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@CCP: Extrinsic Damage Amplifier Balancing

First post
Applied Agoraphobia
#1 - 2012-05-03 00:18:15 UTC  |  Edited by: MalVortex
I realize there is already a team Super Friends feedback thread, however, the changes brought on by Team Super friends are extensive, and most of the thread is hereto date dedicated just to when Sisi will go live. As such, I feel its prudent to start a new thread for concise discussion.

As it stands, the Extrinsic Damage Amplifier II (henceforth EDA) is a 12% damage bonus for non-fighter drones, on a 40tf CPU module. This is, quite frankly, terrible. In fact, its so bad that I have to question if this is just a placeholder stat.

Your bog-standard T2 damage mod has two stats:
10% Damage Bonus
10.5% Rate of Fire Bonus

Combined, this results in a 22.9% damage increase *per* module. All turret modules cost 30CPU for their T2 variant, and the BCU's cost 40cpu for their T2 variant (presumably due to the higher than average CPU output of most missile boats).

Even worse, drone boats often come with the "drone-boat" tax. They have worse fittings, and fewer slots, than comparable non-drone vessels. This fitting tax insures that drone boats don't become OP killing machines with immense tanks and damage, but it also means they often wind up very tight on fittings. A 40cpu mod is absolutely ridiculous for most drone boats to try to squeeze on.

In other words, the EDA is terrible in two directions:
1) It provides half the damage bonus of regular damage modules
2) It costs 33% more fitting than standard damage modules, on top of the CPU limited nature of drone ships.

Perhaps the greatest insult, however, is that drones are already a low-damage platform. For all intents and purposes, drone damage caps out with the 50% hull bonus on Ogre IIs at 475 dps. For Ships like the Arbitrator line, that caps out with Hammerhead IIs at 238 dps. Even the standard 23% damage module may be too weak for them to work on these hulls as a competitive fitting option. We won't know until these are at least buffed to 23% and fits are played around with, but Domi's can do a *lot* more damage with guns than 475 dps. If we are to fit drone damage mods over regular old damage mods, they need to be pulling their weight in the opportunity-cost comparison.

To start balance testing, the EDA needs to be brought down to 30 CPU and 23% total DPS modifier. As it stands, the single 12% damage module will find use ONLY on ships with the following parameters:

1) Can deploy a full set of heavy or sentry drones
2) Cannot fit battleship class weapons

That limits the EDA's *entire* potential usefulness to select Ishtar and Gila fits, and maaaybe a few Domi's that completely forsake any turrets at all (such as ambulance, neut, or herd domis). Every other ship, including ships like the Curse, can get much better bang for their buck just fitting regular weapons (like Railguns or HMLs) and/or regular damage mods.


I agreed with Shish so much below I wanted to add this to the OP. EDA's in the lowslot are going to be a balancing nightmare, as many Drone ships rely on a strict lowslot allotment to tank, while others like the Dominix could potentially "double dip" Damage Mods and wind up with 1500+ DPS in shield-gank configurations. EDA's should be moved to become a highslot module in addition to the above changes to create fitting tension with the ship. As a high slot item, they can take advatnage of the utility highs many drone ships are given, while counter balancing against the need for neuts, turrets, and missile launchers for other sources of DPS.

Drone Control Units - EDA's elder brother - are also highslots, making this a much more natural feel than lowslot EDAs. It also creates natural tension when fitting those highslots as Drone Link Augmenters are also up there. Would you like neuts, smartbombs, cloaks, more damaging drones or longer range drones? That's some good opportunity cost decisions to make that simply don't exist in the lows.
Spc One
The Chodak
Void Alliance
#2 - 2012-05-03 00:24:36 UTC
I agree.
Other modules give 22.9% so drone amps should give more than 12%.
Silly Slot
Brave Newbies Inc.
Brave Collective
#3 - 2012-05-03 00:25:59 UTC
not to mention as a gallante boat this will take an armor slot but thats ok if it was worth it, but fitting and bonus need work
Soon Shin
Scarlet Weather Rhapsody
#4 - 2012-05-03 00:44:41 UTC  |  Edited by: Soon Shin
I agree greatly with this. Here's an example with a drone bonus ship the Curse:

