T3 Corvettes - Making Fallback Ships Worthwhile Without Breaking the Game

Okay, so bear with me. This is going to be a lot to follow.

The Problems: Corvettes are really useless. New players are out-of-place and confused and don’t know which training path to commit to and are limited to committing more than a month of training to fill a single role in a specific niche of T2 frigates. Veteran players are looking for ways to break out of those niches and try new and unique playstyles. Frigate-class ships are overspecialized, requiring large sums of isk to break out of the confines of T2 frigates using ships like the Astero or the Worm or the Pacifier. New players that lose everything accidentally while learning the game are completely lost and at the mercy of benevolent good samaritans in Rookie Help to bail them out. Solo and small gang activity has been washed to the wayside, especially in dessie-down metas.

The solution: T3 Corvettes. Happy in-betweens for new and old players alike. Less than 20 days of training and priced around the realm of T2 frigates, but filling the niche the user wants, without being OP or breaking the game. Giving T1 Corvettes market value high enough to bail out a first-dayer but low enough to be unexploitable. Here’s how it works:

Corvettes are my favorite ships in the game. Specifically, the Impairor. I’m mostly a dessie-down pilot and I love the gameplay environment created by S-sized ships. The PvP roams, dessie-down fleets, Lowsec PvP, expendable ships, for-profit exploration, hunting for-profit explorers; I have always found it to be the most thrilling gameplay that EVE has to offer.

Renaming the Rookie Ships to Corvettes was a step in the right direction. These are ships that you’re supposed to be granted for free, to fall back on after a death. To validate them with their own class and give them a slight rebalance was good, but they still fall short of being anything other than entirely useless after your first week of gameplay.

I propose a change to this by adding a new tier of Corvettes. This is because changing Corvettes themselves to be more useful would affect the balance of the game for newer players, giving them a free ride to essentially ignore training T1 frigates altogether and imbalancing the game experience and economy by giving out viable ships for free.

But what if, instead of giving out a viable ship for free, it were merely a component of a viable ship?

If there were an upgraded Corvette - a T3 Corvette - using the same hull models (like T2 assault frigates and their T1 counterparts) and requiring a standard T1 Corvette for production, the economics of producing the ship could be reliant on tangibly expensive skills or materials. This would have the effect of elevating its relevance above that of total rookies and into the realm of competent participants of New Eden’s activities.

But Why T3?

Corvettes, under the current role bonuses and with their current intended uses, are a sort of jack-of-all-trades ship. The only other ships in the game which compare in versatility are T3 ships. Tactical Destroyers are capable of switching modes to employ a more diverse variety of tactics than any single ship could achieve, and have bonuses to the use of scanning probes. Strategic Cruisers are customizable in almost every respect to produce, within the limitations of lore, the most desirable combination of bonuses and even module slots for the user’s preferences. Corvettes, with their 2 weapon bonuses + 1 defensive bonus + 1 EWAR bonus + mining bonus, are a natural candidate for transition into a T3 format.

How would it work?

Each T1 Corvette would be a required component for production of a T3 Corvette. The recipe could be fairly simple and the finished hull could have an average market value of around 15-25mil. This would put it in the realm of most T2 frigates price-wise, but below them in performance. The balance would be that these are far more versatile and customizable and fulfill a unique role.

The empy hull would have stat scaling similar to T2 ships, with all HPs increased by roughly 30%, but would only have 1 High, 1 Medium, and 1 Low slot, and no rig slots. Instead, they would have 2 customization slots, similar to T3 Cruiser Subsystems. Each of these “Small Subsystems” would require only a single 3x skill across all races and all subsystems and cost about 3-5mil each. There could be three options for each Small Subsystem. It would all look something like this:

Amarr

  • Corvette Role Bonus:
    8% bonus to all Armor resistances
    T3 Corvette bonuses (per skill level)
    3% reduction in Afterburner and Microwarpdrive activation cost
    3% bonus to damage of all weapons
    2% bonus to all Shield and Armor resistances
    .
  • Structural Small Subsystems
  1. Assault Configuration
    +2 high slots, +2 turret hardpoints
    +1 med slot
    +1 low slot
    +1 Rig slot, +200 calibration
    30m3 Drone bay
    15Mbit/s Drone bandwidth
    Small Subsystems bonuses (per skill level)
    +7.5% bonus to Small Energy Turret damage
    +5% bonus to Drone damage and hitpoints

  2. Defense Configuration
    +1 high slot, +2 turret hardpoints
    +3 low slots
    +1 Rig slot, +200 calibration
    Small Subsystems bonuses (per skill level)
    5% bonus to Small Energy Turret rate of fire
    +4% bonus to all Armor resistances
    16% reduction in Armor Plate mass penalty

