Saturday, March 28, 2009

Ultimate Sniper BattleShip - Megathron

The Megathron not only looks cool, but it was built for long range operations known as BS Sniper.

What makes the Megathron such a good sniper Battleship?

Many things, namely it's bonuses. Each BS level trained gives you 5% bonus to Large Hybrid Turret damage and 7.5% bonus to Large Hybrid Turret tracking speed. The tracking bonus is what makes the Megathron such a lethal sniper. The extra damage per level a plus as well. But, tracking at long range, is vital when insta-popping fast moving frigates and other fast ships at 160km+ range!

The only weakness, in the design of the ship, is that the Megathron only has 4x mid slots. So, the tracking bonus (effectively 2 and 1/2 Tracking Computers 'builtin' at BS level 5) negates the Mid Slot crisis, because now one can use them for Sensor Boosting the ship.

All sniper Battleship fits require Sensor Boosting, both for Optimal Gun Range and Targeting Range. With only 4x mid slots to work with, the Mega has just enough slots it needs to be an effective sniper BS. So, fitting 2x Sensor Booster II's with a targeting script in at least one of the Boosters, along with a Tracking Computer with an Optimal Range Script for the Guns, leaving only one Mid slot left, typically used to fit a MicroWarp Drive.

What the Megathron lacks in mid slots, it makes up for in it's 8x High and 7x Low slots.

With the full array of High slots (8), this allows you to fit up to 7x 425mm Railguns and 1x Remote Armor Repairer or 6x Guns and 2x Cruise Missile Launchers. Or 6 guns, 1 repper and maybe a Smartbomb or Missile Launcher. Even a cloaking device can be fitted. This makes the Megathron primarily a Railgun boat, but also a decent Missile boat. If you do not like missiles, which Gallente usually do not focus on, the 1-2x remaining High slots allow for a wide range of uses, depending on your playing style or Gang/Fleet requirements.

With the abundance of Low slots, it is easy to heavily Armor Tank the Megathron. With 2-3x 1600mm Plates fitted, you are still left with 4-5x slots for fitting damage multipliers, armor resists and a Damage Control II module. Usually, fitting a local Armor Repper is not done, simply because armor reppers use too much power grid, which the Railguns consume. So, a tactic known as 'spider tanking' is used, where you rely on each other, in your BS Sniper gang, to remote repair you, using those spare High Slots.

Speaking of armor tanking, many pilots like to Rig the ship with 3x Trimarks. (Although a Trimark Rig will cost you 18-22 million ISK each), easily giving your Megathron a large enough Hit Point buffer to survive even a Dooms Day attack. (A single DD will inflict 30,000 damage points).

Since, this is a Gallente ship, the Megathron is capable of fielding 5x Heavy Drones, such as the popular Ogre II's. Yes, this brillant ship has 125 m3 Drone space with 125 drone bandwidth! Instead of Heavy Drones, what any smart MegaSniper pod pilot will do, is load 10x Medium Combat Drones and 10x Light Drones, such as the popular Hammerhead II's and Warrior II's for Anti-Cruiser and Anti-Frigate capablity. Since, this ship will not be able to hit fast moving targets that get too close, the large drone bay gives the Megathron the ability to defend itself, if attacked close range. One of the biggest threats to a Battleship snipping Gang is, believe it or not, one of the smallest ships. Interceptors are extremely fast capable of MWDing their way close enough to your gang, allowing the enemy to warp to the Interceptor and in range of your long range sniper Fleet! Warrior II's can make short work of small ships!

Megathron Snipper Fit

7x 425mm Railgun II or Compressed Coil
1x Medium Armor Repairer I

1x 100mn Microwarp Drive
1x Tracking Computer II (optimal script)
2x Sensor Booster II (targeting range script in one of them, the other left empty)

2x 1600mm Rolled Tungsten Armor Plates I
1x Capacitor Power Relay II
2x Magnetic Field Stabilizer II
1x Damage Control II
1x Adaptive Nano Membrane II (No cpu needed)

Optional Rigs
3x Trimark I
1x CCC, 2x Trimarks

5x HammerHead II
15x Warrior II

Antimatter L
Lead L
Spike L (Tech II)
Javelin L (Tech II)

Platinum Insurance

With the combination of the Tracking and Damage bonuses, a versitle High slot turret and launcher mount points, just enough mid slots, almost a full array of low slots (7) and a large drone bay, makes this ship destined for it's role as a sniper.

