Advocatus Diaboli: Supercapitals

Sophia 'Alizabeth' S 2019-09-20

Header art by Redline XIII

Your eminences, I stand here before you today to argue strongly against the canonization of subcapitals. Many an EVE player has used the #DeathToAllSupers hashtag. Even The Mittani has spoken out against supercapitals. However, with all reverence to His Grace, my Dear Supreme Leader, The Mittani, he is wrong. If he’s wrong, everyone else is doubly wrong. Triply wrong! Supercapitals are fine ships and wonderful for EVE Online. We do not need any St. Subcapital. We’ve just recently canonized Saint Jamyl*. That is enough for this decade.

Nothing Wrong With Being the Best

There’s always going to be a ship at the top that does the most damage and has the most hit points. If capitals and supercapitals were removed from the game tomorrow, it’s a sure bet that cries would ring out a few weeks later to nerf Heavy Assault Cruisers. After all, Heavy Assault Cruisers do roughly battleship damage with even more hit points, when both are fit as a ship of the line.

Now, rather than griping and complaining about how good supercapitals are, CCP should instead improve the lacking ships, to bring them up to an appropriate level. Buffs are always more appreciated by players than a nerf.

Triangles

Yeah, I’ve flown in some of Imperium’s sub-rosa Triglavian fleets that helped burn down Tribute. Am I the only one that notices just how much damage those things can do? A Leshak at full damage is nothing to sneer at. Right now, Triangles are limited by PVE activities, but if CCP removes supercapitals from the game, all the time players would have spent gathering the tens of billions that it takes for a supercapital will be directed to getting Triangle ships. Before long, EVE will be Triangles Online.

The Triglavian ships are an interesting addition to the lineup. Right now, I think they’re largely overlooked in the null sec meta because no one can afford to lose fleets of them like they can other ships. When the then-CFC was rolling in Technetium money at the height of OTEC, after losing a few Tech Fleets—Tempest Fleet Issues—the decision was made to retire the doctrine. Currently that position is occupied by supercapitals. No one can really afford to lose a supercapital fleet, despite null sec being lousy with supers and construction continuing unabated. Thus far, a full Triangle fleet has never faced off against a full battleship fleet. However, when that day happens, I know exactly where I am going to bet my money.

Cost

In IDQ, the Imperium’s capital, frigates cost next to nothing. Cruisers go for under 5 million ISK. Megathrons, the Imperium’s main battleship of the line costs around 80 million ISK. A Thanatos carrier goes for more than ten times what the Megathron costs. That doesn’t count expensive fighters and faction fittings because it’s a capital ship. A Nyx supercarrier hull, even in the Imperium will sell for 12ish billion ISK. By the time an Imperium super pilot gets their new ship fitted, they will have spent nearly 20 billion ISK. A fitted titan will run an Imperium member around 50-60 billion ISK.

This is a lot of fucking money.

If someone is willing to pony up that much cash and put it at risk in space, then it should be a good ship. It should be hard to kill. There are plenty of supercarriers that got killed, even before the blackout. However, it takes luck, skill, or the committal of forces of similar cost and power for a hunter to kill a super. Most of the whiners do not have the skill. Almost all the whiners do not want to lose anything when they kill something. Luck is a harsh mistress.

“A super can light a cyno and call for help before we can kill it,” they say. Well, yeah. Again, if someone is willing to put tens or hundreds of billions of ISK in play, does anyone at all think that it would be fair for 300 million ISK of bombers to kill a ship that costs 6 or 7 times as much when there are also dozens of pilots in similar ships on the field? Combat in EVE has always been one of power and of numbers. If there’s a full AHAC fleet roaming around space looking for things to shoot, no one in their right mind is going to take ten or so Tech III destroyers to go engage. If anyone reading this is furious saying they would, because Sparta or Valhalla or what not, yes, I called you mentally defective.

On the vein of money, I have heard even from other Goons (though they were Karmafleet, so that’s debatable—am I still allowed to say that?) that supercapital ratting is bad from the game, because it makes too much ISK. Again, the damn ship costs 20 billion fucking ISK. Oh no! It can make enough to replace itself in a mere 80 hours of ratting. For those wondering, the current ratting Myrmidon can replace itself in under 10 hours. Or it could, if Blackout wasn’t hammering subcapital ratters more than anything else. Let’s also add in the fact that a super carrier has to be at the keyboard because of the way fighter control works.

You Must Be This Tall To Ride

When I was a kid, I loved roller coasters. There was this one particular one that was a standing coaster. However, because of that it had a taller height requirement than the other seated ones. So, I would have to wait until I grew some more to ride it. I swear, I thought about all kinds of ways to cheat that damn measuring stick: high heeled shoes, blocks in my sneakers, some strange kind of wig that would give me another inch. In the end, I had to accept that I just needed to grow a few inches. Life’s a bitch sometimes.

