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Am joust going to say, Oh My God!! Originally posted here.

Dev Blog: Rebalancing EVE, one ship at a time

I always find it fascinating how the most life threatening issues often come up from the smallest, most innocent moves. For instance, you could enjoy a meal at home, drop the dirty cutlery into the sink with the firm intention to clean it the day after, only to realize two weeks have passed and the kitchen is now inhabited by a new indigenous, hostile life-form derived from all the junk you forgot to wash during that time.

The same shocking, and quite horrifying principles apply with ship balancing. Tweak things a little up, down, right, left and right again, then notice you are two years into the future and are now faced with a system that is in dire need of an overhaul. Identifying roots that need to be plucked out and preparing the soil for healthy balancing is a daunting task, but we now estimate to be in a proper position to give you a glimpse of things to come.

Climbing your way up is a bumpy ride

The first overhaul we are considering is to clean ship progression and skill requirements.

We currently have four racial skill requirements for Frigates, Cruisers, Battleships and Capitals, while the Destroyer and Battlecruiser skills are totally generic. This creates a certain number of issues, such as:

  • For tech 1 ships, training the Destroyer or Battlecruiser skill allows you mastery over all racial variants, provided you have their respective Frigate / Cruiser skills trained to 3. That means 12 ships unlocked by the Battlecruiser skill, for instance.
  • For tech 2 ships, it creates an overcomplicated nest of skill requirements, as you need both the Cruiser and Battlecruiser skills to 5 to train for a Command Ship for example.
  • It also impacts progression as a whole, as the Destroyer and Battlecruiser skills are not required to move into the upper classes at all. Training Battleships requires racial Cruiser at 4, not Battlecruiser.

Current ship progression:

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As such, we want to streamline ship training by implementing the changes below:

  • Split Destroyers and Battlecruisers skills into 4 racial variants, and turn them into requirements for training upper classes. Amarr Battleship would now require Amarr Battlecruiser at 4.
  • Cut needless requirements for tech 2 ships across classes. Tech 2 philosophy is all about specializing into a specific hull and role, thus, requiring players to train for Assault Ships, then Heavy Assault Ships when aiming for Field Command Ships, is quite redundant.
  • Increase progression consistency by ensuring all navy ships and entry requirement for upper classes have a skill level 4 requirement, while tech 2 has a level 5 requirement. For example, that means lowering the Covetor's Mining Barge requirement from 5 to 4, but also reducing Battleship requirement from 5 to 4 for capitals.

New ship progression:

To sum up, this means that tech 1 sub-capital vessels would take a bit longer to train for (from 9 to 17 days for Battleships for instance), capitals would be less time consuming (30 days faster) and tech 2 ships like Interdictors and Command Ships would require 14-20 less days to train for.

If and when such changes occur, we would remove the generic Destroyer and Battlecruiser skills, reimburse the skill points (and possibly the cost) not to penalize players. Due to the way nested requirements work, it would also mean pilots would not need to re-train anything to fly Battleships or Cruisers. All of this is work in progress of course and subject to change, especially since we are still discussing skill reimbursement options.

However, reducing training requirements for various ship classes is not a side-effect we are necessarily happy with. That is why we want to introduce new skills, tied with the new concept of ship lines.

Stating the not so obvious

To understand what ships lines are all about, let’s recap the four theoretical factors that sort ships out:

  • Size, fairly straightforward for being the most evident to grasp. Size impacts on module fitting requirements, mobility, replacement costs, required player experience, play session length.

  • Tech, which impacts ship performance, and roles. Tech 1 is the reference in ship balancing, while faction ships (navy and pirate variants) are most often plain improvements, tech 2 offer a specialized purpose and tech 3 give opportunities for generalization.

  • Tiers, mainly used for tech 1 and faction ships. In each class, it influences how many slots, hitpoints, fitting options a ship has next to others, and is theoretically used as a progression system for players climbing up sizes.
  • Manufacturers, tech 2 schools that specialize in specific roles, like missiles for Khanid or sniping for Ishukone.

Combinining all these elements, we arrive at the following ship trees:

Click to enlarge

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In practice however, after assessing ship slots, EHP, speed, fitting potential and role overlap, we estimate almost half of our currently available ships to have suboptimal use, or are just be plain not worth it at all for pilots looking to min-max.

