Recently, Sarmatiko posted a data dump from the test server, and you can find the raw data here. This dump contains the announced changes to microwarpdrives and the tiericide changes to plates and extenders. These were announced at Fanfest but no real numbers were released until now. Now you need to keep in mind that these are numbers taken from a data dump. It is nothing official and they can change at any time or just be placeholders. In this article we are going to go through the changes, make them a bit easier to read and discuss a bit about what effect these changes will have.
Propulsion module changes
Let’s start with the changes to microwarpdrives and afterburners. These changes are already announced here.
For afterburners we are not going to see any major changes. There is going to be a new module at 10MN and 100MN sizes that will be easier to fit, but that is about it.
The most significant changes will be to microwarpdrives. First off, they are renaming the microwarpdrives to 5MN, 50MN and 500MN. I guess this helps newer guys realize that a 50MN Microwarpdrive gives you more speed than a 10MN Afterburner. It will also make searching for stuff in the market easier and that’s nice. Now this is just a cosmetic change and I am personally more interested in stuff that affects gameplay.
Next up are the speed changes for microwarpdrives. As most people probably know, T2 MWDs are rarely used because the meta MWD provides the same speed boost while requiring less cap to activate. You also have less fitting requirements on the meta MWD. It is in almost all cases better than the T2 version. CCP have decided to change this now, buffing the speed of T2 MWDs and also increasing the speed on faction and deadspace microwarpdrives. This is one of the changes I do not agree with at all. I think it is dangerous and that there is a problem with speed creep in the game. By themselves these numbers are really not going to make that much of a difference, but they will create problems when you take everything into account such as implants and force multipliers off grid.
Here is a quick table showing the speed changes:
I think these changes provide the biggest problem at frigate sized combat mostly because the speeds we are seeing here are already way too fast in my opinion. I am not a fan of 10k m/s interceptors or Garmurs and I do not think they need an additional buff. I would rather see speed go to 495% at meta 1, and 513% at A-type levels. This is a tiny step, and to be honest I would have liked to see more drastic nerfs to speed creep, but I do not think we will. Another thing to consider here is that the speed changes are not that bad on the cruiser and battleship level. Making 5MN Microwarpdrives into 4MN Microwarpdrives and keeping the others at 50MN and 500MN would be a bit confusing, but it is not something that I would have had anything against.
This is not the only thing they are doing with microwarpdrives. There is going to be a new module at all sizes called Restrained Microwarpdrive. This one will provide a smaller signature radius bloom from using the Microwarpdrive. Activating one of these will give you a 450% signature increase as opposed to the standard 500%. I think this module will be used a lot especially on HAC, interceptors and logistics ships.
Shield extender changes
Next up are the changes to shield extenders. They were announced here. I have made a quick spreadsheet where you can see the changes here.
First up and most obvious are the changes to small shield extenders. They are gaining significant buffs to HP and it might just be what makes them useful again. Before we talk about these, we have to make sure that everyone knows that mid slots are the most important slot for frigates. Sacrificing a low slot for a Micro Auxiliary Power Core in order to fit an MSE is always going to be better than fitting two small shield extenders. With that said, I think most frigates can afford to fit a MSE without any problems right now.
However, small shield extenders will still have a small niche where they fit in. You have some cool stuff going with the Azeotropic and Thukker versions where they actually don’t increase your signature at all. This might help sig tanking frigates or frigates such as the Garmur or Crow. I am not sure it will have the greatest effect on frigates who want to go in and get under a bigger ships guns. Right now you can already do that with a medium shield extender and if you instead choose to go with a small you will have less EHP and be more vulnerable to drones.
Next up are the changes to medium shield extenders. In short, they almost all got some EHP upgrades and some minor changes to fitting. Nothing major really, and I guess for some super tight fits that +1 PG or +1 CPU might hurt, but it’s not a big deal. What’s really cool here is the faction extenders. They all have the same HP increase, but offer some different flavour. The one I like the most is the Thukker one. It will provide a big shield increase while keeping the signature bloom down to levels almost comparable to small shield extenders.
And lastly, the large extenders. I like the changes made here, making them all a bit less powerful and lowering the HP gain. The changes to fitting will have even less of an impact here.
CCP was kind enough to make this spreadsheet for me showing the changes here.
