The Orca should go through another rework to make it a better ship in Nullsec

I’ve made a prior thread in the normal feedback area so this will be me reiterating a lot of the same points, however I’ll try to further expand upon those points and make a stronger argument.

As it currently stands the Orca is just considered all around a bad option in Null. The ship’s price tag is absolutely massive at 2.2+ bil which is around 1/3 the cost of an entire rorqual. It’s meant to be a mid ground between the rorqual and the porpoise as a fleet support ship but it lacks the redeeming qualities of both sides which leaves it as a very high risk ship with no return on the investment.

Unlike the rorqual it lacks the fitting capabilities to actively tank itself so that it can be protected in the event of a gank, leaving it only to buffer tank. And while the buffer might be large enough to survive a highsec gank, or deter it, in null that roughly 500-600k EHP is highly likely to die to a group long before blue assistance can arrive. The ship, understandably of course, also lacks the rorquals mining capabilities so it doesn’t even begin to pay for itself either. It was specifically nerfed to move more towards fleet support which I think is a good idea, however as a fleet support vessel it’s even more lacking than in the other 2 categories because the bonuses are very minor over the porpoise.

The porpoise is only about 200-250mil for a good fit and with max skills + the implant you can get a strip miner duration decrease of 38% while with an Orca, which is on average 10 times more expensive, this bumps to 40%. If we factor in the industrial core this goes to 40% and 46% respectively. However it’s smarter to not even use it constantly as it locks you down for far too long and only cycle it to compress your ore hold when it’s full.

Now in a larger null corp/alliance you often have plenty of adjacent systems with blues in them that can warn you of incoming danger. The porpoise is used for it’s low cost as 200-ish mil can be lost without much sting and with it’s core it has a cycle time of 75 seconds. Even that low of a timer is still risky but it’s an acceptable loss if it happens to get ganked. The orca on the other hand has a cycle timer of 150 seconds. Not to mention it’s align time of a possible 30-40 seconds, or 10 if you have a prop fit to warp faster which lowers it’s already bad tank. If someone pops up in your system it could take as little as 20 seconds for them to scan the system and target you. Now consider if this individual is only a few jumps from you, individually scanning down systems to look for a target to drop on. 2 and a half minutes is painful, even more so if you cycle right as you become aware of a potential threat. And that’s a best case scenario where we don’t consider that allies will fail to spot or report people, or wormholes/filaments pop up unexpectedly.

Now this isn’t me saying that it’s impossible to fly the ship in null sec. This is to say it’s much harder to keep alive and costs too much for what you get out of it. Mining ships are expensive and make a comparatively lower income. However this is offset by the idea that as long as you can keep them safe then eventually they can pay for their value. The porpoise is quick and the rorqual is tanky as all hell. The Orca has neither.

The only redeeming quality is the capability of moon compression. However I can say from experience in a populated null alliance that people just don’t want to fly the ship even with that advantage. Now people do fly it of course. However for every Orca I see flown out here I see 3-4 killmails of people who come to regret it incredibly quick and then a ton of people with PTSD from their traumatic experience of thinking they’d break the meta and fly it despite the warnings against it.

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What do you think would make it more useful?

There’s plenty of ideas ranging from simplistic to complicated, small scale changes to a complete rework of the ship. Since I want to make as much out of your time as possible I’ll present just 2 answers for now and attempt to make them as short as possible.

A simple and easy one would be to drastically lower the price tag by a major amount. Dedicated groups such as corporations or alliances have no use for an Orca because they usually have an abundance of access to Rorquals for serious operations or will gladly default to a Porpoise for when high risk situations call for cheap investment. Large scale industrialist pilots, the ones running tons and tons of multiple mining accounts, usually exist only after they’re acquired a Rorqual and thus never even bother touching the Orca. And in the rare cases where someone with a large amount of accounts doesn’t have a rorqual yet then chances are their collection of accounts is usually an indicator that they won’t be without one for long. So the pricing, and even overall balancing, of the Orca should be more focused on the small scale solo industrialists who’d be a much more likely demographic for the ship and decided based on what is a worthwhile upgrade to them over the Porpoise, what sort of price tag fits within their income bracket, and how much the Orca’s basic quality of life features are actually worth. More compression, better protection against rats, higher risk of death due to long industrial core cycle timer, and cargo capacity. That’s what the ship currently offers. For small scale industrialist pilots 2+ bil is simply not feasible if this is all they’re getting.

