With the coming cuts to cyno access likely bringing the long-awaited nerf to capital hot drops(and buff to Blops), I believe it would be a good time to take another look at the battleship & cruiser line, namely how disruption and normal combat craft in those lines are balanced, and including additional ewar and combat functionality to a few of them.
-All races should have access to a useful disruption battleship.
This is particularly important. While I enjoy seeing a balance pass here and there to touch up ships or weapons that are underperforming, an endemic problem with ship & weapon rebalances in the past has been a lack of consistency. Module tiercide kind of died off after reaching light missiles, and many years ago after battleship tiercide “introduced” disruption battleships with the Armageddon overhaul, they neglected to take the extra steps with following through on that with Minmatar and Gallente ships.
-Battleships and cruisers should receive role bonuses appropriate to their usage
Quite a few t1 combat ships already receive reasonable, appropriate role bonuses. Attack frigates get a bonus to propulsion jamming cap usage, all destroyers get tracking bonuses, logistics cruisers get rep range bonuses, and battlecruisers have weapon range bonuses and warfare links.
Similarly, each cruiser and battleship should get a role-specific bonus within its weight class, common to each race and useful, but not significant enough to be overpowered or meta-breaking. Ideally, they should be equal parts fun and useful, as we see with destroyers and battleships in particular.
-Bonuses should be universally useful, and not favor one race over another
The best example for this is how well-done the t1 logistics cruisers were overhauled, with two designed for burst reps, and two designed for chain reps. This is logical, consistent, and above all focuses on the ship’s strengths for its role, not just its bonuses or abilities within the meta.
With the groundwork laid, here are some of my humble suggestions:
-Disruption cruiser role bonus:
50% reduction to electronic warfare module activation cost
This does one of two things; it gives ships designed around fielding a large amount of electronic warfare to effectively use not only their racial-bonused modules, but focus on their disruption abilities without crippling their capacitor for other uses. While a ship like the Arbitrator is a good drone boat in its own right, it should not be compared to the Vexor, which is a dedicated warship. But, with a reduction to tackle & disruptor cap usage, it can see a wider use individually just as well in a group.
The Blackbird would gain a 10% damage bonus to kinetic missile damage per level (strong but limited damage), and the Celestis and Arbitrator could receive some interesting functionality with drones:
-Arbitrator bonus modified to, “10% bonus to Drone damage and Ewar drone effectiveness per level”
-Celestis gains same drone bonus, moves a low slot to a high slot.
Additionally, we can modify the range of ECM and Sensor damp modules and eliminate the necessity of a range bonus for each of them in favor of a much more significant combat bonus.
With these changes, the class focuses their role on being insidious, if fragile, combat vessels.
-Attack cruiser role bonus:
+1 warp core strength
I know, I know; ventures and warp core stabs are a plague on pvp and a blight upon the galaxy, but hear me out on this one;
Fast attack ships like with what we see in the current t1 cruiser lineup tend to shift more towards kiting in pvp, or at least do well with ranged weapons. Making them slippery is GOOD; it’s consistent with the ship design, it’s fun to fight with, and it’s an ace up the sleeve the attack cruiser line would have against pirate faction and t2 cruisers. It helps keep them all mobile without fussing over individual stats, which is where the meta leans towards during balance passes or changes to the combat system already.
Speaking of which, they’re in great spots with their stats and bonuses and don’t need any other tweaks.
-Combat cruiser role bonus:
15% bonus to shield extender and armor plate effectiveness
As the full-fledged, dedicated warships in their weight class, combat cruisers should be consistently durable, deadly, close to mid-range vessels with an abundance of survivability. This hones their strength as brawling platforms and the dedicated tanks in small gangs, but ensures that while a bonus to buffer tanking is inherently useful, can’t terribly over-exploited in some unique fashion outside its role.
-Only combat ship i’m particularly concerned about changing is the Rupture; instead of the one-dimensional bonuses to damage and firing rate, it changes to:
10% bonus to Medium Projectile damage per level,
7.5% bonus to Medium Projectile tracking speed per level
Keeps in line with its description and usefulness as an arty brick IMO.
As with Navy Battlecruisers keeping their role bonuses, so should the cruisers. Faction Omen, Caracal, Vexor, and Stabber get a +1 warp core strength bonus, and faction Augoror, Osprey, Exequror, and Scythe get a 15% bonus to plate and extender effectiveness.
