Monday, July 27, 2009

Go fast, go splat!

This was the slogan of the Bug and Lepton classes of martian vehicles in Virtual World Entertainment's Red Planet, where the goal was to go as fast humanly possible during a 10-minute race. Those vehicles had something in common with EVE's interceptor class: in order to be extremely fast they were extremely fragile, and although it was possible to fly them offensively (ie: ram an opponent into the ground or structures) it also came at the price of having to take some damage, and of course offensive moves could just as well backfire and bite you in the ass.

In the EVE universe, the Kings of Speed are the interceptors. Imagine a set of jet engines with a cockpit and a few guns duck-taped on, with all the tank of a paper plane. For every race there are two models of interceptors: fleet tacklers and combat interceptors. Let me give a short description of each type and their use in the game; feel free to flame me if you think I got something wrong.

Fleet tacklers:

  • Amarr: Malediction
  • Caldari: Raptor
  • Gallente: Ares
  • Minmatar: Stiletto

These ships are best used in fleets as they have much lower DPS than their combat counterparts, but are much more agile and warp the fastest in the game at 13.5 au/sec. These ships are built with one thing in mind: get there first, stop the prey, and hope reinforcements arrive shortly or else it will be a short battle. This means that their ability to inflict damage is irrelevant; the way to fit these ships is to make them as nimble as possible, and able to run their Microwarp Drives and tackling modules permanently, even if they are the longer ranged Warp Disruptors, which tend to eat up more capacitor. With the Interceptor skill at level IV the range of a Warp Disruptor is 28.8 for a T2 module, and 10.8 for a Warp Scrambler. In a fleet it's usually a good idea to have a mix of both as the first interceptors to arrive on the scene will be able to put points on the target(s), and the scram-fitted inties will make sure the target(s) stay slow and vulnerable. So all in all dealing damage is not really important, but staying alive is, so being able to perma-run the modules creates the ultimate speed-tank.

Combat interceptors:

  • Amarr: Crusader
  • Caldari: Crow
  • Gallente: Taranis
  • Minmatar: Claw

These ships are usually slower, or faster but less nimble, but have a slightly better tank and deal considerably more damage than their fleet counterparts. One module makes these ships very effective at solo combat though: the Damage Control. Take a look at this blog's header and you'll understand what I mean. In this picture, Yours Truly had just spotted a TCF Thanatos and the Navitas that cynoed him in. Being hungry for an easy kill (and forgetting AMC was NRDS in low-sec, plus I still had all my Bozo-esque reflexes towards anything TCF) I warped right on top of the cyno and snuffed its lights out. This of course caused the station to shoot at me, but while the station did give hull damage to my Taranis I never felt in trouble. I've applied the same principle to my Claw interceptors but I have these rigged in order to squeeze a bit more DPS out of them, something that doesn't need to be done with the Taranis. I think the Crusader can apply the same principle also, as its lasers can do quite a bit of damage (Bullmastiff, if you read this tell me if I'm wrong), but one exception is the Crow which has to be flown at the extreme edge of Warp Disruptor range, and has to perma-run in order to keep sending missile volleys because, as I've said before, Caldari is latin for "lack of gank". Of these 4 ships, the Taranis is the undisputed King of Pain, and if you are not Gallente-born please do yourself a favor and cross-train in order to fly this beast.

So Letrange... yes, it is entirely possible that your Prowler, which is fit and rigged to get out of harm's way in no time flat, can out-maneuver and out-warp a Claw, but that's what a Prowler is for. Of course, if you want to use it as a tackler, be my guest :)

I declare the Interceptor Flame Wars open !!!

Short Banter edit: as I despise absolutely anything even remotely related to politics, I am staying the hell away from Blog Banter #10. My politic: shoot first, ask questions later.

!!! NEWS BREAK !!!

As I was typing this post Cozmik R5 was breaking the 20 million skill point barrier. Guess the subject of the next post :)

Never fly safe... it's bad for you.



Anonymous said...

Ok I admit it I am a biased ole mule that doesn't particularly LIKE to die. When I fly interceptors ( 1/2 of the kills on the corp killboard attributed to me are interceptor assisted kills) I will also grant you that IF you have to fight in a damned interceptor, you had better op for the 'combat' type. Still a 3/3/4 or some variant with oh say 1100 max hp I can tear the shit out of in my stabber, Vagabond,or my muninn. What do I prefer Stiletto of course. WHY? I don't know I guess I can bail out if things go hot. I can catch most pods (3096 scan res) in .71 seconds. DO I mount a gun...yes but rarely does it do much damage. Perhaps if I was roaming around attacking something other than a combat ship the combat style might indeed be what I would choose. Good post great clarification for those that do not fly these...still just cannot get over the 'combat' moniker...oh well I'll live. :)

~may your MWD never falter

Benoit CozmikR5 Gauthier said...

After I got face-melted by about 4 Tarani in the same week I knew I had to train up for it, and this is THE combat inty :)