Okay, so this topic is going off several premises right off the bat. Premise 1: mutaplasmids are not reaching anything near what their full potential could be in EvE. Premise 2: A large part of “why” has to do with everything revolving around the RNG portion. Premise 3: Equipment with clearly defined traits that you CAN plan fits around is better for the game, better for the feature, and easier for players to accept. Premise 4: CCP, not wanting to waste the immense amount of effort they put into this feature (which is roughly 20% of the entire Abyss expansion), would be willing to completely overhaul it to save it.
In my opinion, the RNG nature of the mutas is basically the entirety of what’s wrong with it. I don’t see any way whatsoever to maintain a RNG element to producing modules while saving the concept. With RNG in place, nothing can be fine-tuned or balanced, only ranges adjusted. Fits cannot be planned, items cannot be marketed, supply cannot be maintained. There has been no effort to create a balanced place for these modules within the meta, nor can there be, because RNG. RNG bricks not just the modules, but the entire concept itself.
So what would I do, to change mutas and try to make the feature more popular? Honestly, I think it’s best to adhere to well-trodden ground on this one and make them parallel tech-1 named items. In that, I mean that they have one or two benefits over their base item (in this case, it will be a tech 2 stasis webifier), but have drawbacks elsewhere.
In this case, the mutas would work solely on tech 2 equipment and not work on anything tech 1, faction, deadspace, or otherwise. Combine that with defined penalties, and we have modules which will have a niche use in some cases, a more broad use in others, and yet never obsolete or overlap with standard tech 2 equipment or higher since unmodified tech 2 general stats will always be better for a broader use-base.
For this example, I will be using webifiers as my go-to prop. The numbers and examples that will follow are for demonstration purposes only - I do not claim these particular numbers would be the final balanced result we ought to anchor ourselves to. They’re only here for illustration of concept.
For reference, these are the stats of a tech 2 stasis webifier as they currently stand.
- Activation cost: 6 j
- Velocity modifier: -60%
- Powergrid: 1
- CPU: 30
- Range: 10km
- Overheat bonus: 30% (3 km)
The first thing I’m going to do is to define the penalty. I think the line of mutated modules should have a defined and consistent penalty across the board. For the webifier example, we will go with this.
All mutated webifiers
Activation cost: 18 j (3x)
CPU: 40 (+10)
Okay, now we have some penalties carved out. This is done so that normal tech 2 is not obsoleted by this expansion, and power creep has a factor to keep it in check. So with that done, let’s get into the more fun stuff, the benefits! There’s actually a lot of room for having niche equipment, and I’m not saying we should have all these variants either, just illustrating what we can do with this.
*Tech 2 “Reaching” webifier: 15% bonus range. Module cannot be overheated.
With the penalties already outlined, this webber would give you better long-term range, though you wouldn’t be able to out-range an overheated tech 2 base module.
*Tech 2 “Unhinged” webifier: +50% overheat bonus (from 30% to 45%) . This gives you a bigger bonus to using that overheat, but you’re still paying extra fitting and activation for having that bonus.
*Tech 2 “Liquid-cooled” webifier: 25% less heat damage, heat dissipation rate +50%
*Tech 2 “Stout” webifier: +50% structure HP
*Tech 2 “Frantic” webifier: +100% overheat bonus (from 30% to 60%), +25% heat damage, heat dissipation rate -50% (yes that’s two additional penalties)
From there, it’s just a matter of plugging in different modules that are included in the mutations at present, and giving them a similar treatment. Webs have a few limitations in things like strength because it can break the game’s math. However, other things like neuts could get options for increased strength which wouldn’t break the game in ways that stronger webs do. So those other modules would have more possibilities we could explore. In particular, I think that being able to block out overheating or enhance it in different ways opens up a plethora of possibilities that people would really enjoy tinkering with.
And of course, if the penalties seem harsh, or if you want a module that’s simply better, you can always get a faction or deadspace one!
With that outlined, what would I do about how we mutate? Well like I said, I think only tech 2 items should be up for mutation since they are the baseline for the new modules. And secondly, I think I’d keep the failure chance. What the failure chance would be, I don’t know and I think that’s open for debate. But I think we should also increase the plasmid drop by a large factor to open up real markets and opportunities to supply these new items.
The failure rate will keep a steady supply of destruction to eat up surplus on the market. These new items having set stats will make them available on the market, viable for theorycrafting, and so much more.
As for the Abyss space loot…I think that having trig ship and weapon blueprints and skillbooks in tiers 4 & 5 is good incentive for those. Have ammo blueprints and minerals in 3 through 5. And have mutas in 1 through 5 so there’s always a reason to run even the lower-tier spaces. Make it so that some loot is guaranteed in each box (mainly speaking about mutas, fibers, OR some minerals), although room one gives pitiful loot, room two a bit more, but you really want to get that loot from room three to make the venture worthwhile in any tier.
And that’s how I’d do it.