For a niche game as old as Eve is, it’s still going remarkably strong. Coming this winter is a new expansion, bringing with it a massive ship update. A massive 40 ships are being updated, which is 20% of all the available ships. CCP wants to ensure that new players are more competitive; with the addition of many new ships over the years the Tech 1 cruisers are much less viable than they were initially, so the entire Tech 1 cruiser line – 16 ships – are being redone. 4 Tier 1 destroyers are being upgraded, and they are bringing in 4 new destroyers as well. Their priority has been with the frigates – 16 of which are seeing massive updates.
Hit the jump for more details.
Previous expansion Inferno and its after patches have brought Eve players updates to 19 ships; combat frigates, mining barges and rookie ships have all been updated. But that was just the tip of the iceberg. CCP has been looking at all of their graphs and collected data, examining which ships are used the most and least, and they’ve decided that revamps for everything are needed in order to make all ships as viable as possible, especially for new players. A stance I definitely applaud.
Let’s take a little look at some of the changes coming through the pipes. I’ve added specific links where I’ve been able to find them, for all others, there will eventually be posts here.:
- Combat frigates: Kestrel, Tristan and Breacher. The Kestrel is gaining long range benefits, with bonuses to missile velocity and damage. The Tristan is a drone boat, with bonuses to Drones and Hybrid Turrets. The Breacher is becoming a close-range missile platform, with the same missile damage boost as the Kestrel, but instead of missile speed, it’s gaining better shields.
- Exploration / Scanning frigates: Magnate, Heron, Imicus, Probe. These ships are gaining profession bonuses, with the intention of making them viable for solo exploration in high sec space. They’re getting bonuses to hacking, archaeology and salvaging, as well as a combat focus on drones.
- Disruption frigates: Crucifier, Griffin, Maulus, and Vigil. These ships are being changed to make them more viable for new players in fleets. The Crucifier is gaining bonuses in tracking disruption, the Griffin is getting better slotting, the Maulus is gaining better sensor dampening abilities, and the Vigil will be all about target painting.
- Support frigates: Inquisitor, Bantam, Navitas, Burst. The design plans for these upgrades was to provide interesting gameplay choices, and to give players an upgrade path toward Logistics ships. These are expected to shake up combat tactics, as they are gaining armor repair capability. The plan for these ships is that they are easy to get into, but difficult to master.
- ORE frigate: This ship is being described as a ninja miner. It lacks the hefty mining bonuses of mining frigates, but has greater mobility.
- Existing destroyers: Coercer, Cormorant, Catalyst, and Thrasher. These were updated in Crucible, so have few changes. Their focus is trading resilience and mobility for firepower. There will be 4 new destroyers being added in, focusing on medium range damage with drones and missiles.
- Support cruisers: Augoror, Osprey, Exequror, and Scythe. These are the intended next step in the new upgrade path toward Logistics ships. They are losing mining bonuses, but becoming better supporting fighters, with added capabilities for remote armor repair, and though they aren’t as effective as a T2 ship in terms of combat, they are similar in range, speed and stability so they can participate in mixed T1/T2 fleets.
- Disruption cruisers: Arbitrator, Blackbird, Celestis, and Bellicose. The Arbitrater and Bellicose are being redesign with combat recon in mind, and the Blackbird and Celestis are intended for fleets.
- Attack cruisers: Omen, Caracal, Thorax, and Stabber. These are intended for high mobility and damage. I’m expecting them to become akin to glass cannons, as high mobility usually means lower resilience.
- Combat cruisers: Maller, Moa, Vexor, and Rupture. These sound as though they are being completely overhauled, as CCP has described the Maller as a tragedy, and the Moa will be changed based on test server feedback. The Omen and Caracel are being considered for added resiliency.
Want to see more? The Ship Balancing Dev Blog goes into a lot more details. The Duality wiki entry provides instructions for accessing the test server for those who want first-hand experience with the new ships. And of course, there are a few pictures.