Do We Need Tier-3 Battlecruisers?

So Jester has written about the new Tier-3 battlecruiser information that has been leaked. They look great…. but here’s the thing: Will anyone ever use a Tier-1 battlecruiser any more? Does anyone even use them at all? Should we have been balancing ships that exist before we add new ones?

Some one will eventually make the “Tier-1 battlecruisers cost less than Tier-2″ argument. If you can afford the 20-30m ISK for a Tier-1 BC, you can afford the 30-40m ISK for a Tier-2 BC. It’s really not much difference for what is a substantially better class of ship.

Let’s take a quick look at the Tier-1 battlecruisers.

Prophecy: The Amarr tier-1 BC has a big tank as you’d expect from an Amarr ship. On the other hand, it’s slow, it does poor damage, and only fits six guns. The Tier-2 Harbringer can do significantly more DPS due to bonus and 7 gun slots, has the same speed, more power grid, and better base armor and shield HPs.

The only time I’ve seen a Prophecy seriously used is as a bait ship. With Battlecruiser V, a bunch of plates, and some resist mods, it can sport a lot of EHP for a BC hull. Just don’t expect to do any useful damage with it.

Ferox: The Ferox has the same bonus to shield resists as the Drake, but it has one less mid slot – key for shield tanks – and less base shield EHP. With a bonus to hybrid optimal range, it manages to make blaster suck less, but that isn’t saying much. On top of this, it’s even slower than the Prophecy! Good luck getting in range for blasters. With only six gun slots verus the Drake’s seven missile slots, you won’t be doing much damage either.

I don’t know of anyone seriously using the Ferox, but if you’ve got a reason, post it up. I have heard of some odd fits with autocannons, but these are the stuff of comedy.

Brutix: The Brutix is perhaps the best of the Tier-1 battlecruisers. With seven gun slots, a damage bonus, and an armor repair bonus, the Brutix is able to do a lot of DPS and a lot of tanking. The weakness of the Brutix is the weakness of Gallente ships in general: Hybrids aren’t that good. If they get fixed as rumors say, the Brutix may get a lot more popular. The other weakness is that you need a lot of speed to get into range for blasters; a microwarpdrive plus blasters plus armor repair is a lot of capacitor.

The most common role lately for the Brutix is that of a suicide gank ship. Is anyone using them in PvP, and if so, how?

Cyclone: The Cyclone has all the weaknesses of Minmatar ships and not much to help it out. Eight high slots will let you fit five guns and three launchers, but only the guns are damaged bonused, and for ROF instead of pure damage. The lack of powergrid compared to the Hurricane increases the difficulty in working around the issues. The shield boosting bonus looks good on paper, but the Cyclone’s shield resists work against this – the EM hole in particular.

I don’t see much reason for using a Cyclone when a speed-fit Hurricane will run circles around the other guy and do a ton more damage at the same time.

Comments? What would you do about the Tier-1 battlecruisers? Do they have a role besides “slightly cheaper”?

34 Responses to “Do We Need Tier-3 Battlecruisers?”

  1. I use T1s on occasion, but generally only as a gimmik to see how it works out. Never is it better than the t2 companion, and rarely is it on par. While there are places for them, they tend to fall under ‘skill reasons’. Also, in the Ferox’s case, gas mining. Not that that’s a real legitimate argument in its favor anyway.

    The issue is that there’s not a huge role difference between the tier 1s and 2s. Which is why I was facepalming when I saw the news of tier 3s. The idea that it’s designed with battleship weapons in mind though gives me hope. It’s a role that, while no one was really asking for it, isn’t really filled right now. In capital support fleets, there’s definitely a place for them.

    Then again, I’d rather see that role filled by a tech 2 tier 2 bc, akin to how stealth bombers work with regards to their frigate compatriots.

  2. Honestly? I’ll probably keep my Drakes around for random ratting, but I forsee a lot of T3 BCs flying around (depending on what their final price is), especially that these are true battlecruisers, as has been pointed out umpteen million times.

  3. I think the new tier 3 BC’s are quite balanced, in that they have thin tank, and with no drones and big guns will have trouble hitting small stuff.

  4. Marcus janus Says:

    The bottom line is that the tier 1 BCs still sell so someone somewhere is using them, as to me individually the Brutix was a good entry level bc for missions and pvp, super ├╝ber stuff no, but something all us bitter vets forget is that when your buying your first bc 10ish million isk is alot of money.

  5. I guess these would have limited use in highsec in comparison to their tier 2 brethren, but I still see them in low and null, while not commonplace in comparison to the Drake and Cane, they can still be effective.

