Thursday, March 26, 2009

A better proposal

No matter how loudly the checker players whine about Falcons sitting out at 200km 'permajamming' and how emphatically they support the currently proposed changes, their real beef is with jam strength.

And the proposed changes do not affect that at all. Falcons are still going to jam an interceptor with one module everytime and have a 94% probability of jamming a cruiser sized hull with 2 modules.

I suggest the following changes that address the real issues, but neither require scrapping the entire mechanic nor assigning another Caldari role to the scrap heap.

1. Decrease base jammer strength 20% across the board (reduced probability of jam).
2. New ECCM module that adds flat 15 points to sensor strength (more anti-jam, particularly for small ships)
3. SDA bonus applies to all EWAR modules (including ECCM, TD, TP & damps)
4. Falcon base optimal/falloff of 45/45 (brings Falcon in closer)
5. Split Cruiser skill bonus to 10/10 for Optimal and Falloff (brings Falcon in closer)

The results from a Falcon pilot's view:

- 17% reduction in jamming strength and 55% reduction in optimal (max jam fit)


- 26% reduction in jamming strength and 34% reduction in optimal (max optimal fit)

Falcons won't be as powerful, but they will continue to have a role in fleet/small gang work.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

It's still not Checkers 2.0

CCP Devs have reconsidered at least one facet of the proposed ECM nerf, agreeing that the Falcon's role is that of long range jamming platform.

The nerf methodology of flipping the optimal/falloff stats of jammers will bring me closer to the fight and increase the danger of a missed jam.

However, it in no way affects the probability of me obtaining that jam. In other words, if you were bitching about getting 'permajammed' under the existing rules, you will see absolutely no difference. None. Nada. Zero. Your interceptor is still going to get taken out of the fight every time.

The stealth part of the nerf is the removal of the cap useage bonus. I haven't been able to model that quite yet to determine how severe the hit will be, but it will cause more missed cycles because of dry cap.

Here's my reply in the EO thread:

- With the revised Falcon changes
- With the flip of base optimal and falloff ranges
- With no change in either SDA, PDA or PDP stats
- With fit of 3 SDA + 2 PDP (so max jammer)
- With max related skills

Optimal 46% reduction from 227 to 122.
Optimal + Falloff 25 % reduction from 267 to 202
No change in jamming strength which remains at 14.4

The results:

- No change in the probabilities of a jam. If you were on the wrong end of the jam strength vs sensor strength math before, you still are. Repeat, you still are.

- Increased danger related to a missed jam because you are inside engagement range of more OPFOR.

Easy Predictions:

- More Falcons on the field to cover the missed jams.
- Snipers will be the next nerf target, because with engagement ranges > any other ship on the field, the whines will start all over again.

Sorry CCP, but these changes won't obtain the result you seem to be after.

Once the checker players realize that their short range, one dimensional, total WTFOMGPWNZR mobiles are going to get jammed just as often, you'll see the expressed satisfaction with this proposed nerf drop like a rock.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Chess vs Checkers

Checkers is an easy game, really. There’s a bit of strategy involved, but no one writes books about it. You don’t see checkers columns in the newspapers and the World Checker Champion isn’t though of as being particularly brilliant.

Take a checker player & put him on a chess board and things just don’t seem fair to him. The rules are different and the way to win is no longer straight forward. Confronted with this situation, most folks either learn to play chess (appreciating it for what it is) or return to checkers (playing what they enjoy). Few resort to calling for changes in the rules of chess to make it into Checkers 2.0.

These days, in Eve Online, it seems the Devs are listening to the checker players.

Yes, I’m a dedicated, maxed out Falcon pilot with months of invested training time, get that out of the way from the beginning.

However, the implication that Falcons are so overpowered that they need to be drastically changed is simply wrong. And wrong on several levels.

The role of the Falcon is that of force multiplier. It’s weapons are stealth and denying the enemy the ability to inflict damage. It has no tank and laughable DPS. The Falcon rewards pilots, FC’s and corps that understand tactics, that have the patience to prepare the battlefield and have the situational awareness to know when it’s time to move. Falcon’s are for chessmasters, not checker players.

Falcons are extremely vulnerable on their own. With no tank, minimal DPS and no drone bay, there are many ways to get a Falcon pilot to leave the battlefield, denying his force multiplier effect to your OPFOR. Bring your own Falcon or have a cruiser with combat probes ready to drop 1 short range probe, establish a warp in and insta-pop the Falcon or send an interceptor with a flight of Warrior II’s assigned out to the Falcon or warp your own set of anti-Falcon snipers into the fight after the Falcon is revealed or fit an ECCM module. Being ready to counter Falcons requires preparation and planning, but it is not impossible. It’s for chessmasters, not checker players.

And even if the foregoing wasn’t true, the proposed changes will not have the desired result.

To balance things out, Falcons will lose the range advantage, but will get more jam strength, more tank, more agility and more DPS.

And the checker players _like_ this?

