Posts Tagged ‘frigates’

Exploring Entitlement

In the last few days I have been talking a lot about the new exploration mechanics (and the changes being made to them). All the posts can be found below:

  1. personal exploration
  2. explorin gentitlement
  3. exploring exploration

So… Things have moved in the prenatal world of Odyssey Exploration and I am afraid to say that in my opinion some of the changes are for the worse. Let’s aim for the jugular first off: Loot Spew.

 

Previously in exploration when you hacked a container it would give you a seconds warning, and then ejaculate loot out in one, sometimes two directions. These directions appeared to be pretty random, and they did cause some issues (as I mentioned in the previous post). My reaction to this was that CCP should simply reduce the number of structures in the vicinity of the Loot throwers and use this as an excuse to find and refine rouge clipping issues, to make the sites less frustrating.

 

entitlementHowever, there was a more sinister plot afoot. You see a large part of our community feels that they are entitled to everything, now, if not sooner. It seems that to them the idea that they might have to fly tactically to collect loot, or make choices about which cans to grab, or worse yet, share the loot was just horrid. So using the Structure issue as a soap box, they seem to have persuaded CCP to slow down the loot spew to a crawl. Seriously!? This really sucks, I liked the fact that the can farted loot out at a rapid pace. I liked that the game encouraged pilots to be good at manual flying to collect maximum loot. Now we have to just sit there like a fat man at a buffet selecting which greasy morsel to shovel into our lazy mouths. Worse still this hasn’t even fixed the issue of the invisible clipping, it’s still there! The old method of spewing loot was also a further encouragement to bring friends. Our group would bring three people and position ourselves around the structure to ensure that at least someone was close to the main spew, ensuring we would collect all the loot. Now it seems one person can collect 80% of the loot by just sitting wherever they are, meaning that its less efficient to bring friends. As you might be able to tell, I am a little bit pissed by this; mostly because I saw the exploration changes as a step in the right direction. Content enhanced by group play, which encouraged pilots to develop useful skills for PvP.

 

imagesOk… Deep breaths hark.. That’s it. Ok.. Wooosaaaah.. Wossaaaaah… oook…. *sigh* With that done, let’s look at some of the other updates.

 

It looks like hacking itself is being made a little bit easier, while at the same time reducing the bonuses on Cov-ops frigates (another reason the last post was out of date, we didn’t even realise the cov-ops frigs got a bonus).

 

It’s also worth noting that currently the rigs that boost Hacking and Archaeology are different, so to get a bonus to exploration, you will need two rig slots on your ship.

 

Anyway, that’s the latest from the forums, I really hope that CCP changes their minds on the spew, or at least iterates on it in another patch.

 

Fly rubbing your earlobe,

 

Hark

 

Lets go fly a kite!


The original “Lets go fly a kite song” from Mary Poppins

As I threatened here is a hopefully not to long post about kiting I will write this blog with a view toward Faction Warfare but these tactics will also work in most PVP as long as you adapt it to your particular situation. Kiting is a skirmish tactic that often allows you greater potential to run away if things have not gone your way or even to take on greater numbers through use of superior agility and positioning.
[Editors note: I suggested that all reading this post do so in the awful fake cockney accent of Dick Van Dyke: Cor Blimy marie poppinsa”]


 So what is “kiting”?
“Kitting” is using range and superior positioning to mitigate your opponents damage while still deploying your damage. For the benefit of this post I will discuss 2 “kitting” tactics, these are:
“Outside web” range Kiting.
“Within web” range Kiting.
The difference in these tactics is important as failure to fly correctly for your fit and tactic will generally lead to a rapid death.
“Outside Web” kiting.
First I will concentrate on a current classic “outside web” range kiting fit that is being used to great effect in faction Warfare. This is a little ship that I have blogged about in the past, the now quite excellent condor! This I shall call the “Roman Makeev” for a pilot that fly’s this fit regularly to great results.
Condor


3x Light Missile Launcher II

Limited 1MN Microwarpdrive I
Warp Disruptor II
2x Balmer Series Tracking Disruptor I

Ballistic Control System II
Nanofiber Internal Structure II

2x Small Auxiliary Thrusters I
Small Low Friction Nozzle Joints I

Now there are a range of slightly different flavours on this fit due to peoples fitting skills/ flying preference but the basic premiss is the same, the aim of this ship is to make turret based ships cry, the double tracking disrupter mean you can make their range about as far as they can spit, or there tracking so poor they couldn’t hit the station they were undocking from. Combine this with a speed somewhere in the region of 4km/s and your never being closer than around 20km and you have a ship that slowly plinks away and kills all those Merlins etc I love so much.
Naturally it has counters, tracking disrupters do not help against drones or other missile users and if someone gets a web or scram on it it near insta-pops but this ship is cheap! Tech 1 variants represent a great way for newer players to get involved. As long as you choose your fights and battleground it should see you through and it generally has the speed to run if your target is not something you wish to take on, just keep using dscan. This is very much a skirmish ship and will teach you a lot about maintaining range, which is great as the next tactic needs and builds on that. 
“Inside Web” kiting.
This is the more dangerous and some would say cooler big brother to “outside web” kiting  mentioned above. would this read better as “With this tactic you aim to control range to a much finer degree, holding you ship in an engagement envelope either under or outside of your opponents optimal range”, often your aiming to be between 7km and 9km away from your opponent. With this being an envelope of only 2000m you can understand why this takes more control to achieve. But why do you want to be at such a particular range? well it’s because at that range you minimize the effective dps of close range brawlers using blasters, autocannons and pulse lasers, while still deploying higher damage than most “outside” web range kiters.

As an example of a ship for this style of combat I shall use another common Faction Warfare fit.  