A second option is to double down on it’s position as a sub capital mining support ship and make it closer to the Rorqual in capabilities. Rework it’s fitting so that it can fit higher end active tank that’s worth it’s price tag, give it access to PANIC modules or it’s own version of them, even give it access to the industrial jump portal generator. You could do any number of different things. The trade off for whatever is added would be the fact that the Rorqual boasts significantly stronger fleet boosts, as well as solo mining capabilities on par with T2 max skill exhumers. These 2 alone are enough distinguish the ships and allow the Rorqual to remain on top as a superior fleet support as well as a solo capable mining ship with high returns. The Orca though would fall into the category of a purely support focused ship that is both cheaper and considerably quicker to get into than it’s big brother. By lowering the risk involved with flying one while offering more utility, and without encroaching on the Rorquals better efficiency, I think you can safely create a viable middle ground that players would be happy to fly. Depending on the utility features added this ship can also continue to serve in a variety of niche roles that cement the ship as a jack of all trades master of none. Personally I think this is the better route.

Is it an issue when a ship is less useful in certain regions of space? Should all ships be equally useful everywhere?

For example, Interdictors are much less useful in high sec where they cannot use their identity-defining bubbles.

And something more similar to the situation Orcas are in: there isn’t much use for a Bowhead outside high sec. Bowheads exist mainly as a way to move large amounts of fitted ships in high sec, where capital ships cannot go. Outside high sec it’s much easier to move fitted ships in the SMB of capital ships, which have jump drives to move around.

Would it be a problem to see Orcas as a mining support platform for parts of space where Rorquals cannot be used?

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No it isn’t an issue depending on the context. However I’m not advocating for ruining the Orca for highsec. Nothing I’ve suggested would actually be a negative for it’s use in any region of space. On the flip side though by making the Orca a dedicated highsec platform this cuts out nullsec miners from having access to an upgrade from the Porpoise that doesn’t require a nearly year long train time and billions in both ship costs and skill books. Without it small miners have to rely on other people and their rorquals to get the other compression modules and better boosts.

You might be able to argue that thematically mining is meant to be a fleet/group activity but in actuality that’s just not how the game is played. Having to convince other industrialist pilots to coordinate with you on a day to day basis is just not efficient at all, especially for something as inherently small scale as mining. Not to mention that a lot of serious miners out here run large 1 man fleets that tend to want to have belts/anomalies to themselves due to the necessity to monopolize Mercoxit to gain any amount of value out of otherwise very low income anoms.

The final argument against this high sec point is one I actually used in my previous post. From a lore standpoint ORE is purely a nullsec mining corporation that produces and fleets equipment/ships to fly in nullsec space. So the idea that they’d have even a single highsec dedicated ship in their roster, especially a ship that’s otherwise meant to support their mining fleets, just doesn’t fit. This then brings into question developer intent VS how things actually work in practice. The developers likely intended for the ship to be used wherever players needed it but they overestimated the value the ship actually holds and never adjusted pricing over the years, or may have increased it directly/indirectly in the various changes that’ve affected the economy over the years.

In a similar vein, frankly speaking, some things in this game just aren’t thoroughly thought out or well designed. A topic related exmaple is the implementation of the industrial cores on the Orca and Porpoise. The game mechanic was originally designed for the Rorqual and worked perfectly well because the Rorqual was designed to be able to survive ganks and dedicated fleets trying to kill it. It is for all intents and purposes a flying space station so a bastion module made sense. However it was then pasted onto the other 2 ships in smaller versions while still retaining all of the same properties and original mechanics without changing the ships to suite it. This is shown by the regular sized and large variants of the indy core still having shield booster bonuses despite neither ship having the capabilities to fit an active tank fit, and the porpoise inherently being a ship that’s meant to run away from danger instead of trying to weather through it due to a lack of tanking capabilities all together.

The end point of this is that the developers would’ve likely intended for this ship to be used in all spaces, however due to lack of foresight in some areas the ship ended up being too much of a liability to fly in null sec but prospered in highsec due to the ship having enough buffer tank to safely survive high sec ganking. That doesn’t make it a high sec ship though.

