The Top 5 Most Oppressive things in the solo/small gang meta right now

The Top 5 Most Oppressive things in the solo/small gang meta right now

  1. The Svipul. This ship has greatly shaped the meta in numerous ways, the first way is that it has made a lot of Cruisers or above either redundant or need to have the possibility of dealing with one. With a small amount of pimping, on the dual extender AC fit (T2 CDFE x3, RF MSE x2)  a Svipul is capable of 26k EHP in defense mode, while dishing out 370 DPS cold, and passively regenerating almost 90 EHP/s, on top of that, it has a very low signature radius and high base speed, meaning that it can usually mitigate a lot of cruiser grade weapon DPS. the 90 EHP/s means that a flight of light or medium drones which normally is a good enough defence against lighter classes is permatanked, shrugged off, or easily killed with the Svipuls frigate gun tracking, kiting cruisers have to deal with a ship which goes almost 3.9km/s while still having <18k EHP in propulsion mode, which is usually something you just can’t afford to be on-grid with.

    941b03223e
    It’s not just Cruisers and above that have suffered miserably at the hands of the Svipul either, while the Dual Neut AC Extender fit might be a huge menace for bigger craft, luckily Frigates have the agility to avoid it, it still is very oppressive and often forces Frigate sized ships to have to clear the field in it’s presence, as it’s essentially a cruiser in terms of EHP and DPS stats while having Frigate Tracking and Speed.

    5b2d8f057e

    However, Frigates have to deal with Instalocking Arty Svipuls which have an Alpha Strike of 2.25k, capable of one-shotting almost every non-buffer frigate in the game, while also being able to fight 1 to 1 with even brawling pirate frigates and Assault Frigates, With just a single sensor booster in sharpshooter mode, the Svipul achieves a Scan Resolution of 1.5k cold. thanks to the huge base speed of speed mode and the defensive web it’s impossible to ever go under it’s guns, It also brags about having 6k EHP in sharpshooter/propulsion mode, or 8k in Defensive, which might not seem like much, but the 450  DPS with heat easily brings its EHP/DPS ratio above Brawling AFs like the Enyo. Not only that, but any frigates that come close to being able to challenge it are significantly slower than it.

    63bff80e8b
    In comparison, a ‘fast locking thrasher’ cannot fit a MWD with 7 NAMED 280mm arty fitted without fitting help, it’s also much slower, despite having the 50% tracking bonus “always on” the lower base speed and no web (unless you drop a sensor booster or the prop, and you probably want no prop 2 sensor booster anyway to match the svipuls scan resolution), means that frigates can actually kill at 0km if they can weather the initial volley and possibly a second glancing shot, The Thrasher is also much more likely to be caught since it can’t instawarp and likely doesn’t have a prop-mode either, so it can’t chase frigates that survive the volley, or, it is at least 1.1km/s slower than the Svipul cold if it makes the sacrifices (2 PG rigs + -1 mid, for prop). The Svipul can also instawarp doing the mode swap trick, and has frigate speed/agility so catching one is incredibly difficult.

    2374db6891
    The Svipul has killed off most slower brawling frigates in the meta, and the only ones still left are buffer tanked frigates that can out-run it on the entry gate, that now have to carry mobile depots to repair at every gate they jump into one at.

    Because of this, the Svipul is the #1 most oppressive ship in the meta.

  2. Rapid Light Missile Launchers. Rapid Lights are a Cruiser Grade Weapon, which does High Anti-Support Cruiser DPS while having very light fitting requirements, and Frigate Grade Application, while having Mid Range and beyond Projection. This is counter-acted by having a longer than usual reload time of 35s and 20 charges, however, they do so much raw damage before this reload actually takes place that they are incredibly oppressive, and not just to Frigates like you might think, but to Cruisers too.

    Enter the Rapid Light Caracal, now a staple amongst junior FCs and home defence doctrines (Note, I don’t think that the Caracal itself is oppressive, just the RLML weapon system)  

    38ce76dbd9
    With 63km Optimal Range (With optional improvements with missile guidance modules or rigs). 370 DPS cold with CN Missiles, Good Speed, A Staggering 35.2K EHP while having a decent resistance profile for any possible logi. It’s pretty obvious to see why a Caracal is a “Sorry, you’re going to have leave the grid m8” for any Light Craft on the field. However, Despite what you might think, It’s not Frigates that the Caracal oppresses the most. It’s other Attack Cruisers. Why? The Raw Damage that it deals before reloading.

    Caracal with CN Missiles deals 825 Damage Per Volley, For a Total of 825 x 20 = 16.5K Damage before reloading. It also has 2 Acolytes, that during this period will attack a total of 10 times (50~ / 5) which deal 139 x 10 = 1,39k Damage. For a Grand Total of 17.89k  Damage before it reloads.

    2208797db7
    Caracal with Fury Missiles deals 1008 Damage Per Volley, For a Total of 1008 x 20 = 20.16k Damage. Including the Acolytes, which deal 1.39k Damage during this period. That’s 21.55k Damage before the Caracal Reloads it’s weapons. The 444 DPS (COLD) is also very significant and can punch through a lot of active tanked cruisers, many of which cannot actually catch the Caracal.

    So a Cruiser needs Essentially 22k+ EHP to survive a RLML Reload, + Residual Acolyte damage while it’s reloading~.  

    Using an Attack Cruiser as an Example

    DC Only: 10k EHP
    DC + 1LSE II: 15.2k EHP
    DC + 1LSE II + 3 CDFEs: 19.5k EHP
    DC + 2LSE II: 20.3k EHP
    DC + 2LSE II+1CDFE: 22.3k EHP

    DC + 800mm II: 15.3k EHP
    DC + 800mm II + 3 Trimark: 19.5k EHP
    DC + 1600mm II: 20.5k EHP
    DC + 1600mm II + Trimark: 22.5k EHP
    DC + 800mm II + EANM + 3 Trimark: 23.6k EHP
    DC + 1600mm II + EANM: 24.9k EHP

    Here one can see the sacrifices that an Attack Cruiser must make in order to survive the Caracal’s Fury Reload which is almost impossible (barring links) to mitigate DPS from. However, this isn’t the end all.

    The Attack Cruiser still needs to effectively deal with Frigates/Ships that it’s hunting. It also needs to be able to kill the Caracal which has an EHP of 35.2k (Cold) or 37.9k With the Invul Field heated before it can actually reload.

    The Caracal fires all it’s charges in 49.2 seconds (Assuming it didn’t heat). It then reloads over 35 seconds. During this period the Acolytes strike an additional 7 times doing roughly  973 damage or almost 1k extra. This means that a Cruiser needs to kill a Caracal in 84.2 seconds before it can reload (and probably kill them with an additional 22k damage)

    Cold Invul to kill in 84.2 Seconds = 35,200 / 84.2 = 418 DPS
    Heated Invul to kill in 84.2 Seconds = 37,900 / 84.2 = 450 DPS
    (This is of course ignoring the 50 EHP/s peak regeneration on the Caracal)
    This is OFC assuming the fight takes place at 0km and the Caracal is very capable of kiting out ships.

    This requires every viable cruiser in the meta to be able to Achieve at least 420 DPS with 22k EHP Minimum, with probably expecting more, while also being viable at defending itself against a Svipul and other Frigates, while also being able to actually catch the Caracal. This is the reason why the Stabber and the Omen have disappeared to the depths, and to a lesser extent, the Thorax. To actually meet these minimums they are so gimped in applying anything that they are food for any Frigate or T3D that catches them. So it rotates back on to the same point, if you can’t meet these requirements while not being gimped, you might as well fly the RLML Caracal instead, it also doesn’t suffer from capacitor issues like the Omen and Thorax, and doesn’t have any issues with dealing with Frigates.

    I want to make it clear once more, I don’t think the Caracal is an oppressive ship, It’s Rapid Lights which are the problem. it’s just the best example.

    Want to know something disgusting?  

    A HAM CARACAL WITH FACTION HAMS LOADED ALMOST DIES TO A RLML CARACAL AT 0KM. NOT EVEN JOKING LOL

    e30df82fc1
    This Ham Caracal can survive the Reload with Heated Invul, but with only 395 DPS cold, it comes very dangerously close to not being able to break the 420 DPS/22k EHP ratio needed to actually kill the Caracal, the Ham Caracal will actually win with very low Structure HP. With Rage HAMs it’s a lot closer but you run the danger of not being able to fully apply to other ships that may be present. And this is all assuming the fight starts at 0km

    The reason for this is the fitting difference between the RLMLs and HAMs and the fact that HAMs require a web to apply fully.

    So while, a HAM Caracal might (Very Barely) be able to achieve a victory against a RLML Caracal, you have to ask yourself, Is it worth fitting HAMs instead of RLMLs for a minor brawling benefit, and the conclusion to that is often… no. RLMLs just have so much more benefits vs almost every other ship type, and give you more kiting freedom.

    Rapid Lights just have so much more freedom in both application (No need for a web/TP/Guidance mod or Rigs unlike HAMs/HMLs), but also in superior fitting room.

    Just in case you didn’t know, a HML Caracal dies to a RLML Caracal. lmao.

  3. The Orthrus. Now we’ve talked about how oppressive Rapid Lights are, and while I believe the Caracal (And Other RLML Ships) are mostly fine, it’s just the weapon system is overpowered… This ship definitely is overpowered. An Orthrus essentially means that everything smaller than a Pirate Faction Cruiser has to leave the grid, It’s faster than almost everything that can actually win an exchange with it at 0km, and it has a potentially a 20.3km Defensive Scram unlinked. (or 16.2km if you’re t2 fitting it).  It also has 5x small drones and a utility high that it can easily fit, thanks to the obsurd amount of PG that it has.

    Here is a basic T2 Fit to keep things reasonable, the Orthrus is probably one of the ships that scales with pimp the most in the entire game though.

    5e2aa1e206
    Want to know a joke? The Orthrus (Up until the Parallax patch) Had the same Grid as the Drake Navy Issue, A BATTLECRUISER  which had to fit 3x more launchers than it. The Orthrus has so much fitting room, which is further compounded by the fact that it fits Rapid Light Missile Launchers which we have of course, touched upon.

    The Orthrus has every defensive skirmish bonus in the game
    Medium Neut – Check
    Heavily Bonused RLML – Check
    2.3km/s speed without mods – Check
    25m3 Drones – Check
    Bonused Defensive Scram – Check

    This Ship kills a Cynabal at 0km. While having way more anti-frigate defense and a defensive scram.

    You might think that all Mordus Legion ships have these bonuses, but The Garmur will at least die to a T1 Frigate at 0km if it gets caught by one. The Orthrus is more than capable of killing pretty much every reasonably fit buffer fit cruiser in the game at 0km, and most Navy Cruisers at 0km too (If it’s stupid enough to be there in the first place). Its fast enough and has the scram to run from anything which can actually out-trade it. Garmur will die to a well flown slicer, Orthrus obliterates the Omen Navy Issue with ease.

