Saturday, October 24, 2009

Is this thing on ?

Nearly a full year since I last chimed in on the wonderful nightmare that is EVE online, frankly because I had lost hope in CCP to ever improve their ways, and after a while simply lost the steam to remain pissed off about this waste of a potentially great game.

Thanks to all those rank 8+ skills, I don't need to log in more often than every other month on any account, and staying clear of EVE has been easy enough, until a friend recently poked me, all excited about this winter's expansion.
— Can you believe it, they're fixing sovereignty ! … and bloody titans too ! *cartwheels*
— Uh oh…
It's no secret I'm one of those people whose creativity is more easily fueled by frustration than anything else, in a 'necessity is a mother of invention' sort of way, and it comes with a bitchy propensity to notice that yes, this skirt makes your ass look fat. In my defense, I don't hold their large buttocks against people as long as they don't put them in my face while bragging about having the tiniest, cutest derriere.

Are you ready for fists full of awesome ?
Titans' infamous one-click-buy
pwn button finally gets a hefty smack of the nerfbat, which is good news, and kind of a big deal for the 99% of the nullsec players who don't happen to fly one, who will finally get a chance to load local before they get vaporized across the grid.
On the minus side, titans have been grossly imbalanced since release, late 2005 (give 6 months before they started to show up for real in game), so that's a charitable 3 years CCP took to work the problem before bringing out a solution (with great fanfare) during this month's FanFest… this better be good.

The titan, this beast of war, the herald of doom, the flagship to rally your troops and lead them to glorious mayhem, entirely revamped over the course of 3 years of inspired research, now with:
…a gun.

Beige is the new pink.
You've read it right: CCP's answer to the problem of a game-breaking overpowered AoE weapon is to remove the game breaking AoE weapon… and replace it with a slow-loading Big Bertha cannon. …and that's that, move along folks, nothing to see here.
Oh wait, the ka-boom graphics for the new guns will be awesome, I swear ! That should count for something, right ?
Yeah, you've got cool graphic artists, and game designer at CCP is a fallback position for your best buddies after they get spanked in-game and lose their intarweb spaceships kingdom.

Meanwhile, Motherships have been renamed SuperCarriers (ta-daa !), because we all know the best way to address the fact you can't design your way out of a rusty matari shack and get a ship to live up to its intended role is to: rechristen it with a name so ridiculous a third class Decepticon would refuse to go on screen with it, give it a poorly-thought SuperPower, then move the goalpost back to the place where you've left your design ambitions to rot, and claim victory.

WTFPwnMobile 2.0
While the titan's fix is at least functional, if uninspired, the SuperCarriers will pick up the slack of XtremeImbalance and use it to slap Dreadnaughts (sic) pilots everywhere across their collective face, thanks to Fighter Bombers, whose exactly unique purpose is to destroy capital ships and look very cool while doing so. Yay.

Let's recap: the titan was broken because it was a one-man-army grid-wiper, which is now sorted by the restriction imposed on titans to pick a single stain on their windscreen to scratch at once. Meanwhile, the Mothership, once a glorified, overpriced carrier and shit-magnet is now becoming a one-man-anticapital-army which, in one fell swoop…
  • makes carriers largely obsolete: it can do almost everything they do, only better (don't mention triage on carriers unless you've tried it) ;
  • will singlehandedly wtfpwn dreads, unless fighter-bombers are underpowered, in which case the SuperCarriers will prove as overpriced and useless as Motherships used to be ;
  • will do the job of dreads, which CCP explicitly intends to be good for nothing but shoot structures and maybe sieged capitals (while SuperCarriers don't have to sit tight to pwn), and which ought to become largely pointless in Dominion.
…I'll get back to that last bit in a minute, but take my word for it until then: we're not killing POSes anymore (which is good, sorta).

SuperCarrier: baddest ship ever, or worst ship ever ?
Of course, SuperCarriers — it's really, really hard to type that name with a straight face — will cost a lot of ISK, about 8 to 9 dreads' worth, fitted (10 tops, assuming Fighter Bombers come pricey enough), so that should leave a good niche for Dreads, right ?
Yes indeed, until enough SCs get produced. Assuming a single SuperCarrier packs enough punch to match even 5-6 dreads, the ISK tradeoff is a bargain: every single capital pilot flying one of those will have the output of 5+ focus-firing dreads at his disposal, which is enough to make short order of individual targets (dreads or carriers) by himself, and all that without committing to the 10-minutes risk window of a siege mode.

Simply put, ISK is easier to come by than reliable capital pilots (ie, who show up on ops and aren't spies): any alliance that can afford to bring 5x the amount of pain with the same head count of players won't blink twice at the tenfold increase in ISK expense. The extra flexibility of still being able to field regular Fighters (and maybe drones) will ensure a SuperCarrier can be put to good use against anything bigger than a cruiser, right after it's done shredding the enemy's hoi-polloi of Dreads and Carriers.
Wishfully, CCP trusts the removal of available insurance policies for SuperCapitals will balance that, somehow — although I suspect a good proportion of Mothership pilots never realized that (with a friendly GM assist) it *was* possible to insure their epeenmobile, until now.

Our best hope at this stage is for SuperCarriers to be (pre?)nerfed enough to pack less punch than 5 dreads, so they end up as overpricey, useless and underused as Motherships… yeah, sad to hope for a ship to suck, but better than the opposite in this case.

Why is that a problem, besides infuriating the hordes of dreadnought pilots that will now have to convert to the largely separate skill-tree of oober-carrierism ?
Well, my friend, I hate to break it to you, but the Fighter Bombers arz in ur space stealing ur jobs — it's outsourcing to the robots !

Every time a ship comes out that qualifies as a one-man-army, the richer among EVE players get an extra advantage, leveraging ISK as a replacement for manpower, and thus reducing the number of roles to fill in the fleet command chain. This could be a good thing if this was capped somehow, but when you introduce ships that are better in every way but price (within acceptable limits of cost), you pretty much force all players to jump on the bandwagon to meet the new 'minimal requirements'.

The SuperCarrier is the new Dreadnought cum Carrier cum Battleship, get used to it… See you tomorrow for the kicker.

Meanwhile, yes CCP, you do look fat in this skirt.

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