Shiny Ship Review

So a lot has changed in EVE since I took a break. When I lasted posted, I was using a Rattlesnake with a dual-boxed Raven to do missions. The Rattlesnake was a really big step up from my Dominix, and had a really awesome passive tank. However, I was finding that the DPS of this combination was still a bit lowish and missions were still taking a bit long. So with all those months of skill training, I found that I had many options to upgrade and as always flying new shinies is fun. So this post will just go through some of the new ships I’ve gotten since then, and some of my comments on them.

    Tengu

I actually had a Tengu for a long while, and splurged a bit on the fittings. However, I apparently had too much ISK and not enough brain because the way I fitted it turned out to be kind of a fail, and I never actually flew it in combat because I was disappointed with the EFT stats. I used 6 faction launchers and 2 Pithi B-type small shield boosters, which netted me a dps of about 515 and 389 omni-tank. This didn’t really seem like that much of an upgrade over a regular T2 Drake, which kinda bummed me out.

However, 1 year later I am apparently older and wiser, and after I took it out of mothballs I decided to refit from scratch. Since I now had T2 heavy missiles available, I realised that the dps using T2 Scourge Fury was much much more than using faction launchers and T1 ammo, and bumped it up to a much more respectable 700. Also, I also failed to realise that the Tengu primarily speed tanks and has insane resists (except for EM). It zips around at 600+ m/s and tanks like a ninja. Turreted NPC ships have no chance in hell of hitting it (quite amusing to see 30+ enemy ships trying madly to hit and whiffing all over the place), cruise missiles hit for 10 damage and torpedoes for 5. Since the speed and sig tank is so good, this freed up 1 mid slot to allow me to mount a target painter and switched out the rigs to 2x rigor 1x ccc.

So right now this is my dual-box ship of choice, cap-stable with everything running and 2-shots elite frigates from 0-100 km. I just set it to orbit my main ship and shoot something tough until its dead. Since there are no drones that’s one less thing to worry about. Only down-side is that it can only target 5 ships which can be a bit of a pain, but nothing major. And it chews through Scourge heavy missiles like popcorn 😛

    Golem

So in a previous post I decided to set Yannie down on the long path to a Golem as the next upgrade from her Raven, instead of going for a Raven Navy Issue. Well, more than 151 days passed and she became a fully fledged Golem pilot with T2 torps. I’ve been using it for quite a while since then, and my impressions are mixed.

Firstly, I’ve never liked the look of the Raven which looks to me like a giant gray space tick. Being a giant golden space tick isn’t much better, so -1 on the looks department already. But I digress… The following is the fit I’m using on my Golem:

The DPS is face-meltingly good at 1013 dps at 40 km with T1 torps and 926 dps at 60 km range with T2 Javelins. However, it can mostly only engage battleships and cruisers and has to rely on drones for the frigates. The long cycle time of the target painters makes target switching a bit of a hassle, as well as the short range of the torps. I tried to switch between Javelins and T1 torps when they got close in to get more DPS and save on my supply of Javelins, but that also contributed to the hassle as some enemy ships would dance around the 40km range. The fit is cap stable with afterburner and no shield booster, so the speed isn’t too bad but still takes a bit of time to close to 60km in some missions. Plus the launchers only hold 20 torpedoes each, meaning it has to reload very often. CCP really needs to make weapons continue firing on the same target after reload…

And lastly, my opinion is that the introduction of the Noctis has made the defining Marauder bonus obsolete. Back when we salvaged with destroyers or a Hurricane, having a 40 km tractor range and a big cargo hold to salvage as you go sounded like a great bonus. However, with only 3 utility highs that means I would normally mount 2 tractors and 1 salvager and thus the wrecks would build up since I can kill much faster than I can salvage. With the Noctis now, I can just stomp through missions and come back to vacuum up all the wrecks from 60km out in 5 minutes flat. So theres not point to salvaging as you go with the Golem, since it just adds even more hassle and things to keep track of.

So overall, Golem was kinda meh. Great dps against battleships and a very respectable tank. However, the downside is that it takes a lot of micromanagement to fly properly. I would guess that it’s a great ship to blitz missions in if you are a good pilot and know the missions well, but for an average pilot like me I found that the Tengu is more “fire-and-forget” since it can apply its DPS to targets out to 100km, so even if the DPS is lower it can shoot more often and at more targets.

