Welcome to Jester's Trek.
I'm your host, Jester. I've been an EVE Online player for about six years. One of my four mains is Ripard Teg, pictured at left. Sadly, I've succumbed to "bittervet" disease, but I'm wandering the New Eden landscape (and from time to time, the MMO landscape) in search of a cure.
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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Ugly ducklings

Just a quickie, but it made me laugh and then got me thinking.

Kirith Kodachi wrote a blog post today in which he blames CSM7 for something that they had little or nothing to do with: the new Stabber model that was shown off in the recent cruiser re-balance dev-blog.  As far as I'm concerned any credit or blame for this has to go to Rixx Javix who led a blogging crusade against the recent re-skinning of the Stabber model that -- as a side effect -- resulted in the "frill" of solar panels being removed from the neck of the Vagabond.  I said as much a week or so ago and said that I was pleased with the redesign.

Why does Kirith want to assign blame?  It isn't because he dislikes the new Stabber model -- he likes it.  That's the problem.  As far as he's concerned, it's his old enemy the Moa model that should have been updated instead.  Rixx teasingly asked him in comments if he should start a crusade against that next.  After all, Rixx got one of the art team to respond to his crusade directly.  I teased Rixx myself saying "He nearly single-handedly motivated the art team to fix a ship model and of all the ship models in the game, he chose the Stabber model?!?  I mean, c'mon, how thick can you get?"

It's a funny exchange but it did get me thinking.  There are certainly a lot of ugly ships in EVE and the ships based on the Moa model certainly qualify.  But in terms of ships that actually get flown my own opinion is that the Moa has much bigger problems than how ugly it is.  People wouldn't fly it if it were pretty because the ship itself is bad, though hopefully that will be getting fixed this year.  That set me wondering, of the ships people actually fly, which are the ones most in need of face lifts?

It's an interesting question, I think.  Here's my list:
  • Osprey model.  For my money, this is the ugliest ship in the game, and it's commonly flown as the Basilisk.
  • Blackbird model.  Falcons are based on this and with Blackbirds are among the most commonly-flown ships in small-gang PvP.
  • Aeon model.  Far and away both the ugliest capital ship in the game and the ugliest Amarr ship... and yet is probably the most common super-carrier.
  • Imicus model.  The basis of the Gallente Helios Covert Ops ship is, for my money, the ugliest frigate in the game.  What is with that kick-stand?
  • Megathron model.  It isn't too bad, but it deserves the same kind of low-level tweaking that the Raven model got last year.
  • Rupture model.  The ugliest Minmatar ship is simultaneously the best and one of the most common T1 cruisers in the game.
  • Reaper.  Yeah, I know it just got an update.  But the thing looks like it was made out of clay, not scrap metal.  In my opinion, it should be rebuilt to look like something between a Slasher and a Rifter.
If I were going to start a crusade about this, I'd probably start it about the Blackbird model.  The thing is just hideous.

What about you, Dear Readers?  What commonly-used ship would you start an art crusade against?


  1. I'm with KK, the Moa needs some love. The Osprey too. We need to get rid of the stigma that Caldari ships are designed by two people, one does the left half, one does the right half, and they have never actually met.

    The Phoenix could use some sprucing up as well.

    1. Does anyone actually FLY the Phoenix? The point here was to call out ships people actually fly.

  2. I would go for the Megathron, because every time I look at it I realise it's not as pretty as I thought. It looks like the draft of what should be the most beautiful Gallente ship. It's lacking balance between it's high front and short length. Compare it to the graceful poise of the Armageddon, and you'll know the Megathron is unfinished business =)

    For those who want a quick reminder/overview of most Eve ship looks: http://game-craft.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/EVE-ships-subcap-Tyrannis.jpg

    1. You know, I never quite realized how small the Caldari ships were compared to the rest. The battleships in particular stand out.

  3. The space potato of course. Anyone who says they like the Dominix hull need to be sectioned imo :)

    Like seriously, it's just a blob

    1. I almost called out the Domi, but outside of a few herd Domis in faction warfare, you don't see people flying them.

    2. If you aren't flying a Domi, Jester, you don't know what you are missing.

      The Domi is probably the most unpredictable ship in the game, in terms of how many ways it can be effectively fit for PVP.

      And, the new Drone Damage Amplifier II mod gives it a huge DPS kick, esp. since the mod boosts all drone damage - lights, mediums, heavies and sentries - on top of the Domi's existing bonuses.

      Too bad the model is so damn ugly....

  4. Bellicose (Huginn/Rapier)

    1. I've never understood why people don't like the Bellicose hull. I think it's one of the better-looking hulls in the game.

