Friday, April 1, 2011

Test Fighting

Yesterday I had few bouts with an Alliance buddy named Joren. I had been afk for a while, but I replied to an alliance request for a Wolf fit. I had posted my Wolf's fit in alliance chat, and soon after Joren asked me to bring it out versus his Taranis, a Gallente Interceptor.

The first fit I brought out against him was an anti interceptor fit: guns, AB, MSE II, 2xTE II, DCU II, and nano II. Since this fit is meant to drive off interceptors, I didn't need a point, and as such I wasn't worried about it. As an interceptor, his goal is to hold point as long as possible, and he can only do that while alive. We engaged in a safe spot, where I proceeded to rip him to shreds with my absurdly good tracking, falloff, and damage. I was prepared for rails, not blasters, but even so, I won that fight by a large margin.

Just for comparison, I fit my Wolf up with a 200 plate, MWD, and Warp Disruptor II. ANP II and SAM II also in the lows for my guns and nos. I shredded him that fight. The tank on an assault frigate is simply too much for an interceptor to handle.

Following this, I brought out my Stiletto. While still new to the realm of interceptors, I had a plan: keep range, make him use his drones so I can shoot them down first, and then take my time picking away at him. This plan did the have the flaw in relying on his having blasters, but given that, it would have worked had I not kept range at the beginning so good. When I told him what my plan was after he disengaged, he said that it was quite a good one.

Deciding to see how the battle would have gone had he not had drones, we agreed to his no use of drones and engaged. I was MWD fit, and he was AB fit, and when he scrammed me, I was toast. I could have survived for a short while with the cap injector, but I never would have won. We tried this a few times, each with the same result. If only I could manage to fit artillery on my stilletto, it would have crushed that Taranis because the cap injection lets it perma-run everything. The problem however is powergrid, and I had a rocket launcher with 125's, not exactly meant for range, even with barrage.

After this, there was one more class of ship for him to face: the tech 1 frigate. As Rifters are what I have (and clearly very common frigates anywhere, most likely his worst tech 1 matchup also), I brought out a Shield Rifter (because I have no armor rifters at the moment). We went at it several times.

Each time we fought, he seemed downright surprised at how well I was doing. Indeed, I was almost winning the fights each time. And while I was only able to barely win the final fight with my skills, I did win it, and I got some excellent practice against a close range interceptor.

When I told him that I was using the smallest guns (125 II's), he understood why I was doing so well. I was able to hit him almost all the time due to the absurd tracking of my ship. Whenever I was able to keep range at >= 5km, I was dominating the fight, and whenever he got into range of 3km, he was dominating the fight. It was a struggle to make range, between overheated ABs and manual maneuvers...

For the first fight, I was able to hold range on him until the end of the fight, when he realized what I was doing. When he realized I was kiting him at about 8km, he overheated his AB and hit approach, running right for me. Since my AB was not overheated, keeping range was impossible, and he soon closed upon me and proceeded to melt my shields and half my armor with his Neutron Blasters. If I recall correctly, those are some powerful blasters.

For the next few fights, I tried some manual piloting, but he'd had me figured out by then, and keeping range wasn't working because I wasn't overheating the AB.

For the second to last fight, I tried something a little different. I realized I couldn't seem to stop him getting in close, so I opted for a super tight orbit via manual controls. Surprisingly, I did fare a bit better and got much closer to winning. I did however overheat my guns and AB far too late to make the difference. It's questionable whether or not I'd have won that fight, but I doubt it to be honest. I feel like he would have won somewhere deep into structure.

For the last fight, I tried a final thing different. I overheated everything on seeing him, burned at him, and set orbit at 7km. For the most part, I was getting away with it scot-free. Eventually (I say eventually, but it was about 5 seconds into the fight), he hit approach. I noticed his speed was greater than mine and the gap closing, so I made a manual hard reverse and slingshotted past him. I regained range, inflicting more free damage, but not for long, and I re-slinged him. His hull was close to gone, and I unlocked him, the last bullets firing at him.

Our games done, we talked a little about what worked and what didn't.

For starters, he said that he has never had as much trouble fighting a frigate pilot as with me. Maybe his experience might be a tad clouded with that Dramiel he flies most of the time, but probably he's good enough to not let it sway his judgement.

The first thing that came to mind about why his fights were so hard-won against me, instead of the ROFLstomps he probably predicted, was tracking. Unlike many pilots, I opt for the smaller guns with the tracking speed, simply from experience. EVEHQ does show more DPS with the bigger guns, but my experience shows that the big guns tend to do the same or less damage than the smaller ones, simply because of tracking speed. Since I use 125mm II's, my tracking speed is stupidly good. I use the TE II for the range bonus really, though the tracking speed boost helps as well. Because I had such good tracking, I was able to hit him far more often than the typical Frigate pilot.

The second thing was piloting. I had fooled him quite a few times with manual piloting, something he was quite unused to seeing in PvP. My manual piloting had managed to get range on him often enough to make every fight close, if not go in my favor.

The third thing, which took a little bit to realize, was ammunition. In all fights I used low-end ammunition, ie regular phased-plasma. While not the best choice for combat with a gallente vessel, it works decently. Joren however was using CN Antimatter, ie faction ammo. It's just conjecture, but given how close the fights were, I likely would have won more of them had I been using faction ammo.

I would have still lost at least some of those fights due to piloting errors however. It's important to stress than while better ammo helps win fights, poor piloting will kill you in one.

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