Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Stop the Assault Ship Changes.... Rethink Frigate Fleets Instead

I personally love Assault Ships. The Jaguar is by far my favorite ship to fly. I also love the Wolf, the Enyo, the Ishkur, the Hawk and the Vengeance. Assault ships are just fantastic ships for having fun in. Unlike interceptors they can withstand a beating, yet they are still fast enough to dodge a gate camp. DPS is just enough higher then their T1 counterparts to actually be effective against things like cruisers, yet they have their own special niche.

You would think I would be happy with the proposed changes to the ship class.... well I am not. Lets look at the change to the Jaguar since it is a perfect example of fixing something that doesn't need fixing.

* Added bonus: 7.5% bonus to Small Projectile Turret Tracking per level
* +1 low slot
* Added role bonus: 50% reduction in MicroWarpdrive signature radius penalty

The low slot is kindof a silly catch all change. It can make the ship faster, more agile, give it more power-grid or more CPU. Think of it as a +10% bonus to whatever you want. Lots of people hate the MWD bonus (although I am probably the only one who likes the 50% reduction in MWD penalty as it makes the ships now able to dodge gate-camps in 0.0 much better). The tracking rate bonus however is what I truly hate. The main weakness of the Jaguar and the Wolf is the lack of a tracking bonus. This means that an enemy pilot, in an interceptor or T1 frigate, can, with a lot of effort and hope, get under 200mm autocannons. IOW the lack of a tracking bonus gives other frigates a chance. By adding the tracking bonus this is now gone. You see these sort of changes throughout the whole lineup. Ishkur has lots of DPS in drones that need to be popped if you engage..... they now are much tougher to pop. The Hawk / Vengeance can tank like a SOB, but lousy damage... now they have great damage as well. I much prefer solo-pvp ships to have both strengths and weaknesses that need to be understood, rather then just making them all round better. Think stealth bombers... hopelessly overpowered in some ways, but so gimped in other ways that they add to the game instead of ruining it.

What I wish the game designers at CCP would do is consider the whole class of T2 frigates and come up with a consistent strategy for a frigate fleet. Imagine if each race had an assault ship with a command ship like bonus. The bonus would only work on grid and only against destroyers or smaller. Give the other side a logistic bonus, the bonuses to remote rep each other, and other frigates. Fix EAF so that they are more survivable and uselfull. Give frigates, and destroyers, a warfare objective that they can do better then larger fleets. Add a non-cloaky bomber type ship that can, in a small group, make short work of customs offices or something. But they need to be protected by flying with the harder hitting, bonus giving, repping assault ships. This would make roving gangs of small ships not only viable, but crucial to the game out in 0.0 and low-sec.

Doing this would make the game both more fun, and more accessible to new players. Having these low barrier to entry fleets would be a huge boon to the game.


  1. A lot of people are looking at the MWD bonus the wrong way tbh. Right now people fly AFs solo but they're a bit useless for fleets, so people are mainly looking at it from a solo perspective (which it doesn't really help with). The whole point of the MWD bonus though is to make it suck less at fleet work, and imo it's actually not a bad way of doing that. Not frigate fleets, but actual combined arms fleets - which almost every other ship class has a role in.

    The rest of the changes I was originally dreading, but I admit I'm slightly more optimistic now. I think they'll probably still be a bit overpowered, but as I look at the individual ships in more detail I'm starting to think they might be a little less so than I'd originally worried.

  2. The only time I have ever seen Assault Ships used in an organized fleet (except for all frigate fleets) was as a somewhat heavy fast tackle to land a scram. These were often used with shield HACs or battlecruisers gangs. For this task the Jaguar is viable, not so much any of the others. The MWD bonus will improve the survivability of these ships slightly. However the main issues faced by Jaguars in this case were neuts and being scrammed themselves.

    My favorite fleet type is the 'hornets' type gang of frigates of which AF are the heavy hitters. It would be nice if CCP were to make these gangs actually useful for something beyond a quick roam through space looking for easy ganks.

  3. Have you been reading my comments on ? XP

    I am all in favor of a mini command ship approach, I can't really see how an AF is going to be an asset in large fleet battles, and I think larger fleets in general are becoming very bland and formulaic. I have never flown in a fleet larger than 40 so i could be wrong with the larger fleet fights, but I still don't see the need for something so small. Not when current fleet doctrine is for everybody to be flying ships of similar capabilities and acting as one entity on the field.

    What I think would be a benefit to the game was if swarms of frigates working as small squads could be a viable gang option. I guess what I really want is a fleet option where piloting skill plays more of a part in fleet doctrine than just being a 30th set of guns for my FC. :)

    So in short, +1 for this idea and I think you should create a thread on the eveo forums under Features & Ideas Discussion.

    Keep up the posting man, I love your blog. You too Azual.