Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Fixing a Legion of Problems

In last week's blog I mused on CCP's decision to re-balance ships.  While it would be interesting for them to actually do something useful, I really don't trust them or our Null-Sec friendly CSM, who clearly don't know shit about wormholes.  I graciously offered my assistance for the idea part of the re-balance, and started typing down some ideas I thought I would share with you all.  In the end, I damn near had a white paper on where CCP had gone wrong and exactly what they needed to do to fix it.  So instead of slamming you with a wall of text that was even longer then what is before you, I've helpfully broken it up into sections by race.  I'll start with the Amarr Legion and post another one on the other ships later.

Of course, please feel free to let me know what I got wrong or right in the comments.  And if any of you know any CCP devs, feel free to forward this their way.  I'm sure I'm off their collective Christmas card lists.



The problem with the Legion, while great for PVE, it is generally considered to be extremely lacking in PVP. Additionally, users are looking for a great deal more flexibility in their T3’s, especially wormholers. The goal then is to redesign the T3 subs to make more combinations possible, introduce more utility, all while retaining the flavor of the strategic cruiser.

Let’s talk defensive subs first. Across the T3 types, all T3’s share some of the same subs. I think CCP either started running out of ideas or their idea of “balance” was to just give every race around the same thing. Thus, across the defensive subs we really don’t have anything truly unique. The problem is, like most T3’s, the subs aren’t very good. There is one or two that is generally considered to be the best one and the rest are there for filler.

The Legion has the following defensive subs:

Adaptive Augmenter: 5% / lvl to armor resists and 10% bonus to remote armor repair
Augmented Plating: 10% / lvl to armor hp
Nanobot Injector: 10% bonus / lvl to armor repair
Warfare Proc: 5% bonus / lvl to armor warfare links and 99% reduction in CPU cost for links

I’m going to focus first on the Warfare Proc. This one has been a particular sticking point for me, and thus the hardest to pin down. All the races have this particular sub; the only difference is the bonus to racial links. The idea is to make the T3 a superior version of the command ship, as the bonuses are greater then what an equally leveled command ship can have.

Since I’m talking Amarr I’ll stick with their ships. The Absolution only allows for one link, just like the Legion with the Warfare Proc installed. The only way to get more then one link is to use the Command Processor in the mids, which is a big investment in CPU. On the other hand the Damnation can use three links without any such investment in the mids. Generally speaking, the Damnation is a better ship. One can generally get a better tank and more damage out of the Damnation rather then the Legion with the same 3 links, due to the command processors. What made the Legion attractive was (at the time) threefold. The Legion had a bigger bonus (5% vs the Damnation’s 3%), it was easier to train for max bonus (roughly 6 days for the sub vs 30 days for Command Ship V), and it was easier to make it unable to be probed.

With Incarna, CCP has made the ability to not be probed no longer a factor. It was a stealth nerf most people didn’t notice from the patch notes. Basically, by allowing more probes to function when getting a hit (previously, any probes over 5 basically did nothing) they removed the ability to have a truly stealth command fleet bonus ship.

This brings us back to the Warfare Proc and its semi-usefulness. While still nominal for a ship running a single link, running three links on a Legion is no longer cost effective. In almost every case, its better to run a Damnation as the tank and dps is better.

Further compounding this problem are the links themselves. While it makes sense for the Amarr and Caldari sub to come out of a defensive sub, as their racial links have to do with armor and shield tanking respectively; it doesn’t make sense for the Minmatar and Gallente, as their links have to do with information and speed.

So I recommend dropping it from the defensive subs. I still think it’s a good sub, but to put it in the defensive subs is a waste of space. I feel it’s more of an electronic sub, so we’ll move it there.

The Augmented Plating and Nanobot Injector are generally considered to be the two best Amarr defensive subs. And it really just depends on how the ship is tanked. For remote reps and PVP you can’t beat the Augmented Plating sub. 50% more armor that doesn’t cost the ship anything is speed is hard to wager against. But those people going for a wicked good active local tank just can’t beat the bonus of the Nanobot Injector.

