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Of Command Destroyers and Split Identity Problems

Author
Sonya Rayner
Fairlight Corp
Rooks and Kings
#1 - 2016-05-06 06:29:45 UTC
This has been brewing in my head for a while now, and with the Gang Warfare Link changes looming ever closer (we all knew the switch to on-grid boosts is going to happen sooner or later) I have focused my thoughs on the other side of the scales. The original class intended to bear the signature command links proudly across the New Eden -- the Command Ships.

Yes, I know Warfare Links originally were only available for battlecruisers, with Command Ships being a refinement and upgrade in the fleet support direction. But now we also have the Strategic Cruisers, Command Destroyers, Carriers, Supercarriers, and Titans all capable of fielding them. With Strategic Cruisers pretty much universally replacing Command Ships because of lower skill requirement and much, much larger versatility of the hulls themselves, among other things.

So the Warfare Links are (eventually) getting changed to work on the grid in one way or another. This I am fine with. The off-grid boosting has been troubling and has become somewhat of significant problem with advent of unscannable covert cloak capable interdiction nullified command Strategic Cruiser. Though I might say this particular combination is rather a perfect storm which should have never happened in the first place, but I digress.

Maybe that'll finally give incentive to actually start utilizing the capital ships' bonus for warfare links at the very least. But what about the subcapitals? Command Destroyers are light enough to zip in and out to remain relatively safe, and they're cheap to replace. Battlecruisers are also cheap to replace, and even cheaper to fly. Command Ships, on the other hand, are neither. They're big, slow, expensive both skill and price wise, and when fitted for their primary role with at least 3 links to provide proper boosts are quite fragile due to the high fitting requirements of links, which doesn't leave much to fit tank or weapoons. With the notable exception -- the Damnation. That's one tough nugget.

On the other hand, Command Ships as a class right now are having a bit of an identity crisis, as I see it. They have both damage bonus like the smaller Heavy Assault Ships, as well as the gang link bonus, and they enjoy the full T2 ship resistance bonus (the largest ship class to do so). However, once again, here comes the Strategic Cruiser, with its cruiser signature and comparable (or often even higher) survivability, for less train effort. Oops. Tell me, when was the last time you saw a Command Ship on field? But I digress again.

As it is right now, the Command Ship class is not only having an identity issue, but with both intended roles being filled in by another ship class (and often better). Of course, there's a large balancing issue with the Strategic Cruiser class as a whole, but that is a topic for another day. Or year.

Anyways. Here is my idea for the Command Ship class.

Firstly, split them into two more distinct ship lines, maybe even separate classes, then apply more specialized bonuses to define them even further into their roles.

The first one is the combat-oriented type, basically a battlecruiser-sized HAC, but with more beef (tank) and better projection. They used to be known as Field Command Ships. This would be the Absolution (I miss my red-and-gold chicken), Nighthawk, Eos, and Sleipnir.

  • Swap the current Battlecruiser hull bonus for the one of their appropriate hull (Harbinger for Absolution, Drake for Nighthawk, etc.).
  • Apply the Combat Battlecruisers' projection role bonus from base hulls on to these T2 variations as well.
  • Keep the Command Ship bonuses as they are now, or apply minor tweaks here and there.

Following me so far? Good. The second set of ships would have their damage/projection bonuses changed for survivability and fitting (in case gang link fitting requirements are going to change, adjust this as necessary). This would include the remaining Damnation, Vulture, Astarte, and Claymore. They used to be known as Fleet Command Ships.

  • Keep the current Battlecruiser skill bonuses (including the 4% armor/shield resistances for Amarr/Caldari, 7.5% repair/boost amount for Gallente/Minmatar) as they are.
  • Change the Command Ship bonus to the following:
  • +5% to Armor or Shield hitpoint amount (armor for Amarr/Gallente, shield for Caldari/Minmatar)
  • -10% to Warfare Link CPU use (would use 25 tf per link with CS5, about in line with largest medium weapons after skills)
  • Keep the warfare link bonus as it is now.

