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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Friday, November 15, 2013

The first two minutes

There's been a good bit of hurf-blurf on the topic of CCP Rise's rapid missile launcher changes. In particular, Rise is pointing out that a number of CSM members supported him in the change he's proposed to them. For those not keeping up, the change roughly summarized, is:
  1. Rapid Launchers would hold between 18 and 23 charges, roughly enough for 45-50 seconds firing time;
  2. during that time, they'd do greatly increased damage over what they do now;
  3. 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,
  4. once the launcher is empty, you'd have to wait 40 seconds for a reload.
And unsurprisingly, that last bit is the sticking point. "Jester, what do you think of this?" I'm being asked here and there. "Rise says some CSM members support this. Are you one of them?"

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!
They're good in every situation against every target. In short, unless you have a good reason to use HAMs on your Caracal for a specific fight, there's no reason not to use RLMLs. But particularly in ultra-small gang scenarios where you have to clear tackle if a fight starts going against you, if you don't use RLMLs on your Caracal you're just being dumb. And the first rule of EVE nerfs is that any time the phrase "do this or you're dumb" comes up, this situation is -- sooner or later -- going to get the hell nerfed out of it.

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:
  1. 45 seconds where you're doing 1150 damage per volley, about 20k volley total.
  2. Then 40 seconds where you're reloading.
  3. Then 45 more seconds where you have a second 20k volley.
So in that 130-140 seconds, you're doing 40k volley damage. That compares to 27k to 28k with the current RLML Caracal.

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.


  1. "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."


    "...and now I've explained why."

    Yep. To paraphrase: "'cause fuck you, that's why. And if you don't like it, well you're not on the CSM and I am."

    I love this "argument". Ok, it has the IQ of a five year old and you're usually not that direct about it but what the hell. It's refreshing.

    1. Did you want to attack my argument? Or are you good with the ad hominem?

    2. Actually, he's not half as good as he thinks he is. Double space.

    3. I'm tempted to say your 'paraphrase' is the only thing displaying the IQ of a five year old here, but there are two problems with that.

      1. IQ is not supposed to change with age, it's supposed to be an age-independent measurement.

      2. Your paraphrase isn't really stupid, it's better described as 'incorrect and douch-y"

    4. To be fair, it's tough to tell when you double-space in comments because the software justifies all margins.

    5. I bet Marcel wishes the software would justify his argument, too.

  2. I'm sorry, I must have missed the argument. And the ad hominem thing is really tiring... I wasn't saying your argument is wrong because you're bald; I was saying you don't have one. (The quotes were a giveaway, I thought.)

    Seriously. Where was the argument? Because I kinda stopped at "if you play this game in some other way than me, tough".

    1. You might want to try reading comprehension. I described a very specific reason why I like this change, along with a number of use cases. You are not arguing against my use cases. In particular, you seem to be deliberately ignoring the fact that in the first two minutes these new Caracals do more damage than the current ones.

    2. "You are not arguing against my use cases."

      You keep repeating this: "play it this way, or else"; "this is how you're supposed to use the RLML system; if you don't like it, you're doing it wrong (TM)". I'm not discussing YOUR use cases because I am more interested in not-YOUR use cases. I don't know how I can make this more clear.

      Anyway, it doesn't matter. CCP will do whatever, you'll continue your role of (as you said a while ago) CCP mouthpiece, the world will keep turning. I just remarked on it because I was surprised; maybe this was supposed to be a Garth article?

    3. You're right: you didn't say he was wrong because he's bald. What you did said he's wrong because he's got the mind of a five-year-old. That's ad hominem.

    4. Marcel,
      You say you're not interested in Jester's use cases & that you're more interested in other ones. That's great. Good for you! So how about detailing and discussing these other use cases? That is what most intelligent and sensible adults would do.

    5. If weapon systems did not enforce some degree of "play this way, or else" there would be no reason to have more than one of them. Cruise missiles enforce a style. Blasters enforce a style. Pulse lasers enforce a style, and so forth. Ships do as well, which is why there are so many of them.

