This is the correct music to accompany this post. So sayeth CCP Fozzie.
CCP unloaded a veritable torrent of Rubicon information on the playerbase today. In this article, we'll take a look at Interceptor rebalancing and Warp Speed & Acceleration refactoring. See our other article for new Sisters of Eve ships, Electronic Attack Frigate rebalancing and more.
I Can't Drive 55
Warp speed in Eve has been a point of frustration for pilots in EVE for a very long time. While top warp speeds vary, acceleration to and deceleration from maximum warp speed is fixed, and as a result, you often never hit your top speed over shorter distances. If you've ever chased a battleship in a frigate, only to watch him get away time and again, this is likely why.
That changes in Rubicon. CCP Masterplan has re-written the acceleration system, and Team Five-0 is seizing this opportunity to revamp the balance around warp speeds entirely.
Despite the complexity involved in implementation, the details are simple. The same attribute that sets maximum warp speed also modifies acceleration and deceleration. Fast ships will, in CCP Fozzie's words, "actually warp fast." Likewise, big ships will warp slow. To differentiate between ship classes, warp speeds are also being tweaked across the board. Tech I cruisers will warp at the same 3 AU/s they do now. Anything smaller will be faster, while anything larger will be slower. Tech II ships will be faster than their Tech I counterparts, considerably so if their role demands it. Check the before and after to find out how fast you'll get around post-patch.
Needless to say, this change is guaranteed to have a dramatic effect on the PvP meta. We'll leave the exploration of that particular rabbit hole to the comments section, however, and move on to the Interceptor changes.
Can't Touch This
As CCP has worked to rebalance Tech II ships, the common theme has been specialization. No rebalance so far has showcased this better than the Interceptor balancing planned for Rubicon. They will receive one big buff via the warp speed revamps. Combined with a new role bonus - bubble immunity - they will become the unquestioned kings of mobility. And just in case you thought CCP never listened to the players or the CSM, this idea actually comes from former CSM member Prometheus Exenthal. Other common changes include a buff to lock range (although not so much that you won't want to consider lock range upgrades) and a reaping of cargo capacity. If you want to leverage their bubble immunity to build an uncatchable cyno ship, be prepared to gimp your fit.
First up is the Crusader. The majority of the changes here are focused on fitting, with an extra 20% to grid and CPU alike. That opens up a lot of new options for what has historically been an exceedingly difficult ship to fit, and is really all it needs.
The Malediction is shedding its utility high slot in favor of a fourth midslot. That combines with more armor HP to offer the option of more tank. The other major change here is swapping the rocket damage bonus for a rocket and light missile RoF bonus, slightly upping its DPS and allowing it to use light missiles as well.
Moving on to Caldari Interceptors, the Raptor is getting a significant makeover. It's formally moving into the "combat" role, where it will function as a kitey shield oriented Taranis of sorts. As a result, the tackling range bonus is gone, replaced by what is unfortunately a mostly useless shield resist bonus. The upshot is that it's picking up a considerable buff to grid, as well as better speed and agility. According to CCP Fozzie, the net comparison to the Taranis is "a bit less HP, less damage and less tracking, but has advantages in speed, agility, and range."
With the Raptor shifting into the combat role, the Crow takes over its spot as the fleet interceptor. The Missile Velocity bonus is being attached to the Caldari Frigate skill and being replaced by the typical scrambler & disruptor range bonus. It's also picking up a small HP buff, a bit of extra CPU and a fourth mid at the cost of its fourth high. The tradeoff for all of this is some extra mass, nerfing its agility & top speed with a prop mod.
Out of all the combat type Interceptors, the Taranis was in the best shape, and so will see minimal changes. A small buff to hitpoints is offset by a smaller reduction in mass.
The Ares, on the other hand, sees more significant changes, and a sneak peek at the future. The Gallente Frigate bonuses have been replaced with twin 10% Small Hybrid and Rocket/Light Missile Damage bonuses, and a second launcher has been added. That gives it the equivalent of 3 launchers or turrets, or the option to use both for maximum damage. It's no Taranis, but it should be able to outdamage anything else, and match a Crusader for DPS. Expect this paradigm to reoccur on the Lachesis and other Roden ships. A nerf to impulse speed is balanced out by a reduction in mass, with the net result of slightly higher overall speed with a prop mod.
Finally, the Minmatar Interceptors. The Claw gets a small damage buff by splitting the existing 10% damage bonus into two 5% damage bonuses. More fitting allows for a better tank or more effective artillery fits, though the continued lack of a third midslot for a web hurts the latter. An extra 5km lock range brings the Claw up out of the basement, putting it on par with the Taranis in that regard.
Like the Taranis, the Stiletto was also in pretty good shape, and so will see minimal changes. It loses some mass so as to give it a bit more of a mobility advantage compared to the new Crow.
Both of these changes will be on SiSi on October 7th for your testing.