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Kirith Kodachi: Strategic Cruisers Are A Failure

Now you might read the title of this post and think to yourself, “Mr Kodachi, you are on crack.” After all, Strategic Cruisers are everywhere in New Eden. Running sanctums alone in null sec, fleets of missile spewing doom, cloaky scouts that can ignore warp bubbles, probing hunters, running missions in high sec, fleet boosters, fighting Sleepers in wormholes, active tanking, passive tanking, etc. Despite the hefty price tag and losing skill points when losing the ship, they are a very popular ship class.

But the concept itself failed.

Let’s go back to late 2009 to read the dev blog introducing Strategic Cruisers to the players of Eve:

Strategic Cruisers
The elation of happening upon a unique fit, some fresh and clever setup, has always been a very appealing aspect of EVE. One of our primary goals for the Tech 3 ships was to bring this customization to a whole new level. The new ships are a fundamental departure from the tried and tested, offering such unparalleled customization that discussing them on the same terms as previous ships belies their true extent – we’re talking full-fledged, independent systems within the system. A little bit scary, really. They are called Strategic Cruisers, where “strategic” refers to the internal scalability and dynamic nature of the setup optionsnot a battlefield role like coordinators or command ships. Of course, they can align beautifully with virtually any fleet on any mission, but just as well prowl as lone wolves.

[…]
Subsystems not only change the ship’s attributes, slot layout and bonuses, but the geometrical shape and appearance as well. As stated, each vessel consists of 5 subsystems and a hull. Once the ship has been assembled, players are free to switch out the subsystems completely at will, given they are docked at a station.  

Emphasis mine. The concept is simple: you can pick what role / bonuses / slot layout your ship has AND you can change it whenever you want. The first part is part of the reason the ships are so ubiquitous but the second part has pretty much failed miserably. Most of the time, you use a tool like EFT or Pyfa to determine what setup you want for your Strat Cruiser including the 5 subsystems you want, and then you buy that setup, put it together, and most likely never change it again.

If you want a Strategic Cruiser for a different role, e.g. a probing cloaky ship instead or your sanctum running missile spammer, you are more likely to simply buy an entire second ship rather than just the mods to switch your current ship. My hanger, for example, has three Strategic cruisers in it: one for PvE, one for cloaky probing, and one for pure gank PvP.

What is the reason for the failure of the ship class to live up to its potential? There are several:

1) Rigs. When you put three rigs on a ship, they are usually to compliment its main role or main method of tanking (or sometimes both). However, changing the subsystems of a strat cruiser can vastly change its role and/or optimal tanking method, most likely making the installed rigs sub-optimal or useless. Since you can’t just remove rigs, only destroy them, it makes players committed to a single setup once the rigs are installed.

2) In Game, Setting Up Ships is Tedious. While some big improvements to fitting a ship in game have been made over the years, the fact of the matter is that it is downright tedious and intensive to explore ship setups and tweak it to how you want. There is no easy way to compare stats of two ship setups, removed mods are assembled so don’t stack and litter up your hanger, your hanger modules are not in a nice tree to browse like they are in the market, and unless your hanger is well stocked or you are in a market hub sometimes you just don’t have the modules or charges you need for a quick setup change.While out of game tools help a lot with some of these deficiencies, the fact of the matter is that its easier to setup a new ship with brand new purchased items than it is to swap out subsystems and modules of an existing setup unless you don’t want to use that setup ever again.

3) Too Limited. Many of the scenarios where having the ability to change the capabilities of your current ship on the fly would be useful are the same scenarios where you do not have the ability of swapping subsystems and modules: deep in enemy space, wormholes, during a long roam, etc, any time you are far from your home base. Even if you have the subsystems and modules available, since you have to be docked at a station you still can’t use a POS hanger or capital ship maintenance bay to to the switch anyways. So no jumping from Sleeper-farming PvE ship to hostile-fighting PvP ship in wormholes and no switching from forward-scouting recon ship to damage-dealing tackle ship during an offensive in null sec.

* * * * *

So what is the answer to make Strategic Cruisers live up to their full potential? Easy; address these three problems in some manner and you will go a long ways to getting there. Introduce a method for removing rigs (i.e. only in station and for a cost), introduce more ship-building-theory tools and module hanger organization tools into the game client, and allow swapping of subsystems outside of station environments.

