Thursday, February 11, 2016

Redoing ECM

So Fozzie unveiled a wide range of module tiericide today, from damage controls to cap batteries to a host of ewar types. For the most part, I'm very happy with the proposed changes and will be penning a full article with my opinions on them tomorrow. But the ewar changes were what really sparked my imagination as I started to think of new types of ewar that could be added to the game.

My philosophy on ewar is that if a player can enhance an attribute of their ship then another player should be able to actively disrupt it, and vice versa. Such a relationship leads to variety in combat situations and helps keep Eve PvP from being simply a boring case of "dps vs tank". And for the most part, this relationship holds true. Propmods are countered by webs and scrams. Points are countered by stabs. Tracking disruptors live in harmony with tracking enhancements. And the proposed changes to cap batteries should bring this element to cap warfare. There are some things left to work out in this regard (i.e. a natural dynamic against target painters or a way to mitigate an opponent's defensive resists) but on the whole I think ewar is in a good place. Which brings us to ECM.

Jams are essentially a coin flip. Either your target loses their lock, giving you a free 20 seconds of killing, or the jam fails and your opponent gets those 20 free seconds. Furthermore, not using the right type of ECM on an opponent generally means the jams are useless. These two factors can usually determine the outcome of a fight involving jams, regardless of fit and player skill, and that is far from ideal.

CCP's answer at the moment is to combine the conter for jams, ECCM, into the sensor booster module tree with an ECCM script. This makes sense as it will increase the importance of pilot awareness in a fight. I'd like to see a similar approach applied to the jams themselves, and instead of having a different module for each sensor type, have the Omni jammer module be a baseline with scripts for each flavor of sensor (folding the new missile disruptors into this wouldn't hurt either). And as a final pass, the cycle durration should be reduced to 10 seconds and if a successful jam fails on the next cycle then the player loses their lock. Meaning both sides of the fight need to relock at the same time. The idea needs some further fleshing out, but I think this method would make fights with jams less dependent on RNG and more a tool for skilled players to change up a fight. Multiple players on either side of this will affect the outcome, of course, and that's as it should be.

Being a member of Signal Cartel, I've learned my way around the ECM tree (cornerstone of any Hug Fleet doctrine), but the current version of jams leads to bland gameplay. That either needs to be fixed, or removed (I'd make a similar argument on the war of attrition that is warp core stabs).

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