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Domination on The Ebon Hawk is now a farce

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Galactic Starfighter
Domination on The Ebon Hawk is now a farce

Nemarus's Avatar


Nemarus
04.14.2014 , 10:46 AM | #1
Every competitive Domination match on my server is now won by whichever side fields more of these (or a slight variation thereof).

The key component of this build is the combination of Seismic and Interdiction mines, both of which deal direct hull damage. Stock, these two mines deal 895 AOE hull damage every 20 seconds (every 15 seconds with a T1 upgrade to each mine). That will kill all other mines and drones on a satellite, and it will leave most Scouts with 55 hull points left. It will also leave everything that survived slowed by 50% for 15 seconds.

Fully upgraded, the two mines deal 1107 AOE hull damage every 15 seconds, which "one shots" any Scout which has not devoted Armor and Crew to damage reduction. Imagine a weapon that you don't have to aim, which hits every enemy near a satellite with a proton torpedo every 15 seconds. And if they don't have significant armor, it's as if the proton torpedo crit. That's what the Seismic/Interdiction combo effectively does.

After 2 volleys (which can occur in a burst window of anywhere from 3-18 seconds depending on initial detonation vs. cooldown), all mines, drones, Scouts, Strikes and Gunships--even if they build for armor--will be dead. Using deflection armor and hydrospanner, Strikes and Gunships can get just enough hull points to survive 2 volleys. Otherwise, the only other ship class that can survive 2 volleys is another Bomber.

One of these Bombers can be countered--with difficulty--by a single Imperium with highly upgraded Repair Probes, EMP Missile, and Deflection Armor.

Two of these Bombers can only be countered by two of these Bombers. Nothing else has the hull points and damage reduction to survive.

This isn't opinion. It's math. There's no effective counter to so much burst AOE hull damage (those three modifiers strung together should tell you something is wrong here). EMP Missile/Field will shut down the Interdiction Mine for a while, reducing the damage by just over a third. But even then ... the Seismic Mines continue to flow. And if there are two Bombers, two Seismic Mines every 15 seconds is still enough to kill anyone on the node very fast.

I did the calculations back just before 2.6 released. I've played this Bomber since then, 3-capping with ease. This isn't just a defensive ship--it's a great node-taker too. Overcharged Shields and armor-piercing HLC rounds let me quickly clear the turrets from a node on approach. Then I slip amongst the fins and start dropping my mines. At that point, it's only a matter of time before all of the node's defenders are dead. I call this build the Siege Engine, because it's not about skill--it's just about time. If defenders don't stop me before I get under the node (which is hard given Overcharge Shield + Engine to Shield Converter), it's over.

Sure, defenders may chase me around the node. And when 2.6 first came out, the vast majority of Bombers were Dronecarriers with drones and Seeker Mines--but the Seismic/Interdiction Bomber has no fear of those. Between Overcharged Shields and Engine-to-Shield Converter, I had no problem absorbing normal shield damage as I LOS-kited around the satellite and waited for my mine volleys to clear out all the defenders. Even slight shield-piercing is no concern, considering Bomber has best-in-game hull/armor.

Gunships with Ion Railguns can be a nuisance, but it would take three of them working in close coordination to keep sustained LOS on me. And anyway, if three Gunships are having to counter one Bomber, that's more than a fair trade for my team. Even if I couldn't capture the third node for my team, I could always keep enough pressure on it that the enemy had to focus on defending the one node they had.

So I exploited this build to great effect since 2.6. I got bored occasionally and would fly my other ships, which I'd mastered before 2.6, but I soon realized it was about ten times easier to win a Domination match if I just kept flying my Razorwire--even before it was fully upgraded. Plus I enjoyed shutting down all the Dronecarriers and Battle Scouts, and I liked that I was helping my guild and PUG teams have more fun. With me single-handedly ensuring we had one node, my teammates could fly what they wanted and not worry as much about working hard to win Domination.

Alas, recently in another post on these forums, I described my build--someone on my server saw the post and quickly spread word of the build to the rest of the server. Now tons of people on The Ebon Hawk are using it. Honestly, I don't know why it took so long for others to figure out how broken this build is, but now they know, and Pandora's box has been opened.

As a result, Domination on The Ebon Hawk is now purely about who brings the most of these Bombers out to play. Some people try slight variations on the build, using Charged Plating for example (this is mainly to help survive the Seismic and Interdiction Mines from other enemy Bombers of this type). But ultimately it's simply numbers that determine which team wins. If you have more Seismic/Interdiction Minelayers, your team is very likely going to win.

