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Sins of a Solar Spymaster #76: Titanic Imbalance

Posted Tue, Mar 20, 2012 by The Mittani

Titans are the nemesis of balance in EVE. Conceived in a fit of ‘wouldn’t it be cool’ in ancient times - an era where a billion isk was actually a lot of money - Titans have continually needed ever-more drastic nerfs as they have proliferated, like a bad cold or a Ke$ha single, from a trifling handful to an exploding population of 800+, with roving gangs of these laser-armed bad decisions vengefully wiping out even newbies in afterburning Rifters, persistently refusing to die except in the face of freak accidents or ganks. If there is one safe bet in EVE, it is this: the game’s quality gets better each time CCP nerfs Titans. We now find ourselves on the threshold of yet another attempt to bring Titans under control; seven years after the beastly things were first invented.


One cannot avoid a feeling of deja vu. Almost three years ago I wrote about the proliferation of Titans and their grievous impact on the game; that was just before the removal of AoE Doomsdays in Dominion. In patch after patch, Titans have required ever more stern nerfs.

The Titan Timeline:

12/2005: Titan blueprints introduced in Red Moon Rising

9/2006: First Titan built

6/2007: Revelations II removes the Remote Doomsday and adds a 10 minute ‘no jump after Doomsday’ timer. Two days later saw the first combat loss of a Titan.

12/2009: Dominion removes AoE Doomsday, replacing it with a single-target nuke.

11/2011: Crucible limits single-target Doomsday to only impact capital ships, EHP cut.

4/2012: Titan scanres, tracking, and targets drastically cut to prevent subcap ‘blapping’.

Before the first combat loss of a Titan, there were less than ten of them in the game. As of March 13th, 2012, there were eight hundred and eighty.

Whenever players in a competitive game are given a powerful tool, they will use that tool to the utmost to win - ideally with the least possible risk. At release, it was possible to fire a Doomsday through a cyno to land anywhere within a system; Titans never left the shelter of POS shields - peeking out of the edge, firing a DD that would wipe out an entire fleet, and then scuttling back to safety seconds later. When Remote Doomsdays were removed and a 10-minute no-jump timer was added in Revelations II, Titans fit nanos and Nomad implants and began doing rapid-align drive-by Doomsdays - warping in, DDing, and aligning to escape before they could be tackled. When players facing Titans began tanking their ships against Doomsdays, these drive-bys stopped being solo affairs, with two or more Titans firing consecutive grid-blasting doomsdays. When the Doomsday was changed to be a single-target attack, even Interceptors weren’t safe; logistics ships and command ships, the backbone of every subcapital fleet, would be sniped down in seconds. After Crucible changed the DD to only impact capitals, the blapping began.

EVE's Powerful Tool

One Titan, alone on the field, is incredibly vulnerable. But there are now so many supercaps in EVE that the safest place for a Titan is in a fleet with 20 or more other Titans. Should the Titan fleet get tackled, the Titans can create a blistering array of fire around them using capital turrets, and ‘scratch the backs’ of their companions. By stacking tracking computers and using Strong Drop boosters, Titans can easily hit even interdictors with no need for a subcapital support fleet - the usual ‘support fleet’ for Titans consists of as many webbing and neuting supercarriers and carriers as can be found. With enough remote rep and Strong Drop, the only thing a Titan fleet has to fear is a larger Titan fleet.

Once this latest way to abuse Titans was worked out, an all-too-familiar pattern reasserted itself. Just as with Titans using AoE Doomsdays to kill small handfuls of players before Dominion, Titan Blobs began to drop on anything they could cyno on top of. The only Titans who were killed during this period were either victims of bad luck due to being bumped away from their fleetmates due to physics glitches, or those dumb enough to be caught alone and ganked. The apologists of Titans - who were growing in number as the number of Titans spiraled out of control - claimed that the lack of actual Titan losses was merely a sign of the inferiority of everyone else, a refrain that has remained consistent since 2006 regardless of the iteration of Titan imbalance.

Oh Mittens you poor thing. Titans have been used constantly for the last year or two by smaller alliances who combined do have more supercaps then goons but far less numbers of pilots. Goons sit in there 800 man alpha fleets that have no counter EXCEPT a bigger fleet, which is what you are crying about when it comes to goons vs supers. ("OMG we cannot field more supers then them so we can't win, tear tear tear")

The only logical choice for goons is to ofc switch to perma WMD drake fleets so u get blapped even easier to insure the nerf comes from CCP. Pretty smart.. goons online is going to be a terrible game.

love how butt hurt mittens still is that he doesnt list the bob kill on ascn titan since it was the first dead titan... fail.

That titan was not lost in combat.

BoB still controlling your game mittins? lol

I like how you represent all detractors as Russians or idiots with terrible English. So brave.

It's true that blob alpha fleets have no counter except a larger fleet. But you don't fix that broken mechanic, but leaving in another broken mechanic.

CCP makes dumb mistakes sometimes, but they're not so stupid that they don't realize that WMD Drakes have a larger sig than a carrier. Goons fly these drakes because they're cheap and somewhat effective despite high losses. Goons aren't trying to trick CCP into nerfing Titans with Drake kills, because CCP isn't stupid enough to fall for that.

Even if CCP was that stupid, no one has to go that far because any casual search of the killboards turns up tons of killmails where titans have blapped blackbirds, covops, interdictors and other non-MWD non-drake subcaps that are smaller cruiser size and below.

