Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Turrets for Everyone!

The patch coming tomorrow (was originally meant for today but rescheduled for tomorrow) includes a rare gift for Caldari Rail pilots: extra turrets! Or more speficially, turret hardpoints.

Back in November I wrote in a post:
The Moa only has four turret hardpoints so while it can tank decently, its got low DPS. So I turned to Gallente and the Thorax has everything I want: lots of blasters, decent speed, ok tanking, drones, and not too expensive.
The Ferox is like a big version of the Moa: not enough turret hardpoints especially when compared to the fearsome Brutix. The Drake is ok for missile guys, but the Mrymidon fits my style a lot better. Favourite? Brutix for the same reasons as the Thorax.
And in December I opined about the Eagle:
Unfortunately, the DPS is not impressive at 131 and a volley of 484 won't scare off anything but the smallest frigates and perhaps destroyers. Quite simply its a fleet support setup, and a Ferox in sniper fitting can do the same DPS at 110 km for a quarter of the price.
One wonders what CCP was thinking when they designed the Caldari rail boats. I suspect it was that the Gallente ships using blasters would be at a disadvantage against a Caldari ship using the same number of rails if the Gallente ship had to cross the distance in a certain amount of time giving the Caldari pilot plenty of time to pepper him with shots before he got there. Of course, game mechanics (e.g. stargates, speed of warping away) and Micro Warp Drives (which I think need to be removed or vastly modified) conspire to prevent such a situation from ever happening most of the time.

The result is that many of the Caldari Rail ships are seen as underpowered. After all, look at the rail ships that are considered successful.

Raptor: split weapon system but damage is secondary to warp scram and speed.

Harpy: 4/5 weapons are rails and it boasts amazing range and damage for a frigate.

Vulture: Tech II abilities and fleet command warfare links make up for the less than stellar damage of only 5 turrets.

Rokh: A covert admittance to the failure of split weapon systems, it boasts 8 turret hardpoints, equal to the Gallente Hyperion and one more than the Megathron, thus making it more than acceptable as a fleet rail ship.

Look at a Ferox: a sniping setup with 5 tech II rails of the largest calibre and Spike ammo gives an optimal of 110 km (14km falloff) with my skills, and a damage rate of 141. A Brutix with 7 medium sized blasters boasts a 274 DPS at 5 km optimal. Adding two heavy missile launchers to the Ferox boosts the damage up to 187, but their range is only 73 km.

What it effectively means is that if a target is over 74 km away the Ferox is gimped for damage, scaring only the smallest or least tanked vessels. That's not to say their isn't a role for such a sniper but that it was so small and unpopular a role, not to mention easily filled by other vessels, that it became pointless. The Moa and Eagle suffered similarly.

CCP recognized this and decided the easiest thing to do was allow pilots to add more turrets to these ships, so each of them is getting an additional hardpoint. That means in their designed role, sniping, they effectively receive a 20% increase in damage (Ferox) or a 25% increase (Moa and Eagle). For example, for the Ferox it means 168 DPS at 110 km instead of 141. The Eagle now boasts 160 DPS at a mind-boggling 164 km optimal, making it the prime fleet support ship. And the Moa now has the range and DPS of the old Ferox!

Make no mistake, none of these three ships are uber-pwnz-mobiles now. But they are better equipped to use range to their advantage without being saddled with having to use shorter ranged heavy missiles to supplement their DPS.

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