On a recent podcast, Ripard Teg put forth the opinion that ship balancing (including capital ships) won’t be finished until the end of 2015. I personally believe that to be a pessimistic outlook on the schedule.
I would imagine that the end of 2014 (the entire Winter 2014 expansion cycle, which includes the point releases, which does stretch somewhat into 2015) is a more realistic expectation.
CCP Fozzie and the ship balancing team, probably have their own timeline, but I can’t imagine they see their job stretching to the end of 2015. They’ve been going gangbusters up until this point. There’s nothing to believe that they’re going to slow down on their output substantially.
Time will tell. If the end of 2015 is the schedule, as Ripard predicts, then that’s a little depressing.
Summer 2013 (including updates)
Battleships will be done and T1 rebalancing will be over. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the team hit on T3 battlecruisers here as well. They’ll also start putting their toes into the T2 waters, particularly black ops. Maybe electronic attack frigates are tackled here as well.
Command ships will require more than just shuffling about the database numbers, especially if the plan is to move off-grid boosting towards on-grid boosting (or to at least limit off-grid boosting from inside POSes.) Some of that code work might begin during the summer expansion cycle.
If Ripard Teg is correct, and piracy becomes the theme of the summer expansion (which isn’t a crazy prediction since we’ll be seeing the introduction of pirate faction rookie ships), then we might see all of the pirate ships given the rebalancing touch-up. I don’t think anything radical needs to be done in this area, for the most part, so the workload here should not be enormous.
Winter 2013 (including updates)
I would hope that this is where we see command ships finally given the balancing touch, along with whatever codebase is required to support the new changes.
We’ll probably see a whole thwack of T2 rebalancing. Again, I see the balancing as mostly touch-ups. These ships already have their pre-defined roles, so rather than the more generalized balancing requirements of the T1 ships, roles direct the touch-ups into specific areas, which should reduce the workload requirements for the balancing team. I’d expect that half of the T2 ships are balanced at this point.
I think the conversation on capital and super-capital ship balancing begins here. The actual balancing won’t take place for another year, but the conversation should begin early, especially if codebase changes are required. All ideas will need to be discussed and thought through carefully. Capital ships is not a four-month conversation. Hopefully the community is involved (not just the CSM), to some degree, in that conversation.
Summer 2014 (including updates)
I would expect that nearly the rest of the T2 ships are balanced by this point. Also, faction ships are begun, if not outright completed as well.
The capital ship balancing initiative continues, and the options are very much narrowed by now. If there are any agreed upon options that require additional codebase changes, they may be begun at this stage.
Winter 2014 (including updates)
Finishing up whatever subcaps remain.
This is probably where capital ships are balanced. This may include all new roles. Maybe even the introduction of some new capital ships. (If new ships are introduced, the artwork was probably begun in the previous cycle.) If the work load is much larger than expected, this may stretch into the Summer 2015 expansion, though hopefully not.
The Combat Codebase
In that same podcast, Ripard also suggests that CCP could (and should) revisit the combat code base. Reevaluating all of the formulas, and perhaps recreating them from scratch. The aim: to breath new life into the combat system, and to remove clunky old mechanics.
Whereas the combat codebase is probably in need of a rewrite (given what we know of CCP’s past coding methods), changing any of the combat calculations is probably an idea that CCP will avoid. Altering the algorithms will likely have unforeseen side-effects on many of the existing ships, throwing previous balance out of whack. CCP would then need to embark on an entirely new round of ship rebalancing. After spending the last three years balancing, the appetite to go through it all again would be exceptionally low.
You can read more of Poetic Stanziel’s opinions at his Poetic Discourse blog.