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Because today’s devblog has mentioned the big kahuna of the Tiercide project.  Battlecruisers AND Battleships.  This includes the change in skillsets:

  • Let us repeat again: if you could fly it before, you will be able to do so after the change. Technically it means if you are able to fly an Oracle by having Amarr Cruisers 3 and Battlecruisers 3, we will remove the Battlecruisers skill from your character and give you Amarr Battlecruisers at 3. If you had Battlecruisers at 3 and Caldari Cruisers 3 instead, you would not receive Amarr Battlecruisers but the Caldari Battlecruisers skill at 3 instead. The same principle work with the Destroyers skill.
  • With the way nested skill requirements work in EVE, it also means that you will still be able to fly an Apocalypse even if you don’t have the Amarr Battlecruiser skill trained at 4 after the change. It won’t matter as long as you have the Amarr Battleship skill at the proper level.

Basically training up ships after this release in 2013, will be much, much harder and take considerably longer both in getting a breath of skills, but also in getting to the bigger ships.  Another change mentioned was this one:

  • Breaking Destroyers and Battlecruisers skills into four racial versions with an identical training multiplier (thus making it four times harder to get all races trained)
  • Changing skill requirements for Racial Cruisers from Racial Frigates 4 to Racial Destroyers 4
  • Changing skill requirements for Racial Battleships from Racial Cruisers 4 to Racial Battlecruisers 4
  • Changing skill requirements for capital ships from Racial Battleships 5 to 4, but introducing or increasing other skills to keep the same overall training time requirements

So no more skipping ship classes.  You can’t go Frigs -> Cruisers -> Battleships now.  You gotta go through two more entire classes before you can be a fleet dog.  Annoying.. well, yes.. for new guys.  It will also be rather annoying for major alliances too, because it will take newer pilots longer to train up to certain fleet doctrines currently in place, particularly those relying on battleship classes.

The Fun Part of the Blog

Okay, let’s see what they have planned for Battlecruisers:

  • Oracle, Naga, Talos and Tornado: are mostly fine, except for the mobility which is a little too high, and signature radius, which could be increased a bit. Apart from this, little needs to change.

So, Tier 3 BCs are going to be much more squishy.

  • Prophecy: expected to be changed to a drone boat. This is a role revamp that will radically modify its slot and fitting layout. It will most likely have less bandwidth but more drone bay than the Myrmidon.

Oooo.. this will be nice.  Considering how rare it is to see this ship in either PVP or PVE it will definately be something to look after.  More drones, but smaller ones.

  • Ferox: we would like to reinforce the sniping nature of this ship, most likely by replacing the shield resistance bonus with a hybrid damage bonus. Nothing is set in stone yet, as we need to find ways to ensure it doesn’t compete with the Naga.

A ship that has been needing some love for a long time.  The role will still be the same it seems, but it is hard for me to see this as ending up a “sniper” boat because I don’t see where such a ship wouldn’t tread on the Naga’s role in every way, shape, and form.  I think that thought will likely change down the road.

  • Brutix: this ship role conflicts a bit with the Talos, mainly because the latter is more mobile and packs more punch. We want to explore options on how to turn the Brutix into a more reliable close-range brawler, while the Talos keeps a kiting advantage.

This ship will probably be the one to force CCP’s hand in discussing Passive armor tanking versus Active armor tanking.  This is because Passive tanking and close in combat don’t mix.  In order for the Brutix not to walk all over the Talos’ role or to be completely pointless, that condition is probably going to have to be addressed.

  • Cyclone: ancillary shield boosters have significantly improved this ship performance; however, it won’t hurt to make sure it’s in a good shape before moving on.

I really like this statement for how accurate it is.  The Cyclone was pretty ineffective compared to the Hurricane (and most of the Battlecruisers to be fair), and the ASB is the only thing that has allowed it to be brought into PVP.  The ship, with its split weapon system and single damage bonus for a little more than half its guns, needs to be pulled back some from the faulty “Split Weapons are Awesome” mentality, and given a more serious role.

  • Harbinger: assuming direct control. Problems on this ship are tied with the shield versus armor tanking issues, which need to be looked at.

Nearly as good as the Hurricane, it’s a no brainer why you want to use it as a shield tanker.  Love the ME2 reference.

  • Drake: once again, blame the modules, not the hull – while missiles are being looked into by CCP Fozzie, shield tanking is the root of the problem here.

