I’m realllly going to toe the :nda: line on this one.

I want — desperately want — to write about HACs today.  If you’ve been keeping track, CCP Rise has now posted his proposed changes to both medium guns and the game’s eight heavy assault cruisers.  Go give the changes a read if you haven’t already.

Now, needless to say, these changes have been… ummm… somewhat contentious among the CSM members.  Different CSM members have been active on this based on their own experiences in game.  I’m of course most active as a small gang PvPer, which means that I come at this ships from a perspective of a fleet of no more than a few dozen of them.  Alternately, there’s the more historical role of small-gang HACs in either solo or super small-gang PvP, something that has been hunted to extinction in EVE in recent years.

Either way, though, I tend to be hugely pragmatic when it comes to ships.  I don’t have a ship replacement program feeding me, so I must look at ships in terms of bang for the buck and performance relative to competing alternatives.  I don’t have any choice since ships aren’t being bought for me.  😉

On that scale, HACs have been failing for a good long while for the small gang player.

With that in mind, I can give you my perspective on these eight ships before the proposed changes:

  • Sacrilege: Basically a Zealot alternative, tankier but with inferior projection; overshadowed by much superior Legion fits.
  • Zealot: Best of breed currently, terrific thanks to small sig, great tank, and predictable solid DPS.
  • Cerberus: Mostly useful as a PvE ship in my view, but currently overshadowed by the Tengu.
  • Eagle: I’ve written on this one innumerable times.  It’s all but worthless… flattened by the competition.
  • Deimos: Used to be a great ship for countering Drake/Sleipnir meta, but as those metas have fallen off so has the Deimos.
  • Ishtar: This is another one that I think of as a PvE boat.
  • Muninn: It’s OK in big fleets but in small fleets the alpha is overshadowed by a half-dozen competitors.
  • Vagabond: Used to be my go-to quick response ship, whereas now I use a Thorax for this (bang for the buck).

In each case (except for the two ships I regard as better for PvE, I can give you lists of ships I’d rather fly than the eight HACs.  From my perspective, the attack battle cruisers, the much superior T1 cruisers, and the faction cruisers all act as “competition” to HACs in the size of gangs in which I fly.  In particular for HACs intended to fight at skirmish range, the attack BCs are cheaper, insurable, nearly as mobile, more survivable due to average longer range, and require about half the SP of a HAC.  It’s not a hard choice if you look at your ships purely pragmatically.  Tracking is obviously an issue, but you can overcome that pretty easily both thanks to the long engagement range and with careful flying.

So to summarize, when I look at the HACs, I start to ask “What is the role of these ships?  What’s their intended purpose?  In what fleet comp do they fit?”  And then, given their expense, I usually ask “Is there a cheaper alternative?  Is there a better alternative?”  And today, for me, for every HAC but the Zealot the answer is usually “yes” so I fly that ship instead.

Now CCP has stated that the intent behind T2 ships is to be more specialized versions of their T1 counterparts.  But they’ve also said that in terms of balance, they like the balance between T1 combat frigs and assault frigs.  And I like this balance, too.  The usual joke that’s been tossed around at Fanfest and other venues is that CCP’s goal for T2 counterparts to T1 ships is that they be “twice as expensive, 25% better.”  And it’s a workable real world meta and what’s more, makes good sense.  You can buy a Ford Mustang… or you can buy a Porsche.  But you’re not getting twice as much car for the doubled amount of money.

But suppose the competition is also 25% better but is only 50% more expensive?  To continue the analogy, can you not buy a Corvette which directly competes with the Porsche but at somewhat reduced cost?  Sure it has drawbacks… but if the goal is to drive stupid fast, both cars will do the job and you can drive the ‘Vette in such a way as to mitigate the effects of its drawbacks.  And in so doing, you can save yourself a lot of money.  So it is with the HACs when I view them from my pragmatic, bang-for-the-buck small gang eyes.