      What you're actually complaining about is that your reason for using RLMLs is going away. That's a fair complaint. But it doesn't answer Ripard's claim that the new RLML is useful for other reasons, and it certainly doesn't show that he has no argument at all.

  3. Ah, I forgot to ask clarifications about one thing:

    "...if you're relying on RLMLs as a primary weapon system..."

    Who uses RLMLs as a secondary weapon system?

    1. Primary weapon system = the only weapon system you're using in your fleet. The complaints about this change are coming from a lot of people who roam in Caracal-only or RLML-only gangs. In this sort of gang, they're having to go without DPS for 40 seconds, which is part of the reason they're raging.

    2. If they used that 40 seconds to read all the arguments they skipped while raging now, it would all balance out in the end.

    3. isnt burst dmg way better then sustained dmg?

      i mean iam used to fleets that warp in at range, kill of tackle, warp off. warp in at range, kill a few dudes, warp off.

      the first thing i thought was "that is way overpowered" that effectivly doubles the dps for such fleets with no drawback at all. you wont stay on grid for more then a half minute anyway.

  4. "Where was the argument? Because I kinda stopped at "if you play this game in some other way than me, tough"."

    He never said that, so you stopped in error. The argument was after you stopped, wherever and whenever that was.

    "Who uses RLMLs as a secondary weapon system?"

    Gangs after Rubicon, to clear light tackle, it was all explained in the argument that you missed by stopping reading after you read something that didn't exist.

  5. 40 seconds is a long, boring time in PvE, and a long, frustrating time in PvP. feels like it's pitched so that they can cut it to a still-painful 30 seconds and we'll all be grateful.

    The thing that's bothering me is that this doesn't seem to have a good PvE use. It's certainly a kick in the teeth for the L3 Caracal: plenty of missions will have more frigs than you have volleys, leading to multiple long, boring pauses to reload. Or just fitting Lights and sucking up the DPS loss. as for the RHMLs? Um. Ganking with cheaper ammo than torps? Certainly worth using on a Scorp, because you won't live to the reload anyway, so you may as well fit to murderise tacklers you don't have jams spare for. Same thing for PvE rattlers: why recall your battleship murdering drones to shoot frigs when you can do that yourself?

  6. It sounds like a great change to be honest. A good military doctrine needs shock weapons to hit hard at the start of combat and right now the closest thing Eve has is a big artillery alpha.

    45 seconds of pounding by rockets to open an engagement? Yes please.

  7. One reason why rapud lights are so popular and this change disapointing is that heavies are terrible. The heavies have difficulty applying damage to even slow moving targets. Also, this change cripples the ability to adapt your ammo to the target which is has been one of the defining characteristics of the weapon system.

    1. Basically this, the pervasive use of RLML is simply because the correct sized missiles have huge problems applying their damage to cruiser sized targets especially under links. Did RLML's deserve a nerf? possibly but only along with rebalancing of the other missiles

  8. Who can't kill a frigate in 45 seconds with an RLML Caracal? The change isn't hurting that use, it's hurting every other use.

  9. See, I was opposed to this change, not because I thought it would ruin RLMLs, but because it would make them too good at what they do. The RLML Carcal already overshadowed destroyers to a significant degree thanks to a massive tank for its size and excellent damage application to frigates, and now it's going to grind up frigates even better.

    (EVE's combat environment is already very rough on light ships. It doesn't need to get rougher).

  10. I suppose I should add, I think the idea of ships with non-alpha based, front-loaded damage for hit and run warfare is interesting and helps create weapon variety. I just don't think this was the thing to try it on. Light missiles should've just had their effectiveness scaled back a bit.

  11. With the rlm changes you essentially have the same dps as an omen, only with slightly longer range and significantly better application. However that only happens when firing all your guns at once and then you have 40 seconds where you cant do your job (clear tackle) and are unable to really respond to many field changes. In this situation the omen becomes strictly better.

