Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Mortal Kombat!!!

Guys...hey guys...


First, my sincerest apologies for not writing anything sooner, but being a member of the CFC, you can imagine this has been a real busy month or so. B-R5RB happened, then 0-W778 happened.  Needless to say, as I write this, I'm sitting here in a hellcamp, watching progodlegend play docking games in a Pilgrim.

Correction, they're in interceptors now, and they're smug-mugging local because they killed our cyno Arazu.  Well done, boys...but seriously, how does 100 interceptors miss a pod?

Anywho, we have some things to talk about, because I've been busy as hell with everything as of late.  First and foremost, my boy Roland Cassidy is now officially endorsed by Razor Alliance as a CSM 9 candidate.  Pretty sick stuff!

Hold up, we're mopping their interceptor fleet...

I came in like a WRECKING BALL...
Ok, now that we've taken care of that, let's move on.  Oh yeah, Roland!  Anywho, I made a CSM advertisement video for him.  Please note, the town hall has been moved to March 2nd.  I'm pretty proud of how this turned out, and a lot of effort went into making this, so please, don't troll me too hard on it.

In the same breath, I also interviewed Sugar Kyle in a fireside chat.  What was supposed to be 15 minutes ran nearly an hour.  I have had run ins with Sugar in the past, in rookie chat, and an unfortunate run-in in low-sec once.  To summarize, I like her platform as well, as it somewhat mirrors Roland. I would say where Sugar clearly comes from a low-sec standpoint, Roland's leans more towards the purist role-playing platform.  Here's the Soundcloud link:

Shifting gears to the curbstomping of the infidels who continue to reject the CFC, I managed to get over a thousand views for this little gem.  I love poking fun at N3!

Also, just to poke a little more fun at N3 and PL, but mainly N3...

More to come in the coming days from the hellcamp!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Oh, The Places You'll Go

Holy mother of God.  I guess I chose the wrong day to work on Saturday...or in hindsight, maybe I chose the right day.  We have two issues to address today, so let's get to work.  Please note that the following post will seem very sharp and pointed.  This is intended.  I'm rather furious about these issues, and dammit, you deserve to hear the unabridged truth.

First and foremost, let's talk about Friday Night, and the 15th installment of No Fucks Given.  As you may recall, this is the drunk roam we do in low sec once a week to piss away all of that security status that nobody wants anyways.  What started as a small fleet ended as an even smaller fleet.  And by small, I mean 2 tech one battlecruisers, a heavy assault cruiser, and a lonely Thorax.  We posted up on our usual gate, in hopes of good fights and ganks.  What we got was absolutely steamrolled.  The first couple of lone kills temporarly satisfied the thirst for blood that was denied in the earlier roam.  What happened to effectively end this fleet is nothing short of hysterical.  Situation was simple:  lone Brutix jumping through to our camp.  Surely an easy kill, but not one without risk, as we didn't have any logistics or electronic warfare with us.  Sure as Kate Upton gives me a chub, he jumped in, and glorious tackle was established.  His shields melted like the inhibitions of a 19 year old sorority girl after a half dozen Jagerbombs.  Of course, we expected this, because seriously, who the hell shield tanks a Brutix?  As he approached 70% armor, he threw us a curveball and lights a cyno.  I have the gang continue to apply DPS because no one actually bridged in...at first.  Then, with the whoosh of a nasty beer fart, a black ops fleet jumps in...and oh look, they brought an Archon for reps.

Now, make no mistake about it, I'm totally cool with this.  It's a game mechanic, and if they're willing to risk this much ISK just to come at us, they deserve to kill us.  Where I draw the line was the local chatter afterwards.  This fleet took to senseless name calling, basically call our entire alliance shit, then proceeded to strut and chest-pound.  Now seriously, look at the grid here.  Why the hell would you roll this deep, then brag about how awesome you are?  You're not pro, nor are you elite.  You simply overwhelmed us with superior number and equipment.  Yes, you were going to win that fight no matter what.  I hate to break it to you, but Razor has much bigger fish to fry, so expecting us to escalate this from halfway across the universe is like expecting a dude to quit banging his buddy's hot sister because the buddy wants him to.  Why the hell would he, and why the hell would we escalate some Mickey Mouse bullshit engagement like this?


