Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Re-balancing Tech 3 Destroyer Propulsion Mode

A major reason that the Tech 3 Destroyers (T3Ds) are imbalanced is because of the way their propulsion mode is implemented.  The Svipul and the Confessor get a rather large bonus to their max velocity when they are in propulsion mode, which impacts their base speed with no prop mod running, their MWD speed, and their speed with a 10mn afterburner.  CCP seems to have realized that this was a mistake, and thus they made the Jackdaw relatively slow, and they gave the Hecate a bonus to MWD speed rather than max velocity in propulsion mode.

The way propulsion mode is implemented basically means that the Svipul and Confessor are overpowered, and that the Hecate is terrible.

Let's geek out over the numbers a bit.  Here are the figures for how the T3 destroyers are implemented today:

Def ModeProp Mode
Def Mode SpeedProp Mode SpeedMassMWD Speed10mn AB SpeedMWD Speed10mn AB Speed
* This is probably confusing, but base speed numbers are given with 0 skills, and speed with prop mod on are given with all-V skills

If you don't know how to interpret the base speed numbers, here are the values for a couple common ships:

Rifter: 365 m/s
Thrasher: 270 m/s
Stabber: 290 m/s
Rupture: 210 m/s

The max velocity of T3Ds in defensive mode seems reasonable; they're all considerably slower than a T1 Destroyer (Thrasher), which seems reasonable to me as they have massive EHP potential when they are in this mode.  The Jackdaw and the Hecate are actually slower than most Cruisers in this mode.

In Propulsion mode though, the strength of the Svipul and Confessor is very obvious.  Both ships have better base speed than any T1 Combat Frigate!  This is WAY too much speed!  Since this is granted to max velocity, this also grants them exceptional speed with an oversized afterburner in propulsion mode.  Given that both ships have sufficient CPU and PG to fit a 10mn AB without much of a problem (in addition to at least 1 nanofiber!), you end up with two very powerful ships.

The differences between the Svipul and Confessor in propulsion mode are very stark. The Jackdaw has rather poor base speed and a modest bonus to max velocity in its propulsion mode.  This means that its velocity with a 10mn AB is rather poor.  I think that this is actually the most balanced and most well-designed ship within its class.  Even though it's max velocity with its prop mod off is comparable to many cruisers,  I think this is reasonable because it has good DPS application at any range within scram range, and with its slot layout it can fit two webs rather easily.

CCP took a completely different approach with the Hecate, giving it horrible base speed, but very low mass and a very large bonus to MWD speed in propulsion mode.  This means that its speed with its MWD running is excellent, but its speed with an afterburner (either 1mn or 10mn) is horrible, and it can be scram-kited by any cruiser which has a web.  In my opinion, this means that blaster-fit Hecates are not viable for solo pvp and they are unlikely to be able to control range against anything they're fighting.

Re-balancing Propulsion Mode

I think that the speed in defensive or sharpshooter mode for all the ships is fine the way it is.  I also think that the MWD speed of all the ships in propulsion mode is perhaps a bit too high, but not by too much.  The only significant problem is with max velocity in propulsion mode.

The best way I can think of to rebalance this is to split the propulsion mode speed bonus between a small bonus to max velocity and a larger bonus to MWD speed.  I had the following goals in mind (generally speaking):

1. Base speed in prop mode should be comparable to T1 cruisers or T1 destroyers.  I've somewhat arbitrarily shot for a base speed between that of a Stabber and a Rupture for most ships.
2. MWD speed should be similar to what it is currently (in all modes)
3. 10mn AB speed in propulsion mode should not be significantly better than that of a 10mn Thrasher
4. I gave the Svipul and Hecate higher base speed than the Jackdaw and Confessor, because these two ships cannot be scram-kited as easily (rockets and lasers have good projection anywhere within scram range).  I think this makes things a bit more balanced.

Here are the numbers:

Def ModeProp Mode
Prop Mode BonusDef Mode SpeedProp Mode SpeedMassMWD Speed10mn AB SpeedMWD Speed10mn AB Speed
Svipul50% MWD bonus, 20% Velocity Bonus23027616000001584139026781668
Confessor100% MWD bonus23523522000001324132623541326
Jackdaw33% Velocity bonus170226.6610000001554110920721479
Hecate50% MWD bonus, 20% Velocity Bonus20524615000001469125424911505
Base speed numbers are given with 0 skills, and speed with prop mod on are given with all-V skills

First of all, I left the Jackdaw's attributes the way they are.  Like I wrote earlier, I think the ship is fine the way it is.

The Svipul and the Hecate's bonus is now split between a +20% bonus to max velocity and a +50% bonus to MWD speed.  This ensures that both ships have reasonable base speed (similar to that of a Thrasher), and similar MWD speed than they have currently.  This required a mass adjustment to both ships, a rather significant one in the case of the Hecate.  Probably the most noticeable change here is a giant nerf to 10mn afterburner speed in propulsion mode for the Svipul.

In the case of the Confessor, I felt that a base speed of 235 m/s was fine, and instead gave it a +100% bonus to MWD speed along with a mass increase such that it maintains similar speed to what it has currently.  With these attributes, the Confessor will have arguably the strongest defensive mode within the class (with the highest speed, lowest sig, and excellent resists), but a somewhat weak propulsion mode.

As a final adjustment to the Confessor, I'd also consider a nerf to small beam lasers, which I believe to be too strong right now.

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