CCP Fozzie has been watchful of the on going threadnaught in the EVE-O forums after his tentative Armor Tanking tweaks, here is an update from the man himself…
Ok I’m going to respond to some themes from the thread so far.
Firstly I want to assure everyone that whatever we end up releasing in 1.1 will not be the end of the line. We’ll be continuing to iterate on tanking in many different ways from patch to patch.
Also yesterday I was overly curt and snarky with some of my replies, I apologize for that as it made our communication more difficult instead of easier.
Resist Bonus vs Rep Bonus
There’s a couple issues here that I’d like to address.
I completely understand that resist bonuses are stronger than active tanking bonuses. Resist bonuses are just about the most powerful bonus we ever give T1 ships in fact. That being said ship balance can incorporate bonuses of varying degrees of power as long as the complete ships end up in the right place. The desire to move rep bonuses back to 7.5% comes from the desire to ensure that active tanking is at least somewhat viable on non-bonused hulls. I would rather see active tanking mods and effects balanced to the point where 7.5% bonuses are enough than rely on the bonuses entirely and essentially disallow active tanking elsewhere.
In addition, my comment about the power level of active bonuses applying to remote reps was both unclear and exaggerated which was a mistake on my part. I have absolutely no desire to increase the effectiveness of T2 Logistics ships in fleets beyond their current state, or to push fleet warfare further in the direction of alpha being the only resort for breaking reps. Filling in the lower-end with less powerful repping ships that provide an upgrade path is another story, but I don’t want to move beyond the current maximum. The extension of active rep bonuses to remote reps is something I feel would take fleets in the wrong direction, and if anything I am investigating ways to make resist bonuses a bit less powerful in those environments.
Differences between Shield and Armor tanking as a whole
There has been a lot of discussion around the major differences between shield and armor tanking. The use of lowslots vs midslots, reps hitting at the start vs end of cycle, sig vs mass, crystals and slaves are some of the splits that separate armor and shield tanking and that can seriously complicate balancing. I am of the opinion that as much as possible the armor and shield tanking need to stay distinct, but this does not mean there are not areas where changes must happen. The gap between low and midslot tanking is affected by the balance between low and midslot modules such as for instance the TE and TCs. The rep at the start of the cycle is a major advantage for shield tanks that needs to be countered by corresponding advantages for armor tanks and armor tanking ships. Both signature and speed play major roles in the tracking formula, but the ability for the faster ship to dictate range, control the engagement and manipulate transversal more effectively make speed the much more important attribute overall. Getting signature where it needs to be in more situations is a longstanding desire of mine that is going to take time. These changes as proposed do not get us all the way there, will likely require changes before release and even then will only be one step forward that must be followed up on later.
Addition of new skills and modules
Many people have expressed objections to the addition of new skills and modules to the game rather than rolling all the changes into existing modules. I understand the feeling many people have that skills create a gap between older and new players, but that logic can be applied to any existing skills as well. Skill systems in games like Eve do provide a certain advantage gained over time, but the diminishing returns over levels helps to balance the playing field. I disagree that Armor Upgrades is any more a “must train skill” than any other support skill, and many players will find quickly training it to level 2-3 will get them most of the way to the bonus enjoyed by an older player at a far lower time commitment. Also note that half the plates are receiving mass reductions completely unconnected to the skill.
As for the new module and rig, I agree that in general having fewer modules/ships/features that all work is better than having many that don’t. However we feel that these additions open up useful design space by allowing the tanking mechanics to be influenced in different ways. As flawed as it was in many ways I do think the ASB provided a useful service by adding a new line of burst-oriented tanking modules that can be balanced in their own way. Modules built towards burst tanking will be definition overshadow other tanking types in many pvp scenarios, but I don’t think that is necessarily a bad thing as long as sustained tanking systems have their own effective uses in the game. The AAR is a unique mechanic that fills the same general game niche as the ASB while remaining quite different in operation and gameplay. It does put more pressure on cargoholds, however keep in mind that an AAR goes through cap boosters much much slower than an ASB.
Heat is a mechanic that I think has been underutilized over the years by CCP, but I don’t want to rely on it as the only method of burst tanking.
Powergrid usage penalty on active rigs
When looking for a replacement for the speed penalty on active tanking rigs our goal was for the penalty to be something significant (useless penalties are something we want less of) without being onerous. The rep PG penalty had the advantage of being much easier to work around through fitting adjustments than the speed penalty, while being significant enough that it could not be completely ignored. I’m open to possible changes to that mechanic, either through changing the penalty itself or adjusting the PG use of medium and large reps a bit.
Reducing ganglink bonuses and increasing effectiveness in other ways
As I’ve said before, this is something we definitely want to do. Links are both too effective in their direct bonuses as well as their ability to be used off-grid. However getting this specific issue fixed is going to need to wait until after 1.1. Once we have the room to implement some changes to the way warfare links work from the ground up, expect changes to a lot of other modules and mechanics to happen at the same time.
Limiting oversized mods as a way to simplify balancing
I completely agree that limiting more modules to certain ship sizes would make my life easier.
However giving people the freedom to be creative with fits is part of what makes Eve so great and I don’t want to lose that. It’s going to take more work and more time but finding a balance without unnecessarily removing player choice is the ideal we’re shooting for.
The overheating rig
Modules and rigs that interact more explicitly with the heat mechanic are something I think Eve can really use, and I am a big fan of the concept of making synergy with heat part of armor tanking’s advantages. The rig as initially proposed would not have served the goal adequately but we’re working on retooling it in a more balanced way and I’ll bring it back if possible.
The thread is still open here so if you wish to give him some feedback, the time is now.