December 13, 2010

Harpy: How to Do It Wrong

Update (2018-05-31):  This post is still accurate despite the significant rebalancing the Harpy has seen since it was made. Blaster Harpy is just wrong!
Remember how a while ago I was talking about how it is beneficial to use a ship's bonuses to fit it? Tonight I shall elaborate on this a bit more than just putting blasters on a Rifter. Let's put blasters on a Harpy!

I mean, why not? It's meant to use hybrid turrets, and receives a damage bonus based on the Assault Frigate skill, right? Plus, searching for Harpy images even brings up a fit for it as the first result! Well, I don't much like that fit (I like Damage Controls), so I made my own:

So, it looks pretty good! That optimal range on the blasters is awesome, isn't it? I mean, the Harpy does get an optimal range bonus of 10% per Caldari Frigate skill level, and 10% per Assault Ships skill level, but that doesn't matter, right? If I were to make up a fit that followed the bonuses, I would have come up with something like this:

I mean, it might be able to hit out to 20 km, but it deals almost half the damage of the blaster version, and has less tank! Clearly, it sucks. Well, let's compare these two beauties, and, for a point of reference, include a Wolf, which is an assault ship intended to use short range weapons (as it has two damage bonuses and one falloff bonus).

Hm, off the bat it appears the Wolf boasts more damage than the blaster Harpy. It doesn't have a sweet 2 km optimal range, though! How are we to know which really does more damage? Fortunately, the EVE Fitting Tool features a neat graph which approximates damage over distance, given the attacker's and target's velocity vectors. Let's compare the Harpy and the Wolf in a dogfight against an arbitrary Rifter, when orbiting at approximately half their speeds.

Red: Blaster Harpy; Blue: Autocannon Wolf
Well that's... unexpected. And rather painful for the Harpy. If the Wolf use his falloff wisely and keeps distance rather than being in its target's face, it will deal much more damage than the Harpy can ever hope to achieve. However, if you notice, the railgun Harpy is waiting there for me to turn it on. Let's see what happens if I do, and also turn off microwarpdrives (to emulate scrambling).

Red: Blaster Harpy; Blue: Autocannon Wolf: Green: Railgun Harpy
Oof, look at that damage! An interesting point, though: at any distance further than 10 km, the railgun Harpy beats both the Wolf and blaster Harpy by far. And since the railgun Harpy is faster than both of them, it can just chip either of them (and the dummy target Rifter) to shreds. Of course, there will be some skeptics who say "but what of railgun tracking?" Well, what of it? Let's turn all microwarpdrives on, and orbit at full speed.

Red: Blaster Harpy; Blue: Autocannon Wolf: Green: Railgun Harpy
Except, if the railgun Harpy were to fight either of them, the tracking would be the least of its worries, as the target would be trying to burn at it, and the Harpy could just kite and shoot away at the resulting lowered transversal.

So, yeah. Ship bonuses. Use them. Then you might get awesome kills since nobody expects you to actually fly a ship the way it's supposed to be flown.

November 11, 2010

What Do Turrets Look Like?

Update (2018-05-31): Ship and gun models have undergone significant overhaul since this entry was written, so all the info in it is unfortunately inaccurate. Incomplete, too, since missile launchers are now visible as well. Maybe it's time to make an updated version of this post...
They look like small pointy guns on your ship, duh! This would be a pretty boring post if that was really the answer, though, don't you agree?

The question is, rather: "How can you identify turrets on a ship... without opening the fitting window?"

Now why is this relevant at all? The fitting window is oh-so-convenient! Well, your ship's HUD has a convenient button to send one of your camera drones to look at other ships.

Unfortunately, this only functions when your target is within 100 km of yourself, but that is usually (exceptions for battleships and sniper HACs/battlecruisers) more than enough of a safe buffer to safely examine their ship. Now, when you look at them, you not only see the direction they are flying in, but you also see their guns -- the only visible modules of a ship.

Say you spot this Incursus burning at you:

What can you expect from it? Is it a tanky Incursus with electron or ion blasters? Or is it one of those all-in Incursi that use painful neutron blasters? And are they T1 or T2?

Most people can't tell. However, I can tell you that those guns are Light Neutron Blaster IIs. How? I've spent a long time observing various guns and their looks. Each caliber/type of gun has a unique profile. Plus, T2 guns generally look like a more shiny/enhanced version of the T1 gun, possibly adding some extra targeting bits, or having more power cables exposed. To spare you the trouble of stalking ships to see all the different turrets, I went and bought every type of small (frigate-sized) turret and fitted them to various ships.

The result:

Click to see the full size table.
So, for example, I was able to identify the guns on the Incursus as Light Neutron Blaster IIs by noting that they had glow points as all T2 blasters do, but that they had neither the narrow barrel of the electron blaster, nor the large glowing section of the ion blaster.

How is this information useful? Well, in this case, by noticing the neutron blasters, a wise pilot will not orbit the Incursus at anywhere closer than 5 km to deny it optimal damage. Alternatively, a ship with a tracking disruptor could load a tracking disruption script, to further break the already poor tracking of neutron blasters. If, on the other hand, those were electron blasters, the safe distance to engage the Incursus becomes much smaller.

This information might not be much, but it can very well make enough of a tactical difference to win you fights. Now go out there and try it!

(No, I cannot and will not make a table like this for cruisers or battleships, since I cannot use those guns)

This is also a fun party trick, especially when bored in space. Tell people exactly what their guns are, and watch them be amazed. Though probably not anymore, if they read my blog.

