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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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Misses the target... again

Way back in January, I wrote a post called "Misses the target".  Go read it, or at least remind yourself of what it was about.  It's funny how relevant it is eight months later.

Back yet?  Good.  Just to summarize, back in January as part of the reading of the CSM6 December Summit (remember them?), CCP revealed that they were looking at four changes to rebalance the Drake:
  • it would lose the shield resistance bonus and the 5% Kinetic damage bonus; and instead,
  • gain a rate of fire bonus and a missile velocity bonus.
And maybe CCP does that and maybe they don't.  We don't know because battle cruiser re-balancing is not on the menu for this year (but see below).

Put "the world's shortest book" into Google and you'll be greeted with a lot of sardonic humor: "Detroit Travel Guide", "America's Most Beloved Lawyers", "Making Your Parents Proud" by Lindsay Lohan, that sort of thing.  Ha ha, really amusing, cue uncomfortable laughter.  But say you were going to complete this sentence:
___________ in EVE is over-powered.
I'm sure all of us would have a half-dozen or a dozen things with which we could fill in the blank.  Know what would be chosen exactly zero times?  Long-range missiles.  Nobody has ever said the words "Light missiles in EVE are over-powered", "Heavy missiles in EVE are over-powered", or "Cruise missiles in EVE are over-powered."

But CCP despises them anyway.

The platform firing those missiles might be over-powered... in its way.  But I suspect if Goons could find another ship that tanks as hard as a Drake or a Tengu while delivering reliable DPS at skirmish ranges, they'd use it.

CCP hates long-range missile platforms, Heavy Missile Drakes in particular, because they create an additional load on the server.  So when CCP declared in December that they were going to take away the Drake's kinetic missile damage bonus, and give them a range bonus and a rate of fire bonus instead a lot of people declared that added up to a massive Drake nerf.  Me, I wasn't so sure.  Sure, the fact that they were taking away the resist bonus wasn't ideal but after doing the math I determined that the main people that were going to be hurt by that were newer players using Drakes to run missions.

And who cares about them, right?

For people using Drakes in PvP, the resist nerf wasn't going to be that big of a deal (PvP Drakes fit Damage Controls) and the various missile "nerfs" really added up to a reason to use Drakes even more in long-range skirmish fleets.  I pictured a lot of Drakes firing Nova or Mjolnir Rage Heavy Missiles to near 100 kilometers.  I thought it'd be a nice buff for the way Drakes actually get used in PvP.

Someone in CCP appears to have read that post, said to themselves, "Hell, he's right.  We need to nerf the crap out of Heavy Missiles right away!  How does a 20% reduction in damage and a 25% reduction in range sound?  Oh, and by the way, Fury Missiles have been broken in a good way for a long time.  We're going to fix that glitch too, so they suck against equal-size like they're supposed to."



And we can't even count on the CSM6 December Summit re-balance to come along and try to fix things later because:
The "less shields more gank" thing was a discussion at a previous CSM summit, not a finalized design.
CCP Fozzie again.

Is CCP deliberately trying to wipe Drake and Tengu blobs off the map?  Sure feels like it!

Now of course the news isn't all bad.  These changes all essentially reflect a massive buff for Heavy Assault Missiles:
  • the acceleration change will increase their range;
  • Rage T2 missiles are getting a damage buff; and,
  • Tracking Enhancers and Tracking Computers will further increase HAM range.
So get to training HAMs if you haven't done it already, because HAM Drakes are about to become unrefined awesome out to point range.

The amusing thing about all of this is that Fozzie tells us that the idea here is "a nerf to heavy missile range and damage to put them in line with other long range cruiser weapons."  Now granted, we haven't seen what TEs in particular are going to do to missile range.  Currently a single TE2 is good for +15% to range and +30% to fall-off.  Assuming HMLs on Drakes are reduced in range from 79km to 59km, a single +30% TE will bring them right back up to 77km range.  That's presumably the intent.  But in the process, that's going to reduce HML Drake damage from about 410 to 325 (20% damage reduction) to 295 (remove one BCU from the Drake to put a TE in).

For reference, an Artillery Cane or a Beam Harby both currently put out about 260 DPS at 70km, and a Rail Brutix (were someone to build one) about 245.  In short: Drake still wins.

Think we should tell them?


