As happens every year, CCP uses Fanfest as a means to publicize and create excitement around upcoming content plans. For example, last fall at Eve Vegas we got our first looks at the tactical destroyer plans. As the haze should finally be clear from the any Icelandic drinking and food adventures, it is time to look at some of the planned additions to the tactical destroyer lineup. While the actual ship stats have yet to be released, we have been given the ship bonus slides and the early art models. Not enough to create detailed analysis but more than sufficient to engage in speculation.
For those who don’t already know, the Caldari have some problems with limiting their hull names. Caldari engineers and designers seem to have a fascination with a very specific family of birds. We have ravens, crows, black birds, and now the jackdaw. And yet it somehow looks nothing like any living thing and truly resembles a space based cell phone tower.
To the consternation of some and the joy of others the Jackdaw will be a missile boat and boasts bonuses that are comparable those of the corax. However where the corax has bonus to damage application the jackdaw does not. And even in sharpshooter mode the additional range of added missile velocity, while helpful, seems a little bit underwhelming when compared to the explosion velocity bonus of the corax or the tracking bonus that seems to come standard on the turret based T3’s of the Matari and Gallente.
The defense mode though could prove to be fantastic. Boosted resists and signature reduction on a shield boat with 6 mids should make it a tough nut to crack. Assuming that the sig radius is similar to the other destroyers (between 50-70) cutting down a third will put the sig on par with a lot of frigates.
The propulsion mode also shows promise. Given the popularity of fitting the tactical destroyers with oversized afterburners the 66.6% boost to the ships inertia promises to make them outstanding kite boats.
If the Caldari are guilty of using the same name themes then the Gallente are guilty of being overly predictable. For the goddess of the crossroads and choice however the Hecate seems to be a bit limited in some ways. The Hecate does look pretty good though. It is somewhat reminiscent of the YB-35 of the 1940s.
The offensive bonus layout is solid with damage and application bonuses all the time and the expected range bonus in sharpshooter mode. However the propulsion bonus is for MWD’s only. And not in the form of a sig bloom reduction but in a cap use reduction which would make an oversized afterburner Hecate unable to take advantage of the speed boost, though it would still get the inertia modifier bonus.
The real place where choice comes in is in the defensive mode. And it will need a lot of analysis to make sense of properly. Firstly, it looks like the double bonus for hull and armor will make for a very significant tank when paired with the active armor rep bonus. However with only 4 low slots if the resists are on par with the other T3 destroyers a player will have to make some hard choices. Considering that the Hecate is already shaping up to have very limited speed mode option with a presumed explosive hole to fill and resists in the 50% range there just may not be room for an active rep setup to take advantage of the bonus without using the rig slots. Then again a player could very well make the Hecate a beast of a hull tanker with effective use of a DCU and a bulkheads and ignore the active armor bonus all together.
Love them or hate them the new T3 destroyers have added new life to a class of hulls that have been largely pigeon holed for some time. The basic destroyer class has often been described as too slow to perform the primary duty of frigate suppression and yet insufficient tank and large signature (and again slow) to be a cheap alternative to face cruiser hulls with mid-sized guns. The interdictor hulls while having significantly more tank and the ability to put out interdiction bubbles see little use outside of niche roles. While the meta around T3 destroyers is still far from settled, for the time being the tactical destroyer line up is seeing use and having more than a little bit of success at blowing up space pixels. And really that is what the point is supposed to be after all.