November 5, 2015

Nostalgia, blended to Eve possible futures

I know some of the older Eve players out there will remember Star Fleet Battles.  Yes, the game that had an amazingly thick rulebook rivaled only by Advanced Squad Leader, which was no small part of why you could spend an entire afternoon for a middling-sized fleet battle with a handful of friends.  If you were as lucky as I was, sometimes an entire day for a large fleet battle with 4-6 players a side.  Plot out your energy allocation, reinforce the #6 shield just so you could swing right and absorb the bulk of their anticipated alpha strike and still make it in to deliver overloaded photon torpedoes.  And then probably argue for a while about the rules concerning suicide shuttles interaction with drones.

As I sink back into nostalgia here, I'll try not to sigh too loudly at one thing from SFB that I do miss in Eve: that direction matters.  Eve ships can be flying away at an oblique angle and still fire all of their weapons at a target, and their defenses will be just as good from that angle too.  In SFB the angles mattered.  If you were in a nimble ship you could scheme and plot to make sure you didn't get into the angle that would lead your opponents massed weapons come to bear on you, and if you planned ahead you could make sure that your opponent didn't land his fire on your most damaged shields.  Many a nervous moment would stretch into eternity as your ship sucked up damage while you toughed out that last moment that would let you unleash your weapons into the downed sector of the opponent's shield.  But that's not Eve.  In Eve we shoot through asteroids and stations and friendly ships all day.  Yeah yeah, complicated physics engines.

So, what does that have to do with Eve?

Aaanyway.... depending on whether you were working from a larger Federation and Empire campaign, some home-built rules, or even some various scenarios, you may have had some ships like this.  Frigate Leaders, Destroyer Leaders, War Command Destroyers, etc.  These were slightly beefier versions of the light ships, but their real benefit was in the meta rules about bringing in ships that were within your command limits.  The idea was that these Leader variant ships could, well, lead.

I had been musing this over about turning into a post about the post-OGB world, but an Anonymous commenter kinda forced my brain along. His simple question: "so with no OGB, what ship will FW use to boost novice and small sites?"  The obvious answer is an FFL or DDL, of course.

What would these look like?  They could be an T2 version of the base faction hull with one of two possibilities that come to mind.  The simplest version would be to give them the ability to fit a single warfare link, with the promise of command processors to increase that.  Taking a different approach, there could be a hull bonus that magnified the Leadership skills of the capsuleer without bringing in the warfare link modules.  The latter would lower the variety of what to expect, but would also keep the boosting levels down overall.  Either way, we'd get new hulls that might not require all-new art assets, but could add more skills for players to train that don't require a huge pile of prerequisites to start with.

For these small fleets there might then be some interesting choices.  Primary the FFL/DDL to knock down those bonuses, or assume that the leader is going to be bricktanked and just start chewing through the usual targets.  The downside to such hulls is that they might only have value in small roams and factional warfare plexes.  For anything bigger you'll either forgo a command boost or bring along your T3C or Command Ship.  But a lot of the fun battles in Eve do happen in these smaller groups, so if the price wasn't prohibitive we might see a lot of usage beyond the plexes.

I'd even say that could be a role for the soon-to-be-rebalanced T3 Destroyers...


  1. Wow - Star Fleet Battles - that takes me back to some happy times in my youth. Your idea for on-grid, smaller scale "leadership" ships makes sense - I like it. Would love to see this realized in game.

    1. Neville, thanks for dropping by. I think we'll also have to see how they realize some of the yet-undisclosed boosting capabilities on the capital end. If that is the trial space for on-grid boosting maybe we could see that on the smaller ship end too.

  2. Interesting idea, I believe medium plexes would also have the same limitation. Which leaves only large plexes. Not much value for on-grid links within FW space.

    1. Chatu, are you thinking note much value because of the costs of the current types of booster ships though? We've certainly seen some big conflicts in small and medium plexes over the last few months.

      What if the FFL/DDL ship didn't require any additional modules, but doubled the basic Leadership skill combo for ships in the fleet if the FFL/DDL was the fleet booster? So instead of getting 10% to targeting speed / armor hp / etc for all ships you received 20%?