November 6, 2010

Learning From Your Losses

Update (2018-05-31):  Battleclinic went under at some point since I wrote this entry, so all the links are broken, and I really can't be bothered to find all of these on zKillboard. Sorry!
For a while now I've wanted to write up a post on how to best learn when you die (as it really is the best way to learn). However, I can't quite seem to have the inspiration for exactly what to write so it helps everyone. But today, I had an idea! I'll just list my first several losses (as identified by BattleClinic) and give the lessons short titles. Here we go.
  1. Rifter - - "Dramiels suck." (also what the hell was I doing carrying around those battleship fittings?!)
  2. Rifter - - "Carbonized Lead S does no damage."
  3. Rifter - - "Disorganized militia fleets are not conductive to hull integrity."
  4. Thrasher - - "Most one-sided fight ever"; or "I accidentally a whole mid slot."
  5. Thrasher - - "Solo travel through hostile 0.0 is painful."
  6. Rifter - - "Bubbles suck."
  7. Hoarder - - "Hauling a single Rifter in an untanked hauler, during a war."
  8. Rifter - - "Gate camps suck."
  9. Rifter - - "Gate camps suck extra bad."
  10. Rifter - - "Failed the official Rifter skill test: killing a Crusader solo"; or "Interceptors really aren't all as harmless as a SML Crow."
  11. Slasher - - "Wheee!"
Most of these still apply. Make what you will of what to learn from these losses.  Most of these fits aren't horribad because I got a lot of great advice from more veteran players.

But enough negativity and speaking of losses. How about some of my first kills?

  1. Coercer - - "Lowsec camping is actually kind of boring."
  2. Raven - - "Why can a Stiletto tackle so fast?!...  oh."
  3. Harbinger - - "I just need to be more reckless to tackle first! Hah!"
  4. Drake - - "Yeah! I got a po-- ouch"; or "Dreaks suck."
  5. Jaguar - - "Wait, he was blue?"
After that it sort of blurs, since the losses outnumbered the kills (or at least, so I think). By the time I arrived at this point (Hi Aralis!!) I had already started this series of logs to share what knowledge I gained with others who need it.

At any rate, I hope you enjoyed seeing some of my epic fails!

November 4, 2010

What Tank for What Ship?

Remember how in the past I said hull tanking is good for nothing? Well, it still is not when done on purpose. However, since I have been dabbling in Gallente frigates lately I should mention that there are some ships that are flown "untanked", or what some call "hull tanked" where this is not too bad an idea.

To understand why, let's look at how certain ships are made for certain tanking methods:

Amarr Punisher frigate firing its lasers
Take the Punisher. What sort of tank should it have? It has a 4/2/4 (4 high, 2 medium, 4 low) slot layout, so it would have the low slots for a hull tank if it wanted to. Why not, though? Its default distribution of defensive strengths is 391 in shields, 469 in armor, and 391 in its structure. On top of that armor leg-up, it also receives 5% bonus to armor resistances per Amarr Frigate skill level. All these reasons are why the Punisher strongly favors an armor tank.

Caldari Merlin frigate firing its railguns
What about something that is classically shield tanked, like the Merlin? Unlike the Punisher, the Merlin is more fit for a shield tank because of the large number of mid-power slots in its layout (4/4/2). Its basic defense also favors shields, with 469 shields, 351 armor, and 313 structure. Additionally, like the Punisher, the Merlin gets a 5% bonus to shield resistances per Caldari Frigate skill level.

But these are textbook examples of different forms of tanking. What if we look at our good friend, the Rifter?

Minmatar Rifter frigate firing its autocannons
The Rifter's slot distribution is a bit harder to read: 4/3/3. What about its default defense? 391 shields, 351 armor, 336 structure. Somewhat reminiscent of the Merlin, but it is nowhere near as tough overall as either the Merlin or the Punisher. Plus, the 40-point gap between shields and armor is not too significant. The Rifter also does not get bonuses to any resistances with its skills, getting projectile turret damage and tracking bonuses instead. So then, as far as tank goes, the Rifter has a choice.

A shield tanked Rifter is fast and can do a lot of damage, because it has its low slots free for speed modules, or a gyrostabilizer. An armor tanked Rifter is slightly slower, but a lot more versatile because of the 3rd mid slot in addition to the usual propulsion module and warp scrambler, which can fit something like a stasis web.

The ships within each respective race usually follow suit with what I've shown here: Amarr prefer ships with heavy armor tanks with few mid slots, Caldari prefer shield tanks with few low slots, and the Minmatar are all over the place.

But what about the Gallente?

Gallente Incursus frigate firing its blasters
The Incursus is somewhat the ugly duckling of the combat frigates. It has a 3/3/2 slot layout, which means it's somewhat less flexible than the others. But it has an even weirder base tank: 313 shields, 368 armor, 368 structure. Its highest amount (368) is the lowest of the strong areas of all combat frigates. On top of that, you'd think it favors armor, but it only has 2 low slots to accommodate for it! On top of that, compared to the Rifter, it has less CPU and less power grid available, in addition to blasters being much more resource-hungry than autocannons.

All this, why? Well, if fit for damage, the Incursus far outpaces the other frigates, even doubling the damage that a railgun Merlin can put out. It is also fairly nimble and fast. But... what to do about its tank?

Most Incursus pilots opt for a "just enough to stay alive" tank, comprised of a Damage Control unit, and possibly an Adaptive Nano Plate. Of course, this is nowhere near any semblance of the other ships' tanks (the Punisher can more than double the effective hit points of an Incursus), but it is meant to be just enough to overwhelm its target with superior firepower. Many of the smaller blaster-heavy Gallente ships, such as the Ishkur, Taranis, and to some degree, the Thorax, share this philosophy.

Often, it is dubbed a "hull tank" because the opponent of such a ship will have the most trouble eating through the ship's thick structure hit points, with the enhanced resists (60% against all damage types) from the Damage Control unit helping a ton.

The reason I was reminded of this was because of the Guardian Angel Daredevil frigate, which exemplifies the same philosophy of tanking, but takes the "high damage" aspect to an extreme.

A Daredevil is an extremely dangerous ship not only because of its stupidly high damage, but also because it gets a stasis webifier bonus similar to the Cruor's. It will likely be the primary target in engagements, which is why some Daredevil pilots even go as far as to armor tank it and sacrifice some of its agility and speed for the bonus of living to fight another day.