    The Orthrus with CN Missiles deals 1445 x 20 = 28.9k Damage before reloading. This is Over a period of 65 seconds~ assuming the Orthrus doesn’t heat. During this Period, the 5x Acolytes strike a total of 13 times. Dealing 347 x 13 = 4.511k Damage. For a Total of 33.4k Damage. This is 526 DPS total (assuming no heat) which is no easy task to tank even with dual rep [The Orthrus has the Medium Neut applying pressure too even if a dual rep ship catches it at 0km].

    13810b598e

    The Orthrus with Fury Missiles deals 1764 x 20 = 35,280 Damage before reloading. Adding on our Acolyte Damage of 4,511 damage over this period, The Orthrus deals a Grand Total of 39,791 Damage before it needs to reload. This is 624 Damage Unheated, which again, assumes you caught the Orthrus at 0km, and can sustain it’s medium neut worth of pressure which is not irrelevant, the 2.1k volley is also able to pierce through most pure active tank ships buffer.

    The Orthrus goes into reload after 65.6 seconds (Assuming it didn’t heat) and during the reloading period of 35s The Acolytes Strike an additional 7 times for roughly an extra 2,429 Damage. Bringing the total of damage up to 42,220 Damage. For a Ship to kill an Orthrus they need to tank 42,220 damage and deal 400DPS~ to kill it before it reloads, which again, is out of reach of most ships below the Pirate Cruiser tier. and This is all assuming you catch a ship which shouldn’t be at 0km in the first place. Anything which can achieve this is usually much slower than it, causing the Orthrus to make a piloting error the only way it can lose in a 1v1 scenario.

    Because of it’s high speed, high range, high point range, The Orthrus makes almost any fight with it on-grid within the 150km range of it not being able to just warp to whatever you’re killing almost impossible for anything below pirate cruiser. Because of that, it’s #3 on my list, it’s not as high as the Svipul because it doesn’t oppress roaming in a Frigate, and Frigate options as much as the Svipul does.  

    4) Remote Sensor Boosters / “Instalocking”: I really dislike these modules, the basic premise behind them seems to be fine, they’re a targetable sensor booster thats slightly stronger than the local sensor booster module, Just like all ‘remote’ modules, designed to improve some aspects of group play. However, Scan Resolution Remote Sensor Boosters are normally used on completely throw-away ships in camps, and unlike other remote modules, which rely on the other ship being alive during the period to be useful (And this is balanced through needing lock, and failure cascade when remote-pair ships die or forced off grid for example) You only need the Scan Resolution for the first second of the fight to instantly lock a ship. I think Strategic Cruisers and Pirate Cruisers like a Vigilant locking an Interceptor if it’s not a taxi before it can take any actions as terrible. There is no counter-play or no appropriate ships being brought. I have no issue with being instalocked by a Stiletto which has fitted appropriately to catch an Interceptor, and then dying to his friends later, would even gladly trade interdiction nullification for it. RSBs allow you to instantly lock a ship below your class without having to make the fitting sacrifices required to do so. I’d like to see scan resolution strength of RSBs nerfed (You can nerf Scan Resolution damps too if this is going to be an issue for damps etc.) At least with local sensor boosters it means a ship doesn’t have all the tank/utility options it otherwise would with RSBs on it, actually making it vulnerable.

    At least you would have a small window to fight the very vulnerable interceptor or escape before his friends attack you, this would make a big difference for solo/small gang roaming especially in areas of space like Deklein which are plagued with groups who only do this to respond to solo frigates looking for PvP in the region.

    5) Links: I’ve droned on about these for a long time now (Check the 10,000+ words I’ve written about them on this blog), but links are definitely mega oppressive and usually mean you can’t pvp in the same system as someone who has them if you don’t your own. They certainly belong on this list. And probably would be higher up if you’re a lowsec PvPer instead of a nullsec PvPer like me.

The Top 5 Most Oppressive things in the solo/small gang meta right now

Why are the Svipul and Confessor so much more overpowered than the Hecate and Jackdaw?

I think it’s pretty clear to everyone at this point that the Tactical Destroyers are mostly above curve on the power level, with the Hecate and Jackdaw being close to ‘right’ while the Confessor, and to a larger extent, the Svipul sit well above the power curve. Why are the Hecate and Jackdaw reletively well balanced but the Svipul and Confessor are overpowered? For the most part, it’s their base speed, speed mode bonuses, and the low base signature they have.

The Hecate propulsion mode and why it’s really well balanced. And why it should be used on other T3Ds

I really love the design behind the Hecate propulsion mode, and the base stats that the Hecate has for speed, The Hecate has a really low mass, a Prop Mode bonus that only applies to MicroWarp Drives while having a really slow base speed. What that means is that the Hecate is really vulnerable to bigger ships while it is scrammed, but enjoys near perfect agility (1.99s align) and above the pack Combat Frigate speeds when it is not scrammed.

The Hecate has a base speed of 213m/s (Assuming all level V, no modules which either subtract or add additional speed to the Hecate). This is slower than some Battlecruisers, which means while the Hecate is scrammed, assuming mutual control modules on both side (I.e. A cruiser has a scram+web, Hecate has scram+web) The cruiser will be faster, and will be able to dictate Traversal, and will therefore have perfect tracking vs the Hecate with good deflection piloting (Double click in space, move away, hecate will have to approach at a 0 degree angle). This also means Frigates, which are vulnerable and probably will die in scram range to the Hecate due to the strong tracking on the hull and optimal bonus it can achieve in sharpshooter mode, can at least control the Hecate, and will be able to scram kite it or leave if they can weather the DPS output, meaning it can’t just permanently keep up with Frigates like the Svipul and Confessor can which both propulsion mode base speeds are faster than every combat frigate in the game.

I really like this balance because it means that the Hecate has the best base agility in the game for a non-shuttle/pod. while having above pack Combat Frigate speeds when it is not committed or hard tackled, but means the Hecate is very vulnerable to Cruisers which have a warp scrambler module. This creates interesting balance/strength and weaknesses to the Hecate. Destroyers should be vulnerable to Cruiser weapons.

The Svipul and Confessor Propulsion modes are incredibly powerful, and problematic in my opinion because it makes them too good at scram kiting, and especially incredibly hard to mitigate damage from even from kiting fits involving beams/artillery even if you outplay them and get on top of them at 0km you will be tracked perfectly.

This also makes them incredibly hard to hold down for Cruisers, while a single web on a Hecate will prevent it from really going anywhere, cruisers need dual webs to hold down both the Confessor and the Svipul in order to keep up with them, and to apply their full damage to them.

 

T3D Base Speed Base Prop Mode Combat Frigates Base Speed
Confessor 294 490 Rifter 456
Svipul 288 479 Breacher 450
Jackdaw 213 283 Punisher 444
Hecate 213 213 Incursus 425
Tormentor 419
Tristan 406
Kestrel 406
Merlin 388

 

The reason why the base speed is important, as mentioned, is that it is essentially a ‘tracking boost’ for the Svipul and Confessor vs smaller ships attempting to go under their tracking. A 280mm Svipul with a defensive web will be faster than (or force MWD on and sig bloom which results in the same outcome) a close range brawling frigate with scram+web. A close range Rifter starting a fight at 0km, orbit 500 on a kiting 280mm Artillery Svipul, will get tracked absolutely perfectly because the Svipul enters speed mode, mutually webs the Rifter, then double clicks in space with superior speed, drops traversal to 0 and then has perfect tracking vs the Rifter. I feel the power of this mode makes Sharpshooter mode undervalued, since even against Interceptors, the Speed mode actually gives a better tracking increase than sharpshooter mode does, because of the angular velocity you’re able to mitigate by going into speed mode.

Here are some Graphs comparing a max skilled Cyclone with Tech II Heavy Assault Launchers, Caldari Navy Ammo, 2 BCUs, and a scram+web and the application that it deals to Tactical Destroyers in Propulsion Mode, not including drones. The Total Paper Missile DPS is 352

4f0e5cec63

Vs a Hecate, it applies almost full damage, putting out approx 330 of 352 DPS. Here is the same Cyclone shooting a Svipul in Speed mode.

626bce70a1

The Cyclone applies less than 60% of the DPS it applies to the Hecate, to the base Svipul, just because of how huge the base speed increase is on the Speed Mode, and you will actually mitigate more DPS by being in speed mode than in Defensive Mode vs a HAM ship with scram+web.

For a more ‘realistic comparison’ even though there are several svipul fits, many which don’t run 2x Medium shield extenders and 3 rigs, Assuming Shield Buffer fit Svipul (2x RF Medium Shield Extenders, 3x Shield Rigs) The Svipul still mitigates 25% of the DPS dealt to the Hecate, just from the Speed mode.

I also think that giving the T3Ds the same speed mode will help with taking away unwarranted complexity and weird game mechanic interactions, The hecate is able to warp 1.99s by staying in the speed mode, which makes a lot more sense to newer players, the Jackdaw has a similar interaction, although not quite <2.00 align. Both the Confessor and Svipul can perform this, but only by mode switching mid align from Speed to either Defensive/Sharpshooter, and this weird mechanical interaction is unintuitive to new players.

The base Signature of both the Svipul and Confessor are also much lower than the T1 Hull variations, and T3Ds are also the only advanced ship to benefit from this. All Strategic Cruisers (barring a select subsystem) have vastly larger signature radius’ than T1 and T2 Cruisers.

b87008647c

How does the Confessor Compare the Hecate when taking damage from the Cyclone in the previous example?
Hecate taking damage from scram/web Cyclone

 

9610da723e

This is a Confessor IN SHARPSHOOTER mode. You can see that the extra 10m sig reduction on the Confessor hull and the 30% higher base speed over the Hecate actually results in it taking 20% less DPS!

 

4081d020ab

Here is the Confessor in defence mode, it now takes almost half the paper DPS that the cyclone is able to put out, for free. It also has a smaller signature radius than the Punisher, a Frigate. The DPS has now dropped below 200. In comparison to the Hecate, it takes about 44% less damage

64971896d5

As another comparison, here the Confessor in speed mode, it still gets a 33% damage reduction over the Hecate in comparison.

62e466a301

I feel like giving the Confessor and Svipul the same mass and base speed, with the same mode as the Hecate or Jackdaw would go a long way to address their dominance, and also create more interesting counter-play. I.e. a 280mm Thrasher with long point will die to an Atron that gets under it’s guns, an Atron should be able to do the same thing to a Svipul.

I honestly think this would be the #1 thing to help address T3D dominance and create more counter-play against them for both frigates/cruisers.

Here are some ideas that we discussed in the Focus Group, and my thoughts on them.

 

 

Why are the Svipul and Confessor so much more overpowered than the Hecate and Jackdaw?

Links Part 2: Just how Broken are Links :Maths: and :Words: Edition

How broken are links ?

Armor / Shield.

