Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Hangar Clean-out

I've moved around quite a bit over the past year, going from the north to Vestouve to 6VDT in Fountain to a couple locations in Pure Blind. My secondary staging moved too, out of and back to Tamo. Each time, I've loaded up my carriers or (more recently) dreads, sold off my excess ships, and moved on.

Suffice it to say, my 2016 hangar snapshot at the end of December is likely to look quite different from my 2015 version. Chiefly, it's going to have many fewer ships, as I found myself diversifying for diversity's sake. Never a good idea on the wallet. But, at a more basic level, I need to limit myself to two dreads' worth of ships now.

I tend to be very slow in giving up on a ship, a class, or a type of flying. I'll fit out a ship, and even if I don't fly it often, I'll keep it in my Tamo hangar for years. But now, I'm finally getting around to cutting the cord and removing some of these ships. Some of them are "old girlfriends" that I absolutely love. But, the meta moves on, and it doesn't do to keep the dead weight of ships eclipsed in every way by other options. There are times to fly with your heart (Friday night sink roams), but most of the time, if you want kills solo or in a small gang, you need to be smart about what you fly.

A few recently haven't made the cut, and were carted off to Jita to be sold.

Jaguar (2x): The Jaguar held a warm place in my heart for years, and I've always had two of them fitted in my hangar. Both were fitted identically but for a mid slot alternating between a tracking disruptor and a webifier. The former would attack larger targets, and the latter would attack smaller ones. This ship really depended on mitigating damage to survive, as it'd take a long time to kill anything. As I look back, this ship really died when CCP added drone bays to nearly every ship; over time, that drone damage added up and made this ship untenable. Both are sold now.

Dual-ASB blaster Harpy: This one is a bit of a cheat, as I still have two of them; I figured I don't need a third, though. There's nothing quite like a powerful face-blaster that can take punishment. It's not as powerful as it used to be, but it's still quite useful.

Gila: "A Gila, you say? Surely not!" This one was poorly fit, and it was easier to buy a new one on corp contracts and take this one out to the woodshed than figure out what I needed to change. I still have one for solo roaming.

Vagabond and Cynabal: These ones hurt. I really used to love these ships. The kind of kitey flying needed to pull them off effectively can be difficult, and I cut my teeth attacking larger gangs with them. Unfortunately, both in speed and damage projection, there are better options now, even at the cruiser level. I haven't yet replaced them, but both of these are sold. I'm considering a shield Nomen, and already have an Orthrus, both which fly similarly and can inflict a lot more damage further out. an Orthrus, in particular, is just ridiculous with rapid light missiles, and faces no risk at all from tacklers.

Hecate: I hate armor-tanking in anything less than a battleship. Generally speaking, active tanking in a solo environment really requires over-sizing your rep modules - mediums on a frigate or destroyer and x-large on a cruiser or battlecruiser - and this simply can't be done with armor modules because of the fitting requirements. The theory is that armor repping is less powerful but more sustainable, which is irrelevant on a solo ship; in a solo roamer, either you kill your target quickly or you're dead. This Hecate was dual A-type repped. It's also very slow with a small engagement profile. The number of scenarios in which it made sense to fly this Hecate over another armor-tanked brawler were very small... zero, in fact. It's an utterly useless ship to me.

Confessor: While the Confessor is great for small gang work, I'm increasingly turning against it for solo roaming. It runs into the same active tank issue as the Hecate, but a passive fit is certainly viable. This one is another "cheat", since my terrible dual-rep Confessor died recently; however, I did make the call not to replace it, and would have sold if if I didn't lose it. So I'm going to count it here.

There are a few trends I'm noticing. The only projectile-firing ships I own are alliance-fits, including the Sleipnir, Machariel, and Naglfar. For individual work, they're vastly outclassed by lasers, missiles, and drones. Sorry Minmatar, but outside of my HAM Rapier, you're out. Well, the exception is the cancer Svipul, which is just a beast. I'm willing to make an exception for a 400-dps, 24k ehp destroyer that can actually project decent damage (I'm not above being a terrible person and flying one of those...).

I've typically not been a big fan of missile-based doctrines because of the lower-than-usual dps, but as I'm learning, that dps is fully applicable out to its range. All other weapon systems have deceptively large values there, and in comparison missile boats are actually quite reliable. You could say that I'm giving them another chance now. For years, the only Caldari ship I owned was a Harpy. While this is still true, I am filling up on Caldari look-alikes (Guristas, Mordu).

I have to echo the sentiments expressed anew recently... assault frigates are in a terrible place, and I can't think of a use for them with the existence of the Svipul (yes, that one ship relegates them all to uselessness; not even the whole class). I'd argue that heavy assault frigates are almost equally as bad, as they're easily outclassed by the faction variants. Why fly a Vagabond, when the Orthrus, VNI, or Nomen exists? Those ones that are strong are too slow for effective use solo.

We're in an age of kiters, made possible by more bonuses to warp disruption range, the increase in drone bays, and the emphasis on speed. Range dictation is more important than ever, widening the gap between armor and shield ships, and the end result has been to make more ships "less terrible", but only a few ships actually "good".

It's time to change with the times!


  1. I feel that the speed creep has gotten a bit out of hand and not just because I prefer to brawl as Bob intended. Rather because it has made links and to a lesser extent implants almost mandatory. What do you think the upcoming change to warfare links will do to the current kitey meta?

    1. I suspect we're going to see a lot of "solo" roamers losing links ships. Keeping your links safe while engaging targets on your combat character just requires too much attention. I think a lot of people are going to find the cost isn't worth the cheat.

      For gangs, I think the on-grid booster is going to become a hero for his fleet. That, of course, depends on how CCP rebalances. If they make it an area of effect boost - meaning you need to be in proximity - then we may see links diversify into command ships (ie very tanky and expecting to be primaried). If it's on-grid only, we'll likely see little change.

  2. "Hecate: [...] It's an utterly useless ship to me."

    The only some-what convincing fit I've seen for solo-roaming was a fit (like yours) designed to go after solo-dictors. It relied on them bubbling to tackle themselves, and dual webs to stop them getting to gate.

    Suffice to say, it's niche at best.