And when viewed from that mindset, these specialized T2 counterparts of the excellent T1 cruisers are individually falling short on a number of levels.  The competition is… just… better.  My alliance-mate Namamai has done an absolutely masterful job of describing some of my concerns with these ships in a three-post series in the second thread.  Go read them.  They’re worth your time.

But as a CSM member, how does one say that in a way that makes sense to game developers trying to do their jobs and improve ships that thousands of players love to fly?  My impulse was to sit back a bit and see what EVE players thought of the ships and now that the thread is up to 33 pages, it’s been interesting to watch the reactions.  So that’s what I’ve been doing so far, with a couple of exceptions.(1)

So for now, I’m going to keep my specific opinions to myself, continue to share them with CCP devs until these changes are finalized, and ask all of you out there to weigh in.  In particular, you can download replacement EFT data files that will allow you to build these HACs here, again courtesy of Rote Kapelle member Namamai.  Just extract the files, make a copy of your EFT v2.19.1 directory with a new name, then replace everything in the Data directory with these files.  At that point, you’ll be able to fit up a few of these new HACs for yourself.

Have fun, and stay tuned…

(1) I’ve been arguing for more grid and more cap for the Eagle, and a better-defined role for the Sac.  About my beloved Vaga, I haven’t been able to say much… I’ve just been kind of flabbergasted about it and hoping I just “don’t get it”.  I suspect the Vaga changes are intended to support this kind of fight, though.  It was one of Kil2‘s last PvP videos before he became CCP Rise and I think this kind of flying was on his mind for the Vaga.

Ripard Teg

If you would like to read more we invite you to visit his blog here.


  1. Pregnant Wombat

    I’m actually not that pissed at twice as expensive, 25% better. It’s not even that. I just think they aren’t even 25% better, besides Zealots. I think Zealots meet that quota and meet it well. I think they just decided fuck all other ships though. Vaga used to be an awesome ship. It’s been nerfed a few times already and now its just useless. Muninns are shit. Eagles have needed a buff for a long time, and they still don’t get it. You need to make each of these ships their own things… and have their own thing be aweome. Not this. I’ll be fine though, dont need these ships, besides zealot, I’ll fancy using that a bit…. but other than that, I got other viable choices. Like pirate faction or BC. Or even t1 cruisers or faction.

    July 19, 2013 at 5:12 pm Reply
    1. shaun2tall

      you sir are really bad at this game muninn is a really good ship atm this only buffs it extra low and 10% improved rate of fire for the arty and the mwd sig bonus actualy helps this ship too same with the vaga, vaga will be a little slower for a awsome rep bonus for solo brawling.

      July 19, 2013 at 6:21 pm Reply
      1. Pregnant Wombat

        I can think of a few ships that are much better than they are for a better price. That’s what I was referring to. If you can’t see that, too bad. I know what the ships are, and I know what they can do. I also know theres much better options. If you don’t know that, then you are really bad at this game.

        July 19, 2013 at 6:29 pm Reply
      2. TiredOfAllTheStupid

        Muninn is good? What are you smoking and where can CCP get some, since whatever they have is clearly terrible.

        The Muninn is awful whenever its faced by a Tornado fleet, which outclasses it in every way.

        July 19, 2013 at 6:38 pm Reply
        1. Pregnant Wombat

          totally agree, tier 3s for the most part have taking HACs out of the game. Zealot is one of the few viable options left. Tier 3s not only eat through hacs, they can do it safely and at a much better isk ratio. Shaun2tall needs to get a reality check.

          July 19, 2013 at 6:41 pm Reply
          1. Dirty Rotten Sneaky Bastard

            Really? Tell you what… Let’s take 12 Ishtars and put em up against 12 Tornadoes… What do you get? Simple, dead Tornadoes.

            July 19, 2013 at 7:00 pm
          2. Pregnant Wombat

            Depends on the initial starting range, and how the ships choose move around. I think you are stating a scenario with too much given in an initial advantage to Ishtars. I can certainly see at close range, this happening…. but then you are assuming Tornadoes are piloted by retards. Let’s be honest here, Tornadoes have the advantage of choosing how the battle takes place. Chances are they are going to choose to their advantage. Ishtars definately have the ability to leave the field and hide in the next system and wait for them to jump in… but when do Tornado fleets choose to act that stupid and give an advantage like that. If they are equal pilots, chances are they both call a stalemate… but at the most, Tornadoes can pick off a ship or 2 before the ishtars realize they need to move on and reset up and hope for a camp to work.