Link Name Effect / Maxed CS with Mindlink
A: Passive Defence / S: Shield Harmonizing 25.9% Increase in Armor/Shield Resistances
A: Rapid Repair / S: Active Shielding 25.9% Reduction in cycle time of Local and Remote Repairers.   
A: Damage Control / S: Shield Efficiency 25.9% Reduction in cap cost of Local and Remote Repairers

Lets talk about some maths here and how these links all stack together to become incredibly broken. The Max Stats on all of these links are -25.9% on a maxed, mindlinked CS.  First of all, Resistance increases are diminishing factors, as they reduce damage directly. For example, lets say an enemy ship is doing 1000 DPS to you, if you had a 25% reduction in damage, assuming you have no other resistance modules fitted to incite a stacking penalty, you would reduce the incoming DPS to 750, For the Enemy ship to do 1000 DPS to you again, they would need 1333 DPS. Since 1333.33 * 0.75 = 1000. This essentially means that 25% bonus to resistances is worth a 33.33% bonus to Local/Remote Repair Amount. The power of this bonus is one of the reasons why CCP nerfed shield/armor resistance bonuses from 5% per level (25% total [33% to Local/RR]) to 4% per level (20% total [25% to Local/RR]) since it was almost completely superior to the Gallente/Minmatar active tank bonuses of 7.5% per level.

Therefore, The Resistance Bonus, providing that it is not stacking penalised, is 1/0.741 (1-0.259) = 34.95% bonus to Local/RR Amount.

Rapid Repair and Active Shielding function in the same way, since they are a change in rate. The same way you calculated Rate of Fire Damage bonuses. It is therefore, the same as the Resistance Bonus, except this bonus is not stacking penalised at all. 1/0.741 (1-0.259) = 34.95% bonus to Local/RR Amount.

Damage Control link is not too interesting, basically, it means the Cap/S requirement for Local and Remote Armor Repairers remain the same with the RR/AS ganglink bonus.

The Real Game Breaking ability comes when you Combine these links. They both Multiply Together in terms of their effectiveness.

1 x 1.3495 x 1.3495 = 1.82x

So having the cycle time and resistance link together on the same ship is a 82% benefit to Incoming Remote Repair Effectiveness and Local Tank Effectiveness. That is absolutely insane. This is of course, assuming you do not have any other Resistance Modules which are stacking penalised, Damage Controls and Reactive Armor Hardeners are on separate stacking chains to Passive Defence and Shield Harmonizing.

We calculate the power of the resistance increase to local/RR rep by using the following;

1 / (1-L*S)
Where L is the strength of the link, in this case 0.259 max strength link.
S is the stacking penalty multiplier.

I.e. Assume we are using a Cerberus with 2x Invuls fitted and active, in this case, the gang link will be calculated as the third stacking penalty as it’s the weakest modifier. The 3rd stacking penalty means our gang link resistance is 57.1% effective.

1/(1-0.259*0.57) =  1.173

We then multiply this with the Duration reduction link of 34.95%. I.e. 1.3495

1.173 * 1.3495 = 1.58

So Therefore, if we have 2 modules already on the same stacking chain, then the duration + resistance link combined will give us 58% more effectiveness from local tank and incoming RR.

Number of Resistance Modules Fitted for specific Resistance. Combined Benefit to Incoming Remote/Local tank from Resistance+Duration links
0 82%
1 74%
2 58%
3 45.6%

For Reference, Here is the bonus that Crystal Implants provide to Local Tank only!, not that this does not also increase your Remote Repair Effectiveness like our combined links do or total EHP like the Resistance link does.

Crystal Set Boost to Active Shield Amount Only
Low-Grade 20.03%
Mid-Grade 33.83%
High-Grade 53.63%

So one thing that is worth mentioning, a ship with an Active Shield Booster receiving our Shield/Armor Links on 3 stacking penalties, which is pretty typical for most fleet fit Cruisers. (2 resistance modules (i.e. 2 invuls/eanms) + Ganglinks) Gets more benefit from the links than they would from HG Crystals. This is a recurring theme that you will be seeing with Links. MG Crystals are worse than just the Duration link excluding the resistance link.
SKIRMISH

Link Name Effect / Maxed CS % Amount
Rapid Deployment 30.2% Boost to MWD/AB Speed
Interdiction Maneuvers 34.5% Boost to Web/Scram/Disrupt Range
Evasive Maneuvers -34.5% Reduction in Signature Radius

This set of gang-links is incredibly broken and almost a staple and requirement to be competitive in small gang PvP. Let’s tackle these one by one before we combined them together…

Evasive Maneuvers: This is hands down the most broken link in the game. Signature Reduction is just like a resistance increase or duration reduction, it’s a diminishing factor. We therefore calculate it in the exact same way, i.e. 1 / 0.655 = 52.7% improvement to your signature radius. to put this into Context, It would require an enemy ship to gain a 52.7% tracking boost to be able to hit you at the same accuracy as before you were linked.

This link is way more powerful than the pirate implant equivalent too!!! A HG Halo set is a -20.7% (1.26x)  reduction in Signature Radius. Strong X-Instinct, the strongest sig reduction drug is a -15% (1.175x) reduction in signature radius. Want to know something? EVASIVE MANEUVERS IS MORE POWERFUL THAN BOTH HG HALOS AND STRONG X-INSTINCT BOOSTER COMBINED!! HOLY SHIT.

HG Halos is a 1.26x benefit to your signature radius.
X-Instinct is a 1.175x benefit to your signature radius.

Combined they are a 1.48x benefit to your signature radius. or 48%. Falling short of the 52.7% benefit that EM link provides.

This link is incredibly broken, and we haven’t even combined it with Rapid Deployment yet…

Rapid Deployment: This link improves your MWD and AB Speed by 30.2%. This link is a little harder to compare with Snake Implants since the benefit it provides is more mass dependent. However, it is almost always slightly better than HG snakes! The only real exception is HICs with bubble on… and I don’t think you would want to use HG snakes in a bubble up HIC, just saying.

MWD Speed is vital in small gang vs small gang fights as most of the time gangs fight for speed superiority. Usually this means clearing or controlling ships which can control speed superiority such as Tacklers and Minmatar Recons etc. By giving everyone a free set of HG snakes, this link gives a huge advantage to a single side. Typically this boost is another for linked brawling ships to be able to catch unlinked kiting ships. and Vice Versa, Linked Kiting ships are almost never going to be slingshotted or caught by a slower unlinked brawling ship.

Ship Name Meta MWD fitted. No Implants < With MG Snakes < With HG Snakes < With Rapid Deployment
Caracal 1897m/s 2201m/s 2345m/s 2383m/s
Moa 1560m/s 1810m/s 1928m/s 1960m/s
Cynabal 2545m/s 2953m/s 3145m/s 3214m/s
Harbinger 1132m/s 1313m/s 1399m/s 1417m/s
Brutix 1242m/s 1441m/s 1535m/s 1559m/s
Abaddon with 7x T1 1600 plates. 725m/s 841m/s 896m/s 911m/s

Interdiction Maneuvers. This link improves scram/disruptor and web range. This link is incredibly powerful, and probably the most noticeable of the 3 skirmish links, even though the reality is that all 3 are a broken trinity and combine together to form cancer. IM means that a gang can afford to kite further out, it improves the range of defensive scrams+webs, further skewing the brawling vs kiting dichotomy in favour of kiting, The ships will now be much harder to slingshot as ships not only can sit a safer distance away while maintaining point on a target, but their scrams+webs are also a safer distance away too if needed, or a mutual scram from kiting/brawling occurs. Notably, this allows a defensive scram to operate outside medium neut range. so even linked brawling vs linked kiting ships is at a much bigger disadvantage.

IM on a T2 point makes it further reaching and stronger than the best point/scram in the game. Domination/Republic Fleet. Linked webs do not reach as far as the top tier webs. FN/TS, but come close. 13.5km vs 14km of FN as an example.

We’ve seen how all these links are incredibly powerful on their own merits… now let’s see how they combine.


This first graph shows a Heavy Missile Launcher Cerberus shooting an otherwise unfitted Vexor with a Meta MWD fitted. The Cerberus is using Faction Scourge Heavy Missiles, in T2 Launchers, with 2x Rigors fitted, and 3 Ballistic Control Units.

The Paper DPS of the Cerberus is 426 DPS.
To the Unlinked Vexor, the Cerberus applies 408 of 426 DPS, almost applying full damage. The Red Line.
To the Linked Vexor, The Cerberus applies only 262 of 426 DPS. The Green Line.
Fun Fact, if the Cerberus Offlined all It’s BCUs (258 DPS), and then shot the Unlinked Vexor, it would only do 4 DPS less than the 3 BCU Cerberus shooting the Linked Vexor. This is a 35% Damage reduction from links.

Here is the same HML Cerberus shooting an Unlinked Stiletto with Azetropic MSE, and the Green Line is the same Stiletto with links. Again, the combination of Evasive Maneuvers and Rapid Deployment provides around a 35% DPS reduction. The damage reduction factor is fairly consistent with Missiles vs a Variety of Targets, it usually will result in a 35% DPS reduction or there abouts.

How do these affect turret ships? For Reference, here is a standard fit Omen Navy Issue burning directly away from a Standard Derptron Tackler with 1x Overdrive fitted. The Speed listed in the speed differential between the ONI and the Derptron, the angle of 30 degrees is fairly realistic angle for chasing a target without directly approaching it.

Now, let’s give BOTH the ONI and Derptron links in the same scenario

Noticeable Impact: Unlinked VS Unlinked the ONI DPS does not fall below 300 DPS until the 18km mark. Linked VS Linked however, and the ONI DPS falls below 300 DPS at 35 km. At almost double the range! This is incredibly noticeable, at the same range of 18km where the Atron starts to take less than 300 of the ONIs DPS when they both do not have links, It will only take around 225 when both linked, reducing about 25% of the DPS from the Omen Navy despite both of them being linked.

The Atron also becomes much more dangerous to the Omen Navy Issue, being able to scram at 13.6km (meta 3 scram + heat + IM) and web at 17km. Which is outside medium neut range too, diminishing the value of a defensive medium neut.

Just for Reference, here is the Linked Derptron vs unlinked ONI Matchup, notice how the ONI no longer does 300 DPS at any range and at the 18km mark that we talked about in the unlinked vs unlinked match-up, it deals almost half the DPS, and 1/5th of the DPS at 10km.

Information Warfare Links

Link Name Effect / Maxed CS % Amount
Sensor Integrity 51.8% Bonus to Lock Range and Ship Sensor Strength.
Recon Operation 34.5% Bonus to Electronic Warfare module optimal range (damp, ecm, ecm burst, TD, TP)
Electronic Superiority 34.5% Bonus to the Strength of ECM, ECM Burst and Target Painters
21.6% Bonus to the Strength of Damps, Remote Sensor Boosters and Tracking Disruptors

Information links can be very powerful in the right circumstances, most notably, Electronic Superiority when combined with strength rigs and heat on Damps and Tracking Disruptors, since they are % Reductions. (Kind of like how webs work).

For example. A Maxed Sentinel with a heated Balmers scripted TD, 2x Tracking Disruptor rigs and a maxed info CS goes from -78.2% normally, to -95%. This is a 4x strength increase (You’re making someone’s tracking/optimal attribute 1/20th of what is was instead of almost 1/5th). Thats incredibly powerful, but it’s much more niche. Damps have a similar story. ECM and TPs also can get incredibly strong with info links.

