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Ship and Module Balancing in Kronos
Greetings and salutations gallant capsuleers. This is CCP Fozzie bringing you another in our continuous series of balance summary dev blogs.
For the Kronos release next Tuesday we are extremely proud to be bringing you four new ships and thirty eight rebalanced ships. That’s on top of a heap of new modules and rigs and a complete rebuilding of the drone weapon system.
This blog will summarize all the ship and module balancing goodness that you will find waiting for you on June 3rd, and link to all the other applicable dev blogs and forum posts to ensure you get all the juicy details you could ever dream of. As usual for these balance summary blogs nothing here will be completely new to those of you who have been following each and every one of our threads on the forums, but this blog will provide the one stop shop for collecting the Kronos changes.
I want to give a special thanks to all of the players who have provided useful feedback in our many forum threads so far, as well as to your elected CSM representatives who have been working with us at every step of this process. We are building this amazing universe in partnership with all of you and your participation is what sets EVE Online apart.
There are two major themes to be found in the Kronos release’s ship balancing. Most of the ship changes in this release fall into one or the other category, and these two tracks connect strongly to what’s happening in the rest of EVE Online’s ongoing development.
The first theme is the ascendancy of pirates and mercenaries. As the established empires of New Eden continue their decline, capsuleers haven’t been the only beneficiaries. The organizations once pushed to the fringes of society are filling the power vacuum and seizing new opportunities with traditional outlaw resourcefulness. The Guristas Pirates in particular are thriving in this new environment; buoyed by forward-thinking leadership, supreme self-confidence and some “outside the box” recruitment methods.
The surging Guristas represent both challenges and opportunities for other factions, most notably the mercenary forces of Mordu’s Legion. The Legion’s base of operations is situated in lawless nullsec space at the border of Guristas and Serpentis territories, and they have endeavored to keep up with their neighbors in a growing arms race. The Kronos release will see Mordu’s Legion release a new line of advanced combat ships usable by capsuleers. At the same time they are also launching a series of targeted operations in low security space. The goals of these attacks remain clouded in secrecy, but military experts agree that the when the Legion begins an operation there is always a deliberate purpose behind their actions.
The second theme visible in the ship balancing of the Kronos release is advancements in industrial technology. EVE Online is rapidly approaching the Crius release and with it the most significant set of improvements to Industry gameplay in a decade. To compliment these Industry changes, many of the ships involved in Industrial activity are receiving significant upgrades in Kronos. Hauling and mining are two absolutely foundational activities for the EVE Online economy, and both are seeing their options expanded in Kronos.
Now let’s get to all the changes!
- Mordu’s Legion Ships
- Pirate Faction Ships
- The Prospect
- Mining Barges and Exhumers
- Freighters and Jump Freighters
- Deep Space Transports
- Blockade Runners
- The Phoenix and Citadel Missiles
- Combat Drone Changes
Three of the most exciting ships in the Kronos release are being introduced by Mordu’s Legion. These ships fill the need for a set of dedicated pirate-level missile ships. They are specialized in long range high speed missile warfare, and make ideal skirmishers.
The Garmur frigate, Orthrus cruiser and Barghest battleship all share bonuses to missile damage, warp disruptor and scrambler range, and a special supercharged bonus to missile velocity. They also enjoy some of the best mobility in their classes, allowing them to use range and speed to engage against overwhelming odds. Their raw missile damage bonuses to all damage types also make them perfectly suited to using the deadly burst damage of Rapid Missile Launchers.
These ships will be available from the Mordu’s Legion LP store in their nullsec station, but most blueprints that make it to player hands will come from new Mordu’s Legion faction NPCs that will appear as rare spawns in all low security asteroid belts. More information on these ships and the other activities of Mordu’s Legion in Kronos will be coming in upcoming dev blogs. You can find all the applicable stats and provide feedback in this forum thread in our Features and Ideas subforum.
Pirate faction ships represent some of the most powerful and unique combat ships in EVE Online, and in the Kronos release they’ll be getting even better. All fifteen ships from the main pirate factions are receiving a rebalance and the end result is some of the most exciting ships the game has ever seen.
Each of the pirate factions has a unique way that their ships “break the rules” that other ships follow. These unique and powerful abilities represent the resourcefulness and disregard for convention shared by successful outlaw organizations. In Kronos we are reinforcing this theme of rule breaking and ensuring that all of the pirate factions have an exciting and identifiable trait that sets them apart from the pack.
