The Bomber and The Battleship

2021-06-23

Header art by Major Sniper

Recent industry changes have thrown another roadblock in the way of the battleship, and with bombers making the headlines, INN asks: “What can we do to bring battleships back onto the frontlines?” A normal T1 battleship is currently costing about 350-450mil ISK in Jita. They are designed to project force, take a huge amount of punishment, and give it out in equal measure. But there are a number of issues facing these ships of the line, the main one being their vulnerability to bombers.

Add a new weapon . . .

As the events in World War Bee 2 have shown us, bombers can be utterly devastating. But they are not without risk. For every bombing run that makes it onto Youtube, there are 20 that end unsuccessfully, the majority of which end in a dead bombing wing. So, how can a boost for one not result in a nerf for the other? The answer: a new bomb type and a change to battleship resists.

A damaged Megathron fights on.

The proposal surrounds two key changes: adding a natural bomb damage resistance to battleship-sized armor plates and the addition of a new bomb – the armor piercing bomb. Let’s start with the first idea. Weapons, both modern and sci-fi, must follow at least some basic rules set out by real world physics. In order to pierce armor, you must have a massive amount of concentrated energy. In the world of tanks and tank munitions, this comes through the form of either a super-sonic kinetic projectile (or “long rod penetrator” – don’t laugh), explosive formed projectiles (like an RPG), or a concentrated explosion – we call this a HESH round or High Explosive Squash Head.

And a dash of Armor Plating . . .

A bomb in EVE is none of these, yet it has the ability to cause an enormous amount of damage to a battleship over a greater area. Sensibly, weapons that produce a large area effect will have a lesser effect on point targets – artillery, for example: great against soft targets, not effective against a tank.  Now, we must presume due to their size and mass that a battleship is more heavily armored than its smaller fleet mates. But the damage from a bomb is still equally devastating. Therefore, we can assess that a battleship isn’t inherently armor plated. The answer must be to create an Armor Plates module. The first proposal would give any battleship mounted Armor Plate a 90% resist to bomb damage. With this one fix, we have given intentionally slow and tanky battleships, with their lack of maneuverability, the ability to stay on grid and absorb bombing runs the way they were meant to.

A Typhoon takes a volley of AP Bombs (img: Denofgeek.com)

Unfortunately, with this change, we have taken another advantage away from the much-beleaguered bombers. As with all things in EVE there must be a counter. I give you the Armor Piercing Bomb, designed for one purpose – to penetrate that reinforced armor through kinetic energy. This bomb would have an 80% reduction in Area of Effect Radius (reducing it from 15km to a 3km radius, but providing a 100% increase in total damage. The result: a bomb that won’t hit anything but the slowest targets, but with 3-4 hits the target is destroyed. This means that large bomber wings, with excellent co-ordination, can warp-in on designate targets and punch above their weight to deliver a real blow to an enemy battleship fleet.

Combined with the proposed Black Ops changes currently in testing, this would be a real buff to stealth bombers, enabling them to quickly bridge into action, destroy the toughest of targets, including supers and titans, and then disappear like an old-fashioned U-Boat wolf pack. But they still maintain their basic weaknesses that make them such an enjoyable ship to fly. Almost no tank, slow align, and vulnerable to almost anything that isn’t a corvette.

A BLOPs fleet moves through a wormhole stalking their prey.bo

Bon (and bloody) appétit

But EVE Online isn’t just about large scale nullsec conflicts. There must be options for the individual battleship pilot to not be insta-gibbed by these bombs. There should be a requirement to protect the solo ratter. No bombs in highsec of course, but in Wormhole space they could be especially deadly. When it comes to balancing, there are multiple ideas. Smartbombs could destroy these whilst in flight, and the reduced AOE damage would dissipate as they were shot down. In addition, a Defender Launcher for Battleships or “Point Defense System” (PDS) could be created for a turret slot – reducing damage for added protection. These are all suggestions that could be possible.

It is only through imaginative gameplay changes that EVE Online will see its future endure. This is purely a proposal to enhance the usability of two ship classes that need a boost. Battleships are currently not seen on the battlefield; this is a travesty. As with all suggestions, these must be tested, but with such an intelligent and knowledgeable player base, the answers to our questions live amongst the capsuleers.

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Comments

  • Guilford Australis

    I’ve been bombed to hell in Baltec Megathron fleets, but I don’t think I’ve ever actually lost a ship that way. I guess our boosters and logi probably died, but I don’t remember any battleships getting killed even by a well-executed bombing run. On the other hand, I’ve been in 50-pilot bomber fleets that completely nuked 200-pilot cruiser or battlecruiser fleets.

    I think the best solution from a balance standpoint is simply a big nerf to bombers. Now, before the pitchforks and torches come out, I am on the record in many articles and comments here opposing CCP’s practice of ‘development by nerf.’ But bombers are the most overpowered platform at this point in EVE.

