Last night I finally got the opportunity to undock and fly my radically redesigned Marauders. Prices for the new Rubicon stuff have finally gone down to reasonable levels so I undocked my Orca for a supply run to Jita. In hindsight I should have taken the opportunity to unload a bunch of my mission loot instead of flying an empty Orca 14 jumps, but it was kind of a spur of the moment thing. I ended up going on a spending spree and picked up 210 million worth of modules and assorted crap, in addition to my Falcon and deadspace medium armor repper that I had picked up earlier. The list included 3 Bastion modules for 7 million each, 6 mobile depots at 2 million each, 5 tractor units at 16 million each, 4 T2 tachyon beam lasers, 8 IN MF crystals and 8 IN Gamma crystals, and a bunch of fittings and rigs for the Falcon. I was originally going to buy a T2 energy burst aerator rig for the Paladin as well but there were only a few on the market for 50 million, 30 million more than the usual price so I held off on that. I was also going to get a T2 rigor rig for the Golem, but for some reason these still go for 100 million plus ISK so I decided that wasn’t worth it. I usually pop small stuff with the Vargur/Paladin anyway instead of the Golem.
After refitting everything, I drew Guristas Assault as my mission. Nice! I had done this mission a couple of times before and I remember incoming damage being really high, coupled with the super annoying Gurista jamming habit. So out came the Golem and Vargur, both with MJD + MWD. There was a little bit of a snafu where I couldn’t find the Bastion module on my UI, so I ended up warping the Golem back to the station while the Vargur was fighting to figure out what was going on. Turned out the Golem has so many slots the Bastion icon was hidden behind my drone bay panel (yeah I need a bigger screen, or a way to hide those passive modules like ballistic control systems).
The Golem bastioned up right at the warp in while the Vargur used MJD to jump to about 30-40 km off from the Guristas. Pretty handy and I’m quite pleased with MJD + MWD so far. I had a scary moment when I was kinda distracted looking at the Golem and my wife was talking to me. When I finally checked back on the Vargur it was at half armor and the next volley took it down to 30%. In my mind I screamed “HOLY SHIIIIIIIIT” and activated my XL booster… luckily the first pulse gave me back about a third of my shields and very quickly I was back to full. I’m really not used to the XL booster yet and am hesitant to leave it running because so much shield recharge is wasted, but actually I have enough cap to keep it going for 3 mins so I’m not really in any danger of running out. Other than that the mission went without incident. I didn’t time it but I guess it’s pretty stress free with no more annoying jamming, and the Vargur definitely does much more damage close up (and takes much more damage too, but that’s what the XL booster is for).
I didn’t get to try the mobile depot (and I wasn’t even really carrying any extra fittings either) but I did get to try the tractor unit. The first time I dragged it from the cargohold and dropped it into space, then spent about 30 seconds looking around for it. I expected it to look a bit like the pictures CCP had been showing, but hmm nothing around but the Vargur… wait… why is that wreck tractoring another wreck? I finally figured out that the little white triangle was the tractor unit and added it to my “Loot” overview. It’s pretty helpful, although I do wish that it would tractor the furthest wrecks first instead of the closest. That would make much better use of the 125 km range.
Overall I have to admit I like the new Marauders. Jester posted something highly amusing a couple of days back in which he contends that the new Marauders are the newest ISK printing machines. I normally have a great deal of respect for his opinions, but this is just a case of someone who obviously has never flown Marauders and has probably not flown a level 4 mission in a long time. Then again, he seems to think that the new Bastion animations are “really cool”. Uh… what? There are seriously non-CCP people who are impressed with that crap? The new Marauders are able to do missions easier…. not faster. And most veteran players (who can afford a Marauder in the first place) don’t have any problems whatsoever tanking in a pirate battleship. He also contends that Bastion makes Marauders gank-proof and thus easier to bling out. Umm, in my PVE fits my Marauders have about 70-80k EHP in Bastion. You’d need less than 10 Tornados to alpha through that in the blink of an eye, all while the Marauder is completely stationary and unable to warp away even if not pointed. So yeah, the new Marauders aren’t going to suddenly earn you billions blitzing missions because sitting there stationary with no damage bonus is inherently slower than killing everything while moving to the next gate. But it is definitely easier, and especially so for me dual-boxing. Seems to be more a quality of life improvement than any improvement in mission running functionality, but I’m not one of those pilots that care about maximising ISK/hour anyway.