So, imagine my surprise when I noticed an abnormally fast (not armor tanked) Daredevil that was using a Sensor Booster to lock and kill war targets of his coming out of the Brutor Tribe Treasury station in Rens. Going on a hunch that the pilot didn't even bother to equip a Damage Control unit, I tested his hull with a barrage of 720mm phased plasma artillery shells from a Hurricane battlecruiser fit for that special purpose. He indeed did not have a damage control.

He went on to complain in the local channel about what a "waste" it was for me to one-shot his Daredevil in a Hurricane. While I'm sure this is not what he meant, it is indeed a waste to fly a frigate worth 100 million ISK if you can't survive a single volley from a ship worth less than a quarter of the price. CONCORD may disagree with me (and consequently blow up my Hurricane), but it is what it is.

October 20, 2010

Curatores Veritatis Alliance

Shioshi Corp is now (finally) officially on the infamous "KOS List" (Kill on Sight List) of the Curatores Veritatis Alliance.
I'm really shaking in my boots here. The self-proclaimed "CONCORD of 0.0" (now "CONCORD of lowsec") have me set as an enemy of theirs. The alliance that supports the dirty Amarr slaver dogs' expansionist plans with their "Deliverance". As if they were even committed to this goal of holding Providence at all; for when Against All Authorities, Ushra'Khan, and their allies attacked this year, CVA was not the one on the front lines defending Providence. They let all their allies die in hopes that by the time we got to them, we would be too "worn out" to take their space too. The alliance that display their might on their public portal using a Crusader, Vengeance... and an enormous freighter (Providence-class, ironically).

Yeah, they have me set red. What does this mean? Oh, just that CVA and their bunch of wonderful allies will "hamper" my passing through Providence. All of this reminds me of something... I can't put my finger on it though...

I am especially scared because my crime was shooting one of their bombers... who I was orbiting in my Stiletto for a good few minutes without scrambling him. Oh I did have a delightful conversation with him, too!

[02:03:59] Petrus Blackshell > hello
[02:04:00] beastkiller69 > hello
[02:04:16] beastkiller69 > what are u doing if u dont myind me asking?
[02:04:27] Petrus Blackshell > yellow boxing and orbiting you
[02:04:40] beastkiller69 > why?
[02:05:09] Petrus Blackshell > because i want to and the button was big and red?
[02:05:13] Petrus Blackshell > oh wait, that's the fire button
[02:06:10] beastkiller69 > if u would like to do it
[02:06:24] Petrus Blackshell > i would, but... gate guns :(
[02:06:43] beastkiller69 > aww im sorry
[02:07:25] beastkiller69 > that u cant tank some lttle gate guns
[02:07:32] Petrus Blackshell > im a frigate o_O
[02:07:39] Petrus Blackshell > those things have perfect tracking
[02:07:54] Petrus Blackshell > i cant dodge/tank them
[02:08:00] Petrus Blackshell > so i like to pretend im pvping
[02:08:10] beastkiller69 > your friend
[02:08:25] Petrus Blackshell > ?

// Rodensteiner attacks him, and I point him. beastkiller69 dies.

[02:09:03] Petrus Blackshell > helps to read corp website :)
[02:09:14] Petrus Blackshell > anti-slaver pilots here
[02:11:29] beastkiller69 > and u attack a member of cva
[02:11:43] Petrus Blackshell > cva supports the expansionist policies of the amarr empire
[02:12:07] beastkiller69 > i just saying one corp a ginst alliance is not smart tactics
[02:12:27] Petrus Blackshell > i disagree, would you like to prove shioshi otherwise?
[02:12:42] beastkiller69 > what?
[02:13:06] Petrus Blackshell > if it's not smart tactics, then you probably have a reason for saying so
[02:15:38] Petrus Blackshell > i'm asking you to give me a reason, especially if it involves guns rather than words
[02:16:06] Petrus Blackshell > though, as an ex-U'K pilot, i can understand if you can't use guns properly -- something against the core principles of CVA
[02:16:13] beastkiller69 > you will be put on the koc list
[02:16:28] Petrus Blackshell > you mean KOS?
[02:16:38] beastkiller69 > yes mis typeing
[02:16:43] beastkiller69 > but yes
[02:16:50] Petrus Blackshell > i am officially frightened :)
[02:17:17] beastkiller69 > you and your seven man corp hahahhaha
[02:17:25] Petrus Blackshell > mhm
[02:17:52] beastkiller69 > i think its funny
[02:18:02] beastkiller69 > no providence
[02:18:13] Petrus Blackshell > i think it's funny that you think your KOS will keep us out of provi
[02:18:42] Petrus Blackshell > there are many more competent NBSI pilots there who pose no obstacle
[02:18:46] beastkiller69 > oh and by the way we are nice thats why i didnt attack you we attack reds not neuts
[02:19:13] Petrus Blackshell > if it makes you feel better, you were red to me before i shot you
[02:19:56] beastkiller69 > u miss understand the polices of cva
[02:20:11] beastkiller69 > we are like the concord of lowsec in a way
[02:20:28] Petrus Blackshell > mm yes i heard a quote once
[02:20:37] Petrus Blackshell > CVA is like concord, except weaker, and usually late
[02:21:44] beastkiller69 > but we are trying arent we to put some security in lowsec
[02:22:06] Petrus Blackshell > so you're *wannabe* concord
[02:22:08] Petrus Blackshell > allright
[02:22:37] beastkiller69 > if someone attacked u and you asked for help we would have helped
[02:22:51] Petrus Blackshell > that's not how fighting works?
[02:23:20] Petrus Blackshell > remember you're talking to an ex-member of Ushra'Khan and Damu'Khonde, and that Shioshi works in full cooperation with Damu'Khonde
[02:24:45] Petrus Blackshell > i have fought and killed plenty of CVA in the past
At this point he quit the chat. I was going to tell him to stop fooling himself, and that CVA's petty illusion of safety is just that: an illusion. But I guess that is now a message for whoever reads this log who is not involved in Providence.
You know you fear the military might of CVA.

