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, October 2, 2012

Fire ze missiles

So, what I presume are the finalized missile changes have been announced by CCP FozzieIt isn't pretty.  Changes since version 1.0 are in italics.
All Missiles
  • Increase missile acceleration so that real range is much closer to the client assumed range of flight time*speed against a stationary target. This means a slight range buff for all missiles, and missiles will act in a way that is more intuitive to newer players.
Short Range Missiles
  • Change the Guided Missile Precision skill, as well as all associated implants and rigs to affect all sub-cap missiles
  • Reduce HAM launcher PG requirements by 10%
Light Missiles
  • Decrease all Light Missile Launcher fitting requirements by 2pg and 4cpu
  • Explosion radius reduced from 50 to 40
  • Damage increased by 10% (rounded to closest digit)
  • Affects all variant light missiles, including FOF.
Heavy Missiles
  • Base flight time reduced by 35%
  • Base velocity increased by 14.66%
  • In total, base range reduced by ~25%
  • Damage decreased by 10% (rounded to closest digit)
  • Explosion radius increased by 12%
  • Affects all variant Heavy missiles, including FOF.
Tech Two Missiles
  • Remove ship penalties from tech two missiles (ship velocity and signature radius)
  • Precision: Increase bonuses to explosion velocity to +20%, increase damage to match T1 missiles
  • Fury: Increase damage bonus to +35%, reduce flight time to 50% of T1, unify penalties to explosion radius (+72%) and velocity (-16%) across the sizes
  • Javelin: Just remove ship penalties
  • Rage: Increase damage bonus to +35%, Unify flight time to match T1, unify velocity penalty (-16.7%), unify penalty to explosion velocity (-14%), increase penalty to explosion radius (+72%)
Tracking/Range Mods and Ewar
  • Tracking mod and disruptor changes moved out of this release until the first set of changes settles a bit
First, the good news, and there is actually a good amount of that.  HAMs and Torpedoes are about to become pretty damn awesome, and Light Missiles will be improved.  In particular, for HAMs, their fitting requirements are being reduced fairly substantially.  This is going to create a new tanky HAM Drake.  Currently, it's tough to fit an LSE to a HAM Drake but that's going to change.  This will result in a close-range high DPS brawler that's going to completely shatter people's current perception of the Drake.  Don't get me wrong: for the CFC, they'll still be useless.  More on that in a bit.  But for small-gang PvPers... seriously, start training for HAMs now because they're gonna be pretty sweet out to point range.

If that's not awesome enough, the Guided Missile Precision skill, previously limited to long-range missiles, will work with short-range missiles as well.  This isn't a big deal for Rockets... maybe they'll be a little better in AF versus AF battles.  But for HAMs and Torps, this is a very big deal and I'm looking forward to it.

Finally, the new yet-to-be-named Caldari missile destroyer will benefit from a fitting buff to Light Missile Launchers and a gentle buff to their damage.  The Minmatar get a similar skirmishing destroyer.  If it works the way CCP intends, looks like a few more kiting ships are on the way to space near you.

Let's get to the not-so-good news.

Tracking Computers, Enhancers, and Disruptors are no longer going to nerf or buff missiles.  So those of you that were thinking about actually un-docking in your Pilgrims can go ahead and put them back into moth-balls again.  And without the ability to disrupt missile fire and with Guided Missile Precision now working for these dangerous close-range Drakes and other missile ships, tackling them is going to be doubly dangerous.

Those of you that had dreams of reclaiming the HML Drake's range advantage with a single Tracking Enhancer taking the place of a Ballistic Control Unit are likewise out of luck.  The latest State of the Goonion implies pretty strongly that the GSF will be abandoning their signature Drakes for rail-fit Rokhs likely taking the place of both their Drake fleet (and for light duty) their Maelstrom fleet.  Heavier duty work would seem to be the future province of GSF's version of PL SloCats.  So inflation is hitting hard all over.  ;-)

The lack of TE bonuses also puts paid to the idea of greatly extended ranges on torpedo-fit battleships, which is probably one of the main reasons why the idea was scuttled for now.  Pity too, because I was looking forward to a renaissance of extra-long-range torp Ravens and Typhoons.  It might still happen, but it won't be soon.

These changes, though, pale next to the continued savaging of the Heavy Missile Launcher.  While the damage nerf is being reduced somewhat, from 20% to 10%, the explosion radius is also being increased.  That's mostly going to impact the HML's ability to damage the new destroyers and armor HAC gangs.  Damage from an HML Drake to a Guardian will essentially be cut in half.  It's a big nerf.  The 25% range penalty also remains, adjusted slightly to impact missile flight time instead of velocity.  Missile velocity is actually being buffed twice over which is going to somewhat help the HML's ability to actually deliver damage on target in a timely fashion.