So, now that we got that out of the way, let's talk about the massive engagement in HED-GP, or what will forever be now known as LAG-GP.  I bring you the story with 124.6% more SOUL-CRUSHING LAG!  You see, the end result of this engagement is that CCP will, in all likeliness, be reimbursing well over a trillion in losses on both sides, as they failed to keep the server together yet again.  Now, the node did stay active, despite efforts by N3/PL to crash it as soon as their mission was achieved, but it's not like anything was actually happening, unless you were in a titan, then you had a very good day.  LAG-GP is a pretty well known system in the south, and represents one of the most important strategic points on the map, especially for our hammer and sickle friends to the east.

Fucking Important!!!11
Our enemies, who will be known furthermore in this blog as the Asshat Coalition or Asshats, managed to set up at least 12 hours in advance of the Clusterfuck call-to-arms.  What they did was nothing short of extraordinary, but they've made a fatal mistake.  You see, by staging in the system early, they got first dibs on the extremely limited bandwidth available for this node.  This is what caused the CFC dreads to get blown up in warp bubbles before ever landing on grid.  When Asshat Titan gets first crack at the pipeline, you get second crack.  When a thousand of them all get first shot at the bandwidth, you get SOUL-CRUSHING LAG!  This strategy worked brilliantly for the Asshats, so a "well done" is deserved.  You effectively managed to flood the pipeline, resulting in lots of glorious losses to the CFC.  Although this strategy was sound in this regard, it did give them an unfair advantage; this is something CCP really strives to avoid.  I believe CCP realizes this, and will be moving very shortly to reimburse these losses.


Now, for the issue of N3/PL, formerly known as Asshats, who will now be known as Droneswarm Coalition.  There are legitimate scans from the field during the battle showing drones everywhere.  This is to be expected during a capital fight, but let's dig a little further.  By best count, using simple math, I was able to deduce that there were on average, 42 drones per ship on field.  Now, there is always a possibility that many of these drones were from ships that were already blown up.  Problem is, these numbers were derived before the big time shooting commenced.  I have personally seen Droneswarm pull this trick in the past where they launch drone, abandon them, and launch more drones, until the drone bay is empty.  By launching 18 bajillion flights of drones, you stress the CPU of the server, thus forcing server instability  I believe the first time a node crashed happened, it was purely by accident, thanks to an organic fight in Z9, and a really dumb CCP employee...but I believe they took notice.  They realized that they could control the metagame by crashing the server.  Enter E-Y, an engagement where Droneswarm successfully crashed the node, despite the relatively even numbers on both sides.

It is my belief that Droneswarm, with CVA help, attempted to crash the node yesterday after they structure bashed, and after they realized that Goons's staging system was on the same node.  Now, I'm not sure who the absolute fucking moron at CCP is who thought this was a good idea, but it simply accomplished nothing more than to show continued bias from CCP in favor of N3 and PL.  Obviously, with the festivities starting in LAG-GP, and Droneswarm being in system 12 hours early, they were already experiencing time dilation long before the first CFC ship ever landed in system (ironically, this was about 4 hours after they actually cynoed in).  It's almost like CCP didn't want Goons to even be able to respond.  So, with Goons frozen in their staging system, and the iHub down, there's absolutely no tactical advantage to sticking around for a fight.  Lucky for Goons, CCP fixed the problem by rolling G-0 off the node, and allowing Goons to do work, but it was too little, too late.

CCP Headquarters, Main Concourse

CCP continues to grossly mismanage the metagame in null-sec, showing a clear bias against the CFC.  By allowing Droneswarm to effectively stall any system of their choosing, CCP has created a stalemate situation.  If either side wants to reinforce a system, and things escalate, both sides know they can crash a node with ease.  So, if you sovereignty is attacked, you simply crash the node, and you maintain your sovereignty.  There are some very simple fixes that CCP needs to look at before this gets any further out of hand.

For starters, I'm led to believe that the EVE Online servers are running on a 32-bit backbone.  Wait...seriously?!  Guys, it's 2014.  This is simply unacceptable.  Double your pleasure, double your fun!  This would create a noticeable difference in performance on the server, allowing CPU loads to be better managed. (Please note:  I have not personally confirmed this fact, so it may be bullshit).

