So last night I sat down with Sard Caid and Bocci Sammich to discuss the current state of Combat Recons in Eve. Primarily from a Low Sec perspective. This discussion sprang out of yesterday's post and the subsequent back and forth on Tweetfleet.
For those of you that don't have the time to slogg thru an hour long discussion, I'm going to try and recap. Essentially we are all wondering, now that several months have passed, if the recent d-scan immunity change to the Combat Recon ships is working or not working. The Rook, the Curse, the Huginn and the Lachesis no longer show up on d-scan. This change has primarily resulted in them being used to hide inside of plex in Faction Warfare space and catch ships warping in on them.
Is this a good thing or not?
I'm just going to tell you what I think. The change feels tacked on, a desperate attempt to give a squeezed chip class a defining role without much thought given to the consequences. As I wrote on the day of the change, I had some reservations. Now, four months later, it seems my concerns were justified. Combat Recons haven't suddenly become a plague or anything, but they also haven't become an essential part of fleets either. Instead we are primarily seeing them parked inside Medium and Large Plex with a bait ship. Last weekend I saw three of these Recon Camps in three Systems. Last night someone had two of them set up in next door Systems.
Not the end of the world, as usual we'll all figure out a way to blow them up real good. That isn't the point. The point is, does the ship class deserve better? And what does any of this have to do with Reconnaissance?
Out of last night's discussion some good ideas came up:
• Warp Speed. If these are indeed Combat Recons why not give them a slight boost to Warp Speed? Right now they are right along side other Cruisers, a slight bump would allow them to arrive on field ahead of the fleet. Y'know, to recon.
• D-Scan Immunity Timer. What if the immunity to d-scan was a timer based action built into the ship? Subject to normal skill levels and counters from other players? Interesting idea, anything that adds an element of player control is a good thing in my opinion.
• Scanner Countermeasures. Instead of being invisible what if Combat Recons could scramble d-scanners and provide false intel to other players? I've also found it strange that our d-scanners are all knowing and instantly responsive tech without countermeasure. Maybe it is time to start thinking about ways we can affect them?
• Tandem Effects. Other than Mindlinks, right now we don't have any specific ship classes that work directly in tandem with other ship classes. What if Combat Recons worked in Tandem with BC and BS Classes to provide an immediate benefit when on grid together? This would be a new way to think about ships flying together, but it might be enough to give both ship classes a boost. Each race could have a different bonus for example.
As more and more ships get added to Eve more and more ships will be pushed to the boundary. Perhaps it is time to start thinking differently about some of the ships we already have, instead of adding more? Despite years of balancing and re-balancing there remain ships that rarely see use. (I'd personally rather see more new ships AND a re-thinking of certain ship roles, why can't we have both?)
What are your thoughts?