Firstly, I’d like to say that I have not yet had the opportunity to field test the vessels. Due primarily the issues I am about to list and discuss, it is simply not feasible for me to do so. I lack the resources and the security. It would, quite literally, force me out of the game financially speaking to do so.
Secondly, the purpose of this post is to bring to light a comprehensive list of every issue with the EDENCOM hulls. Not just those related to PvE. I tried to find a forum category appropriate for discussion of just these hulls in particular and their problems, but could not find one that seemed right. Thus, I decided to put this post here since PvE is my primary concern. Several, if not all, of these issues however apply to PvP as well, not to mention that there is one in particular that has significantly more impact in PvP than in PvE.
The purpose is not to simply bitch and moan about the ships, it is my understanding that CCP does have people working on the vessels to improve them. My hope is that someone on whatever team they have given this task to will have the opportunity to see this post, and thus have a better idea of what precisely the problems with the ships are. Additionally, at the end I will provide my own thoughts on how the issues could be fixed in a way that I find acceptable.
Without further adieu, the first problem:
1) Expense. By and large, the EDENCOM ships are some of the most expensive ships in the game. This is not, however, due to the cost of the hulls. In fact, their hulls cost less to produce, blueprint costs included, than most faction hulls of the same size.
No, the primary reason why EDENCOM ships are so exorbitantly expensive is their modules and their ammunition. For the Tech 1 modules and ammunition, their cost is largely determined by the value of two particular pieces of rare trig salvage: Triglavian Sublight Telemeters and Triglavian Transconduit Datacasters. Each blueprint requires hundreds of one, and a handful of the other, or sometimes hundreds (or even thousands) of both. Couple this with the fact that each unit of either is priced at anywhere from 30,000 to 100,000 isk each depending on exactly how much the market has fluctuated that day; and it becomes clear as to why the cost to simply produce, let alone purchase on the market, their tech 1 ammunition or modules exceeds the cost to produce every single other tech 1 subcap ammunition and module in the game (Including those of their triglavian counterparts, which often cost anywhere from half to 1/6th as much). Trying to fit one of these ships for use by producing all the modules and the hull yourself will cost you a minimum of 300 million isk, and that’s ignoring the cost of the non-edencom modules. Compare this with any other battleship one could simply purchase and fit off the market for that same amount of isk, and it’s clear that they are an abject waste of money and worth absolutely noone’s time under any scenario or circumstance.
The Tech 2 modules have a similar story, though when you compare them to their triglavian counterparts the cost to produce them in raw materials is very close except for one thing: the Upwell Encryption Methods skillbook necessary to invent the T2 blueprints costs at a minimum, 4 billion isk in trig salvage.
Worse still, their Tech 2 ammunition, even when you ignore the cost to purchase the tech 1 blueprint, the cost to do 10 invention runs on that blueprint, AND the cost of the Upwell Encryption Methods skillbooks necessary to do that invention in the first place, is the single most expensive subcap ammunition to produce in the entire game. It requires 1200 morphite and 4800 each of Fullerides and Crystalline Carbonides for the Large ammunition (lesser amounts for the Medium and Small ammunition, but the ratios remain similar when compared to ammo of the same size) just to produce 200 shots (A stark outlier amongst T2 ammunition, which usually produces 5000 rounds per run). Even if you put in the effort to produce those high tier reactions yourself, making every material at every step all the way from the base materials, it will still cost you 16,000 isk per shot.
Compare this with their Triglavian counterparts, which can put out over double the raw DPS with better application to a single target, with ammunition that costs a 4th as much to buy off the market, and less than 1/5th as much to produce. The comparison becomes even worse when you look at T2 ammunition for every other weapon type, which costs as much as 80 times less to produce (in the case of T2 Void L)
In summary of this first of many issues, EDENCOM ships are the least cost effective ships in the entire game, capitals included. The amount of isk you pay outweighs the amount of “power” the ships actually possess by an agonizingly large margin. On the subject of the ships power, the second issue.
2) Power. In this case, power is defined as the ship’s ability to perform in combat. This includes not only their raw potential DPS output, but their ability to apply that DPS, as well as durability characteristics and whatever utility they can bring.
Given their complete lack of role bonuses and their slot layout (where only the Thunderchild can fit anything other than their primary gun in the highslots, simply by virtue of it being the only hull with more than 1 highslot), it is clear that these ships are intended to be primarily DPS boats. They one and single purpose is to do as much damage as possible, in this case spread out amongst a group of clustered targets.
On this front, each hull is the single worst ship in the game for this purpose. Not only does their potential maximum damage output pale in comparison to other ships of that size and “tier” (tier being defined as the general meta level of their modules, whether they all T1, m4, T2, faction, etc.), but they are horrendously bad at applying that damage to anything that isn’t at least 1 size smaller than them. Their damage application is only marginally better than long-range missiles of that same size (The thunderchild has 8 m/s better velocity, and 138m better sig radius at 250, compared to the 338 of a cruise missile barghest). Yet they don’t come even remotely close to matching the ranges of cruise missiles with their respective close and long range ammos.
