Many times the question “which is the best combat frigate?” has been asked, with no easy answer. The Minmatar Rifter is highly regarded in PvP circles and the word 'Dramiel' is whispered is hushed tones across New Eden. Then factor in the tech two assault ships and the debate reaches furious proportions. However, here at Freebooted, we think we've come up with a perfectly acceptable way of resolving the disputes once and for all.
Who needs statistics and loadouts when we can consult the Great God Google. Each ship name will be fed into the oracle of the internet, then the results will be studiously examined and an accurate picture of the combat potential of each will be assessed. The ships will then be entered into a duel to the death, with the outcome based entirely on arbitrary information gleaned from the digital ether.
With the draw to take place at a later date and subsequent blow-by-blow accounts of the visceral combat to be reported in a future edition, let's look at the Tech-1 contenders.
This isn't a good start, 'Atron' isn't even in the dictionary. The closest we could get was as a suffix in various pseudo-scientific words, so we'll go with our favourite; the Orgasmatron from the cult sixties sci-fi film 'Barbarella'. Pedants will point out that the device was actually called the Excessive Machine and Orgasmatron is a misnomer, but we ignore the pedants here at Freebooted. The OrgasmAtron's combat potential is unclear, but at least it's opponents are likely to enjoy the fight.
Oh dear, it's a chicken. And not even a full-sized one. Unless the opposition has poor resistances to pecking damage, I can't see this one going the distance. Good luck little fella.
This is more like it, the Breacher is 72-ton tank with a bloody great cannon, used by the US Marines in Afghanistan. Nicknamed the Shredder, it's chassis is based on the M1A1 Abrams tank and is used to clear mines and roadside explosive devices, presumably by driving over them or shooting at the ground. So a good aim is hardly necessary. Surely this is an early favourite for the title.
Caldari Navy Hookbill
One of the many avian entrants from Team Caldari, the Hookbill is a parrot. Not all that impressive in combat terms, but as it's named for the shape of it's bill, Wikipedia claims that it has a “much stronger crushing power of the beak”. He'd best hope that he draws the Bantam then if he wants to progress.
At last, a proper bird. The Condor is one of the biggest birds-of-prey and has a distinctive lack of feathers on it's head and neck, which exposes the skin to the sterilising effects of solar ultraviolet light at high altitudes. Does that sound like thermal resistance to you? Me too. Finally an entrant with a tank that isn't actually er... a tank.
Whilst probably not the guy who actually did The Deed, Pontius Pilate is renowned for being instrumental in the crucifixion of a certain Son of God. He was also the Fifth Prefect of the Roman Province of Judea from 26-36AD. Allegedly pretty handy with a javelin ('Pilate' is thought to refer to his use of a roman weapon called the 'pilum'), if he can just get past his obsessive compulsion to wash his hands at inopportune moments, he might have a chance.
An archaic word meaning 'clot' or 'blood issuing from a wound' and is quite possibly an amalgam of 'crude' and 'gore', we at Freebooted like to think that this was complete luck on the part of EVE's designers. The truth was more likely to be something along the lines of a late night alcohol fuelled brainstorm.
Designer One: “Hey, this is a great ship design, what are you going to call it?”.
Designer Two (drunk and hugging the porcelain): “Crrruuuooorr...” (vomits).
And so, our Cruor entry is a puddle of festering vomit. Sorry.
The superhero with the disability is the obvious choice here, after all he's used to fighting, whether it's crime or poor movie reviews. So step up Mr. Affleck and don your kinky leather suit, there's a ruck to be had. Mind that door.
Another of CCPs apparently made-up words (auto-correct keeps trying to change it to 'cranial'), the first non-EVE explanation spat out by Google was, Dr. Amiel, a neurological surgeon from Baltimore. Into the fray you must go, doc. Good luck.
A sinister hooded figure from history, the executioner swings his axe with the finality of the Grim Reaper. In fact, surely the Grim Reaper himself is the ultimate executioner. So come forward Mr. De'ath, there's work to be done.
Federation Navy Comet
Fed up with living in Rudolph's shadow, Comet the Reindeer has been training hard pulling sleighs across the winter skies and is looking for his shot at the big time. With the Jolly Fat One in his corner, who knows what eldritch tricks might be up his... antlers?
A mythical creature from medieval folklore, the Griffin has the head and wings of an eagle and the body of a lion. More than capable in a fight with his mighty leonine paws and razor-sharp beak, the ability to fly seems almost like cheating.
The heron is a rather weak and silly looking bird, but the largest of the heron family - the Goliath heron - might have a chance with it's apparently strong legs and harpoon-like beak. It has questionable fighting tactics though, largely consisting of standing still until the opposition gets close enough to pluck out of the water. Probably a long shot.
Other than EVE, the only other claim to this apparently nonsense word is a UK-based rock band of the same name. Their website claims “the focus is on big riffs and choruses and strong song writing - Drawing comparisons with an eclectic range of rock and metal acts.” let's just hope you can fight too, eh boys?