  3. Stealth Configuration
    +1 high slot, +2 turret hardpoints
    +1 med slot
    +1 Rig slot, +200 calibration
    Small Subsystems bonuses (per skill level)
    +5% bonus to Small Energy Turret damage
    10% reduction in Small Energy Turret activation cost
    10% reduction in Microwarpdrive signature radius penalty
    +7.5% bonus to Afterburner velocity bonus

  • Technological Small Subsystems
  1. Infiltration Configuration
    +2 high slots
    +1 med slot
    +1 rig slot, +200 calibration
    Small Subsystems bonuses (per skill level)
    +7.5% bonus to Core and Combat scanner probe strength
    +2 bonus to Relic and Data analyzer virus strength
    16% reduction in targeting delay after uncloaking

  2. Coordination Configuration
    +2 low slots
    +2 rig slots, +200 calibration
    Small Subsystems bonuses (per skill level)
    +7.5% bonus to Remote Armor Repairer amount
    7.5% reduction in Remote Armor Repairer activation cost
    +7.5% bonus to Remote Armor Repairer optimal range
    +100% bonus to Remote Armor Repairer falloff range

  3. Weaponization Configuration
    +1 med slot
    +2 low slots
    +1 rig slot, +150 calibration
    +30 CPU
    +5% bonus to Drone control range and tracking speed
    +5% bonus to Small Energy Turret tracking speed
    5% reduction in Small Energy Turret activation cost
    +10% bonus to Small Energy Neutralizer and Small Energy Nosferatu drain amount
    +2.5% bonus to Small Energy Neutralizer and Small Energy Nosferatu optimal range
    10% reduction in Small Energy Neutralizer activation cost

The concept is pretty simple and fairly straightforward. None of the combinations produce more than 10 module slots. The average number of module slots in Assault Frigates is 11, and the average for the above options is 9. All of the bonuses are lesser than T2 frigates. Yet the ship offers versatility, customizability, and an inexpensive and flexible alternative for many playstyles which are stuck in a rigid and inflexible meta right now (See: T2 exploration frigates) without imbalancing the game or negating their specific, niche usefulness.

This would have the added effect of making Corvettes worth something as a fallback ship. By making it a required component in the recipe of such a valuable and popular ship, players would be able to sell them on the market for a meager income (maybe 25-75 thousand each). An insignificant limitation could be placed on the number of Corvettes that could be claimed for free, such as a 5 minute timer. As this would produce a similar isk/hour as Project Discovery, it wouldn’t break the game, and it would allow newer (first week) players the ability to recover from losing everything and help them to raise funds for their first useful frigate or destroyer.

The point of this is that the T3 Corvette would fill niches that aren’t filled by existing ships without overshadowing them. For example, as an early EWAR ship, it would not perform as well as existing T2 EWAR frigates, but it would take a fraction of the time to train for and would present the pilot with the ability to utilize other aspects of the ship for combat or defense. This would be conducive to a more lively dessie-down PvP environment. Likewise, there are no exploration frigates which can compete with the Astero that do not cost nearly twice as much as the Astero. T2 exploration frigates are entirely defenseless. The T3 Corvette, configured for Exploration, could be capable of self-defense or counter-aggression without overshadowing the Astero or the Pacifier and without eliminating the niche of T2 covert-ops exploration vessels. T3 Corvettes would allow newer pilots to be more useful earlier in the game, and jump into and contribute to more thrilling gameplay earlier. They would also allow veteran pilots with a lack of stimulation to fit and experiment with the extreme variety they would bring to one of the most populated areas of gameplay (S-sized PvP), allowing them to carve out their own niche and revel in the refreshed PvP content they would ignite.

1 Like

What would be the point of a ship that costs a significant amount of ISK but is worse than competing ships at all of the things it does? This is a solution in need of a problem.

2 Likes

The point is that it’s in the same ISK range of those ships, not more expensive than them, and is more versatile than them. As in, you can customize it to do exactly what you want it to do. To fill a niche that none of those ships fill, and you would otherwise need to buy a very expensive faction frigate or overly expensive faction modules to fill. This ship doesn’t exceed any of the existing niche-filling ships in their roles, but would fill niches that they don’t fill well. It would also be more approachable in skill training and could serve as a throughway for newer players who find the 30-40 day skill times for T2 frigates to be too daunting to commit to in the face of training T2 modules, the Magic 14, and other essential skills. It would make new players more useful, faster, without eliminating the usefulness of longer-term training.

