Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Heavy Missile Nerf And Bots

People that know me know I'm horrible at Eve.  I can fly around cloaky and generally avoid trouble, but I'm pretty bad at other things, like shooting other ships.  If the ship isn't an Angel Cartel NPC, bet on the other guy.  I'm a Minmatar pilot who can also fly ORE ships.  Get me away from those and I'm pretty lost.

That leads me to a problem.  How am I supposed to gauge the effect of the upcoming nerf to heavy missiles on bots?  I was able to look at how the mining ship changes would affect botters because I have pilots with good mining skills.  But how do I judge the effect of the changes on the Tengu, a very popular ship with botters?  From everything I've heard, botters like two attributes on their mission/ratting ships: range and a hefty shield tank.  But I really don't have any way to judge on the test server because I have no Caldari ship skills at all.

A couple of weeks ago Ripard Teg wrote a post looking at the effect that the heavy missile changes will have.  Living in Syndicate and engaging in small scale PvP I don't think Ripard thought too much about how the changes would affect PvE, but I found this analysis illuminating:
"The lack of TE bonuses also puts paid to the idea of greatly extended ranges on torpedo-fit battleships, which is probably one of the main reasons why the idea was scuttled for now.  Pity too, because I was looking forward to a renaissance of extra-long-range torp Ravens and Typhoons.  It might still happen, but it won't be soon.

"These changes, though, pale next to the continued savaging of the Heavy Missile Launcher.  While the damage nerf is being reduced somewhat, from 20% to 10%, the explosion radius is also being increased.  That's mostly going to impact the HML's ability to damage the new destroyers and armor HAC gangs.  Damage from an HML Drake to a Guardian will essentially be cut in half.  It's a big nerf.  The 25% range penalty also remains, adjusted slightly to impact missile flight time instead of velocity.  Missile velocity is actually being buffed twice over which is going to somewhat help the HML's ability to actually deliver damage on target in a timely fashion.

"But it won't much matter because fewer people will be fitting the things."
Fewer people may use heavy missile launchers, but what about bots?  Is the nerf going to reduce the DPS from Tengus enough to make then not as useful in running level 4 missions?  The Tengu was tailor-made for botters since the training time for the ship is so much faster than for the Raven.  And according to Ripard's analysis the Raven is not getting buffed via a tracking enhancement buff so that doesn't produce an incentive to just train for a torp Raven right off the bat.

From what I can tell botters may need to go back to flying Ravens once Retribution launches in December.  Combine the heavy missile changes with a crackdown on the illicit RMT activities of some null sec alliances and I may have some interesting forum reading ahead of me in the months to come.  Of course, I could be completely wrong.  So what do you think?  I'd really like to know.


  1. There seems to be a perceptible decline in their numbers especially for scanning profession. Put another way, I've not had a site yoinked out from under my nose by a Tengu in a while.

    I know you alluded to bots making iskies previously this way and I'd wondered myself whether this has had an impact given the magnitude of the change in numbers.

    Since kinetic is often damage type choice against guristas and Tengus work best with scourge... I wouldn't be surprised if this results in fewer pithum modules on the market, most especially once the nerf goes through.

    While they can fit HAMs, their lack of grid makes compromise something of a necessity further diluting their desirability. That and the need to operate a darned site closer to web/scram frigates.

    Pricing in the next while should be an indicator. Likely impacts other high meta items dropped by rats with a kinetic weakness too.

  2. Bots will still use HMLs because of damage projection. I wrote a follow-up post that you might find useful:

    You almost raise an interesting thought, though, without actually raising it. It came to mind when you reminded me about what I said about Tengus hitting Guardians. I hadn't completely thought through the nerf's impact on bots hitting rat cruisers and frigates. But it will *definitely* slow down bot ISK/hour, no question about it. Most sites have an equal number of frigs/cruisers to the number of BSs.

    1. And your point about travel time draws a parallel between whether a Hulk or a Mackinaw is a better solo miner. The Hulk mines more each cycle but that is offset because the Mackinaw can spend more time shooting asteroids. That's why mining botters moved to Macks or even Retrievers.