– Kirith Kodachi

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48 Comments

  1. EveManiac

    There is a lot to your post here. But I have a feeling that this is all on purpose. (Maybe I give to much credit to CCP now given their ability to create FUBARS every now an then).

    As to the rigs I do not agree. If rigs can be changed like mods, they stop being rigs and become mods. If you want to have that extra little bit of range, DPS, shield or whatever, it comes at a cost. As all things come at a cost when fitting.

    The same goes for the choosing of the components and assembly. You can have an awesome piece of equipment with the strategic cruisers, but you have to put in an effort. Again, that is the price you pay. Just like industrials have to click themselves to kingdom come to get inventions going, or to keep your PI running at best yield, you have to make an effort.

    I like the idea that this kind of fire power or cloaking ability comes at a cost. I understand it is a nuisance, but that is I think a typical PvP approach. But if CCP changes that, I hope they will remove all the frigging clicking in the industrial part of the game as well

    May 13, 2012 at 10:27 am Reply
    1. Jokus

      As far as I understood Kirith's posting, it's not about the price tag but about the way how strategic cruisers are used. The original idea – as stated by CCP – was to make a ship that is not just highly adjustable but the same ship is actually adjusted to different roles.

      And that just doesn't happen. If you have to switch everything but the basic hull, then you can switch out that one, too. No point in bringing one adjustable ship, if you can bring two already pre-adjusted ships for a similar price tag. And there we are pretty close to the way how T1 and T2 ships are used, where I choose a ship, fit it and stick to that fitting. This "players are free to switch out the subsystems completely at will" degrades to a mere fitting choice like we know it from every other ship (except freighters).

      May 13, 2012 at 10:45 am Reply
      1. dani lizardov

        Will you spend another 500 mil on 2nd tengu, or will u just buy two more subsytems for 100 mil and switch when ever u like?
        Not adjustable? pre-adjusted u say ….
        How u use em and how u can use em is two diffrent things.

        May 14, 2012 at 4:03 pm Reply
  2. Troll of trolls

    Step 1: Rigs should be removed, i think there is a simpler and better solution for Strategic cruisers. Remove rigs all together from them, and add an additional subsystem slot to compensate for the reduction of rigs. the subsystem should be built from rigs

    Step2 : Yes i agree the fitting tool ingame allowing you to fit ship you don't have yet and then just applying the fit to the ship selected.

    Step3: POS:es are beeing reworked… so just hold your gun on that one still you can in a POS still access your shipmatenence array and refit it.

    May 13, 2012 at 10:32 am Reply
    1. seph

      what he said, no rig slots, the customization is the subsystems.

      May 13, 2012 at 6:00 pm Reply
  3. You make a strong point, but perhaps it draws too much from your own case.

    I tend to spend my ISK begrudgingly, and as a result I keep a single tengu in my nullsec home along with quite a few subsystems. It does a brilliant job serving two roles – as on occasional PvE ship, and as a miniature cloaky hauler for moving mods and high-value loot around under the eyes of our friendly neighbourhood cloaky gangs. With the spare subsystems, I regularly refit the tengu to run different kinds of PvE and EFT lets me work out how I want to change things beforehand.

    I couldn't say whether my way of doing things is more "likely" than yours, but it works for me.

    May 13, 2012 at 10:48 am Reply
    1. zomgimelite

      I do this same thing in nullsec with my tengu, despite owning more than one, in the case things go tits up i can pack it all into one tengu and gtfo. Not only that, carry a spare sub around in my empire/wh pvp proteus and swap out as needed for more dps or tackle.

      OP is a moron and shoould try harder before whining.

      May 13, 2012 at 5:51 pm Reply
  4. plexforceone

    Ladies and gentlemen, this is a bad post.

    May 13, 2012 at 10:50 am Reply
  5. T3 are too bad

    In my opinion T3 cruisers are way too expensive for what they can do. Yes they can be awesome scouts for nullifier (no bubble) ability. The problem is if you do that you ca't use it for combat because you are missing low slot and speed which is dramatical disadvantage for proteus and legion. So scout is scout. Nothing more.

    IF you use them for solo pvp, probing and tackling ratters, once you fit covert ops cloak which is neccessary for solo pvp you deal like 150-300 DPS (depends on which t3 you use) which is really lol damage. When you are alone you need atleast 600+ dps to take down enemy. Or he can tank you or get enough time to call friends…

    Active tank, double rep, even with correct subsystems and expensive repairers is still very weak, hardly u can get over 1000 dps tank and the price is already over 2.5b+. So you actually never want to do this because there are so many gangers today.

