|The Nerf Wheel|
Titans here and now
I'm going to run with three assumptions here that I think most people agree on:
- Supercapitals should be very powerful (hence the price tag / training commitment).
- Supercapitals should not be able to operate effectively solo, or in groups of only supercaps.
- Supercapitals have no viable, cost-effective counter other than more supercaps.
AT PRESENT, nearly every subcap fleet doctrine in the game right now can be countered by another subcap fleet doctrine. Even capital ships can be relatively easily countered by subcaps. Supercapitals, on the other hand, cannot. Even a relatively small group of supercapitals is a very hard nut to crack for subcaps, and in big fleet fights, the moment one side deploys supercaps en masse, the fight is effectively over unless the other side is ready to properly counter. There is no subcap ship that is designed to kill capitals. This is not consistent with real world military advances where each time something appears too powerful, a counter is eventually invented. Does CCP have any plans for this sort of thing?
As for the proposed changes, the tracking changes are about what I expected and anyone thinking this was never going to happen has been overdosing on mindflood. The number of lockable targets is arbitrary and a bit silly but hardly an issue. The scan res is pretty much the one thing everyone who is upset agrees is over the top. Aside from all the arguments about Cormack SBs, I mean, what are Raggy or Levi pilots supposed to do here? For crying out loud, a base of 5 is just nuts. Why not just halve it to a base of 20-25? When you factor in lag / TiDi, etc..., 30-40 seconds to lock anything is still a looooooooong damn time.
This path of action by CCP feels to me like a ‘race to the finish line’ for folks (both Devs and players) that just want the subject to go away. My perception is that it essentially shelves titans indefinitely in terms of iterative balancing while the design team works on things they would rather work on. Is just nerfing things really all there is left? Going for the easy win by nerfing the guns or whatever just seems a cheap way to go. What happened to using IMAGINATION to solve these kinds of problems?
The larger problem
What's ironic about this 'nerf' or whatever is that, despite cries of 'victory'', it's not what even Mittens really wanted - he got the bare minimum. The members of CSM6 ALL wanted a proper re-vamp and we now have no idea if or when that will happen. My problem with this whole thing isn't even so much about ~titans~ as it is that a thing is being dealt with by kicking the can down the road (again). We've all heard these arguments about lack of resources before and now that there are more resources, the high end stuff is being shelved in favor of using a hammer instead of a scalpel.
Many of CCP's replies on this subject reveal that much of the problem is in how "Agile" development is a big influence on why we're not getting a proper solution here. Basically what's happening here is that "Titan Balancing" has been added to the backlog list of things to do soon(tm). For the sake of argument, every item in the backlog gets two scores - an "Effort" score, which describes how hard it is to do and a "Benefit" score, which says how "good" the end product will be. The ratio of Effort / Benefit becomes the priority given to every item in the backlog. The higher the priority, the sooner it gets done.
Until somebody actually sits down and does some engineering design, allocating an "effort" score is notoriously difficult. Often it gets set far too high because nobody feels like doing that particular job (especially when it comes to THIS topic!). The result is that anything with a low ratio gets pushed to the end of the queue. If the Benefit and Effort 'scores' aren't correct, important stuff can end up so far down the queue that it NEVER gets done. How many times can you kick a can down the road? This is the situation we are looking at AGAIN.
This level of play is something that many of CCP's most loyal customers spend years working toward. Frankly, once you hit 90M skill points per toon, finding something new to train is - well there pretty much isn't. Like many older players I have multiple alts, and my total skill points from just 3 characters are over well 250M, which means that at the bare minimum I have Industry & Trade, one racial supercap and all four races subcaps covered. After nine years in the game, there's nothing new to train for and the 'end goal' for a lot of people (be it anything from a carrier to a Titan) continues to be put aside so the focus can be placed on things whose 'benefit' is certainly debatable. I'd love to see the Bellicose do something useful, but at the cost of shelving a proper re-work of one of the most visible goals / isk sinks in the game?
For those of you that have not seen it, Shadoo posted a few ~words~ that sum up a lot of my frustration: it's not that I'm mad about this particular nerf, more in what it represents for the (non?) future of proper iteration on the class:
Wise words to be remembered as we go forward:
"Short term fixes have a nasty habit of turning into long term features, which simply serve as a time-delay for the problem at hand. And I think you will find there are too many of these things today in active use or in active build to be able to deal with this in any "quick fix" capacity without simply making the problem worse to solve in the long term."In closing, I do not like the precedent this sets for iteration of game play that sits stagnant for years at a time. CCP needs to do more than look at simple cost / benefit and consider the larger issues from a player perspective before committing to making simple 'number tweaks' when what is needed is a proper overhaul. This is the same kind of thinking that has allowed things like Factional Warfare and Industry to linger in apathy for ~millions of years~.