DISCLAIMER: This post mainly consists of my very personal opinion. Feel free to disagree and tell me why in the comments.
TL;DR: Definitively not my favorite format of Abyssal Proving Grounds to date. But maybe Assault Frigates are just not for me – at least not when you are supposed to brawl with them. 5/10 from me.
Four players in Assault Frigates and only one can make it out alive.
- Damn high T2 resistances force people to play around them. That’s not a real problem, but it very, very strongly incentives the use ships with selectable damage types such as Rockets. Otherwise competitors can only gamble on a lucky match-up.
- High resistances result in strong active tanks. Dual-tanked ships basically live as long as they can reload their cap-booster fast enough.
- Little hp means little buffer means even less time to identify and correct mistakes.
These three things create a quite advanced skill-cap and favor people with experience in frigate combat. I would not call those things bad or good, just mentioning it.
Brawl or Die
Kiting is rarely possible for two reasons: Everyone flies at frigate speed. With four people in the arena chances are high that at least one knows how to sling-shot into a kiting ship and gets his scram/web on it. On the other hand, the kiting ship has no hope to deal enough damage to his opponent without taking the risk of getting sling-shot onto tackle ranges.
One of the few chances of a kiting ship to get a kill on a well tanked assault frigate is to third-party on two ships fighting. But that would require that participant number four is already dead.
The strong ability to tank and only four participants made this setting rather stale in my experience. The meta has quickly evolved to who can tank the longest and often ended up in draws because two or even three ships just did not mange to break each other until the timer ran out. A stale fight is rarely fun. One might get a grim satisfaction from having tanked two ships for 10 minutes, but at the end one does not gain much of it.
Compared to the T1 Destroyer FFA with five participants this was a much tougher format with veterans as a target audience. The T1 Destroyer format had the advantage of a lower skill- and ISK-requirements meaning more people who can potentially join overall.
What could have made it better in my opinion is more or less players in the abyssal arena.
- Five Participants:
More people = more chaos! Pilots would have less space to avoid each other and fights would erupt quicker with other people trying to third-party more often and getting third-partied on in the process. At least from the experience with the T1 Destroyer FFA one could assume that this could happen.
- Three Participants & less time:
10 minutes on the clock, the debuff on resists after 5 minutes could have sped up the fights quite a bit. People would probably tried to be the third party and kiting ships would have had a chance to win against two brawlers or other kiters while they are busy with each other.
The overpowered ability to tank is the biggest problem I see that creates the unfun stales where a bunch of people just die to the timer. Nobody wants to engage in a duel when there still is a third player hanging out at the edge of the arena. And the time is ticking.
As the numbers show, the Assault Frigate matches seems to come up rather slow. I spent between three and seven minutes in the queue. A hint on fewer participants. At least compared to previous formats where top places achieved three-digit numbers on wins, it seems to be not as popular.
Maybe this also just means the fights are overall more even in general. In fact you can see a lot of deaths occurring, even on the top spots and regular deaths to Unstable Abyssal Depths (grouped as “Abyssal Hazards”), which are the effects that kill everyone who is in the abyss when the timer runs out.
Also looking at the top six players, one will find a majority of dual-tanked fittings on zkillboard.
What do you think?
Have you tried the 4 player FFA Assault Frigate format? Are you looking forward to the upcoming format with 3v3 T1 Destroyers? I would like to hear your opinions in the comments!