Caldari Navy Hookbill


3x Rocket Launcher II

Experimental 1MN Afterburner I
Medium F-S9 Regolith Shield Induction
Fleeting Propulsion Inhibitor I
Faint Epsilon Warp Scrambler I
Balmer Series Tracking Disruptor I
Ballistic Control System II
Nanofiber Internal Structure II
2x Small Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer
Small Anti-Thermal Screen Reinforcer

This ship is not as cheap as the condor though still not expensive if you are in the Caldari Faction as 10,000lp, a merlin hull with a Caldari AI nexus chip and you have a new Hookbill hull!
This ship has far higher dps and ehp than the condor while still keeping a tracking disruptor which allows you to further mitigate turret based damage. Again their are variants of this ship based on personal fitting skills and or flying preference, but the basic premise remains the same, control range, mitigate incoming damage and deploy your own damage.
As with the condor this can be countered by drones and or other missile users but unlike the condor being scram webbed yourself is not an instant death sentence as you will be doing the same back and this is a pretty quick ship meaning most things that can out-fight it can’t keep hold of it. Its nastiest counter is getting neuted but then this is the case for many tactics.
So how do I kite?
Just burning directly at your opponent on orbit will often bring you too close and get you scram webbed before your orbit can stabilize. Actually getting in range requires careful manual flying at an angle to your opponents direction of travel. Getting your approach angle correct will require practice to make perfect but your main aim is to make sure your angle of approach will not take you within 17/18km of your opponent when you are using “outside web” kiting. With “inside web” kiting this is not such a worry as you will be using your own scram and web.

Once you have got your tackle engaged you need to watch your range like a Hawk (pun intended), often just hitting orbit is not enough. you will want to set your “keep at range” button to the limit of your tackle range (scram or point) and your orbit right in the middle of the range your optimal. Your opponent is not likely to want to let you dictate range. A good opponent will try to close range or even run away by using rapid course changes and even overheating propulsion modules, be ready for this.
If your range drops rapidly you may wish to use keep at range or manually fly away and maybe even overheat your prop mod.

If your range increases rapidly you may wish to hit approach or manually fly toward the opponent and again maybe even overheat your prop mod, be careful though, you do not want to close within range of any webs or scrams you do not wish to be caught by.

As you can see, range control is the most critical part of this tactic. Getting this wrong can often spell disaster, a good example would be warping into a plex and being scrammed and webbed before you are able to pull your range; so choosing when and who to fight is of paramount importance. It is also worth mentioning that where possible you need to keep your transversal velocity (the speed you are travelling relative to the angle of travel of your target) as high as possible to further reduce the opponents opportunity to land clean hits (but not effecting your missiles). Orbit can do this but often with practice you can do this while manually flying. you can further decrease their ability to hit with your tracking disruptor….
How do I Use a tracking disruptor?
Which script you use in your tracking disruptor will depend on the situation you are in.
“Outside web” Kiting
If your in a 1v1 at 20km from an enemy frigate you probably want to be using range scripts this will mean their guns cannot reach you. Against a cruiser or above tracking scripts give those medium or above size guns a really hard time tracking you.
“Inside web” kiting.
In a 1v1 against a close range frigate brawler pull range and use a range script, against pretty much all else close in and use a tracking script to reduce their guns ability track and hit you.
There will be exceptions but only experience will be able to teach you those, get out there and get fighting! 
Wait no love for Turrets?
Both these fits are missile centric, this does not mean that kiting cannot be used by turret based ships. I chose missiles as they do not suffer from tracking issues (or indeed from tracking disruptors) and as such they are much easier to deploy the dps and require less skill in mitigating your targets transversal as such they are a good platform for people new to these tactics.
This said kiting turret ships are still very viable, you just have to choose your battles well and fly better. Example kiting ships would be Atron, Executioner, Slasher etc and fits for those are commonly available (just ask in militia chat) If there is more demand I may devote a further post to them specifically.
Happy Kiting!

Faction Warfare, pvp for great profit?

So you may have read Hark’s feelings on Faction warfare and I agree with his findings but as has been mentioned in other blog posts I am notoriously bad at pve and earning isk, I have a terrible habit of loosing interest and…. oh something sparkly! Does it explode?

Anyway I had been looking at faction war from a distance for a while as a way I might actually be able to make use the potential risk of pvp (which I welcome) to help me spend more time isk making. In fact if i kill a ship from an opposing faction I get LP for it! This sounded as close to isk earning nirvana as I was likely to get, so with this in mind I jumped in two footed with my standard nullsec fits, you know the ones, MWD (no PVP without MWD) point and then tank and spank….. I got curb stomped……

I lost frigates and cruisers in rapid succession and when I had lost enough for relatively little gain I finally stopped and tried to analyze why. Looking into the mirror is never a kind experience. I realised I had made some pretty fundamental errors and had failed entirely to adapt to the new environment and its nuances. I had subconsciously bought with me a null sec mentality to combat. With this sobering thought I took a step back and looked at the mechanics of the battlefield I found myself in and started again.

The faction warfare “why-do-I-suck-so-bad!” soul search

Now the basic mechanics of plexing have been outlined by Hark in his previous post but I will outline the most important points again…

Different Plex sizes inhibit certain classes of ship from entering.

Another key mechanic of these plex’s is that in all but “large” plex’s they are only accessible via an acceleration gate that deposits you within 5km of a beacon within the plex. This is a choke point through which any ship entering the plex must pass. Large Plex’s operate diffirently and can be warped into at range but for the basis of my current combat this difference is not one I regularily use.

Now because of these key mechanics and your use of dscan (Which Hark did a guide to in his previous post) you can choose which fights you wish to take on. As a result if you are the person inside the plex you can also choose the range at which you wish to engage, this opportunity is often key to who will win the resulting engagement.

