Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Versatile Loki



The final entry in my four part series about T3 improvements has me highlighting the Minmatar Loki. This week I wrap up my thoughts on the T3 strategic cruiser as a whole. While I’m not deluded to think that the T3’s I envision here in this blog to be anything close to what CCP is/might/probably do, it’s nice to get my ideas down. Who knows? Perhaps I’ve inspired a dev in the bowels of CCP HQ to do something impressive.

For those of you who have been following my blog (bless you!) you’ll remember I already wrote at length about the Loki. The Loki is one of my favorite T3 ships just because of the versatility factor. I will continue that theme in the changes I feel need to be made. The strength of the Minmatar people as a general rule has been that versatility, so to move away from it detracts from the ship as a whole. While I don’t expect it to do the damage of a Proteus nor have the range of a Tengu, I do expect it to have one thing over the others. Speed.


However, for the sake of clarity, I’ll start where I’ve started before; the defensive subs:

Adaptive Augmenter: 5% bonus to all armor resistances / lvl
Adaptive Shielding: 5% bonus to shield resistances / lvl and 10% bonus to shield transporter effectiveness / lvl
Amplification Node: 5% reduction in signature radius / lvl
Warfare Processor: 5% bonus to effectiveness of Skirmish Warfare Links / lvl and 99% reduction in Warfare Link mod CPU need

If you’ve read the Tengu article, much of the same thought applies here. Drop the Warfare Proc and send it packing for the electronics section. Take the Adaptive Shielding sub, increase the bonus to shield transporter effectiveness to 20% and increase the range of medium reps. Drop the bonus to shield resists.

So that leaves just the Adaptive Augmenter, the Amp Node, and an empty slot that was once occupied by the Warfare Proc.

Instead of huge sweeping changes, I actually think we create a new sub to take the place of Warfare Proc called Resist Shielding and give it a 5% bonus to shield resists per level. I actually like the other two defensive subs. Adaptive Augmenter and the new Resist Shielding aren’t as strong as the other three races’ resist sub (you’ll remember I advocated bumping the bonus from 5% to 7.5%). This is okay with me as Minmatar is not the first thing I think of when I think of stupid strong tank. After all, they are all solar panels and duct tape. Something’s gotta give.

And I like the Amplification Node for all the reasons I talked about it in the Loki piece I did earlier. No races’ sub has the ability to swing both ways; this is the one that does. Put it on a heavily shield tanked Loki and the signature is still under Battleship class by a fair margin. Put it on an armor tanked boat and it’s under most cruisers. Plus, it is the natural extension of what I would use if I were to “speed” tank something. If I have lots of speed and a small signature radius, I don’t fear missiles and most turrets might have a hard time tracking me.

None of these subs screams OP tank to me, which is exactly where I want the versatile Loki. Onward to Electronic Subs:

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% bonus to range and velocity of tractor beams / lvl and a 99% reduced CPU need for scan probe launchers
Immobility Drivers: 30% bonus to stasis webifier range / lvl
Tactical Targeting Network: 15% bonus to scan resolution / lvl

I have the same problem with the Dissolution Sequencer and the Tactical Targeting Network as I did when I spoke about them in the Legion article. They are, or should be the same sub. Combine those two bonuses into one sub and slide in the Warfare Processor from the defensive subs.

Now I know I’ve been sliding in racial EW into all of the T3s. This will be the first one I break the mold on. I rather like the Immobility Drivers, and webs are much better EW for Minmatar anyway. Think about it. Minmatar are generally the fastest ships, and most often then not the ships that can dictate range in a fight. The Immobility Drivers help with this far more then a Target Painter ever could. Honestly I think CCP got their EW mixed up. Caldari with their huge reliance on missile systems would benefit more from a target painter then Minmatar. Most of the Minmatar weapon systems are split systems. If they even have a ship that can shoot missiles its only half or less then half of the available slots/hardpoints they have. And even then pilots usually stuff those slots with neuts!

This gives the PVP Minmatar pilot an interesting choice. Webs or increased targeting speed/range and ECM resist. In all, good stuff for the Loki.

Moving on to Engineering:

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

The Loki’s engineering systems are unique in that the two subs that increase hardpoints increase both turret and missiles at the same time. For example, all the other races Power Core just gives that boat a turret hardpoint. This gives the Loki unprecedented flexibility, allowing it to have more power or greater cap without reducing its offensive effectiveness.

Since my hatred of the SCI should be well known by now, I’m going to replace it with a sub to further increase the Loki’s versatility. I’m stealing it from the Proteus, the Drone Supplemental Engineering sub.