Things are getting  interesting. After failing to suck up to the Northern Coalition, CVA has now got a new lease on 0.0 due to the Noir mercenaries' recent "gift". And I can tell you, after being mostly stuck in lowsec lately, CVA are going to be crowding the Providence asteroid belts. In addition, the rumor that their pods make a special satisfying squelchy crunchy sound when they blow up... is totally true.

Correction: Apparently my red standings got lost somewhere in their paperwork, so I am not red to them yet. I guess I just have to kill more of their things. Maybe a Providence.

September 23, 2010

Upcoming Ship Designs Leaked!

Ship manufacturers big and small are apparently driving their blueprint scientists to the end of their powers to achieve the next breakthrough in ship design. Rumors of this movement have been perpetrated across the four empires, but no actual prototypes have been leaked (or if they have, they were promptly reduced to metal scraps).

However, through a covert organization of deviants, some capsuleers (including yours truly) have gained access to a growing repository of preliminary designs and blueprints. You should explore them yourself, but I currently have my eye on one specific design, the "Arc Light" frigate, a stroke of brilliance by a Matari designer.

This beauty is designed with the tried-and-true Rifter model in mind, and with its successors, the Jaguar and Wolf providing inspiration for its firepower. However, it supplements existing Matari technology with the advanced knowledge gained from exploration into deep wormhole space. By using Sleeper technology, this frigate will effectively be a smaller, faster Loki, with just as much potential for power.

Sadly, I cannot transmit the actual blueprint over this channel, as it has Fabrication Rights Management technology built-in.

However, there is a dark side to these great news. My sources deep undercover in Amarr workhouses have informed me that the death toll of indentured intellectuals has gone through the roof. An "indentured intellectual" is a very rare form of slave, where the Amarr forgo the regular obedience and mind-numbing implants on especially bright slaves in order to not limit their intellect. However, this means that in order to quell rebellion, they resort to more primitive forms of control: fear and pain.

Indentured intellectuality is rare enough on a regular basis, but a new wave of masters thirstier for money than a Deteis on his last billion ISK has driven this practice into overdrive, using methods more terrifying than ever (that I shall not recount here). Unsurprisingly, riding on the ingenuity of the Matari people, there is a plethora of new Amarr and Caldari ship designs that I have laid eyes on.

But I swear to you, you slaver dogs, for every drop of Matari blood you have spilled, I shall vent six liters of your own into space. Watch your back. I come for my people.

September 11, 2010

Au Revoir, Providence

Yesterday, I made the hard decision to take my leave of Providence.

It is not a decision I made lightly, since I could not ask for a better corporation to fight alongside of than the Minmatar Ship Construction Services. Plus, it gave me a good reason to fight. However, as you may know my reading these logs of mine, I am a fairly reckless pilot who flies small ships. With the recent sabotage of Ushra'Khan's sovereignty, and the subsequent fall of the jump bridge network, I lost my source of income that could upkeep my Rifter losses. Additionally, with the recent invasion by Pandemic Legion, it has become very difficult to operate as a frigate pilot.

On top of that, in light of the current and upcoming sovereignty warfare, I found myself in the uncomfortable position of not being able to fly any of the ships required for operations. As such, I am moving out of Providence to contribute to freedom fighting efforts elsewhere. More details on my plans later.

However, note how I said "au revoir", not another "farewell" phrase that implies permanency. I am not abandoning the cause I fight for, and I am not abandoning Damu'Khonde. I will go wherever the fight for freedom of the Minmatar people takes me, and do whatever it takes.

We come for our people!

September 2, 2010

Suicide Tackling

"System is clear of hostiles, proceeding to next system."
These systems are not frequented by large gangs.
They are rather resource-poor, and constitute of a long pipe of systems easily scouted if any valuable cargo passes through.

"Three friendlies here. Moving on."

However, the dead silence gives lone pilots a semblance of security.

"Red in system, hold on out gate, don't jump. Scanning system."

This could be nice. Nothing on scan from my position... Hopefully he's not one of those annoying bastards who park their ship in dead space, turn on their cloaking device, and take a nap. Maybe if I try scanning near the station here...

"Ishtar on scan at angle of 30 from planet III! He's moving towards the gate to next system. Pursuing."

The fun part about hunting on a system pipe is that any prey has only two gates to warp to: the one my team is on the other side of, or the one I'm warping to in order to catch him. He could be problematic, though. The Ishtar hits a Rifter hard, and I can't dodge the damage since most of it is from fast-moving drones. I'll have to shoot them down.

"Ishtar jumped. Jump into system, warp to out gate and jump on contact, fire ASAP."

Jumping after him. He saw my Rifter, and might try to escape. I deactivate the jump cloak, and fire up my thrusters, getting up to speed. He hasn't uncloaked yet.

Ah, there he is. Target. Turn microwarpdrive and damage control units on. Approach, orbit at 2500 meters, aaaand activate warp scrambler. Activate stasis web, and the Ishtar is immobilized.

"Point! Jump in and take him down, go go go!"
As he scrambles my ship, my microwarpdrive fizzles, and my Rifter's speed is jerked to only what my thrusters can provide. He's put out Warrior II drones, and their autocannons are already chewing through my shields. Targeting them, I fire and overload my own autocannons, and manage to pop one of the drones. He puts out another. My shields are running low.

Activate armor repairer, activate energy vampire, tighten up my orbit to 1000 meters, I'm not dodging his blasters well enough.

Friendly ships start appearing next to me. A hardy Rupture cruiser slowly moves in rage of the Ishtar and activates its warp scrambler. My job is done. Another of the cruisers from my gang, an Arbitrator, appears and releases a wave of Hammerhead II drones that start pounding on the Ishtar.

A transmission comes in:
"Good tackle, Petrus. Get safe."

