Obi-Wan: I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened.The other sound you just heard was that of every carebear in Empire starting to freak out.
Today has been full of news about the four new tier 3 battle cruisers that will be released as part of the winter expansion:
- the Amarr Oracle;
- the Caldari Naga;
- the Gallente Talos; and,
- the Minmatar Tornado.
CCP went another direction with the idea.(1) But sure enough, that's the concept behind these four ships: battle cruiser platform, check. Threat to capital ships? Check check.
The Tornado was reintroduced in a devblog a few days ago, after a very coy picture of the ship appeared on Twitter. This morning, early, a second such teaser picture was released. It's hard to say which of the remaining three ships we're looking at here (concentrate on the monitor to the left). The lines and the goofy profile strike me as Caldari, but go through the comments on that pic and you'll see just as many guesses for Gallente and Amarr.
An hour or so after that, we got the first surprise database leak. And a few hours after that, the leak became a flood. See my own first blog post this morning for that.
But let's step back and look at these four ships in isolation. And let's be clear right now: these ships are terrifying monsters that are going to change the face of EVE Online.
I've been focusing on the Tornado today, but others are looking closely at the remaining three, and it's entirely possible that the Tornado is going to end up being the weakest of these ships. The Talos is going to do upwards of 1400-1500 DPS at under 12km, making it the single most powerful gank ship in the game if it gets close to you (and it's the only one of the four with drones). The Naga is going to be doing upwards of 750 DPS with torpedoes and moves at 2500m/s, which may bring back a new age of "cavalry fit" ships. Certainly, it will likely become the new go-to class of ship for quick undefended tower bashes.(2) And with its tracking bonus, the Oracle should have no problem striking down cruisers beyond Drake range with 500 DPS... or doing 350 DPS at 190km with beams...
But in their actual role... yeah. These are scary ships. In the game of rock-paper-scissors that often characterizes EVE, they are one hell of a big rock. And they're aimed firmly at every carrier, dreadnought, super carrier, and titan in the game. Mittens is already planning what to do to supercaps with these. ;-)
I, however, am looking somewhat closer to the center of the universe. Make no mistake: once this expansion hits, the age of officer-fitting or deadspace-fitting L4 mission battleships is OVER! These are the ultimate suicide gank platform. With battle cruiser priced insurance and suicide-gank fitting, even small groups of these will end anyone silly enough to undock with too-shiny fittings. We might even see the loss of whole incursion battleship fleets in lower-security Empire systems. Anyone flying a freighter carrying much of anything is going to have to look over their shoulder. You're going to see whole fleets of these wandering the Jita pipes and the mission hubs looking for someone to kill.
Yeah, these are scary ships. Maybe just a bit too scary right now. I'm just guessing, but I think we're going to see these ships get dialed back a bit before they get released.
One last thing: someone at CCP has a really great sense of humor. There's a hidden joke in the names of these ships. While tornadoes are obviously real enough, the other three names deal with things that are primarily mythological. ;-)
EDIT (25/Oct/2011): One other last thing. I just realized what the destroyer buff was partially about. ;-)
(1) That said, I'm totally OK with some version of my proposal being the tech 2 versions of these ships. ;-)
(2) If my math is accurate, with good skills, one Hydraulic Bay Thrusters rig will get those torps out beyond 30km.