28 December 2012

Tryst with Tristan

Starwalker was contemplating the next Gallente ship to fly despite having just bought loads of missiles. His Kestrel had killed this Venture but the ship just did not set his heart on fire. The reason was simply down to the alternative - the joy of fighting up close and personal with high damage blasters. He had to replace his last blaster ship - this Merlin lost to a Thorax.

Choosing what ship to fly though was a combination of factors and not just one thing. In particular, and beyond their capabilities, there were four frigates that Starwalker actually liked the look of - Rifter, Merlin, Punisher (and their variants) and also the...Tristan. It was a very quirky looking ship but there was something about it that just appealed, unlike 80% of the other ships in New Eden.

The Tristan had recently been over-hauled and was now a drone boat with blasters and Starwalker decided that he would start to fly it immediately as he had good blaster skills and reasonable drone skills. The drone skills had been started when he had dallied with the battlecruisers earlier this year. 

The Tristan fit recommended on FailHeap Challenge was a railgun kiting fit but Starwalker liked blasters. However, given the ability to field five drones most of the damage was drone based with the ship's bonuses to turret tracking (7.5%) and drone tracking and hitpoints (10%). The first fit that Starwalker came up with was based on defining a decent tank and amplifying the drone damage:

[Tristan, MSE]

Pseudoelectron Containment Field I
Micro Auxiliary Power Core I
Drone Damage Amplifier II

1MN Afterburner II
J5b Phased Prototype Warp Scrambler I
Medium Shield Extender II

Light Electron Blaster II, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge S
Light Electron Blaster II, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge S
Small Energy Neutralizer II

Small Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer I
Small Anti-Thermal Screen Reinforcer I
Small Core Defense Field Extender I

Hobgoblin II x5
Warrior II x3

At level 5 skill this Tristan put out an impressive (combined) 189 DPS with a 6.6k EHP tank; using small core defence field extenders would increase the tank to nearly 7k EHP but Starwalker wanted the resists. The maiden voyage of the Tristan resulted in two nice kills:
  • Rifter, piloted by Naen Aliel, who tried to maintain a 5km orbit (successfully) whilst trying to kill the drones. He killed one drone but the others got him and Starwalker only noticed after the event that his blasters had contributed nothing to the fight
  • Punisher, piloted by Energy God, who surprisingly decided to get in close. Energy God started firing at the Tristan but then changed to the drones. It didn't matter as the result was the same - another kill

Whilst both fights had resulted in kills Starwalker realised that he had some potential improvements to make:
  1. The Rifter could have left the fight at any time with the range control. Indeed he should have left earlier to avoid destruction. The Tristan needed to have a web to keep targets in range - better pilots would simply have left once it was clear that they were losing and they could escape
  2. The energy neutraliser may have had an effect but as the range oscillated, mainly in the Rifter fight, it had to be continually re-applied. It was unclear how effective it was during the fight
  3. Starwalker did not manage the drones at all during the fight, he simply launched them and engaged the target. He would need to start managing the drones during the fight, in particular, recalling drones that were about to be destroyed to save them. It might even be possible to relaunch them later when the target was focused on other things (drones or Tristan)
Starwalker was pleased with how the fights had gone and how the Tristan had performed. He might tweak the fit a little more but in short he enjoyed flying it and managing the drones, even if superficially so far, it was a whole new experience.

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