Monday, May 19, 2014

Prowlers and Mastodons, Oh My!

On Saturday, CCP Fozzie released some more posts on the Features and Ideas section of the EVE Online forums.  While the proposed changes to freighters and jump freighters are generating plenty of aggro, I'm more interested in the blockade runner and deep space transport changes.  Yes, jump freighters are very valuable for moving goods around low sec, but I don't own one, so I really can't discuss them intelligently.  But I do own Prowlers and a Mastodon.

First, the Prowler.  I love my Prowlers so much my two main pilots both own one.  Except for the increase in mass, I don't see a downside.  The change of the useless shield booster bonus to a 5% warp speed bonus per level of Transport Ships will boost the warp speed from 6 AU up to 7.5 AU if the skill is trained to 5.  With 2 Medium Hyperspatial Velocity Optimizer I rigs and a 15% warp speed implant, the warp speed of a Prowler will increase from 9.9 AU to 12.4 AU with Transport Ships trained to 5.

At the same time, the cargo capacity of the Prowler is raised tremendously.  Not only will I no longer need cargo rigs to do all the distribution missions, but with cargo rigs the Prowler can now transport packaged cruisers.  One of the changes for all blockade runners is they will all have 2 high slots and over 10,000 m3 in cargo capacity when using tech 1 rigs.  This should help transporting cargo in wormholes, as all blockade runners can fit a cloak and probes.  But the Prowler, with gaining a third low slot, will see the maximum cargo capacity jump from 6604 m3 up to 9068 m3 without using cargo rigs in Kronos.  Exceeding the 9000 m3 threshold is important, because that means the Prowler will have the ability to carry a third giant secure cargo container.  When including the cargo containers, that boosts the maximum cargo capacity from 8404 m3 to 11,768 m3.  That last is important because often the storyline missions ask for kernite to complete.  Moving the ore around just got in exchange for a +4 learning implant just got easier.

The point where everyone thinks the Prowler is nerfed is with the alignment time.  The alignment time actually goes down slightly with the change, from the current base of 7.62 seconds down to 7.57 seconds.  In basic terms, the changes to mass and alignment cancel each other out.  But Minmatar pilots are used to having the most agile ships around, but that is no longer the case.  The Gallente Viator is receiving a big buff, with the align time dropping from 8.5 seconds down to 7.49 seconds.  I'm not sure how much that difference makes in reality, but even parity between the two ships makes a lot of pilots angry.

The deep space transports, on the other hand, needed a lot of love.  CCP Fozzie explained the plan for the class.
"These ships have been largely overshadowed by Orcas and high capacity T1 haulers for heavy duty hauling, and of course they cannot compete with the amazing evasion abilities of Blockade Runners.

"So our plan for revamping them is to give them a strong and stable carrying capacity in the form of a large fleet hangar. Besides creating interesting options for group play, this fleet hangar does not pressure a pilot into fitting rigs or expanded cargoholds for max carrying capacity.

"The fleet hangar is intended to make DSTs a viable choice for many hauling situations, and allowed us to then add a series of options to the DST defensive toolbox. We know that once people start using a ship it will be inevitable that they get into bad situations with them and that it can be immensely fun gameplay to escape a dangerous situation when you have no guarantee of survival. For this purpose we have provided the Deep Space Transports with defensive tools that are much less consistent than the covert cloak on the Blockade Runners but that are powerful nonetheless.

"The key new addition is a role bonus that doubles the benefits from overheating tanking modules and propulsion modules. This means that Deep Space Transports can have obscene tanks for short periods of time and gain strong bursts of mobility, especially useful for fighting your way back to a stargate (or for playing bait).

"They are also gaining the ability to use the new Medium Micro Jump Drive modules for extra escape and bubble evasion options."
For me, the big change is the fleet hangar.  With Transport Ships trained to 5, deep space transports have as much cargo capacity as the specialized tech 1 industrials Epithal (PI), Kryos (minerals), Miasmos (ore), and Hoarder (ammunition and charges).  So in addition to the greater survivability, the deep space transports can do the work of 4 tech 1 specialized ships.  How about the align time?  My math isn't solid, but I think with max skills, 2 Inertia Stabilizers II and 2 Nanofiber Internal Structure II along with a 5% agility implant that the Mastodon will have similar (10-11 second) align times as the Miasmos fit I came up with to move ore around low sec (8-9 seconds).  I am not planning on filling the lows with warp core stabilizers because any serious gate camp will have plenty of points, if not a HIC with an infinite point.  Since the Mastodon can also do the MWD+Cloak trick after the second high slot is added, the big concern for me is whether the value of the cargo is worth the risk of a tech 2 ship.