    SO, FOR WHAT WE USE T3 CRUISERS? Tanking plexes, tanking rats, wormhole. Too bad CCP. Sorry, I love T3, but still, classic T3 cruisers cant beat my pvp astarte or even worse, my double rep hyperion. After all, losing 300M battleship is still better than losing 1b t3 cruisers.

    T3 cruisers are too weak. They really need to be improved. They price is not worth of what they can do.

    And I am really experienced pvper, so stfu because I know what im saying. And yes I can fly all of them.

    May 13, 2012 at 10:52 am Reply
    1. I got as far as "my cloaky scout can't do dps" and stopped reading.

      May 13, 2012 at 11:42 am Reply
    2. scrublords

      Hm strange, my cloaky legion scouts, probes, evades bubbles and features a full rack of armor links giving absolutely OP bonuses. Its also quite fast and pretty hard to probe out ones uncloaked. I think you are doing something wrong there. So you need a cloak for solo pvp? Oh wait, you consider it solo pvp to scan down pve ships and gank them? Well nevermind then, i guess you really are a very experienced pvper. But seriously: You are bad at this game and should unsub asap.

      May 13, 2012 at 5:50 pm Reply
      1. NOOOOOOO

        They are removing off grid bonusing from Links in the main inferno release. Have fun

        May 13, 2012 at 7:44 pm Reply
        1. dumb

          You are full of shit

          May 14, 2012 at 6:19 am Reply
        2. boosting

          it's in pos shields boosting that should go, not off grid

          May 14, 2012 at 12:14 pm Reply
    3. seph

      Yet, people still keep using them

      It will allways be most cost effective to use t1 hulls. but still people will use tech 3, why, because they want to get to the max

      a ratting domini is 100mil max, you can get 6-10 for same cost of tengu, but people still keep using tengus.

      May 13, 2012 at 5:58 pm Reply
    4. derpster

      Not sure if trolling or really this stupid…

      May 13, 2012 at 8:08 pm Reply
    5. Stator Thog

      It is a cruiser! Get over the fact that it has issues killing a BS. Light tank decent DPS or great tank and light DPS. it is like everything else in life, a trade off.

      May 13, 2012 at 8:12 pm Reply
  6. anatlasgoon

    1. Introduce a method for removing rigs (i.e. only in station and for a cost),

    Only for T3s? Why? And why do T3s need this buff (yes, it is a buff)?

    2. Introduce more ship-building-theory tools and module hanger organization tools into the game client,

    Yes, because ship fitting isn't already incredibly complicated for new players.

    3. And allow swapping of subsystems outside of station environments.

    Oh, God no. This just enables carebears to burn through nullsec, find an empty system for ratting, switch to a PvE fit, rat until they're bored, and then switch up the fit to leave. In fact, it would enable any PVP T3 to switch into cloaky/nullified at will and breeze past bubble camps.

    The long and the short of it is that there's no reason for these changes except that your interpretation of a three-year-old devblog calls for it.

    May 13, 2012 at 12:25 pm Reply
  7. A Voice of Reason

    Some valid points. Terrible proposed solutions.

    Make it so that that you can strip all subsystems from a rigged hull. That's enough right there. Buy a couple of hulls. Add different rigs to them. Swap subsystems as you like. The alleged flexibility of a T3 ship is lost when they always have to have a full set of subs fitted when sitting in your hangar. I have many spare subs that are never used just to allow me to swap modules between different hulls. Also fix loading fittings and stop powering off all of my modules when I hit load fitting!

    May 13, 2012 at 12:29 pm Reply
  8. PL Winner

    a) "you can change the modules arround" doesnt mean its the main feature
    b) its hangar
    c) t3 ships are used alot, so success.

    May 13, 2012 at 12:45 pm Reply
  9. zzz

    removable rigs? you sound like a whining bitch when everybody else is 'dealing with it',
    i would be more interested in making proteus and legion as useful as the tengu and loki

    May 13, 2012 at 12:47 pm Reply
  10. gerard

    This is a Bad Post.

