Should Evasive Manuevers remain in the game?Suitonia
CCP Fozzie has recently announced the new booster rework, of which the details are available in the Command Bursts devblog. For the most part, I feel like these changes are going to be both positive and healthy for the game and bring new life for fresh pilots looking to make their mark on the universe. This will be especially true in Factional Warfare lowsec, a cancerous cesspool requiring players to have 150+ contacts in their address book to be able to solo PvP comfortably.
Evasive Maneuvers is probably the most powerful link in the entire game
Down to brass tacks, Evasive Maneuvers is probably the most powerful link in the entire game. Signature Radius reductions are incredibly powerful, often misunderstood and undervalued by players. Signature Reduction is just like a resistance increase or duration reduction, it’s a diminishing factor. The maximum evasive maneuver boost possible, as mentioned by Fozzie, will be -32.34%. As mentioned, since signature radius reductions are a diminishing factor, we can use the following calculation to express how much more tracking we’ll need to counteract the evasive maneuvering link: The way we calculate this is, (1 / (1 – 0.3234)) = 1.478~ or 47.8%. This means that a ship will need to gain 47.8% more tracking to apply to a ship with Evasive Maneuvers as one without.
It is worth pointing out that Evasive Maneuvers has been powered down slightly with the removal of the passive leadership skills, no longer getting the 15% agility, so linked ships will turn less quickly and therefore will not be able to achieve as high levels of sustained orbital angular velocity as before.
Evasive Maneuvers still competes heavily with the other forms of signature radius reduction in the game. It is no longer stronger than both high-grade Halos (-20.7%, or a requirement of your opponent getting 1.26x more tracking to hit you equally well as before) and Strong X-Instinct (-15%, or a requirement of your opponent getting 1.176x more tracking as before), [combined they roughly require the adversary to get 1.48x more tracking as before to hit equally, Evasive Maneuvering alone is almost at this value]. It is the only link that massively outclasses its high-grade pirate implant set equivalent, Rapid Deployment, is roughly the same strength as high-grade Snakes if that is any comparison. You can stack high-grade Halos and Strong X-Instinct with Evasive Maneuvers too, although high-grade Snakes provide similar reduction to high-grade Halos if you are not tackled and also increase your mobility on the field so Snakes are often the better option. Strong X-Instinct has the worst penalty options for all the slot 1 boosters with the possibility of rolling either or both shield and armor HP penalties.
“Suitonia, this is just a lot of boring maths show me something in practice”
Ok, Evasive Maneuvers basically destroys CCP ever balancing missiles.
Here is a pretty standard brawling HAM Caracal with CN Missiles. It does 395 DPS cold, not counting drones. It has a T2 web and scram.
This is the same HAM Caracal with Rage Missiles. It does 464 DPS cold, not counting drones. Let’s see how both of these apply to an unlinked Vexor moving at base speed. For reference, the Vexor is the easiest cruiser to hit with missiles and turrets as it has the largest sig/speed ratio for all of the Tech 1 Cruisers.
The CN Missiles apply full DPS, 395 DPS out of 395 DPS applies.
The Rage Missiles do not apply full DPS, but they still outperform the CN Missiles. 420 (BLAZE IT) DPS applies out of 464 DPS.
Now let’s give our Vexor just the Evasive Maneuvers Link with the new proposed values.
145m x 0.6766 = 98.1~ our new linked signature radius.
Rage Missiles have now dropped down to a staggering 280 DPS, a DPS loss of 1/3rd. Whenever a missile does not apply fully, Evasive Maneuvers will drop missile DPS by the bonus that it provides. What this means that in any case where missiles do not fully apply, you will lose 32.34% of your DPS assuming max skills if the Evasive Maneuvers link is active, or roughly 1/3rd of all your missile DPS to this link alone.
To get back our DPS, we need to gain a 47.8% bonus to missile explosion radius (similar to turret tracking). This requires 3x Warhead Rigor Catalysts, a sacrifice of all 3 rig slots just to counter this link and get back the old DPS values. This equals that.
while Evasive Maneuvers exists, I do not feel like Heavy Missiles, Heavy Assault or other bigger missile types can ever be balanced
What this means, is that while Evasive Maneuvers exists, I do not feel like Heavy Missiles, Heavy Assault or other bigger missile types can ever be balanced. If you allow missiles to always apply well regardless of an Evasive Maneuvers link, they would be broken and require too little effort to apply properly. But if you leave Evasive Maneuvers in as it is now and balance the numbers around ships not having Evasive Maneuvers, then Heavy Missiles will never apply to cruisers in serious engagements and they’ll always be complete garbage.
This is one of the reasons why Heavy Missiles are horrible in the current meta, which is mostly focused around low sig AHAC style T3 Cruisers, T2 Logistics or small ships, which heavy missiles cannot apply to well even with significant amount of target painters or guidance computers. If you have access to lots of damage application tools like Huginns, you can get much better results with higher rewarding weapon systems. HMLs look fine on paper, but then when you factor in that evasive maneuvers is almost always going to be destroying 1/3rd of HML DPS against cruiser-sized targets, they become horrific.
Solutions to Evasive maneuvers
Personally I think that, with the passive agility bonus of 10%/15% gone from the mindlink and not being replaced with link effects as in the case of the Armor and Shield HP links, it would be useful to see Evasive Maneuvers replaced with an agility bonus effect, with a 9% base effect similar to the Electronic Superiority link. This would give a similar agility boost to a ship as having mid-grade Nomads and max skills. Having more agility would be useful in fights as it would allow for faster pinging/slingshotting and for kiting ships to create higher angular velocities with sharper turning circles to mitigate more DPS. It wouldn’t help nearly as much as Evasive Maneuvers does for damage mitigation vs tackled targets or those players who do not pilot as well to maximise the advantage of higher angular velocities, which would make it more of a benefit to “active pilots” rather than always there as a permenant damage mitigation mechanic.
Another solution could be to change it to apply to MWD sig bloom only. This would hurt AB-only fits but would help out brawlers and other ships apply once MWDs are turned off. MWD/AB Cap usage reduction could be another alternative.
The only compelling argument I’ve seen for keeping Evasive Maneuvers is that it helps battleships and battlecruisers deal with bombing runs, but bomb signature radiuses could just be increased to compensate for the loss of Evasive Maneuvers if this is such a big deal.
In closing, I really hope CCP is very careful with signature radius reduction effects.I hope I’ve demonstrated just how powerful this link is and why it’s unhealthy for the game and for future balance of weapon systems, especially missiles.