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Tobias Sjodin
Habitual Euthanasia
Pandemic Legion
Posted - 2011.06.20 16:34:00 - [1]
 

Edited by: Tobias Sjodin on 20/06/2011 16:34:36
Is ship popularity an indication of imbalance? If several people fly a certain type of ship or shiptype, whilst few flying another, does this necessarily mean that there is a problem with game mechanics in terms of balancing?

A year ago or so, there was a huge debate on Gallente ships, specifically blasters suffering because of the web nerf. This generated a discussion that, whilst mostly being a heated off-topic debate illuminated the sensitivity of modifying single modules. It of course was a necessary change, as 90% webs after the nano-nerf would simply be overwhelming, and with the addition of the scrambling effect disabling microwarpdrives this was mitigated.

Today there is a perception that Gallente ships, specifically blaster ships are in need of a boost. How, is a separate matter, the topic here is whether the decline in popularity for flying gallente blaster ships is due to imbalance, or merely the wider perception of imbalance. Certainly some people fly Gallente blaster boats with success, whilst others won't fly them because they are no longer the same.

I believe that the perception of something being imbalanced is a greater factor than the actual ships themselves being imbalanced. Certainly there are cases where imbalance are a factor of how many people are using a certain ship (way back when, few people were flying the ECM-NOS-DOMIS) and setup that is efficient, but here's the kicker: a ship on its own, and several ships used in cohesion are two different things.

Some people for instance argue that the Tengu is overpowered, a discussion that peaked since PL started using them very effectively in fleet combat. Others compared it to the other t3 ships and were convinced that the sheer stats compared to others spoke for themselves. This is for instance one of the reasons why some people believe that the Nidhoggur is the worst of all the carriers. The common perception, based on certain easily-graspable compared stats.

Imbalance is more than what is on the surface in fact, there are great many uses for gallente blaster ships, the nidhoggur, and other t3 ships. The nidhoggur is one of the fastest carriers out there, and if you go a bit outside the box you can actually use it to bump things, loot things, more quickly get outside of bubbles, align faster, and the obvious... repping improvement.

So what I want to discuss with this thread is:

a) the difference between popularity and balance, and more importantly;
b) what IS truly imbalanced in EVE these days?
c) all those different modules in EVE, how can they be more useful (and used more) in EVE?


Ghoest
Posted - 2011.06.20 16:39:00 - [2]
 

The "problem" isnt really balance anymore.

Ships are role specific and the ships for popular roles are so easy to get into that everyone who wants them gets all of them rather quickly.

Why are drakes popular? They are tough they are cheap and they only require one weapon line. You dont really change that except by making them crap.

Derranna Elkadar
Posted - 2011.06.20 16:43:00 - [3]
 

Just want some clarification on one of your points. Are you suggesting that a larger group of players utilizing mechanics to create an advantage cannot be an imbalance in said mechanics?

Tobias Sjodin
Habitual Euthanasia
Pandemic Legion
Posted - 2011.06.20 16:45:00 - [4]
 

Originally by: Ghoest
The "problem" isnt really balance anymore.

Ships are role specific and the ships for popular roles are so easy to get into that everyone who wants them gets all of them rather quickly.

Why are drakes popular? They are tough they are cheap and they only require one weapon line. You dont really change that except by making them crap.


Well, I think there are two important scenarios:

1) The solo scenario (warrior)

2) The gang scenario (soldier)

In case of 1, people draw the conclusion that the game has been catered to group 2. There are some that argue that it is hard for one individual with one account to accomplish anything because that single ships are weak, and the difference between them not significant enough as to be able to be powerful as an individual.

In case of 2, it seems that the soldier (roman) mentality applies, the strength of each ship and pilot is not as important as his ability to fit in with others. If 100 people are doing the same thing, uniformly they will most likely win over any 100 single-minded players.

Faction, officer, and deadspace gear try and compensate for this, but for newer players with low-income it seems that the first route is a lot more difficult.

Tobias Sjodin
Habitual Euthanasia
Pandemic Legion
Posted - 2011.06.20 16:47:00 - [5]
 

Originally by: Derranna Elkadar
Just want some clarification on one of your points. Are you suggesting that a larger group of players utilizing mechanics to create an advantage cannot be an imbalance in said mechanics?


I am asking the same thing myself, and have not arrived to a convincing conclusion. On one hand, most things used cohesively (soldierly) can be "overpowered" but then not by design principle, but through interaction and team play.

