Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Tangling with the Tengu: Missiles Are the Best Medicine

Tengus: Spewing missiles with style since 2009
There are times when I know I should be doing something constructive, but the last few days have been challenging at Fort Freebooted, with an ill wife and baby both requiring my frequent attention (not to mention the endless laundry as a result of countless biological explosions).

The demands of providing this temporary 24-7 care cover meant that my attempts at establishing any kind of meaningful workflow were in vain. Instead, my bedside vigil was powered by coffee and EVE. Of course, given that I was  repeatedly required to step away from the keyboard at a moment's notice, I didn't want to get drawn into any gameplay which would end in catastrophe as a result.

Instead, I needed to set myself a new, suitably casual and achievable solo goal.

Choosing An Achievable Goal

An Astero looking cool
I wouldn't mind getting my hands on one of those fancy new Sisters of EVE exploration ships, but just buying one would be a bit of an empty experience and would blow a big whole in my funds. Besides, earning my shiny new prize the old-fashioned way would be exactly the pick-up-and-play entertainment which would suit my circumstances.

This would mean earning Loyalty Points (30,000 for the Astero frigate or 120,000 for the Stratios cruiser) by undertaking missions from Sisters of EVE agents. A quick look at the state of my current standings showed that I was not particularly well-liked by the Servant Sisters of EVE faction. In fact, the only reason any of their agents above entry level would deal with me at all was because at some point in the past I'd been forced to learn the standings-boosting Connections skill in order to avoid getting chased out of Gallente and Minmatar space by the faction police. I can't even remember what I did to make them all hate me.

So it looked like I was going to be grinding through level 2 and 3 missions in order to get to the more lucrative level 4s which would yield LPs at a much higher rate. Some quick research on the Agent Finder tool showed me that the star systems containing agents of the appropriate calibre were scarce, scattered and distant. I was going to need to take something which was adaptable and capable enough to deal with varying mission levels, target types and was durable enough to cope if I suddenly disappeared to deal with another exploding baby emergency.

Sounds like a job for a Strategic Cruiser.

Bring Me the Holy Capacitor of Antioch

I dusted off my Tengu, the SSS Blackrun (named after my first and last skiing holiday in 2009) did a quick review of my various saved loadouts on the Fitting Management screen and gathered up all the modules and sub-systems I might need. Despite the Tengu's versatility, I'd never really used it for intermediate level missions before and realised there was an opportunity for some idle loadout-tweaking, especially with the new Rapid Light Missile Launchers, which could be perfect for blatting the frigate- and cruiser-sized targets I would be encountering in the level 2 and 3 missions.

Arriving in the Genesis region, where the Sisters of EVE enclaves live so they might bask in the divine glow of the EVE Gate in the nearby system of New Eden, I set about churning through the necessary missions whilst experimenting with a variety of low-maintenance PvE loadouts for my Tengu.

Unstable stability
This took my on an interesting and mildly embarrassing journey which saw me eating humble pie after insisting both on Twitter and the EVE-O forums that the capacitor management section of the Fitting screen was lying about my fit being cap stable. Eventually I realised by rookie error: offlining a Microwarp Drive in order to see if the remainder of the loadout was cap stable /also/ offlines the negative impact of MWD has on total capacitor penalty.

Rest assured, palm has been applied to face.

The Swiss Army Spaceship

Minor capacitor-based brainfarts aside, I settled on a basic sub-system and loadout arrangement which would offer durable and forgiving platform and also allow for some ongoing tweaks. It looked something like this:

The module arrangement I opted for included five launcher high-slots accommodate Heavy, Heavy Assault or Light Rapid Launchers and one utility slot which, for purposes of being an incredibly lazy PvE-er, will contain an Auto Targeting System II - a wonderful device I'd never bothered with before, but automatically acquires all targets in range, saving me the bother.