The comparison to the other weapons platforms hardly improves. While the ideal conditions for a blaster Vindicator is simply “get as close as you can and web the target to double digits velocity”, an extremely easy task with its role bonuses, the ideal conditions for a Thunderchild is “Hope they stay within 10km of each other, and hope they don’t move faster than double digit velocity”. A task it struggles to accomplish with 3 completely unbonused webs. Switching to target painters hardly helps. Where with most missile ships, you can simply slap several target painters against a target and bloom their sig to high heaven to apply most of your DPS, the EDENCOM ships have to apply most their DPS to 5 different targets in order to even approach the raw DPS output of ships in the same category (Dedicated DPS boats).
Triglavian vessels make for the most embarassing comparison, having vastly superior damage application, vastly superior potential DPS (and actual DPS, after just one or two of their twice as fast cycles), and some of the best utility bonuses in the game for tech 1 ships of their respective sizes, and the highslots to go with them.
Now here is where I will point out a mathematical peculiarity. Where in most PvE scenarios, achieving the ideal conditions for EDENCOM ships is difficult (for whilst the rats do spawn close together, they almost always rapidly spread out as each differing type of rat has different velocities and orbital radii, something anyone can hardly do anything about due to the distances and numbers at and with which the rats in most missions and sites spawn), in one PvE scenario in particular this task is quite easy, provided the ship has web support or webs of its own. Trig invasions. Due in part to the rather strange AI of Triglavian NPCs, and due mostly to the highly condensed nature of their spawns and tendency to clump up around either one of their targets or a randomly designated one of their own, achieving ideal conditions for EDENCOM ships is easy. Additionally, Triglavian AIs love to frequently flick their MWDs on and off, and due to an inefficiency in their MWDs resulting in roughly 5x the sig for 3x the velocity (as compared to capsuleer MWDs which are 5x and 5x typically), the poor application of EDENCOM vorton projectors is given quite the significant boon. Not to mention that trig AI condenses reps on single targets as players often do, thus meaning that most of an edencom ships damage will simply go unrepaired.
However, despite these almost certainly coincidental boons, EDENCOM ships still struggle to put out as much total DPS as other ships of the same class and cost. A Thunderchild under such conditions, while better approaching, will still never quite surpass most other battleships fit for dedicated DPS with modules of a similar tier.
However, there is at least one category in which EDENCOM ships do typically outperform most other battleships of their type: Durability. The sig radius of EDENCOM ships is nothing to be proud of, in fact being a little higher than average. However their shield resists profile when at max skills (although the thunderchild gets no hull bonuses to shield resists, unlike its smaller counterparts) is extremely good. Their base shield amounts similarly high. Combined with their abundance of midslots, EDENCOM ships are very tough cookies to crack compared to other battleships of the same class and tier. Except, of course, for their Triglavian counterparts. Although on that particular front, I am willing to simply wave that difference away as Trig ships being largely overtuned.
But, unfortunately, their durability means little in the face of their inability to really effectively fulfill any combat niche whatsoever. Perhaps if their damage application were better, and their base damages higher, and their exorbitant costs lower, they might have a place as a dedicated form of DPS when dealing with groups of enemies.
But, even then, they still suffer from one last issue, the one that is by far the most terrible and egregious. This issue, unless solved, will render EDENCOM ships completely and totally unusable no matter how ludicrously strong they may one day be made.
3) Bugs. EDENCOM Vorton Projectors are an extremely unique weapon mechanic, and do not play nicely at all with the game’s existing systems. Most notably is their interaction with the “Safety” mechanism in all capsuleer ships. Or rather, their lack thereof. There is no way to prevent vorton projectors from firing upon your allies when in low and null security space. They can and will bounce to allied ships, allied drones, wrecks, cans, and any other targetable object. Even though in Hisec space the safety mechanism does prevent them from firing upon most objects and other capsuleers, it does not prevent you from firing upon your corpmates if your corp has friendly fire turned on (a common tactic which enables helping friends in big and fat ships by webbing them to improve align times). It does not prevent you from shooting wrecks and cans which belong to you. In the case of the Thunderchild (The only EDENCOM ship with drone bandwidth), it does not prevent you from shooting your own drones. Worst of all, it will not ignore suspect or criminal capsuleers. Meaning that is it trivially easy for someone with suspect status to find an EDENCOM ship attempting to kill rats in any hisec space, pull up one of those many battleships that can handily outpace said EDENCOM ship in a 1 on 1 damage race (the one thing EDENCOM ships are conceptually weakest at doing, even if they were otherwise on par), then warp to them and wait for the inevitable. At that point, the EDENCOM ship has no choice but to abandon whatever they were doing and dock up until the one chasing them decides to log off. No matter what. It is their only choice, the only decision that saves their ship is to simply stop playing the game. Moreso than all the other issues, the derpy behavior of Vorton Projectors is what renders EDENCOM vessels completely and utterly worthless. The single worst line of ships ever introduced into EVE.
