Refining Tactical Destroyers

Tactical destroyers are a problem. You know it, and I know it. Although they’re extremely fun to fly and overall a great addition to the game, those who end up on the business end of a T3D usually don’t have much of a chance of coming through with their ship. With that in mind, CCP Fozzie has announced that he is going to run a focus group regarding changes to the Tactical Destroyers. In this article I am going to outline what I believe the problems with tactical destroyers are, and suggest some changes. If you aren’t aware of what these ships can do, I recommend you go and read my previous articles on tactical destroyers. One of the biggest issues with the ships is the unique mode changing mechanic that allowed for a higher skill cap. Unfortunately, some of those modes are just too strong. Propulsion mode is generally overpowered except in the case of the Hecate because it gets a speed boost to MWDs only – counterable with warp scramblers while also making oversized afterburners next to useless. It is less powerful on the Jackdaw giving only 33% coupled with a slow base speed. On the Svipul and Confessor, however, Propulsion mode gives an insane 66% boost to the base speed. This allows tactical destroyers to attain higher base speed then frigates and thus, range control. If you are unable to track a target with these two tactical destroyers, just double click in space and enable Propulsion mode to pull range and track. Svipul_Speed_Defense I also believe Defensive mode is way too strong. I remember when CCP considered a 5% resistance/level bonus too strong and nerfed that down to 4%. Then, they introduce these ships which have 33% resistance bonuses. Couple that with the fact that Defensive mode is the “standard” most of the time, and you get a recipe for power creep. Let me break down a brawley tactical destroyer fight: you start in Sharpshooter mode to get a lock, swap to Propulsion mode to get into range and once you have achieved tackle switch to Defensive mode for the duration. In this all too common example, the intended skill cap increase gets lost in an overpowered Defensive mode. Finally, there’s Sharpshooter mode. I actually like this mode as it provides a way to counter EWAR and increase your range, providing a tactical option when kiting with these ships. The only problem here is how annoying it is to run into an instalock gate camp with artillery Svipuls, which, for the uninitiated will alpha pretty much any ship off the field below a t1 cruiser (depending on the size of the gatecamp of course). I would actually not mind seeing a small scan resolution nerf here and possibly even a buff to lock range and ECCM. One proposed idea I like is to give mode-swapping a warm-up timer as opposed to the current cooldown. In other words, it would take time to activate the module instead of the instant change we see now. This would cause a small delay where your ship is vulnerable and make people think twice before swapping modes. Destroyer Another problem with these ships is the fact their price point isn’t actually that high compared to what they can do, especially since they currently pay out T3 insurance. This isn’t very high on a ship like a strategic cruiser where you have to pay for the subsystems, but on a tactical destroyer you don’t have that extra cost allowing insurance to pay out almost full. Naturally, This makes the tactical destroyer almost equal in price to a T2 frigate while being much stronger in all aspects. The fix for this one is quite simple: bring the insurance rate down to T2. Even the fitting specs on these ships are overpowered. This is most obvious on the Svipul due to how little power grid autocannons use compared to artillery. Having so much spare fitting space left allows the ship to easily fit things like an oversized afterburner or have a ton of tanking modules. A Svipul for example has 59.35 MW and 229.25 tf left after fitting a full rack of 200mm Autocannons. For more specific cases like FW, I really think that they should not be allowed into Small complexes. Compared to the pirate frigates in novices, they don’t have any clear weakness in this plex size and are downright abusive to the rest of the ship classes there. Medium complexes do not currently allow strategic cruisers to enter, so why should smalls allow tactical destroyers? All of that said, there are a few things I like about the ship class. Recently, CCP added the small shattered wormholes where these ships actually work for PvE. This created a good entry to mid-level type income that is actually pretty competitive with other means of getting ISK, while incorporating the spookiness of being alone in a dangerous wormhole. I would make sure that a potential nerf/change to tactical destroyers wouldn’t hurt this aspect of the game. S5GenEb


These ships are very close to being in a good spot. They created a new mechanic with the mode changes that actually increases the skill cap and makes these ships extremely fun to fly. Unfortunately, they are just a bit too strong, creating not so much a power creep as a power slide. I would try to nerf some of the stat increases of the modes and correct how quickly the modes change. Overall, I would rate the ships from best to worst like this: Svipul >> Confessor >> Jackdaw >> Hecate Personally, I think that all of them should be at the Jackdaw/Hecate level of power as I think those ships are balanced for their size with a clear cut weakness. The Confessor would have a tracking weakness if it wasn’t for the insane fittings and the ability to fit a 10MN Afterburner + Propulsion mode. The recently announced focus group will hopefully clarify changes that need to be made to a ship class that’s been overpowered from the start.  
Tags: gorski, ship balancing, Tactical Destroyers

About the author

Gorski Car

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.

