Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Boosters - On Grid or Off?

The good old fleet booster debate was going on last weekend on Twitter. Should they be on-grid or remain off-grid? CCP has said that making them on-grid only is fraught with technical challenges. In my opinion they will also become the new Falcons. Primary for everything. To be honest we don't need to spend a huge amount of time and resources fixing the on/off grid problem. There are plenty of mechanics already in game we can utilize to 'fix' off grid boosting.

So what is the problem?

Some see it is a problem others don't. Its the old Eve-O way, there is always a better way to pimp your ride.

You bring a T1 frigate, I'll being a faction frigate. You fit T1 modules, I'll fit T2. You fit T2 modules, I'll fit Faction Modules. You fit Faction Modules, I'll fit Deadspace Modules. You pop a standard pill, I'll pop a strong pill. You fit low-grade implants, I'll fit high-grade.

The issue with boosters is they cost nothing and don't show up on any killmail. Therefore you are getting a massive boost with minimal risk. How big a boost? Lets get Drack into a Hookbill. First I fit it standard, mostly T2 with meta scram and double web. A typical fit.

Normal Fit (empty head)
146hp per 3.0 sec repped (48.66 per sec), 2712 EHP, 1262m/sec, 8.6km scram, 10km webs.

Same Fit (empty head) with Command Ship Booster
146hp per 2.2 sec repped (66.36 per sec), 3449 EHP, 1421m/sec, 10km scram, 12km webs.

So can I get an unboosted ship to equal those stats by upgrading the modules?

A full set of high-grade Crystal implants I get 224hp per 3 sec repped (74.66 per sex) - However if I get podded thats two and a half billion ISK down.
A Republic Fleet Warp Scrambler will give me same point range... for 140m
Two Caldari Navy Stasis Webifiers will give me same web range... for 80m
T2 extender rigs give me 2,818 EHP, nowhere near the boosted 3.5k... for 12m
A Gistii A-Type AB will give me an extra 2.5% on my unboosted speed... for 35m

I'm on my way to spending 3bn ISK on implants and modules and got... well an overpriced pod and Hookbill that is not as good as the 30m ISK one with a fleet booster by a long way. It reps better, but has less EHP, far slower and equal ewar.

In massive fleets battles on grid/off grid boosting is not an issue as both sides will probably have them. The main complaint about fleet boosters is how they effect solo and small gang warfare. In many situations like this the booster is parked on a station, gate, POS or safe spot and acts as a force multiplier with little or no risk if you are doing it right. The POS issue has been practically addressed last year when CCP stopped them activating inside a forcefield. To be honest I'd like to see CCP go a step further. Here are some 'easy' fixes for off-grid boosters if the on/off grid is a technical challenge.

1. Give Warfare Links 'Weapon-like' Timers
If you activate them, then you have to shut them down and wait a full minute after they stop before you can jump or dock. That really creates an issue for those 'soloists' who park their booster alt on a gate or station so they can jump through if someone aggresses them.

2. Make Warfare Links like Cynos In Regard to POS bubbles
You cannot activate them too close to the forcefield. This stops the link ship orbiting 100m outside the shield ready to duck in at the first sign of trouble. This will require them to be a bit further away from the safety net of the shield and putting them at greater risk. Obviously this will be automatically solved in 2015/16 with the removal of POS' (and therefore force-field bubbles? Something to think about with regard to the new structures).

3. Give Warfare Links a Mahoosive Signature Bloom When Active.
When active make warfare links give MWD style signature blooms making them a lot easier to probe down. Lore wise this can be explained by ships broadcasting huge amounts of data to the fleet members. This will make them very easy to find.

4. Put them on Kill Mails
Now this is likely to be more difficult. Same issues for logistics, did they ever sort that? If it was made so that if a person is on a KM then anyone who provided boosts to that person during the fight also appears on the KM. I'm guessing a lot of l33t solo guys may not want it revealed that they are not solo.... or l33t.

A few potential ways off-grid boosting could be made more balanced in terms of risk.


  1. 1. Make links have a nice long cycle time. 3min maybe even 5min. Cycle must complete before module goes inactive.
    2. Unable to jump/dock while module is active.
    3. Moderate signature bloom while module is active.
    4. Record boosting at time of explosion for the killmails.

