Now, it's the EVE community. There's going to be some whining and banging of pots and pans. But, some of it struck a chord with me and put words to the feelings that I had rumbling around behind my brain.
Folks are saying that there's too much risk for too little reward. They're saying that that they're too hard. Or require a big shiny faction fit in order to be completed.
Overall, I think CCP hit pretty close to the mark. Although some adjustment is probably warranted, I wouldn't do it just yet (let's collect more data), and I wouldn't make sweeping changes. But I do think that they need to get the balance a nudge or two before cranking things up with Cruiser sized burners.
Things I like:
- I like that burners are difficult.
- I like that they're making people think about their fits and affecting their skill queues.
- I like that there's a whole new strategy and tactics being developed for them (I saw the term "drop bait drones" being used as a means to break warp scram during an unsuccessful burner run and thought it was great, i.e. turning the AI's desire to murder drones against itself).
- I realize these are pretty high level, conceptual bullet points, but all in all, I'm reasonably happy. All in all, Burners are pretty cool.
Things that Suck:
- I wish that we'd drop from warp a little further from the target, to try to get our bearings before being instalocked and ganked. Either add some distance or turn down the npc's lock time a bit.
- Balance is tricky, but the current setup yields a little bit of rock-paper-scissors(-lizard-spock). Each burner is designed with obvious counters, meaning that a relatively narrow range of ships will be successful. Youtube is yielding a surprising number of different setups for some of the flavors, but given the number of frigates in the game, we're using far too few of them on Burners.
- Balancing around overheated faction webs kinda sucks. A near mandatory ~95M isk investment is poopy. Wish Mr. Sansha's orbit range was 10km instead of 15km, for instance (even a 12km orbit would let me do it with meta4 and an off grid booster).
- Once you drop from warp, it's very much about getting all the right buttons mashed to facilitate a kill. Once guns are firing and modules are blinking appropriately, there's not much to do but wait for the eventual success or fail. If CCP /really/ wanted to make things interesting, the AI would get smarter and do things like random orbit ranges and other maneuvering switchups that would make you react during the fight.
- It's over too soon. More on this in the next post.
Some of this goes away if CCP would say the words "Burners aren't meant to be solo'd." But I don't think they should balance around a gang fight. The solo frigate fight is the classic duel, and emulating that experience in a lvl4 just kinda feels right. If they can get the balance right, it goes a long ways towards having a future in PVE, /and/ as a stepping stone to train future PVPers.
Anyway, with 1 week in game, that's my opinion on Burner Balance. Sometime soon (maybe even tomorrow), I'll chat a bit about how the concept could be extended in future patches.