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.
You can follow along, if you want...

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Bring out the big guns

First, the news of the day.  I don't have much to say about the launcher issues that happened today except these things happen.  Matter of fact, I had been telling CCP devs this past weekend how nifty I thought the new SSO launcher was on Singularity and playing with it there.  It didn't cause any issues getting it installed there and from what I'm seeing in CCP's news briefs today, it looks like the issues today were mostly coincidental.  Here's the forum thread if you want to read it.  It got to 103 pages in about 16 hours.

Am I going to rage to CCP about it?  Nope.  I'm sorry about all of the people impacted by this issue.  I was impacted by it myself and spent a while on a work-around before figuring it out.  Software has bugs and unforeseen problems from time to time.  While I understand the anger, I don't share it, and I'm not going to get on CCP's case about it.  If you're going to get annoyed with CCP, get annoyed with them for stuff they do on purpose.  ;-)  Onward.

Nope, what I thought it'd be fun to talk about today are the XL weapons re-balancing changes announced by CCP Fozzie just before the weekend.  I've spent a lot of time thinking about it and talking with players about it.  Let me start with the summary.  I think feihcsiM (I see what you did there) has the right of it in his post on Fozzie's thread about the issue. To summarize:
DREADS BEST TO WORST PRE-PATCH
  1. Moros
  2. Rev
  3. Nag
  4. Phoenix
DREADS BEST TO WORST POST-PATCH
  1. Moros
  2. Rev
  3. Nag
  4. Phoenix
I happen to disagree with his order.  I think the Naglfar will be passing the Revelation thanks to several factors which I'll get to presently.  But those of you posting "RIP Moros" or asking if you should still train the Moros aren't thinking the issue through.  The simple fact is that the Moros is so much better than the other three dreadnoughts right now that only a major top-down re-balance of the entire class is going to address the balance issues.  While, say, adding 25% to the damage of capital missiles would be satisfying to Phoenix pilots, without balancing the rest of the ship, the Phoenix is still going to be wildly sub-par to the other dreads in virtually every respect.

Give capital missiles a damage buff and there might be some in CCP that would say "That's good enough for another :18months:.  Let's turn our attention to other things."  I think we've all heard this before somewhere.  Silly as it sounds, I'd rather have the Phoenix still sitting there, being bad and embarrassing people as a way to motivate the ship balancing team to do this right.  This probably makes me a bad person.  ;-)

Fozzie, CCP Ytterbium and CCP Rise are smart guys and know about the problems.  Hell, I wouldn't put it past Fozzie to do it this way on purpose.  And no, I haven't asked him.  He's such a nice guy he might tell me the truth.

OK, why do I think the Naglfar is now second to the Moros?  Five reasons:
  1. Better damage output for what a lot of people actually use dreads for, i.e. small-scale cap fights and structure bashes.
  2. Opens up the terrifying possibility of blap dreads used against other capitals.
  3. Tunable damage.
  4. Few/no cap dependencies actually makes them tougher in combat.
  5. (Once things settle down.) Cheaper.
In particular, in a good armor tanking configuration, a Naglfar has 1.9 million EHP on 326k armor HP, versus 2.0 million EHP on 310k armor EHP in a typical Moros.  But unlike the Moros, your guns can't be capped out and are tunable to whatever damage type you like -- that includes to the explosive hole that most POSes these days have.  The Nag has 82% resists against Revelations, and 70% resist against kinetic.  And finally, once hull prices stabilize, I predict Nag prices are going to settle down at something around 2.4 billion ISK... and if you fit CONCORD guns, you only need two of them.

But the Moros is still better.  Typically in EVE, dreads attack structures; a large POS attack takes place at 30km.  A typical Moros fit for this task with triple faction Magnetic Field Stabilizers, CONCORD guns, no Tracking Enhancers and an expert pilot aboard does about 15500 DPS at 30km.  His optimal with anti-matter will be 27km, meaning that the vast majority of shots at 30km are going to hit and hit hard.  With a 30km falloff, DPS drops to 5000 at 57km.  With this change, optimal will drop to 17km, but fall-off will be extended to 40km.  That means damage at 57km is going to be about the same and the DPS curve will drop more slowly.