But it won't much matter because fewer people will be fitting the things.

This comes out most clearly in the Fury missile nerf: range on Furies is getting cut in half on top of the 25% nerf already being implemented for T1 missiles.  This is going to cut Fury missile range to 29.5km on a Drake, or not much more than HAM range.  Their explosion radius is also being massively nerfed.  Furies will no longer be effective against cruisers and HACs and will lose much of their current effectiveness against other BCs, particularly armor BCs.

The price of Scourge Furies on the Jita market fell by 20%... today.  Players are clearly seeing the implications and are rapidly dumping their stocks.

Finally, though, I end with one more bit of mixed news: Rage missiles, while still getting the large nerfs to explosion velocity and explosion radius, are getting a stronger damage buff.  That's going to further serve to drive people toward HAMs for all of their current medium missile applications, I expect.  Again, if you haven't trained HAMs already, start start start.  They're going to be the go-to missile in 2013.

So overall, quite bad news for lovers of HMLs Drakes and Tengus.  You've got a couple more months to do your thing with these ships.  Get them insured, get them into fights, and try to lose them.  Or get busy training HAMs and prepare to do some refitting come the winter.  When I say "fire ze missiles", the word "fire" has more than one meaning.  ;-)


  1. It's not just the Drake. The Caracal needed a buff and was getting it ... just in time for its primary weapon platform to get kneecapped.

    Oh, and "Tengu" and "insurance" in the same sentence? Did you pop a contaminated booster in your last fight?

    1. People do insure Tengus and T2s and everything else now. One of my FCs calls it "betting against yourself." That said, I was thinking more of the Drakes than the Tengus when I wrote that. I suspect the Tengus will just be refit or sold.

      I know that I had a 100MN Tengu on my personal shopping list for quite a while and it's now gone from the shopping list.

    2. Don't forget, the reduced PG for HAMs also means you'll be able to make a kick ass HAMgu brawler with enough PG to fit LSE IIs.

  2. Seems like overkill on the heavy missiles, I'm biased as a Caldari Pilot with HML being my bread and butter since ... well forever.

    Proof is in the budding come the winter "patch".
    If this means I have to shelve my tengu/nighthawk etc I'll be a bittervet/rage quit player.

    Why isn't the CMS paving the way for these expansions/patches, gaining player feedback in a constructive back and forth, players give a little / devs give a little.
    This new missile setup is something I don't wanna be force fed, but I'm getting it anyway.

    Was this all really spawned by the fact that CCP needed to calm servers down from overuse of missiles?
    Did they not just do a "patch" to celebrate them.... I mean c'mon the trailer isn't showing fleets having to get into handbag slapping range before firing.

    Maybe I'm missing the big picture. But the bully who ownes the school yard just took my money and wants me to come back tomorrow.

    Sorry for the rant.

    1. As for this being related to lag... no.


      Basically, the balancing team (esp. CCP Fozzie) are nerds of numbers who want Eve's ships and weapon system to be ... balanced, whatever that means - it's quite complicated in the end. And as is usual in all game communities, when they do it by buffing UP stuff, they get hailed/glorified. When they do it by nerfing stuff that is above average (see how I avoided calling it OP?) they get a lot of rage and threats of quitting...

      No conspiracy here, I think. They just think HMLs are too good.

    2. "... balanced, whatever that means..."

      For CCP Fozzie, this means "the same" - same damage, same range, same fitting, same skills, etc. for everything belonging to the same item class, ex. medium short range weapons. When he is finished, he expects to see no advantage to using one weapons system over another, or one ship vs. another ship.

  3. You haven't really come out and said whether you think it's an overall good or bad move... You camouflage your disapproval (?) in specifics (like "bad news for lovers of..." or "savaging of ...").

    It's obvious that HMLs get nerfed. The interesting question is: Is that a good thing or a bad thing? I am in the "finally, it's about time"-camp. I'd like to hear whether you approve of the nerf or not.

    1. I'm not sure such a value statement applies. Like that long period we went through when hybrids sucked, we're now about to go through a long period where long-range missiles suck. Whether I personally approve or disapprove is kind of irrelevant since it's going to happen regardless.

      If your question is "is it a good thing or a bad thing for the game?" then my opinion is also mixed. CCP HATES HMLs because they believe that they introduce a lot of lag to the game (and have some evidence to back this up). If they're right and the game speeds up because people stop flying HML ships, then I guess the game will be improved.