Otherwise, while these links are very powerful, they’re more niche and not as generalised and overpowered on everything like the Skirmish and Armor/Shield links are.

Passive Leadership Bonuses

Name Boost (Mindlinked Numbers)
Armored Warfare +10% Armor HP (+15% Armor HP)
Siege Warfare +10% Shield HP (+15% Shield HP)
Skirmish Warfare +10% inertia modifier (+15% inertia modifier)
Information Warfare +10% Lock Range (+15% Lock Range)
Leadership +10% Scan Resolution

Not to ignore the passive bonuses, they are also powerful, although often un-noticed. Having a mindlink replaces the 10% boost with a 15% boost. Having a Hybrid Faction Mindlink (I.e. Federation Navy Mindlink) changes 2 of the bonuses to a 15% boost.

Let’s look at the Republic Fleet Mindlink as an example, In terms of stats this is providing us with; 15% Shield HP / 15% inertia / 10% Armor / 10% Lock Range / 10% scan resolution

In terms of free modules on a ship, this can be expressed by;

T1 Core Defence Field Extender (Rig)
T2 Low Friction Nozzle Joint (Rig)
20% Better than T2 Layered Plating (Low slot)
The Scan Resolution Boost from a Tech I Signal Amplifier, and 40% of the lock range. (low slot)

Ignoring the Scan res / lock range as these are more ‘secondary’ in nature to the agility/speed/armor. The passive bonuses are equivalent to 2x Rig Slots and a Low Slot without drawbacks. It’s also worth pointing out that the Resistance bonus obviously stacks with the +15% HP bonus of either type.

How much boost do Links give to passive EHP? Let’s compare a standard “HellCat” Style Abaddon. The important mods in this case are 3x Large Trimarks, Meta 4 Damage Control, 2x EANM II , 2x 1600mm Plate IIs

[Abaddon, Abaddon fit]

Internal Force Field Array I
Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II
Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II
1600mm Steel Plates II
1600mm Steel Plates II
Heat Sink II
Heat Sink II

500MN Quad LiF Restrained Microwarpdrive
Heavy Capacitor Booster II, Navy Cap Booster 800
Tracking Computer II
Sensor Booster II, Scan Resolution Script

Mega Pulse Laser II
Mega Pulse Laser II
Mega Pulse Laser II
Mega Pulse Laser II
Mega Pulse Laser II
Mega Pulse Laser II
Mega Pulse Laser II
Mega Pulse Laser II

Large Trimark Armor Pump I
Large Trimark Armor Pump I
Large Trimark Armor Pump I

Hellcat Abaddon EHP unlinked no implants EHP linked (Fed Navy Mindlink, Max Astarte CS) Using Passive Defence Link only EHP MG Slaves
(unlinked)
EHP HG Slaves
(unlinked)
163,665 210,110 206,364 231,360

While being linked with just the 1 resistance module does not quite equate to the HG Slave set, being linked still provides more EHP than the Mid-Grade set, while providing all the other benefits that having higher resistances bring (Better incoming RR effectiveness), and any other link benefits that might be running

The difference between the hellcat being linked or unlinked is 46445 EHP. This is an increase of 28.38%. The Abaddon has 2x Modules fitted (2x EANM) which are stacking penalized with the Resistance link in this case.

Unfitted Abaddon EHP EHP linked (Fed Navy Mindlink, Max Astarte CS) Using Passive Defence Link only
41,744 53,801

In this case, being in fleet with the Astarte with just PD active gives 12,057 EHP, this is a 28.88% increase in EHP.

Abaddon with 7x EANM EHP EHP linked (Fed Navy Mindlink, Max Astarte CS) Using Passive Defence Link only
65680 74033

In the case of 7 other stacking penalised modules, the Astarte with PD active gives 8,353 EHP. Or a 12.72% increase in EHP.

One thing worth pointing out is that the Abaddon has a base resistance bonus, and that the Passive Defence link is actually stronger than the Energized Adaptive Membranes, so that it is getting put into the front of the stack and isn’t penalized, while the EANMs are getting hit through penalty 1-8.
To make a better comparison, lets do the exact same thing, but with a ship which doesn’t have a resistance bonus and is shield based. I used armor in this case as it’s easy to compare Slave Implants to the benefits of links. For this example I will use an unfitted Raven. The modules being used will be Adaptive Invulnerability Fields with uniform damage profile like used in all previous examples.

Number of Invuls fitted to raven % EHP Increase from SH+Mindlink Raven EHP unlinked Uniform Raven EHP linked (only Shield Resists) Uniform
0 25.09% 30809 38539
1 26.16% 35982 45394
2 21.70% 42063

51281

3 16.75% 46879 54731
4 12.69% 49849 56173
5 12.13% 50499 56623
6 11.70% 50788 56730
7 11.60% 50849 56750

One thing worth pointing out, is that a Linked Raven has more EHP with just 2 invuls fitted than a Raven would if it had 7 Invuls fitted.

What about a specific damage type though? Lets do the exact same comparison but with Active Tech II EM Resistance modules instead, and assuming we are taking pure EM damage. Pure Hardeners should be stronger when unlinked since the 25.9% bonus is not as comparable, in the previous example we are comparing 30% Invul IIs vs 25.9% Shield Harmonizing and the +15% shields, +10% Armor from being in fleet with shield mindlink. EM Ward Field IIs are 55% so should hold up better

Number of EM Ward Field IIs fitted to Raven % EHP Increase from SH+Mindlink Raven EHP unlinked Pure EM Raven EHP linked (only Shield Resists)
Pure EM
0 20.08% 31250 37525
1 25.88% 41944 52798
2 24.20% 59751 74208
3 18.92% 76787 91312
4 15.18% 86793 99972
5 13.56% 90773 103078
6 13.05% 91918 103913
7 12.93% 92164 104085

As you can see, the EHP % Increase is a bit more delayed at the start, it actually is stronger after the 1st ward is fitted, but then begins to decay, which is true in the previous example too, but the % increase from 0 – 1 modules fitted isn’t as significant. One interesting comparison is that even when comparing Pure Damage against a single resist type, 3 modules and links is almost as good as 6 modules even in pure damage scenarios.

Another thing I would like to compare is that a linked Raven with 1 invul has more EHP than an unlinked Raven vs pure EM with an EM ward field.

The % EHP increase is an important attribute. This for most ships is above 20% EHP Boost with 2 resistance modules fitted (just below 30% in some cases with ships like the Abaddon).  One thing is consistant though, even if there was a MG Slave set for shields, Being linked would be more powerful than having the MG Shield Slaves

Now that we’ve done the maths on all the links, we can combine them together and see what we get in total. Assuming a 6 Link Astarte with Passive Defence, Damage Control, Rapid Repair, Interdiction Maneuvers, Evasive Maneuvers and Rapid Deployment.
On Average, for uniform damage, a 20-25%~ bonus to Ship Effective Hitpoints
34.5% bonus to Ship MWD Speed, this equates to a HG Snake set on most ship with propulsion on.
34.5% reduction to ship signature radius, this means that to hit us as well as we were, before unlinked, the ship would need 52.8% tracking bonus. This is better than HG Halos and Strong X-Instinct.
34.5% bonus to web and point range. This makes a Tech II Warp Disruptor reach out further than a Domination Warp Disruptor, the best non-officer disruptor in the game.
25.9% bonus to armor resistances and duration decrease on local and remote armor repairers. This can improve our incoming RR+active tank amount by up to 82%, for a ship with 2 resistance modules for a particular damage type, this is 58%. Still better for active tank than HG Crystals if they would also work for armor.
25.9% reduction in Armor Cap amount means we use the same cap/s with Rapid Repair link.

To Distill this further; We are getting
T2 Disruptors upgraded to better than Domination
T2/M4 Webs upgraded to almost as good as FN webs
HG Halos+Strong X-Instinct with no penalties or booster slot.
MG Slaves
HG Snakes
HG Crystals for active tank that also applies to incoming RR on a 2 resistance module ship. Otherwise much stronger.
All rolled into 1. This is an insane amount of increases, and it’s pretty clear why links are considered a mandatory requirement for gangs.

To buy all these advantages separately, if you had infinite implant slots it would cost approximately 12 billion isk in hardwirings!

I think it’s inherently a bad thing that the majority of the strongest implants in the game are either on par with or weaker than just 1 link effect, ignoring the fact that it’s impossible to have more than 1 implant set but you can have multiple links, and that you actually risk implants.
Off-Grid Boosters

Now that we’ve established just how broken links are. Lets talk about Off Grid Boosters, hence abbrieved to OGBs. OGBs are a topic of much debate among the entire solo and small gang community. I believe that OGBs are incredibly cancerous for the game, but I don’t think they are the *main* issue with links, I think the power of the links themselves is something which needs to be addressed, and is often ignored by players focusing solely on just OGBs.

Since links are system-wide, it makes sense that you would never use them on the same grid as you are fighting on, it also means you can either leave them in a safe spot aligned to a gate/station, or on a station/gate, giving them near invulnerable and no counter-play and very limited interaction possible. Not having them in direct combat means you can heavily specialize link ships for providing as many links as possible with Command Processors, which allow an additional warfare link at a significant fitting cost. This means even if a group chooses to risk a Combat On-Grid booster, their links will be inferior to specialised Off-Grid Link ships.

Let’s take a look at a few common OGB fits, and why they are next to invulnerable.

[Damnation, Damnation fit]
Dread Guristas Co-Processor
Dread Guristas Co-Processor
Dread Guristas Co-Processor
Imperial Navy Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane
Imperial Navy Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane
Imperial Navy 1600mm Steel Plates

Command Processor I
Command Processor I
Command Processor I
50MN Y-T8 Compact Microwarpdrive

Armored Warfare Link – Rapid Repair II
Armored Warfare Link – Passive Defense II
Armored Warfare Link – Damage Control II
Information Warfare Link – Sensor Integrity II
Skirmish Warfare Link – Rapid Deployment II
Skirmish Warfare Link – Interdiction Maneuvers II
Improved Cloaking Device II

Medium Trimark Armor Pump II
Medium Trimark Armor Pump II

Zainou ‘Gypsy’ CPU Management EE-605
Imperial Navy Warfare Mindlink

While in fleet receiving it’s own bonuses, this Damnation has 191,583 EHP. Making it incredibly unlikely to ever get killed by any reasonable alpha-strike mustered by a small-gang, Improved Cloak+MWD allows it to safely disengage and warp the other-side of a stargate if it gets forced through. Alternatively, sitting on a station makes it next to invulnerable, especially if you position yourself appropriately on the station model, you are next to un-bumpable, it would require more than 15 artillery fit Tornados to kill you, making it incredibly unlikely to ever die in an environment like Lowsec or Nullsec outside of organised medium-large roaming gangs, in which case the damnation can easily dock. .

