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Stealth Bombers

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Author
raylu D
HELLSINKER
#1 - 2013-11-30 14:17:23 UTC
So T1 ships have been rebalanced, capital ships rebalancing is planned but not scheduled, and we just did T2 interceptors and EAFs. That means it will soon be time to look at my corp's favorite ship class: the stealth bomber.

My corp is fairly new (9 months old) and we live in w-space. Almost all of us can fly stealth bombers and we use them all the time. I can fly one too and I use them to gank everything. I hate stealth bombers.

Before I suggest fixes, let's talk about what the problems are:
1. they're good at ganking small ships
2. they're good at ganking big ships
3. they're good at things they really shouldn't be good at (siegefleet, missions)
4. they're cheap and relatively easy to train into

To elaborate:

1. Stealth bombers are frigates, so they have high scan resolution. For some reason, they also are the only ship to have no retargeting delay after decloaking. This means that the only thing that can avoid being pointed by a stealth bomber is a pre-aligned frigate piloted by someone with really fast reflexes.

In lowsec and w-space, using a stealth bomber for initial tackle is uncounterable, which is why we use them. The no decloak delay is an interesting mechanic on its own but doesn't belong on an otherwise so versatile ship that costs so little.

Note: I really really really don't want to open the can of worms that is stealth bomber AFK-camping in nullsec. That is its own problem and while obviously very related, still orthogonal to most of the issues presented here. It's too hard to have a discussion about it and all of the other uses of this extremely versatile ship, so let's please leave that out of the discussion.

2. Obviously, this is the main role that they were designed for - this is the niche they were supposed to fill. My main issue here is that the big stuff you're killing takes longer to train into and costs more than the stealth bombers. I _could_ bring a similar-sized ship (and therefore similar ISK+SP investment), but it makes a lot more sense to just bring a cheap stealth bomber and guarantee landing point even if the prey is d-scanning.

They're used to great effect in large numbers in nullsec warfare too. I might be alright with a cheap frigate being able to engage battleships. I'm alright with a covops ship being able to engage battleships. I might be alright with a ship that can perform other combat roles being able to output battleship-level damage (yes, the sustained DPS is only cruiser-level but they're killing battleships, so I'm calling it battleship-level damage). The combination is overwhelming.

3. Even our small corp has used stealth bombers to bash POSes. Siegefleet (bashing a POS in stealth bombers by sig-tanking the POS guns) is weird and not a fun mechanic to have to deal with; it doesn't create content. It might be cool to have a cheap ship that you could bring to bash POSes with that doesn't have the commitment of sieging dreadnoughts, but if they can cloak up then that's just no fun.

I've used stealth bombers to run faction warfare missions in lowsec. This is unfortunately a sticky issue because without stealth bombers, lowsec missions are not worth running at all. That is, however, a completely independent problem that needs to be addressed separately. Having missions that spawn beacons that anyone can warp to is cool. Being able to do level 4's with a covops cloak is not. It's interesting that a cheap ship can solo level 4's in lowsec; it's downright unfun that they can do it and cloak.

4. A typical stealth bomber costs 20 million for the hull and 40 million after fittings. It takes 32d 20h 54m 40s for a brand new character with no remap/implants to get to the hull+cloak+torps (and another 2d 2h 58m 40s for the bomb launcher, but you don't need that for #1 or #3). The training time is important because you can field a lot more low-SP ships than high-SP ones.

When doing #2 or #3, that seems unfair. If stealth bombers didn't have their covert ops cloak, they would still be good at those and I would still complain.

I spent the 42d 22h 58m 30s to train into an interdictor and the ship costs more than a stealth bomber. We use it to gank things too. At the current ISK+SP investment required, I would fly a stealth bomber if all it could do was instantly, uncounterably (is that a word?) point things. It's good enough at #1 alone; why does it do #2 and #3?
raylu D
HELLSINKER
#2 - 2013-11-30 14:17:50 UTC
Fantasyland Interlude:

I'm not suggesting that this is a good solution, but let's imagine an EVE where stealth bombers don't exist.

Small ships are relatively safer from being ganked (because you need to bring a non-cloaky ship that can be d-scanned or a cloaky ship that can only bump you during its decloak delay).

You need to bring big, expensive ships to fight big, expensive ships.

You need to bring battleships or better to siege POSes (and they can't cloak up and run away). If you really don't want to fight, you could bring cloaky T3's, but that's a slow POS bash and you can always get pointed by some kind of weird, covops ship that has no decloak delay and the scan resolution of a frigate.

