CZ Minutes: Rebalance This

Ever since tiericide CCP have kept ship balancing in high gear with Fozzie and Rise at the helm. The EVE community has had little time to adapt before another ship is on the chopping block. While some welcome the fluid changes that go in tandem with the six week release schedule, others think it too drastic and destabilizing. Certainly no meta is as comfortable now as it has been in the past and pilots have to be more on their toes. Is this type of rapid change good? How should T3, capitals and supercapitals be balanced? Is it time for CCP to introduce new ship classes, such as the T3 frigate?
Tarek: When Rise and Fozzie got on that job I was very hopeful. One experienced solo player and another who knew much about large-fleet tactics. The frigate rebalance met my expectations and the following cruiser rebalance as well. After that, things started to become a bit awkward as far as I am concerned. Battlecruiser rebalance felt more like an effort to nerf the Drake and Hurricane than anything else. The Republic Fleet Cane was nothing but trolling. Battleship rebalance was not bad, but I would have expected more after the high bar set by frigates and cruisers. Since then I have become more and more irritated. It seems like they can’t leave things alone anymore. Every few months or even weeks some aspect of different ships is subjected to small tweaks. Sometimes I didn’t even manage to get used to how some ship works before it changed again. The recently announced Ishtar change made me particularly angry. Faced with a ship which has become dominant in the meta, they do a small change with the prospect of yet another one to follow soon after. I begin to get the feeling as if I am playing beta-tester for the balancing effort. If it were the old ship balancing team it would be less of a surprise to see that happen, but Fozzie and Rise?! Those two guys know the in-game meta. They should be able to playtest their changes in ways which reflect the game reality. T3 and capital rebalancing is still waiting to happen. I really hope it will not be a bunch of heavy handed nerfs or some change that just seems forced. I am not sure whether EVE needs any new ships. It just got six, one of which is very much a white elephant (pun intended). If new things were to be introduced, then I would most wish for something that can work as a tiebreaker in sov warfare. Hendrick: Oh dear how did I end up here? Can someone explain what this means? “XXX XXX XXXXX XX XXXXXX XXX XXX” I don’t speak Klingon. (classified information /CZ Security) Regarding the topic, I’m far from an EFT warrior but the regular tweaks and changes to the ships are, in some ways, coming off as bandaid fixes to more systemic issues with the game design and balance. The regular balance tweaks for the many, and there are many, ships in the game are needed and expected, but overall has there been any significant shift in the drone heavy meta? Ishtars, which appear to be the flavor of the month, are still reliant on sentries. Before that we had the Domis. I’m trying to think back to the last ship that was the big favorite of everyone playing that wasn’t reliant on drones. #GallenteFederationFoLyfe 0_12012014021051eve_pic_trimed_2 HVAC: Ishtars are fine as a ship, it’s the sentries as a damage platform that’s the problem. But as far as balancing goes, most of the subcaps are fine at the moment (fuck bombers forever, side note) but I’d love to see them start making capitals a better bridge between subs and supers. Capitals have barely been touched since inception, and the gap between subs and caps and caps and supers is too big. The big ships need to start seeing some love. Supers need to be balanced in a way that makes it worth them having on the field, but not nearly as broken as they have been and kinda are in the current form. Hendrick: Aren’t you supposed to be focusing on your pew pew guns HVAC? HVAC: K I L L Y O U R S E L F Hendrick: Well I know someone who won’t be eligible for the CPM now. Tarek: There was definitely a time, not so long ago, when Drakes and Hurricanes were almost everything you saw all the time. The Sentry Domi has been around for as long as I can remember, but then again, nothing wrong with a battleship using battleship-class weapons. The last thing I remember happening to capitals was that they took away dreadnought dronebays and I thought: A Gallente dread without drones? You got to be kidding me. I guess they wanted to make it less effective against small ships, but the webbing Loki meta has since undone that intended effect. Joran: Small intermittent balance changes are healthy for the game, as far as I’m concerned. All large games have regular balance passes, and it only makes sense to change things as they become problematic.I’m not saying everything has been sunshine and roses, but I certainly think people are forgetting how horrible things were before, to the point where half the ships were infinitely more useless than they are today. I’m as concerned as everyone else about heavy-handed nerfs as we get higher in the ship classes. I also would love to see the tech 3 side of things explored further. I don’t know if I would make frigates my choice, but some expansions of the tech 3 line would be great, and it might be a nice counterbalance to the inevitable nerfs we’re probably going to see to the cruisers. Niden: Unlike Tarek I like the fast and fluid rebalancing. Although it is true that you get the “beta-tester” feeling at times, and it certainly has a detrimental effect on the identity of ships, I think it’s a good thing. It allows CCP to react to what’s actually going on, when it needs to be addressed. Given the nature of EVE it is virtually impossible for CCP to balance things without letting the community at it, because, as CCP keep saying themselves, there’s no way to predict where the players will take a certain meta and what they will do with it. A stick in the hands of Joe Average is not the same thing as a stick in the hands of an experienced army of hand-to-hand experts. So a stick isn’t a stick in EVE, it’s what people do with it. That stick is sentry drones at the moment. I honestly think the Ishtar should have been left alone but the sentry drones nerfed, rather than the other way around. But given how CCP operate I’m a lot more hopeful that opinions from the community can be heard and acted upon a lot faster.
