Ah, logi-bros. The people who love them the most want to be them the least. Logi doesn’t appear on killmails, despite how much they help the fleet. And while a combat ship stands at least a chance of surviving if they have to disconnect mid-fleet, logi ships tend to be utterly helpless when traveling alone. Sure, it’s a role that requires you to be actively thinking and responding to the battle – particularly if you’re a logi anchor – but when the fleet loses, you’re the second person (behind the FC) that your fleet blames.
But they’re absolutely essential to any fleet, right? How many doctrines have you seen that won’t undock without at least 20% of the fleet flying logi ships? In small gangs (though, you could argue that “gangs” have no logi, while “fleets” do), the presence of even one more logi can make the difference between victory and defeat. I’ve seen fleets with three logi successfully brawl fleets with only two without taking any losses. Every logi matters.
Only… let’s look at what logistics really accomplishes: it repairs damaged ships to keep them alive for longer. When working correctly, it denies the enemy a kill. When it works highly effectively, it denies the enemy any kills at all.
But the ripples in the pond don’t stop there.
Fleets are designed with a minimum number of pilots necessary to overcome a potential enemy’s logi. The result is the “alpha threshold”, the minimum number of dps pilots needed to coordinate their fire to destroy a ship before the enemy logi is capable of repairing it. If a ship can’t survive long enough to be locked by logi, it won’t survive. If your fleet has enough dps to alpha enemy ships, you get kills. If you can’t, the enemy fleet loses no ships.
Fleet battles where only one side has enough dps to alpha enemy ships result in landslides – dozens or hundreds of kills for one side with no losses at all. Where they are balanced, you see trade-offs on kills as alpha strikes are exchanged, followed by a slaughter once one side falls below the alpha threshold. And if neither side can overcome the alpha threshold, nothing at all is killed.
And the consequences continue to escalate. No one enjoys welping an entire fleet, so many FCs simply won’t undock without a sufficiency of logi pilots. When they achieve this number, they do so by pushing people into non-preferred activities. Some people really enjoy being space priests, and some do it only because they don’t want to deny content to their alliance mates, and want to “contribute”.
For, denying content is exactly what happens if the FC doesn’t get enough logi volunteers. The fleet stands down. No fight happens, and both the FC’s and the enemy’s fleets go their own way. Potentially hundreds of pilots have effectively wasted their time, all because logi is so effective that its absence is intolerable.
So, on the one hand, you see a dps race to achieve the alpha threshold, while on the other hand you have the logi race to maximize repair ability, both which result in ever-escalating fleet fights, one-sided fleet fights (dozens of kills for one side, none at all for the other), and denied content when FCs can’t get appropriate numbers.
Can you blame the FC for this? Given the dominance of logi supremacy to victory, and the incessant trolling of FCs who suffer losses, it’s the logical and appropriate consequence of the way logi operates.
Nonetheless, it’s a problem that reduces space violence and denies content to those who have formed and want to enjoy it. It has to change.
This sort of discussion isn’t terribly new, of course. But these kinds of theoretical discussions always pop up when Eve suffers from a lack of big stories, and this is definitely one of those times. Sure, we’ve got lots of entosis timers, but we’re really lacking in the big stories that would otherwise populate the Eve-ways. And in a way, FozzieSov provides a timeliness to the conversation that commenters seem to be responding to. After all, one of FozzieSov’s goals is to lower the barrier to entry for sov, reducing the effectiveness of supercap blobs – and any blobs, for that matter. To gain sov, all you need is a “chip and a chair”, or in this case, one ship with an Entosis link and a sov structure.
Are the calls for a logi revamp out of order? I don’t think so. If you consider modules and their effects as a whole in Eve, logi stands out as an odd duck, suffering no stacking penalty. Ships suffer diminishing effects from each subsequent target painter, tracking disruptor, stasis webifier, or sensor dampener applied to them, whereas a ship can receive reps from 100 ships at once, all at full power. Remote repping is unlimited, where even native repair is limited by number of fitting slots.
But, beyond any “fairness” considerations are the balance considerations. Right now, it’s pretty clear that logi creates a barrier to both content and destruction. A decision to blue-ball a fleet is more often than not the result of poor logi numbers. Any problem of negative content generation deserves immediate attention, for it diminishes the overall value proposition of Eve.
In short, wouldn’t you rather join a fleet where you lose your ship but get to kill 10-12 ships first than a fleet that stays docked up and stands down because you don’t have enough logi? I know I would.
So let’s apply stacking penalties to incoming reps, while increasing the repping power of each individual logi module.
After all, if even 3 ships are normally applying 4 reps each to a ship under “max rep” situations, you’re talking about 12 modules. Without tweaking how stacking penalties work – and I don’t think we can, given how baked-in that code is – we’re looking at a maximum of three effective modules and a fourth that barely helps.
That’s a huge difference, and each rep has to do more to accomplish a similar effect under those restrictions. After all, the goal isn’t to make logistics useless, but to cut out the effects logi has on overall fleet size and content denial. Applying stacking penalties but upping the benefit if each module has a whole host of positive effects.
By allowing each logistics ship to do more, you reduce the need for as many ships. Yet applying stacking penalties prevents “more is better!” from applying to each individual ship. Sure, having more logi will allow your fleet to repair more ships at once, but dps battles are done on the individual level, not the fleet level. If you can only repair 50 units of damage in one cycle for each ship, for all intents and purposes to that ship in jeopardy, your repping power is 50 units of damage, regardless of whether your fleet can apply that 50 to fifteen ships at once.
On the opposite side, allowing fewer logi players to sustain each individual ship creates opportunities for the attacking fleet to disrupt reps in a real, meaningful way. Jamming out a single logi ship has a much larger effect on the survivability of the primary. In this way, a savvy FC or target caller can still inflict damage by applying ewar to the right ships at the right time. Intelligent application of fleet assets can gets some kills, even if hopelessly outnumbered. No fleet should be entirely safe because of the protection of their logi.
In effect, as each logi ship becomes more precious, the value of having “too many” becomes smaller than the value of having some extra dps or ewar. Nor does this change cheapen the time pilots spent training logi or reduce logi to uselessness. Training Logistics V takes a lot of time, and is often undertaken only by hardcore space priests. Any change that kicks sand in the faces of those pilots is the wrong change.
Such a change would also reduce the effectiveness of logi in large fleets without reducing its value in small gangs. With stackable value, more is always better. But when each individual ship can only receive reps from a small, finite number of logistics modules, you help promote small gang warfare.
Sure, that happens to benefit my own favorite playstyle, but it also helps content in general. Increasingly, smaller fleet comps are more viable, as are smaller numbers of logi per fleet. The net result is are smaller minimum fleet size, which in turn puts less pressure to form massive blobs, which reduces the “coalition or death” choice so many alliances face. And isn’t that a good thing?