BFG Changes: The Flyswatter without a racket

Saphira Hawk 2019-11-01

Art by Redline XIII

So at EvE Vegas 2019, CCP made several announcements regarding ship balancing, some of which were just around the corner and some far into the future. The response CCP got from the players regarding all the changes has been mixed, to say the least, with some of them not changing anything like the combat interceptor changes to some that “make a ship useless”, and this last point is what brings me to the Bosonic Field Generator and CCP’s vision.

When the flyswatter was a new invention

Back in 2015 CCP set out four guidelines for their newly developed super weapons, or Doomsdays, for the Titan class capital ships alongside the gigantic capital re-balance that included changes to Dreadnoughts, Carriers, Super Carriers and the release of Force Auxiliaries in the late 2016 expansion EvE Online: Citadel. Those four guidelines were as follows

  1. All Doomsdays should be fun for both the Titan pilot and the target
  2. There should be clear counter-gameplay to all Doomsdays
  3. They should be visually impressive
  4. The targeting skills of the Titan pilot are much more important. So are the piloting skills of any target.

These are all respectable guidelines that were initially followed when these were released as Titans were quite rare outside of the largest alliances, and even in those alliances Titans were risky to use and were rarely used because of this, especially not outside of large alliance fleets. This leads us to today’s problem and why CCP decided to give the BFG such a large nerf.

Swatting Flies – The Boson in Action

In today’s environment the game is much safer than it used to be with citadels and super umbrellas, so using the BFG on gates to try and kill small gangs or even solo roamers in your space has become a popular deterrent against roamers. This more or less succeeds, depending on the intelligence and preparation of the roamer. But the effectiveness of this method has often been criticized by the people it’s used against, with good reason. When CCP first released this module they implemented a signature lock on it, so anything below 2,000 signature took reduced damage from the module, but this signature lock didn’t do as much as it was supposed to. This is a best case scenario for the roamer, or in this case fleet, where the ships are fitted with the maximum amount of tank (assuming a mostly t2 fitting), yet all of them will die to the BFG without even having their micro warp drive on and without the micro warp drive on you’ll struggle to move out of the Bosonic field in time. The Assault Damage Control might save the Harpy and the Muninn pictured above in an ideal scenario, but it is still risky as you’ll have to survive five seconds without the ADC, even if you time it perfectly. And here’s the real issue. If a ship fitted to survive as much damage as possible can’t survive it outside of an ideal scenario, how is a ship designed around speed, utility and damage supposed to survive it when they have half or less of the buffer tank their equivalent max tank fit has? They’re not, and that’s where the complaint comes from, which led to the current nerfs.

The flyswatter’s inability to swat flies

Now, when CCP Rise went on stage in Vegas people were already prepared to write angry posts because he had announced nerfs to Bosons during the keynote the day before, which didn’t please the majority of the player base that live in null and use Titans or are looking to get into one later. As the change was announced the cry of thousands of nullsec inhabitants was heard in the distance.Where 90% of subcaps would die to a BFG before the nerf, almost nothing without the MWD active will die to it, even a buffer tanked t1 frigate is going to survive the full duration, And this nerf goes for both NPCs and players, making ratting in Titans significantly weaker to the point of irrelevancy. This nerf effectively removes the entire point of the module, as you can turn off the MWD in the 10 seconds charge-up the BFG has and survive that way, not by piloting smartly or outplaying the Titan, merely by taking all that damage and shrugging it off. While this greatly benefits small gangs and solo roamers as it removes something that’s been a bother for a long time, it is going to remove the module from use and make a ton of people incredibly unhappy about the state of this already broken game. If this is what CCP wanted, then they might as well remove the module. But since they didn’t remove it, we have to assume they want to keep it in the game, and if that is the case, CCP severely needs to take a new look at the module’s signature radius.

Conclusion

A well aimed BFG should definitely have a huge effect on the enemy fleet, but if the enemy fleet plays it well they should not be killed by it alone. But should they be affected severely, there should be ways to express skills on both sides, both piloting-wise from the target and aim-wise for the Titan. Active-tanked ships should be forced to run reps to survive/recover from it and buffer-tanked ships should lose much of their buffer if they stay in the boson field for the full duration, yet both types of fittings should be punished harshly for using their MWDs, as this should be able to kill them over the duration. A nerf to this module is definitely needed to add some well deserved counter play, but this nerf is too harsh and is going to put the module out of use completely.

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Comments

  • CCP need to either delete or entirely re-imagine supercaps.

    November 1, 2019 at 8:46 am
    • Guilford Australis Ganthrithor

      I’m not sure supercap proliferation is the problem. I think lack of reason to use supercaps is the problem. I vote for deleting Aegis sov and citadels.

