Gunboats and Glass Cannons
Speculation is rife regarding the forthcoming additions to EVE Online’s pantheon of ships – the Tier 3 Battlecruisers. Whilst others will be pouring over the specific data for the Tornado, Naga, Talos and Oracle its worth taking a step back to look at the wider picture. EVE is going to get a whole lot more violent than it has been for some time.
What’s my reasoning behind this? Well not only do we see the new Tier 3 BCs coming in and packing a not inconsiderable punch with their BS class weaponry but Destroyers also are looking likely to receive a decent buff with the removal of their ROF penalty. Winter will be the season of the Glass Cannon. Additionally Player Owned Custom Offices are on the horizon – replacing the current ‘NPC’ controlled custom offices used with Planetary Interaction. These POCOs are (in null sec and low sec at least) vulnerable to destruction.
Pool together these elements at what we start to see is a a lot more ‘universal DPS’. Universal DPS is my way of thinking about how much potential damage is ‘out there’: something comparable to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) or in simple terms more players with the ability to dish out more damage. Both destroyers and the Tier 3 BCs are inherently weak when it comes to absorbing damage however and I don’t think we should be too surprised to see kill boards filling up with the wrecks of these ships. In medium sized gangs they’re both likely to be able to deliver maximum gank in the shortest time: get it wrong though and failure will be swift and decisive.
POCOs also suggest (much to the dismay of the comfortable PI manufacturers) a far more aggressive field of play. At least some players will fight, and fight hard, to defend or destroy this low level infrastructure. Its also worth bearing in mind what the ramifications of this could mean. With POCOs being destroyed the PI materials market (which in turn fuels pretty much everything else) could become rather volatile, at least in the short term. If POS fuel costs rise, so will the manufacturing bills – ‘stuff’ will cost more and competition may well increase resulting in more conflict and more demand as players scuttle back to buy (yet another) Tier 3 BC.
The DPS to COST ratio of both Destroyers and Tier 3 BCs are sure to make these ships popular – players will get more bang for their buck: a fragile investment but one which is likely to appeal to the ‘gank’ crowed. Hulk owners beware. With both vessels offering a relatively cheap option to shoot someone in the face hard the appeal of low cost PVP is definitely there. But it doesn’t stop there. AF changes have been hinted at (even the elusive ‘4th bonus’ and even if the changes proposed to hybrids don’t suit everyone’s tastes we can be confident that players who are currently gathering dust in their CQs will undock that old Astarte or Vengeance if only to try it out.
All in all this will be a good, even great, thing for EVE. Yes there will be the inevitable forum howls of pain that ship ‘X’ is useless, gate camps unfair, blobs increasing etc etc: but the changes currently on the far horizon will, I believe, act as a catalyst that will stir up the rather placid waters of EVE. Don’t believe for a second that this will all be plain sailing – the rules of engagement will change and with that change will come both winners and losers.
You can choose to adapt to that change, or die.