Tuesday 25 October 2011

New Battlecruisers and Balance Changes

It seems that the preliminary stats for the four new racial battlecruiser have found their way into the singularity cache files. There's also an unverified (but plausible looking) list of stat changes which surfaced about the same time. Obviously assuming these are genuine, they're still very early drafts and subject to change. That said, they give you an idea of where CCP is heading with the winter expansion.

Edit: Looks like the stats are confirmed as genuine, but as expected are an early build and by no means final.

New Battlecruisers


Slot Layout: 8/3/6 with 8 turrets

Battlecruiser Skill Bonus: 7.5% bonus to Large Energy Turret tracking speed and 7.5% bonus to Large Energy Turret optimal range per level.

Role Bonus: 95% reduction in the powergrid need of Large Energy Turrets 50% reduction in the CPU need of Large Energy Turrets 50% reduction in the capacitor need of Large Energy Turrets


Slot Layout: 8/6/4 with 8 turrets and 8 launchers

Battlecruiser Skill Bonus: 10% bonus to Torpedo Velocity, 5% bonus to Torpedo explosion velocity, 10% bonus to Large Hybrid Turret optimal range and 7.5% bonus to Large Hybrid Turret tracking speed per level.

Role Bonus: 95% reduction in the powergrid need of Large Hybrid Turrets 50% reduction in the CPU need of Large Hybrid Turrets 50% reduction in the capacitor need of Large Hybrid Turrets 40% reduction in the powergrid need of Siege Missile Launchers 58% reduction in the CPU need of Siege Missile Launchers


Slot Layout: 8/4/5 with 8 turrets and 25m3 of drones.

Battlecruiser Skill Bonus: 5% bonus to Large Hybrid Turret damage and 10% bonus to the velocity factor of stasis webifiers per level.

Role Bonus: 95% reduction in the powergrid need of Large Hybrid Turrets 50% reduction in the CPU need of Large Hybrid Turrets 50% reduction in the capacitor need of Large Hybrid Turrets


Slot Layout: 8/5/4 with 8 turrets

Battlecruiser Skill Bonus: 5% bonus to Large Projectile Turret Rate of Fire and 10% bonus to Large Projectile Turret falloff per level.

Role Bonus: 95% reduction in the powergrid need of Large Projectile Turrets 50% reduction in the CPU need of Large Projectile Turrets

From the second link, we can see that the new battlecruisers have much lower HP than the tier 2 battlecruisers, but with substantially reduced signature radius and much higher speed - effectively, these ships are much closer to the battlecruisers of the real world - the hull of a fast cruiser with the offensive power of a battleship. With no spare high slots and no drones (except for a small compliment on the talos), these ships are likely to be quite vulnerable to being tackled solo by smaller ships.

Balance Changes

  • All hybrid ships (both Caldari and Gallente) receive an agility buff*
  • A large number of hybrid ships receive a max velocity buff
  • Supercaps and caps receive the changes mentioned in the dev blogs (no changes to minnie caps though)
  • Destroyers receive increased HP and capacitor, and significantly decreased sig radius
  • Destroyers no longer have a rate of fire penalty
  • Logistics ships now warp faster (the same speed as HACs)
  • The oneiros gets buffed:
    • Moved one mid slot to a low slot
    • Increased powergrid from 850 to 1050
    • Increased base speed from 214 to 230
    • Reduced signature radius from 80 to 70
  • The dramiel gets nerfed:
    • Reduced CPU from 145 to 133
    • Reduced powergrid from 38 to 37
    • Reduced base speed from 473 to 460
    • Increased mass from 740k to 950k
    • Reduced scan res from 990 to 750

*Edit: It has since been pointed out to me that the 'agility' stat listed is actually the ship's intertia modifier, for which a lower stat is better. This means that in the leaked stats, all hybrid ships are actually getting an agility nerf, but a buff.

Of course, nerfing the agility of these ships makes no real sense, especially given that for many of them this is the only change. Given the confusing nature of the stat itself, I'm personally going to take the optimistic approach and assume that CCP's intention is probably still to buff the agility of hybrid ships, and that the leaked version of the stats was implemented incorrectly.

You're free to interpret this how you like, however I would be very very surprised if CCP had intentionally decided to nerf hybrid ships after having set out to buff them.