"Disengaging and distancing."
I'm still scrambled, damn it, and my armor repair nanobots can't keep up with the damage. Moving away, my relative transversal velocity lowers, and his blasters punch holes through my armor. My structure is on fire.

A friendly Blackbird cruiser gets a lock on the Ishtar, and activates its electronic countermeasure systems. The Ishtar's scrambler and guns go offline. Another transmission.
"He's jammed, get out!"

"Warp drive active, aligning."
An explosion jerks me out of my alignment. The drones! They don't go offline when their host ship gets jammed. Their explosive rounds pierce through my last structural beams. Eject.

"Petrus down."
I float away in my escape pod as my Rifter explodes in a brilliant ball of fire behind me. Unable to get a new targeting order from their host ship, the drones go offline. Safe now, I watch the Ishtar succumb to the combined firepower of my comrades.

As it goes up in flames and its pilot warps away in his escape pod, I ponder on the power of many. Individually, a heavy assault ship like the Ishtar would have torn apart any of our cruisers. He was also likely nimble enough to escape the cruiser trio if he knew it was coming.

Some call me a "suicide tackler". That's fairly accurate, considering my tackle can very well end up with my ship in a ball of fire. If it does so too early, my target can get away, and I lose a ship pointlessly. Is it worth it? I look over the combat log.
"Heh guys, this Ishtar cost that poor sucker 135 mil in ship plus fittings. That's about the whole worth of our gang. Great kill."

"Yep. Say, Petrus, need some cash for a new Rifter so we can continue?"

"Nah, just gimme those drones left inactive in space. I can sell them and fit up a new tackle ship next system over. I'll have some cash left over, too."

July 31, 2010

Fancy Ships: Part 2

Update (2018-05-31): Some of these ships have seen significant rebalancing since I evaluated them. Please consider the content of this post dirty, dirty lies.
In my last entry, I mentioned the following ships whose performance I would evaluate: the Republic Fleet Firetail, and the Imperial Navy Slicer. I have had much more experience with these two frigates than with the Cruor or Succubus, so these reviews will be a bit more colored by anecdotal experiences flying these ships.

First up...

Republic Fleet Firetail

Funny little ship, this. I first hopped into one about two months after I began my career as a capsuleer. I wasn't even able to use T2 guns yet, or any T2 modules, at that. What happened, of course, is an expensive loss because I misheard an order of "Don't tackle that Hurricane!" as "Tackle that Hurricane!"

It happens. But, I didn't fly it for a while until I had the  proper gun skills, and once I flew it again, it was wonderful. Until I lost it again. Then I bought another one, to try a different fit with it. And I lost it. To a Rifter. Maybe it wasn't an ordinary Rifter, since its pilot had implants, hardwirings, and knew everything he could about his Rifter. But still.

The Firetail is often compared to two other ships. Most often, it is referred to as a breed between an interceptor and a Jaguar assault frigate.

The Jaguar is a heavy shield tank boat, with good speed and good damage. It is popular amongst Minmatar T2 Frigate pilots who like the extra tactical advantage of the 4/4/3 slot layout better than the Wolf's pure damage 5/2/4 layout.

The Firetail is identical to the Jaguar, except for these points: (numbers extracted from nearly identical EFT fittings)
  • It has lower damage potential, but better tracking. (50 less DPS, but with 150% the Jaguar's tracking)
  • It is faster. (1.2 km/s difference with microwarpdrive)
  • It is more fragile, and also lacks adequate EM shield resistance. (2000+ HP difference)
So what's the point? An interceptor can easily overtake the Firetail in speed, and it can probably dodge damage better as well because of its reduced signature radius. Plus, the Claw, Crusader, and Taranis can all bring more damage to the table than the Firetail can. In my opinion, I don't see the use of a Firetail except as a "stepping stone" to fly a T2-strength ship but for a higher price and lower specialization. A shinier Rifter, if you will.

Price: 25,000,000 - 35,000,000 ISK

Some yet do not compare it to the Jaguar, but instead to the Dramiel. I cannot comment on that, though, since I am still flummoxed about the fact I lost my Dramiel to an...

Imperial Navy Slicer

That's right. I pilot a Dramiel so badly that I lose it to a ship worth less than half of its price. I am epic.

If there's something I have to hand to the Amarr Empire, it's that its engineers have good ingenuity. The Slicer was designed to counteract the best of Minmatar frigates, a task that it performs admirably well. Like the other empires' navies' special ships, the Slicer is a blend between an assault frigate, and an interceptor. In this case, it combines the Retribution's devastating damage and range, with an interceptor's speed.

Here's how the numbers run with one of the popular fittings, assuming perfect training:
  • Speed: 4.27 km/s
  • Damage: 124 DPS
  • Range: 19 km optimal, with 2.5 km falloff
But there's gotta be a catch, right? There's always a catch. Yeah, there is:
  • Tank: 3700 effective HP
  • No microwarpdrive signature radius reduction.
 So yeah, don't get caught.

From what I've seen, the Slicer has become a FOTW (Flavor Of The Week) here in Providence lately, in use by both friend and foe. I presume it is because of the large number of single-frigate patrols or scouts flying about. The Slicer is an excellent scouting ship, along with an excellent solo-fight ship. It can outrun most other frigates, and the ones it can't outrun it can just kite slowly and wither them down before they get close enough to deal any damage.

The counter against one? A cruiser, or other resilient ship that has drones or long range weapons. Don't expect to kill a lot of Slicers that way, though. After all, the Slicer's long operational range gives it great potential for getting out of sticky situations.

Price: 25,000,000 ISK

Oh, and did I mention a Cruor with a True Sansa Stasis Webifier should make short work of a Slicer as well? Yeah, I'm pretty sure it would.

July 21, 2010

Fancy Ships: Part 1

Update (2018-05-31): These ships have seen significant rebalancing since I evaluated them. Please consider the content of this post dirty, dirty lies.