So with this re-evaluation of my battleground I went back to one of my favorite ships, the Merlin and decided how I wanted to fight. As there is nothing I like better than smashing things to pieces with overwhelming firepower, so blasters would be perfect. As I will be choosing the initial engagement range ( I would be sat slap bang on the warp in beacon waiting for people to come in)) I would not have the usual issue of having to get into range, YAY!

In fact my main issue would be keeping people where I want them (i,e, at my optimal), so I needed a fit that would allow me to control range as much as possible so I could effectively deliver my dps, as such my choices had to be very different from the usual null sec frigate fits that are mainly about being as quick as possible (MWD) so you can get the tackle (point) and wait for your friends to make them dead.

Now I realised I needed fits that reflected that my targets would be coming to me and I wanted to keep them there so I need a scram to turn off any mwd, a web to slow them down from running away and make them an easier tracked target, and an afterburner to help me dictate range. After these choices everything else has to be to maximize dps and survivability.

With this my redesigned brawling Merlin was created:

3x Light Neutron Blaster II
Experimental 1MN Afterburner
X5 Prototype Engine Enervator
Warp Scrambler II
Medium Shield Extender II

Damage Control II
Micro Auxiliary Power Core I
Magnetic Field Stabilizer II

2 Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer I
Anti-Thermal Screen Reinforcer

This ship also had the great side effect of having enough dps to kill the npc’s in medium sites meaning that if I found myself logged in at a quiet time, I could do the larger sites for those tasty bigger rewards. So long as it worked in the way I had theory crafted I might have the ship I was after, the only way to find out would be to try it.

Proof of the pudding….

And you know what happened? I didn’t get all that much combat. I think my choice of frigate may have contributed to this. You see in faction warfare circles the Merlin seems to be building up a pretty good reputation. In all honesty the Galente part of me is a little sad to realise that currently the premier T1 blaster frigate in eve is probably Caldari! That aside though, when combat did occur I noticed an immediate change in my fortunes; as long as I stuck to my game plan, I started winning; Incursus, Tristan, other Merlins, all began falling before my (overheated) guns. I have not won every fight, but I was finding that often even if the fight wasn’t going my way the range control of my fit allowed me to get away safely, in fact one escape was actually more fun than some of my fights just due to the angry tears displayed in local after I warped out. I don’t think the guy had thought his fit through, he had an amazing (for a frigate) tank but no ability to control range and thus had failed to make a efficient and effective PVP fit (i.e. stopping my escape).

So my faith in my fit and tactics started to increase and my wallet began to grow from the time I was spending in plex’s waiting for fights. I started taking more risks as my little ship had paid for itself many, many times over. Just as I started feeling this way, a Dramiel appeared on scan. I have flown these little beasts personally and I know just how nasty then can be, but my confidence was high and the plex I was in had only 1 minute 30 left to run so I thought “well he’s gonna be at 0, why not give it a go….”

So I overloaded my guns and waited for him to come in. When he arrives I lock him, scram and web on, start pounding on his shields, he doesn’t seem to be able to pull range…. I think I have him…. I think…. almost….Blammo!

I got him and still had my armour  But at this point I nearly made a fatal error, I had failed to notice another hostile had turned up in local, thankfully my brawl with Dramiel had carried me way off the warp in. While I was looting the wreck and linking the kill in militia chat a Talwar (which according to the dramiel pilot had warped to the wrong plex!) warped into the plex and opened fire on me. I entered warp after a few volleys from him with 28% structure left (I have no idea what his fit was but his missiles hurt). This near loss was a rude awakening but did not dim the elation. This one kill pretty much made the previous weeks plexing worth it too me, but the fact I am actually making good isk while getting these sorts of fights is the icing on the cake!

This kill is also a special one for me as it showed me I had finally adapted to my new circumstances, to create a “faction warfare” mentality. You see the Dramiel was set up very much like I would have done with a “null sec” mentality. The Dramiel’s fitting is all about closing range for initial tackle and then holding on long enough for supporting dps. This mindset is further supported by the presence of dps backup in the form of his friend in the talwar. Unfortunately his fitting had as a result sacrificed its own ability to effectively control range when webbed. As I had now specialized my fitting for Faction Warfare I was able to use the factors in the plex to kill one of the deadliest ships in New Eden one on one.

Since this fight I have even taken more risky fights…like this one.

but again due to the choke point/Early warning nature of the plex system; as long as I am paying attention I have the final say in which fights I am willing to take. As a result when t2 frigs or destroyers turn up I have plenty of time to leave and it is at this point that I found another nuance of faction warfare I was not expecting.

Maturity in eve?

The Majority of fights I have had so far have actually been with low sec neutrals, not other faction warfare pilots. When a fight has obviously not been winnable for me I have often said so in local and wished them good hunting and the amazing bit? Generally this isn’t greeted by smack! In fact more often than not I have been told “I wouldn’t take that fight either” and “good hunting to you too”, there have been exceptions but in the main I have found the locals to actually be quite friendly and even engage in fitting and tactics discussions  in local, occasionally even linking fits freely. For me this is quite the revelation and a great reflection on this sub section of the community.

So is this eve Nirvana?

Well its not far off and it is one of the better communities I have had the chance to try: it is not perfect however. I still feel the plex system while good needs more iteration: At the moment, if you are alone you can find yourself waiting for a 20 minute timer to wind down with little else to do than troll militia chat. Its a little to close to mining in that respect for me, but I can put up with that for the community and the fights! There are blobs, but these are an exception and generally only catch you if you not paying attention. I think the potential improvements are a topic for another post as this one is already a bit long, I may also post about kiting fits as well if there seems to be demand for it.