Congratulations if you made it this far. While it pains me to say this, it is an unfortunate truth that a majority of people lack the attention span to read through that much text. For those that did, I sincerely thank you for putting forth at least as much effort to read and think about what I have wrote as I did to think about and write it.
Now, as promised, I shall deliver my personal beliefs on how these problems can best be resolved. For sake of consistency, I shall provide them in the same order as before.
1) Expense. I believe the hulls themselves are appropriately priced. With the solving of the other issues, the ships become much more cost-effective, and their market price will raise considerably, likely to match most other faction hulls. The modules, however, are a drastically different story. Quite simply, the primary factor that causes the price of all edencom modules and ammunition is the combination of the rarity of the trig salvage needed to get them (and thus their exorbitant market price) and the sheer volume of salvage require compared to the amount of goods you get for the trade. Simply put, reduce the amount of salvage needed. One does not need to change the salvage’s rarity, or alter it’s market price. Simply reduce the amount that is needed by, quite literally, a factor of 10. This will make all EDENCOM items far more affordable, bringing their costs in line with those of their Triglavian counterparts.
The only exception is, of course, the T2 Ammunition, which costs a frankly ludicrous amount of high tier reactions for a strangely paltry amount of ammunition. Most other forms of T2 ammunition (Including Triglavian T2 ammunition) produces 5000 rounds per run. But for some unknowable reason, the EDENCOM T2 BPCs only produce 200. Simply remedy this odd and utterly unnecessary outlier and the T2 ammunition’s price will rapidly fall in line with that of its Triglavian counterpart.
2) Power. As it stands, the primary reason EDENCOM ships lack power is threefold: First, they possess no role bonuses whatsoever. Give them role bonuses appropriate to what it is they do. Their shortest range ammunition is 40km, they need to be able to effectively apply DPS to multiple targets at once. With their midslot arrangement, it is easy for them to field multiple webs, paints, or computers. I propose Range bonuses to webs and paints; and effectiveness bonuses to paints and remote ballistic computers. This way, they can serve a role similar to vindicators, but more aligned towards the shield and missiles end of the spectrum: a DPS boat that webs and paints targets for both themselves and other missile boats in their fleet). Additionally, introduce low and mid-slot application modules or enable the already existing missile application mods to affect vorton projectors. It is frankly quite silly that neither of these things is already the case.
With the above done, their power will rapidly climb to an acceptable state. They do not need additional raw DPS, simply being better at applying that DPS to multiple targets is sufficient to bring them in line with other battleships of similar class (Since one does have to consider that their shortest range is 40km). If after such changes it became apparent they still needed more, then further damage increases could be considered.
3) More self-explanatory than the others, fix the bugs. Vorton projectors under NO circumstances should EVER target ships or objects that are “allied” with the EDENCOM ship. Specifically, they should only target things that are considered “enemies”. I shall outline appropriate behaviors below
Green Safety: Target ONLY NPCs of factions with poor standings, red icon rats, and capsuleers (and drones) with which the pilot has at least a limited engagement.
Yellow Safety: As above, except now it will also target capsuleers and drones that are in the same fleet or corporation as capsuleers with which the pilot has at least a limited engagement.
Red Safety: As above, except the Vorton Projector will additionally target ANY capsuleer or drone that is not in the same fleet as the Pilot, including capsules and damageable objects not belonging to the pilot’s fleet or an allied corporation.
Green: NPCs of poor standing, red icon rats, and any capsuleer or drone that has with the pilot a limited engagement or is a suspect or criminal.
Yellow: As above, except additionally targeting any capsuleer or drone that is not in the same fleet as the pilot.
Red: As above, except additionally targeting capsules and any damageable object not belonging to the pilot’s fleet or an allied corporation.
Nullsec- Targets any Capsuleer, drone, or damageable object not belonging to pilot’s fleet or an allied corporation, regardless of safety setting.
I believe that these changes are what is necessary to make EDENCOM ships not just barely usable, but actually viable as a spread-damage DPS hull dedicated to providing web/paint support and breaking through enemy logistics in the case of PvP, and for controlling and murdering groups of clumped rats in PvE.
tl;dr EDENCOM ships are vastly overpriced, underpowered, and buggy to ever be considered usable, let alone viable. They need to be made cheaper, be given role bonuses and a clearer purpose, and have less derpy targeting behavior.