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.
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.
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!
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.