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Okay, Breathe In.  Breathe Out.

I mean that.  Breathe.  Because I want you to have as much oxygen in your blood when you contemplate the changes that CCP Fozzie laid out before us will make your brain boil with joy.

Except for Hurricane and Drake lovers.

First off, let’s look at what changes CCP Fozzie is going to make to the Attack Cruiser line.  (Originally I was hoping that Kirith would snag these changes and “lore” them up, because he is really good at that):

Cruiser skill bonuses:
10% bonus to Medium Energy Turret capacitor use
5% bonus to Medium Energy Turret rate of fire

Slot layout: 5 H, 3 M, 6 L (+1), 5 turrets
Fittings: 925 PWG (+195), 315 CPU (+65)
Defense (shields / armor / hull) : 1200(+27) / 1700(+137) / 1600(+37)
Capacitor (amount / recharge rate / average cap per second): 1475(+225) / 526s(+79.75s) / 2.8
Mobility (max velocity / agility / mass / align time): 225(+44) / 0.51(-0.05) / 11650000 / 5.6s (-0.5)
Drones (bandwidth / bay): 40(+25) / 40(+25)
Targeting (max targeting range / Scan Resolution / Max Locked targets): 55km(+10) / 300(+7) / 6(-1)
Sensor strength: 15 Radar (+2)
Signature radius: 125
Cargo capacity: 400(-50)

So the Omen gets a nice boost to powergrid, CPU, Capacitor stats, Velocity, Drone Bay, and Targeting, along with an extra low-slot.  As Corelin mentions in his blog, a big deal is the speed.  It is a pretty sizeable 20% increase in base speed and agility.  Also considerable is the ability to field four medium scout drones, up from three light scouts previously.  But that is not all, later on we will discuss this in detail, but all cruiser sized weapons will now require less Powergrid and CPU.  Aside from the loss of some cargo space for loot, there is no downside to these changes.

Cruiser skill bonuses:
5% bonus Rapid Light, Heavy Assault and Heavy Missile Launcher rate of fire
10% bonus to Light, Heavy Assault and Heavy Missile Velocity

Slot layout: 5 H, 5 M, 4 L (+2), 2 turrets, 5 launchers
Fittings: 630 PWG (+100), 430 CPU (+80)
Defense (shields / armor / hull) : 1700(+137) / 1200(+145) / 1500(+171)
Capacitor (amount / recharge rate / average cap per second): 1250(+187.5) / 445s(+63.75s) / 2.8 (+0.02)
Mobility (max velocity / agility / mass / align time): 225(+47) / 0.425 / 12910000 / 5.1s
Drones (bandwidth / bay): 10 / 10
Targeting (max targeting range / Scan Resolution / Max Locked targets): 57.5km / 270(+28) / 6
Sensor strength: 16 Gravimetric (+1)
Signature radius: 135 (-10)
Cargo capacity: 450

The Caracal loses its Kinetic damage bonus and gets it replaced by a 5% per level rate of fire across the cruiser class missile systems.  In addition, the Caracal gets a ton of CCP dev love.  Two additional lowslots, 20% more Powergrid and CPU, nice hp increases across the hull, armor, and shields.  A sufficent boost to capacitor amount and recharge rate also were added.  Like the Omen, the Caracal gets a huge boost in speed too.  The surprising little piece of info is the additional 28 points in Scan Resolution.  While this still makes it the slowest targeting ship of the group, it will be much faster than before.

Cruiser skill bonuses:
5% bonus to Medium Hybrid Turret damage
7.5% bonus to Medium Hybrid Turret tracking speed

Slot layout: 5 H, 4 M (+1), 5 L, 5 turrets
Fittings: 820 PWG, 330 CPU (+30)
Defense (shields / armor / hull) : 1200(-324) / 1600(-41) / 1700(+175)
Capacitor (amount / recharge rate / average cap per second): 1450(+75) / 490s(+25.25s) / 2.8
Mobility (max velocity / agility / mass / align time): 235(+55) / 0.49(-0.0658) / 11280000 / 5.2s (-0.7)
Drones (bandwidth / bay): 50 / 50
Targeting (max targeting range / Scan Resolution / Max Locked targets): 52.5km(-2.5) / 280(+21) / 6
Sensor strength: 15 Magnetometric
Signature radius: 130(-10)
Cargo capacity: 465(+200)