            Sentry drones do allow for a nice fight if both fleets choose to engage at a range where DPS hits both sides… but who in their right minds sit there and say… hey lets allow the Ishtars to be in firing range of us even though we can use pure 1400mm IIs snipe fits against them, or at least disengage and find others.

            Don’t get me wrong though, Ishstars are nice and like the Zealot are probably one of the few ships left in the HAC section that can put up a good fight. I’d probably even pick an Ishtar over a Zealot just for the range…. but don’t forget, those tier 3s can get even more range when they feel like it.

            July 19, 2013 at 7:14 pm
          3. tali

            What does the ishtar do that the Gila doesn’t do better?

            July 20, 2013 at 12:52 pm
  2. unimpressed with ccp on this

    Vaga would be fine if it moved a low to a mid to allow it to brawl. It doesn’t need 2 nerfed tes if it can get in close.

    The whole idea of giving every ship the same bad role bonus is a different story. Sig tanking means you get under the guns. Unfortunately that often means you are in neut or scram range so your mwd isn’t very effective. This role bonus is likely good for zealots but is every hac supposed to fill that same role?

    How are we figuring they are 2xs as much? 2xs as much as what?

    July 19, 2013 at 5:21 pm Reply
    1. Pregnant Wombat

      They are really more like 10x more… than the t1 versions.

      July 19, 2013 at 6:05 pm Reply
  3. eric loto

    I don’t think this guy plays eve, honestly he couldn’t possibly with this mindset.
    If he did play eve he would know that people pay literally hundreds of times more for a couple percentage points of difference. I mean seriously, have you ever checked the price to performance on dead space modules? Once more if this guy played eve he would know that those measly percentage points WIN FIGHTS. Eve is a game if inches, want proof? Undock.

    July 19, 2013 at 5:53 pm Reply
    1. Snargle

      In some cases (such as wormholes) people will bling out for those few percentage points. Those people will use t3 cruisers: expensive, but the best DPS and tank you’ll get for that mass size. On the other end of the spectrum, you have the T1 cruiser: cheap, and quite effective after the T1 overhaul.

      Which brings us to the problem: T1 cruisers are what you fly if you want cheap yet effective. T3 is what you fly when you spare no expense. T2 cruisers…fit neither role. They’re less shit with the proposed changes, but the increments are so small it’s still pointless. Anything the T2’s can do can pretty much be done better by a T3 or be done nearly as well for a fraction of the cost. People don’t bling out pointlessly, and they sure as hell don’t bling out on the second best.

      July 19, 2013 at 6:30 pm Reply
      1. Dino

        inty, covop, AF, Recons or t2 logi are very popular. HACs however struggle to find their niche.

        July 19, 2013 at 7:40 pm Reply
        1. Snargle

          Shoulda specified that by T2 cruisers, I meant HACs.

          July 21, 2013 at 6:34 pm Reply
  4. Dekk

    I just want to show up in a Cerberus and here someone actually go, “Oh good, we got a Cerb in fleet.”

    July 19, 2013 at 6:20 pm Reply
    1. TiredOfAllTheStupid


      July 19, 2013 at 6:37 pm Reply
  5. qwer

    Well ASB vaga was pretty good before ASB nerf. That 7,5% per lvl could bring it back again.

    I haven’t really never understood plain bang-for-buck thinking. In my world, cheaper ships are more about getting fights easier and/or actually giving bigger punch than opponent thinks and winning by this way. Only way price can affect is that with cheaper ships I can by many of them and then give people for the fleet. Getting exactly the fleet combination I want is better than some half-assed fleet with “better” ships if they aren’t exactly optimal.

