Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Whither the Rifter - Part 3 - The Punisher

This is my last post on the subject of under used Tech I Combat frigates. I looked at the Rifter and Tormentor already this week, and today we look at The Punisher.

10% Steely Eyed Gaze per Level of Angst
25% Damage per Level of No Fucks Given

Wait, wrong one...

That's better!

5% Bonus to Small Energy Turret damage
4% bonus to armor resistances

Slots: 4/2/4 with 3 turret hardpoints.

And for defenses that +4% per level of Amarr frigate yields these bases armour resistances:

At first glance you would think that the Punisher is built for brawling, right? Tanking bonus, damage bonus, no drones, utility high slot... seems ideal. The problem, however, is that with only two mid slots it has trouble keeping up with the current frigate meta, especially considering it has the same damage bonus as its sister ship, the Tormentor, but without any supplemental damage from drones. This means that like the Rifter its damage even with its close range weapons is anemic, and it lacks the ability to even choose the appropriate damage type.

A Level 5 Punisher with Small Focused Pulse Lasers, Heat Sink II, and Imperial Navy Multifrequency puts out 144 DPS at 3.75 km and 3.5 km falloff. This is comparable to the Rifter with autocannons and a rocket launcher (148), but significantly lower than the Tormentor with drones (183), Merlin with Light Ions (165), or Incursus with Neutrons and drone (177). So for a brawler, its not hitting as hard.

Secondly, the Punisher has to sacrifice one of the holy trinity of tackle mods since it only has two mid slots. Either it goes with a long point and risks fighting kiters who are unimpeded with their MWD on, or a scrambler and run the risk of fighting a brawler with afterburners who is getting under the low native tracking of lasers, since you have no web to slow them down. There is the option to try the "No Point" fit and use just a prop mod and a webifier and hope your opponent is too invested in the fight to get out before dying. There is a sweet spot for the Punisher, that of being fast enough to hold the right range and point, but its a hard balance to maintain.

Its not all bad for the Punisher, though. The tanking bonus coupled with lots of low slots means this thing can be a brick if it so desires, taking punishment unlike many other frigates. Alternatively, it can downgrade the tank and improve its mobility with some propulsion upgrade modules like an Overdrive Injector or Nanofiber Internal Structures, giving it the option for kiting with pulse lasers using Scorch ammo where it can do 115 theoretical DPS with 11km optimal and 2.5 km falloff.

My Suggestions:
Compliment its low damage with a small base speed increase and agility improvement, allowing it to naturally fit in the kiting role. I'd even consider swapping the armour bonus for an optimal range bonus but that might be too radical.

* * * * *
Post Script:

Prior to writing today's post I was contacted by a Punisher fan named Draiv Solregard who wrote a lot of words about his favourite frigate. He agreed to let me share them here:

I read in your post today that the "Punisher" has no quick serious defenders, so I thought I'd write you my thoughts real quick :รพ

If you look at my KB, I almost exclusively fly the Punisher and its T2 counter-parts. One of the main reasons I fly this ship is because it's gorgeous, the symmetry and design flows together quite well and seeing it fly in space enhances the effect. (Still looking for a decent desktop background with one.) I was constantly told reasons and given fits for other ships whenever I asked for advice in fitting one of these puppies. Problem is...I don't like flying stuff I don't like. lol So I kept tinkering around with it and died plenty as I learned the effects of modules and the current meta.

Moving past my first reason (because that's not what a lot people look at when flying a ship). There is quite often an oppressive force in Eve when trying something new or thinking outside the box (it gets kind of obsessive). I personally believe that the Punisher is not considered brawler worthy unless in a fleet where its faults can be distributed (and even then it's frowned upon not to have a point). It has some nice resists and a bonus to damage but that 2 mid-slot layout is a kick in the crotch for the standard web/scram brawler fits.

I've found the most success using my kitey fit (which may need a re-look now that I've played a lot more and have more skillpoints, the fit is old). With its natural boost to tank and damage you are able to fit less or different modules which would gimp most other ships. I found that extending my range beyond what is expected is quite advantageous. Almost everyone considers this a brawler and so I can get quite a few brawler engages which basically turn into shooting fish in a barrel.

But with this fit, I'm also not afraid to engage a brawler, swap ammo to IN Multi's and then try to maneuver to get the best transversal and shoot away, if they try to run it turns into a turkey shoot as you can now use the MWD and stay outside of web/scram range easily. It's a rather cheap fit if you get some decent prices during the market tides.

While it may only hit 100 dps with Scorch, you're guaranteed almost max damage between 9km and 16km against another kitey ship (which seem to be all the rage right now). You can push just under 3km/s, while not spectacular with a bit of good piloting it's proved sufficient so far. Also, even though the resists are not super, It does not have any mods which boost its resists. The lows allow for some quick on the fly changes which don't slaughter the whole fit depending on what is needed to complete the objective. You can easily add more tank, speed, or damage as needed.

Its faults in my opinion, fall under the same thing that afflicts the entire Amarr ship line, which is capacitor. If you do not have max capacitor skills you probably shouldn't fly an Amarrian laser ship. Just from experience of trying to make a cap stable fit which can compete with the other ship lines is quite frustrating, and heaven forbid if you want an active tank. Because cap is so essential and life saving (even to just fire your guns) you need to really be on the ball when managing your cap usage and the operation of your cap consuming modules. With CCP having so much fun removing the cap usage bonuses from the lineup, without perfect cap skills it's very hard to survive.

With this ship (as well as 90% of the Amarr lineup) you should avoid anything which fits a neutralizer on a regular basis, UNLESS you can guarantee staying out of range of it. (Let me tell you it's not fun waiting 3 minutes for a neut frig to kill you and not even have the able to shoot once in a while. I eventually just turned off my DC to speed up the process since I couldn't get help at the time.)

I do have an ok brawler fit, but unless I'm 150% sure I'll be fighting a brawler I don't use it.

Quite a bit longer than I thought but I do love me some Punishers. I probably have over a 100 sitting around waiting to be fit and used, and then only a couple of other Amarrian ships on hand.

But hopefully my defense of this beloved ship made some sense and wasn't just incoherent babbling.

Best regards,

~Draiv Solregard

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