But, in order to become trained in the Snipping business, requires Tech 2 everything. Without Tech 2 Railguns, Sensor Boosters and an Optimal Tracking Computer, you will simply not be able to hit much further out than 120km, or so. You need Tech 2, and this means a lot of skill training.

Long Range Targeting 4 (Sensor booster II)
Trajectory Analysis 4 (Tracking Computer II)
Large Railgun Specialization (at least to level 1)
Gallente Battleship (at least to level 4)
Weapon Upgrades 5
Advanced Weapon Upgrades (at least to level 4)

The weapon upgrade skills reduce CPU and Power Grid of the Railguns, which is required, if you want to fit as many as possible, and have just enough CPU and Grid for the rest.

TIP: If you can not fit Tech II Railguns, it is still possible to hit at 160km, but it will take 2 of your low slots away. Simply, fit 2x Tracking Enhancer II's and use Lead ammo charges in your 425mm Railguns. Make sure to buy Compressed Coil named Railguns, as they use less CPU, more importantly, give greater Optimal Range! In a mid slot, fit a Tracking Computer II, loaded with an Optimal Range Script. This will give you just enough range, to keep up until you train Tech II Rails and Advanced Weapon Upgrades.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Is Faction Gear worth the price?

Faction gear, including modules, ships and ammo,  give some impressive bonuses, power grid and CPU reduction requirements, over named and Tech II counter parts.

One can equip, as an example, a Caldari Navy Invulnerability Field, and get 37.5% shield resists, compared to the Tech II Invulnerability Field of only 30%. Also, you only need Tactical Shield Manipulation trained to Level 1 to fit the faction version, but you need Tactical Shield Manipulation 4 to fit the Tech II version. This saves days of skill train time, to then be used for training something else.

However, the cost in terms of ISK, is a major draw back, of Faction gear. 

Take, for instance, a Caldari Navy Invulnerability Field, which will set you back 280-300 Million ISK. Yes, you heard me right, hundreds of millions of ISK, for a single module! Where as, the Tech II version will cost you only 2-5 Million. 

2-5 million to 280-300 Million. Insane, isn't it?

My argument, regarding most Faction gear (but not all), is that the price is way, way inflated, in relation to the benefits. Sure, you may need to spend a couple days training for the Tech II version, and will give you nearly the same result. In some cases, it may save you weeks or more in training, because you are also not required to train for CPU and/or Power grid skills.

However, if your character skills are that low, that one can't equip a module, yet have access to hundreds of million in ISK, brings up some conflicting issues.

1) How can a noob, with no skills suddenly have 300 million ISK?

ISK farmer sites perhaps? If a noob can pay $5 USD for 500 million ISK, well then the Faction gear is a perfect way around EVE's skill training requirements. Yes, I am saying Faction gear inflation could be directly related to ISK farming, which is a direct violation of CCP's EULA.

Now, I know there are many legit buyers of 300 million ISK modules, but if you take a look at the buyers of faction gear, they are typically in Empire, are new players that think bigger always means better survivability. Any 0.0 Alliance member pilot knows, that sooner than later you will get Popped, perhaps in a fleet or gang fight and having that faction gear simply is not worth having.

I have seen entire ships fully fitted with Faction gear. 

Take the Caldari Navy Raven Issue Battleship. The ship itself is a faction ship and costs around 300 million. Not bad, but the only benefits are an added Launcher point, some more armor and shield. A regular Raven will cost 1/3 the price at 100 million. So, you could buy THREE Ravens or just ONE Raven Navy Issue. Then start added the faction gear, like; Launchers, Shield Boosters, Amps and the Invuls. Finally, you can add Caldari Navy Ballistics Control Units for a 2.5% extra damage, but this module will cost you 50-70 million ISK.

All and all, below is a listing of a fully fitted Faction Caldari Raven Navy Issue.

1x Raven Navy Issue - 300m
1x X-Large Caldari Navy Shield Booster - 100m
2x Dread Guristas Shield Boost Amp - 200m
2x Caldari Navy Invulnerability Field - 600m
7x Caldari Navy Cruise Missile Launcher - 500m
2x Caldari Navy Ballistics Control Unit - 100m

Total ISK: 1.8 Billion ISK

As in BILLION. Yes, this ship has a bit more resists, firepower, Hit points, but for nearly 2 Billion ISK for a single Battleship, this becomes completely inflated in price. Sure, you will have the best gear, but thats not going to do you any good, if you warp scrambled and popped by say, TWO regular Ravens, or even another Raven with one or two cruisers or Frigates! Now, once you go POP, your out 1.8 Billion ISK.

