Looking on EVE Online from the outside, one of the things I see happening is power creep. (It’s also a concern of several bloggers so I know I’m not out in left field on this.)
Specifically I’m talking of the plethora of HUGE ships, ships that are expensive and very large and at least nominally dominate the battlefield by their existence, much less presence. From my point of view, the existence of these ships is part of what’s driving the coalescence of player corps – another perceived problem in the game.
Inevitable digression time: there’s a lot of concern that the ‘exciting’ area of the game is turning into two huge alliances, and only where those two alliances edge against each other is the game interesting and ‘fun’. For PVP values of fun, of course. See, if you’re part of the alliance you really shouldn’t shoot at other alliance members, not unless you want the behemoth to crush you for being an annoyance. Anyway…
I had an idea I was mulling, and was staggered when I saw long-time player/blogger Drackarn post an article with the same basic idea. Torpedo Boats.
Now he’s been playing long enough he thought a battlecruiser was a good idea, but in my opinion that works against the basic idea. The basic idea being a specialized very cheap ship that does really nasty damage to the really big ships, but is otherwise extremely vulnerable. And as I posted in a comment, I think there’s a better way than building and balancing a specialized battlecruiser.
That’s to make a specialized launcher. See, there’s a missile that does really heavy damage to the capital ships but due to the mechanics of the game doesn’t do much to non-capitals. They’re called Capitals, and in particular Capital Torpedoes. The problem is that the normal launcher is huge and pretty much unavailable for anything smaller than a capital ship.
But a major reason for this is that it holds a lot of missiles, and can be reloaded from ship cargo, and a whole bunch of other things that… think rotary torpedo launcher on a modern warship to get the idea. Which in concert with the WWII torpedo boat idea gives a possible solution.
Make a specialized launcher. It carries one capital torpedo. Just one. It can’t be reloaded from the ship, but has to be done as a dockyard exercise. And because of these conditions it could be fit on a frigate in one of the launcher slots.
It’s still going to take developing the skill tree to Capital Torpedo. But what this means is that a small corp can go on a raiding party with cheap frigates looking for Big Game.
Now, I’m not involved enough in the game to know if one missile is enough for concern. My guess is it isn’t — that even a half-dozen might not matter. It might be that for balance they need two or three per launcher. But the rest of the difficulty and limits block most of Drackarn’s concerns. A ship with one of these has sacrificed a ‘normal’ weapon slot. It is worthless against almost anything else, and as a frigate is an eggshell waiting to be smashed. (speed and size provide avoidance defenses, but if the hammer ever catches up the ship is dead.)
The most likely “abuse” I see is throwing these on cloaking ships. I find this doesn’t bother me all that much – it’s still one shot per launcher and then go find a base or a hangar that’ll refit another launcher.
My swag is that this launcher package would probably cost more than most of the frigates that might carry it. But that’s still a crapload less than the capital ships, and goes a long way toward reducing the need to be part of the mega-alliance.