-To maintain parity with the Navy Augoror, the Navy Osprey, Exequror and Scythe Fleet Issue can gain a bit of love in the tanking department.
Nosprey swaps 10% bonus to missile velocity for 10% bonus to shield extender effectiveness per level (big bird shield buffer),
Nexequror gets altered to 7.5% bonus to medium hybrid firing rate per level, 7.5% medium armor repair amount per level,
ScyFI loses a launcher slot, but gains the same damage bonuses as the Nosprey, except tuned to Explosive damage. Projectile damage changed to 7.5% bonus to shield booster effectiveness per level.
Let me know if you think the tanking changes are a bit too much; they seem fair and logical to me, but I could be looking at it from the wrong angle.
-Disruption Battleship bonus
25% bonus to electronic warfare module optimal range & falloff
As with the disruption cruisers, this role bonus is a universal increase to the effectiveness of disruption battleships in any combat setting and consolidates their usefulness. As they never reached a decision on what to do with Gallente and Minmatar disruption battleships, i’m going to volunteer the Megathron and Typhoon for this role.
-The Typhoon’s current bonus to missile explosion velocity isn’t particularly useful, so a 10% bonus to target painter effectiveness per level would be an outstandingly effective way to enhance missile effectiveness not just for itself, but for others. Also, with increases to effective range with the bonused TP and webs/grapplers should make it extremely efficient at pvp.
-The Megathron as an Ewar platform is interesting for several reasons. First off, the range boost to sensor damps (along with the range of the base module increased) would pair VERY well with a railgun platform, especially if you move a low slot to a mid to give it some more room for that. The Mega itself would drop its tracking bonus in favor of a bonus to warp scrambler range (scrams only, like the maulus navy). 20% per level as with the maulus navy issue sounds reasonable to me, especially without adding in any strength bonuses.
-The Scorpion gets a similar treatment to the Blackbird, with its range bonuses (now obsolete) being replaced by a 15% bonus to kinetic torpedo, cruise, and heavy missile damage per level.
Ideally the battleship range bonus should integrate well across the board, but it could be too strong with the Typhoon’s TP bonus. Armageddon’s range bonus to energy neut/nos isn’t affected by the role bonus since those fall under energy transfer modules, not ewar.
Also, the Sin should stay as a Domi, but swap its inertia bonus for a 10% bonus to drone speed and ewar drone effectiveness. It’s an odd boat.
-Attack Battleship bonus:
37.5% bonus to propulsion module speed
Most battleships are pretty damn slow. Even the ‘lighter’ attack battleships like the Raven or the Tempest plod along through space, wasting quite a bit of time if you’re trying to get away from someone. A moderately-sized boost to prop mod effectiveness gives them much-needed mobility, although ideally not enough to outrun a cruiser or BC trying to tackle them.
This being said, the attack battleships are characterized by their ability to project damage at long ranges, which is most often seen in sniper fits. Being able to dictate distance is an essential part of pvp just as it is with pve, but is of particularl importance with staying alive when the target on your back can be measured in the kilometers.
-Combat Battleship role bonus:
20% bonus to the effectiveness of Shield Extenders and Armor Plates.
Already having excellent tanking bonuses, the durability of the Abaddon, Hyperion, Rokh and Maelstrom have seen them lend well to larger subcap fleet doctrines. Reinforcing their buffer tanking ability helps fit them pretty snugly into that role, with the exception of the Hyperion, which can still benefit from a shield or armor fit in this instance.
-Most of the faction battleships are fine, although i do take issue with how the Tempest has been mishandled over the years. Ideally, it should have a damage and tracking speed bonus, with the Fleet Issue version having another gun up on the t1.
-All faction battleships retain the same role bonuses as their t1 predecessors. Only ship change in that lineup other than the changes to the Tempest Fleet issue would be moving a low slot to a mid for the Armageddon Navy issue, since it’ll be getting a bonus to ewar range and will want to take advantage of that.
I’d like to think that with cynos becoming more difficult to use that we’ll see an upsurge in ye olde roaming battleships; if my optimism in this or sense for balance in this case is off, let me know what you think in the comments.