Those screaming Death to all Supers complain that only a super fleet can kill a super fleet. Well, sure. But so what? All the null sec powers have super fleets. All the null sec powers are capable of building more supercapitals. And even though supercapitals cost a lot of money, the ease of production is even greater than before. Between skill injectors and Rorqual mining, getting into a super is easier than ever.

And for the people that complain that the little guy can’t build supers, why does the little guy need to hold sov? There are plenty of other opportunities for gameplay for the little guy that don’t involve holding sov. I hear wormhole space is great. If the little guy is dead set on sov, they should do what every little guy has done the past 10 years: find a major power to take them on as a pet.

Goons crashed on SUAS’s couch. TEST crashed on Goon’s couch. Now both of those groups are the pre-eminent powers of null. EVE is a massively multiplayer online game. Any group wanting to hold sov is going to have to contend with the groups that do.

And take it from me, there’s nothing wrong with being someone’s pet. The collar is nice and comforting; being tie…ahem. Where was I? Right. The little guy. Good luck, have fun, hire good diplomats.

Welcome Back, My Friends, to the Show That Never Ends

Supercapitals are the best free advertising that EVE has ever gotten. Major battles in Asakai, B-R5, Uemon, and more don’t just get coverage in the EVE media, but the mainstream media as well. Actual news organizations covered B-R5, and there’s even a wikipedia article on it. My article on the battle of B-R5 garnered tonnes of hits, not just from EVE players, either. And, yours truly was cited on that Wikipedia article.

The spectacle of these giant ships that costs so much fighting and dying is indelible to EVE. Major battles bring in players, and are etched in our memories. I have heard some decry soul-crushing lag and time dilation in these large fights, but those things happened just as much with massive subcapital fights. I have been in dozens, hundreds of subcapital fights, there are only one or two I remember. However, I remember being at Asakai. I remember being at B-R5. I even remember getting my first kill mark on my Aeon.

Taking that away, with Death to All Supers would make EVE a lesser place. Battleship fights, no matter the numbers, will never equal the grandeur of a supercapital battle. We need those giant ships out among the stars. Aside from the ultra rare tournament ships that sometimes die, nothing else makes anything close to as much of a splash as a supercapital battle.

Something to Strive For

All of us have goals, things to drive us forward in EVE. In a sandbox game, we have to come up with our own objectives. Certainly some pilots strive to be the absolute best in a certain ship or a certain class. A friend of mine, Arsia Elkin, is deadly in Amarrian frigates. Arrendis, who edits my articles with chainsaws, is the best logi anchor in the game. There are also people, myself included, who want to fly the biggest and most powerful ships. Maybe it’s the Marine in me, but I much prefer the M2 to the M16. Given a choice between flying a supercarrier and a logistics cruiser (of which I am the second best, though rusty, anchor in EVE), I will pick the supercarrier every day of the week.

The goal of owning a super is not something accomplished with ease. It takes a lot of ISK to get one of those. Now, sure, someone with a Visa Black card can just plex their way there, but most of us playing EVE are not willing to drop many thousands of dollars just to fly a super. The effort of acquiring the ISK, or mining the minerals to build one is no quick task. After Death to All Supers, what grand objective is there to work to? Owning a dreadnought or a carrier is just not the same.

No Saint

Everything has a place in EVE. Despite the prevalence of supercapitals, far more subcapital fights happen in EVE Online. Supercapital dominance has never stopped a group from being conquered. Ask BoB or the old Northern Coalition how well they are doing today. Ask Pandemic Legion, who used and abused supercapitals on a regular basis how they are doing today. Supers are not killing the game, and they never will. They remain a strategic alliance asset, and a benefit to the game. I am willing to admit there might be some problems with supercapitals, but that doesn’t mean they should go away.

*I have been a very good girl and not mentioned her once in any of the previous three articles. Give me this one.

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Comments

  • To clarify, I wrote this before the cyno changes, which by the way, are dumber than somewhere between starting a 4 front land war in Asia and pricking oneself with random needles one finds on the streets of San Francisco.

    September 20, 2019 at 8:48 am
    • Garreth Vlox Alizabeth

      “dumber than somewhere between starting a 4 front land war in Asia and pricking oneself with random needles one finds on the streets of San Francisco.”

      I’m gonna have to steal that.

      September 21, 2019 at 11:03 am
  • Sylphinja the Dark Rose

    Choke on a bag of di.. erm.. while I don’t whole-heartedly agree with everything you wrote, your points are valid. For the most part.

    Nice humour as well.

    September 20, 2019 at 12:06 pm
  • Asia Park

    Perhaps an additional change to cyno’s would be to have a limit on how much mass can squeeze through before it collapses. 🙂

    September 20, 2019 at 1:00 pm
    • Taxea Asia Park

      Hmm remove cynos completly.