If you remember, this sub increases drone MWD speed at a 5% clip per level and 7.5% increase to drone HP. I’m actually going to reduce that second bonus to 5% per level. I’m also going to reduce the bandwidth and storage from what I recommended in the Proteus piece. The Loki version will have 15 m3 drone storage and bandwidth, allowing for 3 more light drones. This is to stop it from being too powerful. Granting an extra 25 bandwidth is just too much when you consider what the Loki gets in drones. The Loki has two offensive subs that allow drones, one that offers 80 m3 storage and 40 Mbit/sec and the other 50 m3 storage and 25 Mbit/sec. This sub will allow the other two offensive subs to have 3 light drones, or increase the amount of drones the other two subs can field.

Speaking of Offensive subs:

Covert Reconfiguration: 7.5% bonus to medium projectile turret rate of fire / lvl, 100% reduction in cloaking device CPU use
Hardpoint Efficiency Configuration: 7.5% bonus to medium projectile turret ROF / lvl and 7.5% bonus to missile launcher ROF / lvl
Projectile Scoping Array: 7.5% bonus to medium projectile turret ROF / lvl and 10% bonus to medium projectile falloff / lvl
Turret Concurrence Registry: 10% bonus to medium projectile turret damage / lvl, 10% bonus to medium projectile turret optimal range / lvl, and 7.5% bonus to medium projectile turret tracking / lvl.

To really understand the offensive subs, you have to understand the slot layout and configuration. All of the offensive subs have a 5 high, 1 low slot layout. Where it gets interesting is the configuration. CR has 4 turret hardpoints and no drones. HEC is a split weapon system, with a 3/3 turret to missile hardpoint, 50 extra cpu (presumably to fit the launchers) and 80 m3 drone storage with 40 bandwidth. The PSC is a 5 turret hardpoint with 50 m3 drone storage and 25 bandwidth. Finally the TCR has the same 5 turret hardpoints as the PSC, but this one does not have drones.

Because of this, I think for the most part the Loki’s Offensive subs are balanced. They allow the Loki the ability to snipe, to do close range damage, and even mix weapon systems. So I’m leaving them alone.

Now for the fun part, the Propulsion subs:

Chassis Optimization: 5% bonus to max velocity / lvl
Fuel Catalyst: 10% bonus to afterburner speed / lvl
Intercalated Nanofibers: 5% increased agility / lvl
Interdiction Nullifer: 5% increased agility / lvl and immunity to non-targeted interdiction

Before I get to the bonus changes, I’m going to talk about base speed for a moment. Base speed is everything to the ship in Eve. From it, its max velocity is calculated, and it is from this number that everything having to do with moving the ship is applied. Obvious stuff like speed range but it quickly moves to advanced topics like speed under MWD/AB, time to warp, and even more advanced topics like orbit speed/distance/radius when you start factoring mass and agility.

In the previous three breakdowns of the T3 ships, I did not tinker with the propulsion subs much, if at all. I’m playing here for the Loki because as a Minmatar boat, it is generally build under the one motto of “Speed, speed and more speed.” Unfortunately, the subs fall short of this. Is the Loki faster then the other T3’s? Kind of. It depends on the setup and configuration, the type of tank, prop sub selected, and the type of prop mod.

In an ideal setting, the Loki should not be slower then any other T3. However, those of you who know how speed works particularly when it comes to boosted speed of an AB or MWD know that even tiny increases in the base speed of a ship pay huge dividends in the final answer. So you’ll understand my caution here.

Each T3 has a range of base speeds depending on the type of Propulsion Sub selected. The Legion is pretty steady and pedestrian, moving either 165 or 170, before skills. The Tengu manages to be slower and faster, hitting all speeds divisible by 5 (except 170) between 155 and 175, again before skills. The Proteus can manage to be even slower then the Tengu, or match the top speed of the Loki depending on the sub; it ranges 140, 160 or 180 before skills.

By comparison, the Loki can manage three speeds: 165, 175 or 180 before skills. The Loki has two subs that move 180, both carry the speed bonuses (the Chassis Optimization and Fuel Catalyst). This is what separates the Loki from the Proteus in the top speed department, as the Proteus doesn’t carry a speed bonus to its sub that moves 180.

That said, I don’t think it would kill the Loki to be just a touch faster. And by touch I mean a 5m/s increase to all subs. This will make the Loki’s base speed faster then any other T3’s after skills are applied, but not to a ridiculous degree like the Cynabal. Additionally I’m going to tweak the bonuses to coax a few more m/s out of the Loki as it should be.

Starting with the Nanofibers/Nullifer conversation I had already (the Tengu article I believe). There is little reason to reach for the Nanofibers unless the pilot really needs an additional low slot. To make that a bit more attractive, we’ll bump the agility bonus on the Nanofibers to 7.5%.