  1. Jester, I really like reading your articles, but I have to say... I dont really get your point on this one.

    You say HMLs are not whats overpowered, yet the biggest problem with them is exactly the fact that they can engage from farther away at a better damage than any other long range weapon, even to the point of being compared to a short range weapon in terms of DPS. Compare standard AC Canes damage (a Minmatar ship, the skirmishing masters) at long point range with HML Drake damage at long point range.

    In your previous article you state that the Drake's bonuses are in part its shortcomings (in PvP those extra resists are not that important, only kinetic damage is a liability). Yet now what I seem to get from this article is that its indeed the Drake that is broken, and not the HMLs. So fixing the bonuses on the ship would make it even more overpowered.

    And then, after saying HMLs are not overpowered and its the Drake and Tengu that should be nerfed instead, you close your article with the following statement

    "For reference, an Artillery Cane or a Beam Harby both currently put out about 260 DPS at 70km, and a Rail Brutix (were someone to build one) about 245. In short: Drake still wins."

    Is it really the Drake that wins? or are the HMLs that win over Beams, Artillery and Railguns?

    Am I missing something?


  2. Tengu is OP for sure. 700 dps at 110 km. Jita sells as many tengu as all the other T3 put together. When it surfaced that CCP would rebalance T3 however, people mentioned it wasn't such the tengu that was OP but the HML.

    Even with that rebalance, the tengu will still be the best one for pve and spider tanking.

  3. Actually, I've heard people say HMLs are overpowered quite often. People who really understand the mechanics seem to have been saying it for a while, but it's somehow slipped under the radar of the wider playerbase.

    I think part of the reason is that with ships like the Caracal and Cerberus being pretty weak, the strength of HMLs is easily confused with being a ship issue relating to the Drake and Tengu (the two medium missile ships which are actually good). If it was purely a ship problem though you'd expect to see those ships above the power curve when fitting HAMs or RLMLs too though, and that isn't really the case.

  4. shhh.....no we shouldn´t!
    ....nothing to see here, CCP....move along!

  5. I don't understand why CCP wants to add more damage and less shields. Most fights I get in are over in 60 seconds or less which is quite sad

  6. "For reference, an Artillery Cane or a Beam Harby both currently put out about 260 DPS at 70km"
    ^^ but the ArtyCane won't because, as Fozzie himself said: "the standard Arty/LSE/MWD cane should require an RC2 and ACR or PG implant to fit a full rack of artillery cannons".
    So yeah...to fit all the guns under Fozzie's proposal, -1 TE/gyrostab to trade for the Reactor Control, and -1 proj rig for the ACR. How much does THAT cut DPS?

    Honestly, if they really wanted to "revamp" BCs, they have the right idea with tier-3s: oversized cruisers mounting battleship weapons.

  7. The HML change is still an improvement in bringing them in-line with other long-range weapons. Sure, it could be nerfed further, and it may still. Iterations!

    How about proposing what you think would be a better nerf to HMLs (or a better way to bring them in line with the rest) while you're at it?

  8. as a long-term drake pilot, all I can say is %#$%$%^%$^%&^%^%*$%&%$^%$#!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I chose that ship because it fulfills a midrange between battleships and cruisers/destros. not as op as a bs, but not as puny as a cruiser. I chose to sink sp into it to tweak it into a beastly machine. I feel a kinship with that obnoxiously overtanked bastard of a floating brick, because while it might not hit the hardest (hell, I've got destroyer builds that put out more damage) but it's a good, solid ship. want to make combat intresting? bring the other bcs UP to the drake standard.

    see, ccp's going against this completely ass-backward. They talk a big game about using real world paradigms to design, but they completey forget that in the real world, you don't nerf russia because they find something that counters a US threat. the US has to improve, or get beaten under.

    I get that I'm going to have to retrain for this 'fix' to the drake, but honestly, jester's right... nobody has EVER said that missles of any stripe are overpowered. ever. it's commonly regarded that anyone that uses missiles is a bigger masochist than people who specced for hybrids before they got all their love. (which they could still use a bit more, imho)

    power creep is an issue? I fail to see it, when we've already gotten power creep to the point that the phrase 'just bring a bigger fleet' is uttered....power creep? power creep is why we have two massive power blocs that pretty much own lowsec, why one of them owns or controls more than half the raw mats to build a t2 anything, and these jokers are concerned about the fact that missles have a volley damage that makes people cry. when it hits. which on frigs it rarely does. defender missles. outrunning the explosion... and missles are a source of power creep? really?

    how about rockets being too op because they can actually hit frigs. or defender missles because they can shoot down other incoming missles? or drones because they can fly out to x range?

