Navy Scorpion or Navy Raven?

Stumbled upon Morphisat’s EVE blog and one of his old posts caught my eye. His comparison is, I think, a bit perfunctory and after some tinkering in EFT I’m quite impressed with the Navy Scorpion.

I was initially surprised by the Navy Scorpion’s ship bonus, which is the same 5% rate of fire bonus as the Navy Raven plus an additional 5% shield resist per level, and very different from the normal Scorpion’s ECM bonuses. I’ve always felt a bit meh about the Raven’s 10% bonus to torp/cruise velocity bonus. Cruise missiles already have a >100 km range even with pitiful missile skills and most pilots can’t even lock targets that far out without some sort of sensor booster module. It would be useful for a torp Raven… but no one uses torp Ravens due to lack of mid-slots for target painters and no target painter bonus. So right off the bat the Navy Scorpion’s ship bonus seems to be much better. It’s basically like having a free, permanently running Invulnerability Field that doesn’t have stacking penalties, and makes it much easier to fit a decent tank which I always have some problems doing with a normal Raven/CNR.

The tradeoffs are that the Navy Scorpion has 1 less low slot and 1 less launcher, in exchange for 2 mid slots. The Navy Scorpion is very slightly faster. And unlike in Dec 2009 when Morphisat wrote the post, the Navy Scorpion is more than a 100 million ISK cheaper. On a whim I just bought one for 430 million, whereas Navy Ravens are going for upwards of 575 million. I slapped together a active tank fitting for both ships, just to compare them.

Raven Navy Issue:

Scorpion Navy Issue:

Right off the bat it’s obvious that the Scorpion is much easier to fit for a decent tank, and I only have Caldari Battleship II so the tank could actually be much stronger. Everything else is the same, but with the extra mid slot I can then fit a target painter. So while the Navy Raven does have an extra launcher, I don’t believe it’s so clear cut that it’s DPS is so superior. I don’t know how much DPS a target painter adds, but it surely will offset some of that 40 dps provided by the 7th launcher. And it has the flexibility of always having an afterburner, whereas the Navy Raven may have to sacrifice that afterburner for another shield hardener vs Sansha or Blood Raiders.

So I’m feeling pretty good about myself now for picking up a Navy Scorpion for cheapish, given that I a) love to overtank and b) love afterburners. However, after a bit more deliberation and EFT tinkering, I realised that this comparison would change depending on pilot skills and ISK.

Tanking inherently doesn’t scale as well as damage. Once your tank is adequate, making it awesome isn’t necessarily better. While it’s hard to fit a good tank on the Navy Raven initially, by training up more shield/capacitor skills or investing a lot of ISK into a deadspace shield booster e.g. Pithum A-type Medium Shield Booster for 900 million ISK, you can give a Navy Raven a pretty good tank that is more than adequate for any level 4. In comparison, that 7th launcher scales well with any damage upgrade modules you fit. For example, while the difference is only 40 dps with ‘Arbalest’ launchers, using faction launchers with faction ammo will increase that difference significantly. Likewise, upgrading to faction Ballistic Control Systems and maybe even going up to 5 of them instead of the PDU will also widen the gap.

In addition, the benefits from the target painter are eventually capped. If cruise missiles are already hitting for full damage on a target, due to high missiles skills, rigs, or implants, using the target painter on them won’t make you do any more. Whereas an additional missile is always more damage, no matter the target.

So the conclusion is, the Navy Scorpion seems to be a better initial choice due to ease of fitting and lower price to get good results. However, if you’re willing to eventually spend more than a billion ISK on fittings, the Navy Raven would probably surpass it in terms of mission effectiveness. You might need the stronger omni tank for level 5s, but then a Rattlesnake isn’t really that much more expensive.

I’ll probably hold on to my Navy Scorpion for a while, since I’m still undecided on whether I would want to go completely crazy pimping out a Navy Raven. It’s definitely an upgrade in every way over my current plain Raven, but I’ll still wait a bit before splashing on rigs for it.

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