  • missingyou2

    And thus ends another session of “wasting time” with Gorski Car

  • Dick Hauser

    My head hurts from all the future nerfs to every single ship ever… just…. stop…… fiddling !!!

  • orob_ninebands

    Oh FFS… Yes, T3Ds are powerful. So what? You can also be alphaed at a gate camp by numerous other ship types, so that is a non-argument. T3Ds are not undefeatable. If you can’t adapt and learn to fit webs or other stuff that can counter new threats that emerge in this game then you are just bad at EvE. Don’t be a dumbass and try to fight something that you can’t beat for starters. Stop thinking of them as just destroyers, because they are not. I’m so tired of the overfocus on balancing everything. Some things should be better than others and you are not being stopped from also flying those ships.
    The only valid tears I have seen in regards to T3Ds is the price. I would agree that they are too inexpensive in relation to their performance. Other than that, HTFU, adapt and carry on. The way this balance stuff goes, we might as well just have one hull in this game so everyone will be flying the same ship. Make everything the same, because “balance”, and what you get is boring.

    • Bram Ridder

      Problem if ofcourse that due to their price / power it makes some other ships like Assault Frigates obsolete.

      • orob_ninebands

        Which I acknowledged. I said they are too cheap. They don’t need a balance, they need a cost hike.

  • bad article, waste of time

    okay, they’re strong, there are things a lot more broken and unbalanced than t3d’s

  • Danmal

    Quite similar to what I wrote on the eve forum in response to fozzie’s initial announcement. Question is, if it is this obvious to anyone who encounters them, flies them, or knows how to use EFT/Pyfa, why does it require a focus group?

    And to the response below. No, except Orthruses few things are as broken as T3Ds.

  • Kamar Raimo

    As with many things, it is easy to look at the problems with T3Ds from the perspective of the high-skill/high-ISK player. Sure, in that case you just skill into a T3D with your high grade implants and you’re done, but think of it from the perspective of a new player.

    Here you have a ship class that requires you to learn destroyers lvl V which takes longer than skilling into assault frigs. If a T3D is only marginally better than an assault frig it’s not worth the extra price for players who might have only a fe hundred million ISK.

    Also, a lot of the “OP factor” comes from the perspective of players who actually know well how to fly a ship. T3Ds are actually pretty hard to fly well without decent practice. You said it yourself once, Gorski, the Orthrus and Garmur are the biggest retard magnets because amateurs think equipment alone will win a fight. I see those ships regularly be killed by faction frigs when pilots know how to use them better.

    I do agree on one thing though: The instalock alpha Svipul is too strong. When I can get lockspeeds below one server tick with one SEBO and three targeting subcontroller rigs and then still have the grid and slots to fit a propmod+tank, that becomes a bit too much.

    I also agree with what Danmal said. Many people can figure out what’s the issue with them, and CSM members could channel that knowledge. Why a focus group is needed just for that is the question. It might be a proof of concept though. If a simple thing like a T3D focus group works out well, then more complicated ones could too.

  • lowrads

    T3Ds are just a symptom of an underlying illness. That illness is oversize prop, and/or lack of stacking penalties on all of the unsurprisingly popular rigs. Fix the latter and the problem with the former goes away, or simply legitimizes the cost opportunity.

    Without those, AFs could potentially muscle in on a respectable role, especially if that role involved an AB bonus.

    Meanwhile, this game cannot succeed via balance by rarity and cost. The only thing they are functional at is reducing the frequency of player interaction. How many times do we need to learn this lesson?

  • Timm

    Well, not well
    I like them just as they are. I think Jackdaw is worse than Hecate
    They both should be buffed to Confessor/Svipul level.

    Destroyer: special type of ship specialized to hunt and kill frigates.

    T1 dessies no way, they won’t evev 1v1 a T1 frig.
    Even T3 often die to assault frigs in 1v1. So were is the problem?
    Don’t understand.
    Yes they are strong. But they have to be.

  • Saint Michael’s Soul

    Agreed with most of the article. You can still fit an effective 50mn MWD Svipul, even post the nerfs. I love flying it but hot damn it’s OP.

    +1 to Warmup for mode switching and also +1 for secondary nerf on PG/CPU

  • Voxx


  • Concerned citizen

    Totally agree with you, hecate is powerful but counterable the rest are way overpowered. When a new ship gets top kills every single month up to present, it’s pretty obviously over powered. Why doesn’t CCP work on balancing currently unbalanced ships (shield marauders vs armour, or tier 1 destroyers vs tier 2, assault frigs/faction frigs?) instead of introducing whole new balance issues with new ships?

  • Nemanja Djordjevic

    Has the idea to introduce drawbacks to each mode ever been suggested? Defensive mode will grant you the same strength boons, but with minor propulsion and sharpshooter debuffs.

  • Anthony Falk

    Leave them alone. Are they powerful, yep… are they supposed to be? Damned skippy they are. Leave them alone.

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