The sub that doesn’t see much play is the Augmented Adaptor. All races have a version of this sub, but unlike the Warfare Proc, it is generally considered useless. While the bonus to resists is nice, it’s the other bonus that leaves us scratching our heads. Show me a pilot who uses the Augmented Adaptor and I’ll show you a pilot who just can’t afford the more popular Augmented Plating.

It is a puzzling bonus. The increase to remote armor reps is impressive (up to 50%!) but in practice, virtually no ship takes advantage. Why is this? Because the Guardian does all of this and better due to range. Not only can the Guardian fit the more impressive large remote reps, but the range is nothing short of extraordinary. Check the numbers.

A Legion fitted with medium reps can heal an impressive amount of damage with each rep, as with the sub bonus to V it repairs a not-too-shabby 288 hp. However, the impressing stops there, as the range is an anemic 6km. Compare this to the Guardian using large reps, each rep worth 384 hp and at a range of 71 km. When you combine the fact that a fully fit Guardian will cost just over a third of what a Legion with subs will cost, the difference is clear.

But what if you put those same large reps on a Legion? The repair amount is very impressive, curtsey of that 50% increase, bumping that 384 to 576. However, the grid isn’t big enough to stock them in multiples past 2, and it blows its ability to be cap stable right out of the water with just one. And not to mention its 8km range.

It is a virtual slap in the face. It seems CCP had intentions of making the T3 a viable logi ship but fell way short of the goal. So I feel it needs to be fixed in a way that not only makes T3’s viable as logistics, but not in an overwhelming way that it outshines the Guardian, making it the clear choice.

First up, the weapon of choice. In this case, we want the T3 to shoot for medium reps. There are a couple of reasons for this. One, the Legion doesn’t have the grid or cap for large reps unless we start giving it the same fitting bonuses of the Guardian. Second it would make the market for medium reps (which is crap) actually useful.

In order to do this we have to increase range. This can be done by simply giving the Adaptive Augmenter sub a 150% per level range increase, similar to the Guardian’s. That will let the 6 km medium reps reach out to 51km. It won’t reach as far as the large reps, but it will still be an impressive, welcome change to the pathetic 6km. Next, I think we bump the amount of armor repair and localize the bonus. Change the general 50% increase to armor reps to a more specific 100% for medium armor reps, broken down by a 20% per level of subsystem. This will change the stock 192 hp repaired to 384. Sound familiar? Finally, I think dropping the unnecessary increase to armor resists is a solid balancing move. After all, we don’t want to replace the Guardian, and giving the logistic Legion a better tank is a sure way to see it replaced. This way we can create a logistic ship that doesn’t quite have the range, slightly more repping power and a larger tank for those of us on the move. Considering we are paying three times for a Legion over a Guardian, I feel the slight increase in rep power and tank is justified.

And now that I think about it, the increase in tank is actually a bit of an illusion. Remember the Guardian has a tiny 70 sig radius, where as the Legion’s sig is 154 using the Adaptive Augmenter, over twice that of the Guardian! Maybe an increase in resists is warranted, or perhaps a lower sig radius (around 120ish).

Since that only leaves us with 3 defensive subs, a new defensive sub for armor resists I think is entirely appropriate, but bumped a little (7-10%), or kept at 5% with either an additional low slot boon or perhaps a lower sig.

Next, electronic sub fixes.

Dissolution Sequencer: 15% / lvl bonus to sensor strength, 5% / lvl to max targeting range
Emergent Locus Analyzer: 10% / lvl increase probe strength, 20% bonus to range and velocity of tractor beams, and 99% reduced CPU cost of probe launchers
Energy Parasitic Complex: 10% / lvl to energy vamps and neuts
Tactical Targeting Network: 15% / lvl bonus to scan resolution

See any obvious problems? I do. I think electronic subs were (besides engineering subs) literally the last ones they were working on. They clearly weren’t trying at this point. First of all, Dissolution Sequencer has a bonus to sensor strength (which determines if you get jammed or not) and max targeting range. Which is a strange combination, but when you combine the fact there is another sub that gets a bonus to scan resolution (or how fast you lock objects), I start scratching my head. Why aren’t those combined? Granted the sensor strength is a bit of the odd man out, but I think those three can be combined and not really bother anyone. After all, they all have to do with targeting.

