Monday, February 28, 2005

Fun With Frigates

As I continue my epic re-skilling for my second Brutix I've spent a few fun hours messing around with frigates I never tried on my first journey up through the ship classes. Before my fateful first level 3 mission I took to doing the easier end of my level 2 missions in a blaster-equipped Incursus. It was the first time I'd used both blasters and the oddly-shaped Incursus but it was much more lively than the sedate Brutix. Orbiting the enemy at a good speed, a mere 1km away, pounding away with my blasters and running the armour repairer when necessary. I got so used to the little bugger that I eventually lost it to the new level 2 "Drone Infestation" mission and one of the cruiser-tough drones in there.

I've since bought a second Incursus but my eyes have turned to a new toy now - the Tristan. Orbiting at 15km, afterburner on and missiles flying... I'd never used missiles before now, always preferring the feel of a good railgun under my fingers. So I'm quite terribly underskilled in them, but still I watch amused as each one does around 80 damage with every hit. It takes the edge off the rather disappointingly long time it currently takes to kill decent enemy with it. Fighting off a Caldari incursion took a good deal longer than it should have.

I enjoy being able to try out these new (for me) ships - even more so when I know that their loss is not worth noticing when it comes to my wallet. They liven up the easier end of the generally very easy level 2 mission stack. Rather than plowing into the 'Rats with my all-conquering Thorax I can race around them in a frigate, scrambling to keep it alive as I pummel them with my tiny weapons. With this in mind I picked myself up a shiny red Ares Interceptor in exchange for a few agent loyalty points and a small selection of components and minerals. As soon as I can spare eighteen days to skill up for it I'll be tearing apart the universe at breakneck speed.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Thinking Ahead To Thorax vrs Brutix

Yesterday was a short night of Thorax combat in the 0.2 belts. Close and nasty stuff - great fun! The ramped up armour hitpoints meant combat with the high bounty cruiser 'Rats (the 100,000 Isk Guardian Trooper several times throughout the night) went just as well as it used to in my Brutix. I also changed my ammunition for Antimatter rounds, thereby dealing better for the most part. The normal Serpentis Cruisers, often coming in pairs, fell quicker than they had the night before. The next steps will be to look into fitting a couple of cruiser-level blasters and investigate integrating Tech II modules into the setup.

The Channon IV shows a Serpentis Chief Sentinel what a Blasterax can do.

Looking at the Thorax and Brutix statistics I'm immediately struck by the fact that my beloved Brutix is not actually that much better than the 'Rax. In fact, with only half the drone bay it's actually almost worse. The armour tanking potential is the same, with an equal five low slots. It would be ideal if the seven turret points could handle at least five medium blasters, but (and this is without checking a setup) it really doesn't look like you can. The differences in powergrid and CPU between the Brutix and 'Rax are laughably small (which has already led to plenty of complaining forum goers), so a significantly more damaging Blasterax setup on the Brutix (but with five mediums and a second Cap Recharger in the extra mid slot) doesn't seem possible. This is a shame, because that would have made the Brutix a very suitable change in ship class - a super-Thorax, but without the full heavy Drone capabilities to prevent it being too over-devastating.

The drone bay presents a problem more specific to me. I've been using close to ten medium drones in all my long term ships, and more recently eight lovely Ogre heavy drones in the 'Rax. With the power of heavies demonstrated to me, I'm now torn between flying nine (soon ten) Hammerhead mediums or four Ogres. That I have to make such a drastic choice is a notable weakness of the Brutix.

Ultimately I will have to experiment more with a Brutix setup to do my best to turn it into a large Blasterax. Tweaking setups is more fun that I expected, just so long as it doesn't go too horribly wrong.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Thoughts On The Thorax

Last night I got sidetracked from my mining plans by the lure of playing with a Thorax. Long respected as one of the best cruisers ingame, I'd avoided investigating one as I focused solely on my Vexor on the path to the Brutix. My Brutix loss, however, has forced me to realise that I need an education in the art of armour tanking and I was well aware that the Thorax was the best at it from the Gallente cruiser array.

The Channon IV out for a stroll.

I began the evening with close to thirteen million, with the intention of mining a few cans worth of ore that would help me leap back up to twenty. Within the first thirty minutes of play I'd lost my Incursus (a tale for another entry) and bought a replacement, along with a Catalyst and a Thorax. The Thorax required fitting, which meant purchasing the MWD skill at long last, alongside the Heavy Drones skill (and of course, eight heavy Ogre drones). After another hour of picking up my goods and carefully setting it up (based on the advice of yesterday's thread) I was ready to give it a whirl.