Secondly, let's talk about traffic control for a minute.  Anyone remember the old days?  You know, the "traffic control active -- you will jump in xxx seconds" days?  Albeit an archaic system, it was brutally effective at preventing the lag-o-thons of the modern day.  My simple solution?  Limit the number of pilots in local to a number around 1,000, as this appears to be the number that the EVE Online reinforced node can handle without significant problems.  But Med, if only 1,000 can get in, what if they're all N3/PL folks and we can't even get in?  No problem!  Hit another system!  If CFC rolls 1,000 deep in another system, N3/PL would be unable to respond, as local would be capped.  Limitations like this could be problematic in the short term, but it would seriously make every coalition rethink their strategy moving forward, and more importantly, it would place a premium on every pilot and every ship you elect to take, instead of allowing everyone in a Rifter or Vexor to shit up precious resources with their ship that has zero impact on the impending battle.  This may sound a little harsh (or communist, depending on your views), but it's certainly better than the current situation.

Typical PL Pilot
Finally, let's talk about backbone code.  The best solution to this problem is simply rewrite the code.  The backbone of EVE Online was written over 10 years ago, and by CCP's own admission, the code is outdated, and basically pure shit by today's standards.  This code is long overdue to be cleaned up, but the amount of time and money that would need to be invested is astronomical.  Blizzard Entertainment, a direct competitor to CCP Games, had to bite this bullet a few years back when faced with a similar situation in their popular MMO World of Warcraft.  Blizzard's answer?  Sell the controlling interest to Activision.  In the agreement, Blizzard retains all creative rights, but Activision gets some of the profits.  This agreement gave Blizzard the capital (read:  money) to completely revamp their code and server cluster to be more conducive to cross-realm play and reduce lag and "rubber-banding" (Google it if you don't know what it is) by over 20%.  Maybe it's time that CCP visits this option, as I'm sure there are game publishers out there who would be very interested in siting down and discussing this option.  This could also benefit all of us, as a legitimate publisher could vastly increase US-based subscriptions with a few targeted marketing campaigns.  It's no secret that CCP has left the US market relatively untapped, and I'm sure they'd love an influx of subscribers (read:  money)

This Fuckin' Cat Has More Than Me
Ok, one more quick hit, then I'll let you get back to your internet spaceships while I prepare for a fun day of watching football.  A year ago, I joined MINC in my first run in Razor.  When I joined, a guy by the name of Roland Cassidy took me under his wing a bit, and tried to acclimate me to the Razor life.  Well, real life be dammed, I simply didn't have the time to invest in EVE, so I left MINC on good terms.  Fast forward a little bit, and I ended up applying back to Razor, but this time with Repercussus.  Some of the MINC guys that I flew around with, like PWO SWAT, Jonathan Pryde, Driven Killer, and of course, Roland Cassidy, were all now in RP, so it seemed like an good fit.  Boy, I was right about that!  I can't even begin to tell you how much fun I'm having with RP and some of the bros from MINC, and all of the RP guys for that matter.  We have a fucking blast (no pun intended) on a daily basis.  Roland came to me a little over a month ago, and informed me that he was running for CSM 9.  Now, Roland is a pretty well known guy in the Razor universe, and his writings on the roleplaying side are nothing to be looked over.  He's also the guy who I tapped to help me with my current project in Repercussus, because he's a great writer, very passionate about the game, and just an all-around good guy to hang out with on comms and in fleet.  I told him I would be the first to officially announce his candidacy.  In some upcoming communications, mostly from the official Repercussus-side, we'll be discussing his platform and ideas in detail, and hopefully having a town hall meeting with anyone who wishes to attend and ask him questions about where he wants to see the future of EVE Online.  Roland, my friend, you have my vote.

CSM 9 Candidate, and Eventual Winner, Roland Cassidy
Also, in the same breath, the ranks of Repercussus are getting one pilot thinner, as Tennebrae Umbrascen will be shipping out in the next couple of days to join the military.  Tennebrae, or Tenpenny as I affectionately call him, is a guy I flew with back in my EVE-Uni days, and always had a good time being around.  His presence will certainly be missed in the pilot's lounge.  Be safe, my friend, and don't forget to check in with us from time to time and let us know how you're doing.

Fly it like you stole it,



Monday, December 30, 2013

We Wish You a Merry Christmas...

Oh my goodness, what a difference a month makes!  My sincerest apologies for not writing anything for a few weeks, but the evil assholes at work decided I needed to basically move in.  I, being the good corporate lackey I am, obviously obliged, because any job is better than a trip to the unemployment office.


Sucks Worse
So yeah, those soul-sucking bastards got all of my free time, and just in time for the holidays!  Anywho, we have a lot to talk about, so let's get this rolling!