    July 19, 2013 at 6:25 pm Reply
  6. TiredOfAllTheStupid

    More like 10 times as expensive, barely 15% better…

    Sac remains disappointing.
    Zealot remains good in AHAC fleets only
    Cerberus remains an inferior kiting/sniper ship due to its poor speed
    Eagle might be a good sniper given the railgun buff
    Diemost is hardly better than the Thorax, and when price is considered it is far worse
    Ishtar lacks the CPU necessary to do its job
    Muninn is STILL outclassed by the Tornado

    and WHAT have they DONE to the VAGABOND. It doesn’t have the grid or EHP that the Cynabal does, making it functionally obsolete as a kiting ship, so they make it a niche brawler ship instead? Nonsense! I want my classic Vagabond back!

    July 19, 2013 at 6:32 pm Reply
    1. where do you get your #'s?

      You’re bad at math

      July 19, 2013 at 6:46 pm Reply
      1. Pregnant Wombat

        He wasn’t trying to be super accurate, but rather make a point using a little stretching… but I don’t think he’s stretching it that much. He’s right, tier 3s have taking HACs out of the game. Zealot is an awesome ship, when its in AHAC fleets. Everything else kind of sucks and/or is stuck in extremely small niche roles.

        July 19, 2013 at 6:56 pm Reply
    2. unimpressed

      They gave most of the vagabond’s speed bonus built into into hull and added (out of thin air) a shield boost bonus. The shield boost bonus works very well with its resists.

      Use a cynabal if you want to kite. Why do not need 2 almost identical ships that are flown almost exactly the same way.

      Vaga needs to drop a low for a mid though. (it might also need some fitting help) It could actually stand to drop 2 lows for a mid. But even by dropping one low for a mid it will be a very nice ship for solo roaming.

      July 19, 2013 at 7:44 pm Reply
      1. unimpressed

        I meant to say drop 2 lows for 2 mids

        July 19, 2013 at 7:46 pm Reply
        1. Pregnant Wombat

          yeah maybe that might work… but they need to assign a new role to the vaga if they want the cynabal to only fill that slot… until then perhaps.

          July 19, 2013 at 7:50 pm Reply
        2. TiredOfAllTheStupid

          3 lows? That’s… awful…

          July 19, 2013 at 7:58 pm Reply
          1. unimpressed

            2 gyro and dcu. Thats all you need

            6 mids with an active shield boost. You can do all sorts of things.

            July 19, 2013 at 9:03 pm
          2. TiredOfAllTheStupid

            Yea… no. They wanted to keep the original play style of the Vagabond intact, since that IS what its known for.

            Turning a kiting ship to a brawling ship with one changed bonus and two moved slots won’t work, it needs more shield HP and more grid to pull that off. And one new slot.

            July 19, 2013 at 9:06 pm
      2. TiredOfAllTheStupid

        Its stupid that a faction cruiser is better than a T2 cruiser at the same job.

        Vaga needs a mid, but what if we give all HACs one more mid to help balance out the ridiculous cost.

        July 19, 2013 at 7:59 pm Reply
        1. unimpressed

          Cynabal is a pirate faction cruiser so it generally costs a bit more.

          I am not against an extra mid slot for the t2s. It would definitely add variety.

          July 19, 2013 at 8:50 pm Reply
        2. Dirty Rotten Sneaky Bastard

          Actually, the AHACs need an extra low rather than mid… Especially the Ishtar.

          July 26, 2013 at 7:45 pm Reply
          1. TiredOfAllTheStupid

            Vaga isn’t an AHAC.

            Zealot has 7, its fine with that, Diemost has 6, so it should be fine but it definitely doesn’t need another mid, Sac needs a 6th low, Muninn needs another low and mid.

            But the Vaga has 4 mids, to be an effective kiter it really needs the 5th mid.

            July 26, 2013 at 8:33 pm
          2. Dirty Rotten Sneaky Bastard

            I did not say the Vaga was an AHAC. He said all the HACs need another mid. I said The AHACS need another low instead. The Sac, Ishtar, and Munnin all 3 could use another low. I said nothing about the Shield HACs. BTW, you are right on one thing, the Munnin could use another mid as well. Also, in light of it’s horribad speed, the Deimos could use another low as well. They don’t call it the “Die Most” for nothing.