(My setup, incidentally, was: High slots - five named Ion Blasters (small) with Iridium ammo. Mid Slots - 10mn Afterburner, named Webifier, Cap Recharger I. Low slots - named Medium Armour Repairer, 400mm Nanofiber Plates I, named passive Thermal Hardener, named passive Kinetic Hardener (fighting Serpentis, so...), named Adaptive Nano.)

My first pleasant surprise of the evening was when I tore through a level 2 "Drone Infestation" single stage Deadspace mission. I'd swapped out one of my blasters for a medium smartbomb and I was hoping to just scrape through and get it out of the way (I'm used to plowing a Brutix into the middle of Rogue Drone groups, turning on four medium smart bombs and a shield booster and sitting back, so it was a worrying step down at the time). Webbing them and opening fire with the blasters worked as I expected but it was good to see that my defence was keeping them at bay without hurtling through my capacitor. I was more shocked to see that my eight Ogre Heavy Drones were able to hit and chew through the non-webbed rogue drones.

After I while I took my new curiosity out for some adventures with the 0.3 and 0.2 frigate and cruiser rats. I was again impressed to see that my defence held whilst my blasters and drones took them apart. I didn't face any of the double bounty Cruisers but I had no problems with groups of their normal cousins. The fighting style was one I rather liked. Until recently in EVE (when I started messing around with an Incursus) I'd done only Railgun combat, which on the Brutix in particular is a long range kind of affair. Charging into the middle of the enemy, trapping them with a webifier and letting loose the rapid fire of the blasters is a lot more lively. Unleashing eight heavy drones once they'd all opened fire upon me was also good fun. Ogres tear through the opposition a lot faster than the Hammerhead mediums I'd lovingly used until now.

By the end of the evening I was already looking to tweak my setup. Instead of the 400mm Nanofiber Plating that added a few hundred extra armour points, I bought a 1600mm Nanofiber plate that added nearly two thousand. That's a Thorax with more Armour points than my Brutix, which should be entertaining to take out for a spin this evening. The Adaptive Nano Plating is a bit pointless, so either an active armour hardener (which I've never used) or a passive explosive hardener will probably take its place. Then there's challenge of further tweaking my weapon setup - replacing the ammunition with Antimatter and seeing if I can squeeze a couple of medium blasters on there to take advantage of the cruiser skill bonus. By the time I return to my Brutix I shall be a much wiser pilot.

Monday, February 07, 2005

An Education In Loss

Time to resurrect my EvE Journaling I think. Last night, after a few weeks of mission running for the Gallente Federation Navy, I was finally able to work the decent level III agents I wanted. I leapt without looking, as it were and plunged into my first mission ("Angel's Surprise") without thinking. As a small fleet of Angel interceptors and cruisers tore my beautiful craft to pieces I had time only to praise the miracle of insurance before fleeing back to the station in my pod. I must say it hit me hard, to lose my hand built ship of nearly two months age. I've lost only one ship before, my first Imicus to the delight of a Mordus incursion, so I'm ill-adjusted to such events. It's also the first time I've ever had to decline completion of a mission.

The Channon II, may she rest in peace.

I purchased a new Brutix (Channon III) for a decent price and trundled back to Oursulaert for a sift through my loot and rarities stash there. Once I'd loaded up there I began the voyage back to my old home of Murethand, via my mining "cottage" in Caslemon. I slumped into my dusty old Caslemon hanger, stripped it of a few extra items and leapt across to the lonely Federation Customs station in Murethand. I was down to a measly twelve million Isk so it was time to mine myself a fortune during this week ahead, whilst I contemplate my future.

I don't want to fly a battleship. Everyone has one, far too few carebears such as myself stick long enough with cruisers and battlecruisers. There's no challenge in sitting there in a flying station, slowly tearing through the enemy. My goal of late has been to master the cruisers and battlecruisers of the Gallente, with occasional forays into the fun and lively sport of frigate combat and with an eye to eventual investigation of Interceptors, Assault Frigates and Heavy Assault Cruisers. But last night brought me terribly close to saving up for one.

However, the cold light of day has made me resolute. I will stick to my guns (literally and figuratively speaking) and work harder to improve my Brutix setup and skills. I'm also more tempted than usual to experiment with the famous Thorax and see what joy Heavy Drones can bring. I've asked the masses and they have provided several suggestions. Finally there's the fun and danger of belting around in a frigate, with plenty more entertainment to be had still in my new Incursus (Ragged Robin III) and my nice little Tristan still sits untarnished.

The Xetic Federation crown a new president in Yulai.

Hello Dave.

One of six Amarr Navy Apocalypse battleships to fall to a CAS fleet.