So, you've been flying your Rifter for a long time, right? So long that you even trained Tech-II ships, and have flown its bigger brothers, the Wolf and Jaguar. Maybe even flown some fast interceptors, tricky electronic attack ships, or the occasional elusive stealth bomber. They are excellent ships, much better than their basic T1 counterparts. And yet, why is it that seeing one of these flying at you inspires fear into the heart of many non-suicidal* frigate pilots:

* i.e. not me
A creation of the Angel Cartel pirates, the Dramiel is a very powerful frigate. It's fast, its tank is hard to break, and it has drones! However, many pilots wonder if ships like the Dramiel are worth paying many times more than for a T2 ship. And since I appreciate cheapskates so much, I will spend money in their stead in order to rate these frigates (donations appreciated).

Unfortunately, as I cannot yet use T2 drones properly, I cannot comment on the Dramiel's full capabilities. Instead, tonight I will talk about a couple other frigates, starting with one I liked so much, I actually bought a second after losing my first: the Succubus.


Pilots who live in regions haunted by Sansha's Nation may recognize this spiked little bugger:

Actually, "little" would not be a proper word for it, considering it's the most massive frigate I have flown. At least visually, it is maybe twice more massive than a Rifter. Plus, the image above shows a Succubus as flown by its Sansha original owners, not yours truly. The modified capsuleer version features an extra laser hardpoint, an advanced shield module, and improved thrust compared to its original version.

So what's the big deal? Let's take a look at some stats:
  • Damage: Combining the electronics expertise of Caldari frigates with the laser technology of the Amarr allows the Succubus to deal near-Destroyer amounts of damage. Its two lasers provide the equivalent of 6 lasers of the same calibre, before the bonus that familiarity with Caldari frigates gives it.
  • Tracking: The fewer hardpoints means more of the ship's tracking computer can be used for each gun, giving improved tracking of targets that results in larger calibre lasers being more efficient at close range.
  • Tank: While not the hardiest frigate, the Succubus is a tough nut to break if its (rather poor) T1 shield resistances are patched up.
However, despite its merits as a damage boat, the Succubus remains a not-too-popular frigate. So unpopular that its price is less than half of that of a Daredevil or Cruor (more on the Cruor in a bit). I don't know what the public finds unappealing about it, but here are some defects I spotted:
  • Speed: With a T2 afterburner on, the Succubus only reaches a disappointing 850 m/s, despite it not having a bulky armor tank. This eliminates the possibility of it having "keep at range" as a viable tactic, and needs to depend more on its target coming up close.
  • Capacitor: A lesson I learned the hard way is that the Succubus thrives on its capacitor. From its guns, to its propulsion, to maintaining its shields, it cannot operate without proper energy reserves. An energy vampire is strongly recommended, and if faced with too much energy drain, the Succubus will simply be shut down.
  • Bailing: If it gets in trouble (energy neutralization, too much damage,  or out-of-class fight) the Succubus has little way to disable its enemy and escape. In other words, the "die in a fire" potential is a bit high for its price.
But don't let those turn you off from flying it yourself! I am personally planning to use it as fire support in small frigate fleets, to provide damage that most other frigates can't bring. for faster ganks, or for bigger targets.  

Price: 45,000,000-55,000,000 ISK.


The ships of the Blood Raiders strike fear into the hearts of the residents of the Amarr Empire. Or their veins, I suppose, they're just as good a place to draw blood from. Drawing upon cutting edge Amarr energy warfare technology, and upon Minmatar speed superiority research, the Cruor is fearsome to capsuleers as well.

A Cruor shutting down a Succubus.

It is a pretty awesome ship. Still somewhat bulky like the Succubus, the Cruor boasts an even larger capacitor (the largest of any frigate), which gives it a much more stable ground to tread on when its enemy is an energy neutralizer. Why? Because its specialization is energy neutralization, which gives it many times over the neutralizing power that any other frigate has, with the possible exception of the Sentinel electronic attack frigate.

On top of that, the Cruor's on-board electronics are specially configured to work especially well with stasis webifiers, which can turn speed-tanked ships into lumbering, fragile ships for the Cruor's lasers to slice through.

But now, let's get a bit more technical with these advantages:
  • Energy drain: With almost 100 GJ per neutralizer (which it uses two of) per cycle, it is scary considering most frigates' capacitor levels. A Rifter's capacitor, for instance, only holds around 300 GJ. Its drain has shut down a Taranis in a mere few seconds in a test battle, and has accidentally killed a Rifter because it turned its damage control unit off. Yikes!
  • Stasis webifier: With a T2 stasis webifier, the Cruor boasts a 90% speed reduction to its target. This effectively makes the Cruor faster than almost any other ship it can web.
  • Escape potential: Due to the fact it can run most frigates dry of capacitor, the Cruor always has an escape possibility from a sticky situation by shutting down the point of its assailant.
Of course, these bonuses come at a price (in ISK and in other things). While still not as in the spotlight as the Dramiel is, the Cruor sports a much higher price than the Succubus... Perhaps because its drawbacks are really not all that bad.
  • Speed: The Cruor suffers from the same low base speed as the Succubus. However, this is mitigated by its awesome web. It especially does a good job if fit with a special long range web, such as a Sansha-made one, but this drives its price even higher than it already is.
  • Tank: With only 3 low-power slots and poor T1 resists, it can't fit much of an impressive tank. It could be better if it were rigged to absorb more damage, but that sacrifices some of the advantage it would get from capacitor rigging.
Even though I have not combat-tested the Cruor against actual hostiles, I like it more than the Succubus. It's a bit pricey for its capabilities, but if you want a great ship that a Dramiel will think twice about attacking and that can summarily dispatch a Taranis, you need to try the Cruor out.

Price: 90,000,000 - 110,000,000 ISK.

I hope this will encourage some pilots to save up a bit of ISK and fly one of these great but unpopular ships.

Coming soon: commentary on a couple of special frigates flown by the Minmatar and Amarr navies: the Republic Fleet Firetail, and the Imperial Navy Slicer.

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."

