I have dreamed about a Sisters of Eve covert ops destroyer since I first landed a kill with an Astero. It would be almost the apex predator in the food chain of exploration vessels. It could run lower-end DED sites and dive into the smallest wormholes. An overall very flexible ship in my imagination with a drone bay like the Algos. Only Stratios and T3 Cruisers would surpass it in its field but are more suited for the higher-end content. They’d also be slower.
But there are new rumors going around. About navy destroyers that may or may not be coming sometime soon™. Maybe as part of the Faction Warfare (FW) update that is in the works at CCP Games.
In a presentation about the topic, they where listed as eligible ships that can enter FW-sites to fight over the objective. Hmmm…
As of now, navy destroyers are not a thing as well as pirate faction destroyers are not more than part of my imagination.
But if they were a thing, what would they be good at?
Two Paths to Follow
I can see two paths such a type of ship may follow:
- Sticking with the signature weapon systems and traits of the faction or
- focus on the dedicated E-War
Or one hull for each?
It’s probably not super hard to imagine potential hull bonuses when you look up and down in the ship tree: Navy frigates and cruisers give a good sense of the direction these ships may go. Also, keep in mind that the intended role of a regular T1 destroyer is to get rid of frigates fast. That means comparably high damage potential with good application.
Coercer and Dragoon are two very different hulls: One focuses on strong laser turrets while the other utilizes drones and energy neutralizers with a few missiles.
The Imperial Navy Slicer uses laser turrets, just like the two navy cruiser hulls, Omen and Augoror. The often forgotten, because rarely used, Imperial Navy Crucifier has bonuses on short-ranged weapon disruption and also uses laser turrets.
To stick with the traits, a navy destroyer might be either an even stronger laser platform than the Coercer is – hard to imagine – or it may be an E-War ship that has bonuses to neuts and/or weapon disruption.
For the Caldari we have the Cormorant hybrid turret platform and the Corax for missiles.
But: No E-War variation like the Amarr have it.
The navy Griffin has a rather unique bonus on ECM-drones since the last balancing patch. The Hookbill is very straightforward: shields (usually) and missiles. The Osprey and Caracal Navy Issue also focus on missiles, although the Osprey NI offers much more utility with its two spare high-slots than the other Caldari navy hulls.
To me that looks like a hybrid turret-based destroyer might be an interesting addition. Or maybe it will have some ways to work with ECM? Personally, I pray to bob it won’t… Well, I probably would be okay with a Cormorant type with 2-3 bonused ECM drones. That way you can at least shoot something. Still, luck-based mechanics are mostly un-fun in my book.
The Gallente T1 destroyers are also rather clear in their design: Hybrids & Drones. But other than the Catalyst, the Algos offers some flexibility when it comes to its high slots. While it gets a bonus to hybrid turrets, it often makes more sense to instead fit neuts or even projectile weapons.
The navy Comet follows the same principle: Hybrids & Drones. So does the Maulus Navy Issue, but it only gets a bonus on warp scramblers, not on sensor dampeners. Neither the Federation Navy variants of the Exequror nor Vexor have their focus on E-War. They go straight forward for hybrids and drones again.
Maybe this is the missing piece for a Gallente E-War destroyer? Sensor dampeners? Could it damp down an opponent enough to “kite” it within scram-range while shooting it with Javelin? That sounds pretty strong and hard to counter. At least in their own weight class. Or maybe it will be just the best small drone boat EU-West.
If we look at the Mimatar, the base hull would either be the Trasher or Talwar: Projectiles or missiles. With speed and agility over sturdiness but general flexibility with their slot layouts.
The Minmatar faction frigate, the Firetail, utilizes projectile turrets. So does the Fleet Issue of the Stabber. The Scythe Fleet Issue however can work with both. The fleet Vigil gets a bonus to webrange and Rockets.
So for the sake of variety, the navy destroyer might be based on the Talwar and a missile boat. But if it also gets the webbing bonus of a Vigil Fleet Issue, this could be a very strong kiting ship. A “Mini-Loki” almost. Or maybe it will get a bonus to the target painters? That would be missing in the faction setup so far.
No matter how I put it. If I imagine the damage potential of a destroyer hull combined with a bonus on E-War, that looks meta-breaking overpowered to me. Maybe these ships would be what finally can fight the only unofficial pirate faction destroyer we currently have: The Kikimora.
Or this all was futile and navy destroyers may be something completely different. As a reminder: They aren’t even confirmed by CCP yet. Maybe they are only an old idea that just hasn’t been removed from the database yet. “Legacy code” so to speak. Or they are still super early in development.
We don’t know.
However. One thing I noticed while looking at the different navy and fleet issue vessels was one thing: There is no empire faction hull that has a bonus on the secondary E-War. Except for Caldari, they only have ECM.
A logical conclusion could be the following:
- Amarr: Energy Neutralizers
- Caldari: ECM (again…)
- Gallente: Sensor Dampeners
- Minmatar: Target Painters
What do you think?
Have I forgotten something that would be worth considering?
If we actually should get them, what destroyer would you like to have a navy variant of?
I’d love to read it in the comments.