[Tengu, Tengu OGB 0.0]
Shadow Serpentis Inertial Stabilizers
Caldari Navy Co-Processor
Caldari Navy Co-Processor
Caldari Navy Co-Processor

Conjunctive Gravimetric ECCM Scanning Array I
Command Processor I
Command Processor I
Command Processor I
Command Processor I

Covert Ops Cloaking Device II
Siege Warfare Link – Shield Harmonizing II
Skirmish Warfare Link – Rapid Deployment II
Skirmish Warfare Link – Interdiction Maneuvers II
Information Warfare Link – Sensor Integrity II
Skirmish Warfare Link – Evasive Maneuvers II

Medium Hyperspatial Velocity Optimizer II
Medium Low Friction Nozzle Joints II
Medium Processor Overclocking Unit I

Tengu Defensive – Warfare Processor
Tengu Electronics – Dissolution Sequencer
Tengu Engineering – Capacitor Regeneration Matrix
Tengu Offensive – Covert Reconfiguration
Tengu Propulsion – Interdiction Nullifier

High-grade Talon Alpha
High-grade Talon Beta
High-grade Talon Gamma
High-grade Talon Delta
High-grade Talon Epsilon
High-grade Talon Omega
Republic Fleet Warfare Mindlink

This is a Tengu designed for boosting in Nullsec, it is interdiction nullified while boasting 5 links, and being immune to probes unless at least part of the mid-grade virtue set is being used by the character attempting to probe, should this condition even be met, which is rare, expecting a player to have one of the most expensive, niche implant sets to even appear on the same grid as the Tengu, the Tengu can just warp off to a gate it’s pre-aligned too as soon as something appears on-grid.

To reach the probing difficulty cap, your sensor strength must be 1.08x your signature radius, at this cap, your opponents need at least 3 of the Virtue implant set to probe you out.

This Tengu has 194 Sensor Strength over 121 signature with the HG Talon Implants.  Or 149 / 121 With LG Talon implants. Without the Sensor Integrity Gang Link, you would have 111 Sensor Strength over 121 Signature Radius, being probed without Virtue implants. Which is why HG Talons are valuable since they allow you to remain at the probing difficulty cap while running a 5th link that isn’t Sensor Integrity, such as Active Shielding or Passive Defence as an example. Without Sensor Integrity, the Tengu with HG Talons has 145 sensor strength over 121 Signature Radius, retaining the max probing difficulty

With a 3.27 align time while receiving it’s own bonuses, or a 3.84 align assuming it is not receiving it’s own bonus which is likely assuming it’s scouting or gets forced to jump gate, it can easily survive the vast majority of bubble gate-camps with the combination of covert cloak, interdiction nullification and an align time equal to the Caldari Crow Interceptor. To put this into context, the hostile camp has less than 2 seconds to decloak the Tengu or it will warp off invulnerable, assuming they have perfect scan res. The Tengu warps 3.75 AU/s allowing it to stay ahead of T2 Cruisers.
If the interdiction nullification is not needed, you can replace the Interdiction Nullifier with either a Intercalated Nanofibers, (With the extra low, a SS Istab, when not in fleet, moves you down to 2.52/s align time, for context again, this means the enemy camp has less than half a second to decloak you with perfect scan res to lock you before you can warp, essentially making you next to invulnerable in lowsec). Alternatively, for better roaming, you can swap to a Gravitational Capacitor subsystem, still giving you a 3.02 align with the extra istab (1 second to decloak to catch you on a gate with perfect scan res). and a Warp speed of 6/aus on this tengu fit. Warping faster than Frigates with frigate align, its certainly not unwieldy at all, and is next to invulnerable unless jumping into a dirty-gate with scan res boosted tacklers.

There are other OGBs for the other racial types too, obviously, I just wanted to showcase 2 of what I feel are the strongest OGBs for either type.

Common Counter-Arguments about removing links/removing OGBs etc.

“Links are needed for small gangs to fight blobs!” – I completely disagree with this, I think this argument is essentially “With links we can win against people who do not have links”, and well, since they usually give you HG Snakes, HG Crystals, MG Slaves, HG Halos+Strong X-Instinct, Upgrade all T2 tackle to Faction Quality, it is pretty clear to see why an organised gang with links can easily clean up a dis-organised gang without them, Speed Superiority is a very important attribute when fighting in this style, and links give vastly superior Speed Superiority to the side which has them, usually allowing kiting cruisers to excel past Frigates in speed, after clearing up tackle, they can then easily just kill what they can or leave, this is how most linked kiting gangs vs unlinked kitchen sink gangs play out, with defensive control like damps to control Recon Ships. When it comes to being Linked vs Linked however, against semi-competent gangs, it becomes so much worse for the small gang PvPers.

Missile Damage (If it didn’t apply perfectly) is reduced by Approximately 35%
Turret Damage is reduced by approximately 25% in most scenarios for anti-support, where a small tackle frigate is burning for you, refer to my earlier graph.

Logistics are increased up to 82%, usually around 58% for a ship with 2 resistance modules. I.e. A Cerberus which has 2 invulnerability fields fitted. This makes it much harder to break ships in larger gangs with logistics. 10 Logi can be worth 18 logi with links.

Small Tackle can now scram/web outside medium neut range, making it much more dangerous to Cruisers with such highs, (Orthrus/ONI etc.)

Usually Small, organised kiting gangs vs bigger but less organised gangs are picking off ships out of position while trying to maintain speed superiority.

Let’s say you’re in a typical small gang kiting fleet, you have a Keres, 2 Oracles and 2 Omen Navy Issues. Lets say a Cynabal is burning out, out of position, to try and attack your gang. He has a Damage Control, 2x LSE, invul, point, MWD and 2 CDFEs with a T1 EM Resist Rig (i.e. p. standard Cynabal fit for a guy in a large kitchen sinkish gang) You are 100km from the rest of the Anchor up, orbit FC at 500 hostiles. Which have 4 Scimitars to rep said Rebel Cynabal.

Oracles do 730 DPS each
ONIs deal 329 DPS + 86 Drone DPS Acolyte IIs (415 total) each.
Total Cold DPS =  2290
We will use Scorch as the Damage Profile for our Cynabal.

Assuming the Cynabal is Prometheus Exenthal.

Cynabal EHP without Links = 41132
Cynabal EHP with Links = 52004
Time to Kill for your gang without links: 17.96s
Time to Kill for your gang with links 22.7s

As a Consequence of the Cynabal being linked, it now takes almost 5 seconds longer for you to 100-0 it. or 26.34% longer to kill, to put this into a better context. This just the Resistance link and Passive HP bonuses coming into play here.
Let’s assume that while he is moving out of position, the Cynabal isn’t completely mis-playing and comes in at a very acceptable angle for interception while chasing you.

A side-by-side comparison, with the Unlinked Cynabal on the left, and the Linked Cynabal on the right will show you that the linked Cynabal drops below 700 DPS from the linked Oracle at 40km… whereas when both sides do not have links, this only occurs at 18km. Remember that the Oracles and ONIs cannot burn further than 150km from the blob, or the blob will simply warp to the Cynabal, so fights must take place within this 150km sphere.

Speaking of the 150km fleet warp sphere, this effectively becomes much shorter when both sides are linked, since both sides are faster, it’s easier to reach the end of this sphere quicker, you do less damage to targets which are closer to you, and you will be zoned towards the sphere edge faster.

Anyway back to our example. The cynabal starts burning for you, so you start burning away as far as you can, taking heed to notice the 150km max range you can drag the cynabal from his gang.  Lets assume that the Cynabal has burned out 100km for you, before realising ‘oh shit’ I’m in half shields, he is outside logistics range by approx 30km.

BLOB+4 Scimi >>>>>>> 100km Cynabal >>> Your fleet 150km.

Assuming that the Logistics do not move and remain orbit 500 FC at 0km. It will take the unlinked Cynabal approximately 14 seconds to turn around and burn back in logi rep range with a heated MWD, meaning you have an opportunity to kill it, since it takes 18 seconds to kill with all your DPS applied, and if you damage it for just 4 seconds before he decides to return (if the logi are spamming reps), you will kill him, which is entirely realistic.

A Linked Cynabal can survive for almost an additional 5 seconds, but on-top of that, he moves faster too. instead of 14 seconds, it will take a heated mwd linked cynabal only 11 seconds to return to the logi, instead of 14, due to the speed and align bonuses. Taking an additional 3 seconds off the time you have to kill him, also remember that the Cynabal can survive for 23 seconds in this manner, and can possibly get some damage reduction, which the unlinked one can’t. The unlinked cynabal only has 4 seconds of time where it will die if takes damage to return, where-as the linked one has 12 seconds, almost 3x the room for error…

In other-words, it’s much harder to pick off targets which are linked, than it is to pick off targets when they are unlinked, because slower speeds means distance is a more meaningful attribute, and the 150km warp distance hard-limit where a fleet member can warp to another fleet member becomes much shorter and more claustrophobic when both sides have links.

The Extreme

Lets look at the effects of links on an Interceptor tackling for a gang, in this example, we are going to compare a standard Rapid Light Caracal (5x RLML, CN ammo, 3x BCU) shooting an unlinked typical fit Stiletto getting repped by a Scimitar, and a linked Stiletto being repped by a linked Scimitar in the same gang.

[Stiletto, Typical Fleet Ceptor]
Micro Auxiliary Power Core I
Damage Control II
Nanofiber Internal Structure II

5MN Quad LiF Restrained Microwarpdrive
Medium Azeotropic Restrained Shield Extender
Warp Disruptor II
Faint Epsilon Warp Scrambler I

125mm Gatling AutoCannon II, EMP S
125mm Gatling AutoCannon II, EMP S
[empty high slot]

Small Polycarbon Engine Housing II
Small Polycarbon Engine Housing II

Note: This is DPS with reload factored off.

A Caracal deals 98 DPS to a Stiletto at max speed, without links. The same Caracal deals only 66 DPS to a Stiletto with links, let’s assume the Caracal is shooting Thermal damage at the Stiletto, since this is the lowest resistance that it has. Remember that the Caracal must reload after 49.2 seconds without heat.

x Stiletto Thermal EHP DPS Taken from 3x BCU CN Rapid Caracal Time to Kill for 1 Caracal (EHP / DPS) Time to Kill
(Reloads)
Unlinked 4,388 98 44.78s 44.78s 0 Reloads Barely. Super close, if the Stiletto heats at all it will live in to caracal reload. Shield regen may make it live
Linked 5,749 66 87.10s (94.5% longer to die) Remembering that the Caracal reloads at 49.2 seconds, it will actually take 122s to die, assuming it doesn’t get repped and had 0 shield recharge. almost 3x longer

How does the Stiletto do when we have more Caracals shooting it

Number of Caracals Stiletto Unlinked time to die Stiletto Linked time to die
2 22.39s 43.05s (will survive into double reload if it heats)
5 8.96s 17.42s

We can easily just express this as, Links give the Stiletto 94.5% more Survivability.

Lets put some Reps into the Equation, Since this Stiletto does not have any resist mods, it will gain a 82% bonus to incoming RR from being linked, and in fleet with a friendly logistic ship. If we multiply this by the Stiletto Survivability, we will get a significantly higher number.