  5. Something different: Caracal and Celestis. The Ferox need some touches ála Raven.

  6. Moa, then Bellicose.

    Then maybe the Limabean with a crutch (Imicus)

  7. If I say the Rupture, someone might feel slighted by the Minmatar redesign bias..

    I can't believe you left out the Bellicose, whose T2 variants are often found in fleets and gangs. That is one of the ugliest (and silliest) looking cruisers in the game.

    Osprey first, then those two. :p

  8. I have to say I really don't like the Dominix. Looks like a bit of mis-shaped clay.

  9. Once an Gallentean engineer enjoyed a walk on the beach. He came across a heap of random flotsam, overseas containers filled with electronics and a beached whale. He took all that and build the Proteus.

  10. The aeon isn't just ugly - it's also a direct link to a space gaming classic called "Whale's Voyage". I picked my brain about 1.5 hours before I remembered the name :)

    Also (of course) the basic amarr industrials look quite like it.

    The imicus still tops my ugly list. Every time I see it, I start to turn my head to get it straightened. And of course never succeed.

  11. Actually I prefer Eve ships to be ugly; I think that it fits in the narrative of Eve and with the fact that everybody could be an aggressor that every ships should look strange or obviously 'wrong' at first sight.

    'Ugliness' was quite popular in contemporary design (think about some fashion or Bangle-era BMSs) whereas the ships they are churning out now seems to adhere to a less orignal and much older idea of industrial design or to a certain imagery found in Japanese anime which is much dated to be honest.

    Sadly these new ships just show CCP losing its edge favour of more generals product tasteless standards. Will they be able to deliver compelling games that shine in dark contrast out of the pack now that even their ships are getting symmetrical?

  12. Going on a tangent, I remember when Dominixes were brown.

    Something of that shape, brown and with five 'things' flying around it... I tell you, the original ship modelers had a wicked sense of humor.

  13. You take that back! The Osprey is one of the most attractive ships in the game precisely because it is asymmetrical. The Moa is certainly distinctive, but as far as ugly goes, the Rupture is the pinnacle of awkward and unattractive design.

    I don't know why people have such a fascination for “fixing” stuff they never actually see anyway. The ugliest ship in the game is any neutral, since all you see is the broken square bracket with no colour fill.

  14. How dare you slander the good name and stunning visage of the Minmatar glue gun. Its ass is a Spanish Galleon for goodness sake.

    Good day sir.

  15. I am personally quite fond of the (pitiable) Osprey/Basilisk model and I LOVE the lopsided look of the Imicus.

    My biggest fear when people argue in favor of remodeling the ugly ducklings is that eve could lose a lot of the unique models and go to a blander standard-sci-fi-style.

    That would be an overall loss.

    An imaginary future universe should contain things that are strange, weird and - yes - even ugly looking (Osprey).

    I am all for improving and tweaking ship designs. I am also not against wholesome retooling of some models. But don't lose the overall depth and richness of design choices. Weird stuff like the lopsided Imicus are a part of really good design choices by the art team of CCP back in the day.

    My 2 cents.

  16. I'm actually totally against the redesign of the Caldari ships that you mentioned, especially the Moa, an unpopular opinion I know. To me the charm of the Caldari ships is that they're ugly because they're practical. That just seems really Caldari to me. Who cares if they're not all gold or they're lumpy, these ships we're designed to do a job not get you tail. Not to say I would be terribly upset if the rest of the Caldari ships got Manticored, but they would seem less Caldari to me at the end of it.

    To the actual question though, I'm not crazy about the Bellicose/Huginn/Rapier hull. The parts on the side look kinda weird in the middle of the ship. If they moved to the back, or even the front, that would be better.

    1. I agree with you. To me, there are two ship design philosophies at work in New Eden:
      - good looking ships (Amarr and Gallente)
      - practical ships (Caldari and Minmatar)

      So it does make sense that most of the ships that are seen as ugly are Caldari and Minmatar.

  17. Exequror (t1 oneiros). Did one of its engine pods grow a tumor or is it just me? 2nd would have. To be the Phoenix. It just looks like the designer didn't spend more than 5 minutes imagining this ship.

  18. Dominix Dominix Dominix Dominix and Dominix.

  19. Dear Blogger,

    Touch the Megathron model and burn in a fiery pit :)

    No tweaks, not changes. Just blasters and two ramming prongs.

  20. I agree that there are some really ugly ships out there that really could use a remodeling... However one thing that has annoyed me like crazy since I first started EVE is all those faction ships that has a camouflage pattern.

    First of all, the reason soldiers wear camouflage pattern-clothes is to melt into the environment. But there is no reason whatsoever for spaceships to look like that.

    Second, it just look horrible and the ships with this theme really needs a new paint job!

