The “Disruption” Line

Plus one.

So CCP has battleship changes coming out with Odyssey. I’m disappointed. Disappointed enough to write about it, but let me preface this post with two important points:

First, I am an ECM pilot.  I am a Falcon pilot. I fly the Falcon on my main character. I get out of the Falcon occasionally to fly one of the other 80 fit ships (30 different types, probably need to give some away) in my main hanger. More often than not, the ship I fly will be fit with some sort of racial EWAR. Frequently enough, I fly Griffins or Blackbirds. When I am done, I typically get back in the Falcon.

There are 12 T1 battleships in the game, and only one of them is bonused for EWAR: the Caldari Scorpion. An ECM platform, it’s a one of a kind “disruption” battleship. All of the other major faction battleships are designed to do damage and tank damage. The Scorpion is designed to do neither.

My second point is, even though I am an ECM Pilot, I see absolutely no reason to fly the Scorpion.

My thoughts on this are simple: CCP screwed over the Caldari by making them the masters of EWAR. They continue to tweak the game to decrease the effectiveness of what most players claim to be an overpowered game mechanic. The vast majority of pvpers want to see maximum damage applied and the only fair way to counter damage is through healing, er, logistics.

Well, removing the ability to lock your target and apply damage is a violation of the Universal Eve Online Player Versus Player Code of Conduct.

Are you trying to piss me off? Cause it’s working.

What? Who? Me? Never.

So, when it comes to battleships, each race has three, but the Caldari has one that can neither tank nor gank. It’s role is “disruption” and a “disruption” battleship in a field full of “combat” or “attack” battleships is, by fleet doctrine, is the most dangerous ship on the field. Not because it can do great damage, but because it negates damage. A Scorpion can potentially negate the damage output of as many ships as it has jammers.

At a variable percent chance based on a ratio of Jam strength to Sensor strength, for 20 seconds at a time.

A maxed skilled pilot with Battleship 5 in an appropriate fit PvP Scorpion has a 47.4 percent chance to jam a Maelstrom each cycle and a 32.5 percent chance to jam a Rokh.  If you are an ECM pilot, you will recognize that those are really crappy numbers to work with.

47.4 percent chance to jam means that you have a 52.6 percent chance to be primary by the Maelstrom.  Against a Rokh, that number is 67.5.  If you’re primary and you can’t stop all incoming damage, or if you don’t have great healers, you can expect to lose your ship. In a battleship meta game where ships are removed from the field by alpha strike, this can make flying a Scorpion a costly proposition.

So it bothers me that the Caldari have the only “disruption” battleship. Everyone hates ECM, unless it’s on your side, and then many will only tolerate it. I try not to let that bother me, but the lack of tracking disrupting, sensor damping or target painting battleships means that the Caldari pilot doesn’t have the choices that his counterparts have. He can choose a well tanked missile throwing BS, or a hybrid sniper BS, neither of which is lauded for their damage output, only one of which is used in the current large SOV fleet meta. The Caldari’s third choice, the entry level battleship, is a “disruption” battleship, suited for a PvP play style that is shunned.

And it bothers me that the disruption role that the Scorpion fills can be better filled by a Rook or a Falcon. The Scorpion is just a slow, low scan resolution, under-tanked, under-gunned, under-droned battle ship.

Well, it does have great range.

Range is nice. Sniper battleships like range too, and there are almost always more of them than one slow locking, slow moving, under tanked, large signature radius, “disruption” battleship can handle. And at sniper ranges, a remote sensor damping ship using range damping is likely to be more effective than a jamming ship.

It bothers me that a battleship is so weak that I would rather fly a T1 cruiser in the same role than risk using the Scorpion in PvP.

I have a Scorpion: It was a gift to me from OUCHs training director.  I wouldn’t buy one for myself.  If I did Incursions, I might actually use it in an ECM role.  I’ve heard that there’s some application for ECM during those missions. But I’ve tried to make it something other than just an ECM platform. For PvE, you can try to shield tank it, cause it has lots of mids.  I find it’s a better passive than active tank, but still, it’s not a great. I’ve tried to get some DPS out of it, with missile launchers and target painters. You just can’t get a decent balance of tank and gank on a Scorpion that you can on a Raven or a Rokh. Overall, it’s horrible.

It’s no Drake, that’s for sure.

No Drake? It’s supposed to be a battleship for crying out loud. Even taking into account that it’s an EWAR platform, it still should be able to out tank and out damage a battlecruiser.

So you got a fix for it?

Yep. Simple, too. Get rid of the ECM Burst bonus. It’s so special purpose that it’s useless. OUCH took down a solo Scorpion on a gate in Curse once. He burst, we lost lock, relocked, retackled and continued to break him. There were just too many of us for that ECM Burst to work for defense.

Replace it with a hybrid bonus to tracking, or a bonus to drone range or damage, and give it a 150m3 drone bay. Get rid of the missile hardpoints, give it 5 or 6 turret hardpoints. Adjust the CPU and Powergrid so you can choose: Tank and Gank, or ECM and Tank, or ECM and Gank. Then let the pilots figure it out.

It won’t compete with the Raven, the Raven’s tank will be better. It won’t compete with the Rokh, the Rokh’s ranges will be better. It would compete with the Dominix, the Typhoon, and the Armageddon.

News flash:  It’s supposed to.

You think it’s that simple?

Look, I admit I’m not a guy that crunches numbers. I’m not a min-maxer looking to squeeze an extra percent or two of performance out of a ship or fit. I fly ships.  I develop tactics based on what works and what doesn’t and the Scorpion just doesn’t work for me.   Doesn’t work in PvE, except maybe in Incursions.  It’s doesn’t work in my style of small gang PvP and I suspect it’s of limited use in other styles of PvP.

If CCP wants to, they can change the Scorpion, make it a viable combat ship and maintain its “disruption” role. In doing so, they could develop a path to tweek other Tier 1 battleships, give them “disruption” roles too, and maintain their combat effectiveness.

And they could do it without making a brand new “disruption” line of Battleships.

Minus one.