Derranna Elkadar
Posted - 2011.06.20 16:52:00 - [6]
 

Originally by: Tobias Sjodin
Originally by: Ghoest
The "problem" isnt really balance anymore.

Ships are role specific and the ships for popular roles are so easy to get into that everyone who wants them gets all of them rather quickly.

Why are drakes popular? They are tough they are cheap and they only require one weapon line. You dont really change that except by making them crap.


Well, I think there are two important scenarios:

1) The solo scenario (warrior)

2) The gang scenario (soldier)

In case of 1, people draw the conclusion that the game has been catered to group 2. There are some that argue that it is hard for one individual with one account to accomplish anything because that single ships are weak, and the difference between them not significant enough as to be able to be powerful as an individual.

In case of 2, it seems that the soldier (roman) mentality applies, the strength of each ship and pilot is not as important as his ability to fit in with others. If 100 people are doing the same thing, uniformly they will most likely win over any 100 single-minded players.

Faction, officer, and deadspace gear try and compensate for this, but for newer players with low-income it seems that the first route is a lot more difficult.


This is a non starter though, deciding whether or not you want a game to have a focus on teamwork - whilst having heavy implications on balance - is likely based on either a business model or a developers motivation.

Ghoest
Posted - 2011.06.20 16:54:00 - [7]
 

To be honest the solo scenario is not important except on very fast frigs and cloakers. This a tiny minority of ships and they should just be in a separate discussion.

Like it or not PVP is about groups. The real discussion is about the difference between zrg group (15 drakes etc.) and complex tactic groups like Burn Eden uses.

The best ship for a zerg group is going to be extremely popular for obvious reasons, but if they ever meet a complex group using advanced tactics they will be totally slaughtered.

Ioci
Gallente
Space Mermaids
Posted - 2011.06.20 16:59:00 - [8]
 

Edited by: Ioci on 20/06/2011 17:01:05
3 Vindi, pinnacle of Blaster boat battleships and they couldn't hit untill the enemy purposely went stationary.

Every race was looking at 5:1 loss or fly minmatar. - The irony being the Minmatar are supposed to be the replaceable fleet.

The point of EVE and role based ship production was, you didnt have popular. You aren't supposed to be able to do 'popular' fleet. You are supposed to need diverstity and that isn't happening because of CCP wagging the dog.

I understand what you are saying, I just don't think it applies. Not to EVE. We aren't supposed to have FotM in roles based fleets.


Derranna Elkadar
Posted - 2011.06.20 17:06:00 - [9]
 

Originally by: Tobias Sjodin
Originally by: Derranna Elkadar
Just want some clarification on one of your points. Are you suggesting that a larger group of players utilizing mechanics to create an advantage cannot be an imbalance in said mechanics?


I am asking the same thing myself, and have not arrived to a convincing conclusion. On one hand, most things used cohesively (soldierly) can be "overpowered" but then not by design principle, but through interaction and team play.


Ok, good to know we're on the same page here then. I think 'overpowered' is in general a poor word used by a multitude of threads we see on forums daily. It is a good thing that players can develop strategy - militarily or otherwise - and continue that development over the life of the game. However, even if the design principle was not directly intended to create these strategies the game mechanics derived from it are at least indirectly responsible. Unfortunately, the game is not by nature dynamic in this respect, constant mechanics tweaks and ship introductions by devs lead to new problems faced by fleets and therefore ship roles are developed to answer them.

Using gallente as an example again. Does it mean that the race is inherently underpowered at the moment. Well it is difficult to say, it may well be that it does something brilliantly that no one has discovered yet..After all, how long post introduction of t3 and any subsequent associated tweaks was it before thundercats started cutting through engagements with apparent ease. My opinion is that some gallente ships in some scenarios are underpowered, what i'd do about that though? I have no idea.

Gutuie
Posted - 2011.06.20 17:21:00 - [10]
 

well i think this post can be discused in 2 ways:
- this game is not PvP(player v player), is GvG (gang v gang) so the balance or popularity is only up of gang composition

- if we talk about 1v1 fight yea your topic will be ended fast with a few popular ships that can deliver fast dps with very little use of capacitor or range problems >> ohh yea balance is gone if u compare ships

Anne Arqui
Minmatar
Diamonds in the Rough Enterprises
Posted - 2011.06.20 17:25:00 - [11]
 

It's a bit the same with Vherokior characters.