Second obvious problem is the Energy Parasitic Complex. Anyone else see it? Vamps and neuts are found under the engineering section. Why is the sub that gives them a bonus found in the electronic section? Furthermore, when you think electronic warfare on Amarr ships, what module do you think of? If you said turret disruption, you win! Why doesn’t the Legion, an Amarr ship, get any bonuses to its racial form of electronic warfare? The Caldari have subs to increase ECM. Minmatar has one that increases webs (but not painting, derp). Did CCP forget that the Amarr turret disrupt?

The Emergent Locus is actually pretty good in my opinion. It, combined with a few other subs allows the Legion to become cloaky-probey Legion, the only real cruiser to be what I consider the next “step up” from covert ops. Alternatively, the same sub can be used to turn the Legion into a pretty good salvager with the bonus to tractor beams.

So here’s what needs to be done. First, combine the targeting subs. Call it Dissolution Sequencer, or Tactical Targeting, or Dissolution Targeting, whatever. Second, drop the Energy Parasitic and rename it Turret Hazing or something. Give it a 10% bonus per level to turret disruption effectiveness and change its slot layout from 1 high 3 medium to just 4 medium. Leave the Emergent Locus Analyzer alone as it is fine, although the tractor beam bonus is a little weird (again, engineering) but it works, especially as a salvager. Finally, the new, fourth electronic sub is the newly acquired Warfare Proc from the defensive subs. This makes more sense as the main ability on that subsystem is the ability to reduce the CPU of links, an electronic function!

Next, Legion engineering Scotty!

Augmented Capacitor Reservoir: 5% bonus / lvl to capacitor capacity
Capacitor Regeneration Matrix: 5% bonus / lvl to capacitor recharge rate
Power Core Multiplier: 5% bonus / lvl to power output
Supplemental Coolant Injector: 5% reduction in heat damage absorbed by modules

Really, anyone not using the Power Core Multiplier is using a local active tank with the Capacitor Regeneration Matrix to keep that rep humming along. And the Augmented Cap and Cap Regen is pretty much the same thing, the only difference is the Augmented Cap comes with a high slot and hardpoint whereas the Regen does not.

Supplemental Coolant Injector...

Fucking really? In fact, this is another sub that is congruent across all 4 races. Clearly a CCP give up. And it’s about the dumbest thing ever. Why? Because the pilot’s level in Strategic Cruiser does the same thing, a 5% reduction in heat damage. Just like the current version of the defensive sub Adaptive Augmenter, show me a pilot with this fucking worthless piece of shit on their ship and I’ll show you a pilot who can’t afford the Power Core Multiplier.

It’s not like I have anything against overheating either. I know that it’s a nice additional bonus to damage and speed and point range. However, is it really worth losing a high slot and a hardpoint? Because that is what you get with the Power Core Multiplier. The power to have the bigger medium lasers, plus one. You’ll get more DPS out of an additional laser every day of the week then overheating the 5 you start with.

Check the numbers. On a Legion with the Laser Crystal Magnifiers sub, twin heat sink II's, a collision rig, and loaded with IN Multifrequency, max skills with 5 lasers nets you 484.4 DPS. Overheated those 5 lasers put out 557.06 dps. Pretty good right? Now add the Power Core sub, swap in a 6th laser. Note that the dps jumps to a healthy 581.28. Which is more then 5 overheated. Then remember you can overheat the 6 lasers for almost as long as the 5 due to stacking penalties and you get a final total of 668.47. Not to mention the extra power is great for adding plate, which costs a stupid amount of power for no conceivable reason.

In short, the SCI sub is terrible. Just terrible. Let’s drop that like a bad habit and slide in the new engineering sub, the Energy Parasitic Complex from the electronics section. Let it keep its 10% per level bonus to vamps and neuts, and add an energy transfer bonus. What?

Amarr ships have a tendency to use a ton of energy. All that repping and firing pew pew lazors has a tendency to take its toll on the ships cap. There are even a couple of Amarr ships that get a bonus to energy transfers (Augoror anyone?). Why does the Legion not get these as well?

