June 28, 2010

Blasters on a Rifter

Every so often, there are some comments thrown at killmails that say something to the tune of "that's not how you fly that ship" or "what is this, I don't even". Or "what the heck?!" Some times the commenter may even be correct (like in the previous examples). So then, what exactly is wrong about flying a Rifter with blasters and both an armor and shield tank if the slots allow it? (Edit: killboard links removed since the killboard they were on stopped working)

Ship Bonuses

So let's talk about the blasters on a Rifter. It would make sense to use high-damage close-range guns, since the Rifter is a high-damage close-range ship, no? Let's compare it to the Gallente Incursus, which is a blaster-boat.

With perfect training, an Incursus with 3 Light Ion Blaster IIs will deal 111 DPS. However, a Rifter with the same guns will deal 89 DPS. The Incursus'  blasters also have a longer falloff than the Rifter's. What gives? The ships' design choices make them more useful for different tasks. Here's how:
  • Incursus: Gallente Frigate Skill Bonus: 10% bonus to Small Hybrid Turret falloff and 5% bonus to Small Hybrid Turret damage per skill level. 
  • Rifter: Minmatar Frigate Skill Bonus: 5% bonus to Small Projectile Turret damage and 7.5% bonus to tracking per level. 
These can be found in the ship's description. As you can see, by fitting blasters (which are hybrid turrets) onto a Rifter, you do not benefit from the damage and tracking bonus that the Rifter offers. However, if you fit 150mm Light Autocannon IIs to the same Rifter, you will see the DPS drop to 87. What gives? These other effects should be considered, though:
  • CPU usage went down from 29.5 tf to 13.5 tf.
  • Power grid usage went down from 18.9 MW to 5.4 MW. 
  • Falloff distance went up from 2.5 km to 5.5 km (with close-range ammo fitted).
  • Ammo can now be picked according to damage types.
Not too bad, considering especially the changes in CPU and PG will mean the Rifter can fit more of other modules. 

Ship Attributes

It is also wise to take into consideration not only the bonuses, but the ship itself. For instance, the Slasher gets the same bonuses that the Rifter does. However, with its 3/2/1 slot setup, it is impossible to tank for proper battle.
However, because it's more agile - the Slasher's inertia modifier is 2/3 that of the Rifter's - it means it can accelerate, decelerate, and manage turns very well. This makes it an excellent fast tackler, albeit a suicide tackler because of the lack of tank. This is a case where ignoring the bonuses is advisable.

Special Ship Abilities

In some cases, ships have specific special abilities that give them special roles. For instance, take the Ashimmu loss I linked earlier. The Ashimmu is a cruiser of Blood Raider design, so it specializes in webbing and draining its targets dry. More concretely, its bonuses are:

Special Ability: 100% bonus to Medium Energy Turret damage

Amarr Cruiser Skill Bonus: 15% bonus to Energy Vampire and Energy Neutralizer drain amount per level

Minmatar Cruiser Skill Bonus: 10% bonus to the velocity factor of stasis webifiers per level
 Because the Ashimmu has room for 3 turrets, that gives it an equivalent 6 turrets of damage considering the 100% bonus. On top of that, with Amarr Cruiser V, it gets 75% bonus to neutralizer drain amount, and another great bonus to webs. In other words, by fitting "to the fit", these statistics would go up (all generated using max skills):
  • DPS: 139 to 297
  • Energy drain (peak): 801.5 to 945
  • Energy drain (range): 10.5 km to 12.6 km
  • Stasis web (range): 10 km to 15 km
  • Effective hit points: 24,616 to 37,182
  • Has a warp scrambler. 


The speed denial of the stasis webifiter is slightly worse, but a good sacrifice for the range. Also, the tank might be a little misleading, since he had an armor repairer on his, and I did not on mine. Other than that, I am really wondering why he would fly it as poorly fit as he did, especially after paying for it more than for a Heavy Assault Cruiser...

The Bottom Line

I didn't nitpick the Ashimmu loss at whim though. Expensive ships are expensive for a reason. They usually have some insanely overpowered bonus, in this case the neutralizer/web bonuses. It's fine to try out a blaster Rifter, or an autocannon Punisher. However, in cases like this, to pay so much for a ship then to not capitalize on every drop of bonus it gets is a waste, and makes you and your corporation/alliance look stupid.

As my personal instructor at the Pator Tech School used to say, "You can't turn an Apocalypse into a Tempest."

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