The Thorax loses its 5% increase to MWD Capacitor bonus in exchange for a 7.5% bonus (per level) Medium turret tracking speed.  However, the loss is minor considering that the Thorax has an upgraded capactior and higher speed.  Add to that an extra midslot, improved CPU and Scan Resolution, and even boosted Cargo Capacity.  Nevertheless, the Thorax did get some downgrades.  Armor and Shield were reduced, with shields loosing about 20% (why does that percentage keep coming up?) HP.  It still keeps its classic 50 m3 of drone bay space and bandwidth, but I see this new Thorax as a big candidate for ASB shield configurations.

Cruiser skill bonuses:
5% bonus to Medium Projectile Turret firing speed
7.5% bonus to Medium Projectile Turret falloff

Slot layout: 6 H, 4 M (+1), 4 L (+1), 4 Turrets, 2 Launchers
Fittings: 715 PWG (+15), 340 CPU (+40)
Defense (shields / armor / hull) : 1500(+15) / 1400(+150) / 1400(+111)
Capacitor (amount / recharge rate / average cap per second): 1200(+137.5) / 427.5s(+46.25s) / 2.8(+0.01)
Mobility (max velocity / agility / mass / align time): 285(+54) / 0.5(+0.02) / 11400000 / 5.3s (+0.2)
Drones (bandwidth / bay): 5 / 5
Targeting (max targeting range / Scan Resolution / Max Locked targets): 47.5km(+7.5) / 320(+15) / 5
Sensor strength: 13 Ladar (+3)
Signature radius: 105
Cargo capacity: 420

One of the signature ships in the Minmatar fleet, the Stabber also gets some upgrades.  Some might have been disgruntled by the loss of velocity, but that change has been incorporated somewhat into the hull itself.  The Stabber gets both an additional midslot and an extra low-slot and boosts to both armor, shields, and hull.  It received some increases in Powergrid and CPU and was significantly boosted by over 10%.  Oddly, the Stabber doesn’t get a lot of love in comparision to the others, but that is likely because all the other attack cruisers were sort of based off of the Stabber philosophy.

It does make me curious about how they plan to do the other cruisers now.  Nevertheless, I think the big winner is the Omen.  It got a ton of love, AND laser weapon also got the following nods:

-Drop the powergrid usage of Focused Medium Pulse lasers by 5%
-Drop the powergrid usage of Heavy Pulse lasers by 10%
-Drop the powergrid usage of all cruiser sized beam lasers by 10%
-Drop the powergrid usage of all cruiser sized artillery by 10%

So, I figure this will mean that Omens will be very popular in both short range and long range conflicts.

Now, on to the Nerfs and Caldari Love

It has been made clear that both the Drake and the Hurricane are considered far too powerful for their class.  The Hurricane, because it simply is too versatile in a good way (i.e. it can do any type of configuration, be it armor or shield, long or short range, and do it well) and the Drake, which has only two setups but which are nearly battleship quality in effective damage and HP.  The Hurricane gets a fairly hard punch to the powergrid with a reduction of 225 PG.  This is the first iteration of Hurricane changes and CCP Fozzie let’s us know that there will be more things done in the name of balance, but at least in the Winter Expansion, the Hurricane is most certainly a much more difficult ship to fit.

The Drake, or rather, everything Caldari that uses Heavy Missiles are going to see a fairly major dent in their damage capability, starting off with a straight 25% reduction in damage, right off the top.  This is also followed by reduced flight time/increased velocity change that reduces overall range by 25% too.  This is a big deal to Drake pilots, who will now have to console themselves over the other boosts that Caldari managed to snag:

All Missiles
Increase missile acceleration so that real range is much closer to the client assumed range of flighttime*speed against a stationary target. This means a slight range buff for all missiles, and missiles will act in a way that is more intuitive to newer players.

This is a minor buff to Stealth Bomber pilots, the Caldari, the Minmatar, and some of the more cheeky Amarr pilots.

Light Missiles
-Explosion radius reduced from 50 to 40
-Damage increased by 10% (rounded to closest digit)
-Affects all variant light missiles, including FOF.

