Retribution Review, Part 3: Choices

As promised, this is my final installment of my Retribution review, focused specifically on CCP Fozzie’s rebalancing of frigate and cruiser hulls. If you missed them, Part 1 covered CCP responses to my biggest beefs, and Part 2 covered my thoughts on the bulk of the content including bounties, Crimewatch and UI updates.

I wish I could say this would be a comprehensive analysis, but the amount of time I have to test a wide variety of ships (maybe a couple hours a week) versus the number of ships that were updated (30+?) means that this is a labor that will not be done for quite some time. Therefore I strongly recommend that you check out the work of the master I trust to tell me the skinny on these things, Azual Skoll, on The Altruist.

Given that, I’ll keep it short and sweet (you’re welcome) by keeping my thoughts to the handful of ships I’ve been playing with and some thoughts on the broader trend that will certainly begin coming down from Fozzie over the year.

The TLDR for Retribution 1.0 is that Fozzie & co. have done quite the job with T1 Frigates and Cruisers and should be commended. The Winmatar are dead, long live balance. The palette of really usable ships has increased by an order of magnitude, and all of our comfortable assumptions from back in the pre-Crucible days have been stood on their collective ear. The “go to” ships in this class are all still viable, but they now have competition that is also viable.

My favorite updated boat (and I doubt I’m the only one) is the new Thorax. The shield version goes like a Minmatar boat but does vastly more damage. As a boat that has to fight at very short range, I still wish for it to be tankier, but the long and short is that it is a hell of a heavy tackle or speedy facepunch boat now.

I am also enjoying playing with the updated Vexor. I’m a terrible drone pilot, so I’m using it to try to be better. It’s not working that well due to my horrible drone management skills and the equally horrible drone interface, but I’m using it to force myself and actually having fun doing so.

But wait, you say, aren’t you a Minmatar pilot, Rhavas? Well I haven’t yet had a chance to play with the Stabber Fleet Issue, but it’s on my list to pick one up as some of my older ships explode. I also need to experiment with my beloved old standby, the Rupture.

I’ve also recently begun to cross-train Amarr, so I’ll probably pick up an Augoror or Exqueror some time soon too to start learning how the hell to fly Logi in a cheaper ship. One day I may even actually fly a laser boat.

Caldari … people fly Caldari (OK, this is a wormhole joke, not a knock – in wormholes we almost all fly armor)? Fine, Tengu, Scorpion, Falcon. Some day, but not soon. But I’m glad to hear from former friends and foes in Lowsec and NPC Nullsec the Caldari ships like the Merlin and Caracal are having a renaissance as well. Rixx Javix is practically apoplectic with joy over the ship rebalancing, and Azual Skoll and Ripard Teg seem pretty happy as well. If they all agree, I’m on board.

So that’s all to the good.

But that’s not to say I have no concerns.

HACs vs. T1 Cruisers: I once dreamed of owning a Zealot and a Vagabond. Today, I can finally afford them! I have the skills to fly a Vaga now but never have. I could get in a Zealot in about 20 days (to train Amarr Cruiser to V). But I have purchased neither ship. The only reason I want either of them these days is to have one for the museum. If I need a HAC, I fly a T3, a Tier 3 battlecruiser, or a T1 cruiser.

T2 Logi vs T1 Logi: In wormholes, our logibros still pretty much all fly Guardians. But we almost never see them on Lowsec or NPC Null roams any more. I don’t think this is accidental. Power to ISK ratio dictate that the T1 Logis will become far more common at the expense of their T2 brethren. See a trend?

Battlecruisers vs. Cruisers: Here’s my dirty little secret. Since the changes were announced back in October or November, I have quietly begun depleting my fleet of battlecruisers by always taking one out when we go on suicide roams, and not replacing them after they explode. I only have three left: an Armorcane, a Brutix and a Myrmidon. I want to have fun in them, but have lost faith that they are worth the price when I can get more gank out of a Thorax than a Brutix – so when they explode. The Hurricane nerf has made me discard my beloved 425 Shieldcane in favor of the Thorax as well, and I doubt I will ever again fly what was once the pride of my hangar, the 720 Artycane. No, today I have a Thorax (for lowsec roams) and a Tornado (now almost exclusively for POS bashes). Thoraxes are stupid expensive for a cruiser, but they’re still 1/3 the price of a Hurricane.

Between my initial draft of this post and publication, CCP Fozzie published a treatise on the new battlecruiser plan. However, this post is about the Retribution release, not the coming BC rebalance patch, so for the moment I’ll leave it at this – my initial response is: Hate It. Or as Ripard Teg put it, “CCP Fozzie has doubled down on his first bad decision” I’m on the road as I publish this, so will have to spend some EFT time before I can respond more fairly and completely.

In his defense, Fozzie has a very unenviable job, particularly with the battlecruiser class. He will have his hands full over the next six months to try to determine how to push all his great T1 work “uphill”. He has bought himself a lot of trust and belief from me in his actions developing, releasing, and reacting to criticism during the Retribution release. So I am trying to stay optimistic that he will see the light, and not turn the entire battlecruiser class into useless, unpurchased space junk no one uses.

Maybe I’ll just pin my hopes to him rebalancing HACs to achieve a Vagabond I want to fly again some day.

Now if you’ll excuse me, my buddies and our T1 cruiser gang are going to go gank some battlecruisers in Lowsec who haven’t yet gotten the news.

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2 Responses to Retribution Review, Part 3: Choices

  1. Pingback: 2012 Privateer Awards (Blog Banter 43) | Interstellar Privateer

  2. With its good armor, great shielding, and a 5% bonus per Caldari Frigate skill level to shield resistances, the Merlin is a tough nut to crack, but it’s also slow and has only a small cargo hold . With 4 medium slots , the Merlin is capable of putting together a powerful shield tank , although most such setups are somewhat limited in other respects (e.g. tackling, afterburners or microwarpdrives , etc.). It does receive a bonus of 10% to hybrid turret optimal range per level of Caldari Frigates skill, so it would seem that this ship is intended to be a sniper, perhaps using a speed fit to maintain distance while raining down with a pair of railguns . Unfortunately, this puts a great deal of strain on the ships limited power grid. A close range blaster/rocket setup is workable but not quite up to par with the more popular Rifter .

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