    Machariel

So as I was training up Minmatar skills in my half-baked plan to get into PVP, I realised that I wasn’t that far off from large projectile weapons. And then I stumbled onto the Machariel design… And. It. Is. Awesome.

The Machariel, in my opinion, is probably the ultimate missioning ship. It also has a pretty ultimate price tag, going at about 1.3 billion for the hull alone now. When I got mine, it was 800 million and was by far the most expensive purchase I had ever made. The good news is that it’s pretty awesome even with T1 weapons and T2 fittings. This is the fit I’m using now:

It has a stupendous top speed of 540 m/s for a battleship. To put it in perspective, most battleships only go 300+ with an afterburner. Since projectiles don’t use cap, it is easily cap stable with the afterburner running and with the heavy nos on a target it can run the booster for a mind boggling 17 mins. To be frank the speed tank alone is often enough to tank whole missions with only a few reps from the booster. It shoots out to 66 km for 960 dps with my skills (1041 for all level V), and has fairly selectable damage types with Phased Plasma for thermal, Fusion for explosive and EMP for EM. The only thing lacking is kinetic, but most NPC factions that are weak against kinetic have thermal as their second vulnerability. You could use Titanium Sabot for kinetic, but you lose way more in raw damage than the bonus from the kinetic damage.

The tracking is good enough that any frigate that spawns more than 30 km away gets instant-popped. Cruisers die in 3 volleys at the most. Battleships lose chunks of HP like chocolate bunnies being attacked by fat kids. The rate of fire is incredible and yet with 120 rounds per autocannon you don’t have to reload all the time. The drone bay is pretty respectable and you could probably use the bandwidth for 4 sentries if you wanted, but frankly the only thing the Machariel has problems with are close orbiting frigates.

    Orca

After finishing my Golem training on Yannie, I was initially kind of lost in terms of a direction to train her in. She picked up Caldari Cruiser V and Leadership V out of some half-baked idea of perhaps using a Command Ship sometime in the future. Then I thought about an Orca… and why not? Noork was my freighter pilot, but it would be good to let Yannie have some means of transporting stuff around too. I had no intention of using it to mine, but it would serve pretty well as a sort of medium sized mobile base since the freighter was so godawful slow.

In fact, the Orca is one of my favourite ships now, which is a strange thing to say for a big fat industrial. I bought it when it was 600 million, and now its going for about 750 million, but in terms of convenience its a real life-saver. I’ll probably post more about the Orca in the next few days.

    Nightmare

Whew. This post is getting really long. And lastly is my latest new shiny, the Nightmare. I bought this ship to try out Incursions with, since my Machariel wasn’t rigged properly. I had also been meaning to try out Amarr ships since I could already use missiles, drones and projectiles (no interest in shitty Gallente hybrids). Yeah, so it was just an excuse to fly a shiny new ship. Not much to say about the Nightmare since I’ve only used it for a few Vanguard sites so far, but Amarr battleships seem to really need T2 pulse lasers. It does insane DPS, about 900 out to 69 km with meta 4 Tachyon beam lasers, but it also sucks cap like crazy. My Incursion fit is different of course, I’m mostly just following what is posted on this excellent Incursion site. Only difference is I’m using faction mega pulse lasers until I get T2, which is a fairly long way away.

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Hello… anyone home?

Well.

*blows off the dust* whooo wee it’s been a long while since I’ve been here. More than a year, in fact, judging from the date of my last post.

So much has happened in the past year, I’m tempted to break it up into multiple posts rather than write some ginormous thing that will wallow in the depths of the internet like a beached whale.

First of all, I’m a student again. I was successful in my PhD applications last year, and in August made the move all the way over to the USA with my wife and our son. That was an adventure all by itself, the trip taking 3 days in total with a stopover in Japan to enjoy some yummy ramen before being left with the horror known as American instant ramen. To be fair I did consume a fair amount of that during my college days but I don’t think anyone wants to go back to eating what they ate during college. The human body was not meant to survive on chips and soda, despite what college meal plans tell you.