    It has been said that you can get around this problem by splitting launchers, but your total dps is still lowered by 20% or so, meaning things like intys and assault frigates will be able to stay up much longer if you don't frontload. Additionally you still wont be able to change damage or missile types without waiting 40 seconds so heaven help you if you have scourge loaded and an enyo or hawk lands on the field.

    This essentially means that if you are only using rlms for anti tackle, (in comps such as caracal/oracle or dual web nosprey/oracle) you can run into some extreme disadvantages. All of these disadvantages dissappear when you replace your anti tackle caracals with omens and navy omens, sure you have to manually pilot a bit more but you can always shoot at tackle without having to worry about running out of ammo and you get the bonus of assisting dps on the primary which rlm boats will be unable to do without fear of running low or out of ammo as new tackle warps in.

    Omen(perferably navy issue)/ishtar makes the most sense as gang comp now since omens are currently on par with pre nerf rlms assuming you are a good pilot and ishtars can handle pretty much anything else. They will likely replace oracles especially with the warp speed changes coming out.

    I dislike the new rlms since they have no way to adapt to a changing field and would have much perferred a straight 15% rof nerf instead of this entirely new mechanic which polarizes it's use. It is nearly op for as long as it is shooting, then you tend to regret undocking your ship for 40 seconds.

  12. Wow, how glad I am for training gunnery only; I like being fisted by CCP as rarely as possible

    1. best way to avoid fisting is to have EVERYTHING trained ;)

  13. This almost turns the rapid launchers into a type of Katuysha/MLRS; they put a hell of a lot of rounds down range in a short period of time but then take forever to reload and/or have the tubes cool.

    Still, I can see mission runners hating it at first blush. My wife certainly is not a fan.

    That said, I think it's the right way to go, though time will have to be the ultimate judge.

  14. Screw over the new players that train Caldari for pve so pvp can get a gimmick weapon system?

  15. You were disingenuous about what makes rlm over powered jester. its not that they apply damage to everything. ( they do but at 200 DPS its hardly game breaking) the reason they are op is because they take so little fitting. There silly tanks can be put on caracals and scythe fleets.
    The fitting requirements for rlm should have been increased to reflect their usage not creating a less usable weapon system. 40 second reload is unusable in most solo to 4man gangs. If you have to wait 40 seconds to swap ammo types then you are provably better off choosing a different weapon system.

  16. There I was, thinking the first two minutes of the CSM-CCP conference were out. You and your post titles!

  17. "if you don't use RLMLs on your Caracal you're just being dumb. And the first rule of EVE nerfs is that any time the phrase "do this or you're dumb" comes up, this situation is -- sooner or later -- going to get the hell nerfed out of it."

    Let's try that assertion in some other contexts, shall we?

    "If you don't use autocannons on your vagabond, you're just being dumb"

    "If you don't use Heavy Pulses on your omen navy, you're just being dumb"

    Suddenly seems a bit of a stretch, doesn't it? Sometimes a hull's strengths and fitting limitations are such that they only make sense with one weapon system. That doesn't necessarily indicate some kind of imbalance. RLML setups are almost invariably based on highly mobile, lightly tanked cruiser hulls, usually with range bonuses. These aren't ships whose attributes lend themselves to close range brawling, which is what HAMs are for, so you're left with a choice between RLMLs and HMLs. HMLs are, not to put too fine a point on things, dogshit-tier weapons, so that leaves you with RLMLs winning by default. It's not an indication of RLMLs being overpowered, it's an indication of there being three medium missile weapon systems, one of which is incapable of filling the required role and the other of which is just plain worthless. The only thing this change achieves is that it moves RLMLs into the "just plain worthless" category alongside HMLs and thus relegates all of the caldari missile cruisers into the dumpster.

  18. Lol just fit normal light missiles to your cruiser after the patch: higher sustained DPS and more fitting capability. No reason to fit rapid missiles at all.
    And Rapid light missiles were only good on Caracals because the other missile systems are utter shit, not because rapids are good.

