Welcome to Jester's Trek.
I'm your host, Jester. I've been an EVE Online player for about six years. One of my four mains is Ripard Teg, pictured at left. Sadly, I've succumbed to "bittervet" disease, but I'm wandering the New Eden landscape (and from time to time, the MMO landscape) in search of a cure.
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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Fit of the Week: 14-inch penis

[Ferox, Command Sniper]
Damage Control II
Magnetic Field Stabilizer II
Magnetic Field Stabilizer II
Beta Reactor Control: Reaction Control I

10MN MicroWarpdrive II
Invulnerability Field II
Invulnerability Field II
Sensor Booster II, Targeting Range
Large Shield Extender II

250mm Railgun II, Spike M
250mm Railgun II, Spike M
250mm Railgun II, Spike M
250mm Railgun II, Spike M
250mm Railgun II, Spike M
250mm Railgun II, Spike M
Siege Warfare Link - Shield Harmonizing

Medium Ancillary Current Router I
Medium Ancillary Current Router I
Medium Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer I

Warrior II x5


In honor of the upcoming "hybrid re-balance," hybrid month fits of the week continue.  Sort of.

Warning: this ship sucks.

Still, I kind of liked it anyway.  There was a stretch in 2008-2009 when sniper shield HACs and battle-cruisers were really popular.  No really, they were!  This was before you could pinpoint the location of an enemy sniper fleet with a few combat scanner probes.  Sniper tactics were all the rage, as were variations on kiting tactics.  People actually bought, and fit, Rokhs.  People actually trained Large Hybrid Turret V.  Remote-repair sniper battleships were one of the most popular EVE fleet doctrines.  When it became relatively easy to scan down and bomb a sniper battleship fleet, though, that era came to an end.  Still, you still saw shield HACs and BCs being used as snipers, including the so-called "14-inch penis".

Where'd the nickname come from?  I can't speak to it before 2008 or so, but I first encountered the nickname on Scrapheap Challenge.  On that site, any use of the word Ferox automatically had "14 inch penis" substituted in.  ;-)

Once the sniper battleship era came to an end, you still saw shield HACs being used as snipers.  This meant a lot of Muninns and Eagles (yes!).  Soon though, those were regarded as too fragile and you saw tougher shield BCs take their place, particularly "arti Canes" and a few idiots like myself flying Feroxes.  It didn't last long.  When Drakes became popular and projectile weapons were buffed, the short age of the sniper BC came to an end.  The artillery Canes, for the most part, became auto-cannon Canes.  The Feroxes, for the most part, were docked or sold.

Still, I continued to occasionally fly mine, in Drake fleets, fit as a roaming cyno ship (take this fit, remove the Reactor Control, add a third MFS2, remove the link and add a cyno) in case my alliance wanted to call a triage carrier or two into a fight.

In practice, I'd fly the ship like an auto-cannon Hurricane.  I'd open a battle with Spike in the railguns, then switch to Caldari Navy Antimatter as I closed range.  The Spike ammo did crap damage -- barely over 200 DPS -- but the CNAM didn't do too badly.  I could also switch the Sebo from a Targeting Range script to a Scan Res script in the process, which meant that in a medium-size or larger fleet, I could KM whore with the best of them.  ;-)  The best thing about the Ferox is that in a situation where the enemy fleet was kiting us, the Ferox could hit at about 110km, far exceeding the range of the Drakes and Canes in the fleet with me.  Still, if there are only two or three Feroxes in the fleet, you're not going to kill much of anything...

Because of my tendency to want to have a lot of spares in case of losses, I still had three or four of the things that I hoped people would shoot out from under me.  Problem with that at the time was that "the Ferox sucks" also meant that "the Ferox isn't worth killing because its DPS is terrible; kill Hurricanes first."  So, my Feroxes stubbornly refused to die.

So, I refit them as auto-cannon-fit, cheap fleet booster ships and started FCing roaming BC fleets from them.  This proved a lot more satisfactory.

[Ferox, Bi-Curious]
Damage Control II
Gyrostabilizer II
Gyrostabilizer II
Gyrostabilizer II

10MN MicroWarpdrive II
Invulnerability Field II
Invulnerability Field II
Warp Disruptor II
Large Shield Extender II

425mm AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet EMP M
425mm AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet EMP M
425mm AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet EMP M
425mm AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet EMP M
425mm AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet EMP M
425mm AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet EMP M
Siege Warfare Link - Shield Harmonizing

Medium Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer I
Medium Core Defence Field Extender I
Medium Core Defence Field Extender I

Warrior II x5


Why auto-cannons instead of blasters?  The Ferox's bonus is to hybrid range, not damage.  Even with Battlecruiser V trained, this made the Ferox's maximum range with blasters about 15km, with poor DPS.  This is ridiculously short, particularly on such a slow ship.  For the auto-cannons, 15km is close to the standard high DPS range.  The auto-cannon-fit ship also had a superior tank and better tracking.