      Seems a rather ham-handed way to go about it, though.

    2. I very much doubt THAT particular conspiracy theory is true.

      Maybe you think CCP Fozzie is lying (https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&m=1951959#post1951959), when he shut down that rumour, but I don't. The way a company like CCP is designed, he is probably just doing his thing and unlikely to tackle lag on his own (and again, i don't think he has been told to and lies about it).

      Also, I don't think long-range missiles will suck. HML should be okay (= about average) with a 10% dmg reduction (and yes, the range nerf). There is a difference between sucking and being "meh, nothing special". (the latter being, you know, balanced). Light missiles should be good. Fozzie said that he'll have a look at Torps and Cruise Missles (buffing them), after the winter expansion.

      Would you prefer they keep HML as they are now?

    3. Overall, I'm gonna go with "yes" to that question.

      The damage nerf actually bothers me far less than the range nerf, which seems (you'll forgive the pun) quite targeted to a problem CCP admits they're having regardless of what CCP Fozzie says to deny it. If long-range missile range is such a problem, why aren't light and cruise missile ranges being nerfed as well? If it's BCs being able to fire to 70km that is the problem, why aren't the other long-range medium weapons having their range substantially reduced?

      After winter, the Drake will become the only BC without any viable skirmishing option. Regardless of what Fozzie says, that seems to be creating a problem that I don't think exists to solve a stated problem that does.

    4. @Jester - don't worry about the Drake. It will get "rebalanced" along with the other BCs. It might not even be a missile boat next year... lol.

  4. I have mixed feelings about the HML nerf. On the one hand, their damage projection always far outshone medium turrets. A medium turret user pretty much always had to use Tech II guns to compare, and that wasn't fair.

    On the other hand, what the heck are the newer, lower-SP characters going to fly in fleet fights -or in missions - now that they can't use the HML Drake? This was always a very newbie friendly ship. Will there be another one ready to take its place once these changes set in?

    1. Yes, its called the HAM Drake.

  5. Once the threat to heavy missiles was announced, I started the training plan for HAMs, which will now be done in under 5 days. And then I will finish up with the Rokh rail skills.

    Now what to do with half a dozen CFC fleet fit Drakes?

  6. I'm looking at a Cane with Arty and a Drake with HML under current numbers and the HML's just have too much range compared to what the Arty can do. I think the DPS nerf is probably a bit much but the range change seems reasonable.

    What I think needs to be looked at are the multiple types of missiles. They should put in a script to adjust explosion velocity and radius with penalities to range or damage. Range penalty for hitting bigger ships, damag penalty when attacking smaller ships. Then change the T2 missiles to just added range or added damage. This allows a lot more custmization of ammo selection based on target.

    1. This is what the changes to tracking computers, enhancers, and disruptors would have allowed, essentially.
      Without this Im personally a lot less excited about these changes. They just dont feel worth the effort without the ability to fit a TC2 on my ship.

  7. Out of curiosity, has anyone found any reason to continue using HMLs after the nerf?

    1. HMLs and ships that use them will continue to have a PvE niche. In this way, they'll join many of the other weapons that are less-used in PvP such as beam lasers and cruise missiles.

    2. I'm curious, Jester....how do you see them being used in PVE over the HAMS at this point?

      As far as I can tell they will have slightly higher range, but not enough to warrant the significantly lower applied damage? Without looking hard at the numbers I've assumed I'll switch to fast HAM tengu's for my site running needs?

  8. I'm relatively new and followed advice to train for the drake/heavy missiles for PVE. In your opinion, should I stick with the drake or train something new for missions? What do you think the best PVE ship will be come the expansion?

    1. Since they are not losing their tanking bonus, Drakes will still be useful for L3 missions. If the plan continues forward to give them a rate of fire bonus instead of a kinetic missile damage bonus, they'll become even more useful. As of the winter expansion, they'll still be the best beginner PvE boat.

      That said, long-term PvE players should continue to train for even more useful PvE platforms, notably faction battleships, Ishtars and tier 3 BCs (for null-sec ratting), and strategic cruisers (for wormholes and incursions).

      Tengus will continue to be borderline useful.

    2. Tengus will continue to be borderline useful?

  9. Thank god for this nerf...my nighthawk was obviously far too powerful....

    1. The nighthawk with hams and an ASB tank is still pretty powerful.

      The biggest thing people dont like now is they will have to actually fit a tank for close range brawling instead of going full gank and sitting outside the range of everyone else avoiding getting hit.

      That whole "risk your ship" thing is damned annoying sometimes.


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