In the past people used to create a lot of them because they have very huge eyes and special haircuts. Now CCP changed them they're not that popular anymore.

MaiLina KaTar
Posted - 2011.06.20 17:28:00 - [12]
 

Edited by: MaiLina KaTar on 20/06/2011 17:29:32
Your overcomplicating.

It is simply a matter of stats. People go for them, whether conciously or not. You have smart people and dumb people. You average it all out and see where your game is.

If you look at the stats and, f.e., you see the amount of Drakes far surpasses all other BCs by far... well then that's probably not because everyone just has this weird impression of it being better even though it isn't. It probably got to that point because it's actually better than all other BCs in most if not all regards.
Nothing but supercaps duking it out in 0.0? Probably because they're just better than everything else. Just like back in the days battleships were the hot **** and fleets had nothing but geddons cause they fried everyone and their mother in seconds.

So at the end of the day, if it smells like ****, looks like **** and flies stick to it like what... well then it probably ain't all roses. However, all of this also tells us that... as long as you don't get to look at the serverside statistics, best you can do is educated guesses. Noone in here will ever be able to make truly accurate predictions or conclusions regarding game state. Simply because we don't get to use the data we'd need to do so.

Ghoest
Posted - 2011.06.20 17:50:00 - [13]
 

Originally by: MaiLina KaTar
Edited by: MaiLina KaTar on 20/06/2011 17:29:32
Your overcomplicating.

It is simply a matter of stats. People go for them, whether conciously or not. You have smart people and dumb people. You average it all out and see where your game is.

If you look at the stats and, f.e., you see the amount of Drakes far surpasses all other BCs by far... well then that's probably not because everyone just has this weird impression of it being better even though it isn't. It probably got to that point because it's actually better than all other BCs in most if not all regards.
Nothing but supercaps duking it out in 0.0? Probably because they're just better than everything else. Just like back in the days battleships were the hot **** and fleets had nothing but geddons cause they fried everyone and their mother in seconds.

So at the end of the day, if it smells like ****, looks like **** and flies stick to it like what... well then it probably ain't all roses. However, all of this also tells us that... as long as you don't get to look at the serverside statistics, best you can do is educated guesses. Noone in here will ever be able to make truly accurate predictions or conclusions regarding game state. Simply because we don't get to use the data we'd need to do so.


NO. The OP wasnt right but he had a better handle on the situation than you.

Some very popular ships are great for low to mid skill people flying in large fleets using simple tactics.

Other ships have the potential to make much better fleets but they require higher skill players working together using advanced tactics. But these ships would be really crappy if put in youre average zerg fleet.

Jennifer Starling
Imperial Navy Forum Patrol
Posted - 2011.06.20 18:02:00 - [14]
 

Edited by: Jennifer Starling on 20/06/2011 18:03:56
We can also make a distinction based on absolute and not relative numbers.

Yes we all know Drakes are more popular than their counterparts but the other faction's battlecruisers are still very popular as well. Same for T3 ships, in spite of their cost they're all being used a lot.

That should indicate that the tier 2 battlecruisers and T3 ships all have their use, otherwise people wouldn't fly them. The Proteus is popular because cloaky sneak up to opponent + blasters makes for a very strong combo. Those ships all have their use, it may just be that some are less general use than others, which doesn't make them bad, just more limited.

Now look at the lower tier frigates and cruisers. Which a few exceptions (miner Osprey, Blackbird, Arby) no-one flies them because they're weaker in all areas than the higher tier versions.

I'd rather have CCP balance ships so they all have some use in some way and not be inferior so hardly anyone uses them anyway.

Alara IonStorm
Caldari
Posted - 2011.06.20 18:20:00 - [15]
 

Edited by: Alara IonStorm on 20/06/2011 18:29:03
Originally by: Jennifer Starling
Yes we all know Drakes are more popular than their counterparts but the other faction's battlecruisers are still very popular as well.

Hurricanes are just as popular as Drakes for PVP. It starts to fall off there as the Harbinger tends to become a distant 3rd. After that you get a drop off where all the rest combined could not equal etheir of the top 2.

The Drop off is pretty big.

