A Look at the Standup Void Guided Bomb NerfsSubmissions
The following is an article submitted to us by Erutor, a relative newbro flying cloaky ships with WiNGSPAN with dreams of huge NS fleets. Quoting him, “I also enjoy losing Stratioi in PvE sites trying to make my PvP fits work for PvE, and/or while falling asleep at the keyboard and then blogging about it on https://learningtoeve.wordpress.com/“.
He’s known to slum in /r/eve and spam #tweetfleet as @ErutorOfEve.
In reviewing the structure dev blog for August, 2017, I can’t help but question* the substantial nerfs to void bombs, as opposed to more creative solutions.
Introduced with the April, 2016 EVE Online: Citadel release, Standup Void Guided Bombs** were almost immediately identified as overpowered and too-strongly dictating fleet composition. The grumble was clear by July, 2016. CCP responded to complaints about Void Bombs a few short months later(!) in the YC119.1 (January, 2017), allowing Energy Warfare Resistance to apply to Standup Void Guided Bombs.
Standup Void Guided Bombs are certainly powerful, instantly neutralizing capacitor on all subcapitals, and quickly neutralizing even capital ships. A few fleets attempted to spread out, hoping to minimize the effect of the void bombs, but found this solution less effective, and more costly, especially since it puts logi in a nearly impossible situation, turning them logi squad leads into triage, deciding too often which ships to lose. The meta evolved quickly to assault citadels only with passive-tanked fleet compositions wielding capless armaments.
“EVE Online” quickly degenerated into “Machariels Online”, as fielding any doctrine other than Machariels too clearly communicated intent to the enemy. Machariels? Must be planning to hit a structure. Anything else? Structures are safe, prepare field defenses.
(Stats from https://zkillboard.com/ship/17738/stats/)
CCP partially addressed the problem of “Machariels Online” with the YC119.6 (June 2017) and YC119.7 (July 2017) releases by first decreasing the availability of pirate battleship Bluprint Copies, then increasing the input materials for Pirate Battleships. This had the effect of slightly decreasing Machariels for general use, but appears to have no effect whatsoever upon the anti-structure meta.
And Now For Something Typical and Uncreative:
With the YC119.8 Dev blog, we see a significant “nerf” of Structure Weapons as an explicit response to community discussion that Void bombs are the most powerful component of structure defense, with the “significant downside of reducing the fleet composition choices available to attackers.”. Quoting from the devblog:
The changes we (Team Five 0) are proposing here reduce the area of effect and energy neutralizer amount per second of Guided Void Bombs while also reducing their rate of fire and movement speed to make counterplay more accessible:
“Structure Guided Bombs
- Reduce the rate of fire of the Structure Guided Bomb Launcher from 20 seconds to 40 seconds
- Reduce the area of effect of Guided Void Bombs from 40km to 20km
- Reduce the area of effect of AS and AM Guided Bombs from 40km to 30km
- Reduce the neut amount per second of the Guided Void Bomb by 25%
- Increase the DPS of the AS and AM Guided Bombs by 25%
- Reduce the velocity of the Guided Void Bomb by 20% (increasing flight time to keep the range the same)
Structure Anti-Subcap Missiles
- Increase the damage of the ASML-SD missile by 33%
- Increase the damage of the ASML-MD and ASML-LD missiles by 20%”
Will these changes open the door to different fleet compositions? I am no hard-core theory-crafter, but I think they may.
- The neut pressure will remain significant, however, and the damage output higher, so it may be that the most FCs will choose to bring EXACTLY THE SAME FLEET, but now have less pressure on their Logi, with the net effect that assaulting a citadel is now easier, but no different.
- It may be that decreasing velocity will allow Jump Destroyers to “jump off” Structure Bombs. This could make for interesting gameplay.
We could do better.
These changes do appear to apply the typical nerf/buff approach to balance, but fall short of more creative options proposed by the community (even /r/eve has done better than simply cry for nerfs) over the past year.
The most popular suggestion I’ve seen over the past year is to allow Defender Missiles (reworked with YC118.10 (December, 2016) to target non-structure bombs) to target structure bombs.
Those advocating this solution seem to be approaching a consensus:
- Structure Bombs should require multiple hits from Defender Missiles
- This would introduce a meaningful role for newer players, who are facing a long train for Battleships, but can easily and effectively fly a Destroyer equipped with Defender Missiles.
- Timing could be tricky under TiDi for both Defender Missiles and Jump Destroyers – we may need improved visual indicators that the Structure Bomb has begun to launch.
- This would encourage defending fleets to undock not only anti-battleship fleets, but also fleets capable of taking out Destroyers
- We may need to make T2 Defender Missiles required to destroy Structure Bombs, to prevent a new meta of ti-di-inducing Alpha Clone Destroyer spam.
I think CCP could do better than simply apply the nerf bat, how about you? Are the nerfs enough of a quality of life improvement that they’ll suffice, or do we need to say “Thank you sir, may I have another?”
tl;dr – The proposed changes are adequate, but not excellent. They may open the door for additional fleet compositions, but seem unlikely to encourage more creative gameplay.
* Note to the nerd: I did not say “This begs the question…” because begging the question is a logical error of fallacy in which one assumes as true the point one is attempting to prove. It does NOT mean “begs that I ask a question” or “demands that I ask a question” or “inspires the question”.
** You will see the terms “[Standup] Guided Void Bomb” and “[Standup] Void Guided Bomb” used interchangably. The August, 2017 Dev Blog refers to them as “Guided Void Bombs”, for example. They are, properly, “Standup Void Guided Bombs” per the in-game item. This is also consistent with the other bomb types (AS Guided Bomb, AM Guided Bomb).