      November 3, 2019 at 5:14 pm
      • Gizznitt Malikite Guilford Australis

        A lack of reason to use them is an issue, but dropping a titan on a 20 man frigate fleet isn’t a pragmatic or balanced place for them, either.

        We need a middle ground with results that includes ship attrition.

        November 4, 2019 at 6:14 pm
        • Super capital ship attrition would be welcomed. However, not everyone is willing to go all in these days into a super capital fight. If a side holds back super capitals when going all in to preserve them, it means victory is not assured. The risk is too great so it doesnt happen and to hold sov, you need supers.

          As for titans dropping on frigates, those titan pilots are just bored and wanting to use their toys. Cant fault them there.

          November 5, 2019 at 1:13 am
          • Gizznitt Malikite Xandryll

            And that is the fundamental issue at hand. Too expensive to lose, too powerful to ignore, with essentially uncontrolled production.

            November 5, 2019 at 2:36 am
  • Rammel Kas

    I have two thoughts. One is dumbing down and just making the super pilots of an apex force’s life difficult by removing their agency in getting to winnable fights is dumb, stupid and led to the nosebleed in blackout. Fair number of people are just going to check out. Then you got nobody left to play with. So we can’t go that way.

    Other is you won’t have necessarily this level of bleating from the roamers if you didn’t have to keep running into strategic force multipliers all the time. If a battleship could PLEX your account in 5 hours active play it would remove the need to PVE with those strategic super-capital assets. So you won’t see them, and by extension their inevitable response fleets of other people who also want to play. Or you’d see it clearly as bait and make your decisions from there. By contrast you’d be FAR more likely to actually find something that you could get a fight from. Right now it’s almost like warp core stabs level of faction war roaming (with the prepared recon cyno trap & dogpile coming your way instead of the guy just moonwalking out past your ship). Let it be more income efficient to use smaller more approachable ships and what happens instead?

    November 1, 2019 at 9:22 am
    • CCP can’t really address the price of PLEX / value of ISK in any meaningful way, though, can they? If they change game so people can rake in more ISK (read: danke ticks in battleships or whatever you’re proposing), won’t the ISK price of PLEX just rise? The ISK:PLEX cost relationship is just people who have paid actual money and people who’ve spent time doing repetitive bullshit tasks coming to an agreement on how much in-game currency that monotony is worth.

      November 2, 2019 at 1:26 am
      • Rammel Kas Ganthrithor

        Yes that’s the purely economic perspective. However there is also a game play-ability perspective. So it’s a lot trickier than that. What I’m saying is simply that the most effective method for limited modern day available discretionary time is one class of ship, which is linked to how big groups project power. If you didn’t have to use them for that purpose then you won’t have the complication of the daily opportunists droning their noise over the top of the strategic balance discussion of fleet mechanics, and maybe have a solvable puzzle without the other luggage. These are big fleet ships, which should normally require big fleets to take on. If they aren’t a daily grind kind of thing then seeing them in space should begin to actually mean something again?

        Also there seems to be a stickyness to the inflationary trend to the PLEX pricing which I am not convinced is on an asking price anymore. And it may be down to the big goo farmers and the like just tanking changes beyond their break even, because they could still supplement it off stocks or something else. This is of course already well beyond the point where your average new player has to force themselves into sweat-shop like conditions to keep up and PLEX each month if they don’t already have the ready-trained alt farms on hand to scale. Keeping in mind input PLEX amounts are finite and fairly fixed this is a problem.

        November 2, 2019 at 1:21 pm
        • Oh, OK– I get what you’re saying with the supercaps. Yeah, totally agree they should not be relevant to the money grind. IMO they shouldn’t be DPS ships generally.

          November 4, 2019 at 7:19 am
  • Squinty McBlindy

    Just fucking delete ALL capital ships.
    Most of the problems people keep whining about will evaporate.
    No Rorqs, no FAX, no Titans, no umbrella….

    November 2, 2019 at 12:06 am
    • Rammel Kas Squinty McBlindy

      Thing about that is… it’s not the ships. It’s the ORGANISED GROUPS who beat down on less organised opportunists. You could have a scenario where there are no caps in question and you’d still get beat down by the N+1 if you didn’t set out with N+2 to begin with. Been there, done that.

      November 2, 2019 at 1:09 pm
    • Remove bubble immunity from every ship that can fit any kind of weapon system (including bubbles and probes) and put it on a t2 shuttle that accepts prop and tank modules and nothing else.

      These changes are just due to elite pvp shits crying on reddit about big bad null preventing them from ganging up 50 vs 1 ship in a true elite pvp fashion. Sadly idiots at CCP are listening to people who’s play style is identical to any FPS on the planet and thus they are hardly very loyal customers as you can get instant fix in so many other games.

      November 2, 2019 at 5:30 pm