Beta 2.2.03 – Shield Changes

Frontier announced on the 13th December Sandro Sammarco announced Frontier would be making some “very experimental” changes in the current 2.2.03 Beta to the way shields behave. This can be seen here, and below.

We’re going to experiment with a somewhat radical change to shields. We don’t necessarily expect it to stick beyond the beta, because we’re not sure if it goes too far or not far enough, or even if it’s the best avenue to explore.

The best way to answer these questions is to try it out, and that’s why we love betas!

The issue we see is how stacking shield boosters, and heavily engineering them, creates shields that can be an order of magnitude more powerful than improvements available to weaponry.

This presents most obviously when flying the “big three” and FDLs, thanks to their abundance of booster-capable utility mounts. As an aside, these changes won’t affect smaller ships unless you are cramming all your utility mounts with boosters.

The end result is top tier ships with shields can be almost impossible to break in 1v1 PvP engagements, and can make PvE engagements somewhat risk free.

As we’ve mentioned in the last livestream, we’d like to reduce the disparity in durability between engineered huge ships and their basic counterparts, but we also want the big ships to remain durable when engaged by smaller vessels with less powerful weapons.

So we’re going to make the following changes in this beta:

  • We’re adding significant diminishing returns to shield boosters. Past 4 standard boosters, or 2 heavily engineered ones, you’re going to see some monumental drop off. We’re reducing the shield strength of heavily engineered ships to approximately 40% of current capabilities on the live servers.
  • To offset this significant drop in shield health, we’re going to harden the “big three”. We’re reducing damage dealt to their hull by small and medium weapons by a factor of three, and large weapons by a third. It’s worth pointing out that this affects both hull and module health.
  • Huge weapons are designed to be large ship breakers, so they will gain an increase in hardness penetration, allowing them to deal full damage at all times.
  •  We’re increasing the base shield for the big three by a small amount; between 10 and 15 percent (the cutter gets the bigger boost).

So to clarify, with these changes we’re shifting the durability of the big three away from shields and onto hull defence as well as reducing it from current levels in live.

Caveat time!

This is a pretty large change. Once again, we won’t be making any final decision until we’ve seen results in the beta, but we’re just as likely to roll it back as to push it through – it’s certainly one of our more experimental changes.

We’re also aware that it will mean the top tier ships, such as the FDL and big three, will be at more risk in group PvP. Even with a toughened hull, they won’t be able to reach the sorts of defensive numbers that the current shield booster/engineered shield booster stacking can create.

We have ideas about group PvP that we think could help, but that’s for a different discussion.

Also, to reiterate, this change will make PvE encounters riskier. Even though NPCs don’t min-max their ships to ultra-kill levels, your large ships will still have less durability. We see this as a positive – a game without challenge is less interesting.

We look forward to your feedback, and just what these changes mean to your actual flying experience.