Proposed nerfs to the Vexor Navy Issue and Alpha drone skills
Today’s dev blog will discuss some proposed changes to the Vexor Navy Issue and to the drone skills available to Alpha clones.
These proposals were developed with help from community suggestions and feedback, including discussion with the CSM. CCP presented these proposals to the wider EVE community on stage at EVE North in Toronto a few weeks ago, and they are now available for public testing on the Singularity test server so that you can try them out!
These two sets of changes are aimed at somewhat different goals, but they impact the same area of gameplay. These aren’t the only balance changes planned for the next few months, and some of the other balance proposals being developed will be discussed in a separate future dev blog.
Vexor Navy Issue
The Vexor Navy Issue (VNI) is one of the two navy faction cruisers produced by the Gallente Federation. It is currently designed as an extreme drone-based glass cannon capable of very high drone DPS at the expense of defences and with a small drone bay preventing it from carrying extra waves.
This version of the ship has become extremely dominant in the specific niche of farming nullsec anomalies, making it one of the most commonly flown ships in the game. The VNI has an excellent combination of DPS, mobility, ease of use, and price making it the obvious choice for anomaly running. For the same reasons, the VNI has also become one of the most commonly used ships among those who break the rules by engaging in botting.
Whenever a ship becomes this dominant in a specific role, it has the unfortunate side effect of crowding out other options and making the choice of what ship to fly less interesting. CCP made a series of small tweaks to the VNI over time in an attempt to gradually reduce its dominance, however it has been concluded that the best path forward is a larger revamp of the VNI’s design.
This revamp will carve out a new and different niche for the VNI, allowing it to remain an exciting and powerful ship without dominating the world of anomaly ratting.
The goals for these Vexor Navy Issue changes are:
- Present players with a more interesting and diverse set of competitive choices when they decide which ship to use for nullsec anomaly running
- Ensure that the VNI’s new focus represents an exciting and desirable option for players
- Ensure that the VNI’s new attributes and bonuses reflect the wider theme present in Gallente Federation ships and Navy Faction ships
To reach these goals CCP is planning a complete rework of the VNI’s bonuses and stats.
Under this plan the VNI would gain extra drone tracking speed, a new bonus to medium hybrid turret damage and tracking speed, and a new bonus to armor repair amount. It will also gain another turret slot, extra fitting room, improved mobility while using 10mn and 50mn propulsion modules, and a smaller signature radius.
In exchange, the VNI will be losing 50mbits of drone bandwidth, bringing it to the same 75mbits as the standard Vexor. This new version of the VNI will enjoy great damage application, powerful active armor defenses, and high dps if its pilot makes use of both turrets and drones.
The new stat block for the VNI under this plan would be:
Gallente Cruiser bonuses (per skill level):
- 10% bonus to Drone hitpoints, damage, and tracking speed (was 10% HP/Damage/Mining and 5% tracking)
- 10% bonus to Medium Hybrid Turret damage and tracking speed (new)
- 7.5% bonus to armor repair amount (new)
- Slot layout: 4H, 4M, 6L, 3 (+1) turrets
- 3 Rig Slots, 400 Calibration
- Fittings: 850 (+50) PWG, 350 (+40) CPU
- Defense (shields / armor / hull): 1650 / 3000 / 3000
- Capacitor (amount / recharge rate / average cap per second): 1500 / 490s / 3.06
- Mobility (max velocity / inertia / mass / warp speed / align time): 210 (-10) / 0.51 (+0.07) / 9,700,000 (-1,610,000) / 3 / 6.86s (-0.04)
- Drones (bandwidth / bay): 75 (-50) / 200
- Targeting (max targeting range / Scan Resolution / Max Locked targets): 52.5km / 285 / 7
- Sensor strength: 20 Magnetometric
- Signature radius: 130 (-15)
- Cargo capacity: 460
All in all, this version of the VNI would become a very powerful brawling PVP ship, and would become stronger for higher-difficulty PVE activities that benefit from a sturdy armor tank. However it would need to use a combination of blasters and drones to achieve the same total DPS that the old VNI could achieve with drones alone.
When used as a low-attention anomaly ratting ship, the new VNI would be dealing about 33% less DPS than before. The combined changes to mass, velocity, and inertia also mean that the new VNI will be faster and more agile when using a 10mn or 50mn propulsion module, while being slightly slower and less agile than it had previously been when using a 100mn afterburner.
This new set of VNI bonuses fits well into the established themes of Gallente Federation ships and Navy Faction ships. The 7.5% bonus to armor repair amount per level is a mainstay of Gallente ships, showing up on the Incursus, Myrmidon, Brutix, Hyperion, Ninazu, Deimos, Eos, and Astarte among others.
The new VNI will extend this trademark Gallente trait into the T1 cruiser lineup. Tracking speed bonuses are one of the most recognizable traits among Navy Faction ships, and the combination of 10% per level tracking speed bonuses for both drones and turrets makes the new VNI an extremely effective ship for applying damage to small and fast targets.
If you want to test the new VNI out, hop onto Singularity where the ship is seeded on the market for 100isk in many locations throughout the server to ensure that all players can easy give it a try for themselves.
Alpha clone drone skills
A set of targeted changes to somewhat reduce the levels of drone skills available to alpha clones are also being planned. These changes are focused on the ongoing anti-botting efforts, since large scale parallelized farming of nullsec anomalies with alpha clones is a popular tactic among botters.
Planned changes to the alpha clone skill caps:
- Reducing Heavy Drone Operation from level IV to level III
- Reducing Medium Drone Operation from level V to level IV
- Reducing Drone Interfacing from level IV to level III
After these changes alpha clone characters will still be able to use drones quite effectively, but their total damage per second will be reduced compared to its current levels. Alpha clones will also no longer have access to Tech Two and 'Augmented' medium drones, although they will still be able to use Navy Faction and 'Integrated' medium drones.
Players aiming to optimize their damage using alpha clone characters may reach slightly better results using turrets or missile instead of drones after these changes.
Existing alpha clone characters with these skill levels trained will find them disabled while they remain in the alpha clone state, similarly to how other omega skill levels become disabled while a character is in the alpha clone state.
Like the proposed VNI changes, these alpha clone skillset changes are currently available for testing on the Singularity test server. All pilots are encouraged to try out these changes on the test server and pass along their feedback on EVE official forums.