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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, September 12, 2012

Fit of the Week: Evolving Ares

Let's wrap up this month of beginner FOTWs with a great first T2 ship, the Ares:

[Ares, Starter Ares]
Damage Control II
Signal Amplifier II
Overdrive Injector System II
Micro Auxiliary Power Core I

Limited 1MN MicroWarpdrive I
Warp Disruptor II
Medium F-S9 Regolith Shield Induction

125mm Light Prototype Automatic Cannon, Republic Fleet EMP S
125mm Light Prototype Automatic Cannon, Republic Fleet EMP S
Small 'Knave' Energy Drain

Small Ancillary Current Router I
Small Anti-Explosive Screen Reinforcer I


Interceptors are fantastic ships for a variety of purposes.  There are few EVE characters that shouldn't be able to fly them.  Even if you have a character with no interest in or talent for PvP, any character that un-docks frequently enough should have basic inty skills.  If nothing else, they're a truly great ship for quickly getting around the galaxy.  A properly speed-fit inty with one Polycarbon and a Hyperspatial Velocity Optimizer rig is the fastest travel platform in New Eden.(1)  And as I've already mentioned, fast inties are also nice for speed-tanking some EVE PvE.

But where they really shine, and what they were built for, is PvP.  Interceptors are excellent first T2 ships for PvP, particularly for gang work.  On today's battlefield, T1 frigates are the hardest ships to fly.  Quite often, a beginner will be killed in a T1 frigate in a single volley without even realizing they've made a mistake or what that mistake was.  That makes learning from one's mistakes a lot tougher.  Sure, you can lose a dozen Rifters, Incursi, or Merlins casually, but if you don't learn why you lost them, you're not going to get better at the game.

For pilots unable to fit or fly the ships the FC is asking for, this can quickly turn frustrating.  If you can't fly the ships being asked for, and you die too quickly in a T1 frigate (and end up getting made fun of because of it), then what?  That's where Interceptors come in.  They're a nice middle ground; there aren't many FCs that will turn you away, no matter what their fleet composition is.

As far as I'm concerned, the Ares and Stiletto are the best fleet tackle inties for pilots with less than 15 million SP thanks to their good slot layouts.  The Stiletto is the tougher ship to fit, though, which is why I recommend the Ares for beginners.  A starter Ares fit can be a capable ship, and can be refit as your SPs increase to eventually become one of the best tacklers in the game.  Unlike a Stiletto which requires great skills out of the gate, an Ares will grow with you.

The starter fit makes some compromises to account for lower-SP pilots.  The most important mods you're carrying are the point, MWD, MSE, NOS, and Signal Amplifier.  That last mod will be the first tricky mod to fit: it requires Electronics Upgrades V.  However, so many other mods and ship require this skill it will be one of the first level V skills you acquire: you'll practically be driven to it.  Still, if you can't fit that mod, start with the Type-D Attenuation Signal Augmentation, which is incredibly cheap and nearly as good.  The main role of that mod is to increase targeting range, something that's a constant source of frustration to low SP pilots.

Your MWD, MSE, and point are the key things allowing you to get into and stay in a fight.  The NOS will both protect you from neuts when pointing your target and will prevent you from lower-than-average energy management skills.  The Overdrive Injector greatly increases your ship's speed; the inty role is one of the few where this mod is a good choice.  The Micro Auxiliary Power Core is nearly always the best choice for increasing frigate-class ship power-grid, no matter the frigate.  However, at low skill, you might have to supplement with that Ancillary Current Router too.

Read the Stiletto article written above for tips on flying shis ship.  Their roles are identical.  In much the same way, you're fitting auto-cannons primarily to attack enemy drones with so don't bother with shooting at enemy ships with them.  As with the Stiletto, the Anti-Explosive Screen Reinforcer is to protect you against Warrior IIs, which will be your main nemesis if you fly correctly.  As your skills improve, your closing speed with your targets will approach Stiletto speed.  Get on the target, point it at close to your maximum point range and then maintain the highest speed possible around your target.

As your skill points increase, start upgrading.  In particular, as your energy grid skills increase, take off the Ancillary Current Router and replace it with a Polycarbon Engine Housing.  This might happen because your shield or Engineering skills increase (making the MSE easier to fit).  Or, it might happen because you train Energy Management V for extra capacitor.  If you do the latter, you can fit a Micro Auxiliary Power Core II as a side benefit.  Upgrade the guns to 150mm AutoCannons when you can; unlike the Stiletto, the Ares benefits from the slightly larger guns thanks to its slightly slower speed.  And upgrade to a Signal Amplifier II as soon as you can too, if you had to start without it.