2 Drake 99566
3 Hurricane 97520
16 Harbinger 17241

Basically Drakes got EHP, tons of it and a lot of Mid LVL Long Range DMG Projection. The Cane is fast enough to avoid what it does not like and pumps DPS at medium ranges or Alpha with Arties. Everything else falls under the catagories of 2slow 2catch or escape, 2short range and 2little DPS. They have there uses, Harby is an ok ship, Myrm's got it's close range super tank and Brutix has DPS. But in the Grand Scheme of things being at 50 in a Drake Fleet or being quick enough to choose your targets tends to matter so much more.

Mister Smithington
Posted - 2011.06.20 18:52:00 - [16]
 

In a game with proper balance the metagame should keep the trends cycling. When somebody comes up with a strong setup somebody else comes up the a setup to counter it, and then a setup to counter that and so on. We see some of that in eve. Lol drakes are bait. Lol drake blob pwns everything. Lol drake blob dies to 'baddon blob. But there's also a good deal of stagnation as well, and to be honest a lot of the changes in meta come about because of nerfs or buffs rather than players finding fits to beat other fits.

Some things are popular because they suit the needs of the occasion they're used. For instance shield tanks are amazing for low sec. They keep your mobility high so you can GTFO if you have to, and your tank pool recharges to counter-act damage from gate guns.

on the other hand, armor ought to be better for standing engagements. BUT, we saw shield setups have a better success rate than armor setups during the AT where GTFO is not possible. So, maybe there's an imbalance between armor and shields, but it's not like armor tanks are bad per se.

There are things that are blatantly underpowered. Most of the amarr t1 cruiser line is a good example. The Omen for instance can barely fill its slots with the CPU/grid it has. Some things are unpopular simply because they suck.

Some things are blatantly overpowered. LOL supercaps. But that's really too easy, so I'll talk about autocannons. Autocannons have good effective range, great tracking, good damage, good rate of fire, selectable damage types, and they're capless. If you're flying a ship that doesn't get a bonus to it's racial weapon system, like a punisher or myrmidon, and even some that do, like a malediction or vengeance (lolrockets) autocannons is a better choice than what is "supposed" to go in the highs. That doesn't mean that blasters and lasers aren't competitive on a bonused ship, but good ol' ACs are the standard fallback. The fittings on ACs are unbelievably light, as much as half pg cost on smalls vs the other racial guns. As an amarr pilot, I would love to be able to fit my harby like a hurricane with a good tank, mwd, a rack of the largest guns and a couple utility nuets, but the fitting room just isn't there. So while autocannons may not outperform the other weapon systems, their versatility and ease of fitting often makes them the better choice that the racial weapon that is intended for a particular ship.

Jack Icegaard
The Omega Project
Posted - 2011.06.20 19:54:00 - [17]
 

Edited by: Jack Icegaard on 20/06/2011 20:38:14
In most cases I don't think there are enough intangibles to go awfully wrong when assessing which ship is preferable within a class. Example: what strength does a AC platform offer compared to a Blaster ditto.

Well, its generally:

Arrowfaster
Arrowcap-less weapons
Arrowbetter agility
Arrowsmaller sig radius
Arrowfaster lock time
Arrowsuperior combat range
Arrowbetter ammo options
Arrowvery low fitting requirements

So the question is; does the Blaster boat offer enough to compensate for this and make it an equal or better option for the task I'm looking at. Sure its has some strengths of its own but every time i make this assessment i arrive at the same conclusion which is, no it does not offer nearly enough compared to the AC-option.

Sure, if you just plan on shooting something that is already sufficiently tackled, and you don't need great mobility and there are no ifs or buts and the **** never hits the fan, then Blaster platforms are an excellent choice.


Whitehound
The Whitehound Corporation
Frontline Assembly Point
Posted - 2011.06.20 21:54:00 - [18]
 

Originally by: Tobias Sjodin
So what I want to discuss with this thread is:

a) the difference between popularity and balance, and more importantly;
b) what IS truly imbalanced in EVE these days?
c) all those different modules in EVE, how can they be more useful (and used more) in EVE?

A ship may be popular, because of the ship itself or because of a fitting that works particularly well on it for a common situation. In the later case are you looking at a popular fitting rather than a popular ship. The popularity of the Drake and the Tengu is closely linked to a specific fitting, which also works well for a Nighthawk, only the Nighthawk is harder to get into. People then talk about the popularity of a certain ship when it is the heavy missiles and the shield tank they fancy.