    1. I think the worst of that is the camo on the Rhea and Nomad. Seriously guys? On jump freighters?

  21. The Dominix. By any standard, the worst ship model in the game.

    1. No! I like my space potato! ;-) Ugliest ship: yes, Moa, Blackbird. The drake needs some overhaul, it looks like something that fell off a car. The Tengu isnt much better, I never know where the front and the back ends are (especially when cloaky). But occasionally CCP gets the design right, the new Nemesis and the new Mantocore models are awesome...

  22. Osprey and Blackbird are awesome, they just need some texture love, the Blackbird in particular has some horrible shit going down - especially the rear. As long as they didn't destroy the base shape I guess I wouldn't mind. :3

  23. I'm so bored already with redesigns and rebalancing of old T1 ships, and talks about new T1 dessies (whoop dee do).

    When are we going to see T2 caps and super caps? T3 battlecruisers and battleships? These are the kind of ships that will bring more players to the game.

    Besides, CCP says there is too much ISK in the game and we need more sinks, less faucets. Well, the biggest and best sink in the game is expensive wrecks - every other sink in the game is nothing but noise in comparison.

    1. Ship destruction isn't an ISK sink, it's a mineral sink and an ISK faucet.

      New features (advertise-able) bring new players; iterating on old features retains and/or brings back old players. That much should be obvious by the stagnation in subscriber numbers since the last 'Jesus feature' expansion. CCP needs to add new features (Ring Mining) while iterating on old content (POSes; Tiericide; Sov; WiS; the list goes on...) if they wish to have the best of both worlds.

      Unfortunately, we (the players) havn't let them make many new features (What mercenary marketplace?) since Monoclegate. Yet people complain about how recent expansions are devoid of content. I wonder why that is.

    2. A wreck is not an isk sink, the value stays in the economy, because when you explode that shiny the wallet of the person who sold it doesn't get negged.

      Just, you know, so you know.

    3. Wrecks aren't an isk sink, at least not directly.

  24. Actually, I like the Blackbird, and I've grown to like the Osprey (more or less) - so I'd flat out start with the Moa.

    Arbitrator could possibly be next, the front end sags down a bit like it's starting to melt...

    Prophecy has an excellent design - apart from its side-profile. Chunky-chicken needs to go on a diet.

  25. The Bantam and Blackbird are hands down, the *UGLIEST* ships in EVE. Many times I can't even tell which way the Blackbird is even suppose to face, unless it's undocked and flying. Only then does the engine trails give away which end is which.

    And the Bantam looks like a HG Giger design on a day when he was just phoning it in. Words fail me...

  26. I'd go with the carriers and supers. Not only could most of the models do with some work (I'm thinking mostly the Thanatos, the Archon as well), but they need resizing. Having a ship that can supposedly hold two fit battleships when it's only twice a long is a bit silly. I was just looking at some Abaddons next to an Archon yesterday, and the Baddon is a fair bith thicker than the Archon it supposedly fits in...

    Same goes for supercarriers, and yes, the Aeon definitely is an ugly duckling.

    I don't know about you guys, but for one of the more common fleet BS, the Armageddon is a little underwhelming...

  27. well, they did make the stabber look more phallic like for the mythical custom skinning where i'm sure purple cockpits will be all the rage

  28. Hell I completely forgot the Dominix! It's a flying shoe, not a battleship!

  29. I would change most of the Caldari Ships, i never liked their looks. And the Rupture indeed needs a rework.

  30. Leave the Dominix alone! I love my flying Death Spud.

    Also the Wedge of Death (Rupture to you all) is fine.

    1. I always call the Rupture the Paslode (it's a nailgun - Google it and tell me I'm not right).

  31. Caldari changes-

    Scythe (not much just some tweaking on the odd tubes and connectors)

    Megathron (not much just general balance of design)
    Thorax (just the dangly bit)

    While I realize many people like the "unique" look of the ships it seems something symmetrical and aesthetically pleasing will draw and keep more players. The ships have the potential to be beautiful but it's tough to like something you can barely stand to look at.

    Take the Raven for instance. I know it just got upgraded but the two completely different design plans for the wings is horrible. There doesn't have to be perfect symmetry, but the differences should be minor instead of the overall theme.

  32. Please leave the Megathron alone, it's awesome as is.

  33. The bellicose/huggin/rapier and its fat rear end. There is a much nicer ship there with some reworking.


    Oh goodness, I suppose this means a rebuttal...

  35. Osprey/Basilisk always looked like a bloated wood tick to me. I really dont mind it but wouldn't argue a little "face lift".

    The Moa....well, damn. It's just plain ugly.

    As far as I'm concerned, they made my day with the Scorpion change. Made lots of people cranky, but I really like it.

