The Future of Capitals

Capitals in Fozziesov have been a hot topic since a certain dev blog came out. Guesting Crossing Zebras to talk about it we have Kurbanis Araeleus, a capital pilot who now looks at a very pricey list of skills and wonders if they were a waste of time. – Niden On Tuesday March 3, shortly after 1500 a devblog was released outlining the proposed sov mechanics changes, scheduled to hit Tranquility in summer 2015. As is customary in EVE, capsuleers took to the forums in numbers, to shout damnation and cheer jubilation. Amongst the declarations of “EVE is dead”, “CCP killed null”, and “Can I have your stuff?”, one recurring statement stuck with me: What is the point of capitals now? For a long time, capital ships have been prolific throughout New Eden. Even titans and supercarriers—ships that started out as alliance level assets—now appear en masse at pings when another of their class has been tackled, like sharks in bloodied water. Some of them using extensively planned routes to cover great distances in short amounts of time. This “apex force” had created a status quo amongst the major nullsec—and even some lowsec—powers. Fleet fights weren’t about who had the best FC or who had the better comp; it was about who could field the most—the age old n+1 argument but on a larger scale. And it had become tedious. The release of Phoebe saw one of these issues addressed. The changes to jump mechanics, and the introduction of jump fatigue drastically reduced the effective ranges of capital ships from their home systems without putting them more and more at risk. This lead to an increase in their use by smaller entities, as the possibility of being hot dropped by a major bloc declined. Now anyone wishing to deploy capitals in anger had to weigh up their effectiveness for a specific task, versus the risk of travelling and operating in the intended system. Whether capitals were still used in anger I honestly couldn’t tell you without the metrics, but capitals were still being fielded in structure bashing, defense and other scenarios.


This Is Where I Was

Having acquired my first capital in early 2014, and having only used it in combat a couple times before Phoebe hit, I was content with my role as a post-Phoebe capital pilot. The risk was enough that taking gates in a dreadnaught or carrier still increased my blood pressure, but not so much that I’d never undock it again. I had trained for months and scraped together billions in ISK to pay for the skill books and outfitting of my ships; all of it earned in game, as plexing was not an option at the time. All this work had lead me to where I was, and even post-Phoebe, I was enjoying it. Enter fozziesov. Under the new proposed mechanics system conquest is triggered inside a 4-hour time window, dictated by the holding alliance, through the use of the Entosis Link module. This is a high slot module that can be fitted to a ship in order to instigate a capture timer on an enemy sovereignty structure, or in a defensive capacity, stop the timer where the enemy has activated one. Although the exact ship classes that it can be used with are not known yet, we do know that it suffers severe penalties when mounted on a capital ship, increasing the cycle time by 400%. Once a structure has been reinforced it will come out approximately 2 days later in the same 4 hour window. It is at this point command nodes spawn across all systems within the contested systems constellation. These conquerable command nodes are then captured using the same Entosis Link, and thus begins a tug of war between the defenders and any other alliance as to who gains control. This is in an effort to spread the conflict out, thereby attempting to resolve the n+1 problem by allowing more dynamically sized fleets, whilst simultaneously reducing server load. However, this is highly suited for the smaller and more mobile cruiser—specifically T3—doctrines seen in the current meta. Neither this task, nor the initial timer are exactly ideal for carriers or dreadnaughts, with the latter likely doomed to the life of sovereignty housemaid, cleaning out old POSes. Pilots of these mammoth vessels likely ruminating on their days on the frontline and praying the day a new baby faced or drunk super pilot does something stupid and their services will again be required. Even if only for the briefest of moments. Structures Now, I’m not saying capitals are dead. Under the current plans, I just don’t see much opportunity for them to be deployed in null, in earnest. This got me thinking that, truth be told I wasn’t 100% happy with their name. A capital ship, in a real world naval fleet, is the backbone of a fleet, a flagship. They are few and supported by a plethora of ship classes escorting them. This is not how they are used in EVE. However, I don’t believe the name should change. In fact, with the impending release of sov 2.0 which I suspect will be released with only minor changes, we have an opportunity to redesign the intention of capitals to fit into these new mechanics, perhaps to something more in keeping with what their name implies; command ships in charge of a varied fleet setup. Conceivably, they could then be utilised to manage the now wider spread battlespace from a central location, maybe providing on-grid boosts and support to bring them out into the open and an active part of the conflict. Or, perhaps, something entirely new. Either way, in their current guise I believe capitals will be destined to spend large amounts of time gathering dust in hangars, performing mediocre tasks in POS management or worse: ratting! To those who have taken the time and effort to train for them, it feels like those skills have lost their relevance. Months, even years, of lengthy skill trains whose only purpose is for capitals and their modules, leave the capsuleer with a collection of redundant skill points. Suggesting, perhaps, that learning every T3 and its associated subsystems and support mods was what we were supposed to do, instead of attempting to foster the diversity that EVE promises. And as for supers, well with no more structures to bash and the death of skynet, I sincerely hope CCP is looking long and hard at what they can do to make capitals fun again. For now, capital pilots wait with bated breath not knowing when, or even if we will see changes that can reinvigorate these vessels and their dedicated captains.
Tags: capital ships, Fozziesov, nullsec, supercapitals