The Serpentis ships provided the example of what other pirate ships should and could be. They already had their unique game changer feature in the form of a 10% per level bonus to Stasis Webifier effectiveness. This bonus allows Serpentis ships to show their target down to 10% speed with one module and make escaping their brutal close range particle blasters nearly impossible.
Since the Serpentis theme was working so well, the changes to their ships in Kronos are more subtle than the other pirate factions. The Vigilant cruiser needed the most help and is receiving significantly more targeting range and speed. The Daredevil frigate and Vindicator battleship are already in a very good place and will be receiving smaller tweaks.
The Guristas ships are receiving a new and unique trait, the ability to field small numbers of superpowered drones. Each ship receives a gigantic role bonus to the damage and hitpoints for drones of a specific size: light drones for the Worm frigate, medium drones for the Gila cruiser, and both heavy and sentry drones for the Rattlesnake battleship. These bonuses allow the Guristas ships to field two superpowered drones that fight with the ferocity and durability of much larger drone swarms.
The Guristas ships also enjoy impressive shield defenses through a resistance bonus and punishing missile damage with either kinetic or thermal damage.
The Angel Cartel ships have always been very strong, enjoying impressive speed, agility and long range damage enabled by projectile falloff bonuses. Before Kronos, however, they lacked that special something that breaks the normal ship patterns and set them apart.
In Kronos the Dramiel frigate, Cynabal cruiser and Macheriel battleship will be gaining a special role bonus that increases their warp speed and acceleration by 50% above and beyond the other ships in their classes. This will help reinforce the Angel role as supreme fast attack vessels that can hit and run with ease.
The Blood Raiders vessels have long enjoyed the strongest energy warfare in New Eden, and their Bhaalgorn battleship enjoys a venerable role in group PVP. However before Kronos the Cruor frigate and Ashimmu cruiser had languished in relative mediocrity.
In the Kronos release all of the Blood Raider ships will be gaining a new “rule breaking” bonus to Nosferatu modules that ensures they will always drain enemy capacitor no matter what your own capacitor level is. The Blood Raider stasis webifier bonus is also being unified to a range bonus across the whole line of ships and the Cruor and Ashimmu are receiving significant upgrades to their speed and slot layouts.
The Sansha’s Nation ships are some of the most iconic pirate vessels in EVE, and their Nightmare battleship has long served as a staple of high-end PVE gameplay. On the other hand, the Succubus frigate and Phantasm cruiser have suffered from poor performance relative to their costs.
In the Kronos release all of the Sansha’s Nation ships will be receiving a huge new bonus to Afterburner velocity bonuses. This will enable them to travel extremely quickly while using less capacitor, enjoying lower signature profiles, and shrugging off scramblers.
When the Venture mining frigate was introduced in late 2013 it quickly became one of the most popular ships in EVE Online history. The combination of a low barrier of entry, excellent mobility and decent mining yield attracted many pilots. In the Kronos release we are introducing a tech two progression path from the Venture, with the Prospect.
The Prospect is the first in a new class of Expedition Frigates, designed for exploiting the deepest and most remote stretches of space. It sports improved ore mining capability, gas mining yield that matches its predecessor, a larger ore bay, improved defenses and most importantly, the ability to fit Covert Ops Cloaking Devices. This allows the Prospect to get to and from asteroid fields in the most dangerous areas of space, as well as take advantage of covert jump bridges from Black Ops Battleships to bypass deadly chokepoints.
For more information on the Prospect’s stats, as well as other improvements to mining in dangerous space, check out our recent dev blog.
Mining Barges and Exhumers are the backbone of large scale mining in EVE Online. They provide the greatest possible yields over time and can be seen in many asteroid belts across the New Eden cluster, satisfying the universe’s insatiable appetite for minerals.
In 2012 we rebalanced these ships to remove the old tier system and provide three distinct roles for players to choose from. In the Kronos release we are focusing and strengthening these roles to ensure that all pilots in EVE have the tools to meet their mining needs.
The Procurer and Skiff are the defensive barges and enjoy extremely strong tanks. In Kronos they will also be gaining a drone damage bonus so that miners can choose to punch back at anyone who would threaten their industrial operations.
The Retriever and Mackinaw continue to enjoy the greatest ore holds of any mining ships and are receiving smaller changes since they are already the most popular barges by far.