So Light missiles get a nice boost with an increase in damage AND more damage applied to target, especially smaller ones.  Imagine what a Caracal with AMLs can do with this change!

Tech Two Missiles
-At the moment Fury missiles at Light and Heavy sizes have a faster explosion velocity than precision missiles, we’ll be fixing this defect as part of the changes.
-Remove ship penalties from tech two missiles (ship velocity and signature radius)
Precision: Improve bonuses to explosion velocity and explosion radius, increase damage to match T1 missiles, reduce flight time slightly
Fury: Increase damage, increase the severity of penalties to explosion radius and velocity
Javelin: Just remove ship penalties
Rage: Reduce range, increase damage slightly

Tech Two missiles were always the red-headed stepchildren of Tech 2 ammo.  Generally, Factions did just as much damage and had no penalty either.  Now, with these changes missiles jump back in line with the recent Ammo changes made, so I expect that Tech 2 missile production will finally become a hot item.

Tracking/Range Mods and Ewar
-Modify tracking enhancers and tracking computers to affect:
Max flight time (with optimal range script)
Explosion radius and explosion velocity (with tracking speed script)
-Make TDs affect Missiles
Tracking speed disruption script lowers explosion velocity and increases explosion radius
Optimal range disruption script lowers flight time

Oooo.. this, this has been a whine from early, early days.  And now CCP Fozzie is makin’ da change!  Didn’t expect the Tracking Computers and Enhancers to be modified, but those are reasonable changes to make.  The real surprise is the change to the Tracking Disruptors.  The big flaw to current Tracking Disruptors, and it is one that has been complained about for years and years, is that they were totally useless against missile systems.  Now, this change won’t cause missiles to miss, it will decrease their damage potential.  The interesting thing is that, from how it looks, there really isn’t a way that a missile ship could counter this.  A turret ship, if it is fast or crafty enough, could adjust their flight pattern to lower their transversal velocity and still hit the target.  I figure this will probably become the most used E-War on non-E-War ships.. and I would bet that you will now how to calculate this as a regular combat standard too, especially on armor tanking ships.

In Conclusion

Today, the Amarr got just handed a box of chocolates and a love letter from CCP.  10% decrease of powergrid for all of the Cruiser class Laser turrets, Pulses and Beams.  Omen getting a massive upgrade to capabilities making it a very powerful attack boat, with a full drone bay and increased Powergrid and tanking abilities.  And to top it all off, Tracking Disruptors now work on Missiles.  I don’t know about all you, but I am training my Tracking Disruptors up.

The Caldari pilots are the next winners here, because they finally get their Tech 2 Ammo to be worthwhile versus faction ammo.  However, despite much needed changes to both light missiles and Tech 2 ammo, they did get their staple missile, the Heavy Missile, nerfed way back.  Granted, it was a fairly powerful weapon system and it needed changes, but there isn’t a Caldari pilot anywhere that isn’t feeling this pain.

Gallente Pilots didn’t get much love, but they didn’t get anything bad either.  The Thorax will be faster, has more (and faster recharging) capacitor and could be well fit both with shields or with armor.  In my opinion, they walked away from this with a very solid ship that will be fielded often.

The final group, the Minmatar, didn’t exactly win.. but didn’t exactly lose either.  Since missile systems are the secondary weapon of choice for the Minmatar, they gain the benefits of the removal of Tech 2 ammo.  But, looking at how the Stabber stacks up to the Omen, the Stabber loses a lot more often now.  The Stabber gets only four bonused weapons (+2 non-bonused weapons) versus the Omen’s five.  That may seem equal until you realize that the Omen can field five Light Drones, or four Medium drones, versus the Stabber’s single Light drone.  Then the Omen can also field a much better armor tank than the Stabber can produce either as an armor boat or as a shield boat.  Still, the Stabber is faster and more agile.  The advantage to the Stabber will be that it will now have enough midslots to field a Tracking Disruptor.

Here are the devblog links – Attack Cruiser and Missile & etc.

I am rather curious though.. such a change to Tracking Disruptors has long been avoided, and we have heard indications that Sensor Dampening and ECM were being looked into.. I do wonder if perhaps we will see Target Painting get a change as well?