Today with this ship, you lose about 2000 DPS 10km beyond optimal but with the longer fall-off I think we can expect the loss with anti-matter at 30km to be no more than 1000 DPS or so, to about 14500.  Yes, you can downshift to Plutonium and yes, that will certainly help.  But I think it's going to drop your DPS to about 14000 at 30km.  In short, anti-matter still looks to be the way to go.  Yes, more of your shots will miss.  But the percentage that will miss will be made up by the increased damage of those that hit and you'll still be coming out ahead in structure bashes.

And you're still going to be exceeding Naglfar and Rev damage except under very specialized situations.

I can't speak to capital-on-capital fights, having only been in a handful of them, but in my experience those take place at much closer ranges than 30km and so this change isn't going to affect the Moros at all.  What about tracking?  Obviously, the 15% tracking nerf that XL blasters is receiving is aimed at the famous "blap dread": Moroses fit with double tracking computers intended to slay webbed-down battleships in large fights.  Again, having run the numbers and thought about the situation, I conclude that the nerf is not going to be sufficient to end these tactics but can't be made any higher without impacting the occasional Erebus gun-fight.  In particular, the heavy webs often brought to bear in this situation have more of an impact on the targets than the tracking of the dreadnought itself does.

In short, it's not much of a nerf.  It addresses some of the issue and might cause a Moros pilot here or there to fit faction Tracking Computers.  But it's not going to put an end to the tactic.  A full rebalance of the dreadnought is going to be needed to address this issue as well, in my opinion.

So anyone breathing into a paper bag over this can relax.  The Moros is still the best dread and is likely to remain so for a while to come yet.  Anyone who spent a lot of time training them can be confident in their training, and anyone asking which dread to train?  There you go.

16 comments:

  1. I didn't run into any serious launcher issues (resulting in repairing game or so), but it kept throwing me and error message after 2+ launches. Fortunately some GENIUS tought of adding "Start EVE" button to the error message window, that was unexpected and brilliant! You just start EVE and log via ingame screen :)

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  2. Does anyone know why there are still capital launcher hardpoints needed to build naglfars?

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    Replies
    1. The changes will apply after the Odyssey patch so the blueprint will still show the launcher hardpoints until 4 June.

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  3. I think you're wrong to give CCP a pass on the launcher fiasco. It demonstrates (again) their continuing failure to listen to players who give feedback (*gasp*) on the Test Server Feedback forum, where serious issues were raised days ago. Oh, but you thought it was cool so that makes everything OK, eh? Most players want to push button, play game. It still doesn't work right as it leaves zombie processes running even after one exits the launcher/game completely (launcher.exe multiple instances left running that prevent restarting the launcher). It demonstrates horrific design decisions CCP continues to make: reliance on a website only loosely related to actually starting the game and stopping the login process cold if said website can't be contacted? Seriously?

    If this is OK by you, then fine, CSM says it's not a big deal, right.
    http://imgur.com/JKxPXVS
    Thousands of people were affected on Tuesday and the problems have not all been solved yet. CSM: La plus ca change...

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    Replies
    1. Wow, somebody needs to take their meds...

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  4. The Naglfar might even surpass Moros by (accidentaly) opening a new possibility that many-many people asked for: a way to counter supers without more supers. A cheap-fit arty Nag can alpha up to 90K on a big target. Put enough (read: Goon-TEST amount) of people into arty Nags and you can volley down titans. No more "jump out on low armor", no need to tackle, you just lock it up and it's dead.

    A Moros alpha is half as big and the optimal is much shorter (as for some weird reason the blaster moros alphaes higher than the rail Moros)

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  5. Launch issues aside, the new launcher is still a massive pieve of garbage that prsents a large drope in qulity of life for everyone who has more than one account. Luckily, there still is the ExeFile.exe, but there are rumours abound that CCP wants to get rid of the ingame login-screen altogether, the removal of the logoff-function when starting the game via launcher being the strongest evidence.

