Friday, August 19, 2011

Pro-fessional Proteus



For the last 2 weeks I’ve been posting proposed changes to the T3 strategic cruiser platform. These changes are based on my experience in wormhole space, the very place the strategic cruiser is designed for. The first week focused on the Legion and how underwhelming it is. Last week it was the opposite side of the spectrum with the Tengu. This week I’m going to focus on what I consider to be the zero point for T3 strategic cruisers, the Proteus.

For the uninitiated, the Proteus is the Gallente version of the T3. I call the Proteus my zero point because it’s at the power level I think all T3’s should be. Good for PVE, good for PVP, but it doesn’t take the place of the specialty ships. Whereas I consider the Tengu a wee bit overpowered, the Legion a wee bit underpowered, the Proteus is that bowl of porridge that is just right. But that doesn’t mean I can’t tweak it.

First of all, I’m going to suggest you read the Legion article, if you haven’t already. The Legion and Proteus are very similar in their subs so much of the same thought there will apply here. This way you understand some of the changes without me getting carpal tunnel by typing it all out again.


The Proteus has the following defensive subs, extremely similar to the Legion:

Adaptive Augmenter: 5% bonus to all armor resistances / lvl and 10% bonus to remote armor repair effectiveness / lvl
Augmented Plating: 10% bonus to armor hitpoints / lvl
Nanobot Injector: 10% bonus to armor repair effectiveness / lvl
Warfare Processor: 5% bonus to effectiveness of Information Warfare Links / lvl and 99% reduction in Warfare Link mod CPU need

Again, we’re going to move Warfare Processor to the electronics. This is where this move makes the most sense. The reason the Caldari and Amarr command ships are really tanky is their links deal with the very type of tanking they are known for. However, the Minmatar and Gallente ships are not as tanky due to their links. Information Warfare links the Gallente are known for deal with ship sensor strength, EW strength and distance. This change puts the Minmatar and Gallente T3’s on even ground. It gives them the ability to boost a fleet and be tanky enough to take some fire.

The Augmented Plating and Nanobot Injector are fine for the most part. I actually think the Gallente T3 is a bit too tanky, especially when you compare it to the Legion which should be even more so. Its not, and I wouldn’t be opposed to either the Legion’s defensive subs getting a boost or the Gallente’s getting a slight nerf. For the time being, however, the subs are fine so we’ll leave them alone for now.

As for the Adaptive Augmentor, flip that sub to the similar Legion sub I envisioned. A 150% bonus per level to range and 20% bonus to strength of medium remote armor reps should do the trick.

Adding a new sub to take the place of the Warfare Processor will round out our defensive subs. Call it Resist Amplifier, and give it a 7.5% bonus to armor resists per level.

Although what would be really funny is a sub called “Real Men” that gives it a stupid amount of structure with a 5% bonus per level to either structure HP and/or structure resists. Hilarious. Alas, CCP is not that funny, so it’s doubtful we ever see something like that.

Now we move to where the majority of changes I would like to see happen to the Proteus, Electronics. The Electronics subs are as follows:

CPU Efficiency Gate: 5% bonus to CPU / lvl
Dissolution Sequencer: 15% bonus to ship sensor strength / lvl and 5% bonus to max targeting range / lvl
Emergent Locus Analyzer: 10% increase to scan strength of probes / lvl, 20% increase to range and velocity of tractor beams / lvl and 99% reduced CPU for scan probe launchers
Friction Extension Processor: 10% bonus to warp disruptor and warp scrambler range / lvl

I’ll start with the CPU Inefficiency Gate. 5% bonus to CPU at the lowest starting CPU of any of the CPU subs. It starts at 360, with the 25% bonus at max it becomes 450, a mere 90 points better. Compared to the Dissolution Sequencer and Emergent Locus Analyzer that starts with 410, the CPU Inefficiency Gate only nets you 40 CPU. In fact, the only electronics sub it is handily better then is the Friction Extension Processor which starts with 375.

Only 40 more CPU at the cost of the other bonuses a ship could attain? No thank you. Considering Gallente ships are usually never constrained by CPU, there just is no place for this sub. I propose dropping it and swapping in the Warfare Processor here, with more starting CPU of course.

Now on to my slight fix with the Dissolution Sequencer I proposed with the Tengu. Ship sensor strength and max targeting range are such strange bonuses to mix together. And on top of that, targeting range is even dumber on a Gallente boat. Why? Because the Gallente rely on blasters mainly, and blasters have such a stupid short range that a bonus gift of extra targeting range is almost a slap in the face. Change this from max targeting range to scan resolution so the Proteus can target quickly, and it makes more sense.

This brings me to the next topic, the changes to the Friction Extension Processor. I debated this for some time before deciding to drop this sub. I did this for a couple of reasons, stick with me as I explain before hurling pitchforks at my blog.

First of all, Gallente EW is sensor damps. Much like I’ve been trying to do with the Legion, I feel that each T3 should have a sub that bonuses that race’s preferred version of EW. After all, the Tengu gets a bonus to ECM. Why is it the only T3 that gets a bonus to its form of racial EW?