Imagine what you can do with 1.8 Billion ISK... you could buy a whole FLEET of ships, fully rigged and fitted with Tech II gear that is nearly as effective.

Simply put, I just don't get these pod pilots that put all their eggs in one basket like that.

Now, do not get me wrong, I think Faction gear is great. Like the c-type pithi small shield booster I fit on my Hulks. For 12 million, I get a really effective and cost justified module. But, is it really worth it to pay 300 million ISK for a Caldari Navy Invulnerability Field that gives a modest 7.5% increase in shield resists? Or it is smarter to pay 5 million (tops) for a Tech II version?

Now, some argue, it might be a good idea to put one of those 300 million ISK Caldari Invul Fields on your Dreadnaught, since the Dread is extremely costly for the ship itself. But, when I concider all the facts, I come to the conclusion that, if you think 7.5% extra shield resists will determine the life or death of your Dread, you are probably a dislusional and horrible Dread pilot.

What gets you Popped or not, largely depends on, not what your flying or what modules you have fitted, but rather, what choices you make as a pod pilot. It is safe to say, that camping a gate that is about to get over run by 30+ ships is not a good idea. That 300 million ISK Invul is not going to make any difference at all.

So, sorry to say, I have a new term for Faction gear. When faction gear is used in such a way as to boast yourself as thinking you are all bad ass, for the rest to gawk at, or think that those tiny bonuses faction gear gives is going to determine if you live or die, you might as well call it FAGtion gear. Because, it is absoluetly GAY to pay 300 million for a single module, that gives very marginal benefits, at best.

I appologize to all my Homosexual readers (if I have any readers at all), as I do not mean to offend you, personally, with my choice of terminology.

FAGtion gear feeds the ISK farmers and attempts to glorify the pathetic EVE pilots that can't play the game without going to ISK sell sites to get anywhere in the great game called EVE Online.

Friday, March 6, 2009

To commit Sacrilege or become a Zealot

I am at the stage in my 'EVE-Career' (after playing pretty solid, since late 2007) that I feel like I am missing out, a bit, on the fast paced, heart thumping world of PvP.

Yes, I've got my Indy Toon in a Hulk, using Tech 2 strippers, crystals and Medium Drones. I have Refinery Efficiency V, Scrap Metal V and most of the individual ORE refining skills at 3 or 4.

This same toon also has zero loss when manufacturing, as in 'perfect' manufacturing. He can also use a bunch or Lab slots for researching blueprints. All in all, I think I am nearly BURNT on Industrial issues.

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE to be the creationist, while everyone else is out in space, cutting each others' throats, only to return and buy a Dominix or Megathron I just stocked onto the market. (I have yet to venture into POS and Tech 2 or Invention... maybe when I do, THAN I can say, "Ya, I've cared like a big 'ol bear with the rest of the other bears."

I'm having a mid-eve crisis... I want to PvP, but when I look at the options, MY GOD, where does one start?

Do I go for BattleShip V and get a Hyperion Blaster Boat, or a BlasterThron? Perhaps, a SniperThron? Maybe a Neut Domi would be fun?

And, what about these new Heavy Assault Ships? More commonly known to PvP pilots as HACs or Heavy Assault Cruisers. There is also, the Stealth Bomber, and Covert Ops Dominix or 'Black Ops'.

And Oh, let us not forget Carriers and Dreadnaughts. Eh?!

So, what does any 'smart', forward thinking EVE player do? He uses EVEMON and makes about 1000 skill plans, and dreams that in 'ONLY a couple of months', I can be flying my dream ships. Which, I will easily be able to afford.

Well, the reality is, is that TIME is against you. No one can possibly train for everything, unless you are the type to open 20 accounts or buy 20 accounts pre made and ready to go. I for one, have made a strict rule, to only use and commit to two accounts for as long as I am breathing and able to play EVE. I have a complete PDF write up about it all.

After months and months of thinking about it... I think I have a solid plan. Boy is it complex, when viewed from tip to stern, but elegant as it progresses from one trained disipline, to another, as it builds apon itself. Ultimately, ending with a Carrier or Dreadnaught. Or Jump Freighter/Rorqual, if you are still in Indy mode.