            July 26, 2013 at 10:33 pm
          3. TiredOfAllTheStupid

            Ahh, I did say all HACs need another mid, what I meant to say was all HACs need another SLOT, not necessarily a mid.

            July 26, 2013 at 10:56 pm
  7. Ack

    What you are saying makes sense but at the same time is a bit extreme. That small to mid sized boost in performance for a fleet of any size could easily be the difference between winning a fight and losing one. The team on the losing side generally ends up taking a ton of losses trying to extract or just loses the dps/reps to actually kill/save anything at some point and a huge gap appears in cost effectiveness. HACs do seem a bit more expensive than they should be, but not by a silly margin.

    Now getting into other items like deadspace and faction shit, those improvements aren’t really worth the cost unless its on 1 bill plus ship or unless you don’t foresee any chance of losing it in the near future.

    July 19, 2013 at 6:36 pm Reply
  8. Dirty Rotten Sneaky Bastard

    WHAT DO YOU MEAN PVE???? Yeah, the Ishtar is great at PVE, but it also the best frig buster in the game, and a Falcon’s worst nightmare…i.e. You can jam them, but if they have already put drones on you, you choice then is leave the battle or die. And you don’t have to keep targeting the next ship, the drones when set on aggressive and focus fire, will find their own next target. Needless to say, a small pack of Ishtars can create a bit of havoc on the battlefield from a surprising distance. So speak for yourself and leave the Ishtar alone… I happen to love my “Snail From Hell”.

    July 19, 2013 at 6:52 pm Reply
    1. dichzor

      yeah, we had a month of ishtar roaming and it was fun. especially throwing 40ish of them into a wh and killing some t3’s n dreads. battleships go pop from alpha. good times. so yeah, if you think ishtar is pve only, theres something you dont know =)

      July 21, 2013 at 12:47 pm Reply
  9. Just my 2 cents

    They need a better defined role, most cruisers are faster and kite better, t3 bc’s have better dmg projection. If they are going to be middle ground between kiting and sniping, they need a little more speed, and some better tank to justify their cost.

    July 19, 2013 at 8:11 pm Reply
    1. Pregnant Wombat

      I agree, at least give the speed advantage to the HAC, plus enough buff to help with it. Have the tier 3s keep the damage, lower speed than cruisers, and I don’t know about the defense. (how do you guys think tier 3 defense should be vs t2 hac defense?) Maybe lower tracking to help hacs move towards tier 3s but tier 3s can always warp to a different snipe point? I don’t know that one.

      July 19, 2013 at 8:13 pm Reply
  10. Hi there

    You should tell Black Legion that the Muninn is not a good ship. I don’t think they got the memo.

    July 19, 2013 at 8:26 pm Reply
    1. Pregnant Wombat

      Zealots are better, and Tornadoes are a better choice for a minnie pilot anyways. But hey if they can make them work, kudos.

      July 19, 2013 at 8:39 pm Reply
    2. Muul Udonii

      You do remember where he said ‘outside of big fleets’? That’s why the ‘not a good ship’ statement doesn’t apply to BL.

      We wouldn’t use them if we only had 12 of them. We’d fly something better for that situation.

      July 19, 2013 at 9:39 pm Reply
      1. Lol

        Listen to the Thorn guy telling people about Black Legion’s heritage. He would know about all the small Muninn gangs that they were famous for.

        July 19, 2013 at 9:46 pm Reply
      2. Shayne O'Blisk

        I haven’t seen BL use them in big fleets. Just small fleets. I mean I’m sure they do, but I’m used to interacting with BL when they are roaming round with 10-15 guys, and those muninn’s pack a hell of a punch.

        July 21, 2013 at 4:29 pm Reply
  11. Lasernuts

    Bring love to the caldari race. We get nerfed in every expansion(and if you odyessy was a buff to cruise missiles, your wrong).

    July 21, 2013 at 5:23 pm Reply

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