June 18, 2010

Rules of Engagement

I normally avoid commenting on politics since there's a lot of exciting stuff that goes on without regards to it. However, recently there have been some important changes in the Providence region.
Ushra'Khan has finally secured the Providence region well enough to declassify it as NRDS. But before that, I should explain what the two most common ROEs (Rules of Engagement) are:

  • NBSI - Not Blue, Shoot It - The most common ROE in 0.0 and lowsec, it just means, shoot anything that is not blue. This is mostly done for security (from neutral spies) and for having stuff to shoot.
  • NRDS - Not Red, Don't Shoot - In other words "unless it is explicitly an enemy, don't shoot it". This means neutrals can live in the space safely.
Ushra'Khan has just de-classified the Providence region (all of which is 0.0) to NRDS from the previous state of NBSI, hence returning it to the status quo of years ago, back during the previous time we held Providence. Ushra'Khan remains NBSI in Catch, and we reserve the right to hunt neutrals who are serving the Amarrian cause into the Amarr Empire. In other regions, Ushra'Khan has a policy of NRDS.

What does this mean to you? You can come down to Providence to play!

Even though Ushra'Khan has reverted to NRDS in Providence, it does not mean that everyone here is allied. Many of the alliances here still run a NBSI policy, often conflicting with Ushra'Khan, which results in them being set red (take Agony, for example).

Unlike the previous Providence block, the new one does not enforce a "red list" or "blue list" that all residents must conform to. Instead, the only law is no sovereignty warfare. This means that any attempt to plant SBUs or TCUs will result in full retaliation from the United Providence, regardless of their red or blue standings to each other. This policy has facilitated defense against CVA, Paxton Federation, or their other friends.

But really, what does this mean? Drop by Providence and neither Ushra'Khan, nor Star Fraction or the other NRDS alliances will shoot you. We even allow station access in most of our stations to neutrals. Who says you can't get sweet kills in 0.0 if you don't live in 0.0? You certainly can.

Personal Security and Survival Tips

The solar systems newbies start their adventures in, and the areas they travel during their training, along with most systems held by the four large nations, are usually well-guarded from rogue pilots who wish to take advantage of someone unable to fight back. However, if a pilot steps outside of these regions, or even takes a misstep inside them, he or she may quickly find their ship under the form of a scrap pile. Since the more dangerous regions are also some of the most profitable regions, though, everyone should have some idea how to navigate (relatively) safely everywhere. So, here's a quick guide to the different types of space you may find yourself in.

High Security (Hisec)
Security levels are measured on a scale from 0.0 to 1.0, going from the least secure (0.0) to the most secure (1.0). Solar systems rated for a security level of 0.5 or above are considered high security. Here, the CONCORD police patrols the region to ensure the peace (CONCORD battleship pictured above). They will respond to any activation of guns or other offensive system on another ship not belonging to the same corporation. In this event, they will lock down all jump gates, disable the aggressor's warp drive, and promptly destroy his ship.

The aggressor will also have his security status (a number between -10 and 10) marked down. The reason for this is that pilots with low enough security statuses become marked as kill-on-sight pirates in hisec space.


For this reason, you won't find longtime pirates most of the time in hisec. Most of the time. There are some pilots who fly cheap, but high volley damage ships (like Thrashers or Brutixes) in a small pack. They scan the cargo of haulers or other passing ships, and see if they contain anything of high value. If they do, all ships in their group open fire at once, possibly destroying the target instantly, before CONCORD has time to warp in and destroy the aggressors. Then, a friend of the aggressors in his own hauler, comes by and picks up all contents of the wrecks.

How to survive: avoid using your Autopilot when flying a ship containing more than 10-20 million ISK worth of stuff. It allows the pirates too much time to think. For really valuable deliveries, use a scout ahead to make sure no gates look suspicious. Also, remember to use a scout if you're at war, since anyone you're at war with can attack you without CONCORD intervening.

Low Security (Low-sec)

These little things are the only obstacle standing in the way of other pilots turning you into a scrapheap between the security ratings of 0.1 and 0.4. CONCORD does not respond to distress calls in low-sec space, but these sentry guns are placed at jump gates and near stations in order to ensure some sort of law. They will fire upon anyone who initiates an engagement (fires the first offensive module). Combat initiators also receive a penalty to their security status.

Because those are the only things dissuading others from attacking you, you may want to take more precautions.

Survival Tips:
  • At peak-traffic hours, some systems such as Amamake or Old Man Star become death traps due to pirates sitting on gates and killing passers-by. The pirates have enough tanking power to not be bothered by gate guns, yet can catch anything larger than a frigate for sure. Make sure to use a scout at those times.
  • Haulers always attract attention. Only use them if absolutely necessary.
  • If you are at an asteroid belt hunting pirates from an illegal organization (such as the Arch Angels, or Sansha's Nation), take out the ones that warp scramble/disrupt you first. That way you're not trapped if a capsuleer pirate wants to hunt you down.
  • Never use autopilot.
  • Groups of ships almost never bode well. Avoid groups of other capsuleers.
  • Moons may have player-owned starbases with point defenses set up. Be careful when warping to them.
Null Security (Null-sec or 0.0)
That there is exactly everything standing between guns and your ship. 0.0 space is completely lawless so far as CONCORD or gate guns are concerned. 0.0 is the only type of space that can be owned by player alliances, though, and is the most profitable type of space. Because of this, 0.0 is usually fiercely defended against intruders... something you probably are, unless otherwise noted. More on rules of engagement in an upcoming post.

The main difference in combat in 0.0 compared to higher security space is that in 0.0 you can deploy warp bubbles.
These things are probably the most common cause of 0.0 frustration. Warp disruption bubbles can be deployed by Interdictor and Heavy Interdictor vessels, and also by stationary deployable structures that anyone can carry in their ship.

