August 23, 2014

The Current State of Combat Battlecruisers

I was browsing through Features & Ideas on the EVE-O forums. Usually this is an exercise in frustration; most idea are completely idiotic and self serving, born from some in-game slight, usually in the form of someone killing the submitter's ship. But I saw one of the rare decent ideas, one that I feel deserved more thought. You can read it here, and feel free to put your thoughts on it if you'd like. As you can see, I asked if he minded if I took his idea and ran with it. This is a series that's going to focus on that topic.

I'm not quite ready to delve into the meat of the subject yet. I still want to do some research and get some data on usage. But in this initial post, as I always try to do, I want to set the topic up a little bit. Combat battlecruisers, formerly known as tier one and tier two battlecruisers, were the only battlecruiser-class available for many years, until the release of the attack battlecruiser back in 2011 with Crucible. What was once known as just battlecuisers adopted their new combat battlecruiser title. These were meant to be slower and tougher, wielding medium-sized weapons, compared to the attack battlecruisers which fielded battleship-sized weapons.

Tiericide officially took over the battlecruiser lines, changing them fairly drastically in purpose, with Retribution 1.1. This definitely helped bring the battlecruisers that were already not being used into more popularity and trim down the ones that were being used for too many things, but the question is: did it make combat battlecruisers as a whole more useful and more used.

I have a feeling that they're not being used as often as they should be. My feeling is that combat battlecruisers don't offer enough advantages over cruisers (especially when the Ishtar exists), HACs or Battleships to choose a combat battlecruiser over any one of these other classes. The combat battlecruiser has the ability to use links, but as CCP stated in the initial thread about the combat battlecruiser changes, this was added in preparation for link changes at some unknown point in the future. I don't think many people are using them for the purpose of cheap links though.

So before I'm going to tackle the 'is it useful' question I'm going to find out first before I delve into the specifics of the recommendation in the first paragraph. If we find that combat battlecruisers are not seeing a lot of use then I think we can have a good platform to work from. If you didn't read the proposed change, the idea on the table is to give combat battlecruisers an overheating bonus similar to deep space transports. My first reaction is that giving combat battlecruisers a somewhat higher bonus for defensive modules and lower bonuses for overheating high slots giving quick bursts of tank, and even shorter bursts of high damage. It's an interesting gameplay approach to attack battlecruisers that I feel fits their proposed purpose, but we'll have to wait for more definitive data before we can make a final statement!

Before we get there though, what kind of gut reaction do you have on this kind of bonus to combat battlecruisers?