  19. I don't want to be the dumb carebear, but I was wondering, wouldn't this really screw over mission runners, especially L2s? Because RLMLs can hit the small targets in the mission but still handle the large ones that do come by. A 40 second reliad time would really hurt anyone running L2s in a Caracal (noobs, basically) as it would mean warping back to station every minute or just sitting there, taking damage. Also, wouldn't the faster RoF increase the wastage of ammo as the next shot might be fired off and the target gets destroyed before the missile hits it?

  20. I glad this is being changed to rote kapelles benefit

  21. Damn, I read the heading and was fooled to think that Dolan had made good on his semi-promise and released the first two minutes from the summit. Imagine my disapointment when I found the post to be about whiney players raging over CCP again changing their space pixels...

  22. This seems odd to me. Surely there is a place in fleets for a gang that can fly in, dump out a pile of DPS then either get out or have to be supported?

    To me this looks like a nice fleet wide burst dps weapon. Having trouble breaking something? Bring in a small fleet of these things to supplement the DPS to break it.

    I actually think for small to medium sized gangs this would be an interesting change up to fleet fights.

    Sure, big blobs might hate that they have to wait to reapply dps. and solo whiners gunna whine... but for medium to medium-large gang fights, this just looks like nice extra flavor and something else that needs to be accounted for/countered in fleet doctrines.

  23. "Over the next two years, I believe the EVE community is going to become less inclusive, even more divisive, and more given to bitter-vets saying "fuck you, I've got mine" "


    "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."


    "And Rapid light missiles were only good on Caracals because the other missile systems are utter shit, not because rapids are good."

    HML tengus struggle to break the 500 dps mark. This statement could not be more true. It's easy to be "OP" when everything around you is shit.

  24. I was looking forward to your take, but you didn't seem to address the most significant points of criticism. viceorvirtue brought up many of them, but here are mine:

    1. First the premise, RLML's must need a nerf because they're always the best cruiser missile system - This seems to be the rationale everyone uses, but it doesn't make sense. You can't just compare them to other missiles, you have to compare it across all cruiser weapon systems. Pulse lasers and rails are perfectly viable alternative cruiser weapon systems for a similar role that are often preferable to RLML's in their current format (both do more damage). RLML's don't do much damage, it's just reliable damage. Plus, being able to choose damage type is a crucial part of their balance.

    2. You can no longer select damage type with these weapons. Occasionally you'll guess right, but with 16 reasonable light missiles to use (CN, fury, precision, FoF of four damage types) you're likely to choose wrong. This is a huge nerf on top of the stated DPS nerf. Moreover, it makes your proposed use case almost worthless. Say you know there's a shield gang but haven't seen their tackle. You load EM, but when the fight starts 4 Jaguars show up. Whoops, now you're worthless for 40 seconds.

    3. When would you realistically use these ships? There is a tiny window where they are the best choice, and tons where they are worthless. If a fight starts but tackle is not on field (say you're fighting in someone's home system, or one jump out) you just have to sit there. I'm certainly not going to make that trade; I'll use an Omen or Nomen that can contribute DPS throughout the entire fight.

    In conclusion, being really good at one thing if the situation lines up perfectly doesn't seem to make a compelling weapon system to me.

  25. Bringing solo back, right? Trolololol

  26. The only thing I don't like about the change is the way it effects changing out for damage type. One thing that this got me thinking on (and i admit this is probably not something that is possible) is that you could separate the warhead from the propulsion part of the missal until they are fired. keep a 10 second change over for the warheads, have one, or two for the tech 2 variant missal bodies, and have those take 40 seconds to reload, and be able to reload the warheads at the same time. A pipe dream i know, but tunable damage is what missals excel at, this is going to take that away from the rapid series of launchers.

  27. Jester is an idiot with no low FW experience..RLM was NEVER OP to begin with since Caracal is like a paper thin ship.. so there were NOT GOOD IN EVERY SITUATION like this Jester idiot says.. this is what happens when you vote retards into CSM..

    1. Six months late to the party here, AND posted after I was no longer on the CSM. That said, anyone who describes the Caracal as "paper thin" should probably rethink who they call an idiot...


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