For the speed mods I’m thinking differently. Currently, the Loki has two subs that increase speed, the Chassis Optimization and Fuel Catalyst. The CO is generally chosen when the ship is running under MWD, and the FC is for AB ships. Duh, right? So let’s force the bonus a bit. Add a MWD bonus to the CO. Either a cap consumption reduction or signature reduction will do nicely here. I’m more of a fan of the latter bonus as opposed to the former. This is because the Loki doesn’t usually use any systems that have a huge draw on cap other then the MWD. However, at the rate Minmatar pilots rely on the MWD to get around, a reduction in the signature penalty will do nicely here. Next we bump the speed bonus from 5% to 7.5%. This increases that base speed even more, but don’t count on it to outrace a Cynabal anytime soon.

As for the Fuel Catalyst, a reduction in cap use of an AB will do nicely here, a round target number of 5% per level should do the trick. This would give the Loki the chance (if it has the powergrid available) to run a larger AB for some impressive speed at the cost of grid.

Remember, Minmatar ships are generally considered faster, not heartier, and these changes reflect that.

So what do we have left?

Defensive:

Adaptive Augmenter: 5% bonus to all armor resistances / lvl
Adaptive Shielding: 150% bonus to medium shield transporter range / lvl and 20% bonus to medium shield transporter effectiveness / lvl
Amplification Node: 5% reduction in signature radius / lvl
Resist Shielding: 5% bonus to all shield resistances

Electronics:

Dissolution Targeting: 15% bonus to ship sensor strength / lvl, 5% bonus to max targeting range / lvl, and 15% bonus to scan resolution / lvl
Emergent Locus Analyzer: 10% increase to scan strength of probes / lvl, 20% bonus to range and velocity of tractor beams / lvl and a 99% reduced CPU need for scan probe launchers
Immobility Drivers: 30% bonus to stasis webifier range / lvl
Warfare Processor: 5% bonus to effectiveness of Skirmish 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 5% bonus to drone hitpoints / lvl (allows 15m3 / 15Mbit/sec drones)
Power Core Multiplier: 5% bonus to power output / lvl

Offensive:

Covert Reconfiguration: 7.5% bonus to medium projectile turret rate of fire / lvl, 100% reduction in cloaking device CPU use
Hardpoint Efficiency Configuration: 7.5% bonus to medium projectile turret ROF / lvl and 7.5% bonus to missile launcher ROF / lvl
Projectile Scoping Array: 7.5% bonus to medium projectile turret ROF / lvl and 10% bonus to medium projectile falloff / lvl
Turret Concurrence Registry: 10% bonus to medium projectile turret damage / lvl, 10% bonus to medium projectile turret optimal range / lvl, and 7.5% bonus to medium projectile turret tracking / lvl.

Propulsion:

Chassis Optimization: 7.5% bonus to max velocity / lvl, 10% reduction in MWD signature penalty / lvl (base speed 185)
Fuel Catalyst: 10% bonus to afterburner speed / lvl, 10% reduction in AB cap use (base speed 185)
Intercalated Nanofibers: 7.5% increased agility / lvl (base speed 180)
Interdiction Nullifer: 5% increased agility / lvl and immunity to non-targeted interdiction (base speed 170)

All of this was to accomplish one thing. Make T3 strategic cruisers more adaptable to their environments. The Loki changes make the Minmatar T3 faster while retaining its unique versatile flavor.

In all, it would be great if CCP could help me realize my vision as the T3 cruiser being truly the only ship needed in WH space. Wouldn’t it be awesome if you didn’t need to bring 10 different ships into the hole to be effective in WH space? Wouldn’t it be sweet to have just one ship you never had to leave? Just change the subs to fit whatever role you need the ship to be and off you go. Scanning? No sweat. DPS? Got it. Logistics? Yeppers. Salvage? No problem. Mining (gas)? Can do. PVP? Light ‘em up.

Hell, security and corp theft of ships would virtually disappear over night. It would take things that are nightmares to deal with and turn them into an easy thing. The only ships needed in the hole besides the T3’s everyone would be permanently in would be the specialty ships like HICs, mining barges, WH closers and transports.

Unfortunately CCP has some work to do in order for us to achieve this vision. They have to fix the fact we can’t swap subs first, followed by the balancing/fixing of the subs afterward. Otherwise, we are just living the dream.

As always, let me know how effective you think these changes can be.

Be sure to check out the other T3's!
Legion
Tengu
Proteus

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed reading all of your articles on the different T3s, and I agree with your ideas. Nice job!

    -Khalia Nestune, My Loot Your Tears

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