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.