13 December 2013

Rise of Railguns

In Placid recently Starwalker had noticed that quite a few ships no longer brawled at point blank range but instead fought in scramble range (7km to 9km) or point range (18km to 24km) with bonuses or heat extending those ranges. Indeed Starwalker was also conforming to the trend with his Kestrel or Hawk.

He had recently gone into two fights without taking the simple precaution of checking what guns were fit. Just because someone was flying a Gallente frigate did not mean that they had automatically fit blasters, which was Starwalker's default choice. That expectation, of blasters being fit, was rudely shattered when this Tristan took down his Kestrel.

Tristan's have a very good tank when simply using a damage control and small ancillary armour repairer and its tank lasted longer than the medium shield ancillary booster that was fitted to the Kestrel. In short, Starwalker had been too lazy and had effectively orbited at the Railgun's optimal range, helping to maximise its damage. Simply orbiting at 500m would have mitigated the damage from the railguns, although the drones would still be doing their damage.

The Caldari Navy Hookbill was the victim of railguns too. The Federation Navy Comet established an orbit of around 23km just outside Javelin range but between its railguns and Hobgoblins it overwhelmed the dual medium ancillary shield boosters and the Hookbill went down. This reminded Starwalker of something that Prometheus Exenthal had written about roaming in cruisers:
Starwalker was inclined to believe that for frigates the priority order was different, perhaps:
  • Range Control (Agility + Speed) > Tank > Damage + Tracking > Cap
Whilst it really depended on the ship, the situation and the target his experience in afterburner fit frigates had been:
  • Two brawlers fighting at close range was often decided by the tank rather than level of damage. He had lost gank-fit Merlins that could put out tremendous damage
  • Brawler fighting a scram range kiter would lose if it could not get close and stay close. Close range Merlins had been lost to railgun fits that had established range control
  • Generally capacitor did not matter in frigate fights unless the ship focused on it such as a triple neutraliser fit Tristan. A Daredevil capable of huge DPS for a frigate was destroyed after its blasters stopped firing due to no capacitor
  • Good tank did not matter if it could not sustain that tank indefinitely. Single and dual tank ships had been lost to point range kiters with the only notable difference being how quickly the ship as destroyed  
Perhaps it was time to try faster (MWD) ships again. Starwalker had always felt that when he had been caught by a brawler in a kiter that he would rather die in a brawler. But on balance he would rather kill than be killed and that meant that he needed to assess what was going on around him and try to counter it.

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