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.

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