Sunday, 13 November 2011

Mysteries of New Eden: The Pirate Ships

The majority of ships seen in New Eden are of common stock, their hull designs originating from one of the four major Empires. Every once in a while a less common 'faction' ship will be sighted, flown by the more affluent capsuleers. But look amongst the NPC fleets encountered in missions and you'll spot some striking hull designs that have not yet fallen into the hands of capsuleers.

There isn't much information available on these vessels, bar what can be exhumed from the item database. Below are some screenshots and what information I've managed to unearth on these little mysteries.


The Echo

Gistii Ruffian - Angel Cartel

Aside from the capsuleer-pilotable faction frigates, the Echo is the only pirate frigate with a description of any note. The database tells us:

"The Echo assault frigate was developed and produced by the Indocon Corporation early on in the first era of galactic conquest. Asteroid mining had become increasingly dangerous due to pirate traffic, and the first prototype of the Echo was made."

Statistics
Size: 28m
High Slots: 4
Med lots: 1
Low Slots: 3
Turret Hardpoints: 2
Launcher Hardpoints: 2
CPU: 100 tf
Powergrid: 25 MW
Shield Capacity: 63
Armour Hitpoints: 625
Structure Hitpoints: 36
Inertia Modifier: 3.1x
Max Velocity: 275 m/sec
Drone Capacity: None

Although quite slow compared to most combat frigates (it's slower than the Amarr Punisher) with a paper thin shield and structure, the two notable things about the Echo are it's exceptional armour rating and it's four weapon hardpoints. With the right modules, the Echo could be a great damage-dealer or armour tanker, however the single mid-slot seriously compromises any real combat potential, forcing the choice between propulsion and tackle. The powergrid and CPU are also quite restrictive for the number of fitting slots available.


The Fury

Gistii Thug - Angel Cartel

This sleek and menacing hull is easily the aesthetic rival of the Dramiel and Daredevil; it looks like an Angel hull with a Gallente bodykit. The description currently in the database is a lacklustre "Pirate Frigate 3", which is a tragic shame, a ship design this good deserves a backstory.

Statistics
Size: 29.96m
High Slots: 3
Med lots: 3
Low Slots: 1
Turret Hardpoints: 1
Launcher Hardpoints: 3
CPU: 100 tf
Powergrid: 25 MW
Shield Capacity: 63
Armour Hitpoints: 169
Structure Hitpoints: 44
Inertia Modifier: 3.1x
Max Velocity: 250 m/sec
Drone Capacity: 10m3, 10Mbit/sec

Statistically underwhelming, the Fury could serve as a hit-and-run missile boat, but would be inferior to existing frigates due to the poor velocity and woeful tank. The miserly CPU and powergrid would make many effective fits a challenge. Perhaps it could be redeemed by the currently absent bonuses, the Fury has potential as a glass cannon or a speed-tanking tackler with supporting drones.


The Lynx

Gistii Rogue - Angel Cartel

The Lynx isn't as blessed as its Angel Cartel fleet-mates in the looks department, looking more like something that's fallen out of the dirty end of a giant robot. Cartel designers perhaps attempted to redeem its tragic looks by adding a spoiler, but this only serves to achieve to look of a racing techno-turd. It is probably best that the database description simply says "Pirate Frigate 7".

Statistics
Size: 64m
High Slots: 2
Med lots: 1
Low Slots: 3
Turret Hardpoints: 2
Launcher Hardpoints: 0
CPU: 100 tf
Powergrid: 25 MW
Shield Capacity: 63
Armour Hitpoints: 144
Structure Hitpoints: 44
Inertia Modifier: 3.1x
Max Velocity: 275 m/sec
Drone Capacity: 15m3, 15 Mbit/sec

As statistically underwhelming as its appearance, the Lynx suffers from a dearth of weapon hardpoints with only two turret hardpoints available, although this is mitigated by the capacity for three small drones. A single medium slot again restricts combat options and would require tackle support from elsewhere if a propulsion module were to be fitted. Three low-slots at least give the Lynx some fitting options and the lack for high- and mid- slots means that there is probably adequate resources available for an effective fit of sorts.


The Medusa

Gistii Nomad - Angel Cartel

The Medusa is fearsome in appearance, with shades of Sansha's Nation and Rogue Drone aesthetics contributing to the overall look. This insectoid frigate has an ancient feel to its design with its large frontal intake and retro-looking cylindrical thrusters. Sadly, the history of this vessel remains speculative as the database description simply says "Pirate Frigate 5".

Statistics
Size: 66.78m
High Slots: 2
Med lots: 3
Low Slots: 1
Turret Hardpoints: 1
Launcher Hardpoints: 2
CPU: 100 tf
Powergrid: 25 MW
Shield Capacity: 63 
Armour Hitpoints: 144
Structure Hitpoints: 45
Inertia Modifier: 3.1x
Max Velocity: 40 m/sec
Drone Capacity: 10m3, 10 Mbit/sec

One statistic renders this great-looking ship nothing more than a collectors item and a curio: with an abysmal top speed of 40 m/sec, it can be outdistanced by battleships and industrials! Perhaps this fits into the whole Spaceships of Yesteryear concept, although many of the "modern" vessels in common use are hundreds of years old too. As with most of the other "pirate frigates" the Medusa is hampered by a weak tank and restrictive fitting resources. Without something like a 500% range bonus to tackling modules, this ship is useless but striking.


The Styx

Gistii Outlaw - Angel Cartel

This sleek and aerodynamic hull looks like it might have been adapted from a vessel designed for atmospheric flight. The simple missile-like fuselage is flanked by two equipment-laden wings, with what is possibly the flight pod integral to the port wing. The database description says "Pirate Frigate 4".