    Cyclone is still used often with a XL C-5L shield booster, 5 x D180mm A/C 1 medium neut and then whatever else you can shoe on there (usually HML/HAMs) and with 220′s and a LSB instead of the XLB. It provides an active tank that with boosters is very effective in both low and null sec, often times getting kills on tougher opponents because per your thinking “it’s only a crap tier 1 BC.”

    Ferox are much the same story, their slot layout is not perfected for shield and missiles like the drake, but in it’s time the Ferox was still a feared opponent. Able to fit a substantial passive or active shield tank, rack of blasters, with utility highs that can actually be used it was one of the original surprise rape ships when put up against unsuspecting nanoers. Fitting a scram on this thing and good piloting can make it deadly in the right hands. Some other more lul fits are the laser ferox, the HML ferox, ac ferox…

    Brutix still find use on occasion both the shield gank version and the dual armor rep gank version. While it is largely overshadowed by the Myrm, it is still a strong, DPS heavy ship. with the upcoming changes to blasters and it’s agility and likely speed bonus it will see more use outside of the suicide gank area where it currently provides some competition to the cane given the right situation.

    The irony here is that these ships are indeed under powered in comparison to their tier 2 and now tier three compatriots but with the right skills, fit and ability can still cause trouble, and net impressive kills. Their utility is limited and they might be needing a boost at some point, but are hardly a “dead” class of ship.

    For example look at this fight that a friend of mine got into with his cyclone and a friend in a Drake
    http://www.pewpew.me/rosebud/?a=kill_related&kll_id=70129

    look in his losses for other tier 1 BC losses and fits, while none are particularly recent, the fits are still fairly standard, and the “engage-ability” of these ships is not to be underestimated. So that means you get into fights with them that you might otherwise not get into. People will avoid engaging the Cane but happily engage the Cyclone, often to their surprise it doesn’t end well for them.

    Out of all of them I’d say the Proph is the worst off, pretty much slotted as a bait ship from years past, there is just no avoiding that stigma.

    • Khalia Nestune Says:

      Is there any case in which a Tier-1 BC has an advantage over the same-racial Tier-2 BC? Or are they all in the “make my enemy think I’m easy pickings” category?

      • CCP Loophole Lawyer Says:

        For Gallente, the two current BCs are completely diffferent beasts. The Brutix is a hybrid gunship; the Myrmidon is a drone boat. Both actually see good use in the game, but in different roles, and are thus well paired, which cannot be said of the other racial BCs – where the Tier 2 BC always trumps the Tier 1 BC.

      • CCP Loophole Lawyer Says:

        A Brutix vs. Myrmidon fight would be a tough call. The 7 bonused blasters + 5 unbonused medium drones of the Brutix, against the 6 unbonused guns (usually ACs) + bonused drones (2 heavies, 2 mediums, 1 light) of the Myrmidon. Same armor rep bonus, same base speed.

        With all skills to level 5, I suppose that the Myr would have the advantage, but the Brutix can field a pretty awesome hull (!) tank, while still fitting a full rack of neutron blasters.

  6. Preliatornex Says:

    Normally I really enjoy your posts, but I must admit that I had a hard time following your logic this time ’round.

    First, your title implies that the issue at hand is the potential role of a Tier 3 (btw, you use the term ‘Tier’ in a confusing, ambiguous way). Then, the post instead focuses on the uses of Tier 1 BCs…

    You seem to imply that Tier 1 BCs are the red headed stepchildren of their, presumably Tier 2, counterparts: Harbinger, Drake, Myrmidon, and Hurricane. Just to correct some terminology, if those are the assumed Tiers 1 & 2, the leaked ships would have to be Tier 4. You have advanced BCs that are Tier 3 (and Tech 2; hence the ambiguity.)

    I would contend that these same speculations could have been made about Tech 3 cruisers, but there has been plenty of good use for them. And they have not completely eliminated the usefulness of Tech 1 cruisers. Each has its own role.

    To answer the issue at hand: your ‘Tier 1′ BCs are indeed much less powerful than their other Tech 1 counterparts. For myself, I never wasted any skill points trying to fly a Cyclone or a Ferox. I went from Caracal to Drake the first time around, and then straight for Hurricane when I wanted to bridge to another race.

    To answer the issue raised in the title: do we ever need upgrades? Of course, they are fun and we like to fly new ships. Tech 3 cruisers were arguably unnecessary, but they are far from useless in the EVE universe. These Tech 3 BCs look to be the same. Thinner and leaner but packing a harder punch. They will also likely be much more expensive, hardly suicide gank material, unless CCP does something completely unexpected.