Lowsec missions would actually be dangerous. Yes, they'd be a waste of time, but that's just because the risk/reward ratio of those missions is way too high - again, a separate problem.

Also, all the SP my corp sunk into stealth bombers would go to waste unless we want to fly covops (oh wait we live in w-space) or torpedoes (ew).


Back to reality:

OK, so stealth bombers have a lot of balance problems. As a very versatile ship, they're used by a lot of people for a lot of things. This is probably not a problem that can be solved by a single change.

But wait, T3's are really versatile. People use them for a lot of things. As a w-space corp, we use and see a lot of T3's. I have a lot of words about them, but I'll leave them out of this. The point is I'm much more OK with them because they're really expensive and take a long time to train into. Also, their logistics subsystem sucks which reduces their overpowered-ness (I know I said I wouldn't bring T3 balance issues into this, but it's relevant, I swear).

What if stealth bomber hulls were 100 million? That would make them at least more expensive than the battlecruisers we gank in them. That would make them closer to what I think a combined tackle+damage role should cost (similar specialized tackle ships, interdictors and interceptors, cost more than or as much as stealth bombers and don't provide damage).

What if they took longer to train into? That would be weird because they're just a T2 frigate... but what if you needed T2 torpedoes and T2 bomb launchers to fly them well? I actually had to go look up what those modules do because we don't use them. They don't fit well on stealth bombers.

T2 torpedoes deal a little more damage to shield battleships, but way worse damage to armor battlecruisers. You also lose range. Javelin is pointless on stealth bombers. T2 torpedoes are just too hard to justify bringing unless you're using them for a siegefleet or something. Maybe if T1 torpedoes did very poor damage and T2 torpedoes did fantastic damage, people would feel the need to train for T2 launchers.

T2 bomb launchers reduce the cycle time to 135 seconds (before skills) which is cool... if you're in a siegefleet. Even then, the extra fitting cost is hard to bear. There are no T2 bombs. There are a lot of directions to run with this, but my personal favorite is making T1 bombs die to a single T1 bomb explosion. T2 bombs would have the HP of current bombs so you could actually do bombing runs in large fleets; T1 bombs would only be useful in solo/small gangs (keep in mind I live in w-space, so "large fleet" means "more than 9").

Increasing the cost of a stealth bomber seems like a fairly low-risk change. Making T1 torpedoes worse and T2 torpedoes better would affect battleships, but in a good way, I think. (Then again, I don't use missiles much, I don't fly battleships, and I don't run highsec missions, so maybe I have no idea what I'm talking about.) Making T1 bombs worse and either introducing T2 bombs or giving the T2 bomb launcher a damage modifier would only affect stealth bombers.

T3's can be good at a lot of things, but not all at once. If T3's had a decent logistics defensive subsystem, nobody would use logistics ships. A stealth bomber can tackle small ships, provide damage for big ships, and do all this while cloaked. Since "one less role than CCP intended" seems to be not too overpowered, let's try that on stealth bombers.

1. They can tackle small ships and cloak, but can't engage big targets. That means covops and no decloak delay, but no bomb launcher and maybe no torpedoes.
2. They can cloak and engage big targets, but can't tackle small ships. That means covops and bomb launcher + torpedoes, but a decloak delay.
3. They can tackle small ships and engage big targets, but can't cloak. Unfortunately, in order to instapoint small ships they need the cloak, so this doesn't make any sense.

It's hard for me to pick a favorite here because they both hurt our playstyle too much.

TL;DR: The Phantasm is way better at impaling things than the Incursus.
Trii Seo
Goonswarm Federation
#3 - 2013-11-30 14:28:47 UTC
raylu D wrote:

1. they're good at ganking small ships


They're not, they get obliterated by them. I've seen an Atron with ion blasters kill a Hound, it took him way over a minute but with the Hound dealing miniscule damage to him with torps he died miserably. Unless you've got the numbers for it, they're going to maul you horribly.

They're not really killing battleships since they die too fast (Gokufleet got driveby'd by a bunch of Tengus and that was the end of that) and interceptor gangs do a hilariously good job harassing siegefleets unless siege has backup recons with scrams, webs and ECM. They're good at ganking unwise, unsupported battleships whose pilots are bad though.

A BC pilot would have to be largely terrible to die to a solo bomber and when you sic a ten of them at it it's not a fight anymore, it's a gangbang.

Plus, it's supply and demand - they used to be twice as expensive, nowadays they're actually much cheaper.