The Covetor and Hulk will be gaining even more yield to strengthen their position as the most profitable mining ship in all of EVE Online. They are also gaining a completely new bonus to strip miner and ice harvester range that will allow them to more efficiently clear their asteroid belts, especially when working in teams.
For all the juicy details on these barge and exhumer changes, as well as connected changes to mining crystals and gang links, check out this forum thread.
Freighters and Jump Freighters are the most heavy duty haulers in New Eden, and serve as the life blood of EVE Online’s living economy. These ships have always been very powerful and effective movers of freight, but before Kronos they have lacked any choice or customization gameplay. Player freedom is at the core of everything we do at CCP and we are always striving to ensure that every aspect of EVE provides interesting choices for players to make.
We have worked through several different approaches for providing this crucial player choice to Freighters and Jump Freighters. After discussion with you and with the CSM we have settled on low-power fitting slots as the best method. In Kronos, each Freighter and Jump Freighter will have three low power slots that can be used to customize your ship to meet your specific needs at any given time.
The stats of each freighter and jump freighter are being changed to work with the new low slots, so for all the details and to provide feedback go check our forum thread in the Features and Ideas section.
Transport Ships are the advanced tech two versions of the ubiquitous Industrial Ships, and fall into two classes each with their unique specializations.
Blockade Runners are designed to carry smaller amounts of cargo quickly and securely through all kinds of space. Their access to Covert Ops Cloaking Devices has given them a strong and useful role, and in Kronos we are reinforcing that role through slightly increased cargo, improved slot layouts and a new bonus to warp velocity.
Deep Space Transports are heavier duty haulers designed to take a beating and keep on rolling. They have not been compelling choices for most pilots before Kronos, so we are giving them some very significant improvements. All Deep Space Transports will be gaining a large fleet hangar that allows the carrying of significant loads without sacrificing defenses and provides new opportunities for group gameplay. These ships also sport extremely strong defenses and a unique bonus to the benefits of overheating defensive and propulsion modules. This allows a clever Deep Space Transport pilot to shrug off attack until help can arrive or until it makes its way to safety.
The Phoenix dreadnaught has been in need of a revitalization for quite some time and we are giving it the love it needs in the Kronos release. We are giving this capital ship a new shield resistance bonus, as well as allowing it to hit just as hard with all damage types.
We’re also vastly increasing the speed of the citadel missiles themselves and making some changes to their damage application so that pilots using them will find their damage more generally consistent.
All the details and feedback can be found in this forum thread in Features and Ideas.
Drones are one of the most popular weapon systems in EVE and are used on a huge variety of ships in a huge variety of situations. In the Kronos release we are introducing a huge set of changes to all kinds of combat drones in order to improve the experience for all drone users.
We are balancing drones between different factions (meaning that Amarr and Caldari drones should now be much more useful), rarity levels and sizes, we are making drones easier and more consistent for new players to train for, and we are adding new low slot Omnidirectional Tracking Enhancers.
We are also increasing the engagement range and optimal ranges of most drones to reduce the negative effects of a drone’s own orbit velocity on its tracking.
All the details of these changes can be found in this Dev Blog.
As most of you will have come to expect from us by now, we are also introducing a collection of new modules and module rebalances in the Kronos release to ensure that every player has an excellent variety of interesting choices to make when fitting their ships.
We are adding a new Medium Micro Jump Drive module, which is similar to the Large variant but can be fit to Combat Battlecruisers, Command Ships and Deep Space Transports. More details in this thread.
We are also introducing a new set of low slot warp speed modules called Hyperspatial Accelerators. These modules provide a flat bonus to a ship’s warp speed and will be especially popular with slow ships like Freighters. All the details can be found in this thread.
We are also adding new rigs in the Kronos release. Known as Transverse Bulkhead rigs, they add hull hitpoints at the expense of cargo capacity and will open up new options for effective honor tanking. All the details can be found in this thread.
We are also making improvements to Nosferatu modules in Kronos. All Nosferatu modules will cycle faster than before, increasing their effectiveness over time and making them even more useful for keeping other modules alive under extreme capacitor pressure. These changes pair especially well with the revamped Blood Raider ships that we have already discussed. All the details can be found in this thread.
I hope you have all enjoyed this walk through the ship and module balance changes of the Kronos release. We are very happy to be releasing all of these new and rebalanced ships and modules for your personal enjoyment this upcoming Tuesday June 3rd.
Until next time, this is @CCP_ Fozzie signing off.