This is another popular instalment of Poetic Talks About Something He Knows Very Little About. These instalments always lead to the very best comments that never see the light of day. Stop calling me a c*nt.
During the New Eden Open, CCP Soundwave riffed about perhaps wanting even more capital ships, playing more distinct roles in the game. For whatever reason, that pie-in-the-sky comment stuck with me.
Granted, I know very little about capitals. I’m nowhere near flying one (I can barely fly battleships), and not sure if I have any real interest in ever flying caps. But the idea, perhaps, has some merit, if a specific role can be found for capitals, one so compelling that people bring them out regularly and consistently. They fight. They die. Perhaps this is tied into a POS revamp.
The role I’m seeing for capitals is in bringing down structures, taking system sovereignty. I’m not sure what all is involved with taking a system, other than that it apparently involves a lot of boring structure shooting. Some variety of structures need to be destroyed, and then replaced with new structures owned by the new alliance. That’s about the extent of my knowledge.
Let’s say the new role for capital ships is in taking down these structures. I already know that’s done, but perhaps the role needs to be magnified ten-fold. Take some structure, if it’s attacked by subcaps only, it can be destroyed in eight hours. That’s a really long time, and nobody would enjoy being involved in a structure shoot that damned long. Now, if capitals are involved, because they can do so much more damage, let’s say that same structure can be taken down in 1.5 hours. The value of caps in those instances becomes much more valuable and desired.
So, there’s the role defined. Capital ships basically become essential in sovereignty-based nullsec operations.
The amount of damage per second a structure can take is capped at some value. It’s a logarithmic scale. Even if you had 200 battleships, it wouldn’t approach the damage output of 10 titans, for instance. Two hundred battleships, the structure pops in eights hours. Ten titans, the structure pops in 1.5 hours. But bringing 11 titans doesn’t allow you to bring the structure down any faster than having brought 10 titans.
Now the damage of caps has to be scaled appropriately, so that they do far more damage, an obscene amount more damage than any subcap.
But now you’re thinking, capitals are just going to blap the hell out of subcap fleets.
Here’s the kicker. As long as a subcap is moving, a capital ship can do nowhere near its maximum damage potential against a subcapital ship. Come up with any reason you want. Resolution. Tracking. Whatever. Doesn’t matter. A titan can’t hit a frigate or destroyer at all. And it does cruiser level damage against a moving battleship. That might sound a tad ridiculous, but CCP’s intention when creating capital ships was likely that they’d do battle with each other, not that they’d be dropped willy-nilly on cruiser gangs. (Pandemic Legion will, of course, hate this idea. They’ve made a life out of dropping capitals on subcaps.)
Capital ships would do their full (adjusted for movement, distance, resolution, etc.) damage against other capitals. Thus caps have an obscene amount of EHP compared to subcaps. So, while a capital ship can’t do much damage to a subcap, a subcap (or fleet of them) won’t do a whole helluva lot to a capital (eventually it could be taken down, but only after a long while.)
By the same token, capital ships can’t effectively provide logisitics (shield/armor remote repping) to subcaps. And subcaps can’t provide meaningful remote repping to caps. The same applies to ewar.
Since capital ships are now a beast unto their own, it’s now appropriate to start building out entire classes of capitals. Ewar capitals (perhaps carriers are repurposed into ewar ships, they’re the faster more agile of the capital ship classes). Logistics focused caps (supercarriers already sort of play this role.) DPS focused caps (which already exist as titans.) There’s no longer just titans and carriers, but more focused variations with specific factional roles. Perhaps you can have capital-sized titans, the cruisers of capital ships. Whereas the current supercapital titans are the battleships of capitals. The door is wide-open to a whole lot of design ingenuity.
On any field of battle where sovereignty is being contested, you now have two battles raging, one between capital ships. And another between sub-capital ships. There is very little (if any) cross-over between the two. Perhaps structures have two EHP values, a portion that can only be affected by subcaps, and a portion that can only be affected by capital ships, thus a reason to bring out fleets of subcaps and capitals to a fight.
Perhaps the cost of manufacturing capitals should be reduced by 50%. That will lead to more proliferation, but if they’re entering the field of battle more often, then they’re getting blapped more often. Perhaps they need to be securely anchored to alliance POSes (part of the POS revamp?), such that people need not fear their theft, and allowing a single character to own different capitals, so they can leave a ship, worry-free, and then board another ship appropriate to a current conflict in whatever role they’re needed.
An idea worthy of discussion between the players and CCP? Like I said, I’m no expert on any of this. Just an idea that has been floating about ever since Soundwave made that comment during the New Eden Open broadcast. This could be the worst idea ever. Or it might have some merit. I dunno. You decide.
Anyhow, I’d like to read the discussion. As long as you don’t call me a c*nt.
You can read more of Poetic Stanziel’s opinions at his Poetic Discourse blog.