Proud pilot of the Imperium

Arek'Jaalan: Heliograph

raylu D
HELLSINKER
#4 - 2013-11-30 14:31:27 UTC
Trii Seo wrote:
raylu D wrote:

1. they're good at ganking small ships


They're not, they get obliterated by them. I've seen an Atron with ion blasters kill a Hound

Me too, but that's not what I'm talking about. Please read my explanation where I elaborate on #1.

Quote:
A BC pilot would have to be largely terrible to die to a solo bomber

Or PvE-fit.

Quote:
Plus, it's supply and demand - they used to be twice as expensive, nowadays they're actually much cheaper.

There's also a price floor based on the cost of production.
Trii Seo
Goonswarm Federation
#5 - 2013-11-30 14:38:39 UTC  |  Edited by: Trii Seo
It may be able to land a point well, but in many cases it's unreliable to tank long and survive the fight - especially if you're ganking something small. By small I assume a frigate/cruiser. They seem largely hit and miss, I've seen them both die to bomber's buddies and killing the bomber to leg it.

They're good entry level for covert ops too.

Edit, after some research into the subject:

The scanres I wouldn't call stellar. If we compare it on T2 level, minmatar as example:

Hound: 500mm base
Jag: 750mm base
Wolf: 700mm base
Cheetah: 450mm base
Stiletto: 970mm base

The covert ships out of the bunch have lowest scanres, and Cheetah can add to it the decloak penalty. Raw "Bombers don't have a decloak delay and can point fast!" holds a lot of merit to it, but it's worth noting that people get snatched by Arazus, Rapiers and covert T3s - it's likely that most victims of a bomber would fall to one of those equally easily.

We'll take a look at the Arazu, nonsensorboosted, ~reasonablish~ skills not all 5's:

Scanres, after skills: 288mm (231 base) + decloak delay. Sensor booster, if someone's into this flavor of the 'razu, can bump you up to 460ish after skills. 288 is 4.4s lock time on a raw cruiser preset, EFT and you need to add to it 6 second decloak delay (5 if you went all snowflake on it and have cloaking 5 but we're not talking obscene skills).

It composes to ~10s time (+1 tick rounding up likely) for a pilot to react, align and warp. 1-2 second reaction time could be common when someone is expecting danger (and in this case, it's worth noting recon pilots often approach targets in cloak going for a "bump decloak" - to stagger someone's warpout) and even larger when someone isn't. To that you need to add align time, of course.

That said, after some consideration I can get behind siegefleet's price and harassment value but it's a tricky subject on its own.

Proud pilot of the Imperium

Arek'Jaalan: Heliograph

Frosty-nee
Nobody in Local
Of Sound Mind
#6 - 2013-11-30 15:15:02 UTC
Trii Seo wrote:
It may be able to land a point well, but in many cases it's unreliable to tank long and survive the fight - especially if you're ganking something small. By small I assume a frigate/cruiser. They seem largely hit and miss, I've seen them both die to bomber's buddies and killing the bomber to leg it.

They're good entry level for covert ops too.



It doesn't need to survive the fight right now, they're cheap as **** and can hold tackle long enough for friends to get on field. With basically no way to stop that from happening.

"There will be neither compassion nor mercy; Nor peace, nor solace For those who bear witness to these Signs And still do not believe." - The Scriptures, Book of Reclaiming 25:10

Malcanis
Vanishing Point.
The Initiative.
#7 - 2013-11-30 17:57:52 UTC
I'm pretty happy with bombers in the place where they are. It's nonsensical to try and claim that they make other frigate class ships not worthwhile, because torps are so utterly different to any weapon other frigate class ships use. And observational evidence shows us plenty of frigates doing plenty of things with no worries in the world about bombers treading on their toes.

I'm hoping that torps themselves get a rebalance, and when they do it's likely that bomber bonuses will need to be reworked to compensate, but right now, bombers are pretty cool IMO.

"Just remember later that I warned against any change to jump ranges or fatigue. You earned whats coming."

Grath Telkin, 11.10.2016

Bob FromMarketing
Space Marketing Department
#8 - 2013-11-30 19:16:30 UTC
Malcanis wrote:
I didn't read the thread, but I feel the need to post because if I'm not relevant who will possibly talk to me ever in or out of internet spaceships. Please engage me in conversation so I can continue spewing forth useless garbage and then getting mad when people disagree.



Malcanis 2014
Trii Seo
Goonswarm Federation
#9 - 2013-11-30 19:34:21 UTC
Malcanis wrote:
I'm hoping that torps themselves get a rebalance, and when they do it's likely that bomber bonuses will need to be reworked to compensate, but right now, bombers are pretty cool IMO.


