Friday, August 31, 2012

Archetypes of Eve Ships - Part 1

The ongoing teiricide and rebalancing of ships this past year has shaken up frigate combat like never before. Not since the Dramiel was boosted to near god-like status in the post-speed nerf era has the battlefield shifted this much. And these changes, albeit smaller by themselves, add up to a larger overall change than any other before. Hell, possibly bigger than all other changes combined since Red Moon Rising.

But I'm not here to talk about that today. Tiericide has only just begun and has another year or more to run its course through all the ship classes. Let's instead talk about the Archetypes of Eve combat ships. I'm going to talk about the big most common ship archetypes, the ones that, like the ruling class of a pantheon of gods, rule the roost in the hearts and minds of Eve pilots.

1. Frigate Brawler

Every combat pilot has flown one of these. Usually sooner as they are new pilots getting the skills to try and fight the rats or hostile pilots, sometimes reformed carebears trying their hand at PvP in Red Versus Blue or faction warfare, but eventually everyone flies the ship that is tackle plus damage. Charge, point, orbit, and hope your damage and/or friends finish them off. The Brawler: no subtlety required, no faint hearts allowed.

For years this archetype has been epitomized (defined?) by the autocannon Rifter. Since the reblancing the Merlin and Incursus have invaded the territory once solely the domain of the Rifter, but it still is competitive and perhaps the most iconic ship of Eve as a result of its previous dominance of this class.

2. Gallente Blaster Ship

Sure there are lots of racial specific archetypes we can talk about (and I'll cover another one next) but one of the most crisp in terms of definition and expected function/behaviour is the blaster equipped ships of the Gallente lineup.

These ships have one mode of operation in combat and its very similar to the Frigate Brawler: approach with MWD on, activate blasters, wait until target it dead or you are. These are the hammers to the tackler's anvil. Short ranged but highest damage, if the target is within optimal range and tracking speed, it will suffer severe consequences. The rest of the functions of these ships are secondary to speed and damage; they may have tackle mods, some repair capability, and drones, but their goal is simply damage application.

There are a lot of ships that evoke this archetype but the one that I find gives life to it so perfectly is the Thorax and its children: the Deimos and Vigilant (and to a less degree, the Phobos). Too large for tackle duty like the Incursus, too small for a respectable tank like the Megathron, and more common than the big brother Brutix, the Thorax lives in the sweet spot of fast and heavy hitting to make it the perfect Gallente Blaster Boat.

3. Caldari Missile Boat

Just as the Gallente are famous for their line of hybrid based ships, the Caldari are known the cluster over for their expertise in missile based weaponry with only the Khanid ships able to compete. In PvE all over the cluster from High Sec to Null Sec to wormhole space you will find many if not most pilots using a Caldari missile boat to destroy the rats. The reason for this ubiquitousness is due to the fact that while you can destroy NPCs with many different weapon systems, missile weapon systems offer the dual advantages of not having to worry about tracking and optimal range like turret based weaponry does and being able to choose the damage type by switching ammo without having to worry about less DPS in the process. Plus missiles have decent ranges and do not use capacitor. The best competitor, drones, which also do not use cap and can choose damage type, have other downsides such as requiring a lot of drone space for multiple flights of drones and can be targeted and destroyed if you are not vigilant.

A few years ago I would have picked the Raven (and its descendants, the Navy Raven and Golem) as the torchbearer for this archetype, but the rise of the Drake in PvP fleets in null sec and the spread of the Tengu as the ratting ship of choice have disputed that title. So I'm going to go with the popular and multi-faceted Drake battlecruiser as the current leader of the Caldari Missile Boats.

Next week: Three More Archetypes.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous9:28 am

    Isn't the Drake an archetype of it's own these days?