    • Khalia Nestune Says:

      The new BCs are not tech 3 (ie ‘T3′) battlecruisers. They are Tech 1 battlecruisers. The ‘Tier’ system has been in place for a long time and is even mentioned by CCP in their comments re: the new Tier-3 BCs.

      Battleships also have tiers. For example, Amarr:
      Tier 1 – Armageddon
      Tier 2 – Apocalypse
      Tier 3 – Abaddon

      The main thrust of this post is: “Why introduce a new tier of battlecruisers when we have an under-used tier already?”

      • I’m not sure i can agree with you that tier 1 BC are underused. Some get more use than others like all ships,

        Just a few ideas,

        Prophecy – great bait ship
        Brutix – great close range brawler
        Cyclone – good local tank
        Ferox – ok…. maybe this one is underused… put lasers on it :p

        (I’m hoping that combined with the upcoming Hybrid buffs, the Ferox might have its uses)

        Another thing to consider, the tier1′s are also feeder ships for the Command Ship lineup

        I like the idea of adding more ships to the game, as long as they are different from the current selection and add something instead of stepping on another ships toes. And from the leaked stats, these new BC’s are going to be very different.

      • Preliatornex Says:

        After reading this and other comments I understand better. And it changes my perception of the issue. Sorry for the confusion. :)

        I would tend to agree with Aiden that it seems the push is for an anti cap/sub-cap vehicle, and bringing a new platform rather than buffing old platforms is much more interesting.

        As far as the tier 1s go, currently they are ignored already (mostly) as you pointed out, so continuing to ignore them and bringing in a specialized ship to tackle a particular issue doesn’t disrupt the status quo.

        Last point: Price is yet to be determined and I think it will be the distinguishing factor. If it follows the trend to keep tier 3s a little more expensive than 2s, then the tier 3s will become a popular boat. Or they could make them much more expensive and they will have a specialized role.

        What parellels to your argument are there in the BS class ships? Does anyone fly T1 BSs for any reason besides cost?

        • Preliatornex Says:

          I meant tier 1 BSs, not T1…

        • Tier-1 BSes are:

          Armageddon – standard use Amarr BS; the Apoc is a sniper and the Abaddon has cap issues (but great damage to make up for it); the ‘geddon makes a decent mission runner or PvP ship

          Scorpion – ECM. All I need to say.

          Dominix – Possibly the most common L4 mission runner.

          Typhoon – crazy versatile, you can do a ton of things with this ship.

          The Battleships which *aren’t* used very much, on the other hand:

          * Rokh – No one uses sniper Rokhs anymore, as far as I know. Perhaps the new hybrid buff will make it useful again.

          * Hyperion – Tanks better than the Megathron, but without the tracking bonus rails show their limits, and it has less targeting range. Hoping for hybrid improvements to help…

  7. The tier system has been around for a long time, and only pertains to Tech1 (T1) ships, according to what level of the ship skill is required to fly them.

    If the materials that go into constructing these ships are the same or similar to other T1 ships of the same class, then we can expect the price to stabilize relatively quickly once production lines have been established. I would expect a price point 1/4 to 1/3 higher than an equivalent Tier 2 BC. Along with the usual proportion of insurance payable for a T1 ship, they very well may be suicide gank capable, having eight weapon hardpoints while being cheaper than an equivalent eight weapon battleship, even with fittings.

    That said, I do believe the Tier system is not a very good one, as higher tier ships tend to hopelessly outclass those of lower tiers, especially at the frigate up to battlecruiser level. Tier 1 battlecruisers are often underestimated due to their being seen as the ‘red-headed stepchildren’, but that also means a skilled pilot who can utilize them effectively against overconfident opponents has the advantage.

    • Khalia Nestune Says:

      Right. For example, who uses a Slasher when a Rifter is available, except for very new players? Do we really need ships only used by young players?

      • I agree with you that the tier system needs work, because over half the ships in EVE are not or barely used. I’m just not sure what direction should be taken. Should it be abolished, and the ships balanced so they’re all specialized in their own areas but are comparable stat-wise or with respect to the number of slots?

        For instance, the Gallente line has the Tristan as the Merlin’s equivalent in terms of slot layout, but the Incursus is the base hull for the assault ships despite having two less slots than the Tristan, which is the one less than the Kestrel, when both Tristan and Kestrel are the base hulls for stealth bombers. Ostensibly, all four of these are tier-3 frigates.

        I do realize that the Tristan is the only Gallente frigate which uses missiles, and likewise the other three races have their missile frigates become stealth bombers, but the slot layout is not consistent with those.