Second, it makes sense from a mechanic point of view. In the history of Gallente warfare (as short and terrible it has been) the main point is to get in close to the enemy and melt their faces with blasters. Hell, CCP made this a headline point when they posted the Eve is Real trailer. Sensor Damps do just that. By shortening the targeting range, they force the enemy ships closer where the face melting blasters can do their work.

Third, the current bonus of increasing range on scrams and disruptors seems to be contradictory. I get that longer range scrams may make it easier to catch a ship and melt its face, but that kind of bonus seems more apt for two different kinds of ships: fleet interceptors and kiting ships. Neither of which describes the Proteus. It’s like the targeting range bonus. A bonus in the opposite direction of what the ship is engineered for.

The antagonist of any blaster ship is the kiting ship. If the blaster ship has no way of catching the kiting ship or bring it closer it is advantage kiting ship. Damps can help by shortening targeting range or by increasing lock time, which increases the chance of the blaster ship either taking the target down or getting away. It is also useful in other ways, such as pulling a ship off a hole. Land just inside their targeting range, damp em, and they may come off the hole to engage.

Using sensor damps to increase their targeting is even meaner, especially if you run ECM drones. Increase their targeting time, jam ‘em with ECM drones, then watch them howl in fury with the extra time you get to either re-jam them or melt their face as they take upwards of 10 to 12 seconds to re-target you. Filthy. No one uses sensor damps anymore. I think it’s time for a comeback.

So I propose the following. New sub called the Haywire Sensor Processor or something. Change its slot layout from 3 mid 1 low (like all the other electronic subs) to 4 mid. Give it a 5% bonus per level to sensor dampeners and perhaps a 5% bonus to sensor damp optimal range. This is by design. The optimal range bonus helps keep the target in the area where the sensor damp can continue to work rather then working in the on again, off again falloff range. Again the idea is to pull the target closer where the blasters are more effective. Or, when they are there, keep there targeting time up so they can’t do any damage if they are drone jammed. It’s a nasty bit of EW that most pilots don’t use anymore.

The Proteus has the following Engineering Subsystems:

Augmented Capacitor Reservoir: 5% bonus to drone MWD speed / lvl and 7.5% bonus to drone HP / lvl
Capacitor Regeneration Matrix: 5% reduction in capacitor recharge rate / lvl
Power Core Multiplier: 5% increase in output / lvl
Supplemental Coolant Injector: 5% reduction in the amount of heat damage absorbed by modules / lvl

Besides the SCI, anyone see anything wrong? I’ll give you a hint, it starts with an “A”.

Why is it on every other T3 the Augmented Capacitor Reservoir adds 5% bonus to capacitor capacity, and yet the same sub for the Proteus does not? It’s a “what is this I don’t even” mixed with a “not sure if serious.”

Instead, CCP in their infinite wisdom (to be read with extreme sarcasm), felt the need to introduce a sub that is designed to increase cap but instead increases drone speed and durability. The best part is the “augmented cap” sports the lowest starting cap a Proteus can have, 1400. So much for “augmented”. If I start thinking about it too much my head starts hurting.

So let’s change that right now. Drop both the drone bonuses. Replace them with the standard 5% capacitor capacity bonus. Reduce the drone capacity to 50m3 but keep the drone bandwidth. This is by design. Remember, each race has two subs that increase hardpoints. For most, the Power Core Multiplier increases turret hardpoints, whereas the Augmented Cap usually added a launcher hardpoint. The problem is the Proteus doesn’t shoot missiles – not even a single one. Their offensive subs do not allow for missile launchers. So that “extra” weapon boost had to be applied elsewhere. In this case, it was a bump to the Gallente second weapon of choice, drones – in the form of bandwidth and storage.

Now comes the fun part. Booting out the worthless SCI for all the reasons I’ve already talked about, we replace it with a new sub. Call it Drone Supplemental Engineering. Give it a 1 mid, 2 low slot layout, 1095 powergrid and 1400 cap (similar to the current SCI). Give it the bonuses to drones we tossed away in the Augmented Cap sub, 5% bonus to drone MWD speed per level and 7.5% bonus to drone hitpoints per level. Give it the 100m3 extra drone storage and a 25 bandwidth. The slot layout is better as most drone bonus mods take residence in the mid slots. This gives drone boats a choice in which subs to take for the extra drone power. Augmented Cap for a better active tank, Drone Supplemental Engineering for more drone storage, speed and durability.

The Power Core Multiplier and Cap Regen Matrix are fine, so we’ll leave those alone.

Next up, Offensive subs:

Covert Reconfiguration: 5% bonus to medium hybrid turret damage / lvl with 100% reduction in cloaking device CPU use
Dissonic Encoding Platform: 10% bonus to medium hybrid turret damage and falloff / lvl and 7.5% bonus to medium hybrid tracking / lvl
Drone Synthesis Projector: 5% bonus to medium hybrid turret damage / lvl, 10% bonus to drone damage / lvl and 7.5% bonus to drone hitpoints / lvl
Hybrid Propulsion Armature: 10% bonus to medium hybrid turret damage / lvl and 10% bonus to medium hybrid turret falloff / lvl

Just so the reader knows, the only two offensive subs the Proteus has that grants the use of drones is naturally the DSP with 125 storage and 75 bandwidth and the HPA which grants 75 storage and 50 bandwidth.