      September 20, 2019 at 2:31 pm
    • Breaker Asia Park

      I also like the idea of giving cynos a spool-up time.

      September 20, 2019 at 10:03 pm
  • Guilford Australis

    It’s not CCP’s job to ensure every playstyle is equally viable. Their job is to create a sandbox and let players decide what they want to do. Most nullsec players have aggregated into large, supercapital-driven blocs because that’s how most nullsec players want to play the game. CCP should respect that, since they’re the ones who wanted EVE to be a sandbox.

    If some players, to paraphrase Saruman, “elect the way of pain” by creating or joining small alliances that refuse to have diplomatic relations with the superpowers while thinking they can farm those superpowers without any possibility of reprisal, they deserve to have their teeth kicked in, period.

    September 20, 2019 at 2:16 pm
    • Garreth Vlox Guilford Australis

      “without any possibility of reprisal, they deserve to have their teeth kicked in, period.” This is the part that really sticks out, if you want to be a little guy who kicks sand in the big guys face fine. But why should devs put artificial handicaps in place just to enable that content in a sandbox style game?

      September 21, 2019 at 11:06 am
  • Zaand

    As a Goon who owns a titan, 2 supercarriers and more capitals than I care to count, I strongly disagree with this article.

    You’re missing the point. Sure there are the “death to all supers” mouth-breathers on r/eve, but they’re morons that news to be ignored. All they care about is that everyone plays the game the way they play the game. Don’t feed into them.

    However, supers are stupidly overpowered right now. It’s not that they have massive hitpoints and deal incredible damage. The problem is that supers are the end-all be-all answer to EVERY in game problem. Structure shoot? Bring some supers. Battleship fleet? Drop supers. Roaming bombers? Supers. 4 interceptors on a gate? Boson them with a super. It completely defeats the rock-paper-scissor nature of EVE where every ship class has a counter class. The fact that supers are equally effective against frigates as they are against battleships as they are against structures is game breaking and leads to the stagnation we see today.

    Tracking titans were nerfed into the ground for good reason, but now we have the same problem cranked up to 11, with no viable counter. Supers are an automatic I Win button, and frankly it sucks for both sides. There’s nothing in this game more boring than flying my titan because there’s almost zero risk. When I can solo my titan from Pure Blind to Delve with no risk, that’s a broken and boring game.

    September 20, 2019 at 3:04 pm
    • Psst. Google that Latin bit in the title.

      September 20, 2019 at 3:26 pm
      • Zaand Alizabeth

        Oh I got that. I’m normally the one that plays devil advocate because I love a good argument, but of course any argument has to have a good counter-argument. That’s what I’m here for.

        I’m also laboring under the delusion that if the players make enough noise eventually CCP will do something about the problem. It’s mostly selfish because I spent a lot of f-ing time and ISK on my titan and the thing is a glorified hangar queen now because it’s too damn boring and tedious to bother undocking.

        September 20, 2019 at 3:38 pm
        • Ah, the ‘You’re missing the point.’ threw me. I deliberately had to miss (really ignore) some points.

          September 20, 2019 at 4:28 pm
  • Romulus Loches

    I think one of the issues with supers right now is they actually cause more issues during big fights now. My understanding is that fighters create a lot of tidi and put strain on the nodes.

    September 20, 2019 at 4:59 pm
    • Rammel Kas Romulus Loches

      No. That would have been true before 64-bit to an extent. And certainly it was a thing during the previous wrecking ball style fights where they had swarms of combat drones instead.

      During fights like the M-O keepstar destruction we were quite happily plinking at all the things with a very large fighter swarm for half an hour before https://youtu.be/mtjzZoAE4-M a thing happened. And even while those things were arriving an a long daisy chain of cynos we had minimal impact on our module commands. And this was with a fair few operating full graphics as the video testifies.

      What we discovered before 64-bit was the servers took a far deeper performance cut out of PH war decking various corporations individually and then going about in ECM burst frigates en masse and then going off to have some sort of self destruction with the engagement timers. Not that it saved X47 first timers since it applied to both sides at random. There were several improvements since.

      September 21, 2019 at 7:01 am
  • Hahaha, nice satire.

    Me on basically every point:

    – Fuck this thing
    – Fuck that thing
    – Also fuck the Triangle things
    – HACs ARE OP! Yay, someone gets it!
    – DELETE ALL THE THINGS!

    September 21, 2019 at 1:00 am
  • But really, remember sniper BS fights with pit-crew warpouts (because logi’s didn’t deal well with ~80K damage AOE doomsdays) and support fleets of destroyers and battlecruisers, and dreads dropping in from time to time to assault structures because they were the only effective way to shoot a POS and sometimes large numbers of them would die to the POS because EVE was difficult?

    I miss those days.

    September 21, 2019 at 1:02 am