BB71 – Are there too many Ships in EVE? Is it too complicated to remember them all and what their traits are?
Earlier on in EVE ships (and modules) were generally Tier based. The higher the tier, the more effective (and expensive) it was. This linear approach was easy enough to understand and keep track of, but inherently hurt newer players with less SP and ISK, and meant lots of lower tier ships had little use other than a short term stepping stone.
I’m not entirely sure about the timeline, but I think from around early 2012 within the Crucible releases CCP started on a process called Tiericide. In effect it was the removal of these linear tiers, and replacing them with groups of hulls with distinct roles. These were balanced through different strengthens and weaknesses into a complicated game of rock, paper, scissors. While some are more niche than others, almost every hull in game now has a use.
(This Tiericide process is still ongoing.)
It is still possible to have tiers of power within a role – with a mix or all of T1, Faction, T2 and T3 Hull versions available. It is not always however a straight forward step up through these Hulls. Some are more powerful in certain niche circumstances, but weaker in others.
During this same time frame CCP has added new hulls to the game, sometimes filling in gaps, sometimes adding completely new roles.
I don’t doubt that this has made EVE a more complicated game for solo and small gang PVPers, particularly those who roam long distances. It is harder to identify ships, understand the appropriate tactics to use against them, and maintain a suitable mix of ships in your hanger to allow you to maximise what you can counter.
Do I think this is a problem? No. I think it is a glorious thing. It has made space a more complicated and vibrant place.
While that answers the BB question, I don’t think the situation is all a bed of roses.
Trying to balance so many hulls and roles would be very difficult. I think in most circumstances CCP have done an amazing job of it, but it seems to have come at a cost. Personally I have felt the Tiericide process has pushed players towards more cookie cutter role related fits. While it is still possible to surprise others through smart and unique ways of fitting a hull, it is not as easy to do it well. I can understand the necessity, but I read multiple bloggers who when they undock can pretty much preordain which fights they will win, which fights they must run from, and which fights will be close. It might be a complicated version, but a game of rock, paper, scissors will still become boring.
Sometimes I think there is only an illusion of choice. When you really sit down and look at what role you want or need to fill, you can end up with only a very limited number of options. It is also true if you want a more Generalist or Jack or All trades hull. It just takes you longer to go through all the hulls available to come to that realisation.
Obviously it is also a steeper learning curve for new players, and more difficult to keep on top of for established players. It also requires more effort to collect and maintain the ships you store in your hangers.
Having said all that – it has still made for a better game than what we had when we had less, tier based hulls.
Other Blog Banter posts on this topic can be found here