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.




  1. Welcome to the community, mate. Glad to see another goat tossing his hat in!