The next step for me, are Heavy Assault Cruisers. (HACs) These ships are simply Tech 2 Cruisers, with beefed up everything. They are nimble like a cruiser, but have boosted natural resists to shield and armor, that gives them impressive tanking ability, to say the least. HACs also get an additional pair of level up bonuses, compared to the usual one pair, for Tech I ships.

Now, let's focus on Amarr and their HAC choices, as this will also be my Hulk Industrial Pilot, now venturing into PvP. I don't want boring 'ol Battleship, I want a HAC.

Sacrilege or Zealot. Hell, why not both?

However, there is a catch.

The Sacrilege is a Heavy Assault Missile boat, while the Zealot is a Laser firing monster.

The Sacrilege fires specialised missiles, that split into it's own skill branch, in the missile world, called Assault Missiles. These missiles are short range, heavy damage and have greater rate of fire. While your typical, Cruise and Torpedoes are long range, which do sizeable amounts of damage in their own right.

The Zealot on the other hand, wants nothing to do with missiles. It fires the Amarrian primary weapon, Lasers. This is agreeable with most Amarrian pilots, as Lasers is what they would be raised on, from the start of their Amarr career. If your Amarr, you train Lasers! The Zealot gives range, damage and capacitor bonuses to the Lasers. 


But, something about the Sacrilege is 'Calling Me'. Those 25% armor resist bonus at Level 5 along with 25% cap recharge and 25% damage and rate of fire for the Heavy Assault Missiles, seems to me to be an Armor Tank from Hell, spitting Assualt Missle death, at whatever it is targeting. Since, it has that 25% cap recharge bonus and missiles require no cap at all, unlike the cap hungry lasers on a Zealot, leaves for use of a MWD to perma run around in. The Sacrilige needs it too, because heavy Assault Missiles have very short range. So, getting into damage range will need that MWD burning, just that much longer.

But, what the Zealot has in it's favor are 7 low slots ( compared to only 5 that the Sac has ) could be used to deal more laser damage with Heat Sinks or used to beef up the Armor resists, similar to the Sacrilege's built in 25% armor resists bonus. It also gets a 50% optimal range bonus which could mean the Zealot will be hot beaming on to enemy incoming, before they are able to reach the Zealot. It also will not have to worry about cap over load, because all Laser mounts are 50% cooled, which translated into 50% less capacitor usage.

So, the choice is so, so hard to make. 

But, what I have decided to train for are Heavy Assualt Missiles and go for the 25% cap recharge, meaning perma MWD (since Missiles use no cap), and even though the Sacrilege has only 5 low slots, the 25% armor resist bonus will more than make up for that lacking. Also, Sacrilege gets an additional Mid and Hi slot, compared to the Zealot. The extra Mid could be used for ECCM, ECM, Sensor Booster or even an Invulerability Field II. The Extra High could be used for NOS. Also, the Sacrilege get 15m3 of drone space, the Zealot gets 0 m3 drone space. 

If, I can perma run (kinda)  a MWD and shoot volley after volley of Heavy Assault Missiles, into the face of my dire enemies, well, that sounds pretty damn fun to me.

Later, I will of course, train for Lasers and hop in a Zealot. But, I have rarely seen a Sacrilege roaming around, and maybe, just maybe, people may think, 'Oh, not sure what to expect from this Sacrilege...", and give me an upper hand. Either way, I always like a good hybrid machine, that strays a bit from the 'trendy racial tech' of the day.

So, Cruiser V, here I come!

Heck. in the mean time, I will be able to fly a Guardian and maybe do some Fleet Logistics. Not as glorious as FCing a gang to a Titan kill, but at least I can 'clean people up', by remote repping them, and energizing their tattered souls.

Sacrilege... My eyes are on you.

Zealot, yeah, we all know you can burn holes into 1600mm Tungstun Plates like a hot pocker to virgin flesh... but you will be my second choice.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Myrmidon Attacked while on assignment...

Well, I had just found this sweet, sweet mining spot. Arkonor, Crokite and Bistot was everywhere, and the condensed kind. (Like Prime and Crimson Arkonor, for example.)

It was in a remote system within my Alliance's Region, where hardly anyone traveled. So, I thought it was safe from enemy roaming gangs, as well. 

Boy, was I wrong.

Just as I fill 4 jetti cans full of Prime Ark, I left my Myrmidon back with the cans and headed out, in the Hulk, to get my cargo rigged (34k m3 cargohold) Minmitar Mammoth Industrial Hauler.