Stiletto from previous example EHP/S recieved when unlinked from a 3x named rep unlinked scimitar EHP/s Received when linked from a 3x named rep linked Scimitar
EHP/s 390 707
Caracals Required to break incoming RR from 1 Scimi 4 11
Time to Kill for 10 Caracals 7.44s Not Possible to break RR
Time to Kill for 15 Caracals 4.06s 20.3s

We can see here that it actually takes 5x as long for 15 Caracals to kill a linked Stiletto, than it takes to kill a unlinked one.

Hopefully we didn’t stray off topic for too long here, but I think this is all pretty strong evidence for how being linked vs linked is so much more worse for the small gang PvPers is, than being unlinked vs unlinked. Interceptors become next to invulnerable when backed up by links and even a single logistic ship when fighting against small gangs, out of position ships are so much harder to assassinate, and the 150km warp to sphere becomes so much more tighter.

I feel like the only people claiming that “Links are needed for small gang” are the type of people who are using them against people who do not have links.

“Links should scale and the effects should be weaker the more people in your fleet” I’ve seen this a lot too, and again, I disagree, I think the social aspect of eve is incredibly important and eve is actually really awesome in the sense that it’s a sandbox and there are no real people caps aside from Incursion payouts, if you recruited someone from your work or a friend next week, he could still come in your strat-op fleet in an Atron or whatever, without making the experience anymore difficult for you and your other fleet mates. It’s not like a Raid in World of Warcraft where if the 20th person is useless, then the 19 other people need to work that much harder because every person needs to count and the raid is designed around that limit. I feel like if Links scaled it would encourage exclusion from fleets for new players, and would also encourage min-maxing like having tacklers in a different fleet entirely to main-line DPS ships etc. It could also encourage things like “kick all condor and atrons from our fleet so we get stronger boosts” or whatever which I think would be toxic for eve.

I really just feel like this is getting proposed by the same people as above, the “linked small gang PvPers vs unlinked Kitchen sink crowd”. It would probably be terrible for the server too.

“Links should just be on-grid”

While I agree that this would help, it would probably be too much of a strength increase for the dominant group in the area, again, I feel like a lot of the problem with links is just how incredibly powerful they are, rather than OGBs themselves, although they are a horrible design. It’s kind of like Remote AOE Doomsday, yes, the Remote Doomsday was utterly pants-on-head stupid design, but it doesn’t really change just how powerful and oppressive AOE Doomsdays on-grid were, and I equate links to be almost as bad as AoE Doomsday.

“Just make them weaker”

While making the links themselves weaker would help with the terrible balancing problems that they have, it still would not remove a lot of bad gameplay aspects surrounding links.

Bad Game Design of links.

Lack of Visibility: The first area where I think links are very poor is that they are not visible at all, by visibility I mean how obvious they are in their effects. There is often no-way to know if someone is linked or not, especially as the player’s Command Ship OGB might be 55au in the system. A lot of people don’t know if the person they are fighting is or could be linked, and a lot of players use it as an excuse to not engage in PvP, “Oh it’s Exodus, they must be linked” and this causes some fights to not happen which otherwise would, this also causes links to be really underappreciated despite how disgustingly overpowered they are, that we spent the past 20 pages talking about. I think this is one argument for making links on-grid (but not in their current form) If they had some obvious visual effect, or another ships presence on-grid, they would be much better. You know how fucked you are when a Falcon decloaks 60km away from you when you’re solo, You know how much you love that logi who saves you in 20% hull, but you have no idea about the Damnation OGB which is giving you 14b worth of stats. This also makes it difficult for new players, as they will often die to linked players not understanding what links are, or do, or if they were even there or not, since it’s not obvious, and can lead to a frustrating experience.

Lack of Interaction:  The only counter to links is to get your own links, and even then, as mentioned, if you’re the smaller side then you’re still getting screwed here. The problem with links is that you don’t and often can’t interact with them at all. The only way to temporarily delay them in a fight is to have 2-3 people completely sit out of a fight, and instead, get virtues and probe the opposing sides OGB and force it to warp, or force them to dock/jump. It’s super un-fun for the 2-3 people to have to ‘sit out’ of a fight and try and deal with links, so it often never happens at all. Links are very often the #1 most powerful force multiplier for gangs, and they are completely invisible and you don’t interact with them.

Lack of Options: Coming into the above, there is no decision making with links at all, you fit the ones you need, and then you warp to safe/dock hugging bookmark/gate, and then turn them on, done, thats it, thats all you do, if you have them turn them on. There is no gameplay here

“It’s an alts Job”: Again, thanks to the above 3, people don’t want to fly links because there is nothing engaging about them, you’re under-appreciated, there’s no gameplay, and the optimal way to use them is in a safe spot or on hard to bump station bookmark. On top of that, there is no room for weaker links, or multiple links. If you already have a maxed damnation in your fleets, what point is there for you, new player, to train for a damnation, when you’re not going to be useful since 1 person is all you need for the job.

“Very SP Intensive” While CCP did decrease the effectiveness of mindlinks and the rate of which links increase, There is still a huge gulf in effectiveness from level 4 skills to level 5 skills. 1. Command Processors which are absolutely required for an OGB require Warfare Link Specialist at level 5. This also increases link boost by 10% per level. You require the Specialist skill at level 5 to use both the mindlink and the T2 link variation.

T2 Shield Harmonizing on a Command Ship 5 Pilot on a maxed Character with Mindlink = 25.9%
T1 Shield Harmonizing on a Command Ship 4 pilot, with Siege Warfare 4, Warfare Link spec 4. = 13.55% NO mindlink
Thats almost 2x worse. And in-fact, in terms of bonus to RR effectiveness. Its more than twice as bad since 13.55% is only a 15.67% increase to RR/Active tank effectiveness, instead of 34.95% from the T2.

Benefits of removing the Fleet Hierarchy and Links
If you removed or re-purposed links to on-grid assistance modules, and removed the passive leadership skills, you would no longer need the current set Fleet Hierarchy. Imagine if you didn’t need Squad Commanders, Wing Commanders and a Fleet Commander, and instead, the fleet was more free-form, where you could assign different (and multiple groups) to people, like a “Tackle” Group Assignment, you could then give different roles for this group, such as allowing a covert ops pilot to be able to Fleet Warp this group, or assign tags for this group, without having to take up a leadership position and ruin the links Hierarchy. Having certain roles like “Able to Invite to Fleet/Group” “Able to Warp X Group” “Able to Tag for Group” would be vastly superior to what we have now. Multiple players could perhaps warp the whole fleet, without leaving it to only the Fleet Commander.

It would also probably improve server stability a lot.

I would much rather everyone has links which have the same strength, but skills and specialisations reduce cooldowns, increase durations, or improved ranges.

The Final Solution
While I truly do believe that the game would be far better off if links were simply removed. I think making them on-grid, powerful effects, with cooldowns (on both the link ship and target ship) like Science Ships in other Sci-Fi Games/Movies/Books would be really cool and more visible, more gameplay, more interaction, more fun for both sides. Here are a few examples.

“Space-Time Accelerator Link”
Warps Space Time Around your ship and the Target Fleet Ship, improving its speed, agility, tackle range, and signature radius for a brief time. Note: This module produces dangerous fluctuations in the space-time continuum and can’t be used for a period of time after activation, the target ship can also not benefit from the effects for a duration.

You+Target
Range: 75km
Duration: 10s
Agility: 20%
Point/Web/Scram Range: 20%
MWD/AB Speed: 20%
Signature Radius: -20%
Cooldown: 120s
Receiving ship Link Cooldown: 60s
“Sensor Overclocking Network Link”
Links to the Target Ships Computer and overloads it, constantly recalibrating it, making it immune to most forms of electronic interference for a brief period of time, doing so risks shortening out the on-board electronics of both ships so can only be sustained for a short-time.

Both Ships become Immune to Target Painters, Tracking Disruptors, Remote Sensor Dampeners and ECM for the Duration

Range: 75km
Duration: 10s
Cooldown: 120s
Receiving ship Link Cooldown: 60s

“Armor Nanobot Intergrity Link”
Links to the Target Ship, sending Armor Reinforcement directly from the ship itself in the form of nanobots, the link itself also projects an advanced magnetic field which improves the speed and effectiveness of nanobots included in Armor Repairer modules for a short duration, and hardens the current armor with a temporary protective membrane. This link can only be sustained safely for a short time without causing significant damage to on-board electronics.

Range: 75km
Duration: 10s
Cooldown: 120s
Receiving Ship Link Cooldown: 60s
Armor Resistance: 20%
Remote/Active Repair Duration: 20%
Remote/Active Repair Capacitor: -20%
Damage Shared: 20%

Command Ships could fit more links, with bonus to range, T3 Cruisers could have shorter cooldowns, etc. IMO these would have much better game design than the current links

Better Visibility: You can see links on-grid and their big boosts are really noticeable
Better Interaction: Since Links are on-grid, you can control them through ewar/neuts, or killing them. way more fun.
Better Gameplay: You need to pick and choose the right time for your powerful effects, and who is getting them. Be the hero, be the “That new player in a Prophecy just saved my ass” guy.
No Longer an Alts Job: Having more in some cases is better, skilled Link pilots on-grid makes a difference, interesting gameplay!
No Longer SP Intensive: If the attributes on the links themselves are set, but command ships, mindlinks and skills only modify the ranges/cooldowns and duration. New Players are not excluded nearly as much as they are in the current incarnation of links.

These are just a suggestion, I think links need to have fun, rewarding choices for both sides. while hitting those bold 5 points that I mentioned.

I hope the maths here is enlightening for you, don’t buy snakes, buy a link alt.

Links Part 2: Just how Broken are Links :Maths: and :Words: Edition

Brainstorming some ideas for Assault Frigates

Assault Frigates have been struggling to justify their existence for awhile now. More so recently, with the introduction of the Tactical Destroyers, or T3Ds . While few Assault Frigates have been put to use to good effect in cheap, easy to train doctrines like Harpy and Hawk fleets employed by The Imperium and others, the vast majority of the Assault Frigates are struggling to find a justifiable reason to not collect dust in everyone’s hangers. With prices of Tactical Destroyers being what they are now, Tactical Destroyers cost less to lose than an Assault Frigate does, Obsoleting them on Price and Performance.

So how can we fix that? My honest opinion is that Assault Frigates have an acceptable level of performance for a Frigate Hull, they can fight on-par with most Tech I Destroyers, while having the warp speed of a Frigate, The mobility of Assault Frigates is fairly bad and I’ll cover that in-depth in a later point of this article. Right now, Assault Frigates are the only Tech 2 Frigate that do not have a defined role, EAFs have powerful Ewar/Recon bonuses, Interceptors are dedicated Tacklers, Covert Ops do sneaky stuff and exploration, Stealth Bombers do high DPS and bomb people, Assault Frigates just tank more and do more damage, at expense of mobility. What roles could we give them that would make them an interesting option, without boosting the power of them significantly.

One interesting thing about Assault Frigates is that they all have a spare utility highslot, I think this could tie in with some cool bonuses. Here are a few which I think would be really cool.