First, I want to touch on mercenaries, and the unbelievably vital role they play in the EVE universe.  Mercenaries are basically guns for hire.  There are entire corporations that do nothing but mercenary work, and to be honest, this stuff looks fun as hell!  In my corporation, we will do the occasional merc contract.  Nothing too major, usually a structure bash for someone who has been wronged in one way or another.  Maybe someone is moving in on a low-sec pocket that some industrial corp controls.  Maybe someone isn't playing nice in a wormhole (our most recent foray).  Maybe someone bounced their twig-n-berries off someone's mother's forehead.  Hell, I don't know, and quite honestly, I don't care.  The fundamental argument here is the same argument that works everywhere in the world, both real-life and virtual.

Money talks!

For the right amount of cash, or ISK, or yen...whatever...you, too, can have your archenemy, college roommate, that asshole who keeps hitting on your wife/girlfriend/sister, or any other undesirable person, beat utterly senseless.  Of course, in the real world, this is illegal in many circles, and I certainly don't ever (ok, maybe sometimes) recommend hiring someone to beat the crap out of someone.  In game, however, it's perfectly legal, and actually encouraged!  Personally, I find it enjoyable to get paid to do something I already do on a daily basis. and seeing our corporation rally with absolute military precision to eradicate any hope of our target saving anything was glorious beyond words.  Thank you for a glorious op, and many harvested tears.

Repercussus Leadership from left to right:
Joe, Troyd, Altiar
Now, on to the roam affectionately known as "Zero Fucks Given".  I'll be the Queen of France if I didn't end up leading this fleet Friday night.  Let it further be known, that I, and only I, have managed to get us beat down.  It's funny, really.  We've spent three months pissing off faction warfare scrubs by overloading their sites and blowing them up, and they finally responded.  Of course, they responded on a day when we only had like seven people in fleet, and they responded with like 25 ships...  Karma is a bitch, but payback is an ever bigger bitch.  See you boys on Friday!

Much love folks, and I hope 2014 produces even more tears than 2013.

Fly it like you stole it,



Sunday, December 8, 2013

Today is a good day to die!

Oh, corp events, how I've missed you so!  Well, I guess we can't really call them corp events when we're inviting the whole alliance now.  Seriously, I'm not complaining.  We get good fights (and a PAP link), have a lot of fun (and get PAP), and drink lots of alcohol (PAP!!!11one).  Normally, I'd recap the fight, but Talvorian did a beautiful job summing things up yesterday.  You can read his blog here.

I wanted to talk about two other things today.  The first of which is a rather glorious invention that brings subterfuge to the forefront of carebearing.  This beautiful device would be the Mobile Tractor Unit, or MTU.  Commonly used by site runners and PvErs alike, this beauty will tractor any loot on the field to one central location and scoop it for you.  This is particularly useful for folks who like to loot and salvage their sites, as everything is nice and close.  In addition, it provides a clean warp-in.  I, however, have found another use for such device.

A typical Carebear Loot Piñata

This device is capable of providing lulz in the face of a really shitty situation.  Here's the scenario:  you're caught, and about to die.  You anchor the MTU.  Once you go 'KABOOM', the MTU will tractor your wreck, and scoop all the loot.  This accomplishes two things.  First and foremost, the enemy fleet/player will be forced to blow up your MTU to get the loot.  This means not one, but two rolls of the dice, depriving your assassin of loot from the piñata.  Nothing screams "SCREW YOU" more than depriving someone of loot.  Secondly, these MTUs aren't the easiest things in the world to blow up.  This could potential buy you some time to come back and dish out a heaping pile of Whoop Ass, should this be in the works for you.  Either way, I see a win-win situation here, and if it's a big enough site, you'll already have one out anyways.  Not that I recommend ever getting ganked in a PvE ship...

Actual can of Whoop Ass

I bet you thought I was finished here.  Well, I'm not!  So, now that we've gotten that out of the way, I have to speak quickly about last night's Thunderdome event, hosted by Repercussus.  I had a lot of fun, except I died in 7 seconds.  That's right, someone uttered the word "go" a little early, and Joe and I both felt the wrath of people who were paying more attention on comms than we were.  Whoops!  Either way, I'm a little disappointed, as I was promised a doomsday activation which never happened, thanks to fail cap fit on titan. I didn't get to blow up any of my corpmates either.  I guess I'll just have to AWOX a few of them (cheaters!) when they're not expecting it (during a StratOp seems appropriate).