Just as I was undocking, while in the Mammoth, I alt-tabbed over to my Myrmidon account, to my suprise notice a Negative Red enemy, in tight orbit going at MWD speed, around my Myrmidon! No damage had been taken yet. I instinctively deployed my Hammerhead II's and start to attack the orbiting enemy Taranis.

A Taranis is an Inty, Cepter or Intercepter class ship. It has amazing speed, primarily used to tackle larger ships. Well, he had me tackled with a Warp Scrambler and Web Statifier. He was orbiting at a very tight 500 - 1000km, going at full MWD speed. As a result, this rendered my 3x Medium Railgun II's, loaded with Antimatter, completely unable to track hit him and land any blows. My only hope were my drones, which he quickly, one by one, blew apart.

After all my drones where gone, he focued on my Myrmidon. In 3 or 4 volleys I lost all shields and was into armor. 

Now the interesting part of this story, is that on my Myrmidon, I had JUST reconfigured my Armor tank from a 3x active resists (explosive, kinetic, thermal), to using 2x EANM I's (Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane) and using the 3rd leftover slot, to fit a Capacitor Power Relay II, (26% cap recharge bonus). Since, I already had 4x Cap Recharger II's in my mids, I was now 'Cap Stable' and able to perma run all Highs, Mids and Lows. This includes, Railguns, Mining Gang Bonus, Afterburner and most importantly my 2x Medium Armor Repper II's. This reconfiguration, done only one day previously to this attack, is what saved my Myrmidon from POP!

Had I not been able to perma run both my Armor Reppers, the Taranis would have had me popped and probably podded. (You will understand how a frigate could pop a Battlecruiser after seeing the Killmail, coming up.)

As soon as I saw the negative red, orbiting me, I typed in Alliance INTEL channel for help. Amazingly, (well not really for my Alliance) at 3 am in the morning or 1 hour before DT, 5 guys responded with, 'Where are you?'. So I did, but they were 10 jumps out. (Mostly patrolling the entry points to the Alliance when coming in from Empire. However, I was in the heart of Alliance space and therefore many jumps away from any help.

Things in EVE PVP happen so fast, it is somtimes a time blur, after the fact. After I requested help, burned through all my drones and than tried to AfterBurn around to no avail to try and get tracking lock on the Taranis, finally an Alliance member shows up in LOCAL. 

He asks... "Where are you?", I replied, "III-2". Yes, I was in an asteroid belt, surrounded by 4 full jetti cans of mined Arkonor!

As soon as the friendly 'blue' shows up, the Taranis peals out of orbit and attempts to get out of the area. I had him in 3/4 armor damage, with some shield recharged by than.

Then seconds later, 4 more blues showed up. One guy in a Claymore (another BC but a Command Ship) decided to stay with me and help guard the jet cans, while the rest, went to hunt the Taranis down.

At that moment was when I started to continue my movement of the Mammoth to haul away the 4 jetti cans of precious Ark. It would take 3 trips. I could, at anytime be Intercepted by the Taranis, but I decided I had enough blue Alliance support to not fear lossing my 100 million ISK cargo rigged Mammoth. 

In the time I was hauling the last Arkonor load, the Taranis was popped in some far away location from where it all started, and he was also podded.

I guess, to the Taranis's bad misfortune, while my Myrmidon was easily armor tanking his DPS, allowed multiple Allies to come in from all directions and cut off any escape he may have had.

I myself feel grateful that...

a) My Hulk or Mammoth was not there when the Taranis decided to show up.
b) I reconfigured my Myrmidon's armor modules. (2x EAMN I, 1x Cap Power Relay II)
c) The Taranis did not pop any of my 4 Ark jetcans, he probably didn't have time to react.

The fact that, he had the balls to even attempt to take on a Myrmidon, was revealed in the Kill Mail. His Taranis was fully fitted for GANK. 

Taranis Fit

3x Small Heavy Blasters II

1x Tracking Computer II
1x Web Stasis II
1x Warp Scrambler II

1x Tracking Amp II
1x Magnetic Stablizer II

2x Hybrid Damage Accelerators I

This Taranis, all in all, cost 50 million ISK, which is a lot for an Inty!

I was proud that my Myrmidon Armor Tank worked so well, even against a ferious attack frigate ship with a speed tank and 3x gank blasters. In the end, my Myrmidon's dual reppers had enough defensive HP regeneration to keep the armor tank stable, and able to run perma.

So, without my Allies, it would have been a stale mate. Someone would have had to intervene at some point. Luckly, it was in my favor.