Optionally: Allow use of the new Micro Jump Field Generator modules on either or both Command Ship lines to spice things up even further. But keep it unbonused and/or half range (50km instead of 100). This would further draw the parallel between the Interdictor -> Heavy Interdiction Cruiser, Assault Frigate -> Heavy Assault Cruiser -> Field Command Ship (or a more suitable name for class), and Command Destroyer -> Fleet Command Ship, lines.

This would provide the now on-grid Command Ships with needed additional survivability, and define the combat-focused ones into more focused roles, which is what the T2 ship classes are supposed to be about. Also this would solve the "Damnation problem" where one single hull is vastly superior to others of same role/class. The slight loss of raw armor HP bonus would be easily offset by the easier fitting, but it would bring the other three options to a similar level.

I am familiar that these changes effectively remove some weapon chioces from the attack role, but honestly, Strategic Cruisers can fill those as well right now, and perhaps another ship class/line role can be brought in if the options are needed. but it leaves each race with a "beefy HAC" of their primary weapons system.
Lugh Crow-Slave
#2 - 2016-05-06 09:09:45 UTC
command ships are fine the only thing that will need to change is all the rases are going to need to have their HP balanced better within the class. already now i find myself taking nighthawks and damnations into fights with 3 links. I will continue to do this after the change as well because they are not out dune by T3s. Also once ccp is done with capital tweaking t3s are on the chopping block. luckily unlike a lot of other companies CCP understands its better to nerf a ship in some cases than it is to buff others.

but again the change needed is the minm/gal need to be given a bit more EHP and the other 3 need to be given EHP closer to the Damnation
Morrigan LeSante
Perkone
Caldari State
#3 - 2016-05-06 09:39:59 UTC
They might not bother since carriers and supers can run links efficiently now too, albeit weaker. It creates a trade between powerful, vulnerable links and weaker much harder to remove ones.

In any event, it makes no difference in the long run. Once the whiny babies get their way and T3s are eviscerated, it'll be command ship fleets as far as the eye can see with links everywhere.
Sonya Rayner
Fairlight Corp
Rooks and Kings
#4 - 2016-05-06 20:00:54 UTC
Lugh Crow-Slave wrote:
but again the change needed is the minm/gal need to be given a bit more EHP and the other 3 need to be given EHP closer to the Damnation


Yeah, that is the bare minimum. Ideally I still feel like the Command Ship class needs a little bit more defined personality, as right now it just feels like a souped up HAC with command links thrown in "because reasons". The older subclassing was a bit more defined, yet it wasn't ideal either. In the end, focused specialization is (or at least should be) the name of the game for Tech 2 ships.

My main beef with Command Ships as an evolution of HACs is they are much less agile, have a ton of hitpoints, but as a result have issues with projecting their damage. Much like the problem base Combat Battlecruisers were facing which CCP has alleviated by giving them a much-needed projection Role Bonus. I feel this bonus is also necssary for the HAC-like Command Ships as well.

On the other hand, CCP have stated that Command Ships can have a combination of great DPS and insane amount of EHP due to their full T2 resistances, something they tried to avoid when implementing T2 variations of the battleship classes (hence why neither Marauders nor Black Ops have full T2 resistances). In this light swapping out the base hull's tank bonus for the projection/dps bonus of their current base hulls so they are a little more offensively-capable makes sense to me.

Morrigan LeSante wrote:
They might not bother since carriers and supers can run links efficiently now too, albeit weaker. It creates a trade between powerful, vulnerable links and weaker much harder to remove ones.


I have no problem with that. As a matter of fact, I'd rather applaud the use of links on capitals/supercapitals, because that's one role I haven't seen them in yet. However, for the subcapital fleets the issue is the ability to stay on field and project the boosts. this is where (supposedly) Command Ships come in. Right now only the Damnation has the staying power, with few others being more or less situational. And using a capital ship for this purpose is not always an option, because it would be seen as capital escalation. And we all pleasurely know where it leads to.

Morrigan LeSante wrote:
In any event, it makes no difference in the long run. Once the whiny babies get their way and T3s are eviscerated, it'll be command ship fleets as far as the eye can see with links everywhere.

