due to plates and trimarks counteracts that to an extend.
I kind of agree that because recon’s e-war is so good that it being able to face tank more than it can now would make it horrendously op in small gang. I would vote that the fleet recon gets that ability to get more tank but has severely reduced e-war % bonuses and that the covert recon gets stronger bonuses but the tank is more fragile so that it can be taken out but also be more useful if flown well in small gang. (but obviously you where talking about armor being = to shield but I have to say this just incase CCP goes and makes them twice as tanky as current and it becomes a nightmare for small gang.)
And orbiting doesn’t really count as piloting xD manual piloting is an option for fleet pilot’s to reduce damage, if they are being primaried they don’t have to keep up with fleet they can fly at 90 degrees for a bit then when they swap targets catch up with fleet. (And FC’s tend to switch targets rather quickly when they cant break something so they will not fall behind too drastically)
and if speed is a problem then the FC can ask the fleet anchor to reduce speed a little (sometimes only to 95% of max speed is enough).
Again: The ships would not receive more tank. Their armor tank should be around the same level as the current shield tank level. This is exactly why I suggested the slot layout switching without changing anything else. Tinkering with raw HP stats or something would inevitably lead to the mentioned problems. I expect that this novel approach to the viability problem prevents recons with overpowered tanks.
Since the slots just mirror from M/L 7/4 to 4/7, they would also not gain significant e-war capabilities. An armor Lachesis would have 2 slots open at most for points, compared to 1 right now if you want a comfortable shield tank. 2 of the mids are already reserved for MWD and Cap Booster or Sebo. Same goes for a Curse/Pilgrim, Huginn/Rapier. Rook/Falcon would be interesting because of the 8/3 slot layout.
Surprisingly, armor is quite tanky in that configuration (and that’s not the maximum possible tank). Looking at this, I don’t think that changing armor/shield values with the slots is necessary at all.
Interesting idea but another issue at play are Amulet implants and nirvana implants. Applied with Amulets AND having Ewar makes them quite strong vs Having Nirvana for maximum tank and very little EWAR
Even with HG Amulets (no 1008), an armor Lachesis does just barely get to the tank level of a shield Lachesis without Nirvanas, but costs 5x as much. It’s a way to compensate the weakness but not really a reasonable way.
So my suggested movement would be sensor damps be moved possibly to utility highs . for laches 3slots at most mid slots then shift up as utility high and 1 more down to a low slot for armor
Were as for amarrs slots and disruption should move to 3 low slots as we would not want to give all the neut bonused high slots that would vastly break ■■■■(if i remember correct their’s has bonuses to it)