    May 13, 2012 at 12:52 pm Reply
  11. Random CFC Grunt

    IMHO 2 more things should be mentioned here:
    1. Since you talked about rigs – t3's are usually expensive and therefore spend more on t2 rigs, once you got them, 3 of them, costing nearly as much as your hull, you don't want to change them. I personally have no problems throwing out t1 rigs, but my heart bleeds when I even think of destroying a t2 armor rig on me loki. The point here is T2 rigs are ridiculously expensive, it's like fucking officer rigs in some cases and not t2, for instance take a look at t2 trimarks, COME ON! These rigs need to be cheaper. A LOT cheaper, I'd say that a reduction in price of about 80% would be a nice START.
    2. You can refit subsystems on a station only… – Really?, greeeeat… why? because your ship would depressurize in space (I think that's what the message says). Why should I care if I'm in a FUCKING CAPSULE! This is the single stupidest restriction put on the t3 ships. Meaning that if – for instance – you live in a WH, you need to probe an exit (and you better hope you're not in a c5/6, as you may have to repeat it multiple times), find a station, just to change a damn subsystem. This is the T3 flexibility "after CCP". Good job.
    Oh, and I believe that the problem with refitting subsystems in space is just related to EVE's engine being shit, and causung problems with rendering the new ship model, but that's just my opinion.

    May 13, 2012 at 12:53 pm Reply
    1. M1k3y

      1. I agree

      2. I agree but, backstory is that all ships also have a non-capsuleer crew (its somewhere on EvElopedia, couldn't find the link though) and if the ship depressurized they would all go flying out into space and pop like grapes.

      May 13, 2012 at 3:52 pm Reply
      1. Aher

        Yes , the truth is that spacesuits are officer items and not for commoners :)

        On topic strat cruisers are ok imho, except the poor legion . Changing roles remains a pita though …

        May 13, 2012 at 7:13 pm Reply
      2. Random CFC Grunt

        2. – oh dear 😉

        May 13, 2012 at 8:52 pm Reply
      3. Space Farer

        Dear non capsuleer crew…..

        Move to the front of the ship unless you want to die the engines are undergoing modifications.. tyvm have a nice day

        May 14, 2012 at 10:08 pm Reply
    2. ghdf

      when tech3s were first mooted I thought they wouldn't get rig slots

      they seem op, especiallity triple trimarked with armour hp bonus

      May 14, 2012 at 12:15 pm Reply
      1. Random CFC Grunt

        I dare to say that without the rig slots, they'd be fucking useless, especially considering the amount of work needed to actually produce a T3 and their price.

        May 14, 2012 at 2:20 pm Reply
  12. zzz

    removable rigs? you sound like a whining bitch when everybody else is 'dealing with it',

    May 13, 2012 at 12:58 pm Reply
  13. Anon

    What a ridiculous argument. You could use the same rigs for various roles.

    T1 medium rigs are cheap as hell, if you want to change them it's a trivial expense.

    And who says a ship is a failure just because it doesn't do the exact thing they had in mind when they created it?

    I think T3s are MORE of a success than anyone ever expected. We have entire fleets of them now!

    May 13, 2012 at 1:51 pm Reply
    1. candles.

      when you buy a 600+ mill ship you dont go retarded and set a t1 rig on it.

      May 13, 2012 at 3:01 pm Reply
      1. scrublords

        Well actually you do. Everybody who seriously pvps in a t3 wil do so. Besides the rather high cost of Tech3 Ships they are considered throw-away-ships these days. It´s the same reason why you don´t fit t2 rigs on a carrier. It will go boom sooner or later, so will the t3. The additional cost of t2 rigs might be reasonable on a pve hull. There are some exceptions like t2 resistance rigs or in solo pvp.

        May 13, 2012 at 5:35 pm Reply
  14. WH guy

    You need to be able to refit them in wormholes.

    May 13, 2012 at 2:12 pm Reply
  15. Merdaneth

    Absolutely agreed. But there is even another issue why T3 have failed: their configuration was supposed to make it more difficult to predict and hence harder to combat. But since their use is more or less fixed to several roles, their configurations aren't less predictable than non-T3 ships.

    T3 ships have a few unique roles: (alt) fleet booster, 100mn AB skirmish PvP, cloaky bubble-immune nullsec hauler. None of those roles is due to the fact that their configurations can be changed.