#5 is Alice Karjovic

Fly it like you stole it,



Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Unsung Hero

Good evening, friends.  After a week of blowing up random red assets in the south, I've decided to take a quick reprieve back north to kill more rats, and chase my tail a little bit when hostile interceptors enter our space.  I'm still trying to come up with a valid counter, but a few things have really stood out.  For example, interceptors really hate any form of electronic warfare.  This has caused the usage of electronic attack frigates to climb in recent weeks, particularly in low-sec, where there is little risk of interdiction.  I, for one, am happy with this, as my secret love affair with the Sentinel is now reasonably validated by its mild usefulness.  I never thought I'd see the day where I could fly a Sentinel and be effective, but if I hop in a Vengenance, I'm about as useful as tits on a boar.  Sure, tracking disruption doesn't bode well against missile ships, but neutralizers and vampires are absolutely genocidal to speed tanks, and my EAF specializes in it.  Overall, I'm happy right now about this, although I do feel the rush of wind from the nerf bat may be around the corner for the interceptors, as they're still not being used in the role they were designed to fill.  Anyhow, I didn't want to dedicate too much time to this topic again, so let's move on.

Friday night was E-P-I-C!  Of course, I started in an interceptor (Crusader lolololol), and ended up being on point for the good part of the fleet.  Good fights were had, until we ran into the mother-of-all-gatecamps.  Look, I know about gatecamps, and here's the criteria I use to determine how bad things are about to go.  First, look at the damage dealing ships.  How much shiny stuff do you see?  Heavy assault cruisers, recons, command ships on grid with you?  All of the above?  Check.  Secondly, examine the enemy fleet's logistics capability.  Are then in frigate, cruisers, or actual tech 2 logistics ships?  The cluster of Oneiroses was a pretty good sign.  So, there we are, me and another scout in a small fast ship, basically repeating Carlin's seven words in TeamSpeak, and the FC calls "jump"...  I'm sure you can imagine how this ended.  Much love, Val!

Then, the mother of all awesomeness began.  A few weeks ago, I had a chat with the powers that be, and they decided to let me do a little fleet commanding.  Now, keep in mind, I've FC'ed well over 100 fleets, but it's been a long time, and never with anyone but EVE University.  The FC told me to "get in something that's not an interceptor"...hrmmm...what to fly?  Well, seeing as we like to keep it small, cruiser and below, what would be a good ship to FC from?  Then, like a light bulb clicking on, only to immediately burn out, it came to me...

Augoror Navy Issue!

This ship actually came with a wallet...

So, I fit my ANI up, pulse fit, Conflag and Scorch at the ready, some heat sinks, and armor...GLORIOUS ARMOR!  I proceeded to take the fleet down a stretch we don't normally run, and voila!  My scouts have found a juicy target for us to take complete advantage of, kinda like that chick at the party when you were a teenager.  You know, she's kinda hot, but not super hot, but what do you care?  You've had 9 really crappy beers, and she's looking like Kim Kardashian (well, before you knew she was sleeping with Kanye), and she's starting with the band camp stories.  Make your move now, or sit in self-loathing pity regretting your indecision...

Wait, where was I?  Oh yeah, the target!

So, I manage to get everyone on grid, calling primaries as we warp in.  I can feel the juices flowing.  Multiple hostiles.  During the warp, I hear, "POINT!"  Shit...just...got...real.  There's at least 5 on grid, and the tackle is outnumbered, but not to fear, the big boys are right behind.  Well, what we ran into was a bunch of faction warfare guys, and apparently, they love warp core stabilizers.  We did manage to tackle and blow up 2 of them before the rest bailed.  Once I pressed F1, I discovered what a few of you already knew.  The Augoror Navy Issue really is a bad ass ship, and not a bad bang-for-buck either.  I paid around 50 million in Jita for the hull, and probably under 100 million for everything, including some T1 rigs.  All-in-all, I'll be keeping one or two of these around for these fleets.  I'm in love with a ship, and it's been under my nose for a year or so, but that's the beauty of the discovery.  I would have never really considered buying one of these if it wasn't for a drunken fun fleet, but I'm grateful that I did.  Amarr pilots and friends, please do yourselves a favor, and give this often overlooked ship a shot.  You won't be disappointed.