Judging from my last post here, I was still enjoying WoW. However, I think not too long after that I stopped playing again. I had done a lot of the heroic dungeons, leveled up a couple of alts… but it wasn’t the same without my wife playing. I think WoW has really evolved past me at this point, and is clearly targeted at a different audience. Of course I’ve said that before (I think) and I still came back and had fun for a while.

I’ve been having a busy schedule trying to adjust to being a student again, and in an unfamiliar place. The USA has really changed a lot in the past 10 years. I like a quote that I heard during a graduate student orientation here, which was that the biggest effect that 9/11 had was to make the entire country insane for 10 years. In any case, despite all that I still try to have some time for some games (probably more than I should…)

    World of Tanks

This was the main game I’ve been playing since May 2011 I believe. World of Tanks is a fun simulator/arcade tank game that is Free-to-Play, although there are admittedly some pay-to-win elements in it like gold ammo. But frankly I wouldn’t be too concerned about that since there are so many other factors that go into a match that having a higher shell penetration chance isn’t a big deal. It’s not like gold ammo lets you 1-shot opponents, and if you bother aiming for weak spots you mostly penetrate anyway.

The biggest appeal to me was 1) no subscription and 2) I could jump on for quick matches instantly when I had some free time. Each 15 vs 15 match lasts 15 minutes at most, and often under 10 minutes, which meant I was less likely to be interrupted by our son. It still happened, but it didn’t have as much as an effect as say, being the healer in a 5-man heroic in the middle of a boss fight and having to go baby-afk.

I did alright despite being historically pathetic at shooters like Counter-Strike. I think I ended up with a 51% win rate, which is above average, and I have a tier 9 IS-4 tank which is due to become tier 10 in the next patch. In fact I actually let my EVE subscription lapse so I could have more time with WoT. I hadn’t been doing much but skill-flip and update market orders for a few months already in any case.

Eventually, however, I guess my attention wandered away, as it seems wont to do nowadays. Most matches were pretty similar, and once you get to high tiers there isn’t much incentive to grind another tree. I mean, I chose to get the IS-4 due to how I read it plays (i.e. heavy armor, slow, decent gun) which suits my playstyle since I seem to suck at fast tanks and end up playing peek-a-boo anyway. So since I can only play one tank at a time, there’s no point grinding up another tier 9 just to have it sit in the garage. The other, very big, downside is the free-to-play community. The Internet in general is the cesspool of humanity, and looking into it shows you a reflection of just how shitty most people are. Free-to-play games, however, are like that kink in the plumbing where the scum of scum congregate and gather. The absolute stupidity of some of these players is mind-boggling, as is the aggressive manner in which they believe they are the greatest ever.

One of these days I might chronicle my journey in WoT, and very likely I’ll hop on after the next patch to give my new tier 10 a spin, but for now I’ll move on…

    Random games

So as I mentioned my attention wanders… in addition to WoT, during the past year I also tried out a bunch of other games, none of which held my attention for that long. I played a bit of XCOM: UFO Defense, which was a game that I played way back in secondary school. Great fun, tried it on a harder difficulty setting this time and still did pretty well. I didn’t finish it though, once I realised that I would have no trouble killing anything it became a bit repetitive since I already knew the ending and how it was going to go. Other games I tried were Dungeon Defenders (since it was on sale from Steam), Neverwinter Nights : Diamond edition, and Kingdoms of Amalur:Reckoning.

Round and round we go…

    And so, where do things stand now? I think one of the reasons my attention kept wandering was that none of the games I was playing were real MMOs. World of Tanks technically is, but you can really play it like a single player shooter with really retarded NPC teammates. Dungeon Defenders has multiplayer, but I never got into that and mostly played solo. So it seemed like I’ve been a bit spoilt by MMOs, which tend to have more new content. But I didn’t want to play anything with a sub fee since money is tight now that I’m a poor student with a family to support, and I have extremely limited play time.

    I always follow TAGN’s posts with great interest as his situation resonates with me (being ancient, a gamer and quite often a noob). So I read with a fair bit of interest about him joining Goonswarm and taking part in null-sec fleet battles. And after a while, I heard the siren song of EVE pulling me back again… EVE has always been a game where there is so much to do, its almost impossible to do it all. I had yet to explore low-sec, null-sec, PVP, industry, invention, wormholes, Incursions…

    Plus, the good thing about skill-flipping for a while is you come back able to fly lots of new shinies!