  2. Having them on killmails would be a huge improvement, for sure.

    Other then that, on grid isn't something I can get behind it causes to many scaling issues with gang sizes. And I think that if we want to keep links at all they should be available to everyone not just people with enough logistics/numbers to keep them alive.

    I wouldn't be opposed to completely removing them from the game either though. But it needs to be either accessible to everyone or nobody at all.

  3. Ongrid, remove T1 links from battlecruisers and replace with a better role bonus would get my vote.

    The unable to cloak/jump while the module is active with a cycle time instead of the ability to turn it off at once and sig bloom sounds as if it would be a fix, would this be to much of a nerf maybe? I have no experience with using boosters.

    Command ships and logi on killmails would be even better but seems hard to do from a technical viewpoint.

    How much difference does a 'baby booster' make, an alt with max leadership skills sitting in a (cloaked) ship in fleet still hands out substantial bonuses and does not need to be on grid either.

  4. 1. Yes please. Or een better, just like logistics they inherit the timers from people they give bonus to. I hate people parking them on station :S

    2. Yes please.

    3. Is bad, that will make ongrid links harder to hit. Also it's so much fun for me to scan and kill ogb. Probem is the are nowday just parked on a station (in lowsec)

    T2 Command distroyer or similar would be nice. So you can use link with an skimish gang on grid. AFAIK CCP is aware of this issue. Also it's sure that ongrid link will come once PrismX and .. CCP headhoge(?) are done with dogmar.

  5. >3. Give Warfare Links a Mahoosive Signature Bloom When Active.
    I guess Sensor Strength penalty is better, not to punish In-grid booster.

  6. An adaption of the current Bounty + Standings mechanics. ATM if you are in fleet and in the same system, you share the bounty, also shared standings with other fleet members are a thing with mission runners.

    I'd love a varation of this that if you activate link mods then you pick up weapons timers/standing hit of fleet members in the same system.
    If you mix this in with a decent sig radius penalty then there will be an element of risk of using the link alt.

    Alas CCP have had years to make changes, and nothing happens so we're just end up pissing into the wind.

  7. Alternatively, make links cost billions by themselves. Make it cost the same as all the implants, module, whatever neccessary to replicate them.
    Or make it so that they can only be mounted on ships that cost that level of isk... CCP's masterplan is revealed!
    (Troll complete)

    Either remove them or nerf them. You don't have any skin in the fight when you use them, so they should have absolutely the same level of impact: none.

    There are those abusers who say that the 'training time' of links is equivalent to the cost of all the implants and modules, which isn't true. You can only have one set of implants in your head, but you can have as many links as you want.

    Rob K.

    1. My link ship is worth ~3 - 4Bil, never lost it. So I doubt that will work :P

  8. Why promoting a afk mechanic and multiboxing? We need a active boosting mechanic where pilot inputs are needed, maybe something like remote repair mechanic?
    This way a fleet can have a boosting pilot that can feel involved in the battle and not being like dual boxing a second afk ship.

  9. Obviously, the first and foremost thing is to get links on grid. If that cannot be done due to code/grid issues, then don't change a damn thing. Just take the fight into the next system, where the booster isn't. If you can't figure out which char is the booster, then shame on you. If you *have* to take the fight in a particular system, then this isn't small gang (its an op) and doing an op without your own links is stupid.

    1. Taking the fight into another system seems a simple solution, but you've forgotten:
      a) the links can follow you,
      b) solo and small gang people are looking for fights, not to run away,
      c) FW plexers cannot just leave every system that has links in (and one or two guys plexing is hardly an op), since that forces them to leave most of the occupied systems in Minnie FW, for example.

      There's a certain aspect of me that thinks the problems Links present are similar to the problems Supers present. Below a certain threshold of people, they seem an entirely sensible mechanic, but when everyone has them, they become an absolute nightmare.

  10. remove links from the game altogether

    Re-purpose command ships, or even better remove command ships and battle cruisers from the game entirely - with refund of SP. Too many under utilised ship classes in EVE people are trying to find a purpose for.

  11. I suggested creating a class of E-War ships that could completely block or just interfere with Skynet and OGB depending on skills. I would like to see some pirate destroyers instead of T3 destroyers.

  12. One method of trying to 'balance' boosters that has come to I wonder if it is possible to make their effectiveness range dependent... i.e. on grid gives max boost, the further AU away...less and less. Though I freely admit I have no idea how 'complex' the coding for that would be...