Capital ships have been complained about since the dawn of the first dreadnaughts.
It’s a touchy subject, with most discourse devolving into polarised straw-man arguments: those “with” capitals proclaiming that the naysayers should adapt, those “without” shouting back that capitals are massively overpowered.
Like most modern real-world politics, both sides are so angrily stuck to their side that they’ll fight against reasonable changes in either direction. The “skilless capital blobbers” claiming that every single small change or tweak will make the ships utterly useless, the “crybaby non-adapters” demanding that they recieve an invulnerable anti-capital frigate.
There are, also like real-world politics, significant numbers of non-screaming players who want the videogame they play for fun to merely recieve some semblance of balance and depth. While capitals and the players have clearly never been perfect, there are at least times that I can point to where capitals provided much more engaging gameplay for both the people using them and the people fighting them.
I can point first to a couple of specific examples where gameplay with capitals was deeper. This post is the first about capital gameplay depth.
Triage Carriers of old had no cap booster 3200s to power their remote or self reps – according to the loudest users of the current incarnation of Force Auxiliaries, this is the backbone of the entire operation of the craft.
Triage had deeper gameplay that was heavily reliant on player skill, as this was also the time that ships could refit while having a weapons timer. For those that don’t know or cannot remember, this meant that the pilot had to use recharging modules to gain enough capacitor to run those repair modules – rechargers, relays and in some cases flux coils. Rigs were almost always Capacitor Control Circuits, and when under heavy fire, the pilot would typically replace recharging modules with resist, so as to tank the incoming DPS.
This required quick thinking, pre-planning and cooperation with any other triage buddies. It was complex, but the better you could accomplish it, the more powerful you were – an entirely player skill based advantage.
Conversely, the attackers had a chance with good, organised neuting to stop a Triage carrier dead in it’s tracks, or to try and gain better control of the field to prevent capitals getting close enough together to be able to refit.
With the removal of combat refitting, CCP gave Force Auxiliaries the great gift of Capital Cap boosters and cap 3200s. This allowed pilots to not have to choose at all – having cap to run modules AND having the maximum tank at the same time.
Because it’s a cap booster based method, it can be easily timed to be injected and consumed at the same moment, rendering neuting almost pointless.
This lack of depth and outright removal of player skill-based performance has taken away the ability to use your superior skill to gain an upper hand in battle and given everyone the maximum score when using said ships.