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Friday, December 6, 2013

Castles do not Exist without a Reason

I love bastion mode. I can't help it. When I see the hull reconfigure and my tank goes from great to <booming voice> UNBELIEVABLY AWESOME </booming voice>, I get goosebumps - every time. That's just what happens when the neurons reinforcing my risk averse nature are tickled.

But other than making L4 security missions easy, there is not much else Bastion Mode is good for in New Eden. It makes you a sitting duck, and I don't care how good your tank is, when there are enough ships firing at you it will break. Even Jester said he was less than thrilled to see bastion mode Marauders because, "they're going to be relegated nearly 100% to solo risk-free PvE with no other use. So far, I haven't heard of anyone -- small gang, medium, or large fleet -- building a doctrine around these things for PvP... with one exception that I'll talk about shortly." You should really follow that link and read the post if you haven't. And if you haven't you're like the only person playing EVE Online who hasn't! *LOL*

But seriously, I really want to see Marauders have a tactical role in PvP. Even this care badger can see the appeal in that. Even if the implementation needs some fine tuning, I really don't want to see the module change. But currently it's not got any reason to exist. It's like a castle without reason.

DING! That's when the solution hit me. A Marauder in Bastion Mode is like a castle. The Bastion Module is a sort of fortification, like a moat, a barbican or a sally port. See, castle parts are built with specific tactical concepts in mind. They are not just really thick walls set on a hill. Every part of a castle has a tactical purpose. The moat slows the enemy advance giving you time to kill him. The barbican guards the portcullis, allowing defenders to mass fire at that weak point. Sally ports allow defenders to attack besiegers directly to stop sapping operations or battering rams before they get inside the barbican. You get the idea. Nothing is added to a castle without a damn good reason.

So what's the reason for the Bastion Module? We'll, frankly it doesn't have one. But it should! In EVE terms, we need to figure out what that reason could be. Let's look at what the module does for a clue. It makes the ship stationary. That's nothing special, any ship can be held (practically) stationary with enough webs. Dreds do it all the time. It increases resists across the board. Again, nothing that several other modules can't do. This one only does it more efficiently. It doubles self-repair capabilities. Nah. It makes the Marauder immune to almost all electronic attack. THAT'S IT! When all put together, the reason for Bastion Mode jumps out. Bastion Mode exists to protect the ship from itself. What, I'm completely off the reservation you say? No, I'm not and here's why.

Making your castle portcullis out of wrought iron isn't to make it stronger against the battering ram. You can do that with more oak. Besides, the enemy will just get a bigger battering ram and make the hinges fail - which is what generally happened anyway. No, the portcullis is wrought iron because, like the stone of the barbican, it is not flammable. You can poor flaming oil on the battering ram crew all week long and it won't harm your portcullis or your barbican. It will certainly harm your enemy.

That's what bastion mode does. It keeps your ship from harm when you pour boiling oil on your enemy. The real issue is we have no equivalent to boiling oil for the Marauder. I of course have an idea on what our boiling oil could be. Want to hear it? Of course you do!

Imagine this: a new type of bomb in New Eden warfare - the Magnetic Resonance Bomb. This comes in two flavors: the smart bomb flavor and the Stealth Bomber version. When an MRB is activated, it causes any active module on any ship within the blast radius to instantly overheat, if said module is capable of overheating. This will last for a period of time from long to excruciatingly long. A capsuleer can mitigate the length of time his modules overheat using counter modules and skills. Modules damaged by overheating can be repaired with Nanite Repair Paste as usual. But only a Marauder in Bastion Mode will be completely immune to the effect.

Image a fleet of Marauders engaged by a group of foolhardy capsuleers. The Marauders take fire for a moment, then activate Bastion Mode and start MRB smart bombing the opposing fleet. Weapons, reppers and and all sorts of modules overheat and even burn out in the opposing fleet. That'll change the day! As for your support ships, the FC just needs to ensure modules are deactivated before the MRBs are used. That'll make more than a few FCs pull their hair out I bet. *LOL*

Or imagine 20 Marauders hot dropped into the middle of your sieged Dreadnought fleet. The Dreds can't move. The Marauders go into bastion mode and nuke the Dreadnought guns; then take them apart. Or forget the Marauders, use bombers and hope they get out of the way quickly enough. Then we might see Marauders used for POS bashes rather than Dreadnoughts because they'd be the only ships immune to the bombers using MRBs. Options abound.

So that's my idea on how to make Bastion Mode have a purpose. It needs a whole lot of tweaking and there are possibly some balancing issues. I'm not an expert in that. But providing a distinct new attack tactic to New Eden warfare might just be the thing to reinvigorate the state of blobness. A single Marauder in a fleet might be enough to dissuade an attack predicated on the principle of mass alone, which seems to be the popular thing these days. Going forward, pairing new offense abilities with new defensive abilities might be just the ticket to keeping everything lively. Discuss.


  1. EVE already has ECM bursts and Void and Lockbreaker bombs - it's not entirely true to say that we have 'no equivalent to boiling oil'.

    (Of course, AFAIK not many people actually use any of those ... but that's a different problem, and probably NOT best solved by ignoring them in favour of new shinies.)

  2. I like the Idea of overheating bombs... that would be very cool independent of marauders or not.
    But in some Sense you already have those "burning oil" Tools, they are just not effective enough to need a ewar immune counter. The Lock breaker bomb and the remot ECM Burst from super carriers. In theory if your fleet gets regularly bombed with lock breakers the marauder fleet could go to bastion and defend against that.

    But in practice, they get alphad the moment they enter bastion as they can't get reps and continuous bombing runs are unlikely with all those insta canes blabbing out every stealth bomber that dares to raise his head.

    Your Idea non the less is a good point to start working with.

  3. New, interesting, different, well-reasoned...I like it! The only issues I can think of are :blob:. But at least it would be a rather *expensive* blob.

    1. Wishful thinking. Remember, tracking titan hotdrops were a thing.

  4. Bastion improves tanking by increasing resists and the amount repaired by an active tank. A couple of neut batteries at a POS or four or five void bombs would put paid to that active tank pretty quickly....

  5. I like your idea. CCP Rise, take a look at this!

  6. If your proposed MRBs only had an effect upon capital ships (friendly AND hostile), then I could support your idea. Making MRBs universal could kill small gang sub cap fleets trying to execute capital ships - just warp in one marauder and fry the sub caps, allowing the capital to escape.

  7. I had an interesting experience this weekend that provides an example of the danger that the castle of the Bastion Module is good for: I survived an attempted gank.

    I was in my Golem in high-sec (0.7), just cleaning up wrecks from a mission, when dozens of catalysts started showing up and locking me. I still had the Bastion module running so I couldn't warp out yet and was afraid to turn it off because then they would presumably open fire. I tried to lure them into firing before they were ready by stopping the bastion module and aligning for a safe spot. Predictably, before I could get up to speed they opened fire. Since I was waiting for that, I quickly hit the Bastion module and the XLSBII. I managed to tank just barely enough to survive. I was at half-hull.

    I think this provides some really valuable game-play: it adds some skill and planning from the carebear's side to the equation of whether a suicide gank will work or not. That's something that's been missing from the game for a long time.


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