Role Bonus: 50% Reduced CPU and Power-Grid Requirements of Energy Vampires, 25% Faster Cycle time of Energy Vampires. 
This would allow Assault Frigates to more easily fit a nosferatu module in the utility high slot, and it would have greater effectiveness, I think it would be cool if Assault Frigates could function more easily as ships which can fight vs bigger ships (by being less vulnerable to energy warfare and being able to recover from energy pressure from neuts being applied from bigger ships), the faster cycle time would also make neuting tackle away from Assault Frigates much more difficult, moving them to more of a secondary hard to remove tackler role would also be fairly cool in my opinion. This wouldn’t really boost them as much in power vs smaller ships, unless they are dedicated energy warfare platforms because nosferatu only drains when your cap amount is lower than your target’s absolute amount.

Role Bonus: 90% Reduced Power-Grid Requirements of Entosis Links. (Maybe a cycle time bonus too?) 
This would be a cool bonus. I don’t think it would really change all that much for assault Frigates, but being able to fit a 1 PG + 1 CPU Tech I Entosis would actually be pretty cool for a lot of Assault Frigates as they wouldn’t have to sacrifice any fittings to achieve this. Would make Harpy/Hawk doctrines etc. able to field Entosis links easily into their doctrines if needed, and solo/small gang players could easily stick an Entosis link onto an Assault Frigate. The PG reduction wouldn’t really allow for T2 entosis outright, as it would still require 500 cap per cycle and the 1,000,000 added mass would cripple Assault Frigate mobility further, but would potentially be a possibility.

Role Bonus: Can Fit Warfare Link Modules, 90% Reduction in CPU and Power-Grid Requirements of Warfare links. (Tech I: 5CPU  / 10PG, Tech II: 5.5 CPU / 11 PG)
Warfare Links definately need some kind of rework in their current state, but giving AFs the possibility of running links could make for some interesting on-grid options in the future if CCP makes links on-grid only. This would also allow AFs to bring links in through small frigate sized wormholes and into shattered Frigate wormholes which would be another cool possibility. Being able to just slap a link onto an Assault Frigate could also help AFs see more small gang use when a dedicated booster is not being used. Wouldn’t obsolete CS/BCs or T3s because lack of bonuses and near-inability to fit Command Processor module (150 CPU / 50 Grid) means they’ll only be able to run 1, or 2 in a really dedicated fit.

Role Bonus: 25% Neutralizer Reflect Amount
Stealing the benefits from 2 Large Cap Batteries. This could be a cool bonus in making them punish larger ships for neuting them, and giving similar benefits to the nosferatu bonus proposed above. Although I think the nosferatu bonus is cooler playing on the fact that they all have a utility high slot.

Assault Frigates have fairly terrible agility and speed, they are slower than both Interdictors and Tactical Destroyers in propulsion mode. Let’s take a look at Assault Frigate MWD speeds and how that compares to the Tech I Combat Frigate Counterpart.

Note: All Level V characters used for this, the figures given are all with a meta MWD. The ships are otherwise unfitted (no speed mods/plates etc.)

ASSAULT FRIGATES FRIGATES DIFFERENCE IN SPEED
Ship Name Speed Ship Name Speed Speed Difference % Difference
Hawk 2,223 Kestrel 2,791 568.00 -25.55%
Harpy 2,218 Merlin 2,838 620.00 -27.95%
Ishkur 2,338 Tristan 3,048 710.00 -30.37%
Enyo 2,400 Incursus 3,049 649.00 -27.04%
Jaguar 2,711 Rifter 3,213 502.00 -18.52%
Wolf 2,564 Rifter 3,213 649.00 -25.31%
Retribution 2,317 Punisher 2,930 613.00 -26.46%
Vengeance 2,284 Punisher 2,930 646.00 -28.28%
Average: -26.19%

So on average, Assault Frigates are 26% slower than the Combat Frigate counterpart they best represent. It’s worth pointing out that the Jaguar is significantly faster than most of the other AFs, probably part of it’s balancing budget. The Ishkur is the slowest AF in terms of % difference.

So how do Heavy Assault Cruisers compare to Cruisers I wonder?

HEAVY ASSAULT CRUISERS DIFFERENCE IN SPEED
Ship Name Speed Ship Name Speed Speed Difference % Difference
Cerberus 1,744 Caracal 1,897 153.00 -8.77%
Eagle 1,582 Moa 1,560 -22.00 1.39%
Ishtar 1,591 Vexor 1,677 86.00 -5.41%
Deimos 1,941 Thorax 2,045 104.00 -5.36%
Vagabond 2,473 Stabber 2,455 -18.00 0.73%
Muninn 1,913 Rupture 1,708 -205.00 10.72%
Zealot 1,676 Omen 2,035 359.00 -21.42%
Sacrilege 1,663 Maller 1,593 -70.00 4.21%
Average: -2.99%

On Average Heavy Assault Cruisers are only 3% slower than the Tech I Combat Counterparts! oyyyy

It’s worth pointing out that there are a few anomalies here, The Zealot is significantly slower than the Omen, although it’s probably because the Omen is an Attack Cruiser while the Zealot fulfills more of a Sniper/Tanky AHAC frontline role. The Muninn is a bit faster than the Rupture, otherwise, all hacs fall within a close distance.

COMBAT CRUISERS VS HAC COUNTER PARTS ONLY
HEAVY ASSAULT CRUISERS DIFFERENCE IN SPEED
Ship Name Speed Ship Name Speed Speed Difference % Difference
Eagle 1,582 Moa 1,560 -22.00 1.39%
Ishtar 1,591 Vexor 1,677 86.00 -5.41%
Muninn 1,913 Rupture 1,708 -205.00 10.72%
Sacrilege 1,663 Maller 1,593 -70.00 4.21%
Average: 2.73%

Here is a comparison of only the Combat Cruiser hulls vs Heavy Assault Cruiser Counterparts, These HACs are actually faster than the Cruiser hulls they represent on Average. Although the Muninn is somewhat of an out-of-character result as mentioned earlier. The Ishtar is the only HAC slower than its T1 Combat Counterpart, the Vexor. And that’s only because the Ishtar was nerfed by 10m/s in one of the expansions as part of an earlier attempt to balance its dominance last year.

I think increasing Assault Frigate Speeds by about 10% would be a reasonable proposal. This would bring the average Assault Frigate speed to just under 15% slower than T1 Combat Frigates, which I think would be a fair proposal. T1 Combat Frigates being faster gives them breathing room to exist and avoid Assault Frigates in engagements.

ASSAULT FRIGATES (PROPOSED) FRIGATES DIFFERENCE IN SPEED
Ship Name Speed Ship Name Speed Speed Difference % Difference
Hawk 2,445 Kestrel 2,791 345.70 -14.14%
Harpy 2,440 Merlin 2,838 398.20 -16.32%
Ishkur 2,572 Tristan 3,048 476.20 -18.52%
Enyo 2,640 Incursus 3,049 409.00 -15.49%
Jaguar 2,982 Rifter 3,213 230.90 -7.74%
Wolf 2,820 Rifter 3,213 392.60 -13.92%
Retribution 2,549 Punisher 2,930 381.30 -14.96%
Vengeance 2,512 Punisher 2,930 417.60 -16.62%
Average: -14.71%
Brainstorming some ideas for Assault Frigates

Lets take a look at the Navy Battlecruiser Line-Up

The Navy Battlecruisers were released on June 4th, 2015, and it’s coming up to their 2nd year anniversary, so in commemoration of that I would like to pen my thoughts on them.

The Navy Battlecruisers are seeing some limited use, the battlecruiser class in-itself is struggling to find room in the current metagame right now. I think Navy Battlecruisers don’t really represent enough value for money, T1 Battleships with insurance are significantly cheaper. Pirate Cruisers (Notably The Orthrus and Gila which are very powerful and widely considered to be overpowered) are not that much higher of a price point than the Navy BCs and in a lot of cases offer better options. Heavy Assault Cruisers also share a similar price point with Navy BCs and they again, offer better options in some cases.

I feel like reducing the LP cost in the Loyalty point store offers from 100k LP to 80K LP would probably do a lot of good in making these ships more attractive choices. Let’s take a look at the different navy BCs and how they are functioning.

Kill Stats for the Faction BCs in May 2015 as per zkillboard.com
Harbinger Navy Issue: (857)
Brutix Navy Issue: (737)
Hurricane Navy Issue: (690)
Drake Navy Issue: (115)

The Good: Harbinger Navy Issue, Brutix Navy Issue
The Bad: Hurricane Fleet Issue
The Ugly: Drake Navy Issue

Harbinger Navy Issue: Currently the most popular Navy BC, and it’s hard to argue why. 5 mid-slots on an Amarrian ship is something which is incredibly rare, only the Redeemer, Pilgrim, Curse and specific subsystem configurations of the Legion can obtain 5 mid slots. The MJD capability of the HNI, and the Laser Tracking Bonus all help to mould it into an incredibly versatile ship. A swiss army knife which has a large variety of functions If you’ve always wanted to do a Shield Nano Harbinger but couldn’t quite get it to work, this is for you, if you want mwd, mjd, injector, disruptor and web all on the same ship, while also having a tracking bonus, this is also for you, fantastic ship.

Brutix Navy Issue: This ship was revitalized and benefited from the Hull Tanking rigs so much. A ship which can have a huge buffer, while retaining a lot of DPS and mobility. The Tracking bonus on the Brutix Navy Issue is also a non-existent bonus on all other Hybrid Battlecruisers, giving it an unique selling point. The Brutix Navy Issue functions well in of itself.

Hurricane Navy Issue: The Hurricane Navy Issue doesn’t hang too far off the other 2 navy battlecruisers in terms of popularity, but a lot of players in the community consider it to be somewhat of a joke ‘pre-nerf cane’. The Utility High doesn’t really bring anywhere near the versatility that the Harbinger Fleet Issue has, and with tiericide seeing a lot of smaller ships capacitors buffed, the meta going much more kitey/long range, and nosferatu buffs, the double neut Cane just isn’t the monster it used to be anymore.

Drake Navy Issue: The Drake Navy Issue is one of the worst ships in the game, hands down. The damage from the DNI is terrible, it only has 8 effective launchers, the Drake has 9 effective with Kinetic and even that is bad compared to the standard set by the Orthrus’ 10 effective launchers, and the Cerberus’ 10 effective launchers with kinetic. The Caracal Navy Issue has identical DPS and Application to this ship, with double the mobility. The Drake Navy Issue is incredibly slow, has below average damage, outdamaged by pirate faction cruisers and HACs, it’s too slow to really make the missile velocity bonus matter. It also is the only BC in the game lacking a utility high, and the fitting on it is terrible. Want to know the biggest joke about the DNI? It has the exact same powergrid output as an Orthrus does! and it has to fit 3 more launchers, and those launchers need to be Heavy Assault or Heavy Missile instead of the easier to fit RLMLs if you want the application and projection bonus. A contender for one of the worst ships in the game. The Drake Navy Issue has the same Power-Grid output as a ship which needs to fit 3 less launchers, and often a lower-class of launchers at that!