In summation.

Faction Warfare can be great fun with the opportunity to make good money, there are more lucrative revenue streams but none with the same potential for some quite excellent pvp. If your wondering about trying it go for it, really what have you got to loose? If you don’t get pvp you earn money, if you get a fight doesn’t matter: got pvp!

From <http://extra-vehicular.org/wp-admin/post.php?post=88&action=edit>

Condor: Now a true prey bird…..

Pre Patch

Let’s not mince words here; pre patch this ship was horrible, it lacked the ability to even fit its slots fully, you basically ended up with a ship that could fit a MWD (which emptied your capacitor in under 50secs), and a point and that was it, you could race very fast at the target and point it but if it looked at you with a slight squint you leveled up into a pod. It was not ideal to say the least. [Hark: I think the length of this paragraph is Arians way of saying “It was so shit I didn’t fly it more than just a few times pre-patch”]

Post Patch

Here are the changes that were made to the Condor:

Frigate skill bonuses: +10% to rocket, light missile velocity and +5% damage to rocket, light missile damage per level (new)
Role bonus: 80% reduction in Propulsion Jamming systems activation cost (new)
Slot layout: 4 H (+1), 4 M (+2), 2 L (+1), 0 turrets (-1), 3 launchers (+1)
Fittings: 40 PWG (+15), 185 CPU (+85)
Defence (shields / armour / hull) : 400 (+126) / 250 (+24) / 250 (+55)
Capacitor (amount / recharge rate / cap per second): 300 (+144) / 150 s (+32.81) / 2 (+0.67)
Mobility (max velocity / agility / mass / align time): 400 (-4) / 2.9 (-0.28) / 1100000 (-85000) / 2.99s
Drones (bandwidth / bay): 0 / 0
Targeting (max targeting range / Scan Resolution / Max Locked targets): 32.5km (+7.5) / 880 (+245) / 4
Sensor strength: 9 Gravimetric (+1)
Signature radius: 33 (-4)
Cargo capacity: 130 (-20)

And what a change this made, personally I now feel this is the single ship that has come out the best in this round of changes. So many potential fits are now viable, for example here is a long range point fit with medium shield extender and medium ASB that I have been testing to destruction in RvB:

[Condor, range tackle]

3x Experimental TE-2100 Light Missile Launcher (Caldari Navy Scourge Light Missile)

Limited 1MN Microwarp drive I
Faint Warp Disruptor I
Medium Subordinate Screen Stabilizer I
Medium Ancillary Shield Booster (Cap Booster 50)

2x Micro Auxiliary Power Core II

2x Small Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer I
Small Anti-Thermal Screen Reinforcer I

With this fit I have been tackling Battlecruisers and Cruisers at range and either tanking their damage while my fleet kills them or running away (Brave sir robin style).

Another potential fit made possible by the patch is the following “Fleet” fitting, designed for pure tackle with Shield Logi support:

[Condor, gang tackle]

2x Small Diminishing Power System Drain I

Limited 1MN Microwarp drive I
Faint Epsilon Warp Scrambler I
Medium F-S9 Regolith Shield Induction
Adaptive Invulnerability Field II

Damage Control II
Micro Auxiliary Power Core II

2x Small Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer I
Small Anti-Thermal Screen Reinforcer I

Yeah a T1 tackler for gang tackling that does around 3.4kms before overheat. With resistance to neuting provided by 2 vamps (always run in sequence not together), once the tackle is made this little ship is a surprising pain to remove if supported by logi’s.

For other situations we can even make a dual Prop interceptor for thouse who like to go fast in ANY situation:

[Condor, dual prop]

Small Diminishing Power System Drain I

Limited 1MN Microwarp drive I
Faint Epsilon Warp Scrambler I
Medium F-S9 Regolith Shield Induction
Limited 1MN Afterburner I

Damage Control II
Micro Auxiliary Power Core II

2x Small Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer I
Small Anti-Thermal Screen Reinforcer I

Under the AB this ship still moves at 1.2kms before overheat, whether this mitigates more damage than the previous invul fit would require more testing but you get the idea.

Post patch in summary

So many new fittings are now possible, both inside and outside scram range. All because of the following reasons:
The capacitor is now up to the job of supporting the mods needed to effectively tackle.
The MWD speed is now high enough; not only to tackle but even to coast out of range should the ship be scrambled.
A decent buffer (for a t1 frig) can now be fitted.
DPS is still low, though that was never going to be this ships role.
This ship is now a proper training ship on the way to interceptors!

All in all I feel this will be a great ship for people new to pvp to learn in cheaply and with a lot of fun, I have found it a hoot and I will continue to fly it and catch unsuspecting cruisers and above with it.

Harks Foot Note
Another interesting set of changes, and again I can see that the Condor has truly become a viable ship rather than what you fly when you need to auto pilot somewhere quickly. However I do disagree with Arian on one point: “personally I now feel this is the single ship that has come out the best in this round of changes” I believe that place has been taken by the Atron. As Arian hinted at in his post the Condor has developed by far and away the best fitting stats (seriously it’s ludicrous by comparison to the others), and it can now fit a pretty mean shield tank but the way in which CCP has implemented the Gallente Methodology in these new changes has simply made them the best Fast Tacklers. All the Fast Frigates (subjective term I know) can do at least 3.1k/s (The Slasher* is fastest @3.7 and the Atron is slowest @3.2K tanked), but I don’t think that a few hundreds difference actually matters. All the frigates can now fit a full complement of Tackle and Tank. But the difference lies in the Racial Methodology. We all know that the Gallente get the highest damage weapons with the worst range, and until now that has be an effective Nerf. However Fast Tackle is the one area where this methodology actually works. Because the Atron can do 3.1k/s the blaster range doesn’t matter anymore and suddenly you have a blaster touting damage machine all “up in yo-face” as the youf say. This is not to say that the other races aren’t good; far from it, all the new frigates (although I haven’t heard about the Slasher yet) do their jobs perfectly, it’s just that the Atron does it with an amazing Damage output. So far the hierarchy looks something like this:

Atron (see above) > Condor (fast and versatile) > Executioner (does it’s job but doesn’t excel anywhere)

We’ll just have to see where the Slasher lands in all of this. Still great changes all round, well done CCP.