This illustrates that the problem with blasters is not their damage, which is fine.  It's their range, which is not.  Hopefully, this will be a big part of the re-balance, because if I can't even bring myself to use them on a ship with a hybrid range bonus, something's wrong.

Anyway, despite all of this and for no lack of trying, I've never been killed in a Ferox, so I still have at least three of them.  Part of the reason is that the Ferox tank is pretty good.  It's not quite as good as a Drake, but it's far superior to just about any other battle cruiser.  But DPS is what it's about, so I soon went ahead and switched full-time to Hurricanes.

So, it'll be worth checking -- after the hybrid re-balance, of course -- if my Feroxes are worth pulling back out.  Next week: Megathron.

9 comments:

  1. I have a ferox fit like the first one. It's on Scalding Ass. From when I flew with Cult of War. I even killed stuff in it!

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  2. Wow, that Ferox needed a lot of power grid mods and rigs to fit those guns.

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  3. Rails are ridiculously grid-hungry for what you get, yes. ;-)

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  4. Also: Rails are stupid cap-hungry for the DPS they do.

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  5. "This illustrates that the problem with blasters is not their damage, which is fine. It's their range, which is not. Hopefully, this will be a big part of the re-balance, because if I can't even bring myself to use them on a ship with a hybrid range bonus, something's wrong."

    Er. Well. Any meaningful buff to optimal runs the very real risk of turning blasters into reskinned autocannons. It might be balanced, but it's not going to be very fun.

    I'll happily agree that their paper DPS is fine, though. The primary problem is applying that DPS- i.e. getting into range and hitting the target once you're there. The former is I think best addressed by looking at the platform rather than the payload; increasing straight-line speed on Gallente hulls could solve the problem without compromising the Minnies' niche as the agile, skirmisher race. The latter requires more tracking on the guns; +37.5% seems a reasonable starting point for testing. Naturally, this is going to require replacing the 'thron's tracking bonus unless we want to see them running around eviscerating cruiser gangs.

    Secondary problem is that a blaster setup necessitates a MWD, and the greens are supposed to be an active tanking race. These three things are all very PG and cap-hungry: God forbid you want to put anything else on the ship. Like, say, a cap booster.

    Tertiary problem is the ammo: most of it is redundant. 99% of the time, you're using AM. If you're worried about cap, maybe you'll break out the Thorium. Range, Null. Void is a joke in poor taste. Spike is great for those who want to shoot people from warp range. Javelin... how the hell are you supposed to hit anything with this?

    The fine gradations in range and damage on hybrid weapons might make sense if you could swap them in and out tactically, but, well, you can't. Plus, it's really boring.

    Aaand I think that's us covered every point made in a hybrid rebalancing thread in the last couple of years.

    P.S.

    15km on medium blasters? As a blasterboat specialist (read: masochist), that's obscenely large, considering that your standard issue gankrax can just about scrape 2+6. Hell, even the Hyperion I use for L4s can only hit 11+15 with Null, and spends most of the time fighting at 4+12.

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  6. @Monster: I agree with most of your points. In particular, mating blasters to the slowest ships in the game is not smart. I'll have a bit more to say about the topic today.

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  7. Just as an aside, I'm a heretic Caldari. I like guns, and that means rails. I'm not going to put them away just yet, not until I've had my fun beaten out of me for a few more months :) When I think of engagement ranges, I consider the effective range of my guns to be optimal + falloff. I know the hit percentage and DPS drops (I have huge problems with the term 'DPS', as it really isn't, but that's an entire thread in and of itself), but I'm finding that I'm hitting my targets at optimal + falloff often enough to make it close enough for government work when calculating engagement range. Was that how you got 15km for blaster range, Jester? I'm guessing it is, but I've been known to be wrong before :)

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  8. @Anon1619: Yep, when I calculate range, I use optimal+falloff. It's not ideal, but as you say, it's close enough for government work.

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  9. The impression I've always had of the philosophy for blasters is that they should melt the face of anything they get close enough to. Getting 'close enough' is the challenge. If anything, I'd like to see a damage boos for blasters, and maybe a MWD speed boost for blaster boats.

    Then again, I think MWDs should've been redesigned to boost speed even more, but cut maneuverability accordingly. I'd love to see player skill in piloting matter more.

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