It should be obvious, at least to the seasoned pilot, that the new Tech 3 Destroyers are pound for pound superior to any Tech 1 or Tech 2 Destroyer. With that in mind an idea has been floated that these powerful tiny ships should become the mainstay of Faction Warfare attrition slugfests. To jump right into the point the idea is that these vessels will be able to punch through the hostile fleet with minimal losses. While this idea holds true when facing and even number of opponents in inferior ships, it fails to take into account several things…
[Editor’s Note: This article is the first in a series of pieces examining the impact of Tech 3 Destroyers on Faction Warfare.]
The first problem is that for attrition warfare as the number of combatants on both sides goes up so does the greater potential alpha. This makes additional tank especially on Destroyer and Frigate hulls moot. In turn, this essentially means that in the bloodbaths that are plex slugfests your ships will simply get erased from the field one at a time anyway even with the better tank offered by these hulls. Let us then consider the average cost of a battalyst and a sniper corm compared to that of an average T3D. In a 100 man fight with 50 on each side the loss of even a handful of T3Ds ships means you have lost the fight ISK-wise. To assume you will not lose at least 5 in a fight that large is absurd.
Opponents of this point of view may say something like “Well, we lost on ISK but we hold the plex.” This brings us to my second point: many people are familiar with the old military saying “Tactics win battles but logistics win wars”. Every system push or defense should not be looked upon as a single battle but rather as a war in and of itself. T3Ds will be superior in every way to the ships they are facing but because they cost exponentially more, inevitably you will stock far less of them. Additionally, as you lose them, you lose your advantage. In the defense of Sujarento last month the Caldari not only lost their staging POS inside the system itself, but it was rumored they literally ran out of ships. Standard hulls such as Catalysts, Kestrels, Cormorants, and Atrons can be brought into the warzone by the hundreds with their fittings at a ratio of about 50:1. This ratio is based upon the low cost of these T1 hulls and their fittings being on average 1 to 1.5 million ISK. Compare this to the average T3D hull at 50 million ISK per ship. History buffs may recall that in World War 2 the Germans had far superior tanks to their enemies but could not contend with the numerical advantages of the Shermans and T-34s. The side who can replenish its ranks the most will win in attrition warfare as long as there is a will to fight.
Another point: One of the pillars of Faction Warfare is that for many new pilots it is their first exposure to PVP and in some cases all of EVE. T1 attrition fits are extremely easy to get into and having a very low bar to entry into our attrition fleets is important to bolster numbers. T3Ds are not only unaffordable to most newbros but also a long train to fly them effectively as it is not accepted practice to run them with T1 fittings. As a result this would be a high level bar to entry on attrition fleets.
Finally, the fact of the matter is many of these attrition ships are paid for by handfuls of individual capsuleers for the benefit of their fellow pilots. Expecting people to shell out the ISK and having 3-5 T3Ds on hand at all times is unrealistic because people simply won’t or can’t do it. Conversely, asking the pilots who run the logistics side of the house to foot the bill on these hulls is unfair and wrong. Opponents to this viewpoint might say something like “Just have them sell the ships when the time comes.” To this suggestion I refer you to point number 2 on the ability to stockpile mass amounts and force replenishment. Limiting attrition fits to simple hulls allows these gracious wealthy pilots to supply the troops for minimal cost to themselves. This allows them to pass out ships for free at crunch time which makes things easier on leadership and line member alike.
To summarize, T3Ds are excellent ships but are not good for attrition warfare-type gameplay we typically see in heavy system sieges in Faction Warfare. This is due to T3Ds not being cost effective, highly susceptible to alpha strikes in large attrition slugfests, and harder for newbros to quickly fly.