That is something I'd rather avoid. Creating another FotM doctrine to replace the old one is bad. The changes I am suggesting here would ensure to provide a heavy hitter role, alongside with heavy fleet support role, but ensuring they are kept separate. Sure, no-one will be barring the heavy hitters from carrying support links if they wish to, but there is a need for a dedicated class/branch that can offer the necessary survivability, as these ships will be viewd as a major asset of any fleet, friendly or hostile.

And needless to say, there are and should be ways of disabling the (enemy) asset without removing it off the field should the need arise, and subsequent counters to ensure the (friendly) asset continues providing boosts.
Zhilia Mann
Tide Way Out Productions
#5 - 2016-05-07 10:27:37 UTC
I'm more or less ambivalent; I rather like most of the CSs right now but refined proposals along these lines don't seem insane.

But a nitpick: Eos was the fleet command. Astarte was the field command.
FT Diomedes
The Graduates
#6 - 2016-05-07 13:20:48 UTC
Command Ships are generally fine. I have flown a Claymore in small gangs for over two years now, with good results. I've seen plenty of other Command Ships filling the on-grid booster role as well. I routinely see Lord's Servant flying with an on-grid Vulture boosting his Scimitar/Gila fleets.

At the higher levels of combat is where you generally start to see an issue.

CCP should add more NPC 0.0 space to open it up and liven things up: the Stepping Stones project.

Lugh Crow-Slave
#7 - 2016-05-07 13:46:30 UTC
FT Diomedes wrote:
Command Ships are generally fine. I have flown a Claymore in small gangs for over two years now, with good results. I've seen plenty of other Command Ships filling the on-grid booster role as well. I routinely see Lord's Servant flying with an on-grid Vulture boosting his Scimitar/Gila fleets.

At the higher levels of combat is where you generally start to see an issue.


Ideally it won't be so much of an issue since you don't have to worry about swapping who is booster anymore
Reaver Glitterstim
The Scope
Gallente Federation
#8 - 2016-05-08 02:00:57 UTC
Lugh Crow-Slave wrote:
Ideally it won't be so much of an issue since you don't have to worry about swapping who is booster anymore

In small gangs you'll switch it less because the booster will stick with their group. In larger gangs the booster may need to switch much more often as boosting ships get primaried.

A bit off topic:
I submit that any command ship getting primaried and dying quickly is not such a bad thing that nobody will use the command ships. On the contrary, one of the best ways to turn the fight in your favor is to convince the enemy to shoot whoever has the highest resists. you may lost that ship, but the enemy fleet loses that much time and that's what will win the skirmish.

FT Diomedes: "Reaver, sometimes I wonder what you are thinking when you sit down to post."

Frostys Virpio: "We have to give it to him that he does put more effort than the vast majority in his idea but damn does it sometime come out of nowhere."

Sonya Rayner
Fairlight Corp
Rooks and Kings
#9 - 2016-05-08 02:01:10 UTC
Zhilia Mann wrote:
But a nitpick: Eos was the fleet command. Astarte was the field command.

Yes, it was. Perhaps I am still living by the old battlecruiser "tiers", but in my eyes Astarte/Brutix has always belonged alongside Prophecy, Ferox, and Cyclone hulls, the original Battlecruisers. Besides, Eos would make more sense in Attack role than an oversized Diemost.

But then, this is more of a suggestion for a direction than a "do this way or don't do it at all" idea.
Morrigan LeSante
Perkone
Caldari State
#10 - 2016-05-09 13:17:09 UTC
Sonya Rayner wrote:


Morrigan LeSante wrote:
In any event, it makes no difference in the long run. Once the whiny babies get their way and T3s are eviscerated, it'll be command ship fleets as far as the eye can see with links everywhere.

That is something I'd rather avoid. Creating another FotM doctrine to replace the old one is bad.



None of that really matters, something will always be "best". Right now people favour T3s. At least those have SP loss making instant reshipping that much more difficult and have a respectable pricetag. The next closest thing is going to be the command ship hulls, which are a fraction of the price, can be instantly reshipped into and are basically just as effective [certainly close "enough" to replace the T3s]