I do actually use corvettes as throwaway scout boats for low/null sometimes, there are other uses as well. I’m not sure about your T3 route but I would like to see some small changes so that they have a more useful role, probably as a cheap scout ship is my thinking. My suggestions …

  1. Add one small rig

  2. Add a utility high, probly for a probe launcher primarily

  3. Up the warp & velocity to same as a shuttle

  4. Reduce packaged volume to 1000 m3

  5. add a bonus for scanning but not as much as explo frigates

  6. make them align a bit better, similar to mid-range frigates

Another fantasy corvette thing I thought would be cool would be to alphas (only) to fit them up as suicide bombers similar to one of the career agent missions. I imagine a rookie fleet of those would be fun, just an idle muse …

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No.

No no no no.

T3s (and, to a much lesser extend, D3s) are a cancer. A line of generalist ships that doesn’t do any one thing as well as a specialist ship sounds okay until you realize that a little bit of EWAR combined with a decent tank and decent DPS (not to mention free combat probes and, more often than not, a covert cloak) often works better in a single ship, or in fleets, than specialist ships do. Not for all things mind you (I’m looking at you Muninn), but for many things.

I could see some sort of advanced corvette, using a basic corvette as a construction component, but not nearly as capable as you described. Add one med or low and mild T2 resists as racially appropriate; a slight buff of EHP, fitting, and speed/maneuverability; and slightly boost the bonuses (right now, they’re all equivalent to level 2 frigate skills, make them all equivalent to level 3 frigate skills). Skill requirements for piloting would remain the same.

More capable than a corvette obviously, not as capable as a T1 frigate. Its role would be an easy-to-produce upgrade for the standard corvette when other alternatives are not available (or affordable).

And, quite frankly, even this toned-down version of your suggestion is hard to swallow given how readily available and inexpensive T1 frigates are.

I’ll give a “maybe” to a radically toned down version of your idea, but a hard, hard “no” to your idea as you’ve proposed.

And the point you’re missing is that a ship which is bad at several different things is a bad ship. Versatility is worthless in EVE, you pick a thing and do it well. And then you have a different ship that is specialized for another task. CCP may pretend that T3 cruisers were designed around “versatility”, but the reality is that the only reason anyone uses them is that they found certain configurations that are overpowered specialists at one particular thing. If T3 cruisers were nerfed to be equivalent in power to T1 cruisers at each individual task but able to swap between several different roles nobody would use them.

It would also be more approachable in skill training and could serve as a throughway for newer players who find the 30-40 day skill times for T2 frigates to be too daunting to commit to in the face of training T2 modules, the Magic 14, and other essential skills. It would make new players more useful, faster, without eliminating the usefulness of longer-term training.

New players are not buying 15-25 million ISK frigates.

Have you been in Rookie Help lately? New players spend loads of isk in their first couple months. Getting into a decent ship is the #1 motivator for spending rl cash on the game when you first start playing. Someone once bragged that they were ratting in a mach on their second day.

The ship is not bad at everything. It’s decent at everything. There’s a guy out there who goes hunting for explorers in a Cheetah. The idea that you use the statistically best ship for every job is simply unrealistic, as you will always face unknowns and someone will always want to break free from the rigidity of normal ships, and that is why T3 cruisers and T3 destroyers exist. That is their popularity and their purpose, and that is what I propose we do with corvettes. A ship which is better than a T1 Frigate, but is cheaper and easier to train and more versatile than a T2 frigate. As another user commented, the combinations I listed are not a disadvantage. Having raw statistical deficits but being able to combine more stats does not create a ship which is “bad at everything” - it can be rather monstrous when the right combinations are found, and extremely fun when the combination truly vibes with the user’s playstyle.

Plus, have you even examined the configurations in my OP? They do a lot of things that T2 frigates don’t - that you can currently on get from ships that cost 50mil-400bil.

And you know what’s better than this for everything a newbie will do? A T1 cruiser that costs significantly less.

Someone once bragged that they were ratting in a mach on their second day.

RMTers are not really relevant here. They’re not going to bother with a T3 corvette, they’ll just RMT skill injectors to fly something better.

The ship is not bad at everything. It’s decent at everything.

Which means that it is bad. Specialization wins in EVE, not being adequate at several unrelated things.

There’s a guy out there who goes hunting for explorers in a Cheetah.

And? An Astero is superior for that job in every possible way, the only reason to use a Cheetah is to deliberately impose hard mode on yourself and brag about how you still won.

The idea that you use the statistically best ship for every job is simply unrealistic, as you will always face unknowns and someone will always want to break free from the rigidity of normal ships, and that is why T3 cruisers and T3 destroyers exist.

100% wrong. T3 ships exist and are popular because their popular configurations are the best ship for certain roles. Nobody cares about their versatility. As I said, nerf them so that their capability in any one role is no better than a T1 cruiser/destroyer but they can refit to swap between roles and nobody will ever use them again.

it can be rather monstrous when the right combinations are found

And that’s what “versatility” comes down to: exploiting the fact that it’s difficult to balance every possible combination, finding the one combination that is overpowered at something you want to do, and ignoring all of the others. That’s not versatility, it’s a balance mistake like pre-nerf T3 cruisers.

tl;dr Make the free ships better.