* I cheated and looked before I read Arians review 😛

[Guest Post] The Executioner: Post and Pre Patch

Pre Patch
With the recent frigate changes I was asked to help out with some change testing Executioner and sum up my thoughts and reactions to how the ship has changed for this blog.

As these are low-end ships I have been doing the testing on a low skillpoint alt (about 2 million SP at time of writing); so as to fly the ship as a new player would with all limitations this entails*.

As you will or should know the Executioners original slot layout was 2 high (2 turret slots), 2 mid, 2 low and 3 rig slots. I found that this doesn’t leave you with a lot of fitting choices. Of course with the low CPU and PG available mixed with the lack of fitting skills I found my options even more reduced.

So after much umm’ing and agg’ing over the lack of fitting options I settled on to the following fitting: –

High slots
2x Dual Anode Pulse Particle Stream I (Multifrequency S)

Mid slots
Limited 1MN MicroWarp drive I
J5b Phased Prototype Warp Scrambler I

Low slots
Damage Control I
Overdrive Injector System I

The guns (with this low skill point char) have the enviable damage output of ~38DPS, but that doesn’t really matter as this ship is the precursor to the interceptors, its job is to go fast and tackle ships so that your fleet can kill them, and fast it does go; even with my mere 2 million skill points I was getting up to about 3,300 m/s. Fast to the point where your problem then becomes “I must not overshoot my target and stay in scramble range”, you may laugh at that comment but as this ship doesn’t have a tank or even any kind of buffer if someone looks at you funny you can go pop. So you want to stay in scramble range but only just so you can try and run / coast out of their scramble range (if they have one fitted) as your only defence is your speed and it you get scrambled your dead.

So to summarise my pre patch feelings:
Frustratingly few fitting Options
Does its job (fast tackling) but does it in a fragile manor

Post Patch
Then came the frigate changes, the Executioner as well as the other interceptor precursors have received quite a significant buff. Importantly including; more power and CPU, and a slot layout changed to 4 high (3 turret slots), 3 mid, 3 low and 3 rig slots, This give so many more fitting options as well as the possibility of fitting a small tank or at least some sort of buffer so that you don’t explode when someone sneezes on the same grid.

After some time trying to be a fitting warrior (not sure if I was successful) I came up with the following two basic fittings one armour and one shield: –

High slots
3x Dual Anode Pulse Particle Stream I (Multifrequency S)
E5 Prototype Energy Vampire

Mid slots
Limited 1MN Microwarp drive I
J5b Phased Prototype Warp Scrambler I
Patterned Stasis Web I

Low slots
Damage Control I
Prototype Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane I
200mm Reinforced Rolled Tungsten Plates I

Rig slots
3x Small Trimark Armour Pump I

And

High slots
3x Dual Anode Pulse Particle Stream I (Multifrequency S)
E5 Prototype Energy Vampire

Mid slots
Limited 1MN Microwarp drive I
J5b Phased Prototype Warp Scrambler I
Medium F-S9 Regolith Shield Induction

Low slots
Damage Control I
Overdrive Injector System I
Micro Auxiliary Power Core I

Rig Slots
2x Small Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer I
Small Anti-Thermal Screen Reinforcer I

I haven’t ever flown the armour version as the 200mm plate reduces the speed of the ship by about 1000 m/s bringing its top speed to about 2300 m/s and being a fast tackler I didn’t think this was acceptable.

Both of the above fittings have an effective HP of ~4300hp compared to the ~2000hp of the pre-patch Executioner which gives it much better survivability when in a fight, the extra turret slot does increase the DPS of the ship to ~57DPS but as I said earlier this ship is designed to tackle enemy ships for their fiends to kill.

Again summarising my post patch feelings:
Far more fitting options
More tank while still for filling its role

The full changes can be found below (with the adjustment in brackets credit in part to Callic Veratar):

Frigate skill bonuses: -10% to small energy turret capacitor need and +5% small energy turret damage per level
Role bonus: 80% reduction in Propulsion Jamming systems activation cost (new)
Slot layout: 4 H (+2), 3 M (+1), 3 L (+1), 3 turrets (+1), 0 launchers
Fittings: 45 PWG (+20), 140 CPU (+40)
Defense (shields / armor / hull) : 250 (+15) / 400 (+95) / 350 (+76)
Capacitor (amount / recharge rate / cap per second): 360 (+173) / 180 s (+39.37) / 2 (+0.67)
Mobility (max velocity / agility / mass / align time): 410 (+6) / 2.85 (+0.04) / 1090000 (-34000) / 2.91s
Drones (bandwidth / bay): 0 / 0
Targeting (max targeting range / Scan Resolution / Max Locked targets): 27.5km (+7.5) / 920 (+220) / 4
Sensor strength: 8 Radar (+2)
Signature radius: 31 (-2)
Cargo capacity: 115 (-20)

As with Hark’s earlier post on the Atron (http://extravehicular.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/new-frigate-changes.html) I think CCP did a very good job with these changes and have given the Executioner a new lease of life other than just being built to be upgraded in to an interceptor. I am now hoping they will do as good a job with the new destroyers.