    My standard Purifier fit does 1,000 DPS with T2 torpedoes, holds three bombs, can cloak, can use any standard mid-slot support module, can warp off grid in five seconds, and has a tiny signature radius. That is a ridiculous combination of capabilities for a frigate platform, particularly considering the cost.

    June 23, 2021 at 10:42 AM
    • Garreth Vlox Guilford Australis

      “I’ve been bombed to hell in Baltec Megathron fleets, but I don’t think I’ve ever actually lost a ship that way. I guess our boosters and logi probably died, but I don’t remember any battleships getting killed even by a well-executed bombing run.”

      I haven’t died in a mega fleet that was bombed but I have been in mega fleets were we lost decent numbers of people to bombing runs, but I think we have had worse losses of Ferox fleets since we ususally get more T3D’s on the average mega fleet than we do the average ferox fleet and the ferox has so much less tank and health.

      June 23, 2021 at 5:09 PM
    • I’ve watched an entire fleet of megathrons die to 2 bomb runs while my Guardian survived just fine because it was both smaller, and not where the battleships were. So yeah, it definitely happens.

      As for fixing bombers… there’s a lot of options. CCP could just split it up: one type of ship that uses torpedoes, and another that uses bombs. Right now, stealth bombers are basically attack subs *and* boomers, all in one.

      June 23, 2021 at 6:08 PM
    • I agree: I’m so fucking sick of bombers, but the actual bombs are the least of my concerns. The bridging and the ridiculous torp DPS are the biggest problems IMO: covert-bridge gangs have been the death of small-gang PvP.

      June 23, 2021 at 8:58 PM
    • Bombers are so much fun for several reasons other than dps. Covert ops cloak, black ops bridges, quick warp speed, and they’re fairly cheap. Nerfing their max dps to around say 600-800 and slightly reducing bomb damage probably won’t reduce bomber fleets by much because they’ll still be fun as hell and still very effective.

      June 24, 2021 at 2:27 AM
  • Rabid

    Alright, let’s look at this proposal. You propose a focused bomb that deals 100% bonus damage (x2 damage) in a much smaller radius, to compensate for battleships being able to fit a module that reduces bomb damage by 90% (/10 damage). Can you see how these two things aren’t equal?

    I think the problem is more fundamental than just “Battleships get bombed to bits if you try to do anything with them!” The truth is, everything gets bombed to bits if you make even the slightest mistake. This might be a case where you don’t need a whole new mechanic or a gigantic nerf, though, but just a minor tweak. Reduce bomb radius by… say… 3km at max skill levels (15km -> 12km radius). By no means nerfed into the ground, but makes them just a little bit less oppressive. I think the basic gameplay mechanic is fine and good, the numbers are perhaps just a little too overtuned.

    The situation has always been that battleships are big and slow, and bombers are good against things that are big and slow. This is intentional. At present they are just a little too good for what a battleship offers you on the battlefield.

    June 23, 2021 at 10:56 AM
    • J Moravia Rabid

      Can you see how these two things aren’t equal?

      You know what else isn’t equal? The price of a bomber and the price of a battleship.

      June 23, 2021 at 3:33 PM
    • Garreth Vlox Rabid

      “The truth is, everything gets bombed to bits if you make even the slightest mistake.”

      True, but also not true. Yes everything can be bombed to bits, but everything except BC’s and BS’s has either a natural or fitted counter. Cruisers, frigates and destroyers can likely get off field or out of range of the bomb once they see it coming, T3d’s can just shoot the bombs down, hacs and assault frigates have their special damage control and insane resists, and caps just don’t care about the small amount of damage that bombs do to them. BS’s and BC’s are unique among the various ship types and classes in that they are mostly defenseless against a well executed bombing run.

      June 23, 2021 at 5:07 PM
  • Carvj94

    Why not make some kind of non turreted hi slot point defense module that shoots at bombs in range for 30 seconds when activated with a 60 second cool down. Doing only enough damage that a couple would needed to destroy a bomb.

    June 24, 2021 at 2:22 AM
    • Zaand Carvj94

      You mean defender launchers?

      June 24, 2021 at 1:22 PM
      • Carvj94 Zaand

        Doesn’t that take up a launcher slot?

        June 24, 2021 at 5:10 PM
  • Elithiel en Gravonere

    I don’t think we need any of this. Any Battleship fleet that isn’t protected and escorted by a jackdaw fleet (destroyer class fleet), deserves what it gets. Battleships should not be flown unescorted. Do you think we Bomberwaffe pilots would of destroyed the Ravens in Y-2’s battle if it was properly defended? No. We wiped out all 200 because the enemy was stupid and lazy.

    June 28, 2021 at 8:12 AM