No

-1

1 Like

You are selectively ignoring what I’m saying and countering my arguments with things that are either out of context or not logically sound.

And you know what’s better than this for everything a newbie will do? A T1 cruiser that costs significantly less.

In the OP, I specifically state the scope of this endeavor as being directly for Small-sized gameplay. That means destroyers and down. Because of the way EVE scales, Cruisers and Frigates cannot be compared. This is Day 1 basics.

RMTers are not really relevant here. They’re not going to bother with a T3 corvette, they’ll just RMT skill injectors to fly something better.

It was not an RMTer, and think it’s a big leap to jump that far. It was a first-week newbie who was told that the best way to progress in the game was to buy a macharial and do highsec missions. He was greatly ridiculed for this type of thinking, but the fact remains that he spent $40 on the game to immediately bump himself to that position. I think it’s a little bit offensive that you would inject the supposition that I had relied on something as deplorable RMTing to support my points into your argument.

And in case you’re not aware, RMT is not the same as buying PLEX from CCP and selling it ingame.

And? An Astero is superior for that job in every possible way, the only reason to use a Cheetah is to deliberately impose hard mode on yourself and brag about how you still won.

You’re selectively ignoring my statements. The Astero is the best ship for hunting other explorers, yes, but it is the only ship for hunting other explorers other than the pacifier, which is arguably worse and costs almost twice as much. The point I am making is that the Astero is not a balanced aspect of the game - it is as though Assault Frigates were instead just a single faction frigate that costs 75mil. What I am suggesting is that this ship, the T3 Corvette configured with something like the Assault + Infiltration configurations (shown above), could be actually competent at something that only the Astero, a 70mil faction frigate, is the only available option for. Players would have, for all intents and purposes, a T1.5 exploration frigate with real, tangible combat bonuses, bringing diversity and conflict and content alive in a very popular aspect of gameplay which new players definitely do participate in, without eliminating the significance of the Astero as a slightly superior ship which costs 3x as much - which is normal for the standards of faction frigates.

As it is right now, PvP content and encounters and real threats while exploring consist almost entirely of Astero vs Astero, unless you’re in a T2 frigate in which case you’re just dead. Would you think it were healthy if, say, all Frigate combat was either Retribution vs Retribution or Retribution vs Capsule? Because that’s all exploration is today with Astero vs Astero and Astero vs T2 explorer.

When you quit can I have your stuff?

Yes. The point of discussion is to point out flaws in your argument. You can’t disagree with someone if you agree with them, that’s a contradiction.

Cloaky dictors, Cloaky T3Cs, Stealth bombers and Stratios all come to mind. Excluding AT ships and special edition ships, that’s already what, 13 different ships other than the astero? That’s like 10% of the different hulls in EvE

Also if you’re only comparing up against T1 exploration frigs, none of them can fit for sub 2s align time so you can throw in all interceptors, keres, maulus navy and basically any frigate with remote sensor boosts on a gate.

If it’s “day 1 basics” then how are you so wrong about it? For PvE purposes, which is what a newbie is doing with anything but the cheapest expendable T1 frigates, you absolutely can compare cruisers vs. frigates and the cruiser always wins.

It was not an RMTer

You’re certainly naive. It is impossible to afford a Machariel on your second day in EVE without RMTing, whether illegally buying ISK or legally buying PLEX to sell for ISK.

And in case you’re not aware, RMT is not the same as buying PLEX from CCP and selling it ingame.

Nonsense. It matters for whether or not CCP bans your account, but in both cases you are bypassing the normal game mechanics and buying direct improvements for your character with real world cash. And if you’re going to pay cash for a battleship you might as well pay cash for SP too.

You’re selectively ignoring my statements.

No, you’re just moving the goalposts. You initially mentioned the guy hunting with a Cheetah as an example of someone using a ship other than the “ideal” ship for the job, I pointed out that he is only doing so to impose hard mode on himself and not because there is any argument for ever using a Cheetah if your goal is to win.

Whether or not you want alternatives to the Astero is an entirely different question, one that has nothing to do with the Cheetah example. And your ship does not provide that alternative, it lacks the covert ops cloak (which newbies can’t use anyway) that the Astero’s role requires and will never be used for that role.

As it is right now, PvP content and encounters and real threats while exploring consist almost entirely of Astero vs Astero, unless you’re in a T2 frigate in which case you’re just dead.

Which is an argument for buffing the T2 covert ops frigates to have actual combat ability, not for implementing some weird “T1.5” ship that will never appear in these exploration fights.