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And here we go, the Quantum Rise expansion finally has a release date; arriving just days after the Fanfest taking place this weekend. Despite the disputes over a “lack of actual content”, this is easily going to be the expansion with the most impact on the game this year, if not ever. Empyrean Age brought with it the Factional Warfare system, but the rules of the game were relatively unchanged. For months now, the speed changes- unfortunately dubbed the “Nano-Nerf” -have been cooking away on the test server, and in recent weeks we’ve seen various refinements; the changes to the missile formula, the battleship agility adjusments, and medium drones. Combat in EVE is changing, substantially.

Now, I’m in favour of these changes, but at the same time I’m not going to come out and say that everything is going to be better after the release of QR. EVE is a massive game, and even with vigorous testing on Singularity it’s very difficult to see the knock on effect of all the changes until they hit the main server. I have, however, been on the test server since these changes were first introduced to see them first hand, and after studying the tea leaves and digging through the chicken entrails I’m prepared to make a few predictions:

Target Painters are going to be mandatory on missile ships. If you want to hit smaller ships, or get the most out of the new rage/fury missiles you will need to raise the signature radius of the target, especially since you can’t always rely fighting in web range to slow them down.

 

Assault Frigates are back! The most obvious effect of the web and speed changes is that smaller ships can fight in web range and live, even to the point of being able to speed tank the enemy guns and missiles with an Afterburner. The knock on effect here is that Battleships are noticebly more vulnerable to smaller ship classes now if they aren’t adequetely prepared, which has been the cause of much discontent on the offical forums, along with players calling “the death of the solo battleship”. 

 

Active tanks are going to be more relevent now. If AB speed tanking becomes as prominent as it seems it might be then plates and trimarks suddenly don’t look so hot. My Amarr setups were leaning towards a mix of reps and plates before I took a break in the summer and I think now I might change that in favour of resistances and reps, especially on the frigates and cruisers. With shields it’s much harder to call, as extenders only carry a sig radius penalty and I can’t see the exact effect that will have in their suitability.

Nosferatu suddenly has a major use in assisting active tanks. After the Nos changes, Neuts were the capacitor warfare module of choice, and in an era where plates and shield extenders were a very common tanking module absorbing cap from the enemy, or using enough to allow the Nos to be effective wasn’t common.  I’m seeing this as an advantage to Amarr ships, as they have the massive capacitors to get a greater effect from Nos; which, oddly enough, will be easier to fit if we’re willing to ditch the heavier plates. The only problem being that Nosferatu is a short range weapon and not completely suited to their long ranged weaponry.

Rapiers are not “dead”. With one of its primary EW abilities being toned down with the web changes it was suggested, quite loudly in some places, that this was the death knell for the Rapier, and its force recon equivalent. This is nonsense; yes, the web changes affect the way it is used now: to web fast ships down. If we see the rise of the target painter then they will still be a boon to any fleet by sending the sig radius of their target through the roof, which should cover for the fact that they won’t be able to web them so completely.

It’s too hard to see how the population will adapt to these changes, but the one thing I do know is that the next few weeks are going to be a very interesting time in New Eden.

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One Comment

  1. I would be interested in a followup after the last few weeks since you wrote this analysis. I will be trying out the rapier myself in small gangs with a target painter.


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