For a while it has bothered me that overheating in EVE is a pretty plain mechanic. You overheat to get more out of your guns, reps, EWAR, hardeners, or speed modules and, in exchange, are subject to heat damage. I say that we could do more with this – there is potential here for an entire ecosystem of modules related to heat. We already have nanite repair paste and T3Cs which take less heat damage so why not take it a little further?
Really, what I want to achieve from a system like this is a more engaging and active playstyle that gives players another thing to think about. I want players to be able to build a new style of fit that focuses on overheat bonuses. I want them to go into a battle with heat management in mind, and potentially with offensive heat modules in mind, too. It opens up another door beyond the typical DPS/Neut/EWAR that we have right now.
How Heat Works
At the time of writing, heat in EVE Online works using a “rack” system. I argue that this term is confusing so I’m simply going to use low-slot, mid-slot, or high-slot heat status (which is a term used in-game). When you overheat a module, let’s say warp disruptor, you will begin to increase your mid-slot heat status at 1% per second. If you activate another module such a warp scrambler, it will add another 1% making it 2% per second.
This heat status value decreases on its own over time (heat dissipation) in about 9 minutes from 100%. It affects your chance to receive damage from heat with a simplified formula of
ChanceToReceiveDamage = HeatStatus * Slots * Attenuation^DistanceToModule.
For this article you don’t need to care about the slot factors or heat attenuation. What is important, however, is that every other factor is multiplied by your heat status. So if you have ~100% heat in your mid-slot heat status then you have a much higher chance to trigger heat damage. What is heat damage, you ask? Go check any module in the game and you will see that they have a heat damage value. A microwarpdrive, for example, may have a value of 8.2HP. If you are overheating that MWD then it will apply 8.2 heat damage to itself or surrounding modules depending on the previous formula!
This heat damage value is the reason why sometimes heat will jump up quickly on a module and why sometimes heat lasts ages. Some shield boosters have a heat damage value of just 1.05 HP and on a tech 3 cruiser you may even see this come right down to 0.45 HP! Thanks, heat damage reduction bonuses. For reference, every module in EVE has a total heat HP of 40.
Making Heat Even Better
My thought here is that we can create a new set of modules that both work from a lore-perspective and provide an enriching gameplay experience. In summary:
- Thermal Charge Ejector (mid-slot) – Actively reduces your ship’s heat status either in one set of slots of universally across all. Works similarly to a cap booster.
- Thermal Sink (low-slot) – Slows down the accumulation of heat status per second.
- Hybrid Polymer Structure (low-slot) – Reduces heat damage done by modules using tech 3 technology.
- Nanite Restoration Array (mid-slot) – Like an armour rep… but it repairs heat damage fast!
- Thermal Deregulator (low-slot) – Boosts performance of heated modules with a large penalty to heat damage applied.
The goal of these modules is to enable T3C-style heat management for those who are willing to give up their damage or tank modules to achieve it. It also means that, by actively ejecting heat charges (a new item), you can heat for longer and add more interactivity to players who want it. Having an active heat damage rep module, too, makes for riskier gameplay if you know that you have more chances to repair the heat you are causing.
This is very much a risk-reward system wherein you can excel by focusing and managing heat, or you can fail and lose access to some of your modules. Past these modules, there is room for offensive EWAR that add heat status to your opponents ship, but I’ll leave that up to the imagination. Here are some more thoughts on each of those modules.
Thermal Charge Ejector
Think about a cap booster; they’re simple enough to understand. They take cap batteries and use the charge stored to inject capacitor before reloading a new set from cargo. My plan for a Thermal Charge Ejector works in the same way. Instead of batteries, you are loading large copper slugs which conduct heat very well. Once hot, they can be ejected into space to remove the heat from your ship.
Mechanically, this would mean reducing overall heat status. You could use different copper slugs which are loaded to either eject heat from low, mid, high, or all slots at once. While this would not reduce damage done to a module, it would mean that you can keep your ship’s overall heat status very low, reducing the chance of damage occuring.
This takes up a mid slot and cargo space for limited, extended heating. There is a skill to this as you still need to be vigilant about your heat. It also adds yet another module to manage which opens more room for user error.
Throwing some rough numbers out there, I would envisage a 20 second activation with 10 second reload. It should drop heat in all slots by 33.33% each or it should drop 66.66% heat out of a single set of slots. We don’t want this module to sustain perma-overheating all on its own.
In the same way that tracking computers have tracking enhancers, so too does a Thermal Charge Ejector have a passive low-slot variant. A Thermal Sink would take up a low slot in exchange for a slower heat status buildup or potentially a larger heat buffer. The slower buildup is likely easier to develop since it doesn’t involve changes to the base heat functionality.
Fitting one or two of these alongside a Thermal Charge Ejector would enable near-permanent overheating of one set of slots depending on how great the effect is. It would also serve as a nice low-slot module when you don’t know what else to fit.
The powergrid and CPU are the most interesting thing to consider here. Outside of plates, we have very few low-slot modules which take up powergrid. I propose that this is a low tech module that takes up 60 PG and 1 CPU, making it very difficult to fit on destroyers and frigates but otherwise quite accessible.
Hybrid Polymer Structure
Heat damage is part of the equation that we haven’t touched yet. As a reminder, this is the damage done to a module when heat damage ticks successfully. I would like to have a one-per-ship low-slot module which enables longer overheating by reducing the damage you take directly on your modules.
This Hybrid Polymer Structure works using wormhole gases or something (I have no idea) and may reduce damage by 20-25%. This means that microwarpdrives will get at least 1-2 more heated cycles and other modules will last about 20-25% longer.
In terms of fitting, it should sit alongside a nano and take up no resources (or just 1 powergrid?). Once again, this is one of those options for people who really don’t know what to do with the last little bit of fitting or space on their ship.
Nanite Restoration Array
Really filling out this ecosystem, we can consider that players might want a way to repair their heated modules. Nanite repair paste already exists, but perhaps we can go for a sort of active heat damage repair?
This module should use a high amount of cap to run, but should very effectively repair modules. Burned out modules should remain burned out as that is part of the risk/reward of overheating gameplay.
To be quite honest, I think this is the weakest part of my plan here and we’d have to see how it would play out in testing before deciding on something which is effectively superpowered nanite.
All this talk of making heat safer makes me think that we need something that works the other way. A Thermal Deregulator should active exactly like the existing red giant wormhole effect. That is: much greater overheating potential in exchange for extremely fast burnout.
By combining this module with other modules above, a player can now sacrifice their slots to this overheating ecosystem to focus their fit on high-performance while overheating. This could mean overall greater DPS than any other fits that we typically see in EVE, but with the penalty of losing those slots and adding a skill requirement.
I would love to see this entire set of modules working in EVE to enable an entirely new method of fitting ships. It could change the way that gank ships are fit. It could make faction warfare fights more interesting where you need to consider the importance of heat vs raw DPS in frigate fights. It would raise the skill-ceiling of wormhole and Pochven brawls.
Perhaps more interestingly, this could also open the door to heat-based weapons or EWAR. Being able to push your opponent’s ships slowly towards burnout would be very interesting. For the nullsec meta that isn’t particularly exciting, but for those who are whaling or in hour-long brawls it opens up an entire new dimension.
This is an idea that I’ve had in my head for a while. I know this obviously won’t make it into the game since the majority of the company are allergic to good ideas. Still, a woman can dream.