    I stand by my previous statement about eve

    'dear ccp:

    paper's fine, nerf rock.

    sincerely, scissors'

  9. "For reference, an Artillery Cane or a Beam Harby both currently put out about 260 DPS at 70km, and a Rail Brutix (were someone to build one) about 245. In short: Drake still wins."

    Ofc, you are forgetting that missiles still take time to get to their target, whereas guns hit instantly.

    And, remember that the Brutix is a Tier 1 BC, not a Tier 2 BC, like the others in the comparison group.

    1. Myrm has a serious problem putting its DPS out to skirmish range, though perhaps it will get more drone bandwidth in the rebalance to focus more on Sentries (likely at the expense of gun slots).

  10. "Lets put in pretty missile contrails"..oh thats really making the servers unhappy, "lets nerf missiles!"

    1. The missile trails are entirely client-side; there's no extra server pressure coming from them.

      As a response to the article and other comments, I've said HMLs are overpowered plenty of times. I agree with the above; like in just about all situations these days, it seems either the people that use the power or those that don't understand it are the ones who stand up for it. America wouldn't even have a government if it weren't for that effect.

    2. Because of the DUST players. You haven't played many FPS games, have you?

      FPS players like to blow up as many things as possible, in the shortest amount of time. And, they don't care how often they get killed in the process, since, in most games, like Eve, they are effectively immortal.

      Eventually, DPS won't matter; we'll be measuring damage in SPS (ships per second).

  11. i don't use enough missile boats to have an opinion. silly caldari.

  12. I think if there was any realistic way to do it (at this point there's not) they would remove missiles from the game completely because of server-side issues (i.e. lag) keeping track of them all.

    For the first time in several years something is getting nerfed that doesn't affect me. Now all you missile chuckers can get a taste of what it feels like.

  13. Sorry Jester but I tend to disagree wih you here... HML seems to be an OP issue thatneeded adressing for a lon ime. I do though perfer buffs to nerfs so I do hate tosee anything go backwards so I am torn onthis misle 'rebalance' issue

  14. I think HML are overpowered and have been for a long time.

    One intersting point of debate about platform versus weapon system:

    The Tengu has a subsytem for using HML and a subsytem for using blasters/railguns.

    How many Tengus do you see railgun fit?

    Why is that do you think?

    If only the proteus had a missile subsystem rather than drone.

  15. Fozzie is a sad incompetent Eve player that made it dev, something that must never ever happen.

    When CCP will realise that it's actually nerfing the new player's weapons of choice it'll be too late. But it's not like EvE draws new players anyways :)

  16. Well at least you maid that point at the end. At the beginning i wasn't sure if you were against this changes or not.

    IMO it is a step in the right direction. There are a lot more ships out their than drakes and tengus and it is very sad that most of them aren't used just because one weapon system is a lot better than all others.
    Many will be screaming about how bad it is and so on but in order to balance long range cruiser class weapons this is the right decision.

    Less DPS -> Longer fights -> more Tactical changes possible (ok 800 Drakes will still simply blob you out but you can't fix every thing for everyone).

  17. I continue to be amazed by the "new players need Drakes to PVE Level 4s in" line of logic. Only vets and new players who happened to start down Caldari fly Drakes. If you downloaded the client for the first time and decided to make an Amarr or Gallente pilot then by the time you're even thinking about Lvl 4s you're facing weeks of training to swap over to learn all the Caldari and missile skills. At least if you started a Minmitar for your first time character then you get the Hurricane, the other OP BC.

    So is the line of logic from these bittervets that all PVE newbies should cross-train over to Caldari and missiles, and all PVP newbies should cross-train over to Hurricanes. And they say that what they don't want to see is homogenization?

  18. The Problem that I see people having, is that they expect a battlecruiser platform to be a full size fleet ship.

    In naval terms, a battlecruiser is smaller than a battleship but with similar sized/powered armaments able to skirmish from range but unable to take punishment. The first 2 teirs of battlecruisers in Eve are meant in more of an anti cruiser role, able to swat them down with their Superior firepower and larger tank while the Teir 3 battlecruiser are more inline with the naval sense of the term.