Let’s start with 100mm plates since they are the easiest to talk about. In general they all suck. There is no reason to fit one to your ship and if that’s all the tank that fits you need to rethink your priorities. They provide almost no tank and come with drawbacks. Compare them to a Small Ancillary Armor Repairer (SAAR) and it will be even more obvious. A T2 100mm plate provides a nice round 300 hp. An Ancillary repper reps 171 in one cycle. If that wasn’t enough, it is also easier to fit a SAAR and it doesn’t slow your ship down.
This is a problem that many of the smaller sizes of plates suffer from. After the introduction of the SAAR it is simply better to run one of those instead of using plate. The loss in speed is really going to hurt you. I feel the same about the 200mm plates. While being a bit better with T2 plate providing 600 HP, it is just not enough. Now with 400mm plates we are going to get somewhere in terms of the tank needed. These plates have some serious fitting requirements and most fits using them often have either a Micro Auxiliary Power Core or have downgraded the guns to a lower tier, something that is acceptable given the amount of tank a 400mm plated AF gets for example. If we look at the spreadsheet we can see that they have normalized the HP gains on meta plates, and increased the mass on Rolled Tungsten plates.
Looking at it now I expect the Crystalline Carbonide plates to be the new Rolled Tungsten plates that will be the go to standard that everyone fits. Faction plates will also see some use now, depending on the prices, and that’s a good thing. For larger plates than this we will see the same thing where the HP they provide is decreased in order to compensate for faction plates giving more HP.
The first thing that I am worried about with these changes is the speed creep on microwarpdrives. I would personally want to see a slight speed decrease, keeping T2 microwarpdrives at current levels of speed and decreasing the rest of them. I also think there is a problem with frigates in general being too fast. Having an A-Type microwarpdrives give you 8% speed increase might be fine on the cruiser and battleship level, but for frigates that are already reaching oppressive speeds it is not OK. I am also worried that the sig reduction microwarpdrive is too good. It gets a pretty massive reduction in the signature bloom for almost no penalty at all.
For the shield extenders I am not really sure what CCP wants to accomplish with the small ones. Frigates in general don’t have problems affording to fit a medium shield extender. I have seen some people suggest that this will allow fitting two small shield extenders cheaply instead of one medium and well, those guys have no idea how to fly frigs. Mid slots are the most important slot on a frigate.
They have also decided to reduce the signature penalty on the Thukker and Azeotropic shield extenders, as I mentioned earlier. That’s rather cool. I don’t really care much for small shield extenders being able to remove the signature penalty. You can get under the guns of a cruiser right now with a medium extender pretty easily. The most dangerous thing for frigates fighting bigger ships is not their guns hitting you, it is getting hit by a flight of small drones, and for fighting drones it is better to have the extra EHP from a medium extender.
With that said, I still feel like there will be some use from some of them. I really like that faction extenders have received some buffs in their shield capacity and the Thukker shield extender looks really interesting. I could see ships like Garmurs and Crows using these, making them even harder to hit.
For plates I am not really sure what they are planning with 100mm plates. They are still going to be garbage and rarely used. When a Small Ancillary repper provides more HP in two rep cycles then a plate, there is something wrong. Especially when a repair is easier to fit. I would change the fittings of these plates totally. Remove the power grid cost and make them something like adaptive plates but give pure buffer instead of resistance.
Another important thing here is that it looks like Rolled Tungsten plates are getting nerfed hard or brought in line with the other plates. I don’t really know if they will be used much after this and, like I said earlier, I could see the Crystalline Carbonide plates take their spot. I am personally happy about the HP nerfs on the meta plates and T2 plates for the larger sizes. What I don’t really like is how the faction plates are now going to be really good. Armor tanks already have slave implants and they will synergize even better with the Imperial Navy plates. In general I would like ships to have less EHP, not more.
I like that 1600mm plates got a sizeable hit in mass, hopefully this will make them a little bit less common on cruisers. I also like that there is a bit more variation between the HP bonuses provided on the faction plates compared to shield extenders, where all of them provide the same HP increase.
Gorski Car was a CSM 9 member whose theorycrafting and knowledge of mechanics has had a key role in helping CCP adjust how we play EVE. He is an avid small gang PvPer with a background in lowsec, but flies in all areas of space, depending on his fancy.