    New Modules

    The following mods all receive a T2 equivalent:
    • Gang links (larger bonuses)
    • MAPC (+12 grid, less cpu use than meta 4)
    • Probe launchers
    • Siege modules (more damage - a stealth buff to dreads)
    • Triage modules (looks like more locked targets, more targeting range and more scan res - a stealth buff to carriers) 
    • Warp disruption field generator (more range, 19.2km base - meaning 24km with HIC V or 36km with a focused script)
    • Remote hull reps
    • Drone upgrades
    • Bomb launchers
    • Tractor beams
    Also some tweaks to some of the less common faction modules, and a new module called 'Data Subverter I' - some kind of hacking module?

    Hybrid Turrets

    In addition to the agility and speed bonuses to hybrid ships, hybrid turrets receive the following boosts:

    • Significantly reduced cap usage
    • Increased damage modifier (rails)
    • Increased tracking (blasters)
    • Reduced cpu
    • Reduced powergrid on medium and large turrets, as well as some smalls

    There were also some further buffs to T2 ammo, removing most of the remaining penalties and even adding a few bonuses:

    • Removed falloff penalty from Hail
    • Removed cap-use penalty from Javelin (charges)
    • Switched 25% tracking penalty on Javelin, Gleam and Quake to a 25% tracking bonus
    • Removed speed penalty from Javelin/Precision missiles
    • Removed sig radius penalty from Rage/Fury missiles

    This post wouldn't be complete without a little analysis. You may have noticed I rarely ever post opinion pieces, and there's a good reason for that. However, I'm going to go ahead and say this - the proposed changes look very solid.


    With a falloff bonus, the Tornado is likely to out-range every existing minmatar battleship with autocannons, which will make it an excellent kiting ship. It's significant that it receives a bonus to rate of fire rather than turret damage, which will prevent it from displacing the maelstrom as king of alpha (although with a full rack of 1400mms it might equal it).

    The Talos' web bonus is a rarity on a t1 ship, giving it the same 90% webs found on the vindicator. With its damage bonus I expect this ship to be a real dps machine up close, especially when combined with the tracking buff that blasters are already receiving. It doesn't get any drones, which means it will still be out-dpsed by the hyperion and probably the mega (it does receive one more turret than the mega after all), but fearsome nonetheless. The cap use bonus to hybrid turrets will likely come in very useful given the thirstiness of large guns. I had some really interesting speculation to post about what the Talos' bonuses might mean for the hybrid balance (for example that the web bonus suggested hybrids were not getting a range boost as some had hoped). The information which has leaked since has effectively answered that, so there's little use speculating.

    I suspect the Oracle will be a very popular ship - we've already seen how powerful range-bonused amarr ships are with t2 pulses (for example the zealot), and with a 7.5% optimal bonus per level this ship will hit out to the same range as an apoc. Normally you'd expect the second bonus to be cap use, but not on the Oracle - it gets that as a role bonus, instead getting a 7.5% tracking bonus - this is likely to make those t2 pulses at mid range very dangerous to smaller ships like cruisers.

    The Naga is an interesting one - it looks like you've got the option of going all hybrid, all torp (but not cruise), or a mix of the two. In both cases it gets a range bonus, as well as a bonus to either tracking (hybrids) or explosion velocity (torps). With rails or blasters, this thing will hit out to the same range as the rokh (targeting range willing) for the same damage, and do so with better tracking. With torps, it will out-dps a torp raven (8 launchers compared to the raven's 7.5 effective launchers after its bonus), while doing better damage to small targets. The Naga also gets one more slot than its counterparts which is a little odd (although probably necessary given that it'll be competing with the drake)!

    Hybrid Changes

    The hybrid changes (along with the associated speed and agility bonuses) make a lot of sense. There are two problems with hybrids currently that no amount of damage, tracking, or range buffs could fix. Firstly, they're really hard to fit - especially the higher calibres like neutron blasters. This often makes that perfect fit just slightly too cpu or grid hungry to work. Secondly, the ships themselves generally struggle to close range on their targets, and when they do they often have as much difficulty staying in range unless the target is heavily webbed. Both of these appear on the list, and that's a real positive step.

    The tracking buff for blasters and the damage increase for rails are both good choices. I know some people had hoped for more drastic changes, but I think this will be enough to make those guns work without making them overpowered, especially combined with the changes mentioned above. Blasters will now out-track all other weapon systems at close range (and the increased agility should allow blaster ships to take advantage of that), and should hit well at their intended ranges without the substantial webbing they require now. Rails should end up dealig similar damage to arty and beams, which is what they needed too; rails were designed with increased range at the expense of dps, but unless your whole gang is fitting rails that tends to be little use. It now becomes a choice between range with rails, alpha strike with arty, and versatility (along with a smaller dps advantage) with beams.

