It was too easy. Too obvious. It was like coming across an Irishman who actually was stupid, a mother-in-law who actually was fat, or an American businessman who actually did have a middle initial and smoked a cigar. You feel as if you are unwillingly performing in a music-hall sketch and wishing you could rewrite the script.
I've discussed my first outing in the Vengeance. It did not go well. Thankfully, it got better. Having had a couple of months to get used to flying it, I've got findings to share for those interested in flying one, or just making the other guy flying it explode.
If you haven't read about my first outing in a Vengeance, allow me to summarize. I had no rocket skills. I decided to try it with Autocannons. I got two kills and died twice. I gave up on flying it with Autocannons. The problem was that I still wasn't much faster than in a Punisher. The addition of the web gave me some ability to dictate range, but flying an Assault Ship mostly just scared away prey that I could easily kill, and I wasn't able to take on many larger ships with it.
I'm going to save discussion of Rockets vs Turrets for a later post, but let's just say they worked better for me. If you don't have Rocket skills and absolutely have to put ACs on the Vengeance you can, but you'll be doing less damage. First, you'll only have three turret hardpoints versus four launcher hardpoints, and you won't be getting any damage bonus from the ship. You can attempt to bridge this gap with a Gyrostabilizer in a low slot, but you'll give up some of your tank to do it, and what a tank it is.
Where the Vengeance really shines is in its tank. With both a 5% resistance bonus and a 5% cap recharge the Vengeance is begging for an Active Armor Tank. I've been running around with two fits, one with two Centii C-Type Reps and a Cap Booster the other with a single Coreli C-Type Rep. Both can absorb some truly amazing damage.
The first time this really hit me was in a fight with a flashy red Navy Comet on a gate in Molden Heath. I was flying the dual rep fit, and was at half armor by the time my first rep cycle completed. When they overheated their guns, I was down to a third armor by the time I started overheating one of my armor repairers. In that situation, I can rep a little over 325 DPS for about two and half minutes. Unfortunately for me, once the other pilot realized my tank was holding, my lack of web meant they were able to pull range and warp off. At least I managed to collect their drones to pay for the heat damage and ammo spent.
The second time my tank was truly tested involved another fight on a gate, now in the Placid region. This time with a non-flashy Crow pilot and me with my single rep. He landed on the gate just as I did and it didn't take him too long to engage me. At first, I was sure he was just waiting for his gang to jump in and obliterate me, so I held my fire for a minute or so. When no support showed itself, I decided to give it a try and see whether my 2500m/s overheated MWD would be enough to get me within Web/Scram range. It turned out that with a bit of fancy flying on my part that I was able to snag him, but as soon as my first volley landed the gate flashed. We were joined by a Myrmidon and Brutix from the Crow pilot's Corporation. As soon as they jumped in I decided on the better part of valor (Run away!) and started to deagress on the gate. It was a very long 60 seconds of me overheating my rep to the tune of 140 DPS absorbed and I got out of there with just a hint of structure damage.
Wait a second, my two most memorable fights involved no one dying? Well, yes. I've only had a couple of losses with them, but none were close fights, and the kills I've gotten didn't have me feeling like I was ever in any real danger. The biggest pros and cons of the Vengeance can be demonstrated in the two fights above.
Pros: If you're going to call the Vengeance a one-trick-pony, you still have to admit it's a pretty neat trick. Tanking like a Battlecruiser in a Frigate sized package is almost laughable, but the Vengeance does it with flare. The best role I've found for the ship is as Heavy Tackle within a gang. If you've got some faster ships to grab initial points, they can safely bug out once the Vengeance gets in there and latches hold. Once under a ship's guns, the Vengeance will be able to shrug off drone damage for days.
Cons: It's still pretty slow for a Frigate. You're not going to be breaking any speed records and, when soloing, plenty of targets will manage to pull range and just warp off. You also run the risk that a fast enough ship will be able to keep out of web range and pepper you with fire until the rest of their gang can arrive. Since you're very cap dependent for your tank, as demonstrated in a fight with a Sentinel, Energy Neutralizers will just ruin your day.
Tune in next time for some more Rocket Frigate Goodness with a look at the Malediction.