EVE Online is getting on more and more peoples’ radars these days – but it has an entire language and playstyle all of its own. Fear not, though – Flosch is on a mission to clarify Just What’s Going On, starting with EVE class roles…
I must admit, I’d never really thought about the roles that various ships take in EVE battles. It’s fairly obvious that the old trio of tank/healer/dps won’t be much use out there in space, but I’d assumed it more or less broke down into “Big Ship, Small Ship, Cannon Fodder”.
Not so much, as it turns out. Indeed, as Flosch of Random Waypoint explains in today’s fascinating post, EVE’s gameplay is actually a fascinating mesh of different supporting ship types –
The “healer” ships in EVE are called logistics. They are typically highly sought after, because there are no really viable basic ship that do logistics well. You need to train into Tier 2 cruisers, which takes quite some time. Logistics come in two flavors: shield healing and armor healing. Depending on whether the ships in your fleet specialized in increasing their shield or armor resistances, one or the other is more desirable, obviously. I can’t fly Logistics ships at the moment, hence I didn’t bother buying any. I did fit out a basic “POSprey” though. It’s a basic ship that is fit to sacrifice all defenses for an at least acceptable amount of shield healing. The idea is to use it if a Player Owned Starbase is attacked: as long as the control tower of that station is up, it projects an invulnerability field around it. You can sit in the invulnerability field (hence no need for defenses) and help heal the shields of the control tower, hoping the POS will survive the attack.
These are typically called “EWAR” (electronic warfare) in EVE. Debuffs come in four categories. Tracking disruptors make it harder for the debuffed ship to properly shoot enemies. Target painters make it easier to hit a target. This can be especially useful because larger ships have a hard time hitting smaller ships with their larger weapons (due to, for example, slower tracking speed – you see how the two belong together?). Sensor dampeners reduce the lock-on range for ships (you need to lock on targets before you can shoot/debuff/buff them). ECM (electronic countermeasures) make the target completely lose all locks and unable to lock onto new targets.
That sounds very overpowered, and it would be, if not for a small detail: while the other debuffs are applied to a target and do their job 100% of the time, ECM only has a chance of working. Every 20 seconds, the attacker rolls a random number based on their ECM strength, and the attacked rolls a number based on their ship sensor strength (which is based on the ship type – larger ships typically have stronger sensors – and can be further boosted by certain modules). I have halfway decent skills for ECM, so I bought a couple of Blackbirds, which are dedicated ECM cruiser-class ships.”
I love posts that expand my knowledge of the MMO universe, and Flosch does so here in a very readable and enjoyable style. By comparing the various ship types to WoW or other MMO staples, he avoids the frequent acronym-soup problem that can plague accounts of EVE’s universe, and even makes me (slightly) more interested in trying EVE out again myself.
If you’re interested in EVE – even purely from the perspective of reading other peoples’ accounts – I’d highly recommend this post as part of your weekend!
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