On Friday, May 26th, Team Five 0 released an update on the forthcoming and long anticipated strategic cruiser rebalance. This rebalance has been kicked about for quite some time as T3 cruisers have proven time and again to be some of the most overpowered ships for their class in the entire game. However, with the current bullet points listed by Team Five 0, the rebalance is looking more and more like a redesign with the central question: what should the role of the strategic cruiser even be?
The Bullet Points
- Rigs in their current state lock T3 hulls into a specific set of bonuses and prevent T3 Cruisers from achieving the goal of a “strategic” ship that you can adjust from day to day to meet your needs by changing subsystems
- T3 Cruisers overlap too much with other ships (especially Heavy Assault Cruisers and Recon Ships) and their dominance can reduce ship variety
- Many of the subsystems and subsystem combinations are underpowered and rarely used
- The current state of T3 Cruisers is unsustainable from a technical graphics perspective
The development team also provided an overview of the direction they’re looking to take these ships:
- Condense the available subsystems into a smaller number of more powerful and useful choices.
- The current plan is to have four subsystem slots with three choices in each slot
- A general rebalance of the T3 Cruiser class which would include (among other things):
- New faction-specific build components sourced from WH space
- Dual tank bonuses for the Loki
- Some power reductions to long range combat alongside the nullification subsystem
- An increase in signature radius and mass
- Allowing rigs to be freely removed from Strategic Cruisers without destroying them
Additionally, CCP committed to setting July 11th as the date for when these changes will be put into effect, citing the next month and a half as a time period for players to adjust to the changes and submit feedback. For those concerned about the status of their currently owned strategic cruisers, CCP outlined how the transition will most likely take place:
- Existing subsystems that are not fit to a Strategic Cruiser will be directly transformed into their closest functional equivalent under the new system.
- Strategic Cruisers with subsystems fit to them will have their subsystems converted into new ones directly, and will receive one extra subsystem placed in their cargo hold (to ensure that players have the same number of subsystems before and after the patch).
- This means that although all fitted Strategic Cruisers will continue to have a valid set of subsystems after the patch, some of their modules may go offline as fitting and even slot layouts may change.
- We highly encourage all players who will be flying T3 Cruisers at the time of downtime on July 11th get themselves into a safe location such as a friendly starbase or docked within a station/structure before the downtime begins. This will ensure that they do not get caught in a dangerous situation with some of their modules offline when they next log in.
To make sure that players have some time to submit feedback on the changes, CCP has spun up a T3 Cruiser focus group with the following players:
- Asher Elias
- Capri Sun KraftFoods
- Icarus Narcissus
- Lemkor Gengod
- Noxisia Arkana
- Sturm Gewehr
- Titus Tallang
- White 0rchid
The changes to T3 cruisers arrive at an interesting time in EVE Online. Summertime is when a lot of diehard players are practicing for the Alliance Tournament and T3 cruisers, due to their strengths and flexibility, have generally played a large role here. So, how will these changes play out in the AT? The changes come in 18 days before the tournament begins, not leaving teams much time to come up with new fits. For the more industrially minded, questions arise – like will they affect T3 production? Since they will be dependant on ‘new wormhole loot,’ it also begs the question of whether or not this loot will be live when the changes go into effect.
There is also a question as to “what is the strategic cruiser’s role?” Currently, they are versatile ships that can do cloaky covert things as well as tough mainline fighting things. Before the concept was introduced 2009, the backbone of most fleets were battleships. Now, arguably, a lot of those battleship fleets were replaced by a mix of T3 cruiser fleets and other sorts of fast kitey flavor of the month things. While it took some time and there was definitely some Drake and Ishtar supremacy in there as well, the last several years have seen strategic cruisers steadily remain the forefront of most power bloc’s mainline fleet concepts.
So far, it’s been a jack-of-all-trades and it has even mastered a few things as well. Nothing in the game currently gives players the tank, firepower, and sig radius that a T3 cruiser gives. That said, there’s a lot of unused modules which no one will really shed any tears over. While we might recall the brilliance of how Pandemic Legion once executed its Sneaky Pete doctrine, I’m sure there no one will shed many tears over not being able to do it anymore. Regardless of how this ‘rebalance’ or redesign is carried out, rest assured, some ship somewhere will become the new meta and if it succeeds enough – it too will probably get ‘rebalanced’ as well.