I'm sure people will say, "Just use more Strikes with EMP" or "attack Bombers from long range". Yes, those should be the counters, but they do not work in practice. Several ace pilots using highly upgraded ships and VOIP coordination can occasionally counter one or two these Bombers with great effort. The problem is that the same skill and coordination is not required of the Bomber pilots. I'm an ace on my server--one of the best 5 pilots easily--but I can go on derp-mode when flying one of these things. And even I have trouble trying to counter one when flying any other type of ship (and believe me I've tried them all). Either way, the best counter to one of these Bombers is another one. The best counter to two of them is two of them. The best counter to three of them is three of them, and so on.

The worst part is that new pilots have absolutely no chance against these things. Blackbolts/NovaDrives and Rycers/Starguards are powerless against this Bomber build. I've seen many matches where a new pilot dutifully goes toward the satellite to try to help his team, dies, and then says in chat, "I don't understand!" "I just keep dying before I can do anything!" "This is stupid." The Rycer/Starguard has neither EMP Missile nor an Armor component. It is fodder. The best the Blackbolt can do is get an EMP Field, which won't help against the Seismic Mines, since they aren't disabled--and even if the Interdiction Mines are disabled, two Seismics will take out any Scout.

The crux of the issue with this Bomber build is that the best defense against Seismic/Interdiction Mines is high hull points and armor. And which ship has highest hull points and most armor? The Bomber. This is a large contributing factor as to why this Bomber is its own best counter.

So what are some quick fixes that could help mitigate this situation? Here's some suggestions, in order of simplest to most ambitious:


Potential Seismic Mine Fixes

1) Increase cooldown of Seismic Mine to 60 seconds, 40 seconds upgraded
This would allow Seismic Mines to continue to be dangerous deterrents, but it would make it harder for you to use them for node-clearing. It would also make the choice between them and Seeker Mines more interesting (I know that Seeker Mines already have the "advantages" of wider radius and up to 3 deployable mines, but neither of those really come into play very often in combat--the trigger/explosion radius of non-Seeker mines is plenty, and most mines are triggered shortly after being deployed, making multiple deployable mines not useful).

2) Make Seismic Mine only damage the fighter that triggered it
Part of the problem right now is that even if you are careful when near a node and fly smartly to avoid the mines, all it takes is one person on your team to mess up and trigger the mine, and everyone near the satellite takes the damage. This change would limit the damage to the person who triggered the mine. It would also allow superior numbers to more easily deal with these Bombers (as opposed to right now, where having superior numbers just adds more targets for the AOE hull damage).

3) Make mines deal damage to the Bomber that deployed them
To be clear, I am not saying mine damage should affect allies--that would allow griefing. I'm saying a Bomber should be vulnerable to its own mines. This would make it so that once a Bomber has mined an area, it needs to stay out of the area until those mines go off, or else eat the damage. Honestly, this change alone probably wouldn't fix the problem, but it'd help make minelaying a bit more thoughtful.

4) Make Seismic Mine damage distributed across all targets caught in the blast
If a Seismic Mine hits one target, it deals 565 damage. If it hits two targets, each suffers 283 hull damage. If it hits three targets, each suffers 188 hull damage, and so on. This would allow the Seismic Minelayer to remain a strong defense against 1 or 2 ships, but its effectiveness would fall off the more enemy ships that are attacking/defending the node.

5) Create some interference mechanic that prevents mine stacking
This would be tricky, but basically prevent mines from being placed too close together--even mines from different Bombers. This would make it so that multiple Bombers do not stack effectiveness so efficiently.


Potential Interdiction Mine Fixes

1) Change hull damage to normal damage, increase amount
Honestly, I'm not sure why Interdiction Mines deal hull damage. And I don't see how BioWare did not anticipate that Interdiction + Seismic would result in burst hull damage capable of effectively "one shotting" Scouts. Plus Interdiction Mines' slow debuff is already very powerful. They should do comparable damage to Concussion Mines, without any shield piercing (they get the Interdiction effects instead). Make them subject to the same deployment limits as Concussion Mines. Basically make the choice between Concussion Mines, Interdiction Mines and Ion Mines interesting--right now anyone who can read a tooltip and who has ever played a Bomber knows Interdiction Mines are massively superior due to their dealing hull damage.

2) Increase cooldown to 60 seconds, 40 seconds upgraded
If the Interdiction Mines continue doing direct AOE hull damage, then their cooldown needs to be increased. But honestly, they really should not do hull damage. Letting them do hull damage just makes them way too superior to Concussion or Ion Mines, especially since you can combo them with Seismic Mines for 1107 AOE burst hull damage.