This brings into stark focus the difference between the Dissonic Encoding Platform and the Hybrid Propulsion Armature. On the surface, it seems the DEP is better due to a tracking bonus, since we should all know by now how terrible hybrids are at tracking. The HPA makes up for this loss of tracking with 50 bandwidth for a flight of medium drones. This puts the Proteus equipped with a DEP as a short range “blaster” weapon platform whereas a similar Proteus with a HPA is more of a “rails” setup.

I actually think the Proteus weapon systems are pretty good. Granted, using the blaster setup a Proteus can achieve 700 theoretical DPS. Which sounds really good and impressive until you realize you have to pretty much be parked next to them to achieve it. And I’m okay with that. As a pilot if you manage to park next to me and open fire, I deserved to have my face melted. That was, after all, the promise of blasters. Before you balk at that (its 700 DPS rawr!!!) remember it’s not 600 DPS at 126 km, like the Tengu. Its range to apply said DPS is 10 times less, 700 DPS at 12.6 km. Well, not exactly, but pretty close and I’m sure you get the point.

That being said, it is my humble opinion that the HPA sub should be buffed just a little. And in that I mean a 5-10% bonus to optimal range of medium hybrid turrets. Rails while sporting the best range of any long range system also do the lowest amount of damage to get that range. Rails can attain that impressive range by switching ammo to achieve it. In order to use the stuff that does real damage, the target can’t be out that far. A slight increase to optimal while keeping the bonus to falloff insures the Proteus with the HPA sub can hit harder from further out, faster.

Finally, Proteus Propulsion:

Gravitational Capacitor: 15% bonus to warp speed / lvl and 15% reduction in cap need when initiating warp / lvl
Interdiction Nullifer: 5% increased agility / lvl and immunity to non-targeted interdiction
Localized Injectors: 15% reduction in afterburner and MWD cap consumption / lvl
Wake Limiter: 5% reduction in MWD signature radius penalty / lvl

In all, pretty good, but I still think that the Wake Limiter bonus is a bit too low. Considering how much Gallente ships rely on MWD to close the gap to get the target in face melting range, I think some consideration should be thrown their way on this one.

So here is the end result:

Defensive:

Adaptive Augmenter: 150% increase in medium remote armor rep range / lvl and 20% bonus to remote armor repair effectiveness / lvl
Augmented Plating: 10% bonus to armor hitpoints / lvl
Nanobot Injector: 10% bonus to armor repair effectiveness / lvl
Resist Amplifier: 7.5% bonus to armor resists / lvl

Electronics:

Dissolution Sequencer: 15% bonus to ship sensor strength / lvl and 5% bonus to scan resolution / lvl
Emergent Locus Analyzer: 10% increase to scan strength of probes / lvl, 20% increase to range and velocity of tractor beams / lvl and 99% reduced CPU for scan probe launchers
Haywire Sensor Processor: 5% bonus to sensor dampener effectiveness / lvl and 5% bonus to sensor dampener optimal range / lvl
Warfare Processor: 5% bonus to effectiveness of Information Warfare Links / lvl and 99% reduction in Warfare Link mod CPU need

Engineering:

Augmented Capacitor Reservoir: 5% bonus to capacitor capacity / lvl
Capacitor Regeneration Matrix: 5% reduction in capacitor recharge rate / lvl
Drone Supplemental Engineering: 5% bonus to drone MWD speed / lvl and 7.5% bonus to drone HP / lvl
Power Core Multiplier: 5% increase in output / lvl

Offensive:

Covert Reconfiguration: 5% bonus to medium hybrid turret damage / lvl with 100% reduction in cloaking device CPU use
Dissonic Encoding Platform: 10% bonus to medium hybrid turret damage and falloff / lvl and 7.5% bonus to medium hybrid tracking / lvl
Drone Synthesis Projector: 5% bonus to medium hybrid turret damage / lvl, 10% bonus to drone damage / lvl and 7.5% bonus to drone hitpoints / lvl
Hybrid Propulsion Armature: 10% bonus to medium hybrid turret damage / lvl , 10% bonus to medium hybrid turret falloff / lvl and 5% bonus to medium hybrid turret optimal range

Propulsion:

Gravitational Capacitor: 15% bonus to warp speed / lvl and 15% reduction in cap need when initiating warp / lvl
Interdiction Nullifer: 5% increased agility / lvl and immunity to non-targeted interdiction
Localized Injectors: 15% reduction in afterburner and MWD cap consumption / lvl
Wake Limiter: 5% reduction in MWD signature radius penalty / lvl

In all I think it gives a little more depth to the current iteration of the Proteus. The addition of the EW bonus could make for some compelling PVP type setups while still retaining that Gallente mint flavor.

Check out the other changes I propose for T3s:

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