And then there are the PL titans used to sit on gates and smartbomb smaller ships... and the Faction Warfare guys who take out titans like that! Poor Odda! (Both the PL and the FW guys seem to have had fun with last Friday's titan gank and subsequent battle in Ammamake.)

Comparing alphafleet to titans is totally logical #sarcasm

Preach it, Mittani. You're doing God's work, son.


I have to agree that Titans are currently being used in an unbalanced way, and unless players agree to stop using them to blap (woo, new EVE term!), which is unlikely, nerfing them to the point where they can ONLY be effective vs. Capitals and stationary objects (POS bash, yo) is really the only solution.

And furthermore, said solution doesn't break lore. The point of a Titan is to be THE capital ship of a fleet, not the only component of a fleet. Look at the Imperial fleet around the second Death Star (POS) in Star Wars - there was ONE Super Star Destroyer (Supercapital) and large numbers of Star Destroyers (Capitals). The SSD and ISDs are intended as counters to other capital-class ships - the Rebel fleet was essentially comprised of combat-fit Rorquals and Orcas (the Mon Calamari ships were originally civilian ships that got refit to shoot big guns). In Star Wars, or in real-world naval engagements, you don't send a large, slow ship to fight small, fast ships. You send small, fast ships to fight other small fast ships.

Just to keep with lore, and CCP has proven that their version of the lore is all important - they killed off Project Compass by removing key functionality from POS towers in order to keep W-space's location unknown, Titans should not be capable of targeting anything much smaller than a battleship.

I know some people are going to ask how Titans will defend themselves from such annoying gnats as Interdictors. Okay, here's how: Each Titan should be ONE ship in a fleet. Each fleet should have a fairly even distribution of ships across size classes and roles. Got a Dictor or HIctor bugging you? Send Cruiser-size ships to deal with them while YOU focus on keeping the attention of the capital ships across the way. Trust your fleetmates to deal with threats that you can't handle while you utterly annihilate a Dreadnought or a heavily defended POS.

In fact, I believe that nerfing Titans, making them useful only against other Capital-class ships, will return them to what they were intended to be: rarely-seen Goliaths, ships that are used as the last word in any battle.

After all, even in space, nukes hurt.

Why nerf titans? Why not just remove them from the game?
The skill point refund would make ex titan chars very valuable.
And titan builders.
Refunding titans and their construction infrastructure would be more complicated but doable.
A jump on the new ship classes released at the same time could help.

Rationale: the flux has changed, ships that big can no longer exist.

And how would you reimburse the cost of the titans you remove? Give isk at current market value of minerals required to build one? I think not since you'll flood the economy with too much isk and watch inflation go nuts. Ok, so maybe give the minerals back, drop them somewhere in hi-sec for sale? Watch the mineral market crash.

There's no easy answer to just removing titans. Best bet imho is find an actual role for them in-game that people will actually use them for, provide incentives to do this, and leave them in the game. Some will say no-way, not gonna do it...those pilots will either quit or sell titans at a discount. Others will take up the challenge, maybe quit anyway, but the end result would be a lot more fair than removing them outright.

Also, the scan res change is just stupid, tracking changes should be enough to stop blapping small ships as it is. People aren't going to stack sensor boosters on titans, certainly not "Chelms" version (not sure why CCP don't actually play the game they've created, but meh!). If Titans are doomed to be anti-capital, then fine - that actually makes sense, but taking almost a minute to lock a dread due to scan res nerf is just retarded...

There is still a role for Titans. These are the possibilities They should be the fleet command ship if ever they are put into battle. As such, they should be able to push better bonuses than a sub-cap command ship to both caps and sub caps. There should only be one titan allowed in a fleet. There should also be limits to the number of super carriers and carriers allowed in a fleet. Before another super carrier or carrier is allowed to be added to the fleet, there should be an appropriate number of sub caps for support.

Titan (Fleet Commander)
Carrier class Vessel (Wing Commander)
Dreadnought, battle ship, battle cruiser (Squad Commander)
Sub Cap support

You have your opinion on titans, thats fine. But why do you "quote" your opponents with that horrific english? Is that your way of showing your own superiority?
It's a shame that the CSM member with the highest amount of votes refers to the playerbase not sharing his views in such a disrespectful way.
Makes me think.


Wow, the Anonymous haters are out in force today. Lovely, mindless haters.

The problem has always been proliferation, and to be fair, even now I think that what CCP is doing is too little, too late. Supercaps, if they had been kept to very, VERY low numbers could have stayed powerful weapons in the big coalition fleets. However, right now, supercapitals dominate the sov control, and you still need a massive supercap fleet if you want null-sec space. CCP made several mistakes in the past dealing with this, some incidental like making the drone regions drop minerals instead of ransoms, others were huge like botting and the massive increase in capital production when it was clearly getting out of control at least two, three years ago.

I know CCP doesn't want to do a notoriously risky re-write of what titans and supercarriers do... but their numbers are now too high to do anything other than a massive change to their very purpose. I thought about adding maintenance costs and seeing if the coding might support having multiple pilots required to fly each, but I don't think those will happen.

A change to non-combat capabilities for both the Titan and the Supercarrier is really the only thing left of the table to save null-sec from being overdominated.

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