    As said, the few times you really need to change your setup, you either can't (no docking) or its too costly (in time and isk for rigs) to do so. Bottom line is, strategic cruisers are not more strategically flexible than non T3 ships.

    May 13, 2012 at 2:38 pm Reply
  16. etil

    1) Same as every single ship
    2) Use EFT (or the like)
    3) look answer 1

    May 13, 2012 at 3:11 pm Reply
  17. Cletus VanDamme

    The ship is not the failure. The players are. With billions of isk and lazyness you miss the point of the ship. You dont want to be bothered rebuilding the sub systems and using common rigs. So what do you do you have 3 t3 ships and just whine about how CCP missed the point. You missed the point. Your fucking spoiled and crying in your champaign about how its so hard being wealthy.

    May 13, 2012 at 3:33 pm Reply
  18. Bop pop

    You missed the most important point in the original posting about t3:s: "not a battlefield role like coordinators or command ships."

    Right now T3s have taken over too many ships' specialized roles. That was not the intention, as the quote above shows…

    May 13, 2012 at 4:45 pm Reply
  19. skullair

    i just dislike the 100 ab setups there to useful using a AB that oversize for the ship… its the only ship in game that can use a oversize prop mod well imo

    May 13, 2012 at 5:41 pm Reply
  20. ...

    Strat cruisers have always bothered me in EVE due to the fact the power creep they provide is insane. A cruiser hull that's more powerful than a battleship, that's not good for balance. I'm guessing CCP thought it would be "OK" since they thought the ship would be rare due to the cost, but we see how well that train of thought worked for supers didn't we? Or maybe they thought people wouldn't use them in pvp as much due to the skill point loss. The further along that power creep curve you get, the further away you get from allowing new players to enjoy pvp.

    Don't get me wrong the 'idea' is great. A ship that can fill a bunch of different roles but has to specialize it's fit to fill those rolls is a great idea. However, I think the power output needs to be brought back down closer to t2 levels.

    May 13, 2012 at 6:31 pm Reply
  21. Raz

    I actually wasted my time reading this… fitting drama. Oh my!

    May 13, 2012 at 7:07 pm Reply
  22. Rip Wash

    How about CCP:

    Remove rigs from the t3 hull, rig subsystems instead.
    Offensive, defensive, and propulsion subs get a rig slot each.
    Now you can change subs out for different rig configurations.

    Somehow allow swapping out of subs in space: Add a special subsystems only cargo-hold and limited fitting service. Immobilize the ship during the transformation.

    May 13, 2012 at 8:36 pm Reply
    1. We have a winner.

      Rigging subsystems is beautiful. I can't believe that thought never occurred to me before. +1

      May 14, 2012 at 7:53 pm Reply
  23. Mendokusai

    Allow multiple setups to be fitted at the same time.
    They could introduce some cool animation like the roqual and have you spend a minute or what ever changing to a different loadout. Of course if you die you lose all fittings/rigs/subsystems for each loadout.

    May 13, 2012 at 9:14 pm Reply
  24. Sold

    Waah. Cry moar. Last time I read Kirith's column. Fitting is tedious? gbtWoW. Nice ignoring the second part of the statement: "as long as you are docked."

    May 14, 2012 at 12:31 am Reply
  25. There is a new inventory system in the next expansion. It is on SISI, I kinda like it. But on a not so important part of your message, "your hanger modules are not in a nice tree to browse like they are in the market," I buy station containers and label them low, med, high, rigs, miss, guns, ammo etc. Then al my stuff is at least in its correct rig slot container when I know I want a med mod, I open my med container. I assume this is a common way to contain lots and lots of stuff in your items. It has saved me a lot of time over the years.

    May 14, 2012 at 1:40 am Reply
  26. dontknowme

    well tbh i am happy you can't completly change this ship on a POS or a cap.
    while it my be stupid in a wormhole, i have to admit that, i think it would be too powerfull if oyu can just switch it in the middle of a roam… those tings are pretty powerfull allready.

    Also i think their Ganglink Bonuses are too high.
    I somewhat agree about the rigs but on the other hand… how many rigs do you have ot buy to equal the price a a second T3? (unless you use t2 of course)

    May 14, 2012 at 6:06 am Reply
  27. dani lizardov

    Some major EFT warrior tiers over here 😀

    EFT is not your friend 😀
    its mine, when u put over priced modes in your ships 😀

    May 14, 2012 at 3:56 pm Reply

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