Ever since I started up Eve 12+ years ago, ECM has always been an issue. It’s seen as cheap, no-skill, banned in some communities, and in general is viewed as a means of avoiding combat rather than encouraging it. Clearly this is still the case, as there have been so many balance passes changing how it works, but still accomplishing nothing for the “feel” of ECM. I come to suggest ECM in its current form be removed from the game, its modules converted into a new game play mechanic: Resistance debuffing.
Instead of jamming an enemy’s sensors, modify the ECM modules and drones to instead reduce a ship’s resistances.
As far as a fictional theme, this is simple: ships have evolved, sensor and targeting technologies have also evolved. This has forced ECM into obsolescence and prompted the Caldari to change the focus of their ECM systems from jamming enemy sensors to identifying weak points on an enemy ship. They then use that data to enhance weapon guidance systems to more accurately strike these weak points.
Not only does this idea synergize well with Caldari/missile damage selection, but also provides another tactical element to combat, rewarding those who coordinate attacks, and helps counteract the effects of logistics on the battlefield (one of the main purposes of ECM in fleet conditions).
Existing ECM modules can be direct converted. Amarr ECM converts to EM resist, Minmatar to Explosive, Gallente to Thermal, Caldari to Kinetic. Multispecs reduce all to a smaller degree. Bonuses on ECM ships can be converted to amplifying the debuff effect, giving Caldari ECM ships on-grid a role beyond being primaried immediately.
As an example, racial modules could debuff by 15%, with ECM ship bonuses improving that to 30%. This calculation is done against the ship’s existing resist profile. IE: If a ship has 50% Kinetic resist, a fully bonused racial ECM would reduce that by 30%, to 35%. A second module of the same type on the same target reducing it further to 24.5%. As you can see, this calculation automatically suffers diminishing returns, preventing it from being overpowered.
Can anyone see a potential imbalance I am not considering with this?