        • CCP Loophole Lawyer Says:

          Hmm… the Tristan is a quirky boat, since the split weapon system requires much more skill training; yet, even at max skills, it still actually does less DPS and is much slower than the Incursus (which is why many consider the Incursus, not the Tristan, to be the top-of-the-line PVP T1 frig for the Gallente). The Tristan could use a bit of a buff, as well.

  8. I agree with you to a certain degree Khalia; the tier system is a little cruddy right now, especially in the BC family, and balancing over adding is one way to fix it. However, this is Eve, and we do like us some new shinys now and again. To me, it also just adds more flavor, more choices to the game.

    Those tier 1 BCs? Yeah, they’re a little lame, but its always cool (at least to me) when you see someone come up with something innovative and situationally perfect for those ships. For example, the arty-Feroxs in the last AT were pretty cool, and actually work fairly well in certain gang situations despite completely ignoring their actual weapons bonuses. At the end of the day, yes, a shield arty-Cane beats the snot out of the lol-arty-Ferox, but to me its also about adding depth to this game, and I’m good with anything that does that.

    I also see the new ships as two parts “new, somewhat game-changing content to help redistribute power amongst sub-cap ships” and one giant part “we lost 8% of our sub numbers after Incarna dropped and we need some fresh noob numbers in Eve. Hey look, a shiny!”. For pure marketing zing, a new ship goes a lot further than changing the numbers on an old ship thats been around for years.

  9. i use the autocannon ferox to some success, its not a lull fit, or a joke, it is a serious thing and it has pretty good buffer to boot. and do not by any way, rag on the cyclone. slap an extra large booster fit with 425′s and 1-2 med nuets on there, scram and micro, with an em rig, and you can own (depending on situation of course)

  10. Myrmidon gets no love from you does it? :(
    <3 the Myrm. A dual or triple rep myrm is a beast.

    I have to disagree on a couple of the BCs you mentioned (OMG more than one opinion on one site? LOL). I agree they need some major balancing. The Drake simply stomps on almost any T1 BC.

    TL;DR: I agree things need balancing, but I wanna fly the ship I like and wanna fly, which may not necessarily be the ship that everyone flies cause it's the "best".

    But, sometimes people don't wanna use the best. Sometimes people get sick of using cookie cutter ships with cookie cutter fits and get inventive. It's where my gank Cyclone, ninja bait Brutix, and a few more came from. I'd like to seriously be able to use these ships without taking a huge performance hit.

    They're fun, really fun to use. Even you used a gank Proph way back when Khalia. It doesn't need to be perfect to work. But they do need some major balancing. Anyway, I'm never gonna be the person that ALWAYS uses a Cane or a Sleip because it's the "best ship for the job". The "best ship for the job" to me is the one I feel like flying the most on a particular day that has the capability to get the job done.

    Numbers shouldn't dictate which of the ships I fly. I'm not gonna fly a ship I don't like or am bored of. I'll find alternatives. Those alternatives, such as say a Ferox or a Proph, need to be similar. Equal is boring, but having things like the Ferox be as slow as it is while being a Hybrid platform just makes people not want to use it because it isn't practical. That's what needs balancing.

    • Khalia Nestune Says:

      The Myrm *is* a good ship – that’s why I didn’t mention it!

      I agree with you on mixing up ship fit types, but my problem is that 90% of the time, an average fit Tier-2 BC does better than a well-fit Tier-1 BC.

      The Tier-1 BCs should have better roles than “I can fit it differently”. A great start would be to give the Tier-1 BCs bonuses to command link modules; much much less than command ships. This would give them a useful role in small gangs.

      Something like a flat 25% bonus to the command link module associated with the race would work; Armor for amarr, Siege for for Caldari, Skirmish for Minmatar and Information for Gallente.

    • Khalia Nestune Says:

      Oh, and I used a gank Proph way back in the day because I didn’t know any better :P

  11. Jonathan Ferguson Says:

    My sentiments exactly. As I’ve said elsewhere, tier 2 battlecruisers are already OP (particularly the drake and to a slightly lesser extent the hurricane) and so CCP’s solution is to introduce tier 3 battlecruisers. It’s utterly retarded. I’d love to see tier 1 bc get some love (and possibly a corresponding material/price boost as well) instead.

    Buff the ships/mods that are underpowered. Nerf the ships/mods that are overpowered. Perfect symmetry needn’t be your goal, but having a useful (even if slightly inferior to a ‘best in class’ alternative) role for (almost) every ship/mod should be. AFTER you’ve done that, then you can think about adding more ships if there are roles that still need filling.