  36. rupture, rupture, rupture, bellicose, rupture, rupture, bellicose, dominix,

    thank you.

  37. I would be happier if they spent the time redesigning all the t2 ships to be based on the original models. hacs with over sized shield generators or big armor blisters.

  38. How the bloody fuck is the Rupture ugly? I love the look of it, all it needs is a mast and heat-sink sails and it'd literally be perfect.

  39. Imicus: just asymetrical in an unpleasant way.
    Moa: The designer for this ship should be taken out and shot (in game ofc).
    Typhoon: I like how it looks massive and solid, but the body of it needs more detail and variation.
    Moros: When I first started playing, I thought the back was the front. It still looks like it's going backwards to me.

  40. My personal pet peeve is how so many ships are absurdly asymmetrical. Some ships that are slightly off look good like the Nemesis or the Manticore. Others, like the Griffin, the Moa, and others look like somebody in the art department sneezed on a piece of drafting paper.

  41. I love the rupture, nothing screams minmatar like flying a giant nailgun/pirate ship hybrid. I've always liked the megathron,to be honest reading these comments and your post I am surprised by how disliked it is!

    Now the bellicose, that's a damn ugly ship.

  42. Moa.
    Its just that ugly it needs to be delt with. All other ship models are passable, but the Moa just looks wrong. Its deformed, mangled and worst of all I cant fly a Gila because its so f'kin ugly!!

    If I have to pick from the ships you listed though I'd chose the Imicus. It would make a nice little explorer if it wasn't so god damn ugly.

    The Blackbird is ugly, but its ugly in a way that kind of works. It has the look and feel of a high-tech ship; something that has forgone beauty in favour of efficiency. If you examine the model closely it looks very fragile, which seems appropriate to me for an Ewar ship.
    Id say the same for the Osprey, its ugly, but not necessarily in a bad way.

    Aeon is bad, yes, but I wouldnt chose it simply because its a super-cap and is a ship of the "elite". Plus it could be fixed simply by mirroring the ship and welding the two halves together.

    Rupture and Megathron I am both very ok with. Mega has a very cool dimensional fortress look going on and the Rupture evokes images of Spanish gallons. Both just don't strike me as ugly enough to warrant any sort of emergency cosmetic surgery.

    All I will say about the Reaper is this; For a ship that is supposed to be an upgraded fighter, it sure doesn't look very nimble to me!

  43. Personally as far as "commonly used" ships go, I've always hated the Tempest (OK, even the Minmatar would not design something that inefficient). And the Vigil (or Mr. Smiley as I call it). The Blackbird is bad too (Duplo, anyone?). The Celestis/Arazu "flying tumor". And yes, I too hate the Bellicose (which is heavily flown as a Rapier or Huginn) model.

    About a year ago I held an Ugly Cruiser contest:

    Kirith won with his comment on the Moa: "The Moa looks like a cyborg zombie goose that was rebuilt with parts from an industrial microwave oven from 1985. I still don’t know why the old Scorpion got redesigned and now the Raven before this monstrosity." and it was the one I highlighted as well.

    I said of cruisers in general at the time: "Seriously, Tibus Heth needs to kill all his ship designers."

    You voted for the Osprey.

  44. I think Tempest could use a facelift on the lines of the stabber, and maybe the rupture too. But actually i like the distinctive ugliness of the Rupture.:)

    1. It's funny that you say that about the Tempest.

  45. Perhaps leaving the T1 models as they are, and prettying up the T2 variants would make more sense?

    Given T2 ships are based upon, then refined/enhanced from T1 that would make sense. So you would start off with some fuglies, like the Moa, but it would evolve into something less Red-Headed Stepchild in its T2 incarnation.

    That said I have always had the hate for the Moa, Imicus, BB, well, pretty much all the Caldari asymetrical asshattery.

  46. I think we must see the ugly ships in Eve as members of two different groups: "acceptable design idea, but bad realisation/didn't age well" and "just plain ugly".

    examples in the "bad realisation" group are:

    - Blackbird (I like the idea behind the BB, but it needs some serious poly-love)
    - every tier1/tier2 bs, bar Raven and Scorp ofc (and Tempest soon)
    - Rupture(I absolutely love the shape of the Rupture, but needs moar polys)
    - caps. seriosly

    "plain ugly" are:

    - Moa (ofc)
    - Bantam
    - Griffin (I'm honestly surprised that this little abomination wasn't mentioned yet)
    - Burst ... I think that was the name of that Minmatar-miningfrig

    It is easy to forget that many of the current models are nearly 5 years old, and it's visible. While all the graphic effects can be gorgeous at times, the ships themselves are often a total let-down.


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