*Such as no advanced weapon upgrades trained to level 5 making ship fitting that much easier (aaggg damn you power-grid I only need 0.5 more to get this to fit..)

Harks Foot Note
This was a great write up and an interesting incites in the difference in treatment between the Atron/Incursus and the Tormentor/Executioner. When I looked into The fittings (using my main Char which can fly all the races/weapons) I found that the Tormentor/Executioner were getting significantly less DPS than the Atron/Incursus (around 20DPS difference), in addition the tracking difference between the two sets is also bias towards Gallente with them tracking 0.2 radians faster than the pulse lasers. Of course you could argue that the Amarr get a longer range (7km to 5km) but considering the increase doesn’t bring them outside of Scram/web range is 2km really enough to justify the lesser DPS & tracking? I believe that these changes (as they currently stand) has effectively nerfed the Amarr… which would you fly given the choice? This could of course all come out as a rock paper scissors change with the Amarr doing better with the Bombardment frigates when their changes come along, but right now the Punisher is still the best Amarr frigate. If CCP stick with the current changes we could even see the Punisher getting a nerf of around 40DPS. Prehaps that is alarmist, but lets see how things go.

My special thanks to Lore (who I am hoping to convince to become a regular author) for this post and his time testing. I am expecting a draft soon from Arian with his impressions of the Condor and the Slasher shortly. Looking forwards to how well they match up.

The Humble Atron: A before and after

When I first decided that I would attempt to do a before and after post for each of the upcoming CCP changes I expected to be appalled by the horror that was the Atron. You can see my full post on this here, but the summery is: I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed flying the pre-patch Atron. The speed of the ship fitted well with the close range which blasters require you to use. Sure it was lacking some fitting points, and the tank was sub-par, but in my opinion, its low damage was counteracted by the speed at which it approached the target.
Now things have changed, and for the better. The Atron is frankly an amazing ship these days. It still has its speed to bring it to target, but now once it arrives it delivers the same damage as the Incursus, and almost has as much buffer. In all honesty as I correctly predicted the Atron is now my frigate of choice for RvB fleet action, with the Dual Rep Incursus still sitting as my favourite small game/1v1 ship.
Currently my Fleet Atron fit is as follows:
[Low Slots]
Damage Control Unit II
100mm Rolled Tungsten Plates I
Energised Adaptive Nano Membrane
[Medium Slots]
Limited 1mn MicroWarp Drive I
J5B Phased Prototype Warp Scrambler I
X5 Prototype Engine Enervator
[High Slots]
Modal Light Ion Particle Accelerator I
Modal Light Ion Particle Accelerator I
Modal Light Ion Particle Accelerator I
[Rigs]
Small Trimark Armor Pump I
Small Trimark Armor Pump I
Small Anti-Explosive Pump I
[Statistics]
Effective HP: 4,241 (Eve: 3,926)
Tank Ability: 2.27 DPS
Damage Profile – (EM: 25.00%, Ex: 25.00%, Ki: 25.00%, Th: 25.00%)
Shield Resists – EM: 12.50%, Ex: 56.25%, Ki: 47.50%, Th: 30.00%
Armor Resists – EM: 67.28%, Ex: 57.15%, Ki: 57.46%, Th: 57.46%
Capacitor (Stable at 46.69%)
Volley Damage: 205.75
DPS: 84.71
Speed: 2689.16m/s
Warp Align Time: 4.60s
Inertia: 2.10
You should note:
– Powergrid now allows for 3 guns and MWD
– Low slots allow for a tank!
– DPS is now high enough on paper and even higher in practice
– cap is stable with MWD tackle and guns!
– mmmm tank

Winter Expansion: Frigate & Destroyer Updates

CCP Fozzie has posted the changes to the Exploration & Disruption Friages classes, with the tag [Winter]. This is great news, in that we will be getting more frigate (and destroyer) updates, but also kinda sad that we wont be getting any more balancing releases for the next 3-4 months (sad face).

The Exploration and Disruption frigates buck the trend we have been seeing, but in  a way that I almost kind of expected. So far all frigates have been brought up to the level of the Rifter. However for these utility ships CCP could no long use the rifter as a bench mark.

The Disruptors have been made slightly more agile, with a decrease in highslot damage. All of them are receiving massive bonuses to their eWar of Choice. The crucifier and the Maulus  are getting a significant bonus to Drones usage as well. These ships look to remain as tanky and spanky as they currently are, but with a significant increase in the amount of annoyance they can cause before exploding.

The Exploration ships are defiantly getting some buffing however. Still not equalling the rifter in terms of damage output, they are getting the ability to field some serious drones i.e. they can all field at least 3. They are also getting a boost to exploration functions (hacking, code breaking and salvaging), and enough module slots to create a Swiss army frigate for new players.

Now with the addition of a dedicated Ore Frigate, I am assuming that the original statement of “Industrial” Frigates has now been replaced with the Exploration Ships listed above. Giving ship roles; Attack, Combat, Bombardment, Support (read Disruption) and Exploration.

This makes CCP’s Frigate progress as follows:
Attack [Done]
Combat [Done]
Support [In Development]
Exploration [In Development]
Bombardment [Unknown]

As we can also see that CCP has started balancing the Destroyer Ships (more on that in a mo), and that previous iterations of balancing frigates has taken around a month each, I am predicting that once these ships are in the closing stages of development, we will see the new plans for Bombardment ships, and maybe even the beginning of the cruiser revamp in the winter release.

But enough of the crystal ball. Lets take a quick squiz at the Destroyer change: wow. For a starter, both the coercer and the cormorant are getting a bit of a tank nerf, in the for of -1 tanking slot; although this is coupled with a minor EHP buff. To hopefully balance this the coercer is getting an extra Mid Slot and some fitting space for better guns. The cormorant on the other hand is getting an extra low slot, presumably for extra damage.