Statistics
Size: 36m
High Slots: 4
Med lots: 3
Low Slots: 3
Turret Hardpoints: 1
Launcher Hardpoints: 1
CPU: 100 tf
Powergrid: 25 MW
Shield Capacity: 63
Armour Hitpoints: 156
Structure Hitpoints: 25
Inertia Modifier: 3.1x
Max Velocity: 300 m/sec
Drone Capacity: 5m3, 5 Mbit/sec

The Styx is the fastest of the Pirate vessels and, although it cannot hold a candle to dedicated interceptor vessels, has a reasonable turn of speed. Sadly, it has the typical fragile pirate tank and the limited fitting resources make effective use of the potentially flexible 4/3/3 slot layout a challenge. The weapon hardpoints make effective damage output a non-starter, with a single small drone doing little to mitigate this. However, capacitor permitting, the two remaining slots could be used for energy neutralisers giving the Styx some potential as a tackler.


The Swordspine

Gistii Hijacker - Angel Cartel

Clearly coming from the same design stable as the Cynabal, this frigate shares the exoskeletal carapace-like bodywork stylings of its larger cousin. The dark, alien appearance of the Swordspine has a menacing appeal. This is "Pirate Frigate 8".

Statistics
Size: 39m
High Slots: 2
Med lots: 3
Low Slots: 4
Turret Hardpoints: 2
Launcher Hardpoints: 0
CPU: 100 tf
Powergrid: 25 MW
Shield Capacity: 63
Armour Hitpoints: 163
Structure Hitpoints: 38
Inertia Modifier: 4.21x
Max Velocity: 287 m/sec
Drone Capacity: 5m3, 5Mbit/sec

The most agile of the Pirate frigate family, the Swordspine has some potential for versatility with its four low slots. Additionally, its three mid-slots provide ample room for both tackle and propulsion fittings. Aside from the usual weak tank, the Swordspine's other main failing is the restriction to two turret hardpoints in the high-slots, but with appropriate ship bonuses, this could be an effect combat ship.


The Ixion

Potato Submarine (maybe) - Angel Cartel

The Ixion cruiser has more in common with the unfortunate looks of the Lynx than any of the more impressive Pirate designs. The hull shape could best be described as a lump, perhaps a kind of giant metal potato with guns. The ever helpful database information describes the Ixion as "Pirate Cruiser 1". This ship is the ride of choice for a certain missioner's favourite, Krull*.

Statistics
Size: 101m
High Slots: 4
Med lots: 5
Low Slots: 1
Turret Hardpoints: 2
Launcher Hardpoints: 2
CPU: 100 tf
Powergrid: 300 MW
Shield Capacity: 625
Armour Hitpoints: 500
Structure Hitpoints: 144
Inertia Modifier: 0.65x
Max Velocity: 220 m/sec

The Ixion is a light cruiser by any definition, it is significantly smaller than the more common cruisers and its ability to tank is correspondingly lower. However, for a cruiser it is both fairly quick and quite agile. Like most other pirate vessels, the fitting resources are very restrictive, making the likelihood of effectively fitting cruiser-sized weapons unlikely. The Ixion should perhaps be considered a heavy destroyer. The relatively high shield hitpoints and the five medium slots make the Ixion an out-and-out shield tanker.


In Conclusion

It seems that these vessels may all have been originally designed as part of the Angel Cartel stable of ships, with the Dramiel, Daredevil, Cynabal and Machariel all being made available to capsuleers. However, I note from the database information that the skill requirements for piloting these NPC vessels differ from the requirements of the currently available pirate faction vessels. The likes of the Dramiel and the Cynabal require a mix of Minmatar and Gallente skills, whereas all of the above vessels require Jove piloting skills. If nothing else, this raises some interesting storyline questions regarding the relationship between the Angel Cartel and the Jove.

Clearly making these ships available to capsuleers would require some tweaking and it is quite apparent that, with their statistics as they stand, they would be sub-standard to many existing Tech I frigates. This could possibly be remedied with appropriately balanced bonus/role abilities. Personally, I'd love to see these ships on the market, they would visually add to the diversity and colour of New Eden.

I'd really like a Fury and a Styx.You can keep the Flying Space-Poo though.


* With thanks to Morwen Lagann for pointing this out.

7 comments:

  1. Kewl run down, I've run into a few of these over the years. Heck, make 'em available, I'm always a fan of more ships!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I found one just the other day, and wondered what it was. @EVE_Rhavas thought it was a CCP Dev taking a ride in a Jovian ship, but we eventually worked out that they're 'elite' rats.

    I'll be talking about them a bit more (and showing a few more photos) in an upcoming post.

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  3. The Ixion looks sweet, dude. Sort of like a Gallentean designed phaser pistol.

    Over time I've come to really like the lumpy Gallente designs.

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  4. It makes sense in a way for the pirate vessels to be old and out of date, especially the random pirate at the bottom of the pecking order stuck patrolling an asteroid belt.

    start getting into low or null where the pirates have much more free reign however, and their ships should be (and are) much newer designs and more powerful.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Yeah, the old ship designs are like that. They sort of grow on you after a few months' play. It's a 'cold harsh universe', where not everyone has to be pretty or fly with pretty ships :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. The Echo's actually obtainable by players; it's considered a newbship. CCP has been handing out codes for them at live events (PAX East, Eve Vegas, EveDownUnder, Fanfest, etc) for a year or two now.

    The Ixion isn't directly playable, but there's a player ship with the same hull: the Moracha. (AT11 first place prize.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very true, but none of that was the case when this article was written in 2011. :)

      Delete

Lay it on me.