Get your SP high enough and you'll be flying this, or something close to it:

[Ares, End-game Ares]
Damage Control II
Signal Amplifier II
Overdrive Injector System II
Micro Auxiliary Power Core II

Limited 1MN MicroWarpdrive I
Warp Disruptor II
Medium F-S9 Regolith Shield Induction

150mm Light AutoCannon II, Barrage S
150mm Light AutoCannon II, Barrage S
Small Diminishing Power System Drain I

Small Polycarbon Engine Housing I
Small Anti-Explosive Screen Reinforcer I


Besides Warrior IIs, the main threat to your ship are fast laser-armed ships.  In particular, if you get webbed around Zealots or get caught by an Imperial Navy Slicer, you can expect to die really fast.  Most other ships will have a hard time hitting you, or if they hit you, a hard time doing very much damage per shot.  Even if you die -- and trust me, as you learn you'll die a lot -- at least you'll live long enough to realize the mistakes you're making.  And the last time I checked, the Ares was the cheapest T2 ship in the game so your deaths won't be too terribly expensive.  If you're in an alliance that has such things, ask for reimbursement of your losses.  By providing initial tackle for kills, you're filling an important fleet role.

Die well!  Point!


(1) They'd be even better if CCP changed ship warp acceleration such that it made actual sense.


All Fits of the Week are intended as general guidelines only.  You may not have the skills needed for this exact fit.  If you do not, feel free to adjust the fit to suit to meet your skills, including using meta 3 guns and "best named" defenses and e-war.  Ships can also be adjusted to use faction or dead-space modules depending on the budget of the pilot flying it.  Each FOTW is intended as a general guide to introduce you to concepts that will help you fit and to fly that particular type of ship more aggressively and well.

10 comments:

  1. I think you meant that the ACR could be removed once one had Engineering V (more PG), instead of more cap.
    (do not publish this as a comment, just wanted to prevent confusion among new players :) )

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've tweaked that section to make it clearer that the T2 MAPC is unlocked by the Energy Management skill.

      Delete
  2. why autocannons instead of blasters or rails???
    "Gallente Frigate Skill Bonus: 5% bonus to Small Hybrid Turret damage and 7.5% bonus to Small Hybrid Turret tracking speed per level"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Small auto-cannons use almost no grid, whereas the various hybrids use a ton of it. Between the NOS, MSE, and MWD, the Ares doesn't have the grid to support hybrids too.

      Auto-cannons are also somewhat better anti-drone weapons than hybrids.

      Delete
    2. Why are you using Barrage?

      If this is meant for anti-drone work, you don't need the additional range, and you certainly do not want the tracking penalty.

      Delete
    3. Don't know why you fit a NOS.

      If you are using a long point, you aren't going to want to get within NOS - and web - range of your target.

      Delete
    4. "Auto-cannons are also somewhat better anti-drone weapons than hybrids."

      No, they aren't. With only two light guns, you are not likely to kill a flight of light drones before they get in range and try to orbit. Tracking speed is more important than extended falloff at drone engagement ranges, and bonused blasters track much better than unbonused ACs. You also want the extra DPS from the blasters to put the drones down quickly, before they chew through your tank.

      As far as grid is concerned, you don't ever need/want the NOS. You aren't going to want to get that close. Lose it.

      Lose the MSE, too. It bumps up your sig, which negates some of your speed advantage. Dumping the MSE means that you can lose the shield rig and the MAPC, as well. This will allow you to fit the blasters, as well as add another Overdrive II plus another Poly rig. This will push your speed up to around 5km/s, with a lower sig.

      Also, remember that the Ares has most of its HP in structure. Coupled with a DC II and a 5km/s speed tank, you don't need an additional shield or armor tank. With a long point, you never need to get within scram or web range of your target, so avoiding the hits is better than trying to fit to tank damage.

      Finally, if you feel the need for some neut protection, you should be able to squeeze a small cap battery where the MSE used to be. With the recent change to cap batteries, they now reflect a portion of any incoming neut/nos effect back at the target. Added bonus: the cap battery will make your blasters cap stable, with the point and the MWD running.

      Delete
  3. Your fit has one major flaw though, it won't lock up to Loki boosted point range. And that's a pretty big issue *imho*.
    Nullified link Loki's have pretty much become the default goto scout for most small/medium gangs.

    If you add Ion rigs to mend this it would be a fine fit. (It's pretty much identical at that point to a shield malediction in terms of speed, survivability etc).
    There's really only one bad fleet ceptor and that's the (C)Raptor.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Biggest problem I see is that Warrior IIs, which are an inties worst nightmare, have rather high explosive damage shield resists (~60%) - although their armour ex resist is only 10%.

    Kinetic resists are 40% for the shields and 25% for the armour, but hybrids track better.

    So it's arguable whether ACs > Blasters against drones from a damage pov, but, fitting-wise, they are a lot better because of the almost non-existant PG requirements.

    ReplyDelete
  5. A single sig amp is fine the majority of the time for most pilots. If you find you are consistently using loki links its not hard to tinker with the fit and drop the od for a second sig amp (iffa drops enough cpu for a meta amp). There are plenty of variations of each ship and I think he did an excellent job of giving a basic non-gimmick all around fit.

    But to add, if you are inty V with links you will easily point past your max lock range with 0-1 sig amps. Also if you are burning towards a target by the time you target them, with your speed and game delay you could be almost 10km inside your lock range before you acquire a lock and your wd is activated. Being able to lock sooner range wise is almost as important as being fast enough to get there in the first place (especially with links).

    ReplyDelete

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