Sunday, 28 July 2013

HAC-T3-Dread Nerf: the rock-paper-scissors of w-space

There are a lot of hurf-blurf shitpoasts on the Wormhole forum of EVE-O about the "put the T3's down like rabid dogs" comments of CCP and the feared inbound T3 nerf.

This is based on the statement that T3's should have the T2 technologies, but not do any one of them better than T2's. The promulgated HAC rebalance (a nerf, IMHO) of CCP Rise has sparked this latest bout of wormholer panty-wringing - and with good reason.

Part of this is that wormholers know what is good for tanking and what signature is all about - you have to in order to avoid being dread-blapped like a mosquito. So, when you are fighting small-gang dreads at close quarters without supers to blap the dreads, with plenty of pimp modules and pimp on the field, you often really do have to push T3's into the field as they have the low-sig high-EHP tanks which can survive Vigilant webs, TP's and a faction-TC'd blap least for a couple of rounds.

The promulgated HAC buff puts this all at risk for two reasons. Firstly, HAC tanks will rely on kiting with MWD's. They will get a reduction in MWD sig penalty to assist them, I am sure Rise's thinking goes (I of course mean Kil2 who has clearly got no idea about w-space), in entering a heavy tanky kite niche. This, the thinking goes, will allow them to kinda play into the current meta with mobile, Claymore...boosted logi-assisted T2 skirmish gangs and fleets. Secondly, HACs will maintain a set of peculiar abilities as a class which get very little enhancement - ndeed, their tanks aren't going anywhere. Aside from the Vaga which becomes, in essence, a T2 light Cyclone skirmisher. Again, Kil2 style.

When you add this poor buffer to a role which is based exclusively around mobile warfare (nanofaggotry and OGBastardry) and then stack six webs, a couple of TP's on them and sit them in front of a Dread, you have dead T2 cruisers. At 220-250M ISK a pop, it's just not looking worthwhile.

Of course, we have the whole "well, go AHAC sig tanking" to which one must say, "duh but why the MWD sig bonus?" and "what about sniper HACs and shield HACs?" And why not get tankier, gankier and cheaper faction navy cruisers to do the same job? You can get 650 DPS gank Scythe Fleets, why go for a Vaga? This is borne out by FW plex fights - it's navy cruisers, not HACs in the Mediums. That really says a lot about where the balance of power and ISK efficiency is at these days in the cruiser class.

The end result is that if HACs are rebalanced into Kil2's personal playthings, to fit his view of PVP and combat meta, and T3 cruisers get nerfed to "less than the equivalent"of these HACs, it throws up some very dangerous questions.

For instance, what will the meta in wormholes become? Dread blapping is not going away in w-space, even in low-end holes. People are entrenched enough in them that they are rich enough to field the requisite ingredients (Vigilant, Rapier for TP's and a Moros and logis) even in a C1. It takes all of 3 billion and 2 weeks to cook a Dread in a C1. In C5s and up, with the way big fights coalesce, its even more common. Reducing tank on T3's below HACs (which is currently sub-par to navy cruisers) will see people switch to navy BC's and Navy cruisers if HACs don't cut it. These will not stand up to dreads as a rule, so it'll be a case of blapping attrition to win the fights.

Remove dread blapping somehow and you definitely will need to adjust tanks downwards, because it's not possible to alpha through 250K EHP Protei, and just forget about it with logi or a triage carrier on the field.

The solution? Find some shtick for HACs which gives them a little something-something to redefine what a Heavy Assault Cruiser should be.

Two or three cruisers should fear a HAC landing on the field. Which means, the HAC needs something to put it a cut above. Speed? HACs will be slower than T1 cruisers, and that's fatal. Tank? HACs win some and lose some at the moment. Gank? It's not looking good. Sniping? Attack BC's win this one hands down. Active tanking? Uh..

Whatever happens - and I hope something does or we won't be seeing much from HACs for a while in w-space - it augurs poorly for w-space and the balance of power between dread blapping and T3's. Don't get me wrong - the Proteus needs taming, the 100MN fits need something as a drawback because they are absolutely retarded, the neut Legion needs a bit of a chill pill, the Command ship and T3s need to swap bonuses, and so many subs are just useless and need buffing....but overall, T3's are not rabid dogs. They just have a couple of poorly trained pit bulls in their midst.

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