Other Possible Fixes

1) Make EMP Weapons create a long-lasting field in which mines cannot be triggered
Given how long it takes to fire an EMP Missile, or how close you have to be to use an EMP Field, the effect needs to be much more dramatic. Disabling a System is just not going to cut it, especially against multiple Bombers who can still deploy Seismic Mines as normal. Instead, EMP Weapons should create an effect that destroys all current mines and prevents mines from being triggered and drones from targeting for at least 30 seconds. If someone is going to devote an entire Secondary Weapon or System to an anti-Bomber weapon that does very little damage, then that weapon needs to be a HARD COUNTER to all Bombers, not a slight inconvenience.

2) EXTEND SATELLITE CAPTURE RANGE
I've asked for this since October closed beta, so I doubt it's going to happen ... but if the capture range for satellites were double or triple what it is now, this problem would be much less severe. Multiple Bombers could still mine a satellite thoroughly, but it would at least take coordination to cover the whole capture zone. Plus Strikes and Scouts would have a bit more breathing room to chase and harass the Bombers without being having to be in the mine zone. Plus this change would just allow more true dogfighting at the satellite, instead of so much sat circling, and it would make more of the Domination maps relevant to who actually wins, instead of them being window dressing you see in the background as you sat-circle.

I know that making any post about balance is going to invite criticism, both thoughtful and inane. All I will say is that I bring this criticism as someone who has been exploiting and abusing the power of this Bomber build since 2.6 launched. I've enjoyed my easy wins, and I felt justified in getting them because I'd come up with this build on my own, after careful theorycrafting.

But now droves of pilots are using it on my server--not because they derived it themselves, but because it was the hot topic of discussion on the [Gsf] channel one night. And this mass-use has created a wall of unplayability for new pilots stuck in the starter ships. It's reducing the fun and variety for veterans, and its making new pilots stop flying altogether. It's dramatically reduced the viability of Scouts, Strikes, and even Gunships and other Bomber builds in Domination.

I implore BioWare to at least take a look.

In the mean time, I will keep trying to find other counters to this build, but ultimately the math is pretty unrelenting. It's just too much burst AOE hull damage against ships that don' t have that much hull or armor. In Deathmatch you can avoid it, but in Domination the rules of the game dictate where you have to be to win.
Shayd / Callem / RK-4X / "Trynt" - Leader of <Eclipse Squadron>, The Ebon Hawk
http://EclipseSquadron.enjin.com Imperial GSF-focused guild

"Serve the Emperor above all others."

Warhelm's Avatar


Warhelm
04.14.2014 , 11:20 AM | #2
"I learned it from you, Dad! I learned it from you!"

Well written, well reasoned, and so, so true.

My beloved Strikes are collecting dust on the shelf whenever a Domination Match pops.

DresG's Avatar


DresG
04.14.2014 , 11:25 AM | #3
Quote: Originally Posted by Warhelm View Post
My beloved Strikes are collecting dust on the shelf whenever a Domination Match pops.
Type 1 SF is a Bomber killer, set your loadout for Ion Cannon, Rapids and Clusters. Switch to Concussion if you want to be more annoying and less of a dogfighter.

tunewalker's Avatar


tunewalker
04.14.2014 , 11:30 AM | #4
Quote: Originally Posted by DresG View Post
Type 1 SF is a Bomber killer, set your loadout for Ion Cannon, Rapids and Clusters. Switch to Concussion if you want to be more annoying and less of a dogfighter.
Actually I would recommend Concussion with armor peircing along with heavies just in case the bomber wants to run charge plating, because if they do that build will do nothing to them.... literally. If they want to run Overcharge the ions can still work of course, but yes strike fighters in general can normally break at least 1 bomber, its just much harder to do then for the bomber to break another bomber.


Honestly this issue is how weak EMP weapons are. EMP missiles need to lock people out of their secondary weapon and it needs to actually deal the damage its tool tip says. It only deals 180 to ships, the only time you can get the 330 damage is against drones and turrets. Meaning ship to ship, its worthless right now.

Slivovidze's Avatar


Slivovidze
04.14.2014 , 11:33 AM | #5
Yeah, that build is just plain ridiculous. I read about it somewhere here on forums, probably in your post, and was like, "***, a Dom winning tool, lemme pack that just for the case of trouble", and since then, I have not lost a single Domination (and my bomber only has tier1 upgrades). Luckily they aren't that wide-spread on my server (3 per team, at most, and that rarely), so it is still possible to have fun in Domination. But just the fact that I can look at scorebard, see that game is half gone and we are not winning, taking this lolbomber and effectively winning the game, is just not right.

