I was thinking about warfare links and off-grid boosting whilst reading Suitonia’s post on them and simultaneously furiously theorycrafting ways to defeat T3 destroyers with a T1 destroyer fleet. I didn’t get very far with the “beat T3 with T1” idea, but I was throwing links around and you know, it really made a difference for each side of my little war that I mentally mapped out whilst staring at dozens of different fitting windows across my screen.
Links are powerful, that is true. They are also very difficult to counter, especially with the command ships that can still fit a decent tank on their ships and cram their ship into an un-bumpable nook on a station.
But I think, in light of the knee-jerk response to the AegisSov and Phoebe changes, as players we should take care to not… overstate the reality of the situation. Many may disagree but I’m pretty sure CCP reads what we write, and it’s not easy to dismiss an idea that seems to be reverberating across many of the more vocal players in your game.
Right now, I feel that it could be possible to use this off-grid booster (OGB) situation to set a foundation or standard for future changes to gameplay. CCP are already heading down the path of incremental changes, as seen from their decision to stretch out the deployment of the new sovereignty system across several patches, with the new citadel structures yet to come, but the entosis link system already deployed. Also, I quite liked how they ever so gently bumped Ishtar Online into the pages of history, with a few seemingly small nerfs and a slight drop in DDA efficacy.
It might just be possible to take this a bit further, and apply it to something like off-grid boosting. Say, the next patch brought about an overall 5-10% reduction in effectiveness of warfare links. Is it a huge game-breaking change? I would argue no. Is it sufficient, perhaps not. But rather than drop a total overhaul of the mechanic, and end up having to bear the brunt of player outrage and being forced to backpedal, why not simply move to the position you would’ve ended up after reverting the initial changes in the first place? Rather than take two steps forward and one step back, save energy, take one step forward.
The solution to complex issues like ‘making OGBs viable but not overpowered’ usually lie beneath the surface which most people will tackle with suggestions of ‘remove links’ to ‘give them weapons timers’ to ‘make them on-grid’. There is usually a more elegant solution to these things. And to find it, we need to chip away at the block to uncover the marble angel beneath, rather than crudely hack and slash and be forced to patch up the ragged mess we’ve made with low-quality material.
I won’t pretend I’ll get this right, but lets say we do drop a 5-10% effectiveness nerf on warfare links. A fleet of 5 heavily tanked T3 destroyers could lose anywhere between 2000-5000 overall eHP. A fleet of 50 battleships… well, you get the point. The link ship itself is slightly weaker as well.
Who knows where the scales will tip and the more risk-averse OGB users will decide the effectiveness they gain from their OGB is not sufficient to risk such a ship in use unless surrounded by friends. Could it be that 5-10% is all that is necessary?
And if it isn’t, the next iteration on warfare links could branch off depending on how we think the issue should be dealth with. Penalise the booster, or the boosted? Reduce effectiveness of warfare links on the OGB itself, or furthermore reduce the effectiveness of links on the actual combat ships. Either way, it’s simply small edits to the existing system.
Baby steps, I guess, is what I’m trying to push here. Not just for links, but for many things that might require changes that the players believe have to be ‘big’.
I just wanted to say it, just in case something big is planned. Remember to consider the option of taking it slow. As fun as it does sound to remove OGBs entirely… >:)