Then there is the popularity of a ship as a counter to the popularity of another ship. This is then a sign of a balance, because it shows that to every setup one can find a counter. The perceived imbalance is then only temporary until players have found this counter. As a consequence, if a fitting or ship achieves a long-term popularity then you have found an imbalance, because no good counter could be found. Or, if the only counter costs much more ISKs than what it is supposed to counter, then you have also discovered an imbalance. The problem is then the time it takes to find counters and to test each before one can come to a conclusion, but it is possible to detect what is imbalanced, and what is not, if you give it enough time.

c) all those different modules in EVE, ... they add to the variety and need to be explored by each player on their own. Heavy missiles and shield tanks make it easy to be lazy while the turret weapons and armor tanks require a bit more hand-eye coordination by the player. This is a choice of race as it is a choice of play style, and an imbalance can be detected by simply looking at the number of players per race. The balance of races can be controlled by purposely creating imbalances in the game.

Right now are Gallente the most common race and Minmatar the least common ones, iirc. So giving a slight advantage to projectile weapons over hybrid weapons, and introducing the Minmatar's Captain's Quarter before the others, can balance those numbers around. The majority of players will often not like this, but it can be exactly what is needed to recreate a balance.

MaiLina KaTar
Posted - 2011.06.20 21:54:00 - [19]
 

Originally by: Ghoest
Originally by: MaiLina KaTar
Edited by: MaiLina KaTar on 20/06/2011 17:29:32
Your overcomplicating.

It is simply a matter of stats. People go for them, whether conciously or not. You have smart people and dumb people. You average it all out and see where your game is.

If you look at the stats and, f.e., you see the amount of Drakes far surpasses all other BCs by far... well then that's probably not because everyone just has this weird impression of it being better even though it isn't. It probably got to that point because it's actually better than all other BCs in most if not all regards.
Nothing but supercaps duking it out in 0.0? Probably because they're just better than everything else. Just like back in the days battleships were the hot **** and fleets had nothing but geddons cause they fried everyone and their mother in seconds.

So at the end of the day, if it smells like ****, looks like **** and flies stick to it like what... well then it probably ain't all roses. However, all of this also tells us that... as long as you don't get to look at the serverside statistics, best you can do is educated guesses. Noone in here will ever be able to make truly accurate predictions or conclusions regarding game state. Simply because we don't get to use the data we'd need to do so.


NO. The OP wasnt right but he had a better handle on the situation than you.

Some very popular ships are great for low to mid skill people flying in large fleets using simple tactics.

Other ships have the potential to make much better fleets but they require higher skill players working together using advanced tactics. But these ships would be really crappy if put in youre average zerg fleet.

Okay now how, exactly, does your assesment relate to what I wrote? Elaborate.

And just to condense my scribbles down a bit: Essentially what I said was two things:

1. You need the data to make sufficiently accurate analysis.
2. Ockhams Razor.

An no, Drake is amazing, always. It delivers pwnage to newbies and vets alike.

Corina's Bodyguard
Posted - 2011.06.20 21:57:00 - [20]
 

The drake is better at all other BCs in only one area: tank. Then again, it can out tank some BS too (if not all, don't know for sure).


I'm sure there are people like me who don't care about the stats as long as the ship looks good and does what it needs to. For example, I fly the Prophecy for lvl3s because IMO it looks better than the Harb and it does what it needs to.

Alara IonStorm
Caldari
Posted - 2011.06.20 22:04:00 - [21]
 

Originally by: Corina's Bodyguard
The drake is better at all other BCs in only one area: tank. Then again, it can out tank some BS too (if not all, don't know for sure).


Two Area's

Tank and low skill range projection.

What the others need T2 Guns and T2 Long Range Ammo to acheive the Drake can do with meta 2-3. Than means a lot more low skill pilots can can join and add there DPS to the pool as well as be more HP before getting the higher skill ships off the feild since Missiles don't tell you which type of Launchers they were fired from.

The others have a higher skill barrier both in needing to train T2 Smalls and Mediums to V before it is effective at Drake ranges.

AkJon Ferguson
JC Ferguson and Son Ltd
Ferguson Alliance
Posted - 2011.06.20 22:08:00 - [22]
 

I do not mind that certain races excel in certain roles. I do mind that some ships are almost completely useless. In an ideal world, CCP would strive to make all races/classes at least somewhat near as useful as each other, even if one might be slightly (or even occasionally somewhat significantly) inferior/superior at a specific role. Similar logic applies between classes (Black Ops being the most glaring example of a class that has almost no utility.)


 

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