Take the Worm for example. It’s relatively OP right now and a pretty big deal for those of us that enjoy solo and (very) small gang PvP. Although faction frigates should be slightly ‘broken’, this is a bit spicy for my taste. However, I’m not fretting about it too much, because I know CCP will be able to address the issue within months. Back in the day, that could be a year, or more. I also believe that this type of rapid rebalancing is new for both CCP and the players, hopefully they learn to ‘get it right’ and there won’t be a need to rebalance so often in the future. The question becomes: have nerfs become the reward for getting good at something? Shouldn’t they be? Also: as one who spends a lot of time in FW space, I’d love to see T3 frigates, it would certainly shake up the meta in all kinds of interesting ways. Xander: If a ship is clearly broken – and by ‘clearly broken’ I mean most people from all different quarters of the community agree that it could do with some CCP tweakage – then whether that ship has been on TQ for 6 days or 6 years, it should be open to be worked on. I don’t believe in allowing clearly broken ships to just exist to give people time to try and figure it out. A great example is the Nestor. The Nestor hasn’t been around long. In terms of ‘bang for your buck’, the Nestor is a fail. No-one is flying them because they don’t represent good value for money. There isn’t anyone out there banging the drum saying ‘hey the Nestor is perfect as it is in terms of power and cost – leave it alone!’. As such, CSM9 are advocating that it is looked at despite the fact it is a very new hull. On top of this, a changing meta (at least to a degree) is a good thing for pilots. It keeps them learning, forces them to adapt and relearn the game. It keeps New Eden spicy. A great comparison would be Magic the Gathering and the new expansion which is released every three-four months. It forces you to completely re-evaluate the meta, Cards (hulls) that were previously worthless suddenly become viable due to some tweak to the rules or some other card (hull). So yes, don’t change simply for the sake of it but an ever-evolving ship-meta is a great for the game. Hibbie: I’m all for the rebalancing efforts. In honesty, I’ve been impressed with how open the two have been about the whole process, and as far as I can see, the wider community is too. Ship & Module balancing was a packed seminar at Fanfest. Both F&R have hordes of fat sweaty neckbearded blobs tipping fedoras in their direction and sharing their totally objective opinions. Any frank discussion about the game in a personal, friendly manner is good for everyone. It’s nice to be a part of it. I’m perhaps not enamoured with the Ishtar changes, like many, however I suspect we’ll see sentry changes down the line as well. Looking at the interview with Seagull this week, she was very candid about the state of the game. If that awareness translates to positive balance changes on multiple fronts, we’re all winners. I’m waiting to see the capital and supercap changes keenly. I’m happy with my dread but my carriers are hilarious – I’m not the only one to have said that a new, dedicated capital logistics platform would be of benefit if remote reps are removed from the carrier/super. I’m most excited for the module rebalance. If it follows the path they laid out at fanfest of meta levels becoming specialisations instead of unimportant differences, we could see a lot more demand for non t2+ weapons in fleets. A lot of fits will change new flexibility will be introduced. Whatever happens, I make money out of building and/or jump freighting new ships for new metas into staging systems. It’s all good for me.
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12 year EVE veteran, Snuffed Out scumbag, writer, graphic artist, producer, Editor-in-Chief of Crossing Zebras and the second most influential player in EVE, according to EVE Onion.