The bonus can be a per level increase to either range or transfer strength. Or perhaps both bonuses at a flat rate. This would make an interesting PVP ship, a nasty heavy tackle capable of neuting (or vamping!) energy away from hostile ships and shuttling it to needy Amarr fleet members. One high slot and two lows are entirely appropriate here, and would make for some interesting PVP setups.

As for the Offensive subs, I really don’t have any problems. I’m not going to list them, as I feel they do an adequate job at sampling the weapons systems Amarr are known for. That being said, I think the drone offensive sub is a little weak, but that is more of the fault of a low bandwidth then anything else. However, the Amarr in general are not really known for drones, and its bay and bandwidth are comparable to the Arbitrator and its T2 cousins, the Curse and Pilgrim. So it’s hard to bitch about.

If I could make changes I would actually add a bit of bandwidth and drone bay to the heavy missile platform and covert platform. Not enough to be a real threat, but perhaps enough to stock and fly 3 to 5 light drones. It would really help considering the Amarr have trouble smacking those smaller ships in the Legion. After all, the Harbinger carries enough bandwidth for a few drones. Why shouldn’t the Legion?

The only thing I would like to see out of the T3’s is the ability to switch on a dime. As a wormholer, my T3 should be the only thing I fly, and just switch out mods and subs as I see fit. That being said, I don’t think I would be upset to see the drone platform nixed entirely for a mining platform. Like something that gets a bonus to mining yield on both rocks and gas. Or just gas. There are dedicated mining ships for rocks, but no ship that actually gets a bonus for gas. Therefore I only believe it fitting for a T3 which is made by reacting gas we find in WH space to be able to mine it better, and faster.

Which brings us to the final section of subs, Propulsion. I don’t really have any problems with the propulsion subs, nor can I think of anything drastically better, as there isn’t much one can really do with propulsion. Well, other then go faster. They are pretty good in my opinion, but I think the Wake Limiter should have a higher bonus.

So what does this leave us with? Check this out:

Defensive:

Adaptive Augmenter: 20% bonus / lvl to medium remote armor repair, 150% increase in medium remote armor repair range / lvl
Augmented Plating: 10% / lvl to armor hp
Nanobot Injector: 10% bonus / lvl to armor repair
Resist Multiplier: 7% bonus / lvl to armor resists

Electronics:

Dissolution Targeting: 15% / lvl bonus to sensor strength, 5% / lvl bonus to max targeting range and scan resolution
Emergent Locus Analyzer: 10% / lvl increase probe strength, 20% bonus to range and velocity of tractor beams, and 99% reduced CPU cost of probe launchers
Turret Hazing: 10% / lvl to tracking disruptors
Warfare Proc: 5% bonus / lvl to armor warfare links and 99% reduction in CPU cost for links

Engineering:

Augmented Capacitor Reservoir: 5% bonus / lvl to capacitor capacity
Capacitor Regeneration Matrix: 5% bonus / lvl to capacitor recharge rate
Energy Parasitic Complex: 10% / lvl to energy vamps, neuts and energy transfers, 150% / lvl increase to range of energy transfers
Power Core Multiplier: 5% bonus / lvl to power output

Offensive:

Assault Optimization: 5% / lvl bonus to heavy assault missile damage and 5% bonus / lvl to missile launcher rof
Covert Reconfiguration: 10% bonus / lv to medium energy turret cap use, 100% reduction in Cloaking Device CPU use, and can fit covert ops cloaks
Drone Synthesis Projector: 10% bonus / lvl to medium energy turret cap use, 10% bonus to drone hp / lvl and 7.5% bonus to drone hp / lvl
Liquid Crystal Magnifiers: 10% bonus / lvl to med energy turret cap use, medium turret damage and medium turret optimal range

Propulsion:

Chassis Optimization: 5% bonus to max velocity / lvl
Fuel Catalyst: 10% bonus to afterburner speed / lvl
Interdiction Nullifer: 5% increased agility / lvl and immunity to non-targeted interdiction
Wake Limiter: 5% reduction in MWD sig radius penalty / lvl

Not only would those changes make the Legion more viable as a wormhole jack-of-all trades ship perfect for wormholers, but it would help the Legion become more viable in PVP as well. Besides, a strategic cruiser should have more then two fits.