Just to illustrate how terrible these are:

Curse, 2x HML, 2x Damage Mods. Drone Damage Mods vs. BCU:

Drone Damage Mod %Modifier: ~23% Gain

5x Hammerhead II: 238 DPS -> 293 DPS + (2x HML) 67 DPS = 360 DPS
5x Valkyrie II: 193 DPS -> 237 DPS + (2x HML) 67 DPS = 304 DPS

Missile Damage Mod %Modifier: 47% Gain

5x Hammerhead II: 238 DPS + (2x HML) 98 DPS = 346 DPS
5x Valkyrie II: 193 DPS + (2x HML) 98 DPS = 335 DPS

In other words, on a Curse with NO bonus to heavy missiles, two BCU worth of damage mods on your measly two HML put the curse doing *more* total DPS with any drone but Hammerhead IIs, and even on that example, you come within 14 DPS. This isn't even factoring in the advantage of overheat bonuses. These damage mods are *so* weak that they can only be used on ships with heavy or sentry drones, and no corresponding offensive module of similar class. Even then for the Dominix and rattlesnake you'll most likely get more dps using Magnetic Field Stabilizers and Ballistic Control Units.

There is something wrong when you get more dps from 2 unbonused heavy missiles compared to 5 bonused drones from a Droneboat.
Applied Agoraphobia
#5 - 2012-05-03 00:51:50 UTC
Haha, yea. That was my post on FHC. I'm glad you like it Big smile
Silly Slot
Brave Newbies Inc.
Brave Collective
#6 - 2012-05-03 00:55:16 UTC
hope devs check this in morning
Shovel Bros
#7 - 2012-05-03 00:55:17 UTC
MalVortex wrote:
That limits the EDA's *entire* potential usefulness to select Ishtar and Gila fits

Very select fits. I own atleast one each of Gila and Ishtar and the fits I have would have trouble squeezing in a 30 CPU module, much less the 40 CPU one. The fitting cost is kinda crazy when you take into account the pre-gimped CPUs that many drone boats have.

In the current state, I doubt I could justify using these things rather than more tank or something else. 40 CPU and a low slot for an extra 12% damage just isn't worth it (even for heavies/sentries it's iffy at best).
Gallente Federation
#8 - 2012-05-03 01:18:50 UTC  |  Edited by: Piranhas
Dont forget about CPU rigs.
Thomas Gallant
Quafe Company Courier Shipping
#9 - 2012-05-03 01:21:19 UTC
Make it a high slot item and buff the dps, I don't care about the weak turrets that could be there that I don't have skill for that come anywhere close to my drone skills

Granted we are looking a gift horse in the mouth here, but the points are valid as well imo.

I think generally the idea was to either have good guns/missiles and weak drones, or weak guns/missiles and good drones, for roughly equal overall skill investment. thing is, it seems that it's a lot easier to get by on pure guns/missiles than it is with pure drones ( though I do like the drones flexablity in speed vs power.)
Shovel Bros
#10 - 2012-05-03 01:29:04 UTC  |  Edited by: mxzf
Piranhas wrote:
Dont forget about CPU rigs.

CPU rigs are kinda pitiful in their current state. They give a 25-40 CPU bonus on an Ishtar or Gila. Compare that to a grid rig giving 80-130 on the same ships.

CPU is naturally lower than grid in all but frigs, but the CPU bonus the rigs give is an even lower percent bonus than grid ones. And CPU rigs have a penalty that would be painful for a Gila or a passive Ishtar while grid rigs have 0 penalty at all.
Jame Jarl Retief
Deep Core Mining Inc.
Caldari State
#11 - 2012-05-03 01:49:40 UTC

CCP needs to take a look at Gallente tutorial, specifically the part that calls drones a Gallente racial weapon, comparable to Minmatar Projectiles and Amarr Lasers. And then they need to start treading drones accordingly - as a full fledged weapons system, not a red-headed step-child support system. The whole reason I spent the majority of my training time in drones is because I bought that line hook, line and sinker. And so far, it's just not comparable to missile or turret boats, not even close.