    Back before the Dominion doomsday changes fleets were mostly heavily tanked battleships that resembled "ships of the line" slugging back and forth at range while being able to soak 2-3 aoe doomsdays. Soon after this change alliances found they could get 70% or so of the performance of a battleship for a third the cost in a drake or a cane. This I believe is the true issue with the state of large scale sub capital PVP and the down trend in mineral prices before the drone changes, as a full fleet confrontation cost 2/3s what it did be for.

  19. All bullshit from missile users who don't understand the difference between paper dps and real dps aside, I don't see the point of this article. What is it that you're trying to say?? Are you saying that CCP needs to nerf HML more or they haven't nerfed them enough? This isn't a troll, I'm actually curious what your opinion is - it just doesn't come through in your article.

    From the numbers I've put together and what you've used, it seems like Fozzie has done exactly what he set out to do - he BALANCED the weapon systems. Now HMLs do similar damage at a similar range as other weapon systems while still keeping their own advantages and disadvantages.

    He also did a great job buffing HAMs during this pass to make them usable on more than a few platforms(HAMs are already awesome, btw)

    As far as CCP goes, Fozzie is Raivi, so I'm inclined to cut him some slack as he CLEARLY knows what he's talking about.

  20. Per Fozzie - " "Bringing in line" may not have been the best choice of words since it can be misunderstood to mean that everything will be the same. Missiles will still have certain advantages and disadvantages inherent to their mechanics, and part of the compensation for those differences is the fact that even after this proposal heavy missiles would continue to be by far the best cruiser weapon for damage projection at mid to long range." (this was regarding HML suffering from delayed damage, firewalls, and defenders(lol))

    Like I said - have a little bit of faith.

  21. I think it's about time heavy missiles were brought in line with the rest of the Lang range weapon systems. Hell I have 19m sp sunk into gunnery, that's over a year of training so that I can use all t2 gun types. And guess what none of them are as versatal as someone who has spent a few million sp in heavy missiles. Not only do they hit every time for full damage, but they can choose their damage type and not have to switch charges for particular ranges.

    Missiles have been op for a very long time and I am quite happy with the changes proposed.


  22. "Is CCP deliberately trying to wipe Drake and Tengu blobs off the map? Sure feels like it!" ~Jester

    this is the guy put in charge of nerfing the CARTEL of technetium, not told to bring it into line with the other moon goo. it's still x10 more valuable than anything else in it's category.

    So, obviously, he's the guy you want if you need to nerf something CCP doesn't like players doing that let's them get away with monopolizing things...he's NOT the guy you want in charge of doing something intelligent, only quick and dirty.

    you'll notice the test server removed the new unrefined reactions (at least last time i was able to log onto singularity)

  23. Just some thoughts abbout the 2 weapon platforms.

    In PvE NPCs kill some of your dps with defender missiles. At least Battleship NPCs have all equiped defender missiles. So they can destroy at least 1 missile from each volley.

    In PvP you can speed tank, or sig tank missiles.

    On the SP side it requires far less skills to master the desired missile efficiency hence requires less SP. Where gunnery skills are built upon each other and you need a lot more SP to master the same efficiency with them.
    Maybe this was becouse most ships used missiles as a secondary weapon system (eg. most minmatar ships) and the devs didn't want the players to spend as much SP on missile skills as on the gunnery skills to maximize their DPS. And that made easy on the caldari ships.

    In practice guns are harder to use, because you have to watch for transversal and angular velocity and the target's signature radius. Where missiles can hit anything until the target's speed is not greater than the missile's speed.

    Each missile system has an option to choose it's damage type. But only 1 nation's guns can choose damage type from the 3.

    Guns have only 1 real advantage over missiles, that they can hit instantly. But after the first volley hits, an experienced missile ship pilot knows when to switch targets to not loose time between the two targets.

    So because of this damage delay missiles are used mostly in PvE, where the HMLs can hit every size of ships with reliable dps. And as Ricky Rio said above null fleets use the drake and missiles because of the cost and tankability and of the drake's bonuses.

    With this nerf to HMLs they might be getting more balanced. But with this many differences it is hard to guess when will the 2 weapon platforms be evened out.


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