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.

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

6 thoughts on “Links Part 2: Just how Broken are Links :Maths: and :Words: Edition

  1. Bienator II says:

    forcing links on grid would already solve 90% of all problems because of one simple reason:
    in eve, the player is the matchmaker. Ongrid links would just be a force multiplier like guardian support, your keres squad or other ewar ships. You either bring more, take better ships (or hardcounters), use links yourself or you don’t engage, since again, YOU are the matchmaker.

    at the end of the day fleets want fights, if they roam in an unengageable setup they won’t get many fights. Ongrid links would only another item in the formula.

    From game mechanics perspective they would still require a change because a player actively piloting a link ship should have an engaging game experience and be more useful for a fleet than an alt (some suggested scriptable link mods for example combined with a link count limit). But that is the remaining 10% of the problem.

    Like

    1. dicks says:

      this is pretty bad, you could use this goodfights excuse to justify any broken thing. for example:
      your cruiser does battlecruiser dps/alpha with frigate application at battleship range with a 50% tackle range bonus, top tier speed and mysterious extra fitting? well that’s ok because people won’t fight that because it’s too good, or it’s ok because we can just all fly it. I’m giving you shit about it, but I’m pretty sure CCP Rise also used this exact same shitty reasoning at some point for some other unengageable ship.

      the fact that basically all fights over actual things happen to all be boring, and that all the fun fights are goodfights over nothing, I don’t think this excuses things being broken, I think it’s just another weakness of the game.

      on grid would fix 90%, but links are so enormously broken that the remaining 10% would still be the #1 most broken thing needing to get fixed. it also bugs me that nobody seems to talk about actual range constraints, as though just ‘on grid’ would be enough. a ship decloaking 120km away or 300km away or whatever, giving +82% logis, or 2 HG pirate implant sets and faction tackle to up to 250 people. it’s so much strength, even with just a 10km radius those bonuses are still totally gamebreaking, so I’ve no idea why people think ‘on grid somewhere’ would be the fix we’ve been waiting all this time for

      Like

  2. Strata Maslav says:

    Sutonia, I really like the idea of the targeted links it could make for some amazing ‘heads up’ play making.
    Obviously there are multiple ways of fixing links, here is an idea I just brainstormed.
    A ship can only have 1 active link at a time, max 2 or 3 fitted to the ship, only function in the squad booster position, reduce the fitting costs and bonuses that command and Strategic cruisers receive. Activating a link puts all of your links on CD for period longer then the active period of link.

    So in theory you can boost your squad in any ship and you will have to decide which boost benefits your squad the most at any one time. As the stacking of links would be impossible you would be nerfing the force multiplier of the ship and would be difficult to manage on an alt.

    Like

  3. Anon says:

    The solution you’ve proposed could of been achieved by CCP 4 years ago if they really wanted to make it a single target buff only. This means they must be trying to make it targeted/self AoE buff, if not they are gunning for the worst case scenario of making it on grid only which would only favor blobs.

    You could go really deep in into the pvper eco system of the effects of links which you briefly mentioned with Lack of Visibility design mention. Could call solo pvpers fauna(content) and everything.

    Like

  4. somal says:

    I died to links yesterday. Soloed by a garmur. Pointed over 40km away and yet the garmurs incredibly linked speed let it maintain angular of 0.2-0.6 almost the entire time. Impossible to slingshot. Impossible to feather. Impossible to track. Drones can’t catch it either. Not saying this just out of spite, but fuck links.

    Like

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