We're not happy with the effectiveness of large groups of titans against subcapital ships, so we're making some adjustments to titans and to XL turrets.
This is a quick, surgical adjustment to solve a specific issue we have identified. It's not a general titan balance pass, and we don't consider titans "done" after this change. Titans will require significant further changes, and probably an overall adjustment in role, before they're in a place where we're really happy with them. This will require a reasonably significant amount of work, which we unfortunately don't have the spare resources for right now. In a similar vein, we're not making more extensive balance changes (or addressing this issue in a more technically complex way) because we're allocating the minimum resources needed to resolve the specific issue (titans performing excessively well against subcaps in certain circumstances) satisfactorily. If you have any further questions about this paragraph, please ask away
For the immediate future and until such time as we have the resources available to do a comprehensive overhaul, we want to ensure that titans perform decently against other capitals, but do not represent a serious threat to subcaps. We want titans to have clear vulnerabilities, and as much as possible to have them acting in support of the main capital/subcap fleet rather than the other way round. We've already prevented doomsdays from being fired at subcaps, and this adjustment should continue that trend.
We have talked to the CSM about this, and we're comfortable going forward with these changes in light of that discussion. I'm not going to put words in their mouths, though.
Specific changes being made:
XL turret tracking halved, siege module tracking penalty removed
This should generally make titan performance against small targets significantly worse, without seriously impacting their effectiveness against larger targets, or negatively impacting dreadnaughts in their common use-case (ie, in siege mode).
Titans reduced to 3 maximum locked targets, and base scan resolution reduced to 5
This should make trying to engage smaller targets very inefficient, due to long lock-times and an inability to queue many targets at once. This reinforces the titan's MO as a slow-acting but hard-hitting platform (in line with the doomsday's huge damage and 10 minute RoF). The scan res number is balanced around multiple Cormack's sensor boosters, on the assumption that money is not a limiting factor for titan pilots, and therefore that people will shell out for officer SBs if that lets them continue do this kind of thing. Our understanding is that this isn't standard practice right now, but we have to balance for expected behavior after
the change, and for worst-case scenarios.
Expected release schedule for these changes
These changes should hit TQ some time in April. If there is a sizable release in April then expect them to turn up then; if not then we'll announce deployment dates for these changes closer to the time.
Changes considered and discarded:
(I'm expecting at least three people to not read the word "discarded" and make angry posts about something in this section. C'est la vie.)
Titans can't lock subcaps at all
Guaranteed effective solution, but we considered it too hacky and restrictive.
Adding a "minimum sig radius" attribute to turrets, below which damage would fall off regardless of tracking
Too big a change and more technical work than we actually needed to solve the problem.
Changing the lock time formula
As it is, the lock time formula doesn't really scale in a nice way between battleships and capitals (the kink in the curve always happens around cruisers regardless of the scan res and sig radius), but again we decided we could solve the issue without resorting to this sort of technical work.
Changing XL missiles to match
While in a strictly regimented world we ought in principle to nerf XL missiles and remove the penalties from the siege module for them too, in practice they're not actually a problem due to the way missile damage scales against small targets. Leaving them unchanged also serves to differentiate missiles further from turrets, which might make them more useful on capitals under certain circumstances.