The only thing I always wondered about when it came to Stealth Bombers was their range. By default it can hit out to around 50km with its torpedoes (the range goes beyond lock range with Javelin, but the damage drops drastically.)

Proud pilot of the Imperium

Arek'Jaalan: Heliograph

Grath Telkin
Dopamine.
Digital Dopamine
#10 - 2013-11-30 21:47:10 UTC
Malcanis wrote:
I'm pretty happy with bombers in the place where they are. It's nonsensical to try and claim that they make other frigate class ships not worthwhile, because torps are so utterly different to any weapon other frigate class ships use. And observational evidence shows us plenty of frigates doing plenty of things with no worries in the world about bombers treading on their toes.

I'm hoping that torps themselves get a rebalance, and when they do it's likely that bomber bonuses will need to be reworked to compensate, but right now, bombers are pretty cool IMO.


Yea, be totally happy with a ship that a cost analysis has shown out performs BS and t3's for grinding sov as far as cost and DPS goes, can fling wave after wave after wave of bombs with bomb code that frequently goes on the frittz and forgets its supposed to blow up the wrong bomb type and now we have people ISboxing groups of bombers.

Sounds perfectly balanced to me.


Let me help, if the Goon only uses one thing and one thing only to grind sov with, theres something broken about it, regardless of your 'opinion'

Malcanis - Without drone assign, the slowcat doctrine will wither and die.

Malcanis
Vanishing Point.
The Initiative.
#11 - 2013-11-30 22:05:12 UTC
Fair comment. I should have said that I'm happy with respect to their torp ability, since that was the element of the OP that caught my attention. My bad for not being clear there.

I definitely believe that bombing should be dialled back a healthy notch, and I have given this feedback to CCP in several discussions revolving around fleet combat.



"Just remember later that I warned against any change to jump ranges or fatigue. You earned whats coming."

Grath Telkin, 11.10.2016

Malcanis
Vanishing Point.
The Initiative.
#12 - 2013-11-30 22:06:11 UTC
Bob FromMarketing wrote:
Malcanis wrote:
I didn't read the thread, but I feel the need to post because if I'm not relevant who will possibly talk to me ever in or out of internet spaceships. Please engage me in conversation so I can continue spewing forth useless garbage and then getting mad when people disagree.



Malcanis 2014


sup bob

I got that consignment of attention you said you needed.

"Just remember later that I warned against any change to jump ranges or fatigue. You earned whats coming."

Grath Telkin, 11.10.2016

raylu D
HELLSINKER
#13 - 2013-11-30 22:54:15 UTC  |  Edited by: raylu D
Malcanis wrote:
I'm pretty happy with bombers in the place where they are. It's nonsensical to try and claim that they make other frigate class ships not worthwhile, because torps are so utterly different to any weapon other frigate class ships use.

Erm... I compared bombers to a lot of things, but other frigates was not one. My only frigate comment was that it wouldn't make sense to make a T2 frigate hull take longer to train into, which is why I proposed the T2 weapon changes.

Malcanis wrote:
Fair comment. I should have said that I'm happy with respect to their torp ability, since that was the element of the OP that caught my attention. My bad for not being clear there.

My entire point is that I'd be fine with stealth bombers if they did some subset of what they do (and perhaps costed more), but they currently are too versatile and are too cheap of an ISK+SP investment.

Malcanis wrote:
I definitely believe that bombing should be dialled back a healthy notch, and I have given this feedback to CCP in several discussions revolving around fleet combat.

Great! Perhaps you should consider my T2 bombs proposal!
Bob FromMarketing
Space Marketing Department
#14 - 2013-11-30 23:24:52 UTC
Malcanis wrote:
Bob FromMarketing wrote:
Malcanis wrote:
I didn't read the thread, but I feel the need to post because if I'm not relevant who will possibly talk to me ever in or out of internet spaceships. Please engage me in conversation so I can continue spewing forth useless garbage and then gettingmad when people disagree.



Malcanis 2014


sup bob

I got that consignment of attention you said you needed.
Pinky Hops
Caldari Provisions
Caldari State
#15 - 2013-12-01 04:09:42 UTC
i think people need to think more about new players.

how many months do players need to spend training in order to meaningfully participate in PvP beyond suicide tackle and blobbing t1 frigates?

bombers are an insanely important middle ground that allow for really fun and interesting PvP from low skillpoint accounts, able to group up and damage larger ships.

this is good. not bad.
raylu D
HELLSINKER
#16 - 2013-12-01 04:47:59 UTC  |  Edited by: raylu D
Pinky Hops wrote:
bombers are an insanely important middle ground that allow for really fun and interesting PvP from low skillpoint accounts, able to group up and damage larger ships.

this is good. not bad.