About the author

Kurbanis Araeleus

Kurbanis Araeleus is a jack of all trades, master of jack.... After a short start to his EVE life in 2007 as a carebear, he went on extended hiatus until his triumphant return in 2012. Having tried most aspects of new eden, he eventually turned his hand to corp leadership. He has since moved a small band of combat shy industrialists from the land of carebears to the playground of sov nullsec.

  • Necromonger

    They have become a 30 billion wormhole effect booster.
    I was on the road with 4 accounts to train for it, only weeks away to buy billions worth of skillbooks.

    Lucky for me this news came in time, for others it seems years of training are waisted as the need to field these giants will be reduced to a handfull needed in a region.

    With the new Sov changes it looks CCP wants to make Sov Warfare interceptor / frigates online.
    I suspect they wanted to give it a feel of a World of Warcraft Battleground where you can hop in take a few systems and voila sov is yours.

    For me personaly Sov Warfare should be about battles were both sides need to duke it out untill 1 group is declared victor.
    You want sov ? you came and take it and put your balls on the damn table or go back where you came from.

    But not this frigate sov crap -_-

    • Ryu

      its a thought that it might become a booster, dont get too fixated on it.

      • Dirk MacGirk

        It’s likely more than just a thought that it will become some sort of on-grid non-damage ship. Fozzie’s words werent the “off the cuff” variety as much as something he, and perhaps others in his group, are strongly considering. They really don’t know what to do with these things and really haven’t since they proliferated at a rate they couldn’t envision. Perhaps it was just to test the waters. But if that isn’t the outcome, what outcome could possibly be better or worse? The status quo sucks but there isn’t all that much left for them if it isn’t offensive in some way. It might be difficult to swallow, but it may be that all supers need to go the way of the Indy Teams – oops, these don’t work and we can’t find a reasonable way to make them work. Just get rid of them.

        • Ryu

          they could get removed they could become boosters they could became space toilets. My point is, dont take what fozzie said on eve down under podcast, as granted, cause its not.

        • Not only spers, the whole capital ships are became a mechanic that lost its purpose.

          With the upcoming sov change, yes sov warfare will be strange and different, with more fun and engagement opportunities.

          But us cap pilots will become useless and whether you like it or not, one of the main reasons this game has more subs is the extra cap alts or accounts. Yea let them nerf the supers etc, and crap up to the capitals but, when people will sell their super and unsub, at the end we will have lesser players. So CCP should act wisely when they are hammering the capitals and need to find a satisfying carrot to capital pilots while showing the stick.

    • yes yes

      Please cry more. The last few weeks I’ve been washing myself in the tears of a thousand crying voices.

      • Necromonger

        So after killing of Dust 514 / World of Darkness / the time has come for Eve Online.

        Lets see how many subs are ending and how many CCP devs can pack their bags next time this year.

        I want Eve Online to become better, but the Grrrr Nullsec tears must be more importand.

