June 7, 2018

Maximally Effective Fitting

"I'm going to fit a hybrid PvP/PvE fit!" -- "My kiting ship will also be able to brawl!" -- "This hauler is tanky so it can survive ganks!"

"My Tengu will scan down people, then gank them while jamming them, but will also be able to run PvE complexes!"
Every once in a while I see someone fall for a particularly tempting pitfall while fitting their ships. Sometimes that person is me! The pitfall: doing too many different things, or being a "jack of all trades". By the end of this post, hopefully you will understand why doing this is bad, and how to avoid falling for it.

The Problem

Fitting a ship is a zero sum game. When a ship only does one thing, it can do it exceptionally well. A Thrasher with the sole purpose of hitting something with as much sudden damage as possible will be fit with artillery, maximum damage mods, sensor boosters, and not much else. Even with a T1 fit, it will be fearsome in that role. However, it will also be next to useless when it comes to surviving damage, moving fast, tackling things, and other possible things a Thrasher could do.

We can make a Thrasher do more things; we can fit a propulsion module, tackle modules, tank modules... However, each one detracts something from the original purpose of being good at alpha damage. At some point, so much may have been detracted that the fit becomes either unworkable (insufficient fittings/slots), or just really, really bad at its original purpose.

Pictured: not a spaceship; do not try to make your spaceship do this. You will make it sad.

That's the trap: doing too many things. It applies both on the granular per-module scale (e.g. fitting a capacitor booster to a PvP Incursus means it can't point and web stuff) and on a more general conceptual scale (e.g. fitting tank on a hauling ship).

The Solution

Avoiding this mistake is easy, but requires a little bit of mental discipline: you must deliberately think of the pros and cons of each "purpose" you add to a ship, and evaluate each one for whether it will boost or detract from the performance of the final ship. This evaluation can be as broad or specific as you wish, but it must be honest.

What do I mean? Let's take a look an example.

Example: PvP "Nano" Hurricane

Over the years, the Hurricane battlecruiser has had a recurring fitting theme for PvP that involves setting it up to be high damage, decent range, and faster than usual. Let's apply our disciplined approach to putting together a fit for it. You can follow along with Pyfa.

Step 1: Damage. The whole point of this is to kill stuff quickly, so let's start off with 6x 425mm Autocannon II, and 3x Gyrostabilizer II. (Progress screenshot)

Step 2: Mobility. Afterburners are too slow on battlecruisers, so a microwarpdrive (specifically, a 50MN Microwarpdrive II) makes more sense. We have the empty slots and the fittings, and being able to jump forward 100 km is really useful, so let's fit a Medium Micro Jump Drive, too. Since we have the empty low slots, we can pile in some Nanofiber Internal Structure IIs. The fit is named after them, after all. (Progress screenshot)

Step 3: Survivability. Is it a reasonable expectation that our Hurricane would take fire? Either solo or in a fleet, a high damage battlecruiser is very likely to get shot, so we should fit some survivability modules. Since one objective is to be nimble, armor is right out. We then have the option of either a shield, or structure tank. Using our mid slots and rigs, we can fit either a shield tank of 45k EHP (replacing a nano with a damage control), or a structure tank of 48.1k EHP. The structure tank seems better, but it requires removing our nanos (both for slots, and due to nanos directly conflicting with structure tanking). That also means that the two options have respective speeds of 1700 m/s and 1434 m/s. Trading 3k EHP for an almost 300 m/s speed increase and better agility seems worth it, so let's go with the shield tank: 2x Large Shield Extender II, 1x Damage Control II, 1x Medium Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer I, 2x Medium Core Defense Field Extender I.

This was our first zero-sum trade. We had to give up a little speed and a little potential tank to preserve most of our planned speed and gain a respectable tank. (Progress screenshot)

Step 4: Can this actually PvP? Right now, it does damage, it goes fast, and it can soak some damage. Is that enough? Maybe. PvP involves holding the target down (with a warp disruptor or scrambler), so without help from a friend, this Hurricane is not going to kill anything as is. Even with a friend around, extra warp disruption doesn't hurt. To make the most use of our MWD, we need to stay out of warp scrambler range, which means our tackle should be a warp disruptor. Since a Warp Disruptor II  is a mid slot mod, it would need to bump off one of our other modules. There's no way we're getting rid of the MWD. Losing one of one of the shield extenders removes 25% of our tank, so that's not OK either. The MJD however was a "nice to have" from the start; we don't really need the capability it adds. Let's replace it. (Progress screenshot)

Step 5: That pesky high slot. The Hurricane has one "utility" high slot for fitting whatever we want. We could fit a variety of things here, from a missile launcher of some sort (increasing our damage a little bit), to an energy neutralizer (letting us maybe "push off" any light tacklers that caught us), to a command burst (to increase our tank, speed, or tackle abilities, along with that of all friendlies near us). This is purely a matter of taste, but I'm going to go with a Skirmish Command Burst II with rapid deployment charges. That brings our speed up to 2022 m/s, impressive for a battlecruiser. (Progress screenshot)

Step 6: Ammo, drones and sanity check. For drones, we could go with as many medium drones as we can (to maximize damage), or with a ton of light drones (to have recourse against tiny ships). We have no other way to reliably harm small ships, so let's do 8x Warrior II. As for ammo, we don't mean to brawl, so the primary ammo should be long range: Barrage M. That comes out to a total of 572 DPS. That's not amazing; a plain Thorax cruiser could do that in a brawl. We're not brawling, so maybe we should check what our range-projected damage is:

Looks like about 375 DPS at 20 km. That's not that great. A Caracal cruiser could beat that at the same range. We can't improve that with more damage mods (due to stacking penalty) or bigger guns (these are as big as the Hurricane can handle), so why not try something different: replacing a nano with a Tracking Enhancer II? It slows us down to 1868 m/s (still great for a battlecruiser), and alters the projection like so:

At nearly 450 DPS at 20 km, that looks much better. We can also fire for significant damage at much longer ranges this way.

The only remaining sanity check is the capacitor. It looks like with everything running, it takes over 3 minutes for the ship to drain all energy. Since fights tend to be much shorter than that, and since we're likely to turn our MWD off at some point anyway, that's plenty. Looks like we're done!

What was the point of that?

That was a deliberate, step-by-step construction of a fit. It serves one specific purpose: being a fast PvP battlecruiser with good damage and good range. It is not distracted by other thoughts that may have passed through our mind, such as:
  • "How fast could we make this go? Let's make it a race-spaceship!" Let's not, it needs to be able to fight.
  • "It should be able to hard-tackle things and hold them in place as they die." That's not part of its purpose, and it would need a significantly different fit for that.
  • And more...
It may not be the best Hurricane fit, or even the best Nano-cane fit, but its only deficiencies come from nitpicky fitting choices rather than from gross reduction in performance due to doing too many things at once.

And that... is how to not fail-fit a ship.

1 comment :

  1. This article is pretty useful for me, thx. Sometimes i try to do so many things on a single ship and fit some shit (liek dualrep 150mm Ursus :))