In Homeworld, I liked to rely for home defense on a unit called the Attack Bomber. The bomber was thin-skinned and slow, but had a heavy forward weapon that was quite good against enemy capital ships, and it was cheap to build. I'd devote my cheap bombers to taking out ridiculously expensive enemy Heavy Cruisers, which were the biggest units in that game. In StarCraft, when playing Zerg facing Protoss opponents, I would nearly always devote about 10% of my economy exclusively to the production of Scourges, a one-use anti-air bomb that was quite good against Protoss Carriers. I'd place cheap little blobs of them behind my lines, each blob the exact number needed to take out one Carrier, plus one for insurance. Sooner or later, I knew I'd need them.
Dear Heaven, did these tactics get me yelled at.
That said, the thing about both of these units is that they're essentially defensive.(1) There's no real offensive doctrine around using a Homeworld Attack Bomber or a StarCraft Scourge. Try it, and you'll find they're no better than cannon fodder and aren't going to kill much of anything. So, while they're cheap, they're essentially one-trick ponies. Didn't matter to my opponents, though, because I was using a mass of cheap quick-to-build units to take out a big, expensive, time-consuming-to-build unit. That was obviously clearly unfair.
Which brings me to the last point I wanted to make this week about titans.
There's a fun little conversation in the movie Coming to America. In this flick, a prince of a fictional wealthy African country, played by Eddie Murphy, travels to the U.S. For his own reasons, he wants to remain incognito. He hides his identity and goes to work at a fast food place. While mopping the floor there, he has a conversation with Maurice, another employee of the fast food place:
Maurice: Hey, I started out mopping the floor just like you guys. But now... now, I'm washing lettuce. Soon I'll be on fries; then the grill. And pretty soon, I'll make assistant manager, and that's when the big bucks start rolling in.The hidden irony of this line of dialogue is that the person it's being spoken to could buy the entire restaurant many times over. But he feigns being interested, and casually mocks Maurice for his goals without obviously appearing to do so.
On the titan topic, I'm feeling increasingly like Maurice, busy washing lettuce. I'm obviously just really bad at this game. ;-) Seleene said in the Voice from the Void podcast that I mentioned yesterday, "I lost a Titan to Russians. But then again, who hasn't? That's something everyone needs to check off when they play EVE." The statement has a remarkably Marie Antoinette feel to it, and to be fair to Seleene, he nearly immediately realized it and back-pedaled.
But Elise Randolph, on the show with him, makes no such distinctions... has no such concerns. Later in the pod-cast, he's casually chatting about how EVE players facing enemy titans can counter them. He lists various possibilities, wrapping up with fleets of Tengus, then says, "I guess Tengus are a bit expensive, but alliances are rich these days."
Er. OK? Which alliance is passing out free Tengus, please?
But if you have a thought about killing titans with those Tengus, forget about it. Elise lists all of these "counters", then clarifies that you can counter Titans with sub-caps... but you can't actually kill them or make them go away. But you can neutralize them while you try and kill their sub-cap support fleet, so there's that.
What. The. Hell.
These are two of the voting members of CSM7.
It comes down to risk. Seleene doesn't come right out and say he feels the same way in the podcast, but he does. When I specifically asked during the CSM campaigning "should fleets of Rifters be able to tackle titans?", his answer was:
"No. Because of No."Keep that in mind, because that's why the "high warp strength" proposals that you see bandied about to replace super-cap mid-slot e-war immunity will never get anywhere. If you don't own a titan, a "fleet of a thousand Rifters" catching, tackling, and holding down a titan sounds awesome. It sounds like a news story that would make the gaming news websites and be something that EVE players would talk about and dream about happening to them.
But while I was allowed to kill a Heavy Cruiser in Homeworld with a fleet of Attack Bombers, or a fleet of Protoss Carriers with a swarm of cheap Scourges, you and I don't get to do that to a titan. Because of No.
We're EVE players, so that means we all love our spreadsheets. There's lots of discussion on the forums about what titans should and should not be allowed to do... what role they should have at some theoretical future time. In the meantime, at the 70 minute point in the pod-cast, there's a very casual revelation about exactly how PL used their spreadsheets to determine mathematically what they could use their titans to kill and how many volleys it would take to kill one ship versus another under various scenarios. That's an amusing way to look at risk-reward balancing, I guess.
These are quite often the very same people saying that there's not enough risk to how the rest of us play EVE while we're mopping floors and washing lettuce and dreaming of an assistant manager position, by the way. ;-)
"[CCP] set the scan radius to five and then moved on to making the Bellicose worth a shit," Seleene complains about the proposed (and now rejected) titan scan res nerf. At the risk of sounding like a 99%'er, Seleene... I can afford a Bellicose. I can fly a Bellicose. It would be nice if it was worth a shit. As badly as Seleene put this, though, I do know where this comment is coming from. EVE doesn't have a naturally defined end-game, but this line of thinking just naturally assumes that a titan is the end-game that all EVE players want.(2) Seleene wants that end-game to be something worthy to aspire to. This is already a fallacy; I said before what you should think about people who tell you what your end-game is. But let's assume that is indeed you: your end-game is a titan.
The natural assumption seems to be that once you have that titan, you should never ever have to worry about losing it to scrubs, and you should have endless hours of hysterical risk-free gaming enjoyment out of blapping countless numbers of said scrubs.(3) The scrubs shouldn't be able to kill you, or make you go away, but they can fly around you and envy your giant space penis while you kill the dumb ones in their midst.
And they can dream about having a risk-free space penis of their very own. In the meantime, there's lettuce to wash and floors to mop.
(1) I got quite a reputation for my effective use of defensive tactics in StarCraft, but that's probably a subject for another blog post.
(2) At one point, there's discussion about titans giving mining bonuses, or there being "industrial titans" or something. I was too busy choking on my drink to hear this part clearly.
(3) Unless of course, you're outside of PL, in which case you should immediately lose the titan because you're stupidly sitting in a POS to which a PL awoxer has the password, I guess.