Black sheep of the Eve ships

2013-08-06

In my last article, I mentioned a dev blog by CCP Ytterbium before the tiericide and ship rebalancing began. In it they explained the basic relationship they planned out for all their ships based on their tech level alone instead of on their established tier level. They also included this little gem that I used in my last article.

After some more thought, I started to realize that this wasn’t exactly 100% accurate. You see, there are some black sheep in the tech families. There are tech 1 ships that aren’t generalized and tech 2 ships that aren’t specialized. I thought it’d be fun to share what I felt the black sheep of the families were, see if you agreed, and wondered if you could think of any others that might fit the bill. Mind you, these ships aren’t necessarily bad for breaking the mold. In fact, most pilots of these ships are quite satisfied with their performance and wouldn’t change much about them. This is meant to be a bit more lighthearted view of the rebalance than the serious business number-crunching found in some of our other articles on this website. So, without further ado, my list of Eve’s black sheep!

Mining barges

Let’s get this one out of the way first as it’s by far and away the most obvious one; mining barges are tech one ships that are utterly worthless at anything but mining. Despite what the hardcore PvP community might say, these unsung heroes of New Eden serve an important role of bridging the gap between the very newly introduced mining frigate and the endgame T2 mining brothers, exhumers. Endgame for all but Chribba and his Veldnaught, mind you. EFT warrior all you like, there are no fits worth anything on these ships past effective miners; these are T1 ships with a very strong specialization.

Freighters

This one, like mining barges, is solidly placed in the “no shit” zone. Freighters are the be-all end-all when it comes to high capacity hauling through space. The Charon, with Caldari Freighter V, can haul a whopping 981,250 m3. This is the absolute largest cargohold in the game that is attached to a ship with no rig slots, no fitting slots, no drones, nothing. Its only defense is the reasonable EHP attached to it. If this isn’t the very definition of specialized, I don’t know what is. The only T1 part about it are the skills needed, though a freshly-rolled character would need about a month to get in one.

Heavy Assault Cruisers

To jump to the opposite end of the spectrum, we move over to HACs. These ships are pretty versatile little bastards. They’ve got a wide range of bonuses and an even larger range of applications. They’re equally adept at PvP and PvE, engaging all ships from big to small. This lack of specialization has caused many players to wonder about the benefits of flying these tech two cruisers over their considerably cheaper tech one counterparts, even after the second iteration of their proposed rebalance. Personally, I hope they find a better niche role to better suit their tech two status.

Dreadnaughts

You might disagree with this, but be honest, you know that dreads are the spaceship equivalent of a sledgehammer. If something big needs a smashing, bring in the dreads. Let’s take an objective look at some of the features of other capital and supercapital ships:

Hopefully, this makes it pretty clear that dreads are specialized damage machines with a high price tag. As of Crucible, dreads no longer have drone bays, leaving them very vulnerable to anything smaller than a battleship. Unless you’re “blap” fit, you’ll find it difficult to track even battleships. This puts dreads in a very awkward position of being near useless in anything but structure shoots (or, in the case of the Phoenix, useless all of the time) and the occasional supercap gank, the latter of which can end very, very badly for the dreads given the anti-capital role of supercaps. All in all, it’s a very niche ship for being tech one even considering its capital ship status.

Tech One Logistics

I feel this is the one most people will disagree with, but bear with me a moment. This applies to both the frigate and the cruiser versions of tech one logistics. Once upon a time, these ships were all mining-bonused ships that were awful at anything but mining ore. In Retribution 1.1, CCP removed the mining bonuses and added the Venture mining ship. CCP gave these ships incredible bonuses to remote reps in order to fill the gap between new players and tech two logistics. These changes have been well loved by veterans and new pilots alike, but fails to follow the formula that CCP claimed to have been using. While you can fit an attack Exequror with a fair amount of effort, the result would almost assuredly land you here for an ALOD.

So what?

With the exception of the T1 logis, these ships have existed before the current tiericide. Should these ships really remain so unbalanced in the face of the new direction CCP espouses? To be honest, for most of these I don’t think there’s much of an issue. The T1 ships fill a necessary niche that would otherwise be unfilled, particularly the logistics. Heavy Assault Cruisers, on the other hand, remain a hotly debated topic on the Eve-O forums, even after the most recent proposed balance changes. I have my own beliefs on what HACs should become, but this has been an excursion into the wildly incomprehensible world of CCP rather than an attempt to jam up the rebalance gears. More than anything, I want you, the readers, to think about the wider implications balance changes have on the game rather than just evaluating each change individually. Is a unified and consistent theme for balance really the best thing for the game, or is the current loose interpretation the best in creating an entertaining game?

This article originally appeared on TheMittani.com, written by 

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