this is basically a concept for a replacement to ECM. it comes from doing an analisis of the workings of all the true EWAR modules and some of the secondary disruption doctrines of each empire.
nothing much to say regarding ECM that some other people havent said already, its chance based, its tilting in certain situations (mostly PvP, ECM NPCs are a bitch too in some missions), some players enjoy their Falcon alts, others loathe those ships to death because of the apparent unfairness of being permalocked from targeting anything.
i guess there’s no way to appease the community regarding this form of EWAR, so the only way i see feasible to fix the issue is by removing ECM and replacing it with something else that is somekind close to what it does.
thus i brought my own spin on two EWAR modules for replacing the Caldari EWAR doctrines:
1. Target Distorters:
this one has been tricky to figure out due to all the possible outcomes so it may have some flaws on its working. Target Distorters are a targeted module that reduces the amount of lockable targets on the enemy ship at the end of its cycle.
it may not sound like much but the module has a priority to break the targets at the top of the list so say, if an enemy is focusing the first target in a list of 5, it could get the number reduced and thus loose the focus on that specific target, being forced to change target or break theo ther locks and have to lock that focused ship again.
in order to refactor a way to resist this type of EWAR, i added Sensor Strength to the calculation into something like this:
number of targets blocked (rounds to closest integer) =
(enemy ship’s sensor strength - target distorter strength) / enemy ship’s max number of targets
so lets say that a Magnetometric Target Distorter I has the same strength in a Griffin as a Magnetometric ECM I (6,563) and you are targetting an incursus with max skills (10,8 sensor strength in total) which can lock up to 4 ships, the equation would go like this:
(10,8 - 6,563)/4 = 1,0592 -> 1 target blocked on the incursus.
in a 1v1 escenario, the incursus would have lost target of the griffin because it was the first target lock it had. once the item had cycle, he would just need to lock on the ship again to resume the trade.
the module only breaks those targets on first activation, and cycling only keeps the target number reduction. however, this opens a new strat in which with proper management, the griffin player could pulse the target distorter in order to break lock from the incursus periodically in order to mitigate damage or to save time to escape.
here are some other notes regarding the equation:
-it works against larger targets and viceversa:
since Target Distorter Strength doesnt change at ship sizes (neither does ECM strength) the amount of targets bloqued depends solely on the Sensor Strength of the enemy ship and the max amount of targets it can lock.
there wouldnt be no difference between a Scorpion jamming a frigate or a Griffin jamming a battleship because the module would still provide the same strength
-upgrades still work:
if we use a module similar to the Signal Distortion Amplifier the same way, it would mean higher Target Distortion Strength for the module. in theory this should be positive for the player, but there’s a problem that is much bigger in the next point.
-stacking breaks the equation:
sadly, the module enters into problems due to the calculation. even with a stacking penalty of sorts the strength increases in a manner that gives diminishing target block at the end of the equation. so, in order to evade this problem, i can only suggest that only 1 Target Distorter of each type can be carried on ship. otherwise the system would break horribly to the detriment of the EWAR player.
a possible fix to the higher strength issues:
the inverse proportions between Target Distortion Strength and Sensor Strength make the sytem work more or less fine at first glance, Sensor Strength cannot be affected negatively, so it only gets bigger. however, the bigger Target Distortion Strength gets into some issues, using 4-5 modules of the same type would be required to surpass Sensor Strength of the enemy ship at the cost of slots that could be used for something else.
2-3 target distorter modules of the same kind would be useless because the end number would be too small to count as a reduction of target max numbers.
thus, the only solution i can think ATM for is to consider Target Distortion as a value similar to Explosion Radius in Missiles. where the efficiency consists on reducing the numbers in order to give better application.
in this case it means that ship, skills, upgrades, and all of that would diminish the number rather to increase it. for balancing reasons this would mean that the modules would have large numbers to balance it (specially multispectral ones).
for now this is a provissional solution. but it keeps everything in place. the system would allow players to bring rainbow fits but not to bring several of the same module that would be the only limitation of this new module.
the biggest problem right now would be the issue of multiple players applying distorters into a single ship, the only solution i could think of is that each one calculates the target block independently for that current amount of maximum targets in the enemy ship which brings another set of calculatin mindfuck. so for now, i can only think of it as a non stackable thing (and perhaps that would be good for everybody).
2. Target Burst Deflector:
this is the AoE version of the Target Distorter and is in most regard similar to the ECM Burst with short range, long cycle and multispectral power. it carries the same mechanics as the first module.
it is meant to be used by battleships, with a similar functionality. by letting the module to cycle is possible to reduce the maxn number of targets for all the surrounding vessels. however, the target break works at the start of the cycle instead of at the end. this is made to compensate for the long cycle of the module and provides an instant break from combat, specially if paired with the cycle of a MJD for a quick break and jump tactic.
Sensor Boosters with ECCM script or Signal Amplifiers would help to mitigate this to a degree, as they increase not only the number of maximum targets but also the sensor strength. it could be that having extra max targets would negate the targe break but im not versed into the spaghetti code that manages the whole targetting system.
this is all so far, hopefully there can be a way to improve the equation so the numbers can make sense somehow. this new EWAR on itself is meant to give a window of oportunity for both in the trade, as the ewar pilot doesnt have to hope the thing hits, rather, it has to make sure the ship survives long enough for the thing to pulse. at the same time the attacker has a window of time to bring the other down before loosing the target, due to the end of cycle mechanic, it means that even after a succesfull break, there’s still time to lock again and resume combat before loosing it again.
the non stackable nature (for now) of the system would mean that there’s no perma jam situation, and that the ewar pilots could make use of the remaining slots either for tank and gank or for rainbow fits in case the gang needs to cover different sensor types during fights.
there’s still some things to polish as im not sure if this goes in the right direction, but that’s part of the feedback.