- Rapid Launchers would hold between 18 and 23 charges, roughly enough for 45-50 seconds firing time;
- during that time, they'd do greatly increased damage over what they do now;
- the exact amount of damage during that time hasn't been announced, but it would be very significant (Rise mentions that RLMLs would do damage comparable to HAMs); but,
- once the launcher is empty, you'd have to wait 40 seconds for a reload.
Answer: yep! And I'll explain why, but first let's talk about where this change is going to suck.
If you're having way too much fun in an RLML Caracal either solo or ultra-small gang, particularly trolling through FW space, you almost certainly think this is the worst change ever to happen to EVE Online. The root cause of the reason is that Rapid Light Missile Launchers are incredibly over-powered:
- they're good at short range or long range;
- they're good at attacking small ships or big ships; and,
- in most ships on which they're used but especially on the Caracal, they do every type of damage, too!
So indeed Rise is cutting the sustained DPS of people using this tactic to about 60% of what they're getting now and unsurprisingly, they're pissed about it. But I say again: RLML Caracals (and to a lesser extent, RLML Gilas) were OP as hell. So let's just start by agreeing that some kind of monster nerf was inevitable, shall we? Anyone who plays the game like this has to have been playing this game long enough to realize it. Don't worry, there's always going to be some other wildly OP tactic in this game that you can change to.
With that done, let's get to the good bit. A HAM Caracal has a volley of around 1150 damage or so, depending on skill, and the RLML Caracal is going to be getting 18 comparable volleys before reload. Only now this 1150 volley is going to be mated to a much smaller explosion radius. In the situation where anti-tackle ships were intended to be used, this is freakin' huge and is almost OP in its own right. (Don't tell Rise I said so.) But let's look at that situation: in a typical anti-tackle scenario, you land on grid, you have to clear tackle at the beginning of a fight. Then you might have to clear tackle again if your FC decides to disengage.
So this comes down to what I'm personally thinking of as a "first two minutes" situation. In that first two minutes with a RLML Caracal using these new missiles, you have three time periods:
- 45 seconds where you're doing 1150 damage per volley, about 20k volley total.
- Then 40 seconds where you're reloading.
- Then 45 more seconds where you have a second 20k volley.
Put another way: a couple of these things can clear away anywhere from two to six tackle frigates in the first 45-50 seconds of a fight. Then they reload. Then, right as the FC is deciding to either fully commit or disengage, they can do it again!
Clear away up to 12 tackle frigates in the first two minutes of an engagement, then be able to warp off if desired, while the rest of the fleet concentrates on heavier stuff in the meantime? Yes, please! That suits Rote Kapelle's small- to medium-gang play style all the way down to the ground. So did I tell Rise I was in favor of this change? Hell yes, I did! I think it has some really interesting strategic uses for small gang scenarios.
Yes, if you're relying on RLMLs as a primary weapon system, I can see why you're upset. But I don't, and I'm not. I'm thrilled with the possibilities here.
Besides, you should have seen the other possible nerfs he was thinking about. ;-)
Now all that said, I'm a little less sanguine about this change as it applies to Rapid Heavy Missile Launchers. I can't see quite as many use cases for them and any fight to which you bring a battleship is likely to be an extended engagement by default. Therefore a weapon system that doesn't have good endurance for the whole fight probably isn't going to be as useful. But I'm willing to suspend judgment on that situation because I can think of one use case that's really really entertaining. But I want to try it out a couple of times first before I talk about it.
So anyway, yes, I was in favor of the "v2" rapid missile launcher changes and now I've explained why. I think it adds some really interesting emergent game-play possibilities to the game while addressing a previously overpowered weapon system that was quite frankly way too good in way too many scenarios.