Friday, December 06, 2013

Whither The Rifter?

(... and the Punisher and the Tormentor.)

One of the nice things about faction warfare is the healthy spread of ships you see in a typical week, or even an average night. The nature of the plexes we fight over means that you and your opponents need to fly everything from cruisers to destroyers to tech I frigates, and then have some heavier ships on hand for bunker busting or POS/POCO bashes.

As a result you get to see a wide variety of ships flown by a wide variety and skill level of pilot, and over time you notice certain trends. I want to talk about the Tech I combat ships and the need for another pass of the balancing wand.

Each faction sport two combat frigates in which each one highlights the different weapon systems (except for the Amarr). For the Caldari and Gallente everything seems to be working as intended. For the former, the Merlin is a hard tanked brawler with blasters with the option of kiting with railguns while the Kestrel is a natural kiter with light missles and has the option of going in your face with rockets. For the latter, the Incursus is a personal favourite with blasters and an awesome active armour tank, and the Tristan has excellent engagement range with its bonused drones.

Things start to go downhill though as we get to the Minmatar. The Breacher has some followers due to its high speed and agility and missile weaponry; its very commonly seen with an Ancillary Shield Booster and a tough nut to catch and crack as a result. But the Rifter has gone from ubiquitous to mythical, its rare sightings being the cause, I suspect, of newbs who don't know better or veterans who hang on to nostalgia.

Things get worse as you go to Amarr. Already hamstrung with two combat ships that have extremely similar profiles in being 3-turret laser ships (the differentiating factor being the Punisher having bigger tank and the Tormentor doing more damage due to the extra small drones), they are further hampered by lacking a distinguishing feature to make them attractive in a frigate fight, i.e. not a lot of speed, not a lot of range, and not an overwhelming amount of tank. I can't even remember the last time I saw a Punisher in space, to be honest, and haven't seen a Tormentor in ages.

Next week I'm going to look at each of these three ships in detail and discuss some ideas of what needs to be done to bring them in line with the rest of the tech I frigates.


  1. Hmm, I'm not sure I'd agree on the Minnie and Amarr stuff. I fly the Rifter a lot, and I know of corpmates and friends who do, and they have discovered some pretty nice fits within the current meta. Punisher and Rifter are like hard mode now admittedly but that's cool, you'll get fights! Tormentor is a great ship now also.

    For me personally, I see a lot of Kestrels and Breachers which are of course powerful frigates.

    I do feel though that the entire melting pot of frigate pvp on the whole for me is at the most balanced it has ever been in my honest and humble opinion. There's so many viable options now.

    Maybe others will disagree. It would be cool to see some more viewpoints.

    1. I agree with Miura on this one. I fly them all regularly and while each has its pluses and minuses, for once in Eve they are all out and about in space. On an average day I see more variety in space than at any other time before, it is pretty amazing tbh.

      I think the Rifter has moved off its pedestal and joined the rest of the field, while it isn't the "go-to" frigate it used to be, that is a good thing and gives all the others a chance. Plus, fit it right and it is a surprising little ship. Plus I like the Tormentor. Heck, I like all the Frigates. Except the Probe.

  2. I haven't done much solo flying in the last months (or for that matter combat flying) (nor am I any good at either of it :) ), but I have a number of Tormentors staged to take out on frigate roams. It's not the best of frigates, but doesn't have any glaring weakness either. I think the same can still be said for the Rifter.

    In general, I always had the feeling that Amarrian small ships are simply meant to be flown with at least one wingman.

  3. I've had some luck soloing with Tormentors. I beat 2 Incursi once.

  4. The Rifter's problem, at least, is that pretty much anything it does, something else does better. Most of the stuff you used to use a Rifter for are done better with a slasher, and the rest can be done better by a Merlin, Incursus, or Atron. There are still people getting kills in them, of course, but an awful lot of those are down to incompetence on the part of the victim or very specific counter-fitting (which says very little about the quality of the Rifter).