    Other Changes

    The destroyer changes are something I'm really excited about. Destroyers have always suffered from their fragility, being almost as easy to hit as a cruiser but with the tank of a frigate. While they will still be more fragile than a frigate in terms of the ease with which they will get hit, the advantage is now much slimmer. In addition to this, the loss of the rate of fire penalty gives every destroyer a 25% dps increase (without increasing their alpha strike, which is probably wise). This is likely to make dessys a very popular solo option, and much more dangerous to t2 frigates which may previously have been able to take them on fairly easily.

    The nerf to dramiels is needed, as much as I like flying them. Right now they simply overshadow the other frigates (in particular combat inties) so much that there's little reason to choose anything else aside from the price. After the change drams should still be very fast, but it'll be a little harder to fit one to be a jack of all trades as you can now. In addition, the reduced scan res helps gives combat inties an area in which they can outperform it.

    The changes to the oneiros look promising, although after my last post on logis I'd been quite looking forward to fitting out a tracking-link or remote ECCM oneiros! The result looks like a much tankier ship, which will really boost its ability as a solo logistics ship, even if it does make it slightly less interesting.

    Of the new t2 mods, the main one I want to pick out is the siege module. While the t2 triage module only assists from a targeting point of view, the t2 siege module gives a pretty huge damage increase - 840% compared to 700% for the t1 (note that the 700% figure for t1 is already buffed from the existing 625%). This is a pretty large buff to dreadnaughts, and combined with the halving of the cycle time already mentioned should serve to make them a more viable alternative to supercarriers again.

    In all, these changes look very promising. As I mentioned earlier they are still unconfirmed, and even if they are genuine they will likely be subject to change before release. For now though, I'm feeling very positive about the winter expansion!


    1. I am very excited about these changes. These kinds of changes keep eve interesting.

    2. What are your thoughts/hopes on assault frigate changes that were mentioned?

    3. dram nerf is stupid

    4. Regarding the assault ship changes, I find it slightly conspicious that they aren't included above. Of course, this is just an early draft, so it's possible they will be included later.

      I do think that assault ships need a little love - they're excellent solo and small gang ships as they are, but they lack anything that really gives then a role in a more mixed fleet. The challenge is giving them a boost which makes them viable in gang without making them overpowered solo, and that's easier said than done. Speed is their main weakness, but you need to be careful treading on the toes of the combat inties in that regard. The bonus to afterburner speed which they looked at a few years ago wasn't a bad option.

      Of course, I'd also drop one the Retribution's high slots to a mid to make it a viable pvp ship. I personally have no problem with the 2 mid assault frigs (I think it makes them less two-dimensional), but with only one mid the retri is never going to be able to fill any role outside of just flying dps in an all-frigate gang.

    5. I'm really satisfied with the direction they are moving blasters. If they had opted for a range increase they would have just been autos 1.5.

    6. Dram nerf is great

      Im really looking forward to AF changes but I wonder whats going to happen with the destroyer buff....

    7. I am just speechless right now. Can't wait for the three weapon types to be on equal footing now, and destroyers needed the love to be sure.

      And the new battlecruisers are fantastic, I got T2 large guns for amarr a few months ago. But the battleships were just too clunky for the pvp we were doing. Now I can't wait to try those skills out in these new hulls.

      Too much to comment on really, but one thing that stands out is that we will see a much more diverse, fun and challenging PVP scene.

    8. Naga looks so awesome, full rack of bonused torps or full rack of large hybrids with 3 damage mods and a shield tank? Yum. Or genuinely useful split weapons? Very interesting.

      They all have the potential to be glass cannons, probably intentionally. People will be losing these hand over fist when they arrive on TQ, me included.

    9. The speed and powergrid changes to the Onerios look promising. However, I have mixed feeling about the removal of a mid slot in favor of a low slot.

      I feel the speed increase combined with the extra low will put a shield tanked small gang Onerios right next to the Scimitar in speed and range control.

      However, the flip side is that four mid slots reduce the ship's overall utility for tracking links. The remote ECCM option is still fairly viable assuming propulsion +two remote ECCM +one local ECCM.

      Overall, I feel they were trying to make the ship more comparable to the guardian as a signature/buffer tank. These changes will be applauded by people who did not fly the tracking link setups. The added viability of 1600mm or 4 large reps from the powergrid change might raise their price as they see more use by average pilots.

      Looking forward to seeing how it works out.

    10. The most interesting thing is how well-balanced these new proposed changes already appear to be, even prior to actual playtesting on Sisi - and how quickly they seem to have come together, subsequent to the rather recent announcements of the Winter Expansion and so-called shift in direction by CCP.