Instead of reducing the number of Falcon pilots flying in small gangs, this will actually increase their proportionate representation. If you increase my jam strength 25%, then the number of jammers I need to be ready to apply to a representative battleship target to have a 94% probability of a successful jam drops from 3 modules to 2. So, 94% of the time my 6 jammer set up can service 3 battleship targets now, instead of just 2. What about cruisers and HAC’s? 1 jammer need now for 93% probability of success instead of 2.

Does this sound like a nerf to you?

For those that think that Falcons are overpowered in their effectiveness, I’d suggest you support a combination of the following easy changes:

1. Shorten the jam cycle
2. Reduce the base strength of all jammer modules by 10%
3. Reduce the optimal range bonuses by 5KM per level
4. Introduce scripts to Signal Distortion Amplifiers, 1 for optimal, 1 for strength

The results would bring Falcons closer to the fight and with a lowered probability of success. That is what you want, right?


Saturday, March 7, 2009

Flying a Falcon: the 3 F's

Everything you need to know about flying a Falcon can be summarized by remembering the 3 F’s: Fit, Forethought, and Finesse.


Hi slots: Cov Ops Cloak. Everything else is optional. Probe launcher? Sure, but no ship bonuses, so your scans will take time. Heavy launchers? Ok, but if you are actually putting DPS on someone, you are either in very small gang flight against 1 guy or things have gone horribly bad. Remote armor reppers will earn you some ‘after the battle’ love, but are of no use during the engagement. Salvager, meh. Whatever. The cloak is the reason for the ship. Training Recons to 4 helps a great deal, but I didn’t even consider a probe launcher until I got to Recon 5.

Mid slots: 1X MicroWarpDrive, 1X Sensor Booster II, 4x Racial Jammers. 1X ECCM _or_ 5th racial jammer. The idea is to carry as many jammers as possible. MWD is a given. Sensor booster for quick lock on any other jammers on the field. ECCM if OPFOR is known to fly their own Falcons. Racial jammers in every remaining slot. Double up on known OPFOR favorite ship type.

Low slots: 2x Signal Distortion Amplifiers, 1X Tank (DCU II or 1600 plate) _or_ 3rd SDA.

Rigs: 1X Particle Disruption Projector (jam range) plus either 1x Particle Dispersion Augmentor (jam strength) if you fit tank in lows or 1X additional Particle Disruption Projector (jam range).

The goal is to obtain an engagement envelope in excess of 150-175km and then to maximize your jam strength at that range. Jamming is purely chance based and calculated by looking at the ratio of jam strength to target ship sensor strength. For example, my max jam strength for Gallente in my preferred fit is 14.52. Kaye’s Vexor has sensor strength of 14. 14.52 / 14 > 1, so I would perma jam Kaye’s Vexor. Kaye’s base Onerios has sensor strength of 20. 14.52/20 = 72% probability of a jam. Add an ECCM module to that Onerios and things get ugly (sensor strength goes to 36, probability falls to 40%). Add 3 and sensor strength goes to 89, with probability of 16%.

Megathron’s base sensor strength of 21 gives me about a 70% chance of a jam.

Key concept is that this probability is independent (ie the results of one ‘roll’ have no impact on the next) and is determined separately for each jammer. Quick and dirty method to approximate your total chance of jamming a given target with N number of jammers is to multiply all of the chances of a ‘miss’ and subtract from 1.

So, using our plain Mega or Onerios and 3 Gallente jammers we get:
Jammer 1 - 30% independent - 30% Cum Miss
Jammer 2 - 30% independent - 09% Cum Miss
Jammer 3 - 30% independent - 03% Cum Miss

If you think about it, this also hints toward why I never fly multispecs.


If you have an established base, then you should have tons of bookmarks at your preferred jamming range. For stations, that’s usually measured from the undock point. You want book marks in all directions from that spot and, you want them to all be warpable from each spot. Six is a good minimum number to work toward. High, low, left, right, back, front. Have an offgrid spot or two and you are set.

Secondly, spend time on the OPFOR’s killboard if you can. Figure out what ships their main pilots fly and if there is an overall favorite race. If so, that tells you how to weight your jammers.


Get in the mindset of the young Muhammad Ali. Long range jabs of power. Nimble. Moving about the battlespace, out of range of the other guy, frustrating his ability to hurt you (or your fleet mates). Don’t uncloak too soon. Always be moving. Co-ordinate jams with other Falcon pilots. Be alert for ‘ceptors! When they start heading your way, prepare to warp to the other side of the battlespace (using one of those handy bookmarks!) or to bounce off your offgrid & come back.

Prioritize your jamming. Put your racial matches where they will do the most good first, then follow up by putting anything left back on the target that you wish to have jammed the most.

Don’t initially jam targets that are sitting on the undock point or a gate. You want them to aggress so that they have a timer.

Don’t spam all the jammers you have allocated to a target at once. Hit one, wait 5 or 10 secs and then hit the next one. You want to minimize the amount of time between ‘rolls’.

Hope you find something useful here!