The catalyst on the other hand is remaining mostly the same, with a slightly better capacitor, in exchange for slowing down a little bit. Its Defence is getting a very very minor buff as well.

The Thrasher is reaming pretty much as it is.

Considering that these ships were recently given some loving already, the lack of changes is not really surprising. I would however be disinterest to know if these ships come under Attack or Combat lines as its really not clear yet. Reposting my summery of combat line traits from way back when:

Ship Line

Damage

Defence

Mobility

Notes

Combat

++

++

++/–Range

Attack

++

+/-

++

Bombardment

++

+/-

+/-

++ Range

Support

+/-

+/-

Force multipliers

Industry

+/-

Mine or haul

The destroyers currently look like this*:

Ship Line

Damage

Defence

Mobility

Notes

Destroyers

++

++/–Range

With all these nice changes on the way you may remember my posts Frigging Update and New Frigates, where I talked about trying out the frigates both before and after the changes. Not only will I and my willing cohorts be posting our impressions shortly, But I am intending to continue this trend, and will be endeavouring to post a before and after for all these changes.

Eyes pealed space friends,

Hark

*I realise that the destroyers still have a tank way up and above frigates, but the thread itself states: “This ship class is aimed to be an anti-frigate platform, and should trade resilience, mobility for firepower.” I believe that in comparison to the frigates that should read: “Trade mobility for fire-power and resilience”. If this is the case then they fit quite nicely within the Combat Line.

Friggin’ update

Its been quite a while now since we has any major changes to the Attack frigate changes, CCP Ytterbium has been on holiday until recently, and CCP Fozzie has been holding the reigns until he returned. It would seem that for the most part the changes have been recived well enough that CCP has not had to make any major changes. The condor is the only frigate on the watchlist for changes, but with the Attack Frigates going live on the 8th of aug, its unlikely we will see any changes between now and then. I have primed some RvB friends with instructions to provide a detailed “Before and After” analysis and will post that shortly after the changes go live.
frig

New frigate changes

It’s been pretty quiet on here of late! Between some real life turbulence, my duties in the alliance and the base level of exhaustion which life seems to cause  some of the time I previously used to write has been taken away. However I shall do my best to rectify this and stop making excuses! With that in mind… FRIGATE CHANGES have been announced!

Yup as I’m sure you are all aware CCP has, for the second time, announced a batch of Frigate changes. This time it’s the Attack frigates turn. You can see exactly what these are in the original dev blog on the subject, and my summation of exactly what this reflects in my blog here. The TLDR though is that these are fast frigates capable of either closing range fast and brawling/tackling, or kitting at longer range.

Previously I have not really been qualified to comment on the frigate changes (not that this has stopped me!) as I haven’t flow a T1 frigate in PvP… since the war in Etherium Reach. However since the last changes I made it my mission to learn the craft by creating a new alt specifically for RvB. My Alt was created around a month ago, and is only just reaching the 1.5m skill point’s mark, so she really is a bit of a newb. Because this alt is VERY low skilled, for the moment I am unable to comment on races other than the one I have trained. I have however attempted to run with the race which, I feel, is most in need of a Boost; the Gallente. My plan is to keep pace with CCP’s changes, sticking with frigates until they move onto destroyers, sticking with them until cruisers get changed, etc. As a side note, I have been flying with the Incursus and really enjoyed it although I won’t comment further as I really have no basis to compare it to.

But I digress. With the announcement of these changes I immediately went to Jita and bought 50(!) Atrons’ and fittings with the intent of assessing the current state of the frigate and assessing the success of the changes, once they go live. Bearing in mind that my alt has very few fitting skills I found that the following:

The Atron has some serious issues with PG, I was forced to use one of the two(!) low-slots to fit an Aux Power mod for extra PG just so that I could fit the 1mn MWD which a speed frigate requires. With only 2 High-slots my turrets are also only able to deliver a meagre 43 DPS. This said, on the plus side the Atrons mid-slots are only just acceptable, with two slots for MWD and a choice of Scram or web you are able to fulfil the role of speed tackle. I was also quite shocked with my effectiveness in combat using the vessel. Because of the 3k/s speed I was able to get into combat range much faster than the Incursus (I have fitted with an AB); this meant that despite its lower DPS I have still been scoring about the same damage. Cap wise, I have about 40 seconds of full burn, which is mainly the MWD. To eak this out I only tend to use it for getting into range, and shifting it when I’m targeted. For the most part this is a very fragile ship with speed as its only real defence; this means that once those 40 seconds are over, I’m dead.

Below is my full fit & Stats:

[Atron, RvB Cheap]

2x Modal Light Ion Particle Accelerator I

Limited 1MN Microwarpdrive I

J5b Phased Prototype Warp Scrambler I

Damage Control II

Micro Auxiliary Power Core I

[Statistics – Tugali Isayeki]

Effective HP: 1,662 (Eve: 1,417)

Tank Ability: 1.48 DPS

Damage Profile – (EM: 25.00%, Ex: 25.00%, Ki: 25.00%, Th: 25.00%)

Shield Resists – EM: 12.50%, Ex: 56.25%, Ki: 47.50%, Th: 30.00%

Armor Resists – EM: 57.50%, Ex: 23.50%, Ki: 44.75%, Th: 44.75%

Capacitor (Lasts 40s)

Volley Damage: 106.61

DPS: 43.89

The changes look to counter my only real issues with the ship. The full changes can be found below (with the adjustment in brackets credit in part to Callic Veratar):

