I’ve played Eve Online a long time. Been involved in two epic wars: The AAA/CVA War and the Northern Coalition/Drone Federation War. Watched superpowers like BoB and Northern Coalition explode. I’ve seen attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion.. whoops, getting a bit ahead of myself. Well, you get the idea. During that time, it was a point of pride to be able to fly the Tech 2 ships, especially Logis, in battle.
Fast forward to today and my Tech 2 ships are lucky to see the sun, much less any PVP. Common doctrines now seem to exclude more expensive Tech 2 ships, particularly since Tech 1 ships have been greatly improved and diversified. On the big picture, this is good. It allows smaller alliances to develop ship replacement programs, which in turn, allows for more people to participate in PVP.. particularly new players.
In the “old” days, because Tech 2 ships were expensive and very skill intensive, I could have a reasonable expectation that the Logi pilot I was flying with knew what he was doing. He could feel the same way about me. It was hard work getting to that level of skill and when I started to learn about flying Logi, I sat down, kept quiet, and took notes. And I know I wasn’t the only one who did that. That level of discipline translated across into related activities like comms discipline in the logi channel, developing cap chains, and following specific orders. It was important because a.) Your ship was expensive and you didn’t want to lose it, and more importantly, b.) You were supporting even MORE expensive ships and the amount of drama coming your way from those that lost their ships was particularly.. strong, to put it mildly.
Now, though, things are different. In a post-Tiercide universe, where Tech 1 ships offer so much more than in the past, Tech 2 ships and their pilots tend to be regulated to a more . It is now that I’ve run into three complex issues.
First – Tech 1 Logisitic Ships are Good to Have, But Not Better Than Tech 2 Logi
A Tech 1 Logi is better than no logi, but you aren’t as good as a Tech 2. I’ve been in a couple battles where, as a Tech 2 Logi, I was able to leave the battlefield to fight another day, whereas my weaker Tech 1 cousins got popped. Lower sig radius, better resists, and far better skills mean that the ship I am flying is a serious asset to a fleet.
But this is a hard thing to explain when a Tech 2 Logistics ship costs 150mil isk and a reasonably fit Tech 1 Logi costs only 15mil. The mind revolts at the thought that a Tech 2 Logistics ship is 10x better than its Tech 1 variant, and in addition, replacing a Tech 2 Logistics ship hurts the wallet hard, especially if you get the mind set that it costs the same as a small Tech 1 gang.
Second – “Um, Do You Know How To Fly That Thing?”
As I fly Logi support, being supported by Tech 1 Logi just doesn’t fill me with confidence. The guy next to me could be just flying a logi because its cheapest ships he could get away with, or the only ship someone would loan him. Or maybe he’s starting out and doesn’t have a lot of secondary skills that aren’t listed on the ship skill list, but are equally important. Either way, I don’t have any idea what it will be until the heat is on.
Part of the problem stems from the fact that they are relatively cheap to build. This reality is coupled with the pre-tiercide belief that Tech 1 ships can be considered “throwaway”. Considering the task of the logistics ship, that isn’t a view one should have. They aren’t throwaway ships, yet Alliance leaders view them as such, FCs view them as such, individual pilots view them as such. So, why try to improve your skill in a “throwaway” ship? Especially if the third point is true..
Third – “Where’d My Target Go?”
The effectiveness of my Tech 2 Logi is actually REDUCED with Tiercide. Let me explain. In the previous Tech 2 fleets, you had Tech 2/Tech 3 Ships combined with Tech 2 Logistics. Anything tech 1 in fleet was considered throw-away. The tech 2 ships sported tech 2 resists, allowing Logi pilots more time to lock and begin repairs. This was important because sometimes Eve would glitch or you had an opposing FC with a disciplined fleet would could change targets quickly, so the resists gave you time to save the ship.
That isn’t necessarily the case with the Tech 1 ships. They typically don’t have the resists, so even if you have a few Tech 2 Logistics ships supporting your Tech 1 fleet, they may not have enough time to save the ships from being taken down before the reps land on their intended survivor. Since those losses are more likely AND produce more numerical losses, the very expensive Tech 2 logistics often can’t justify their cost in those fleets.
Conclusion – All the eggs are in one…
First off, let me remind everyone that I think Tiercide, including that done for Tech 1 logistics ships is a great idea and well implimented. The problem here isn’t the devs. The tech 1 ships have proven themselves a nice change from the “tech 2 only” mantra that locked the mindset of many.
The problem comes in when people, be they pilots or alliance leaders, forget to look past numbers. To look beyond the mere cost of the ship. A good logistics pilot is an awesome force when coupled with a good ship. And when several of those good ships are working together effectively, it can be a sight to behold. Just remember that.