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I keep seeing this mistake, where people consider bigger ships to be an upgrade.

The Orca is not an upgrade, it’s an alternative option to the Porpoise and depending on circumstances you want to pick one or the other. You trade agility speed and cost for slightly higher mining bursts and a larger ore hold. As it is a trade, it is not a straight upgrade, it’s a sidegrade. And like any sidegrade, you need to ask yourself if the trade you want to make is worth it for your situation.

In my personal experience my ‘mining fleet’ is small enough that I do not need the extra ore hold of the Orca and the added cost and liability of flying such a big sluggish ship isn’t worth the increase in mining yield for me. But for someone else boosting a 10+ mining fleet but unwilling to field a Rorqual, the Orca might be worth it.

Second, yes, the industrial cores make it impossible for these ships to warp off in the face of danger, but running those cores is optional. If you cannot risk pinning yourself down for long periods of time, why not pulse them only when needed?

A Porpoise would fill up way faster than an Orca if you’re not continually compressing. The Orca may be pinned for longer with the core active, but it can keep a mining fleet going three times as long in between dangerous compression sessions. And at any other time it could be aligned to a safe (for example using a higgs anchor).

With the much larger ore hold, combined with higher mining boosts the Orca would make a better option than a Porpoise for a larger mining fleet, if their intended defence is to warp off as soon as danger appears. The benefit of an Orca over a Porpoise exists.

But it may overlap with the use case of the Rorqual for your group. After all, why warp off as soon as danger appears when your group has enough people to save a tackled Rorqual? The Rorqual can do what the Orca does, except with even better boosts, compression and even larger ore hold.

If your group is able to save Rorquals, there maybe won’t be much use for an Orca. And I get the feeling from your story that this is the essence of your complaint: why use an Orca when a Rorqual does it better?

Well, some mining groups may not be able to save a tackled Rorqual in their part of space or their timezone. Those groups also may have mining fleets big enough that scaling up from a Porpoise to Orca is worth the added risk to them.

And if all else fails, the Orca is still the best mining support ship in high sec.

I think from Mining/Ore Boosting capabilities standpoint the Orca delivers what is expected.
What i thing is worthy to be discussed is to make it more robust.
Raising the buff to shield Command bursts?
Allow to use 4 command bursts? (with corresponding High Slots? )
Give them Shield Resist ( 4% per skill level like some caldari ships )
Give them Bonus to Shield Maintenace Bots?
Optional: Restrict All of the above to be only in effect if Industrial Cere is running.

  • commit to fight or get worse boni

I do not want to make the Orca ungankable in Highsec so feel free to adjust values or just plainly invalidate my proposals.
I am aware that most of my ideas would buff all Mining Vessels with the Orca as well but do not see this as a bad thing.

I find that the rocks in null are too far apart to make either the Orca or the Porpoise viable.

Is in conflict with:

No matter how much extra tank you add to the Orca, if it’s caught by a group big enough outside high sec, it dies. Even Rorquals can get killed and those are a lot more robust than Orcas and have a 5 minute invulnerability timer on top.

In high sec the survivability of the Orca is already high enough that it isn’t worth it to suicide gank a T2 fit Orca for profit. Adding any more survivability there will only make it easier for people to let their Orca float in space without any danger at all.

Adding more survivability to the Orca isn’t the right direction.

Changing the survivability of the Orca might be a good direction though.

What if the Orca, instead of a massive HP pool had a small HP pool with massive Marauder-like shield repairs while the industrial core is running?

It would do rather well surviving against smaller roaming groups, unlike now where it is just a matter of time before the smaller group inevitably chews through the hitpoints. And it could have much higher effective defences this way without encouraging passive AFK high sec mining gameplay, because suicide ganking groups will easily kill an AFK Marauder and a Marauder-like Orca wouldn’t be different.

Of course, a group big enough either in null sec or high sec would still kill the Orca, but at least they would now need enough dps to break it, which makes the Orca an impossible target for smaller roaming groups to take on.

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Then gankers would swap to tornado’s and calculate how much they need to 1 shot it. There was recent post about a guy living out an orca in worm hole space and his biggest danger was moving it through high. If you swap to a resist bonus then it gains ehp + rep power and might solve both. But I have never flown the thing so could not say if that would be broken.