Tengu is Japanese for 'too expensive for PvP'. Maybe.
Thanks to the three Capacitor Control Circuit rigs (and, depending on variant, occasional help from a Cap Recharger II and/or Power Diagnostic System II) I was able to use a permanently-running large shield booster. This complemented the outrageously high damage resistances provided by combining the Adaptive Shielding subsystem, a Damage Control II and an Adaptive Invulnerability Field II (there's a bit of an EM hole, but these are just dumb NPCs I'm dealing with so I'm counting on them not noticing). To give me some margin for error, I included a Large Shield Extender to buy me some reaction time if something unexpected happens (which it did on a couple of occasions before I had my capacitor stability epiphany).

Along with the ubiquitous DCII, the low slots were filled with three Ballistic Control System IIs to increase damage output and speed mission completion along. The final low slot would vary according to other needs.

With this basic missioning platform, I took the opportunity to conduct a quick study comparing the utility of the different launcher types available. This was the result:

The 'LazyBoy' Heavy Missile Tengu

This loadout was explicitly designed for me to be a terrible, inattentive EVE player. But with a missile range of 94km, auto-targeting and an incredibly solid, cap-stable perma-boosted shield tank, I could be comfortably absent-minded and work my way into the Sisters of EVE's good books whilst simultaneously keeping an eye on my puke-sniper daughter.


Heavy Missile Launcher Profile

MISSILE TYPEDPS (all/kin)Range
HM Standard291/36394,331
HM Faction (G)321/40194,331
HM Faction (CN)334/41794,331
HM Faction (DG)349/43694,331
HM High Precision291/36347,165
HM High Damage392/49070,748

The poor explosion velocity and large explosion radius of heavy missiles made fitting a Target Painter a necessity, especially given that I was dealing with frigate- and cruiser-heavy missions. Standard heavy missiles did the trick admirably, the Tech II variants either caused range issues slowing the process down in the case of High Precision, or just being ill-suited for small targets in the case of the High Damage type. I'm cheap anyway, so I didn't bother with the Faction ammo option, which would probably be optimal.

This fit was the safest pair of hands I could find, but sometimes it was just a little slow, both in damage application and flight speed, so I looked at other options...


The 'Vomit Monsoon' Heavy Assault Missile Tengu

When you absolutely, positively need to smash things really hard in the face, heavy assault missiles are the go-to option for the aggressive Tengu pilot. It was satisfying to see most things melt much more quickly, but first I had to get there. No problem with targets who obligingly close you down, but those irritating Guristas and their like have a habit of hanging around just outside maximum range. The Microwarpdrive was a necessity, but soon undermines the safety net afforded by the permaboost tank.


Heavy Assault Missile Launcher Profile

MISSILE TYPEDPS (all/kin)Range
HAM Standard404/50530,361
HAM Faction (G)444/55530,361
HAM Faction (CN)464/58030,361
HAM Faction (DG)484/60530,361
HAM Adv. Long-Range363/45445,562
HAM Adv. Anti-Ship545/68125,212

Despite Heavy Assault Missiles performing better against smaller and faster targets, a Target Painter still helped speed up the destruction of enemy frigates. Unlike the fire-and-forget nature of the Heavy Missile loadout above, the restrictive range of the HAMs made piloting a much more hands-on experience and with a slightly less reliable tank-capacitor relationship, being suddenly called away resulted in a couple of near misses.

The 'Captain Capped-Out' Rapid Light Missile Tengu

Named for my ridiculous earlier capacitor woes, the preferred ordnance of Rapid Light Missile Launchers meant using a Target Painter was fairly redundant, freeing up a mid-slot. The addition of a Cap Recharger II put paid to any further concerns about running out of juice without compromising on the rest of the fit.


Rapid Light Missile Launcher Profile

MISSILE TYPEDPS (all/kin)Range
LM Standard344/43042,187
LM Faction (G)373/46642,187
LM Faction (CN)393/49242,187
LM Faction (DG)410/51242,187
LM High Precision344/43021,093
LM High Damage480/60031,640

I kept the Microwarpdrive for the utility of closing down distant targets quickly because, although Rapid Light Missiles provide a bit of an increase to range without too much loss of damage, often some mobility was still required. The real advantage of RLMLs is in the assurance that damage is almost certainly applied to a far more effective degree than with their larger cousins. They offer great balance and no need to fear frigates. On the down side, I'm not sure I'll ever get used to the 35 second reload time. It just leaves you feeling mute and naked.

