March 8, 2015

Cruisers Online

So CCP Rise presented this graph is his recent dev blog as justification that battlecruiser and battleship hulls did not need a rebalance.  This kicked off a storm about how Eve was Cruisers Online - but the question perhaps should be what we'd actually expect to see.

(Sidenote: I sometimes find myself slipping into using the BB abbreviation for Battleship thanks to all of the historical reading and minature wargaming I did as a kid.  I'm guessing you can spot those Americans with either real military experience or military history backgrounds by slips like that.)

To some degree I wasn't surprised.  I've heard cruisers described as the workhorses of fleets in contexts ranging from military history to science fiction such as Star Trek.  In Eve they are a relatively easily attainable ship in terms of skill points and have a wide range of capabilities.  If anything I'd expect to see something more like a pyramid of usage by class with the T1 frigates swarming around at the base of the pyramid and moving up to the rarified world of capital ships and titans at the apex.  But that's just one off the cuff thought.

I wondered what the distribution of ships actually has looked like in real-world circumstances.  Here's the composition of a current US Pacific fleet, and here's the composition of the forces arrayed at Pearl Harbor and Midway.  It's a lot more flat than I expected with the only hull with particularly large numbers being destroyers.  But we also understandably should be shy of comparing Eve to historical surface fleets.

So as much as people were upset about CCP Rise's graph as an expression of ship hull balance, what would we expect to see?  CCP Rise said:  "One good result here is that we see much higher damage per attacker the larger the classes get, generally, i.e. fewer battleships in space, but, when they are used they are potent."  So would our ideal chart show frigates, cruisers, battlecruisers, battleships, and dreadnaughts all as the same length bars (perhaps even ideally spit evenly by weapon system?).  Unless we define what we expect to see as a current state, and what we want to see as a future state, then these graphs don't really serve to validate much.

There was a pretty strong contrast to the recent Sov blog from CCP Fozzie, where he made a much more detailed presentation of data and what CCP saw in that data (absent axes on the graphs, as usual).  While there's been some disagreement that the charts show as rosy a picture as CCP says (check out the discussion in Crossing Zebra #55 with Endie and Mannie) there's at least more to talk about.

So bring on the graph porn CCP, but make it meaty enough for it to lead to more than just tear-and-angst.


  1. The reason cruisers were the workhorses of most fleets was primarily due to the cost vs battleships. Cruisers could deliver reasonable firepower while being reasonable robust and navies could field 3-5 cruisers (or more) for the cost of a single battleship.

    In EVE terms, I would equate capitals to battleships, as while battleships themselves are not really cheap, they don't have the same relative cost in terms of resources. It's far easier to get the isk for a battleship in a relatively short period of time as opposed to a carrier or super. When battleships were first introduced in-game, yes, the relationship was closer to reality, but not now, alas.

    I also cause the occasional confusion in my corp by using BB/CR/DD/FF, etc :) Oh, and while we're at it, I so wish CCP would reclassify the current combat battle cruisers as heavy cruisers, leaving the attack battle cruisers to claim their proper title and also make Adm Fisher smile :)

  2. I'm an Eve Online Player and a US Sailor. Destroyers are actually bigger than cruisers in real life and destroyers are the most numerous. In all actuality destroyers in real life are the cruisers in eve. Somehow eve screwed that one up. :P

  3. @Anonymous:

    "Destroyers are actually bigger than cruisers in real life and destroyers are the most numerous... Somehow eve screwed that one up. :P"

    Depends when, and probably where, you look. "Cruiser" was originally a role rather than a type of ship, in the early/mid 20th Century it certainly was Frigate < Cruiser < Battleship, while in 1975 the USN got round a perceived lack of Cruisers vs the USSR by... redesignating some Frigates as Cruisers :-)

    Consistency within EvE is the important thing (harping back to one of Jakob's previous blogs).

    1. Yep, that must be a modern thing. I double-checked my intution by googling on WW2 era, and destroyers there were displacing 1.5-3k while cruisers were displacing 9k ish.

      Of course around WW1 and WW2 there were all those treaties that strictly defined fleets, which probably normalized things but only for as long as those treaties mattered.

  4. Add the cruisers and HAC bars together and the imbalance between cruisers and larger ships becomes even clearer.

    1. Sure, I saw that on reddit too, but what does it prove? What does that mean in terms of the way that things should be? T1 cruisers and T2 cruisers are extremely different in terms of the SP needed and in terms of their cost, so what game balance decision would you inform by combining them?