Analysis of Battleship Hitpoint Distribution
In this article, I’d like to touch on battleship hitpoint distribution and how there is a lot of unused potential for battleship tank. This hidden potential is due to a relatively linear split with only minor percent differences between the “primary” tank and other tanking methods.
Let me briefly talk about the “primary” tank to help clarify my position. By “primary” tank, I mean the tank that bonuses/lore favor. For example, Amarr are primarily armor tanked, Caldari are primarily shield tanked, Gallente are a blend of armor/hull and Minmatar are a blend of shield/armor. I believe for battleships especially, the distribution of hitpoints does them no favors in the current meta.
How the Leshak’s design can be applied to other Battleships
With the introduction of the new Triglavian race, their T1 offerings far surpass most other T1 offerings in several ways. Looking past the unique ramp up mechanic and higher dps than any other T1 offering (and some T2), I wanted to really dig into the stats on the Triglavian battleship, the Leshak.
A few things that some of you may, or may not be aware of is how impressive the Leshak is as far as its base stats go. Again, ignoring the insane damage it does, the Leshak is part of most whale hunting parties (hunting capital ships). Even without a resistance or direct tank bonus, the ship is both able to tank 1-2 capital ships on its own, or with logistic support from Nestors or Guardians, can tank even against supers.
There are a variety of reasons for this, and in combination all work together really well for the role its found itself in. The important stats are:
- Low signature radius for a dedicated T1 armor battleship
- 8 lows, so it can squeeze in all the tank you could ever want
- For a dedicated T1 armor ship, it’s also fast, so combining its speed and low signature, can actually sig tank decently against supers that aren’t setup with max application (and can still tank semi-effectively against those with logi).
- It has a high hit point pool for its main tank stat (armor) and doesn’t have wasted HP in areas that it doesn’t need for tank (such as shield/hull). This helps soak up alpha for logi/reps to catch.
The stat I want to focus on the most as a way to improve other T1 battleships is the hitpoint pool for the primary tank. Battleship EHP could use some improvement and a good place to start is in the hitpoint distribution as it can help reduce power creep and/or hitpoint bloat but still achieve an overall buff to battleship tank.
Hitpoint Pool Breakdown
Below i’m going to compare the HP stats of the Leshak and other T1 battleships to show that the Leshak isn’t that different from a standard T1 battleship for its stats, they’ve just been reshuffled to provide an actual better tank.
|Ship||Shield Hitpoints||Armor Hitpoints||Hull Hitpoints||Total Hitpoints|
Note: All HP stats are at max skills for comparison purposes
As you can see, the total hitpoint pool of the Leshak isn’t much different than other T1 battleships, with several actually having more total hitpoints than it. However, those with more hitpoints than the Leshak, have it spread around all 3 tank types, instead of having a more focused approach to tank.
For example, the Raven having only 750 more HP in shield than in hull, or only 1500 more HP in shield than armor, yet is supposed to be a staple shield fleet ship as per Caldari lore, yet it barely gets more shield HP than a Megathron (~900 HP) and actually has less shield HP than a Dominix. So somehow the Gallente, who are primarily armor/hull tanked, figured out a way to make a better shield ship than Caldari.
Now, I know what some of you are going to say; “But there are 2 different kind of battleships, an Attack Battleship and a Combat Battleship and the combat battleships have more hitpoints than the attack battleships”.
For those not familiar, when CCP rebalanced T1 battleships, they balanced them around roles of “Attack” and “Combat”. Attack battleships were more skirmish based and sacrificed some HP for speed and utility. Combat Battleships were more focused on being slower/tankier in fleet fights. So in my example, the Raven is an Attack Battleship and the Dominix is a Combat battleship, which could explain the higher shield hitpoints on the Dominix compared to the Raven.
With that out of way.. those were great “role” ideas back in 2013, now they are barely mentioned anymore and it’s obvious that there is not much difference in reality between T1 battleships. Not to mention every race has 2 combat battleships and 1 attack battleship. Caldari still does not have a 2nd “Combat Battleship” as the Scorpion is an EWAR ship and its hitpoint values fall in with the same (worse actually) stats of the Raven. The Armageddon is also an EWAR ship, but gets damage bonuses and is one of the higher base HP stats out of all the T1 battleships (4th highest behind the Hyperion, Dominix and Abaddon) as it’s considered a combat battleship.
With ECM being changed, I feel like now is a good time for CCP to finally tweak the T1 scorpion and actually provide it with some combat bonuses. I think the ECM strength bonus should remain, but it should lose the optimal range bonus and gain a damage bonus of some kind so Caldari can actually have a proper line-up of combat battleships like every other race. Alternatively, remove the ECM range bonus and give it a tank bonus to better support the new ECM mechanics.
CCP did mention “One ‘Attack’ Battleship for each race, and two ‘Combat’ Battleships for each race (except Caldari, who will retain the only ‘Disruption’ Battleship for the time being).” Which sounds like a hint that they would either introduce more “Disruption” battleships, or iterate on the Scorpion with combat bonuses.
Refocusing the Hitpoint Pool into the Primary Tank:
Now, if we follow the Leshak’s design principle and apply it to T1 battleships, let’s look at some examples of how they could be improved simply by changing the shield, armor and hull stats around to better match the primary tank of the ship.
I’m going to use a Raven in this example, as it has arguably the worst buffer tank out of any of the T1 battleships in comparison to the amount of tank mods you have to add just to get it reasonable.
