Friday, 23 May 2014

Balancing Freighters - why a nerf is very hard to avoid, the rule of three


A quick post about the freighter rebalance:

A lot of folks have called the proposed change a nerf, and with good reason.  These ships *have* been nerfed... but I'm not sure it was avoidable.

First, the goal of CCP was to make these ships more customizable, without significantly boosting their power - they didn't want to see a 500K ehp freighter or one with 3 million cubic metres of cargo.   This seems reasonable.  So a nerf accorss the board was needed to reduced the post-rigged stats.  But what stats?  A freighter has 3 important stats:

- Cargo space
- Tank
- Align time

(There is also warp speed but let's ignore that one for now as I believe the above 3 are more important.  You'll see my argument is still valid with those.)

So in theory, if you had one cargo rig, one tank rig and one agility (ie align time) rig, you would have about the same results as before... but that can't work!  If that was the case, having (using cargo as an example) a ship with 2 cargo rigs would have had a fair bit more of cargo, and 3 cargo rigs would have been massive.  So the only way this was tolerable for CCP was to have the nerf so bad that only by putting 3 rigs in one stat would you exceed previous capacity, at a significant cost to the other 2. 

This design space of "3 stats, 3 slots, don't buff too much" leads to an almost inescapable nerf. 

You can see the thread here:  I'll note that Fozzie wisely chose to go away from rigs and toward low slot modules, and I haven't had time to crunch the numbers yet... but I think the fundamental challenge remains.

Ironically, I'll note that having *less* slots to work with might make balancing easier... 


  1. Actually the 3 rigs have already been scrapped. The plan now is to give them 3 low slots instead.

    1. Yes, I know, I've already noted that. However, I just realized that the PG and CPU restrictions are so tight that Fozzie may have created a way of out of the dilema the 3 slots was creating...