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  6. This touches on what seems to be the actual issue with "blap dreads," which is that one ship with one web can give every one of his fleetmates the equivalent of a free tracking computer, or two if the ship is bonused for webbing. Therefore, as long as you have enough Vindis (or the like) on field, there's no way to avoid the blap dread.

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    Replies
    1. Isn't that the whole point of a properly planned fleet composition? I don't think organizations that can organize themselves well enough to earn these bonuses should be allowed to blap away.

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  7. i was in a blabb dread for 3 fights so far and we didnt use webs. you can hit battleships anyway if they dont orbit you. you have to look at the transversal befor picking a new target, but webs were never involved.
    we also didnt use primarys, because the damage vs battleships is so extrem

    i think webs are more for wormhole business to kill all these t3 cruisers or if you field only 2 or 3 dreads which makes it easy to keep transversal high.

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  8. Completely unrelated. Jester, the "new launcher" disgrace. Please address it with CCP when/if discussion comes up. There's a whole lot of WTF going on in a 118 page thread on just what exactly was accomplished by changing something that didn't need changing.

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  9. "If you're going to get annoyed with CCP, get annoyed with them for stuff they do on purpose."

    Oh, you mean like announcing a (possibly) game breaking update only on the day they deploy it? So you have no chance to reschedule your ops or fill the skill queue so it doesn't run dry?

    Like doing a game update at the same time, so if the launcher doesn't work, your game does neither?

    Of course I don't know about the hard technical dependencies for EVE, but usually you can do those as independent updates. Also, usually you can rollout such changes in a controlled fashion (e.g. not for all users at once), so you can stop the rollout as soon as problems show themselves (this way maybe even the limited capacity of the webservers would have been enough, who knows).

    Yes, while this stuff happens (did happen often enough to me in my work), there are measures available to mitigate the impact, and tbh, there was not much mitigation to see from outside.

    So, yes, I am getting annoyed for stuff they did on purpose - or, well, didn't do.

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  10. " I don't have much to say about the launcher issues that happened today except these things happen. Matter of fact, I had been telling CCP devs this past weekend how nifty I thought the new SSO launcher was on Singularity and playing with it there. It didn't cause any issues getting it installed there and from what I'm seeing in CCP's news briefs today, it looks like the issues today were mostly coincidental. "

    Must be nice to not have constant luncher issues.I'm actually increasingly not decreasingly haveing issues with it hanging on me.

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  11. There were two separate issues with the rollout of the new launcher, possibly three. 1) The actual technical issues involved. 2) CCP's communications/relations with their playerbase in the face of #1. 3) The credibility gap that CCP has with the people that take the time to give them detailed feedback on the test server. Are you asking us to accept that you don't believe the CSM has a role in helping CCP evaluate/learn from any of those three items?

    I'm not asking you to rage at CCP. I'm not even asking you to hold their feet to the fire. But if CCP isn't undertaking some sort of review of what happened/how do we do better/what needs to change when they have a problem like this, why aren't they? and why wouldn't the CSM be a natural part of that review? Yes, there is a lot of random generalized rage in that thread, but there is some decent constructive criticism as well. Without the CSM (and without solid communication from CCP), how are we as players supposed to know that is getting even lip service at CCP, much less consideration?

    Admitting to some disappointment with what sounds like a flip attitude on this one, and feel badly typing that. Please reconsider?

    Always,

    Boiglio

    PS. My own contribution to threadnaught can be found at https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&m=3065876#post3065876

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  12. Now that the launcher 'works' some players are actively choosing to bypass it. It seems to me to be a backward step if this is the intended finally form for any length of time.

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    Replies
    1. You need BIGGER quotes with "works" in reference with the launcher! I still have isues with it ( especilly after closed socket error ) and the reason why many think it works is probably due to the bypass solution ( which is rumored to be discontinued on the Odyssey launch? )

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