I was really hoping drones in general and drone boats in particular would get some serious review, but so far it looks lackluster at best.
Kaikka Carel
#12 - 2012-05-03 02:00:44 UTC
Don't forget that Vexor based ships have very low CPU. I guess it's about time to boost it.
Drew Solaert
Gallente Federation
#13 - 2012-05-03 02:08:55 UTC  |  Edited by: Drew Solaert
Just throwing some things to think about it lets get this clear, I would love the CPU lowered and Damage bonus increased a bit but I want to think more about how they stand right now

Practical uses. Vexor and Myrmidon ships where if you do want to add damage its via Guns and Magstabs/ Gyrostabs, as I'm assuming your not a complete **** who uses every lowslot for loltank.

For the Vexor - Dropping a Magstab for the Dronestab, solid choice even at 12%

For the Myrm - 2 or 3 Magstabs right now depending on if your single or dual rep. On the single rep, due to the 3rd Stab stacking bonus, the 2 Magstab and 1 Dronestab option is going to be solid as hell. On the Dual rep setup, its your preference, if your going for the solid afk style mission fit, 2 Dronestabs go alt tab, great.

Ishkur - 1 will fit in nicely, it's drones are unbonused so any extra damage is good.

Ishtar - Fails a bit here. CPU is tight as hell, but with some rejigging, you could get a one on.

Dominix - Neutron Blasters, Sentries, Sentry Damage Rig, 3 Mag Stabs, 3 Drone Stabs. I can only picture unholy amounts of lolgank dps.

I lied :o

FT Diomedes
The Graduates
#14 - 2012-05-03 02:35:41 UTC
I'm not seeing much value in this mod. The T2 version gives a 12% damage bonus, at the expense of 40tf.

On an Ishtar, the Sentry Damage Augmentor I, gives a 10% damage bonus at the cost of 17.81tf. A second SDA I costs 16.92tf. This assumes Drone Rigging to Level IV.

On the fits I have been EFT warrioring, it appears that one Sentry Damage Augmentor II, one Core Defense Field Purger II, and 1 T2 Drone Damage mod gives the optimal passive shield tank fit.

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

Shish Tukay
Caldari Provisions
Caldari State
#15 - 2012-05-03 02:52:10 UTC
Personally I'd be very happy if it were moved to a high slot - most of my droneboat fits, by their nature, have high slots to spare; and in the fits where the high slots are currently full of guns, trading 20% of gun DPS for +20% drone DPS would make sense for a drone-skilled character whose base DPS is higher with drones.
Kaikka Carel
#16 - 2012-05-03 04:31:34 UTC  |  Edited by: Kaikka Carel
Ok saw them on Sisi and comming back with following:

1. Name: What does it mean? What is it supposed to mean?! "Extrinsic" - I haven't even known such word, I googled for it and it says something very unrelated to drones.

Why not just "Drone Damage Augmentor"?

2. CPU: way to high escpecially for the Vexor and Ishtar: either decrease EDA's requirements or increase base CPU on those ships.

3. Damage increase: it is... pitiful?

4. Slot requirements: seriously if choosing between EDA and weapon upgrades modules latter will always prevail since:

a) Drones damage is usually less than that of guns/missiles,

b) EDA gives way too little increase.

c) Guns/Missiles are a better way off delivering damage.

d) Can't fit both OR do gallente now shield tank?

AttentionAttentionAttentionProblem Number FiveAttentionAttentionAttention

This is the most crucial in my opinion:

AttentionDrones are not a primary weapon system - not even on Gallente drone boats.Attention


a) They deal not enough damage(and won't with such terrible EDA) to be one.

b) They're a destroyable source of damage. Yes, missles can be destroyed too in theory but in practice no one uses defender missiles in ship-to-ship battle. Partially this is neglected on drone boats with their huge drone bays for spare drones.

c) An abundance of drone upgrade modules which are scattered among slot hardpoints.

Drone Link Augmenter in high slot - +15km range is a good addition but unfortunately Myrmidon and Dominix don't have utility highs and Ishtar doesn't need one unless it's a sniper configuration.

Drone Navigation Computer in mid slot - increases speed of drones and afaik is not stacking penalizied which leads to Berserkers II having same MWD speed with three units as Valkyries II without them. Now I would call that a serious improvement if only I hadn't to waste(yes "waste") slots for just this effect.