While it certainly is always good to get newbros involved, not every instance of a low-SP ship having an effect is a good thing. If T3's were cheap and low-SP we could get newbros into those and have some fun and interesting PvP. Taken to an extreme, why not get rid of SP and let them fly supercapitals?

First, let's think about why we have SP. SP is actually a resource. Every character, corporation, alliance, and coalition has a limited amount of SP and chooses to allocate that SP income every month towards flying certain ships (or doing whatever else people do). I can spend 61d 1h 42m 50s training for an Arazu *or* I can spend 59d 17h 0m 52s training for a Loki. There is a decision to be made there.

A pilot can spend a few months training for a T3 and run lowsec missions. A corp can spend a few months training for a battleship doctrine and siege a POS. Or you can spend one month, 1/5 - 1/10 the ISK, and do both in a stealth bomber. And get initial tackle on every gank. And bomb battleships.

My complaint about stealth bombers' low-SP cost is that the utility/SP ratio is too high. My entire corp has trained for it because they're just too useful to skip. They seem "insanely important" because nullsec alliances/coalitions fill fleets of them for the same reason.

If stealth bombers stay low-SP (no T2 torpedo/bomb changes), they should probably lose some of their utility. Consider one of my 2 proposals at the bottom of the second post.
Jasmine Assasin
The Holy Rollers
#17 - 2013-12-01 12:01:23 UTC
Stealth Bombers are in a healthy place (they were rebalanced FFS), lets try not to make them **** again.

And all ships are OP when you have a large fleet of them, that's why blobbing is so popular. This is regards to their bombing ability that Malcanis has said he has brought up to CCP.

And tech II frigates should be easy to get into, training time in this game is already out of control across the board.





Frosty-nee
Nobody in Local
Of Sound Mind
#18 - 2013-12-01 12:28:04 UTC
Jasmine Assasin wrote:
Stealth Bombers are in a healthy place (they were rebalanced FFS), lets try not to make them **** again.

And all ships are OP when you have a large fleet of them, that's why blobbing is so popular. This is regards to their bombing ability that Malcanis has said he has brought up to CCP.

And tech II frigates should be easy to get into, training time in this game is already out of control across the board.



Did you even read the OP at all? If so how can you think that bombers are in a "healthy place" as you put it. Why is a T2 frigate, (which is basically free, 50m is nothing) a better choice in so many situations over ships that should be more specialized for those roles.

"There will be neither compassion nor mercy; Nor peace, nor solace For those who bear witness to these Signs And still do not believe." - The Scriptures, Book of Reclaiming 25:10

Seraph IX Basarab
Outer Path
#19 - 2013-12-30 08:16:34 UTC
Grath Telkin wrote:
Malcanis wrote:
I'm pretty happy with bombers in the place where they are. It's nonsensical to try and claim that they make other frigate class ships not worthwhile, because torps are so utterly different to any weapon other frigate class ships use. And observational evidence shows us plenty of frigates doing plenty of things with no worries in the world about bombers treading on their toes.

I'm hoping that torps themselves get a rebalance, and when they do it's likely that bomber bonuses will need to be reworked to compensate, but right now, bombers are pretty cool IMO.


Yea, be totally happy with a ship that a cost analysis has shown out performs BS and t3's for grinding sov as far as cost and DPS goes, can fling wave after wave after wave of bombs with bomb code that frequently goes on the frittz and forgets its supposed to blow up the wrong bomb type and now we have people ISboxing groups of bombers.

Sounds perfectly balanced to me.


Let me help, if the Goon only uses one thing and one thing only to grind sov with, theres something broken about it, regardless of your 'opinion'



They grind sov like that not because it's oh so effective, but because they are worried about PL dropping supers on anything bigger. Grinding sov in bombers isn't fun. Also bomb runs aren't that easy.
Darek Castigatus
Immortalis Inc.
Shadow Cartel
#20 - 2013-12-31 02:01:53 UTC
Also siege fleets work well because massive immobile structures mean you can overlook pretty much all of the torpedos drawbacks as a weapon system, so it simply becomes a game of what way is the cheapest to bring the most guns.

Pirates - The Invisible Fist of Darwin

you're welcome

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