Monday, January 24, 2011

Math is Hard

Bistromathics itself is simply a revolutionary new way of understanding the behavior of numbers. Just as Einstein observed that space was not an absolute but depended on the observer's movement in space, and that time was not an absolute, but depended on the observer's movement in time, so it is now realized that numbers are not absolute, but depend on the observer's movement in restaurants.
--Douglas Adams

I'm actually pretty good at math.  At least, I better be since I've devoted my degree and profession to it.  However, it turns out that there's some math I needed to learn to play EVE.  Being who I am, there was only one way for me to learn this lesson: The Hard Way.  The math lesson, which I will now share with you is thus, "Frigate(T1+T1≠T2)".

Having joined forces with another member of The Blood Money Cartel we had gone out on a roam.  The pilot I was with was equally inexperienced, having been created within days of my own and having joined The Cartel within days of me.  He was, also like me, unwilling to conform to the traditional (read sane) view that he should be flying a Rifter.  This meant we had set out in a Merlin and Punisher duo to practice our Piracy.  We had split up, but were staying within just a couple jumps of one another when I spotted a Vengeance on scan.  Now, I had never faced an assault frigate in a Punisher before, and would normally have shied away from it, but I thought to myself that having another pilot waiting in the wings, surely combined we could overcome him.  Relaying my plan to my wingman, he began heading towards me while I played bait to the Vengeance.

The pilot of the Vengeance was clearly interested in the fight, as he had jumped in on me at a couple of belts, but I quickly warped away not wanting to engage him until backup was ready to arrive.  I guess we took a little too long setting up the trap, because before long I had lost the Vengeance on scan.  Relaying this to the Merlin pilot, he responded by telling me that the pilot had just come through the gate he was waiting on the other side of.  The Merlin warped to a nearby celestial, while I made best-speed to him from the next system.

Now, I don't have a lot of knowledge when it comes to how the Merlin is flown, but I knew my friend was set up to "kite" his opponents.  He had a warp disruptor, an optimal range around 15km, and a top speed more than twice that of my Afterburner fit Punisher.  We thought this would all be enough to keep out of the Vengeance's range while he waited for me to arrive.  As it turned out, we were wrong.  The Vengeance's MWD/Scram/Web combo proved more than a match for the Merlin's superior speed, and once it got its teeth into the Merlin, it didn't let go.  This is where I learned another important lesson about EVE Math.  "Tank(Merlin<Punisher)".  In fact, I basically arrived on grid just so I could watch my friend's Merlin explode.  I then made another stupid mistake, deciding to engage the Vengeance on my own.

By the time I figured out what a bad idea that was, it was too late.  Once my scram was on him, his MWD being shut down, I was easily the faster of us, but he still had a web, and could keep me within his overheated scram range long enough to cycle his MWD and close the distance.  There was no getting out of this one.  I settled in for an extremely long, extremely slow fight.  I never really had a hope of getting through his tank, and he wasn't able to get through mine with my Repper running, but I couldn't run it forever.  Once I ran low on Capacitor, the rep cycles came slower and slower, and slowly but surely his rockets made it through my armor.  The fight was so slow in fact that the other pilot had time to comment in local that he was impressed with how long my tank was holding out.  Well, thank you, sir...but it still wasn't enough.

After the fight, I got the chance to talk with the pilot of the Vengeance while I was limping back home in my Capsule.  He was a rather agreeable fellow, and we discussed the Vengeance at some length.  He complimented us on having the cajones to take on an Assault Frigate with two Frigates.  He may have mistaken my stupidity for bravery, but I appreciated the compliment.  Things would have certainly gone better had I managed to get my scram on him before my friend in the Merlin arrived to pepper him from outside his range, but it's anybody's guess if we'd ever have broken the tank on the Vengeance.  It also led me to the conclusion that I wanted to fly this beast of an Assault Frigate.  While my Rocket skills were still some ways off, surely I could fit it with T2 ACs and see similar performance.  Yeah, that didn't go well either...but it's a tale for another time.



1 comment:

  1. Kudos for taking that fight, taking on the t2 equivalent of your own ship is always a tall order.

    It can be done, but much like you know and exploit the areas in which the punisher is superior to the rifter, you need to do exactly the same with your shiny tech 2 target.

    The vengeance is a particularly tricky one because of its tank - you basically have the same damage output as the punisher, and the choice of either tanked cruiser size EHP or enough active rep to handle about 3 or 4 frigates worth of dps (so long as your cap holds out). Its strengths and weaknesses are basically the same as your own, but while its weaknesses are no worse but its strengths are greater.

    As far as the merlin, there's a very decent brawler fit with MSE and blasters/rockets that your friend might want to try. It's a bit less flexible than the rifter/punisher and I don't know how well it would perform against the targets you find in lowsec, but out in 0.0 it's done some great things.