Combat Recons



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?



23 comments:

  1. D-scan countermeasures is an interesting idea, although one could argue that the combat recon's invisibility to d-scan is such a countermeasure (albeit limited on a single ship).

    An area of effect d-scan invisibility, if enabled similarly to the heavy interdictor bubble, would be interesting. However, just like the anchored structure version, the presence of the field would show up on d-scan, just not the protected fleet inside. Of course, if it would also hide the plex from d-scan if the beacon was within the bubble, now that would hve some implications ! You couldn't tell if your ship could enter the plex until you warp to the d-scan bubble pointer. Split fleets could only have their frigates enter, or you might warp a frigate gang into a large plex with a 8 man cruiser/BC gang in waiting.

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  2. Between this and and WCS, you seem to have no inclination to do much work to get your targets. The d-scan countermeasure is called "probes." Perhaps you've heard of them?

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    1. I admit I often get a good chuckle from one-dimensional thinkers, but seriously? I think you'll find things much more interesting if you open your mind to the idea that people can openly discuss ideas and concepts without being so literal in their interpretation of those concepts. That is, after all, the heart of an intelligent and open dialogue.

      And yes, I will rephrase that for you. Duh!!

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    2. ”…primarily resulted in them being used to hide inside of plex in Faction Warfare space and catch ships warping in on them.”

      Really? So Combat Recon’s aren’t being used ‘primarily’ anywhere else in EVE hmm?

      ”…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.”

      Really? now a statement that they have not been an ‘essential’ part of our fleets and again with the ‘primarily’ hmmm?

      ” 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.”

      Yes… it is.

      As long as you can figure out a tactic to ‘blow them up real good’ then yes… it really is the point. Move and counter move, tactic and counter tactic… the changing meta and gameplay are all a part of the ever changing ‘verse… just cause you dunt like a particular meta, tactic or module’s use… dunt mean it’s wrong.

      Man all the rest of your points and this whole post are just more ways in which you are asking for the game to do your job or make your job easier… same as all the WCS in FacWar ‘this is broke’ stuff (and you aren’t even IN FacWar)… and that’s all it is.

      Don’t beg to change the game man… adapt to the changes and overcome them, fly in gangs, use the power of the social game. We all know that what you want is ‘solo’ gameplay… your sacred honorable 1v1s… but as you yourself point out all the time it’sa social game… so play socially. The guys in the Recon's obviously are... =]

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  3. Part of the issue with d-scan disruption is the capability (especially if it's over an area) is quite how it changes the gameplay in w-space where d-scan is truly king.

    It's a hard one to balance but when looking at d-scan you can't ignore w-space

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    1. Granted. We did try to get a WH expert on last night but we weren't able to on such short notice. I think we all appreciate what a unique challenge WH space represents.

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    2. What you both are missing is the standard for any change or new things... it cuts both ways.

      I don't know if I am a WH Expert... but I have lived almost exclusively in Anoikis for 4 years, I have setup a POS and lived in every class of hole except C5, I have been in corps as small 4 live members and as big as SYJ Alliance... no idea how many players but SYJ had over 500 toons and easily fielded fleets up to 30, 40 or so guys when we fly with them... does that qualify?

      That said, all the things you find as disadvantages when facing Recon's are strengths when using them... Heck Rixx... ever thought to fight invisible fire with invisible fire??

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  4. They work just fine in wormhole space, so all your proposed changes can all go to hell. If there's a problem with FW, all CCP has to do is add Recons to the list of restricted ships.

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    1. Of course. But pardon some of us for wanting more out of our game than a list of bans and ultimatums. Y'know, things like interesting and challenging gameplay, for example.

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    2. I have to agree with the concept that combat probes and scouts are viable counters to combat recons. Again you seem to have the narrow point of view of the hardship on the solo hunter enter a plex. D-Scan immunity hurts your game style, WCS hurt your game style. You have to fit mods to counter these or risk being ambushed or the prey escaping. This sounds like "interesting and challenging gameplay" not the removal or limiting of either these.

      In your WCS article you mention scouts being one of the tools to replace the need for WCS. Why is that not valid here? If you have a scanning scout you should know what is in a plex before you enter it. This negates any advantage the recons have. Or if you, don't hit me, sent in a WCS fit scout, that had a chance to survive whatever unknowns were on the other side?

      Also, in your WCS article you mention d-scan and pre-aligned being 2 more tools. If scouts are not a realistic expectation, and there are d-scan immune ships then only 1 of those tools is even useful. And if a Lachesis tackler lands on grid before you realize it, then even pre-aligned could not be enough. Not saying WCS are a good thing, but you just painted me a picture where it is the only counter to a certain attack.

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  5. D-scan disruption would have the potential to create some interesting game play. Perhaps a module for the combat recon class rather than a hull ability would be more balanced. Such a module could work like a AOE D-scan cloak, a high slot module with operation similar to a covert ops cloak. With an activation limit of one to two minutes and cool down of about six minutes with max skills such a module could provide interesting hunting and evasion tactics without being a "win button." Also, fitting requirements could be set so that fitting the module would require choices be made in sacrificing some of the ewar ability and/or tank of the ship. Thoughts?

    Erosian Aideron

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    1. I think such a set-up puts more control in the hands of the players, something I'm always in favor of.

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    2. There were a number of interesting proposals to make the mechanics of D-scan better that came from the Recon change.
      I'll plug my own:
      http://evechecklist.blogspot.com/2014/12/d-scan-towards-unified-scanning-and.html

      Short answer: Take away the perfect, instant information of D-scan and give Recons the power to recon, with countermeasures available to players as well.