Overall, I'm happy with the changes to the Prowler.  Not only don't I have to worry about cargo sizes for distribution missions, but I can complete the missions much faster.  Also, making runs back and forth to Bosena, Hek, and Rens won't take as long.  The Mastodon?  The ship is undoubtedly improved, but I don't know if the improvement will lure me to take the ship into low sec.  But if I have any runs to make in high sec, I'll definitely use the Mastodon over a tech 1 industrial.


  1. Yeah, the DST got some much needed love, and any changes to the Blockade Runners was just gravy. I have to do the math and see if any Blockade Runner can now fit a 15,000 cu m T3 cruiser in its hold.

    But the nerfs to the freighters and jump freighters just shows how much the cartels control the game. Ripard himself pointed that out. CCP is charging pell mell forwards destroying high sec, as planned, and is accelerating.

    1. But won't the nerf to the jump freighters hinder null sec's ability to move its manufactured goods to high sec and compete with high sec industrialists? Sugar Kyle wrote that she will need to make twice the number of trips between Jita and Bosena to stock her market.

      It actually sounds like CCP made some changes to jump freighters to protect high sec. And, as usual, low sec is going to suffer negative effects in order to make high sec people happier. If there's a cartel involved, it definitely doesn't seem to be based out of null.

    2. No doubt the jump freighter changes hurt null sec haulers.

      But look at these changes within the vision of the real architects of this: the goon economic warfare cabal. There is zero chance that dev's like greyscale are smart enough to dream up something this complicated themselves.

      I listened to mynnna on a podcast about 2 weeks ago, not sure which one. In that interview, he outlined his vision of null sec, one of Civilization-like city states, with trade amongst those states. Taken in that context, these JF changes are reasonable. The cartels city-states will trade amongst themselves , flying around in heavily blued areas, where risk is minimal. The only thing that will be moved to high sec are the high value, small size items that the cartels choose to conquer all markets in.

      Null sec was never going to move T1 ship hulls to high sec for resale, as the ISK/ cu m profit is way to small under any circumstances. They will focus on things like DC II's, Nano II's, Heat Sinks, Mag Stabs, etc. And those they can move in the newly expanded Blockade runners oh so easily. A corp can open up a blackops cyno, jump 10 Viator's, and zip that to Jita with essentially zero risk, with less cost that firing up a jump freighter. Those 10 blockade runners could enough DC II's to support the entire high sec market for weeks.

      And as for moving vast quantities of compressed ore to null sec, once again, why? They have enough serfs renting from them now that they will simply demand compressed ore as part of the monthly tithe.

      High sec, and low sec too, will continue down the path of economic desolation, as any high profit item markets will be dominated by the cartels, while high sec and low sec industrialists get to claw at each other for the scraps, and now with these "new and improved" freighters.

      BTW, Fozzie is already backpedalling on some of the freighter/ JF changes. Let's see who comes out on top of the revised changes.

  2. All align times round up. So fractions of a second don't matter in the slightest: a ship will warp off in the server tick following its reaching 75% speed.

    As for DSTs, I expect those will be doing the MWD/cloak trick most of the time which makes the MMJD highly ironic for this class. If the learned can just warp off in 10 seconds, why wait 12 for an MMJD to cycle?

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. That's a common misconception but actually fractions do matter.

      If the next tick is 0.01 seconds after you click warp and your align time is 3.99 seconds, you're waiting 5 seconds after the tick before you warp.... The fraction doesn't matter.

      But if your align time is 3.98 seconds, you're warping in 4 seconds after the tick. The fraction does matter, in fact it made a whole second difference.

    3. I think that fitting the MMJD on a DST is more for null sec and bubbles more than anything else. The MMJD would probably be useful in low sec to handle a gate camp that was making liberal use of drones, wrecks, and good pilots in fast frigates to keeps ships from cloaking. Also, if you train the skill up to 5, the MMJD will spool up in 9 seconds.

      As for that .08 second difference between the Prowler's and Viator's align times, sometimes .08 seconds makes a big difference. I have a Prowler fit using 2 cargo expanders that aligns in 4.93 seconds. Add .08 seconds and you have 5.01.

  3. While I am not sure how much it matters:
    -You can't transport rigged ships unless you have multiple characters and use contracts.
    -You can't jettison and anchor your new POS from fleet hangar?

    1. One odd thing I discovered: an Orca's fleet hangar will hold fitted/rigged frigates. Not many, granted, but I've carried a rigged covops there when the ship maintenance bay was full.