Missile Performance and You

I wanted to be able to look at my options depending on the performance I needed and so arranged the above DPS and range stats in on list for reference.

MISSILE TYPES BY DAMAGE

TYPE                     /   DPS (all/kin)   /    Range

HA Adv. Anti-Ship        545/681          25,212
HA Faction (DG)          484/605          30,361
LM High Damage          480/600          31,640
HA Faction (CN)          464/580          30,361
HA Faction (G)             444/555          30,361
LM Faction (DG)          410/512          42,187
HA Standard                 404/505          30,361
LM Faction (CN)           393/492          42,187
HM High Damage           392/490          70,748
LM Faction (G)             373/466          42,187
HA Adv. Long-Range  363/454          45,562
HM Faction (DG)           349/436          94,331
LM High Precision        344/430          21,093
LM Standard                 344/430          42,187
HM Faction (CN)           334/417          94,331
HM Faction (G)              321/401          94,331
HM Standard                   91/363           94,331
HM High Precision         291/363          47,165

     
MISSILE TYPES BY RANGE

TYPE                      /   DPS (all/kin)   /     Range

HM Faction (DG)            349/436             94,331
HM Faction (CN)            334/417             94,331
HM Faction (G)               321/401             94,331
HM Standard                   291/363             94,331
HM High Damage            392/490             70,748
HM High Precision           291/363             47,165
HA Adv. Long-Range    363/454             45,562
LM Faction (DG)           410/512             42,187
LM Faction (CN)           393/492             42,187
LM Faction (G)              373/466             42,187
LM Standard                  344/430            42,187
LM High Damage           480/600             31,640
HA Faction (DG)           484/605             30,361
HA Faction (CN)           464/580             30,361
HA Faction (G)              444/555             30,361
HA Standard                  404/505             30,361
HA Adv. Anti-Ship         545/681             25,212
LM High Precision         344/430             21,093

Doing it For the Sisters

To wrap up, whilst continuing to tinker and juggle with the vomit monsoon at home, I managed to all but reach my target standing of 5.0 with Sisters of EVE, meaning I was nearly set to get in touch with one of the three high-sec level 4 agents. As a bonus, I'd already earned enough Loyalty Points to spring for an Astero. However, a brief comparison to existing Tech II Covert Ops ships led me to realise it didn't really offer much that was new. It was the Stratios that I coveted and that was going to need a whole lot more LPs.

It was perhaps fortuitous then that in the Old Pond Pub chat channel a familiar name appeared with a timely warning. Merinne, a long-time chat channel buddy, told tale of the endless shenanigans which are constantly taking place in the areas around these SoE missioning systems. She had experienced it herself and alerted me to the mission invading, baiting, suicide-ganking activities of the local colour.

This final part of my self-set goal should be far more interesting.

Although, given that I've just announced my destination and probable fits, perhaps it'd be wise not to take anything as expensive as the Tengu, especially one fitting with an Auto Targeting System, or I'll never get into a Stratios.


11 comments:

  1. I keep hearing about the missioner harassment, but I have so far seen only 1-2 loot stealers. I always let them go because I don't want to risk my strategic cruisers (yeah, I use Tengu too). I just go, do the mission, switch to Noctis, clean the wrecks and then turn the mission in. Maybe I have been just lucky or the gankers are too busy hunting marauders and other really expensive ships. But, no matter what, I want to get my Nestor for ship spinning purposes (I already have Stratioses and Asteros I need).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Tengu is certainly the most adaptable - and cheaper - but my original intention was to take my Golem over for the L4s. It would be interesting to experience missioner harassment first-hand though, so the 'investigative journalist' in me is tempted to take a more enticing target.

      Delete
  2. it isn't as bad as it sounds. there once was an announcement on the eve o-forums to "burn apanake" ...

    it was pretty much fun to shoot all those red destroyers docking off of the station. Don't know if they caught anything but if your fitting isn't that shiny you probably not a target for them.

    Most of this gankers are looking for the multi billion mission ship which might be a tengu but the machas and golems out there may be easier to kill.