        Fly dangerous o/

        • Grr Nullbear

          Well you empire mongrels calling yourself as playing “eve online” but its those grr nullsec people who makes up the content and pushes this game into limits and grabs subs…

          It was B-R, or Asaki which increased this game’s subs and gave it free advertisement opportunity. Not your shitty enterpise of producing 10 t1 frigates…

  • Leo

    Seems too early to tell where Caps and Supers are going. They seemed destined for change, but even Fozzy only tossed around talked about ideas. No plans have been made yet.
    Do we know if PoS/POCO bashing will still be HP oriented? Will C5/6 WH escalations still be capital triggered? Will capitals have new anti-capital roles making n+1 escalations still relevant?
    There is writing on the wall, but we can’t read what is it says yet.

  • Anon

    You mean sov 3.0 not 2.0

    • Kurbanis Araeleus

      Yes, I suppose it is.

  • AFK

    Capitals are as good as dead. All you need is to bubble them and keep them stuck until the window closes for that day. They will never reach 10 nodes within 4 hours.

  • logan

    death to all supers! yay!

  • Grezh

    I fail to see how carriers become suddenly useless with this change, they are incredible force multipliers when used well as shown by RnK multiple times and since all the command nodes are in the constellation they should all be within jump range if you are near the contellation. If a group is intent on defending its space they can use titan bridges to spread out heavy assets to all systems easily and the entosis capture time allows for most fresh jump cooldown to wear off.

    • Kurbanis Araeleus

      I don’t see them becoming instantly useless however, the reasons to deploy them become much fewer. You’re not going to risk sending easily pinnable capitals to sit on a grid when you have much more mobile assets that can fulfill that job with more flexibility, such as breaking down to cover more area and reconstituting when they meet resistance. Jump fatigue even over small range constellation jumps will still rack up quite rapidly If they’re being done in quick succession. Its not that they wont be able to do anything under the new mechanics, more that the risks in these situations would vastly outweigh any benefit.

      • Kamar Raimo

        Fleets have to spread out more for effective sov capture. It may not be feasible anymore to pile 100 logi pilots into a fleet and in that case a few carriers can replace logis very effectively. Also let’s not forget the refitting service they offer. A lot of tactical flexibility can be gained by that.

  • With the home defense speed bonus a carrier can capture a command node as fast as the trollceptor. (It’s like star citizen, nobody can shut up about them while they don’t even exist yet.)
    1. People complain taking sov is hard because the only counter to a super fleet is a bigger super fleet.
    2. You no longer need a super fleet to capture sov, people complain super fleets have no use any more..
    Nothing is holding back anyone from fielding capitals.. not fielding them will be your own conscious choice.

  • Kamar Raimo

    Personally I don’t quite see why so many people think caps will be useless. Carriers are still superb logi which can also provide dps with drones and if someone fields carriers in a fight, that usually requires dreads to break the powerful reps. In lowsec and WH space carriers are regularly used in strategic fights which are about system control, and that will be quite important in the new sov system. If you can blockade a whole constellation while taking care of the command modules or sov structures you are at a distinct advantage

    Now when it comes to supers, I really am sceptical about their continued usefulness on the same level but the last word has not been spoken yet.

    Good article BTW, critical without all that unnecessary whining.

  • Angus Adalwin

    Good article. It’s definitely important to be thinking about the importance of capital ships and their relevance in the upcoming months and years. We should be taking this time to think about it, let CCP know what we think and would like to see, and see what decisions they start making. A major part of that, of course, will be how we react to Fozziesov once it’s implemented.

    Speaking of Fozziesov, it is astounding to me how quickly people are willing to declare EVE dead (again) when at this point we don’t even know the fitting requirements or bonuses/drawbacks of the Entosis Link. I’m not referring to the original post – just some of the comments I’ve been seeing.

  • Jathen Codexus

    It’s probably important to keep in mind that the capitals don’t capture that much slower. The entosis link keeps a timer running, it does not move the capture forward a notch at the end of each cycle, the capitals only receive a increase to cycle times. Therefore, a capital ship will capture at the same rate, although it takes 4x as long to start capturing and 4x as long to shut down the link and bug out if need be. They are *Far* from useless for capturing purposes.