Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Thoughts on the Recon Rebalance

Last week, CCP Rise announced a proposal for a Recon rebalance in the upcoming Proteus release here. This has received more of a response from the community than anything since the jump fatigue changes in Phoebe.    The most controversial aspect is the addition of d-scan immunity to Combat Recon hulls, but this also includes a substantial buff to the resist profile and capacitor of all 8 hulls.

I've had some time to think this over, and I think that the strength of d-scan immunity in combat recons is vastly overrated by the community. Cloaks are just SO MUCH more powerful in nearly every situation apart from maybe ganking plex runners. Some people are actually suggesting that d-scan immunity is BETTER than covert-ops cloaks, which I think is a ridiculous statement. The arguments against d-scan immunity basically boil down to:

1. People will camp inside medium faction warfare plexes and farm kills all day

I can already do this with force recons if I want to. I have two recon-capable characters, so I could literally just sit inside a medium plex with an Arazu & a Rapier with a scout on the warp-in gate, and just pop frigates all day if I really wanted to, and I can't even be detected by combat probes if I do this. This was also supposed to happen when the scan inhibitors were introduced, but I have not once seen someone actually do it.

2. Wormhole sites and low sec plexes will become too dangerous for PVE

They already are dangerous in w-space because of force recons (or bombers). D-scan immunity only matters if the site is within d-scan range of the wormhole and they manage to hit d-scan within the narrow ~2 second window that a force recon would be decloaked. Let's be realistic, someone who gets ganked by a Combat Recon in Proteus would get tackled today by a Force Recon >90% of the time.

With respect to DED plexes, I think this argument holds some truth, but there are still ways to be 100% safe. You still see people probing the site, and you can always move yourself >100 km from the warp-in beacon if you're paranoid, which keeps you completely safe from anyone coming in, regardless of what ship they're flying.

3. People will camp low sec DED sites with combat recons

This is countered with combat probes by the paranoid. And again, I can clear out the first room of a DED plex, and camp it with an Arazu/Rapier combo today if I really wanted to. It's usually more profitable (and less boring) to just run the site.

4. The decloak delay makes Force Recons balanced today. Combat recons won't have to deal with this.

The decloak delay for targetting is almost exactly equal to the delay between a combat recon showing up on the overview, landing on grid, and it being able to target after it decelerates from a warp. People have tested and measured this on sisi. In either case, if you are aligned and paying attention, you will be safe.

5. The new meta will be 20-man Lachesis/Curse gangs. There is literally no reason to fly anything else.

I'll believe it when I see it. It might work in wormholes, or assist with ganks, but recons are still not great pure combat ships and they'll get wrecked by a proper gang. Combat recons will indeed probably become the ship of choice for scouting wormholes though.

On the other hand, I think the change to Recon resists and capacitor is potentially very, VERY big though, and it could make e-war a much bigger factor in HAC/Battleship fights. For example, the ability to field tanky damp ships can provide a way for smaller HAC gangs to engage other HAC gangs who like to run with a large number of logi.

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