    I also hate the t2 warfare links. I’ve always despised ‘leadership’ bonuses and wish CCP had done away with those instead of learning skills. If you’re going to insist on having them, at a minimum they should be on-grid uncloaked. Forcing people to have an off-grid warfare link alt if they want to be competitive is beyond lame.

    Finally, the over-the-top dramiel nerf is ridonkulous. After the hybrid buff, the DD is ALREADY the best mass-produced frigate in the game. The destroyer buff makes dramiels that much more vulnerable already. Don’t nerf the dramiel when you’ve buffed virtually every other non-supercap ship in the game. (Full disclosure, I fly the Dramiel quite a lot.)

    CCP is saying some good (if horribly long overdue) words and changing some numbers in a database. That still doesn’t quite convince me they get it.

    • Khalia Nestune Says:

      The Dramiel nerf was long, long overdue. Even with the changes it will still be the most powerful PvP frigate in the entire game.

      If I had any say in it, they’d take the entire drone bay away from it too.

  12. new coments layout – not sure if like

  13. BC’s are probably some of the most common ships we see in faction warfare.
    And while I agree the Prophecy is rubbish for all but bait (painfully obvious bait mind). The other T1′s do get some action.
    Cyclone is a pretty good boat, you see pirates often use them in low sec. No need to dock at stations, and the active tank allows good small engagements.
    Autocannon Ferox is a good cyclone alternative. But perhaps with hybrid improvements we will see more of them
    Brutix is good DPS, always primary, so can be used as a damage sink as well. Maybe hybrid buff will make this more popular.

    I think the Tier 3 BC’s is a great idea. I want more cool ships in the hanger. And having something with BS style gank. That won’t be left on gate when the fleet moves out, is a great addition. Also die dramiels die. Anything that makes them easier to kill gets +1 from me. I hate that scrubs fly them, and can run away before they die.

  14. Kaeda Maxwell Says:

    You do the Cyclone a grave injustice. No it’s not a Hurricane.

    But to a solo pilot a cap injected Cyclone offers a platform that others will engage ‘because it’s crap’. The Cyclone can do some serious punching above it’s weight-class once you pop a blue pill however and those people that where happy to engage a ‘crap’ Cyclone will feature as dead on a killmail.

    Not everything about ships is about stats and slot layouts when it comes to PvP, psychology matters and flying a ship people deem to be ‘crap’ can give you an edge. Overconfident people tend to be sloppy and not playing their A game after all.

  15. An autocannon fitted ferox is no joke, I’ve had plenty sucsess (and fun) with such.
    Take a look a this 1 on 1:
    http://eve.battleclinic.com/killboard/killmail.php?id=14071475
    The only problem is speed, but that counts for most caldari ships ;)

  16. For me Khalia, the difference in Tier 1 BCs is often all in slot layout. I think this mostly clearly can be shown in the cyclone vs hurricane where you have the extra boost in mid slots, presumably for shield tanking. — You could also instead use those slots for utility/tackle, or command processors if you are planning to die to superior firepower, but still want to bring command links. (inb4 anyone whos traind commandlinks should be able to afford a CS or T3)

    As far as the prophecy and ferox, they are very different animals. I am pretty sure they serve best in the ‘cheap’ CS role, given their slot layouts and the way their weapon bonuses are arranged. It would .probably be quite the revitalization if the weapon bonus on these ships were swapped for a link bonus, as mentioned earlier. That said, even an unbonused link is a great thing to have. I think you don’t see that sort of fit however due to a shift in perceptions of risk in EVE. Nobody likes to lose, so its hard regardless to find a fight w/o extra work, except maybe in FW. Even there though, you’ll see alot of the metagaming work that goes into the other parts of the game as well.

  17. Given CCP’s track record of prenerfing everything, I think the teir 3 bc’s will probably be pretty crappy. BUT ccp has done some stupid stuff recently, so i guess we will see. During the first few months the BC will be to expensive to fly anyways. Either way, from a traders perspective I’m so excited about this patch. Been a while since i made billions off a patch speculation.

  18. I used a prophecy when I first moved into a WH. C3 WH… couldn’t solo it but she did allright. I also did some gate camping in a different Prophecy. Love that ship

    Also. The Cyclone (while not as good as the cane) is a lovely ship if you don’t want to spend the extra 10mil for a Cane. I’ve used Cyclones in Armor fleets for incursions, in WHs and running missions (lvl 1 and 2s only)

    So yes, they get used.

    But I can’t wait for the new Tier 3 BCs… need something other then just the Cane and Cyclone.

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