Anything inside a bubble simply cannot warp. Any warp core stabilizers don't matter. And, as if that weren't bad enough, if you warp off from somewhere, and your destination is near a bubble, you're at risk again. If your warp path happens to cross that bubble (if it would end up directly in front of you or behind you), you will be sucked into it, where a tackling ship is probably waiting for you with a warp scrambler and stasis webifiers.

Additionally, most alliances will deny docking rights at their stations to everyone but a select few.

  • Going to most 0.0 alone is suicide. Unless you really know what you're doing, don't.
  • Intelligence helps. Try to secure some friends that have an active intel channel where hostiles are reported.
  • Gangs that need the element of surprise will sometimes travel via pre-setup jump bridges. Don't be surprised if you suddenly find your enemies coming from a system you just deemed clear a minute ago.
  • Most of the low-sec tips apply.
  • If you are a beginner to 0.0, expect to die. A lot. There are a ton of tactics to learn to survive well in 0.0. 
With all of that in mind, don't let it stop you from going to low-sec or null-sec to shoot stuff. If you expect to die, use cheap ships, but make sure to bring someone down with you as you do.

If you're really interested in 0.0 fights and living though, but need combat training, feel free to try joining 0.0 corporations. Some are even meant for training, such as the PvP University offered by Agony Unleashed.

However, they have red standings with Ushra'Khan, and their lessons are live-fire, so if you join them you may get to shoot me (bonus points for killing me).

June 6, 2010

Strafing 101

Before the days of spaceflight and wars, strafing was a tactic in conventional warfare in which an aircraft would fly low over an entrenchment and bombard it with bullets or bombs. That's not exactly what I'm going to be talking about here. What strafing means today is closer to a more obscure definition in the warfare of old. A more obscure definition of strafing from the time describes it as "high-speed firing runs by fast boats or other high-speed naval craft using smaller-caliber weapons and targeting other craft or the shoreline". That's what I'm talking about.

Remember the tactic I proposed in my last entry for fighting a Punisher using a Rifter? That was an adaptation of the strafing tactic to a frigate fight where one had the clear speed/tracking advantage. However, that was only an adaptation because there is a harder and more common aspect to strafing which is most often performed by interceptors against bigger ships. Let's take the example of the Claw interceptor vs. the Rifter frigate.

The Claw is one of the fastest ships of the Interceptor class, and it is built to bonus its weapon systems in damage and tracking. The setup I will be considering today is the fastest/most agile fit with the Claw:

  • High slots: 3x 200mm Autocannon II, Republic Fleet EMP, Phased Plasma, or Fusion small ammo
  • Mid slots: 1MN Microwarpdrive II, Warp Disruptor II
  • Low slots: 2x Overdrive Injector System II, 2x Nanofiber Internal Structure II
  • Rigs: Small Auxiliary Thrusters I, Small Low Friction Nozzle Joints I
 With my skills, this fit hits 4.7 km/s speed, and is able to keep the speed up at that level for 2m 22s of constant use of the microwarpdrive and warp disruptor.

For the Rifter, I will just use the "cheap and dirty" fit I described here.

We could even give it 150mm guns since we know it does not need to be concerned about drones. Now, this Rifter is quite a big concern to some interceptors. Why? Interceptors rely on the speed provided by their microwarpdrives for staying safe. The trouble is that this Rifter sports a warp scrambler, which shuts down microwarpdrives. It also has a stasis webifier, which slows down its target drastically. This means that, if an unwary interceptor gets caught by the scrambler and web, it is slower than this Rifter with an afterburner, has less tank, and is, more importantly, dead.

So, how can the Claw overcome this? Let's look at a graphical representation of the ranges involved.

The ships are very out of scale to the ranges of these modules. So out of range, that if the ships wanted to shoot each other and be within the optimal+falloff range, they would practically be touching using the scale used here. This means that, for the Claw, it is not an option to disrupt the Rifter, then orbit around it, shooting it.

Not even close. The Rifter's velocity isn't shown because it is pretty insignificant to that of a Claw.

So, what can the Claw do?  Not this:

Orbiting closer to the Rifter would get the Claw murdered painfully, since the Rifter might deal slightly less DPS, and have worse tracking, but it has more hit points in armor than the Claw has in its entire ship, and an armor repairer on top of that. Plus, it moves much faster than a completely scrammed and webbed Claw.

So, the claw can try to strafe!

Just as a Rifter can do to a Punisher, the Claw can pass by the Rifter at a close distance, getting a couple of shots before getting away again. Losing its microwarpdrive in flight does not make it lose all its speed instantly, so it can still get out, drifting with the remaining speed. The difference here is that if the Claw slowed down to get a few more shots, it would die because it would lose all its speed. So, why can't any frigate do this to another? After all, interceptors are not that much faster.

The answer is: agility. And yes. They do. The agility of a ship determines not only how fast it changes direction, but how fast it can slow down or speed up. On top of that, a ship with a higher agility also gets affected by Stasis Webifiers less. All together, this means that an interceptor headed to strafe another ship has a much higher chance escape out of the scrambler and webifier range out the other side than a Rifter would.

Against a Rifter, this is still somewhat of a gamble, because if the Rifter sported a microwarpdrive instead of an afterburner, and did something like this:

It would be able to keep the web on the Claw long enough to not allow it to escape. It is much safer to try this on bigger ships, like cruisers, until you get the hang of it.

Remember to improvise, too. It is much easier to strafe in a dual-propulsion (microwarpdrive and afterburner) ship, since you can fire up the afterburner after the microwarpdrive gets cut off because of the scrambler, and get away much more easily.

And, lastly, remember to improvise to the situation. Generally, strafing through a scrambler/webifier can only be done with expensive ships. If the enemy ship only has a scrambler (like a Punisher) or no scrambler (a stupid Punisher, or a Retribution), it is much easier to make it across at a higher speed. If, however, the enemy has a fast ship (like a Firetail) that is likely to have both a scrambler and webifier,  it may be safer to forgo the encounter. No sense losing an expensive ship to a fight you are not equipped to fight.

That's what Rifters are for!