Ooo.. finally.  Finally someone is going to address the bane of the Eve Universe.  This was so long overdue that pretty much everyone in favor of a change is thinking to themselves “Is this for real?”  It was clear that originally, the plan for the Drake was for it to have a good shield tank AND for it to have at least one ECM module as standard working procedure.  However, LSEs are just too good.  So are Invulnerability fields.  Since ECM mods take up a midslot, freeing that up allowed for a much stronger tank, equal to some of the lower Tier battleships.  Pair that with Shield resists bonuses and a smaller sig radius.  Then pair it again with a weapon system (Heavy Missiles) that are 100% effective at any range and never miss.

  • Myrmidon: this vessel is mainly fine, but it couldn’t hurt giving it a bit more drone bandwidth and bay to make it more of an improvement when compared to the Vexor.

Never flown a Myrm before, but this will definately allow it some distinction from its younger cousin.

  • Hurricane: counting CCP Fozzie’s adjustment to its fitting, the cruiser boost should reduce its over-the-top versatility, especially if battlecruisers slot layout is altered to 17 as mentioned above.

So the Hurricane will no longer be top dog… hmm…

Overall the decrease of slots from their current down to 17 will definately re-adjusts everyone’s way of thinking.  The big problem is that typically there has always been a sort of ” A-type versus B-Type” mentality in the designing of ships.  “Damage versus Tank” is the usual motif, especially of battlecruisers.  Now, with three battlecruisers to balance, making that hold out is going to be interesting for CCP to pull off.  Just as importantly, how will this effect the “non-standard” uses for these ships?  Will those roles be better filled, or more hindered?  It will be exciting to find out!

Command me!

One of the more interesting aspects is that Commandships will now be addressed as well, along with how gang-links work on both T3 Cruisers and Commandships:

  • Tech 3 ships to be able to carry more gang links at once than Command Ships, but with less effect
  • Tech 3 ships to be able to carry some gang links while still maintaining some combat capability
  • Command Ships to carry fewer types of gang links than Tech 3, but with stronger effects (specialization over generalization) – if fitted with gang links, they have less combat capability than Tech3 hulls.
  • All Command Ships to have a combat role on the field on top of having the possibility to be fit for a pure fleet commanding platform.

In other words, Command ships will be more versatile.  Able to use three gang links, OR, able to lay down the fire with the best of them.  This is a good change though I wonder if there will be a change to the skill pre-requisites that have dogged those who wanted to fly Command Ships.  They did make a point here:

Our goal is to make them appealing to fly as a whole, not something you keep inside a POS forcefield while watching your favorite TV show.

But the changes made don’t address this at all, at least not from what has been said thus.  So far the changes appear that CS will get a 3% bonus to gang links per level, while T3 Cruisers will only get 2%.  Probably the most surprising change is that the Claymore will become a missile boat, whereas the Sleipnir remains a projectile platform.  Each racial command ship will get the same treatment:  Amarr will be Lasers/Drones, Caldari will have Hybrids/Missiles, and Gallente will be Drones/Hybrids.

Boom goes the Big Guns

Battleships also got addressed in this change, though I think the changes will be less radical.  In fact, only two battleships are in line for serious changes:

  • Megathron: just like the Thorax on the cruiser level, the Megathron role will be changed slightly to make it less resilient, but more mobile so to make proper use of blasters. Think of it as a ship closer to the Typhoon in terms of speed and agility. Next to a Talos, it will be more durable, more flexible, but still cumbersome to have in small gangs.

Interesting balance they plan to make with this iconic ship.  Likely this will result in what many might think as a nerf.

  • Typhoon: this vessel is very good when you possess all skills on earth and beyond trained to 5 – for being a jack of all trades, it has nothing really going for it. That is why we would like to change its role to a missile platform. Next to the Raven, it would have less range, but more mobility for more close range in your face damage.

This has been a huge problem for most Minmatar pilots who FINALLY get into the battleship ranks.  The Typhoon, the Tier 1 battleship, requires more skills to effectively pilot it than piloting a Dread.  The only THREE split weapon system ship, the “two” damage bonuses are effectively just one because each bonus only affects one set of weapons and not the other.  The ship is an armor tanking beast, but only has the CPU and Powergrid to mount short range weapon systems.  It is a huge disappointment to pilots who finally are able to fly a battleship, only to have to wait some more in order to fly a ship that doesn’t penalize them for not having 60mil+ SP.  And what did you get in the end?  A ship that was just a little better than average, and really didn’t do all that well in PVE either.

Here is the link to the devblog.