Frigate skill bonuses: +5% to small hybrid turret damage and +10% to small hybrid turret fall of per level
Role bonus: 80% reduction in Propulsion Jamming systems activation cost (new)
Slot layout: 4 H (+2), 3 M (+1), 3 L (+1), 3 turrets (+1), 0 launchers
Fittings: 37 PWG (+37), 147 CPU (+47)
Defense (shields / armor / hull) : 300 (+65) / 350 (+76) / 400 (+150)
Capacitor (amount / recharge rate / cap per second): 330 (+144) / 165 s (-47.81) / 2 (+0.67)
Mobility (max velocity / agility / mass / align time): 420 (+11) / 2.8 (+0.026) / 1050000 (-114000) / 2.75s
Drones (bandwidth / bay): 0 (-5) / 0 (-5)
Targeting (max targeting range / Scan Resolution / Max Locked targets): 25.5km / 900 (+225) / 4
Sensor strength: 8 Magnetometric (+1)
Signature radius: 35 (-1)
Cargo capacity: 145 (-20)
– Powergrid too low for MWD

PG has now been boosted from 20 to 37. This means you can now fit 3 guns, MWD, tank and some mids (just) or 3 guns MWD mids and a speed lows (with ease). No more Aux Power cores!

– Not enough low slots

One low slots added and the need to waste one on a fitting mod removed.

               

– Not enough DPS (on paper)

An extra turret slot and two High-slots mean that the damage is now at 150% of the original Atron. This means that theory fitted Atron (below) is only 10 DPS lower than the iIncursus as opposed to the 40 it was before.

               

– 40’s of cap is only just enough

2m 20s is ample time for a fight (my main registers as stable!)*

– Tank of a wet paper bag

Doubled my buffer off the bat. Mixed with the cap increase, this should make for a very tough nut to crack.      

Looks good doesn’t it? Now for a wonderful Brucie Bonus:

– Speed has been increased

Originally 3k/s now even with a 100mm plate we run at 3.6k/s and with the super speed fit 4k/s

With all these changes I really feel that CCP has hit the mark with the Atron. I think the new Atron will likely surpass the Incursus for my ship of choice in RvB; it’s time to target will simply be ludicrous. All this said however you should, as always, take all this with a pinch of salt. The changes are very much in the first stage of consideration, with CCP only just announcing their intent for change. Last time around we went through 3 or 4 changes before we got the final build (we have already had one change in this round). If changes do come around I will attempt to update this blog to reflect them. Till then, I’ll go back to fighting the good fight…

Onward Red Fed, to victory over all Prime Colours!!!!

Thanks for reading,

Hark¬

* I have to admit I’m not sure about this one. My theory crafting skills are not great, and mixed with the hokey ship creator in EvEHQ I’m just not sure this is really true. Please let me know if you can prove I’m wrong!

Combat Frigates: Tormentor Edition

After my last post on Fears for Tiers its seems only right that I should update now that some more information has come out regarding how these changes will actually proceed. CCP Ytterbium (what a name!) has posted a thread in the Ideas and discussion sections of the forums on the proposed changes to 5 frigates for Inferno.
Two first points of interest. Firstly the location of this thread is an indication of the content; i.e. and idea not solid fact. However it does give us a very valuable incite into exactly how the collective mind of CCP is thinking about these changes.
Here is a summery of his first two posts for those not willing to trawl the whole thread:
The Attack Ships will be:

Tormentor: role changed from mining frigate to medium range combat vessel
Punisher: improved role to fit close-medium range brawler
Merlin: overhauled role to fit medium-long range turret platform (may be reconsidered as resists loss is pretty hefty)
Incursus: overhauld role to fit close range brawler
Rifter: role untouched, it already is made of win and dipped with awesomesauce

Attack ships are expected to be a well balanced mix of spank tank and speed, with the slight draw back of capacitor issues (still under consideration). The aim of this class is pretty much to all be similar in power to the Rifter, which is receiving only a minor change (very slight cap nerf very slight HP boost).
In my previous post I was a bit puzzled as to where Mining Frigates were going to sit in all this, and in the end assumed that they would simply classed as a Support Frigate. I couldn’t have been more wrong. With the benefit of 20:20 hind sight this does make sense. CCP has stated that the aim of these changes is to make ALL T1 ships viable in combat in equal measures. We also know that the tier chart below (from a previous dev blog) clearly shows the T1 ships should be more of a versatile platform.
With this in mind we can clearly see that the decision to revamp a ship specialised for mining into a more general combat role, does make clear sense. But the question remains; what will happen to newbe mining progression? Ytterbium adds that they are currently considering adding an ORE frigate and/or giving some more mining roles to the newbe frigates.

This does also portend to an interesting future for the eWar frigates.Ytterbium Mentions that they will retain their current split (EWScanning) but need a boost. Judging by the statements given on each role in the initial dev blog, they will still require far more damage and mobility, with a small buff to tanking in-order to fit with the role described (again summarised in my previous post)

This is some great stuff so far; and if CCP can really turn all these frigates into Rifter equivalents, we could be seeing a lot more variation in frigate combat than we are at the moment, all of which encourages the emergent content which seems to have been leaking out of the game of late.
Looking even further into the future (as this will likely be the template used for cruisers and above), we will likely see the same changes to mining cruisers and perhaps similar boosts/nerfs to all ships as per their class classifications. My only worry is the time frame for these changes, going slow to receive feedback is one thing: five ships per 7 months seems a little to slow for my liking*.
Thank for reading
Hark¬
*This is pretty unfair of me, CCP  spent a lot of this time looking at all ships and the roles themselves, and have already stated that they are short on development time for this change. These are mitigating circumstances, but if my time in development has taught me anything, its that there are always mitigating circumstances.