Imperial Navy Slicer
The interwebs are chock full of great deals on meat slicers, ranging from small things for the home kitchen to blooming great industrial spinny sharp things. Let's assume we've found a sentient one and throw it into the ring with all the other weird stuff.
This, apparently, is a fancy word meaning to 'rush at' or 'assail'. Looks a bit Latin to me. This is a tough one for the selection committee, but we reckon we can get away with using Russell Crowe, since he is allegedly a bit partial to the odd assault.
With a few historical figures already in the mix, we'll steer clear of the nasty Spanish fellows who tortured and killed in the name of God and head on thirty-eight thousand years into the future where, according to Games Workshop, the Inquisitor is a nasty armoured fellow with big guns who tortures and kills in the name of his god. Oh.
Enough with the birds, Team Caldari! If one of the opposition turns up with a scarecrow, you're screwed. Anyway, the Kestrel has got really good eyesight and can hover. That should give the opposition cause to worry. Or wander off bored.
Wikipedia states that Magnate, from the late Latin magnas means 'a great man', in reference to a noble or other man in a high social position, by birth, wealth or other means. So we'll go with the late, great Doors front-man, Jim Morrison. He was always high.
There the Gallente go with their funny made-up words again. This sounds like more of a camp request than a proper ship name, “Ooh, maul us, you beast.” So on that tentative link, we'll try to cling to the sci-fi theme and go with the campest robot in the universe, C-3P0.
With birds of many kinds already represented elsewhere in this competition, this can only be a certain pointy-hat wearing prestidigitator of Arthurian legend. With the ability to travel backwards through time and call upon the mystical arts, the old fella has a good chance here.
This seems to be a popular fancy-sounding corporate word with countless Google hits for Navitas Industries and Navitas Recruitment etc. So how about king of the corporate figurehead, Bill Gates. He can buy his way to victory, if he hasn't given it all away yet.
We'll attempt to stay out of the gutter with this one and go for another safe George Lucas reference (who knew Star Wars was so risque). The nasty looking Viper probe droid that discovered the rebel base on Hoth might be an interesting addition to our combatant line-up. It looks like it's made from Sleeper technology, but given it's woeful performance in a firefight against Han and Chewie, we doubt it's got Sleeper AI.
Unless you're a career criminal, we bet the last person to administer any punishment to you was your Mum. I'm sure she's a really nice lady but even if she does a good line in stern expressions, we don't think she has any place in a fight to the death.
Republic Fleet Firetail
Now the Minmatar have gone avian. Well we're not having any more birds and that's that. Let's see what else has Google got to say. Firetail orchid? No that's weak. Firetail Scorpid, a level 2 NPC from a certain other MMO? Well why not. We're sure we'll be completely unbiased when this low-polygon cartoon scorpion steps into the arena.
Aah, the Rifter, loved by combat pilots across New Eden. Well we're bloody sick of it, it gets far too much press. How does one 'rift' anyway? “There he goes, rifting again.” You what? However, the dictionary definition of the verb 'to rift' means 'to tear'. So who can tear stuff? A seamstress who's lost her scissors, that's who.
The slasher movie was an entertainment staple of the eighties, with a long-running rivalry between the three kings; Jason Vorhees, Michael Myers and Freddy Krueger. They probably decided who was the winner in one of the many abysmal sequels, but we're going with Freddy, cos he's got a sense of humour.
Another mythological creature from medieval times, this saucy minx was a demon who would find her way to reality through the dreams of sleeping men and have her way with them. It sounds like a lame excuse for a wet dream, but she looks good so she's in.
The most likely candidate here is the obnoxious kid from early school days who passed the time pulling the legs off spiders and stealing your lunch money. Let's just hope the ubiquitous School Bully finally gets his come-uppance.
It's a boys name, and not even a very manly one. We once knew a lad called Tristan. He was nice enough, but I doubt he could've punched his way out of a paper bag, and once he'd found God, he was probably too busy turning the other cheek to want to.
A vigil is a period of purposeful sleeplessness, as exemplified by night watchmen. So who better to represent the vigilant than the cynical Captain Samuel Vimes from Terry Pratchett's Discworld series. There's a man who knows how to fight clever and dirty.
Well, well, Maybe the Bantam isn't the long shot of the competition. This insignificant little annelid doesn't stand much of a chance at all. It's practically a bye. Unless it's the slightly larger version indiginous to the desert world of Arrakis. Then it's a whole different story. But it's not, despite the picture.
Whatever way you look at it, 'burst' is an awkward word and doesn't really lend itself as a viable concept to compete in this battle royale. Well, unless we either start getting really abstract or go with the Swedish progressive metal band of the same name, but they disbanded in 2009. So to make the numbers a nice tidy 32, we'll say the Burst is a no-show due to the fact it did “exactly what it said on the tin”.
Stay tuned to find out who faces who in the preliminary rounds and which ship will eventually be crowned 'Champion T1 Frigate'. Other ship types will participate in their own qualification rounds at a later time.
Next: Qualifying Rounds