The Orthrus is a balanced ship you guys... honest.

My Suggestions:

All BCs: Reduce the LP Offer from 100k LP to 80k LP in the factional warfare loyalty point stores.

Navy Hurricane
H: 7 (-1) 6 Turrets
M: 4
L: 7 (+1)
Bonuses: 10% to Medium Projectile Damage and 7.5% bonus to Medium Projectile Tracking.
Drone Bay and Bandwidth: 30m3 -> 40m3

I don’t think the 2nd utility high does a lot of good on the Hurricane Navy Issue, I think giving it a tracking bonus, and combining the damage bonuses into 1 bonus would do a whole load of good, combined with an extra low-slot. This will make the Hurricane a great Artillery Sniper with both the tracking and high alpha strike, none of the other Projectile BCs get a tracking bonus which provides the Navy Hurricane with an unique selling point. the 7th low-slot moves the Hurricane Navy towards either a more mobile traditional nano cane setup with room for more nanos, an extra gyro, or tracking enhancer. Or a better armor-tanked alternative, which could work very well given the high base HP, and provide different gameplay to the Shield bonused Sleipnir. It could function as a ‘Babby’s Loki’ in fleets. The extra 10m3 bandwidth is to make up for the slight DPS loss over the regular cane from the rate of fire bonus becoming straight damage.

Drake Navy Issue
H: 7 (-1) 6 Launchers (-2) [+1 effective launcher with bonus]
M: 6
L: 5 (+1)
Bonuses: 10% bonus to Heavy Assault and Heavy Missile Damage per level, 10% bonus to missile explosion velocity per level.
Drone Bay and Bandwidth: 25/25m3 -> 75/50m3.
PG: 900 -> 980.
Base Speed: 150m/s -> 160m/s

This new Drake Navy Issue gains an effective launcher over it’s predecessor, doing more damage, I swapped the explosion radius bonus to the Corax’s explosion velocity bonus because I think it’s a more applicable bonus to applying well to ships the same size with higher speed. The Drake Navy Issue also gains an utility high which it was missing, I also suggest giving it an extra low, which will allow it to have more fitting options or mobility. Giving the Drake a large drone bay and enough bandwidth to field 5x medium drones (with 5x light spares) would make it unique amongst other Caldari BCs, and differentiate itself more from the Orthrus, Cerberus and Tengu. Also giving it more all-in potential, as currently it gets outdamaged by all of those ships. Finally, I suggest bumping the speed a tiny bit.

Lets take a look at the Navy Battlecruiser Line-Up

My *Little Things* Skill Changes to make younger characters more competitive in PvP earlier.

I’ve spent a great deal of time in the past 6 months making new characters, theory-crafting how good I can make a character with <2 million skill points for different ships, and trying to PvP with them, sometimes this has been met with great success with my incredibly popular, and by far my proudest contributions to the eve community, the 20 day old executioner alt, and new player Kestrel alt. I also (unknowingly to some) tried using other characters with different ships although even with some success it didn’t end up panning out due to either being too complicated for new players (Dual Prop-Slasher with Ancillary Rep is probably one of the most micro intensive frigates I’ve ever flown), or just not having enough viable engagement opportunities with a new player Atron I used, Blasters are probably the worst weapon system when you have 0 skillpoints because while you can take advantage of your lower damage/HP by being at range with rockets/scorch S on the executioner character, When you get out-damaged at 0km by a laser ship because of your bad skills, well, thats not workable really.

I would like to pen my thoughts on the various roadblocks I found myself facing, and the parts of the skill tree that I felt bad about which I encountered while theory-crafting 20 day old characters back in December when CCP gave out the free 20 days of multiple account as a Christmas gift.

1. Thermodynamics. The Thermodynamics skill is probably *the* most important skill in the game for PvP, the ability to heat changes so much, it is by far the most useful skill, being able to re-approach gates, being able to slingshot and getting heated Scram+Web ranges, it improves your tank/DPS more than any other 1 level of skill.  It is key. However when you have a 20 day skill training window, training Science to Level IV really hurts and it made me feel bad each time. Science gives a 5% bonus to blueprint copying speed, i.e. it’s complete garbage for anything to do with in-space, which Thermodynamics is for. Losing 16 hours training for a skill which will never help you in-space. I think the *actual* training time to train into Thermodynamics is pretty fair. I just wish it used another skill rather than Science IV. I would REALLY love CCP if they changed the Science IV prerequisite to Energy Operation IV. Energy Operation is a rank 1 skill, just like Science, so the total training time to get thermodynamics would be the same, however, Energy Operation is a key skill that many players get early on, it gives 5% better cap regeneration per level, and is one of the skills veterans recommend to new players to max early on. Thermodynamics itself sits in the Engineering Tree, and it also requires Power Grid Management IV & Capacitor Management III, so thematically, it would suit well. Science still is a pre-requisite for several other skills.

Also, Thermodynamics costs 4.5 million isk which I feel is really steep when you’re starting out, lowering the base price of this skill, or even providing it as a reward for a career mission/future opportunities would help so much.

2. Guided Missile Precision. GMP is the most important missile application skill, it lowers the explosion radius of your missiles, making them apply better. While Target Navigation Prediction is important too, it is not always effective like GMP is (if it could help your missiles apply). GMP is already a steep skill to train, it’s a rank 5 skill. However, the thing which I dislike about GMP is that it has a missile launcher 5 prerequisite. All of the Gunnery Support skills only require Gunnery to level 4 to be able to train, and Gunnery 5 is just a prerequisite for Large Battleship-sized weapon systems. Launcher Operation 5 also enables cruise and torpedo launchers. Dropping the LO requirement from 5 to 4 would help new player missile characters so much, and make Gunnery/Missile Launcher Operation basically identical in being a prerequisite for large-sized weapons at 5. The reason why I didn’t create any 20 day old missile character alts, and why I don’t think they’re as viable early on is mostly down to this. Launcher Operation 5 is a skill that’s got a nice damage/SP ratio when your rounding out your character 3-4 months into the game, but not early on. Would love to see this changed.

3.  DPS Rigging skills. CCP removed the requirements of skills needed to actually fit ships a while ago, however, the DPS rigging skills still require you to train jury rigging to level 3 in order to train them, and they can be fairly vital to a lot of new player fits which use them, like my Kestrel and Executioner fits. Given the much lower importance of Jury Rigging for anything now that it isn’t required to fit things, Dropping the Jury Rigging skill prerequisite to level 1 in order to train these skills would make a decent quality of life difference saving 10-12 hours from a new players skill training queue.

4. High Speed Maneuvering (The MWD skill). The Afterburner 3 requirement feels really outdated. I would like to see this removed entirely since MWDs and Afterburners are completely different modules now, having to train Afterburner 3 to train to fit a MWD is something a lot of new pilots from BRAVE I talked too really disliked, if you’re a new-player in nullsec the Derp-tron/suicide tackle/ewar ships are probably one of the first things you can contribute with, MWDs are important in PvP too especially for null-sec. Afterburners is only a rank 1 skill but it still feels fairly bad in the same vein as Science with Thermodynamics because you’re having to train a skill which benefits something you’re not going to use.

My *Little Things* Skill Changes to make younger characters more competitive in PvP earlier.

Why Drones are powerful in the current meta.

CCP Rise recently made a Tweet, loosely throwing around the possibility of making a new ECM type which reduces your drone bandwidth while you are affected by it, I think this is a bad idea and I’ll explain why.



First, we must look into why drones are currently favored and powerful in the current metagame.

 

  • Bonused Drones often do close range turret DPS to at least 60km with 3 Drone Damage Amplifiers. This is almost exclusively the only modules that drone ships actually have to fit to achieve this. Normally a bonused drone ship will then possibly use either a low or mid (although this is not necessary) to improve drone tracking. Leaving them with almost the entirety of their resources to fit tank, speed, energy warfare, oversized prop, or a combination of these. Often the Drones do so much damage that killing them before they kill you is not feasible versus most bonused drone ships. Most Drone Platforms can do DPS to all significant ranges. Drone Travel time has been made significantly less of a drawback with the recent boosts to Medium and Heavy drone speed, And T2 Drone Navigation computers which were introduced to the game fairly recently.
  • Drone DPS is independent of your positioning, which means Drone Ships can more easily mitigate damage through both tracking or range since their positioning is irrelevant to the damage that they deal, the only real drawback is that your drones being shot can’t be recalled sometimes at range.
  • Drone DPS persists through most control and positional options like Damps. Moving away from a drone ship when you have drones on you often also does nothing, as they will chase you well beyond the Drone Ships actual control range, only breaking off after around 30-40 seconds.
  • Drone DPS, for the same reason why Rapid Lights are dominating the meta, is that they deal with Frigates and downsized ships very well, often close to rivaling dedicated anti-support options. Rapid Lights tick all the same boxes. Low Fitting Requirements, check. Applies to all relevant small-med sized ranges, check. Tracking Independent, check. Deals with undersized ships, check.
  • They are a very easy weapon system to actually use effectively, much lower (player) skill requirements. You don’t know what you’re doing? No problem, Assign your drones to a Recon in fleet, orbit anchor at 500 or desired range, and go AFK!

However, I feel like the vast majority of these benefits only really apply to bonused drones. Drones are an important part of ship balancing and giving options to larger ships to protect themselves against smaller ships. I don’t think there is any problem with the 30m3 (25m3 bandwidth) of drones on the Hurricane, The problems only really materize when you have 2-3 Drone Damage Amplifiers and a 50% Damage+Health bonus on drones. I fear that such an ECM mechanic will just be used to make other non bonused drone ships like the Hurricane even more helpless, if this mechanic works off sensor strength, guess what ship has more slots free than any other HAC for ECCM. Hint: It’s the Ishtar.

ECM is a terrible mechanic that has needed to be reworked for a long time. I think ECM is perfectly balanced from a power perspective, however, the chance based nature and how completely dominating it is with nothing you can to do to mitigate the effects while in space is awful. Modules without any counter-play that take away all your options while you’re successful is an awful game design mechanic.

I also disagree with shoe horning in an extra module for balance. Bonused Drones are OP if you don’t have X, but if you do have X, they are balanced/underpowered, is a terrible way to balance things. We don’t need more ‘not in space’ hard counters, this is why eccm/ecm is a balanced, but bad mechanic. ‘Blighted Heavy Assault Launcher of Medium Railgun Slaying’ no thank you. How you perform should be more to do with decisions and positioning in space, rather than what modules you have fitted before the engagement takes place.

Remember when the counter to 8km/s Ishtars and Scimitars was get to get a Rapier yeah…

My Approach to this problem is just nerf DDAs to their pre-inferno stats. DDAs were released in Inferno, if Drones did less damage than they do now, there would be more opportunity to kill drones, and more turret/missile ship options would come to light. The reason why Zealots aren’t flown right now is that Ishtars outdamage them at all ranges with none of the balanced weaknesses the Zealot has to go with it’s strengths, while also requiring none of the skill that a well flown zealot needs. Simple Solutions to a Simple Problem. Eve is already complex enough as it is.

Why Drones are powerful in the current meta.