I don’t believe the Orca constitutes as a “side grade”. The logic of budgeting tactics as an alternative only works if something is objectively better than your cheaper substitute. Side grades are things like choosing between offense or defense, long range and low damage or short range and high damage, slow and tanky or fast and squishy. The Orca which is more non essential utility and quality of life upgrades can not be compared on equal grounds to a ship that is statistically identical in important areas but is 10 times cheaper in cost.

The second part is just reiterating my argument. The Orca’s only redeeming features as of right now are it’s cargo capacity and additional compression abilities, and because of that you aren’t willing to field it because the cost is not worth the risk to you. And for people who field that many accounts they’re almost always guaranteed to be flying a Rorqual or are on their way there.

I already pulse my industrial cores. However that in itself also proves my point that they weren’t designed correctly as they were not intended to be pulsed. They have active bonuses meant to benefit the ship by being left on but it’s simply not a smart idea on neither the porpoise nor the orca to do that.

Thirdly, it’s not realistic to field anything if you aren’t willing to field a Rorqual. Despite the significant power difference a Rorqual is not actually that much more expensive than an Orca. if you’re mining in a risky enough situation for a Rorqual to be threatened then that Orca is just as susceptible. With the Orca’s price tag hotdroppers will be more than glad to drop on it. And in the end they both operate the same. If you’re in a situation where you’re too scared to keep your indy core running both are going to be just as slow aligning and warping out, and if you’re actively running it 1 is guaranteed to die in a gank while the other is gonna live unless a dedicated fleet drops on it.

I said nothing about wanting them to be the same ship. I suggested that either the price is lowered to match the value of it’s current capabilities or for more utility to be added to match it’s current price tag. The ships can easily remain unique from one another due to a few things: Rorq has access to excavators and thus a seriously higher solo mining capability, significantly higher boosts, way better fleet reps, absolutely devastating drone damage in PvP, access to PANIC modules, and overall considerably higher tank. The drones and boosts alone are enough of a difference between the 2 because in the end all 3 ships are still fleet support, there’s only so much you can do.

You have to remember that originally these ships DID serve different roles and were used as such. Before mining was reworked many years ago boosts were system wide and not local on grid. The Rorq was literally a floating mining base/refinery meant to be utilized from a bubbled POS, the Orca was meant to be on grid utility and ore storage (though could also boost), and the porpoise didn’t exist until after the reworks when a T1 baseline ship was needed for people to start out in. After the reworks the Rorq was given the PANIC module and excavators to incentivize them to be on grid so they became the defacto fleet support. Which most players would also remember as being one of the leading factors as to why our economy went down the drain. And guess what? The Orca received nothing, but it was still relatively cheap. The Orca was only about 600-800 mil going all the way up until mid 2020 where prices started inflating massively. The entire time never receiving an overhaul to recement an actual place for the ship within the game. In fact if it were 600-700mil again I’d be happy.

This brings up my final rebuttal. You seemed to have misunderstood as to why I want the ship to be reworked. You might believe that I can’t fly a rorqual so I want the next best thing to match it without putting in the SP, to which I say you’re partly correct. I can’t fly a rorqual, however I don’t want the Orca to be one either. I’ve been playing the game on and off for a very long time since as early as pre 2010 across multiple characters. I’ve always loved my mining ships and I have a particular love for the Orca. I’ve always wanted to fly these ships, including the Rorqual back when it was a effectively a POS array. However now that I’m here in 2022 where I’m putting more time into the game and actually training characters up properly I can not justify buying this ship when it is such a damn liability and risk factor. I love this ship to death, It’s just not worth it in it’s current state though.

Honestly just give the Orca more CPU and Powergrid and it’ll be a huge buff. Maybe another Med slot. It just needs to active tank for more than 15 seconds when in core lol. isnt ore all about shields anyway

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ORE used to be about shields but since the barges got nerf. ORE is about dieing or running away quickly.

The Orca should go through another rework to make it a better ship

Yeah…no.

We just went through a massive change and Null has more carve-outs than you can shake a stick at (in a treeless void). Let’s move on and have CCP focus limited resources on other parts of the game that need attention.

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