    If I get you right, you are at home the hole day so you are not limited to prime time. out of prime time the gank rate should be pretty low. A standard T2 tengu is most likely save all the time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm notoriously cheap and rarely use anything more than T2-fitted ships. Out of interest, what makes marauders easier to kill than strategic cruisers?

      Delete
  3. hi
    you doing it wrong, the Tengu doesn't need active tank at all, your sig radius is small enough & your resistances are high enough to passive shield tank anything up & including L4 missions

    i'm running L4 missions on a HM Tengu with passive tank, no shiny at all just T2 modules : its very, VERY rare that I even have to warp out, AE bonus room maybe

    use HM-s, with decent secondary missile skills and T1 ammo you will be more than fine to clear any L4
    make sure you have a single target painter fitted for the occasional webbing/scramming frig

    with a straightforward simple fit you'd be looking at 12k shield HP, capstable, ~500 dps up to 94km and >80% resistance accross the board

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your input Anonymous, you may well be right and an active shield permaboost is total overkill. I was just dialling back the same fitting principle that served me well in null-sec anomalies. I'll certainly take your advice on board and try out some passive fits and perhaps do a follow-up post.

      I will say one thing though - it's not 'doing it wrong' if it works and all three of these fits were effective for the task at hand.

      Delete
    2. I prefer to have active tanked Tengu over passive tanked one with MWD. It allows me to kill fast enough, move fast enough and stay safe enough. I like myself this sort of setup:

      Subsystems: Amplification node, Dissolution sequencer, Augmented capacitor reservoir, Accelerated ejection bay and intercalated nanofibers (agility and good looks) or gravitational capacitor (slightly faster).

      High: 6 x Heavy missile launcher II
      Mid: 10 Mn MWD II, Adaptive invulnerability field II, EM Ward field II, Medium Shield Booster II, 2 x Capacitor Recharger II
      Low: Damage Control II, 2 x Ballistic control system II, Power diagnostic system II
      Rig: 2 x Medium capacitor circuit II, Medium capacitor circuit I

      If medium shield booster II is changed to Gistum C-type shield booster, then one capacitor recharger can be changed to a boost amplifier.

      This ship is cap stable, can kill frigs (with the precision missiles), has good tanking capacity and because it is fast, you can pick and choose how to engage the enemies in the missions.

      Delete
  4. ok i take your point about "doing it wrong"
    I just think its overkill to active tank the Tengu for simple missions, you will not receive even remotely enough damage due to the extreme sig radius/resistance combo
    so now you can drop the cap rigs and fit shield/missile ones, and if you fit the target painter ( just the one will do) you can reliably clear frigs, the other meds are 1 EM, 1 AB and LSE-s according to your fitting skills, lows missile dmg mods (not CN just T2 for anti-gank purposes:D), highs HM-s only

    MWD for mission running on a long-range boat is total overkill too, the Tengu will do ~650mps on AB which is faster than any NPC except for the frigs - which will die fast target painted

    I was going to give you the exact fit i'm using, but i totally forgot about it, hopefully I will remember tonight when I'm at home again:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. let alone the fact that using an MWD will boast your sig radius into battleship-sizes, and NOW you need an active tank because even the most sluggish large-laser-NPC will score every single shot on your ass - so you just killed the Tengu's biggest advantage for no apparent reason...:P

      Delete
    2. oki eventually i DID remember :)
      Prop- fuel catalyst
      Offensive - Acc ejection bay
      Engi - Augm capacitor
      Def - Suppl screening
      Electronics- CPU effi gate
      Rigs : med core def extender-I / anti EM screen-I / med bay loading acc.-I
      Lows : ballistic ctrl-II x4
      Mids:10 mn AB -II / target painter-II / med shield ext-II / EM Ward Field-II / invuln-II x2
      Highs 6x HM- II

      enjoy:)

      Delete
  5. Try auto-targeting scourge missles on your tengu. I use two tengu's and while damage is less, you start applying your dps earlier (no targeting) AND... the range is 22 km (88km) longer than my Scourge Fury's (66 km ).

    ReplyDelete

Lay it on me.