Also, because I promised on Twitter, a little teaser of an upcoming contest.  Guys and gals, I'm going to have a contest here shortly, and I intend to give away some PLEX.  If you'd like to contribute some ISK to the cause, please contact me in-game via mail.  I will make sure you get mentioned.  This isn't a skill-based competition, so all will be invited to participate, new and oldbros alike.  Please, I can't float all of this on my own, and I promise you, it will be tons of fun, and should provide some laughs.

Also, as a quick footnote, and it has to be a footnote, because he'll f**king kill me if he actually read this, my long time pilot buddy Atlas Tartarus decided to help me out in a big way.  We help each other out, and he's never been one to shy away from that.  So, I just needed to let him know how much I appreciate his friendship.

That's it for this week folks.  Please remember to check back periodically, and follow me on Twitter @MedLacroix.

Fly it like you stole it.



Sunday, November 24, 2013

Rubicon: Death of the Assault Frigate

Good evening, folks!  Tonight, I come to you from the deep deep north, where the Guristas have entirely too many hubs, havens, and rally points.  I, as any other good little noob, am here to help liberate the space.  Besides that, the ISK isn't bad, and the security standing is greatly helpful, because at least one night per week, I attempt to piss as much of it away as possible in low-sec.

What has happened in the (almost) week since Rubicon launched?  Well, our boot.ini file is safe (sorry for the oldbro Trinity joke), as is our bread and butter doctrine fits.  There really is some neat stuff in this patch.  ISIS, albeit mostly useless and good for a laugh, is visually stunning and very refined.  The character selection screen is very pretty (ohhhh...SHINY!), and is a constant reminder of how little amount of ISK I have.  The changes to warp speed are very interesting, and I can definitely see the usefulness of some of the T2 frigates, and even destroyers and interdictors, attempting to catch that lonely Vexor who has no idea why he's flown into your system, but dammit, WE WANT HIS POD!

What I find outright appalling is the new flavor-of-the-month interceptor fleets and doctrines.  I've seen more interceptors and interceptor gangs in space in the last week than herpes spots on Miley Cyrus's va-jay-jay.  Well, obviously, if everyone is flying them, there is a reason.  Let's examine this a little further.  You see, in the long long ago of EVE Online, there used to exist this little bugger called the "combat interceptor".  The combat interceptor, upon unveiling, was very effective at a few roles.  The ship was quite capable of tackle, limited only by the number of mid slots on these fine vessels (and believe me, they're limited).  These ships were also capable of dealing a formidable amount of damage, albeit nothing to truly write home about.  It was, however, enough that CCP decided to buff the assault frigates to make them not only superior in tank, but superior in DPS as well.  Well, the cycle spins, and we're back to interceptors being the hot item.

The fundamental problem with where interceptors sit right now is that they have, in essence, rendered the assault frigate worthless.  Why on earth would anyone take out a fleet of ships that have slightly more DPS, slightly more tank, and literally half the maneuverability and a much slower warp speed?  I have been racking my brain around any possible use for assault frigates, and I simply cannot come up with one.  They are incapable of catching or tracking any interceptor, although the Hyena and Keres just became useful again.  They are also incapable of surviving the onslaught of any cruiser or destroyer, due to the buffed, but not buffed enough tank and recent improvements (using this word very loosely here) to rapid light missile launchers and medium long range guns.

Friday night, I got to witness this first-hand.  My corporation likes to do a little drunken roam on Fridays.  This low-sec roam is basically us, trolling around in low-sec, looking in faction warfare sites for people to blow up, or general anti-piracy see-flashy-shoot-flashy stuff.  Encounters with interceptors could be described best as watching a dog chase its tail, and that's exactly how we felt.  We took almost an hour to refit into a much faster and anti-speed setup.  This is where I've discovered the glorious electronic attack frigate, and it's usefulness in countering these Ricky Bobby-esque speed demons.

I am gravely concerned about where the assault frigate fits into this mess.  Sure, they are the highest DPS frigate group in the game, but they're simply not a valid counter to the new interceptor.  To combat these newly revamped ships, a fleet commander is almost required to bring out a Rapier/Arazu combination.  Bringing this out definitely gives you the upper hand, but you're forgetting the other part of this equation...they're in interceptors.  If you think for a second an interceptor fleet doesn't have the final right of refusal on any fight, you're sadly mistaken.  They can simply enter grid, and leave grid just as fast, long before you have time to call targets, and long before you have time to actually lock something.

Long story really short:  put your assault frigates on the shelf and pick up a few interceptors.  You'll thank me later.

Fly it like you stole it.