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I focus almost exclusively on PvP, whether solo, small gang, or large bloc warfare. In the past, I've been a miner, mission runner, and faction warfare jockey. I'm particularly interested in helping high-sec players get into 0.0 combat.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

This Is No Time For a Nerf Bat!

I’ve been away for a while, probably a combination both of RL and the psychological effect of training a 36-day skill (JDC V, one of the nastiest practical skills).

During that time, I’ve been thinking a lot about the Rubicon changes in general, as well as the paradigm-shifting interceptor changes in particular.  In general, I still hold to my opinion that Rubicon’s changes are not that impressive, though they are significant.  I have yet to see a ghost site, and while I appreciate attempts to make PvE more interesting, I really feel like they phoned this patch in.

Yes, mobile siphons are going to be annoying for all the major blocs and may result in significant null sec changes in a “death by a thousand cuts” way, but the change itself seems a relatively simple one.  And mobile depots are an interesting addition, too.  Once they add in the T3 refitting in space,
I’d call this expansion “Irritation and Convenience”.

But all that pales in light of the interceptor changes, which I briefly wrote about before.  One of my alliance mates, who has started up his own blog, wrote about it too, and I suggest you give it a read right now.

Back?  Good.  Interceptors are a problem.  They’re the safest ships to fly in Eve right now.  You’ll never be forced into an engagement.  You can outpace everyone.  The only ships that can counter you are clearly identifiable by their bonuses for you to avoid.  Nothing can stop a fleet of interceptors that chooses not to engage.  “The only way to kill interceptors is with more interceptors.”  Does that sound like any fighter-bomber or doomsday-carrying ships you may have heard of?

“But Tal, just use Talwars.  Or Rapiers.”  Yeah, good luck getting the interceptors to engage.  Oh, and their bubble immunity means you can’t herd them to where you want to engage them.

Okay, so I lied.  This is the perfect time for the nerf bat.  But the trick is to nerf them back into balance, not oblivion.

What’s the role of the interceptor?  To catch and tackle targets… to “intercept” them on their paths, if you will.  In light of that, I have no problem with their speed, or their bubble immunity.  If anything, those changes are long past due.

The trouble comes with light missile interceptors that can do damage out to beyond point range.  With no way to tackle interceptors, making them into a ship capable of becoming a viable doctrine is the very definition of overpowered.  As Med Lacroix says, they’ve entirely obliterated whole ship classes.  But there’s an easy fix.

Simply remove all turret and launcher slots.

Think about it.  There are a number of ship classes in Eve that have specific roles, and the ships within them are meant to perform those roles perfectly.  Why not interceptors?  Isn’t a ship that excels at absolute control of the decision to engage, the best speed, and immunity from bubbles meant to catch folks?  But catch folks, alone.  Let the other ships in the fleet do the DPS, let the interceptor, well, intercept.

In exchange for the loss of all launcher and turret hardpoints, I’d give interceptors a bonus to either local or remote reps.  A pair of interceptors orbiting a target closely and able to remote rep each other… that’d be a scary prospect.  Even that bonus would support the primary mission of this T2 class of ship: hold a target down while the cavalry comes in.

And remember, tiericide means T2 ships should be specialized, right?  Interceptor fleets are not specialized, and flies in the face of this design strategy.  It also creates a ship that’s impossible to lose through anything but stupidity.  Safety is stagnation.  Safety is overpower.  Safety is to be avoided in Eve at all costs.

But right now, safety is the best fleet doctrine option out there.  And that’s a problem.  Remove DPS from interceptors and you’ve got a solution.

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