I don't care what they do with bombers, as I only use mine to try and win a lost Dom game, but once they can't be abused it will be gone from my loadout (yes I admit I am abusing the state of meta in hopes that the virus will spread and devs will have no way to overlook it). I wouldn't even mind if they removed bombers whatsoever. Flying them drains fun both from pilot and from everyone nearby, allies or foes, anyways.

Even if they made an absurd thing like, "a bomber gets only 10% of req compared to any other ship" thingy, I'd upvote that.

Or, EMP buff which wold make it THE anti-bomber tool. EMP blast would lock EVERYTHING on a bomber, excluding basic movement. No power regen, no firing, no abilities, for at least 15 seconds, preferably like 20. Show us your raw piloting skills you bomber guys. EMP effect on other stuff would stay the same. Mines gone, turrets inactive for 15s, systems on other ships inactive for 15s.

Nemarus's Avatar


Nemarus
04.14.2014 , 11:34 AM | #6
Quote: Originally Posted by DresG View Post
Type 1 SF is a Bomber killer, set your loadout for Ion Cannon, Rapids and Clusters. Switch to Concussion if you want to be more annoying and less of a dogfighter.
Yes, I have this exact build. And yes, it can work decently against a single Bomber, if I can stay on him long enough to kill him before his mines tear me to shreds.

But Ion Cannon has a range of 4000m, a little bit more if you spec for range. Either way, you're well into mine range at that point. And a single Ion Cannon shot won't even detonate a mine. And you have no Armor component, which means you have no way to reduce the mine damage to your hull except through crew choice.

And if there are two Bombers, you're dead before you can accomplish anything. Even if it's you and a buddy in the same "bomber killer" build ... it doesn't matter. You'll both be hit by 2000+ hull damage right off the bat. That's the problem with stacking AOE damage.

The point of this thread isn't to say nothing can kill a single one of these Bombers ... it's to say that it's far easier and better for your team to just fly one of these Bombers than anything else in Domination. It's the best counter to itself, and it shuts down a large swath of ships/builds with minimal skill/upgrades/effort required. The component choice does 80% of the work for you.
Shayd / Callem / RK-4X / "Trynt" - Leader of <Eclipse Squadron>, The Ebon Hawk
http://EclipseSquadron.enjin.com Imperial GSF-focused guild

"Serve the Emperor above all others."

SammyGStatus's Avatar


SammyGStatus
04.14.2014 , 11:44 AM | #7
We call that build a "Press 1 to win" build. It's disgusting. There's no reason to have something with so much imbalance in the game at all. YOU LITERALLY CANT DO ANYTHING AGAINST THEM while they're circling, holding the node, and being annoying. Any strike / scout is asking for it. And GS is gonna get pissed wasting his time. Any bomber will.... well, there isn't a whole lot of deep thinking from the mind of a bomber (a jest, but as the build name implies, it doesn't take much thought to lay a mine and blow it up). Dominations aren't fun when it's like that. I prefer to actually engage in combat, not watch someone circle something where I can hit it at all, and none of my teammates can pull the bomber off (and as a GS, I shouldn't be anywhere near a node anyways)
Renegade-One / Leggogurl / Aimbot / Even'ess / Status

DresG's Avatar


DresG
04.14.2014 , 11:45 AM | #8
Quote: Originally Posted by Nemarus View Post
And if there are two Bombers, you're dead before you can accomplish anything. Even if it's you and a buddy in the same "bomber killer" build ... it doesn't matter. You'll both be hit by 2000+ hull damage right off the bat. That's the problem with stacking AOE damage.
I only take mine damage if I develop tunnel vision and I pursue from behind, you are always to approach a bomber from top or bottom. I can kill multiple bombers but, I am in no way saying they do not need a fix, we all know that the best counter to bombers is stacking more bombers, which turns the match into pure stupidity.

Armonddd's Avatar


Armonddd
04.14.2014 , 12:07 PM | #9
>burst aoe hull

That should really be "pick one".
Space Ace of <Death Squadron>, <Black Squadron>, <Eclipse Squadron>, and <solo da>

Nemarus's Avatar


Nemarus
04.14.2014 , 12:23 PM | #10
Quote: Originally Posted by DresG View Post
we all know that the best counter to bombers is stacking more bombers, which turns the match into pure stupidity.
But do the devs? We've been telling them this since October of last year in closed beta.
Shayd / Callem / RK-4X / "Trynt" - Leader of <Eclipse Squadron>, The Ebon Hawk
http://EclipseSquadron.enjin.com Imperial GSF-focused guild

"Serve the Emperor above all others."