There are many reasons for that, one is due to the way we balance ships according to the tier system. Indeed, because the tier system dictates raw slots and hit points, it directly impacts ship performance, and thus affects balance. This is most obvious with the tier 1 versus tier 2 battlecruiser comparison, or even with the cruiser class as a whole. Battleship hulls, for having comparatively more base slots to play with, are less affected by this problem than their smaller counterparts.

Introducing ship lines

That is why we want to remove ship tiers altogether, then refocus our balancing philosophy to be based on role. That means finding common themes, or lines that fit ships with the same purpose, then adjusting slot layout, HP and fittings within each class to support this goal.

  • Combat ships: designed for direct fights, such vessels are usually found spar heading an attack force, or sniping from long range. Have great damage and defense, but poor mobility. A good representation would be 18th century "ships of the line". EVE examples: Abaddon, Rokh, Hyperion, Maelstrom, Ferox, Maller.
  • Attack vessels: Made for hit and run assault, or flanking opportunities. Have great damage and mobility, but average defense. Similar in role with cavalry. EVE examples: Armageddon, Megathron, Tempest, Oracle, Thorax, Hurricane, Dominix, Myrmidon.
  • Bombardment ships: provide heavy fire support to pin the enemy down with constant barrage of ordnance. Have great damage and range, average defense and mobility. Can be compared to artillery. EVE examples: Raven, Drake, caracal.
  • Support vessels: mainly focused on assisting a friendly force, or disrupting an enemy fleet. Have average damage, poor defense, average mobility. Electronic warfare is the prime illustration of this line. EVE examples: Scorpion, Blackbird, Celestis, Arbitrator.
  • Industrial ships: provide the mining and logistic backbone to replace military losses and cover operating costs. Poor offense, average defense and poor mobility. An Oil platform is a fairly accurate depiction of industrial ships . EVE examples: Covetor, Orca, Rorqual, Iteron V.

The advantages of such approach are multiple:

  • As said above, ships that desperately need slots or EHP to fulfill their role will get them.
  • Removing the tier system makes it significantly easier for us to balance ships, as there is no more artificial barrier dictating ship attributes within the same class.
  • It groups vessels into easily identifiable lines for each race and allow us to add new skills to support them. That is the purpose of the ship line skills mentioned above, which could further boost respective advantages. Combat ship line skills could give a bonus to defense, while attack ship skills benefit offense and mobility for example.
  • This opens up possibilities in terms of new ships. For example, why does the Amarr drone and tracking disruption line ends with the Arbitrator? Or the Gallente drone and dampening abilities stop with the Exequror? Can’t Minmatar use short range missile platforms to make use of that target painting bonus?

Paving the way for the future

So, how does all that affect you? Starting with EVE Online: Inferno, we will begin revamping ship classes one after the other, making sure obsolete hulls serve a purpose. This is still in the research phase and constructive feedback is most appreciated while we wait for the next ship balancing blog to come out, dedicated to how such changes will impact the Amarr Empire fleet.

 

– CCP Ytterbium

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145 Comments

  1. Tub Chil

    removing BC skill and introducing racial BC skills is a horrible, horrible idea. (don't care for destroyers so much)

    it basically means that someone will take away my favourite toys.

    March 7, 2012 at 11:37 am Reply
  2. THE GHOST OF ALTAIR

    Why not just allow for Multi-faction or tech 2 books. carebears can train skills to combine certain books and sell them in contracts. EX: Amarr-Caldari Battlecrusier, Gallente-Minatarr Battlecrusiers II. of-course the training time should be close to training for one BC, just to make it worth the extra cost. just an idea.

    March 7, 2012 at 5:07 pm Reply
  3. Saiphas Cain

    This sounds like an incredibly huge undertaking, though a bit of simplicity and review is certainly in order. I've always wondered why the need for subtly different skills that all effect different aspects of the same thing like "shield compensation" is different from "EM/Thermal, wtc Shield Compensation" is different from Tactical shield Manipulation, etc etc. While I'm not for dumbing things down I must say that while training, ticking these skills off one after another ALL in anticipation of flying something does get irritating only to get in the hull and find oops, missed one. That's another two weeks. While the overall training times may be longer… having composite skills like "Active Shield Tanking" and "Passive Shield Tanking" would certainly simplify things logictically.

    That being said this is going to be a nightmare for my importing business when/if it happens.

    March 7, 2012 at 9:52 pm Reply
  4. Supers must die.

