Devblog: Lifeblood Alpha ship Balance details


When CCP unveiled their Lifeblood expansion, a small -not so small- detail was slightly overshadowed by the huge Moon mining, Refineries and reaction stuff: a rebalance of ships available for Alphas. They have released a devblog today going into a little more detail.

This balance pass will affect only T1 ships from frigates to cruisers, and no pirate or navy variants.

Buff this

Let us look first at the ships that get a general bump in their stats.

The Dragoon: -1 High, +1 Mid, +5 CPU

The Dragoon gets an appreciable bonus CPU, along with a new mid. The sacrifice of a high-slot might seem a bit harsh, as the cap-warfare modules used by the Dragoon fill these slots, but having three mids offers the option of a prop, a tackle module and some cap sustaining module. The added CPU sits well alongside with the added mid.

The Corax: -150,000 Mass, +50 shield HP

Quite a buff here, as the change of mass will affect both speed and agility! The Corax will remain the heaviest of its class, even after losing about 8% of its current mass. The added shield might seem minor but remains a nice 5% HP gain, before resists.

The Arbitrator: +120PG, +45 CPU, +1 Launcher Slot, +20km Lock Range

And the winner is… the Arbitrator, with the biggest of all buffs. The Arbitrator is in a strange place where it is considered as an ewar ship using Weapon Disruptors, but it also has a bonus to drones. It actually is the only Amarr Alpha ship that has a bonus to drones! With a good base tank and a 4-4-5 layout, it could have been a good ship (look at the Vexor for example), but fitting options were just terrible. 4 highs, but two turrets or launchers: no real DPS option. The added launcher slot allows for 3 launchers and one utility, using a low for a BCU for example. The extra PG and CPU also allow for better fitting options. PG, in particular, was very low (575 before the buff). The added range puts it in a position where it will have a longer range than most cruisers, and put it back in its ewar role, as those generally lock further.

The Bellicose: +75 PG, +40(15?) CPU, +20km Lock Range,  +125 Capacitor, +39,000 Capacitor Recharge Rate, +2.5 RoF bonus per Minmatar Cruiser level

Forget what we said above: the Bellicose wins! First of all, the PG and CPU bonus are duplicated at the time we are writing this article, with two different values for CPU. We will update the final value later on. It seems, however, that the right value for CPU is +40, as the +15 would be for the Omen.

The bonus for CPU, PG and range are pretty similar to those given to the Arbitrator: better fitting options, and putting the Bellicose back as an Ewar ship. To give it some added aggression, a bonus is also given to the racial weaponry bonus. The Bellicose will now give 7.5% RoF per level instead of 5%. This buff is comparable to the added launcher slot of the Arbitrator. The bonus is better, however, as all the highs of the Bellicose can be, and usually are, fitted with launchers, giving it a flat 12.5% bonus DPS.

Another nice boost is an increased Capacitor pool, that is however counterbalanced by a longer recharge rate. The Bellicose will still gain the same cap/s, and will have a larger base pool, which should help for fits without capacitor modules.

The Omen: +75 PG, +15 CPU, +125 Capacitor, +39,000 Capacitor Recharge Rate

A bit tight on fitting, the Omen gets a nice PG addition and a sizable CPU boost. The capacitor change is similar to the one seen by the Bellicose.

The Stabber: +2.5% RoF bonus per Minmatar Cruiser level

This gives the Stabber a total bonus of +7.5% RoF per level. This is again an increase of 12.5% of the Stabber’s damage output.

Nerf here

These poor ships were nerfed because they kicked ass, RIP.

The (Fatman) Tristan: +88,000 Mass

A very popular frigate especially in factional warfare, the Tristan will now support its nickname even better. This mass addition is an 8% increase and will reduce its speed and agility by a chunk. The new mass of the Tristan will be similar to the one of an executioner for reference.

The Vexor: -100PG

No need to present you the Vexor: it probably is one of the most popular T1 cruisers, for any activities. This PG reduction will put it just above the new Arbitrator and will certainly hurt some PG heavy fits.

No love for Gallente in this patch!

Change that

Ships that see their stats change in a “neutral” way.

The (mighty) Rifter: -1 High, +1 Low

Probably the most iconic T1 frigate (with the Tristan?), it is still popular among pilots. The Rifter will see its utility high-slot disappear and be replaced by a low-slot. Some will see this as a nerf, others as a buff… CCP wants the Rifter to have a more distinct role compared to the Slasher and Breacher.

What are we nerfing next?

To close their Devblog, CCP tells us that this patch is certainly not correcting every balance issue, but setting the tone for future passes. While the next victims are not known yet, future changes should come at a quick pace for small modifications, longer-term reworks and (of course) new ships.

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  • Libluini

    The Arbitrator was an early favorite of mine. Looks like I can dust off my old PVP-alt and see what I can do with it after the buff.

    September 11, 2017 at 6:45 PM
  • dragonshardz

    Fuck. RIP the current AFK Vexor fit.

    September 11, 2017 at 6:58 PM
  • Arrendis

    I have to say I was really underwhelmed by this balance pass. Not only are they not really addressing the core issues of why most alphas are Gallente (PvE: Hauler variants w/larger special-purpose holds, PvP: THEY GET POINTS SO THEY CAN HOLD YOU DOWN), but they’re really not rebalancing the entire spectrum of alphaclone ships, just tweaking one or two, here and there.

    Consider: there are 6 T1 frigates, 2 destroyers, and 4 cruisers and 2-5 industrials for each race. Each alphaclone has up to 12 combat ships they can choose from, for a total of 48 hulls + the 12 Industrial hulls (2 + 2 + 3 + 5) and then the Venture. A total of 61 possible choices (because never ignore the DeathVenture).

    This rebalance affects 9 hulls. Out of 61.


    September 11, 2017 at 10:07 PM
    • Mischa Gau'ss Tesla Arrendis

      Yup, that’s not a lot. But let us be optimistic: the proposed change are “okay” (not stupidly huge, nor are they absurd or totally off the charts), and we see with the last comment a will to do more small balance passes regularly… which should be the way the game is balance imho. No need to change every ship deeply, just tweek the ones that are really bad or good every couple of month or so! You can not have a perfect balance (otherwise you would give the same stuff to everyone and basta), but you can try to oscillate around a mean value for each object, like funambulists leaning right and left to stay on the rope.

      September 11, 2017 at 10:41 PM