      It should be fairly obvious now, even to the most obtuse CCP detractor, that, despite accusations to the contrary, CCP has indeed been listening to player feedback, prior to the meltdown this summer. Balancing a single ship is one thing, but, these across-the-board balancing changes - ships, weapons, ammo, modules - have clearly been kicked around inside of CCP for more than just the past couple of weeks, and by designers & devs who actually must be playing the game.

      I hope that everyone is now happy. I'm certainly happy. See my happy face -> :)

      Thumbs up, CCP!

    11. Don't forget the siege module II only reduces velocity by 60%, perhaps meaning that they'll be able to move in siege?

    12. Well, I'm now going to need to take a second look at the Heretic. If Javelins will no longer slow me down, I could see it being a fun kiting ship.

    13. Ouch! A combined buff to hybrid ships, destroyers and hybrid weapons would make the Catalyst lethal as hell.

      Imagine fitting 8 neutron blasters, with a double boost to tracking speed (one from the blaster buff; one from the existing ship bonus), and a dual range bonus (50% optimal from role bonus + falloff ship bonus), without the ROF penalty.

      With a buff to railgun DPS plus the existing tracking speed bonus and range bonuses, you could even consider the unthinkable evil of mixing 4 blasters with 4 rails to kill frigs at virtually any small ship weapon range.

    14. Also a bit concerned that destroyers might become insanely powerful suddenly.

    15. Any information about how Assault Frigates will be balanced with this?

    16. Wow, lots of funky changes! Looks like a lot of ship fits are going to need to be changed, especially for the Gallente. I've always liked the Catalyst - I think I'll like it more now :)

      I hope the new BCs will be expensive enough that they don't turn into a real gank nightmare in high sec.

    17. Agility buff to gallente ships? The change lists I saw contained agility NERF. Inertia modifier is an attribute where smaller is better.

    18. Yeah, since writing this article it has been pointed out to me that the agility stat is actually the inertia modifier, meaning the listed stats are a nerf.

      Until I see a compelling reason for a nerf being intentional, I'm going to assume this is an error and that the intention is to buff agility.

    19. My thought when I read the Velocity/Agility changes was that they wanted Hybrid hulls to have the speed to close to blaster range, but not the agility to pull the orbit close and out-track trick. That's really the only way it made any sense to me...although, it being an error sounds just as likely at this point.

    20. Holy shit! I think I just came in my pants. I could actually fit blasters on a Vexor. I very well might have to resub if these changes are legit.

      - Vlad Norkoff

    21. Love the lower fitting stats for hybrids! Guess that means I can fit a bigger plate on my Gallente buffer tanked ships, without nerfing my DPS!

    22. I can't remember where I read it(blog or thread) but I agree that the Battlecruisers should be split into Heavy Cruisers(Cyclone/Cane for example) and Battlecruisers(Tornado for example) and have an actually skilling difference as to better represent what the ships are. Like just return the skillpoints.

    23. I thought Talos has 25 drone bay / bandwidth... did the stats change?

    24. Regarding possible AF buff. I agree that it would be difficult to really buff it without making it overpowered solo.

      The AB bonus they were talking about before, IMHO, would have made it too OP. The problem is that it steps on the toes of t1 frigates. While i'm sure most people would say "screw T1 frigs!", i think its important to retain balance in the sense that a t1 frig has a chance at killing a t2 frig.

      With the AB bonus, all T1 frigs would simply be outclassed and would have to switch to an MWD just to keep up to it, then we have a situation where all AFs would be current dramiels, extremely fast with a very small sig radius.

      I think thats why they decided against that before but I don't work for CCP so i don't know for sure. I feel most AFs are fine as-is. Perhaps the Retribution could get a second mid for a nerf in range or something (this is due to it being very similar to a slicer if it had 2 mids)

      But overall i'm extremely excited about the changes. cant wait for the winter expansion!

    25. Quite upset about Dram nerf, but think that new BCs look amazing - should be in a different class - maybe 'pocket battleship'

      Think that hyrid massage is a good idea as t1 dps quite poor across the range compared to other t1 variants..

    26. The dread buff will deffo bring about an increase in price and make them primaries in cap fights

    27. I've seen few people concerned about the massive buff to suicide ganking cost effectiveness that the new battlecruisers will provide...

      Any thoughts on that?

    28. Of course you have many KYEs yet to do, but please get around to the an overall update one for the t3 BCs now that they are finalized and any further comments with any ship you wish to breifly revisit with their Crucible buff/nerfs.


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