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    3. I have to say I've just read it and haven't had the thought, but those ideas are solid.

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  6. Or maybe have them show up on d-scan if someone has an active sensor booster on his ship?

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  7. I like the tandem idea, especially if it can show potential for bringing back BC and BS to usable fleets. But I don't see how. Warp speed bonus maybe? Dunno the game mechanics well enough to evaluate my proposal though. But I'd really like to see my cane usefully back to the scene...

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  8. "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."

    Dear god, won't someone think of the solo-ers! Don't we all know how abused Solo PVP is right now! There should be a buff for not being in fleet, and being in fleet make you 90% webbed at all times

    Come on, Rixx! You're better than this. They're not some omnipresent threat to your way of life. They're not even well disguised. You're not a headless chicken, charging into every situation with no thought. Only lazy PVPers get caught by bait-recons, and if you're anything, you're not that.

    If you want to have a sensible discussion, portray them as what they are: a rarity. I travelled 70% of Minmatar FW space yesterday, and I saw one gang. Alarmist attitudes don't suit you, and it makes me respect you a lot less. You're playing fast and loose with the facts if you think that the primary use of combat recons is to bait inside FW plexes. Hint, they're fleet ships.

    I get it, they're irritating. So is cloaking, so is WCS, so are Jump Freighters. But Rixx, please, get irritated over things that matter. I don't believe this is one of them.

    Rob K.

    (Hoping you'll read this in the spirit I wrote it, which is always a challenge between us :D )

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    1. Oh sure, I'm taking everything you say from now on as if Louis CK is saying it to me. :)

      Look, I was really trying hard NOT to be alarmist here and simply have a discussion about the current state of Combat Recons with the change that was made back in January. I think enough time has passed now to ask, "is it working"? And I'd have to say the answer is "not really".

      Again, the change isn't ruining anything, least of all my play. The only time I've been caught is when I came to someone else's rescue. But maybe there is something better for this class of ship, personally I like Recons and I want them to be awesome. Just like I want every ship in Eve to be, useful, interesting, and full of potential.

      I don't see what is wrong with that.

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    2. Now, to reply to the lower half of your post. FIrst, I've abbreviated your suggestions.

      1)Warp Speed. Warp speed bonus: faster than cruisers.

      2)D-Scan Immunity Timer.

      3)Scanner Countermeasures. D-scan scrambler, false intel.

      4)Tandem Effects. By our power combined... :P

      Now. my replies:

      1) If your aim is to make combat recons essential fleet ships, I believe this would be counter-productive. Combat recon tank is already lower than the DPS line ships they accompany, and making them an even more obvious primary (because nothing else is on field) will do nothing more than kill them quicker. For solo work, (have you ever seen a combat recon solo well? [Apart from Rapid Light Rooks, which are somewhat boring]) it has interesting implications. Racing frigates around the solar system is somewhat tempting :).

      2)As you said, anything that relies on player skill is better than a flat bonus. I just wonder if it wouldn't be more useful to create a 'd-scan supressor' which works for a limited time only. Of-course, this brings up WHspace problems. We don't want to make bringing a C-recon compulsory.

      3)Honestly, I'm not a fan of more false information in the d-scan window, unless it is combined with other massive changes: removing local, standings and more. Perhaps, should they scramble the d-scan window, they should do it for all ships. Making bringing a c-recon have downsides as well as upsides.

      4) Maybe I'm being too literal, but isn't this exactly what Logistics ships are? A ship class that works directly in tandem with other ship classes? I probably am =/. I imagine you mean a more synergistic route, where having two ships means 3 equivalent ships worth. A force multiplier.

      We've seen CCP radically rebalance ship functions before. They will probably do it again. Imaging other functions for ships is always interesting, but it has to be useful for all of EVE. Ships have a function, no matter what fleet, group or individual flies them.

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    3. and replying to your reply, because this can only get more confusing :D.

      That's one point where I'm rather conflicted. Yes, I think that Recons in medium plexes are rather silly. I don't think it has anything like the defining role you suggest it does. So yes, there could be something better (in FW plexes).

      However, my next thought is "How well are they being used in other security space?" Looking at the Eve-kill losses and kill on the Lachesis, Null-sec is far more dominant than low-sec on both measures. I can't pretend experience of much beyond low-sec, so I would need someone else to speak up. However, of my fleet experience in low-sec. Lachesis are invaluable for tacking in lower alpha environs. We use T3s only because their tank and dps is better. If it was worse, T3 cruisers would be changed out for specialised ships far quicker.

      Perhaps that's one solution: change T3s so that they're not so good at multi-tasking. I'll just run through some numbers: my Proteus has 170k ehp, my Lachesis has 70k. I know which I'd rather fly in bigger fleets...

      Rob K.

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  9. On the one hand make them the same as WCS. They don't work inside plex's...maybe the plex's should be like the FW arena they are meant to be?

    On the other hand FW plex's are for fighting over by the Malitia. It would be unfair limit what they can use in there.

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  10. So next weeks post will be concern over WCS fitted combat recons?

    I found the change to the effectiveness of d-scan a welcome opening that I hope CCP will follow up. D-scan is perfect, in what should be a imperfect world. Not like the terrain obscures the view. Nor can can I camouflage into the surrounding universe. (I can only cloak). Part of Eve's appeal is its lack of balance.

    Picture what could happen if ships had a type of ghillie suit which disguised a ship to look like veldspar or space debris?

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    1. Like this: http://eveoganda.blogspot.com/2010/07/chameleon-module.html

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