    How about this guys. We make ALL ship skills generic, then we make a skill for each race called "Amarr ships, Gallente Ships, Minmitar Ships, Caldari ships." At level 3 you can pilot everything bs down. 4 you can pilot capital ships. 5 supercaps. And yes this means that even though you may have the generic carrier to 5. You cant fly your nyx until you have gall ships to 5 (120 days to get to five.) On the downside many people would be ejected from their supers. On the plus side. Several hundred supers would die in a single day rewriting the power balance for all of eve online.

    March 8, 2012 at 2:30 am Reply
  5. CCP are Ultratards

    This is the worst thing CCP could ever do, it will waste time & most likely money for people to "retrain" towards something they can already use, bad move CCP, bad move!

    March 8, 2012 at 7:05 am Reply
  6. grrr

    I am all for this change as long as all my 90m skills are reset. I have crafted a toon over the past 5 years to the current ship system. I have made choices on ship, weapon and support skills based on the current system. To drastically change the ship lines and only refund me my BC V and Destroyer V skills? What about command ship V? All of a sudden command ship V seems a lot less worth it now.

    Careful CCP

    March 9, 2012 at 1:29 pm Reply
  7. a thought

    I would rather have the give me the skills of the racials then reimburse me the SP as i have trained for the command ships… so PLEASE just give me the SP for all the racials or give me the skills so i dont have to train them again or just leave it alone…

    March 10, 2012 at 6:35 pm Reply
  8. JDM

    If they make the bonus to ship stats exponentially higher with skill level, perhaps training to level 5 would be worth it?
    For example: level 1 = 1% increase in stat. Level 2 = 2.5%. Level 3 = 6.5% level 4 = 15% and level 5 = 35 to 40% depending on the stat… I am not training level 5 for a measly 5% increase for a total of 25%, but if level 5 gave me a total of 40% instead of 25% I would seriously consider it.

    March 10, 2012 at 7:07 pm Reply
  9. Captain Morgan

    I'm all for refocusing on ship roles and breathing life back into unused hulls, but I don't think this is the way to go about it. To long-time players this appears to be no more than a simplification of training mechanics pandering to the uneducated mass of new EVE players that CCP is hoping to generate with Inferno.

    People who have trained these skills the hard way might not take kindly to the idea of an "easier" path, particularly when it's implementation directly affects (and possibly detracts) from the skills we already have.

    March 13, 2012 at 7:08 am Reply
  10. Eatmeccp

    These proposed changes represent areas where CCP has hindsight. So, CCP learns as they go along, just like the players do. Fine, and good. But, If CCP changes the game based on this hindsight, then by the same token the players should be able to reskill based on their hindsight. Full SP reimbursement is in order for all in this case. One example why: as a newb, the game tutorial forced/encouraged players to waste skill training! If I knew then what I know now mentality should be on both sides of this ship/skill realignment. Now stop screwing around CCP, or I will buy your company, fire all of you, hire a good crew to handle things professionally and right the first time!

    P.S. What's happened with this CCP troll blog anyway? When is the other shoe going to drop? After we all waste MORE PRECIOUS TIME TRAINING THINGS TO LVL 5? WE CAN"T BE EXPECTED TO HOLD OFF ON OUR TRAINING GOALS FOREVER WHILE YOU MUCK ABOUT CCP!

    March 26, 2012 at 7:07 pm Reply
  11. Danny

    i like the changers opens up new tech II options for BC and dessys,… and i hope we get new faction ships for the 2 ships classes :) ,… good job CCP
    have to take a step back to make a big step forwards :),…

    April 17, 2012 at 12:14 am Reply
  12. Null Dweller

    +1 for you good sir since you can indeed read!!!!

    as for the 6 million SP issue I dont think they intend on refunding anything but instead if you have BC V currently when you log in after patch day you will have all the racial BC skills at lvl V. All this would do is make you have more SP then you actually do =p.

    March 6, 2012 at 10:04 pm Reply
  13. I can read

    Yea that is my assumption. Though, it would be fun if they did give people 6m+ SPs. You know most people wouldn't bother training up Gallente BCs and just take the 1.5m SPs and drop it in who knows what. Or one could use the power of 2 deal to start up another account now, training up BC 5 and work on what ever and then if they did give out a pile of SPs one could get a free 4.5 mill SP.

    March 6, 2012 at 10:27 pm Reply

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