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Monday, May 19, 2014

Upcoming Blockade Runner Changes...

Ok, so CCP Fozzie posted the first iteration of the Blockade Runner re-balance.  Let's take a look at this. Bearing in mind that I am biased on how I think a BR should be fit.

For the record my belief is that at ALL TIMES a BR should be fit for evasion (in the case of the current prowler that means 2 Low Friction Nozzle Joint I's and 2 Inertia Stabilizer II's) along with the cov-ops cloak with either a cyno or a scan probe launcher in the highs and an MWD, resists and a ECM burst in the mids as being the correct way to fit these beasts. And remember - there is no such thing as flying TOO paranoid in a BR in EVE.  If you need to fit for 10k m3, you are using the wrong ship.

I don't know what percentage of EVE BR are fit like I do, but one look at kill board history and most of the BR that die are of the expanded+cargohold optimization fits.  I will note that my Prowler is the original one I bought and that it still has BS sized Low Friction Nozzle Joints from the days when Blockade Runners could not fit cov-ops cloaks (yes Fozzie, you're not the first to mess with this ship).  So like I said, I'm prejudiced when it comes to my Prowler fits.  It should also be noted that I've always considered the Prowler the only worth while BR to get due to it's having 2 high slots and native 4k+ cargo hold (no puny 3.x k cargo hold for me).  This ship has seen me thru 2 solid years of living in wormholes, 2 trips to 0.0 and plenty of retreats (I've seen PL curbstomps from the other side so yea...) and of course 2 sessions with faction warfare.

Given the above I was understandably worried when I saw that the BR was due for a re-vamp this summer.  Let's see what is actually planned.

  • They all now have two highslots for a probe launcher or covert cyno alongside the cloak. The Prowler gets a third low.

Humm, I really can't complain about that at all.  I will probably throw a 3rd Inertia Stabilizer II in there for that last microscopic percentage of extra agility but yea rock on.  Also a solid change for the class as a whole since the prowler will no longer be the only go to BR.  Pirates will be happy too since that means that future cargo expanded BR will be EVEN easier to de-cloak since they will not be able to get as far from where they started from when they cloak up to get to warp than now - and be easier to kill (remember ExpCarg modules reduce top speed and reduce structure) - side note this will not change the align time of BR but since it can't have moved as far as the previous easy to de-cloak version it should be slightly easier to de-cloak.  Overall I approve of point 1.

  • A pretty significant cargohold increase across the whole line. They still have significantly less max cargo than any of the T1 haulers, but they can now all break the 10k threshold with T1 rigs.

I sneer at what I consider to be a fail fit, but hey, if it brings parity to the class so there is more variation out there, still no complaints.  I still think anyone who does this to their personal BR is asking to get caught but hey whatever floats your boat.  I can see reasons for Doctrine fits to have extenders but it's understood that the reduced survivability is the price to pay for operational objectives.  Insure the fuckers, they're going to die at some point.

  • Replaced the useless tanking bonus with +5% warp speed per level. This means that at Transport Ships level 5 they go 7.5au/s.

Woah, an actual, honest to goodness BUFF.  I'll take it.  For reference, un-modified interceptors have a warp speed of 8.  BR start at 6au/s currently.  After the re-balance they'll start at 6.3au/s (At Transport Ships I).  Humm this may make it worth doing a 1x warp speed rig, 1x agility rig and 3x agility mods to see if you can push it over 8 without sacrificing too much of the "get to warp quickly" since the IS diminishing returns on the number of agility modules you keep adding.  Getting to warp faster than most frigates and warping as fast as most interceptors would indeed be nice.  We'll see.

  • Their tanks still aren't anything to write home about, but we have given them full T2 resists.

Well their tank was never going to save them in most circumstances anyway.  That's why I usually when with additional passive resists (don't have to turn them on) and an ECM Burst as secondary (or is that tertiary) defence.  But I'm not about to say no to more resists.

Overall the highlights for the class as a whole can be seen to be more of an evening of the playing field with a few outright buffs thrown in. Time to look at the prowler in specific.  Since it's what I fly.

Humm, the mass and agility numbers published by Fozzie do not give me the stated 7.57s default time to warp.  The old calculated default was actually 7.62s and the new numbers work out to 7.81s.  It's entirely possible that we're not seeing the exact agility numbers to full precision, but it's still not a drastic change since I'll should still be able to get to sub-5 second to warp times but the.  For reference Pyfa give the same 7.62 for an un-fit prowler with a no skill pilot.  A max skill pilot will get that down to 5.15s, (looks like I have maxed the relative skills since it's the same for me).  When fit for Evasion as described above I get to 4.5s.  As a rule I like to be as far bellow 5 as I can manage since it gives less time for inties to get to you and de-cloak you.  So it looks like the Prowler is getting a weee bit of an agility nerf due to it's mass increase even if it's agility has gone down (normally you would think this makes it more agile).  Remember effective agility is mass times raw agility number.  with the lower result the better.

As a class I can see that Fozzie has balanced the class around the assumption that people will rig their BR for cargo.  Not what I do but it's an Ok assumption based on killboard results.  The result is that for evasion fit BRs the prowler is looking rather juicy, but I`d hate to be a Prorator pilot since it`s cargo space is based on the assumption that there will be Cargohold Optimization rigs involved.  But again that`s because of my clearly stated bias.

Overall I think it's a good balance pass on the class as a whole.  I am amused by the assumptions that were made about fits when designing the cargo capacities of the individual ships but due to the way I use and fit my BR, not overly worried about it.  Although I understand the reasoning, I would still have given the Prorator a bit more default cargo, but that`s just me.

1 comment:

pjharvey said...

As a class I can see that Fozzie has balanced the class around the assumption that people will rig their BR for cargo. Not what I do but it's an Ok assumption based on killboard results.

I would hope that Fozzie isn't so naive to assume killboard fits are how competent players fit ships. Particularly for industrial ships, which are rarely looking for combat, those that are on killboards tend to be the fits that don't work for their intended purpose.

It's just as reasonable, perhaps more so, to assume players fit their blockade runners as you do, for safe and quick transport. Iterating the design for cargo would be against the design of the ship as seen by competent players and, as such, a poor choice.