Thursday, February 22, 2024

EVE: Havoc Patch Notes - The February Balance Pass

On Tuesday CCP's monthly patch for EVE Online turned into a balance pass on both ships and weapon systems. The developers addressed the reasons in a separate post.

The EVE community has pointed out myriad opportunities for rebalancing through the CSM, and this feedback has been instrumental in the changes implemented in the new update. In the spirit of fostering a more dynamic and competitive Factional Warfare environment, significant ship rebalances are being introduced to enrich capsuleers' strategic options in New Eden.

The essence of these changes lies in addressing the dominance of certain ships, such as the Exequror Navy Issue, Osprey Navy Issue, and Caracal, which have historically overshadowed their counterparts due to their superior range and damage capabilities. These vessels receive slight adjustments to ensure they don’t dramatically surpass the diversity of viable ships in their respective classes. Furthermore, the Bellicose and the Republic Fleet Firetail receive much-needed enhancements to affirm their place in the combat ecosystem.

Two of the ships, the Caracal and Osprey Navy Issue, received adjustments due to the changes to Rapid Light Missile Launchers.

Rapid Light Missile Launchers have been incredibly powerful for some time, especially when combined with range bonuses. As we re-balanced the Cerberus in the Viridian Expansion last summer, we intentionally removed the light missile range bonuses from the ship. In this balance pass, we are removing all the remaining per level range bonuses to Rapid Light Missiles, to match the precedent set with Rapid Heavy Missiles, which do not increase with Bastion or Spaceship Command skills.

Note that role bonuses from ships will still apply just like with Rapid Heavy Missiles (Mordus Legion Ships and Combat Battlecruisers).

  • Caracal - Missile velocity bonus now only applies to Heavy and Heavy Assault Missiles.
  • Osprey Navy Issue - Missile velocity bonus now only applies to Heavy and Heavy Assault Missiles.
  • Onyx - Missile velocity bonus now only applies to Heavy and Heavy Assault Missiles.

Before the Uprising expansion, the Exequror Navy Issue was the least used faction cruiser. The Uprising buffs, as is typical in EVE, were too good and turned the least popular ship to the most popular. The ship received a nerf Tuesday.
  • Medium Hybrid Damage bonus reduced from 25% to 20% per level of Gallente Cruiser skill.

The poor, unloved Bellicose took another nerf with the changes to Rapid Light Missile Launchers. According to the patch notes:
With the changes made to Rapid Light Missiles, we want to make sure there are strong Tech I options for going all-out with medium missiles. This is why we are increasing the speed and powergrid output of the Bellicose, to help it stand out more against the Caracal as a speedier alternative for shield setups and help enable armor setups.

  • Max velocity increased from 240m/s to 260m/s.
  • Powergrid output increased from 700 tw to 780 tw.

Usage of the Republic Fleet Firetail fell behind that of the other three faction frigates following the launch of Uprising. To make the Firetail more popular, a new ship bonus was added.
  • New bonus added, 5% bonus to Small Projectile Falloff per level of Minmatar Frigate skill.
But heavier ships also received changes. The mobility of Marauders was just too good.
Marauders currently only warp 12.5% slower than T1, Faction and T3 Cruisers, which doesn’t leave much room for them to out-maneuver Marauders when choosing to avoid them. It also does not give players much reason to choose smaller hulls over a Marauder when travel time is a consideration for PVP and PVE. To tackle this, we’re reducing the warp speed of Marauders down to the same base level as T1 and Faction battleships.
  • Warp speed for the Marauder Class (Paladin, Golem, Kronos, Vargur) reduced from 3.5 AU/s to 3.0 AU/s.
The change to Black Op battleships, though, feels more like a bug fix and not a design change.
  • Cloak Velocity Speed Role bonus increased from 6.5x to 7.5x to match the current stated trait role bonus of 650%.
Field Command ships previously received a change to the hull bonus, removing the range bonus for command bursts to a strength bonus to command bursts. Experience showed the change was not good for skirmishing, so the class is receiving a new hull bonus.
  • Added 50% Role Bonus to Command Burst Range to the Field Command subgroup of Command Ships (Absolution, Nighthawk, Astarte, Sleipnir).
The developers also determined two command ships deserved additional attention. I'll include the entire explanation for the changes before listing the changes.

The Astarte is currently the least used Command Ship and it struggles to compete with the cheaper Brutix Navy Issue hull. We also boosted the Deimos in an earlier balance pass which has made the extra ISK cost for upshipping into the Astarte hull not feel as worthwhile as it once was. To help address this, we are giving the Astarte a small bump in rep power to help it stand out more as a tankier alternative to the Brutix Navy Issue.
  • Armor Repairer bonus increased from 7.5% to 10% per level of Gallente Battlecruiser skill.

Because the Nighthawk is overperforming in wormhole space and becoming oppressive, we are toning down on its damage by lowering the Rate of Fire bonus, but partially compensating it by increasing the Kinetic Damage bonus. Our aim here is to slightly lower the Nighthawk’s damage output and shift it more into Kinetic so players have more options to counter them outside of firewalls, such as fitting Kinetic Hardeners, Reactive Hardeners and bringing Tech II Gallente ships.
  • Rate of Fire bonus for Heavy and Heavy Assault Missiles reduced from 10% to 7.5% per level of Command Ships skill.

  • Kinetic Damage bonus for Heavy and Heavy Assault Missiles increased from 7.5% to 10% per level of Caldari Battlecruiser skill.
Finally comes the changes to the Triglavian main weapon system, Entropic Disintegrators. The disintegrators have made Triglavian ships popular since their introduction.
Triglavian weapons have been very powerful for a long time, especially since they feature medium ranges with better than blaster tracking, while in many cases, pre-ramp DPS can also be on par or close to other ships which operate at the same range. While we originally looked into reducing their tracking, we decided that the better alternative was to lean into their identity as a ramping damage weapon. Triglavian weapons are being adjusted to have slightly lower base damage, but they will retain the same damage at max spool as they have now by increasing the maximum ramp multiplier. The Mimesis implant set and Nergal/Ikitursa will end up having a small damage increase at max spool. We are also increasing the damage multiplier per cycle so it will still take around 30 cycles of the weapon to reach max ramp.
  • Base damage reduced by 20%
  • Damage multiplier per cycle increased from 5% to 7%
  • Damage multiplier max increased from 2.5x to 3.125x
This should make them weaker at killing tackle ships, since the initial damage when target swapping is lower. This will also help other alternative options that fill the same role stand out more, like in the case of the Omen Navy Issue vs the Vedmak, with the Omen Navy Issue now offering much better initial DPS.
Both of the Triglavian alliance tournament prize ships, the Hydra and Tiamat, had their bonuses adjusted to allow them to continue reaching max ramp in 20 cycles instead of 30.

The patch contained more than just the balance pass, but the balance pass portion was long enough. I'll need to create another post with the rest of the information.

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