In Part 1 and Part 2 of this series, I discussed the coming balance changes to current weapon systems coming November 11 and the new modules being released on October 28. In this installment, I will discuss the new ship classes being added to the game in the November 11 update: Interdictors and Heavy Interdictors. Next week, I will write one final article where I cover a few other changes coming in November and give my prediction about how these patches will shake up the meta.
Once again, a reminder that this analysis is based on the current test server build - things might change by release.
WARP BUBBLE MECHANICS
Before I dive into detail on the ships themselves, I want to take a moment to explain how warp bubbles work - both for those players that never encountered them in EVE Online, and to highlight some differences for those who did.
Most of you have probably encountered Warp Disruptors in EVE Echoes. These midslot modules allow players to prevent their target from going to warp and thus escaping PvP combat. These modules come in a variety of ranges (from 21.25km > 30km) and can have a strength of 1 or 2. These are opposed by Warp Core Stabilizers, rigs and some ships' inherent bonuses.
Warp Disruption Fields work very differently. Instead of targeting a ship and disrupting them, Warp Bubble create a large spherical field in which no ship can go to warp - no need to target the ship, just activating the module will affect all ships in range. This field is of infinite strength - no amount of Warp Core Stabilizers will save you here. In the current version on the test server any ship inside of or within 2km of the edge of a warp bubble cannot cloak. (EDIT: This has been confirmed as a bug by NetEase and should be changed before release) Additionally, warp disruption bubbles can "pull" you out of warp if they intersect the line of your warp on the same grid as where you would arrive.
PICTURED: Three of the ways warp bubbles can ruin your day
If the addition of Warp Bubble to the game terrifies you (it should a bit!) here are a couple silver linings:
- First, and most importantly, Warp Disruption Fields cannot be used in highsec or lowsec - only in nullsec (0.0 security status and below) systems.
- The "deployable" versions of warp bubbles - that allow nullsec alliances in EVE Online to permanently place bubbles to facilitate permanent gatecamps - are not being added yet. The only way to create a warp bubble is with a dedicated interdictor ship.
With the mechanics out of the way, let's take a look at the ships!
Interdictors are T6 destroyers that are based on the T5 Fleet or Navy Issue destroyers for their race. In exchange for their special ability, these ships sacrifice the durability and damage bonuses of their base chassis and take a slight hit to their HP.
In return for these modest disadvantages, Interdictors can mount the powerful Interdiction Sphere Launcher. When activated, these midslot modules allow an Interdictor to temporarily create a Warp Disruption field centered on the location of the ship when it activated the module. Even with modest skills, this field is large and long-lasting. In testing with 4/3 in Propulsion Jamming, I was able to create fields with a 21.7km radius that lasted 142 seconds, with a 30 second reload time, meaning one pilot can - with max skills - have at least 5, 40km-wide bubbles active at a time.
Running these modules is no simple matter of spending capacitor - an interdictor pilot must have 600GJ worth of fuel stored in his cargohold in order to activate the effect. Various planetary interaction materials can be used as fuel, with varying levels of effectiveness - one unit of Ionic Solutions is worth 37GJ of energy, while a unit of Suspended Plasma is worth 5. Fortunately the fuel requirements are low - a pilot with decent PI skills can generate 4 or 5 bubbles worth every hour from a single planet, and one interdictor can carry more than a thousand charges in their hold at once.
Fortunately for those making their living doing PvE in nullsec, Interdictor class ships are relatively fragile - a decently fit ratting ship should be able to chase one off fairly quickly. However, be warned that just because you destroyed or ran off the Interdictor doesn't mean that its bubbles magically disappear - or that its friends aren't already enroute to your location. The arrival of an interdictor into a belt or anomaly should be treated as an existential threat, and those traveling through null should watch out lest they be caught in an Interdictor-led bubblecamp pulling you out of warp 100km shy of the gate.
NetEase will also be releasing a larger class of interdiction ships - the Heavy Interdictor. These T8 ships won't be seeing combat until later in November (when the first pilots tier up to T8 ships), but by Thanksgiving they will no doubt be entering service in a nullsec gatecamp near you.
These ships differ from the T6 Interdictors in a few ways. For one, they are built on a cruiser chassis - sharing the models, stats and EWAR bonuses of the T6 Electronic Warfare cruisers - making them a fair bit tougher than the small Interdictors, and with more firepower. Additionally, instead of mounting Interdiction Sphere Launchers, these Heavy Interdictors will play host to the Warp Field Disruption Generator.
The key difference between these two modules appears to be that, while the smaller Sphere Launchers drop a stationary warp bubble in their wake, the Warp Field Disruption Generators create a constant field that follows the Heavy Interdictor. Like the Interdictor modules, the Field Generators will require a steady supply of fuel - 1200GJ worth every 30s. Unlike the Interdictor, the bubbles created by these Heavy Interdictors can be eliminated by destroying the ship projecting them - though at cruiser-size and boasting four lowslots, that may be a difficult task to accomplish before the cavalry arrives to reinforce them.
FUTURE SHIP DESIGNS
NetEase has added two more Interdictor platforms to the ship tree on Test Server - a T9 destroyer is promises to be a tougher, faster, more deadly version of the T6 destroyer, and a T10 cruiser built off the tankier T6 cruiser chassis for each race (Moa, Maller, etc) that promises to be an incredibly tough nut to crack. However, given the fact that these won't find their way into the game for months (possibly more than a year, in the case of the T10s), I'm going to hold off on discussing these ships in detail since they have a long development cycle left before they begin terrorizing the skies.
COMING NEXT WEEK...
As mentioned at the top of the article, next week I will be concluding this series with a Part 4 in which I will engage in a bit a rank speculation about how all these various changes will affect the meta going into the new year. Make sure to check back (or subscribe below) so you don't miss it!
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