Raven Base Stats (Level 5 Skills): EHP :34.8k Shield: 8.75k Armor: 7.25k Hull: 8k Total HP: 24k
Here is an example fit of a Raven I’ve made with the intention of being used in a fleet/gang with cruise missiles. As a note, this is not really an optimized fit as it doesn’t have a rigor or missile enhancer or any missile computers. This is purely a “max tank” fit while still having utility with the MWD/MJD to achieve being a cruise sniper. You could further tweak for very specific situations (like removing the MWD and adding more tank), but realistically, this is a pretty basic tank setup.
[Raven, Cruise] Damage Control II Power Diagnostic System II Ballistic Control System II Ballistic Control System II Ballistic Control System II Large Shield Extender II Adaptive Invulnerability Field II Adaptive Invulnerability Field II EM Ward Amplifier II Large Micro Jump Drive 500MN Quad LiF Restrained Microwarpdrive Sensor Booster II, Targeting Range Script Cruise Missile Launcher II, Caldari Navy Mjolnir Cruise Missile Cruise Missile Launcher II, Caldari Navy Mjolnir Cruise Missile Cruise Missile Launcher II, Caldari Navy Mjolnir Cruise Missile Cruise Missile Launcher II, Caldari Navy Mjolnir Cruise Missile Cruise Missile Launcher II, Caldari Navy Mjolnir Cruise Missile Cruise Missile Launcher II, Caldari Navy Mjolnir Cruise Missile [Empty High Slot] Large Core Defense Field Extender I Large Core Defense Field Extender I Large Core Defense Field Extender I
I’ve put 8.5 tank mods on this fit (yes, I even put in a PDU for that extra 5% shield HP bonus just to try to max out the potential without going full 7 mid slot tank. What does 8.5 tank mods get you on a shield tanked Raven? 99.5k EHP, it struggles to break 100k EHP with 8.5 standard/T2 tank mods. It has the same EHP as a tanky Prophecy or a Drekavac, which are battlecruisers.
Now, doing what the Leshak has done, let’s shift the HP stats around to actually focus on the primary tank and not have wasted HP in things like armor or hull (I’m going a bit conservative here for flexibility on the hull).
Raven Modified Stats (Level 5 Skills): EHP :34.4k Shield: 12.2k (+3.45k) Armor: 4.38k (-2.87k) Hull: 7.38k (-.62k or roughly 620 HP) Total HP: 24k (unchanged)
With these changes, base EHP remains almost the same (actually decreases, but this is due to the 0% EM resist and base shield resists) and the total hitpoint amount is unchanged since we didn’t add/remove any, we just moved it around.
Now, this is still relatively conservative for stat changes in my opinion. I could have removed more hull to bump the shield figure even higher, but having some hull HP for buffer is still important, even on a shield ship. Having that much armor on a shield ship though is nearly pointless. Especially for the race that is supposed to be shield focused.
The same fit I linked above, but using these new hitpoint stats is now at 112k EHP. So it gained 12.5k EHP once you actually apply the primary tank to the ship. Now, is 12.5k EHP game changing? Not necessarily, but getting a free 12k EHP (or ~12% more EHP) with no additional tank mods is pretty nice.
Yes, in this example, it would nerf the armor raven, but the armor raven exists because the shield fit is so pitiful and also because its performing a very specific role. Which, let’s be honest, if an armor MJD raven gets in range to be primaried, it’s going to die anyway.
We can follow this same design approach to armor ships by removing some shield and putting it into armor. For Minmatar, as their design philosophy is flexibility and being able to utilize either shield or armor, i’d probably go for removing some hull HP and maybe shifting some shield into armor (since both the Typhoon and Tempest are primarily armor tanked). The Megathron could see several thousand HP taken out of shield and put into armor or split with hull. Same for the Apocalypse. They’re both obviously armor battleships with 4 mids, having only approximately 1000 more armor hitpoints than shield on these ships feels like such a waste of potential tank.
Some may feel that by doing this, we’re removing some of the sand from the sand box since it puts each ship into a specific tank and doesn’t give as much freedom by going against the intended tank of the ship. As someone who has been going against the intended tank of battleships (hull tanked Navy Ravens) for most of my EVE life, I believe it would be a welcome change and help buff the battleship meta without necessarily creating power creep. As it’s not like we’re directly buffing hitpoint amount, just refocusing the existing stats.
To add on this, the reason a lot of people go against the expected tank of a battleship (or any ship in general), is that they are either trying to achieve a very specific goal (max application, range, lock speed etc), or the primary tank of the battleship is poor or causes such a disadvantage (armor tank speed, PG/CPU usage) that its not worth bothering with.
Navy and Pirate Battleships
The same principle would also need to be applied to Navy and Pirate battleships, but probably with a softer touch. Especially on Pirate battleships as they are used in all manner of fittings, but a conservative approach to moving hitpoints around could still be done.
Future Improvements and Battleship Specific Modules
Is this all that battleships need to be competitive in a capital meta and can be countered by all manner of ships? No.
I would like to see battleship specific buffer modules, like XL Shield Extenders (XLSE) or 3200 plates to actually provide extra tank and not feel wasted (looking at you large shield extenders).
That being said, I’d like to see a rebalance on HP stats first and let the dust settle before we start introducing new modules that add more buffer, as shifting the HP stats is more of a “picking the low hanging fruit” in my opinion than releasing a new set of modules would be.