Omnidirectional Tracking Link in mid slot - the only common drone upgrade module mostly seen on sentry setups.

And now we have 4th upgrade module! Here's the problem - to fully augment drones to maximum potential one must dedicate a lot of slots. The effects are scattered among great variety of modules which in turn must be stacked for best perfomance.

What I propose is to merge some of these modules with each other:

1. DLA+DNC = module in a high slot which gives more range and more speed for drones to cover it quickly. Would help in PVE with its great distances and in PVP enabling larger size drones to catch up with smaller targets This is balanced by the fact that not all ships can field oversized drones or have spare slots to fit such module. Doesn't look like a waste of slots now, right?

2. OTL+EDA = module in a mid slot which increases optimal, tracking and damage of drones(you may even keep that abyssmal damage increase to balance things out). Yes, turrets have separate modules for these attributes BUT drones aren't turrets! Combined these effects should greatly increase drones' combat capabilities,

Now we have only 2 modules in two different slot layouts. Would you spare 3-5 slots on your drone boats to make drones a really deadly and effective component rather than just "50% of my dps"?

Comment, point things out, rage, whatever.
Applied Agoraphobia
#17 - 2012-05-03 06:53:40 UTC  |  Edited by: MalVortex
Shish Tukay wrote:
Personally I'd be very happy if it were moved to a high slot - most of my droneboat fits, by their nature, have high slots to spare; and in the fits where the high slots are currently full of guns, trading 20% of gun DPS for +20% drone DPS would make sense for a drone-skilled character whose base DPS is higher with drones.

I really like the idea of moving them into highslots myself. It would match the (little used) Drone Control Unit's placement, and synergize with the utility slots drone boats are often given. On drone boats without utility slots (like the Domi), you then must trade Drone damage output vs. Turret Damage output - a 3x MFS 3x EDA Shield Gank Dominix would easily break 1,500 DPS if it could double stack the damage mods with EDA's on the lowslot (damage figure assumes 22.9% EDAs).

EDAs in the highslot just results in lovely tension around opportunity cost - do you fit turrets or missile launchers? Do you fit that second EDA, or an energy neutralizer? Just thinking about EDA's in the highslot feels much more natural to me than as a lowslot module. Hell, it even creates some natural tension against Drone Link Augmentors - trading long range drone control against higher damage drones. Perfect.

So to sum up:

1) Bump up EDA strength to 22.9%
2) Drop EDA CPU use to 30tf
3) Move EDA from lowslot to highslot

July Oumis
Royal Amarr Institute
Amarr Empire
#18 - 2012-05-03 06:56:51 UTC
I absolutely agree with the OP, that Drones should really be treated as a fully developed weapon system.
I even go further and propose to get rid of the Drone boats weapon Bonus and make it a Drone only platform, where you can mount unbonused weapons, like the Myrmidon does.

22-25% Damage (rof + dmg mod)

for the extrinsic dmg mod

Therefore add a Dronespeed Bonus (MWD) to all Drone Boats instead.

Atm the Domi, or other boats have to opportunity to choose between standing still (Sentries) or letting the Heavies fly around at an awkward ridiculous low Speed, with the danger of getting Drone Aggro when they're 40km away from your ship, which means they will be damaged or even be killed.

Also while the heavies are traveling, they don't do any Damage, which means, the real DPS of a Domi is way lower than the numbers shown in EFT or ig.

A 50-75% MWD Speed Boost of all Drones, smaller than fighters would be nice, since we could then use the Drone nav computers, and directional tracking links + the new damage mods to get a fast flying set of Drones.

It would't be overpowered, because bombs and smartbombs can kill them easily. Even Medium weapons could kill a set of Ogres. Sentries then should get a 15% dmg bonus, because, well they are stationary and slow down the boat.
Tarn Kugisa
Kugisa Dynamics
#19 - 2012-05-03 07:20:28 UTC
Have 40 of each kind of drone on a Carrier, +Fighters=lolgank DPS with sentries

Be polite. Be efficient. Have a plan to troll everyone you meet - KuroVolt

July Oumis
Royal Amarr Institute
Amarr Empire
#20 - 2012-05-03 07:29:27 UTC
Applied only to subcaps, meaning dedicated drone platforms, not for fighters.
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