Check out the other changes I propose for T3s:
Tengu
Proteus
Loki

4 comments:

  1. Your lack of familiarity with the other T3s is hampering your decision making. Many of the issues you raise are common to all T3s, which obscures the issues that are specific to the Legion, to the detriment of your arguments.

    1. t3s are not meant to be 'strictly better' at niche roles like logistics - they are, however, meant to be fairly credible as a swiss army knife. yes, you're paying more isk for a T3, but you're also paying a huge amount less skill points. Also, 40M for an extra subsystem compares favourably to an entire T2 ship, no?
    2. Adaptive Augmenter is meant for mutual remote rep fits (not just as the recipient). Notice the spare high slot for fitting the remote rep. It's not useless at all (see: RR Tengu fits)
    3. Warfare processor: it's ridiculous that these things are bonused higher than a fleet command ship, but regardless, it must be mutually exclusive to the other defensive subsystems otherwise it's absurdly tanky. They made the right call here.
    4. The problem with the energy parasitic complex is no range bonuses, not the fact that it's for neuts and not tracking disruptors.
    5. Legion engineering subsystems need just a touch more powergrid. However, the supplemental coolant injector does have a use - it's just that the legion doesn't have any mid slots worth overheating.
    6. None of the Legion offensive subsystems are particularly awesome, but maybe that means they're fairly balanced. Compare that to the Tengu...
    7. The Legion's main issue is that too many subsystems provide mid slots instead of low slots, which is incredibly wrong-headed.

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  2. Spider tanking Legions or Tengus are pretty damn impressive mate. Just one large RR, ball of just 4 of them can heal over 2000+ incoming dps along with T3 resists....

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  3. @serpentinelogic I don't have a lack of familiarity with the other T3's, I mentioned in the beginning of the post I split them into 4 separate races. I'll get to the others later.

    1. I agree. However it needs to be better. I set out to try and make it better without making it better then the Guardian. And I think those changes accomplish that. It doesn't have the range of the guardian, nor does it have the tank due to a smaller sig radius. I disagree with your assessment of more skill points however. Both Logistics and Strategic Cruiser require the same pre-reqs but the T3 needs all subs to level 4 or 5 whereas Logi is only needs to be 4.
    2. And I agree with you there. However what you are missing is calling the sub "fine" cause it works with the Tengu is an incorrect comparison. It works on the Tengu cause of the range/damage of the weapon system, whereas the legion is pretty much short range. That means flying in formation, which is harder to do then just parking and flinging missiles. That range is a big issue.
    3. I agree that is stupid to be bonused higher, I would be open to CCP lowering it actually. But sliding that sub into electronics makes sense AND would make it no more tanky then the current selection of command ships.
    4. I agree with the range thing too, but I'm not setting out to make it better then the Curse. You can't yell at me about making it better then logi then tell me I didn't make it better then the Curse. And Amarr racial EW is turret disruption.
    5. You're right on the powergrid, but wrong on the SCI.
    6. Yep, again, getting to the Tengu later. I think the Legion's weapon systems are balanced.
    7. You concern me with how familiar you are with T3s sir. The ONLY place the Legion gets mid slots is the Electronics sub, and even then it is 4 or 3. The Legion can pick up 1 more mid slot with the selection of the Covert or Drone offensive sub. THE REST of the subs offer low or high slots.

    @Dan ....at 6 to 8 km. Which is a problem when trying to group and destroy sleepers when they can web one guy, forcing everyone to leave him to apply damage or go no faster.

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  4. To be honest, last time I flew in a RR t3 fleet we just used the "Keep at range" or "orbit" around a designated orbit point at around 5k to stay in RR range.

    I don't fly the legion so I can't make any real comments about it, other than things that are common to all T3's (i.e. the uselessness of the SCI).

    I will say that I don't think you should have the ability to fit double EWAR (seriously, neuts in engineering and TD in electronics, plus a retardedly high resist/plate tank from defensive and decent DPS in the highs?), because that sort of Legion would be the bane of pretty much everyone's existence, it's like a Curse and a Zealot had kids and those kids were out to fuck everyone up. Please don't have that happen.

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