Open University of Celestial Hardship (OUCH)

Full Version: Fleet Cruiser
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Our own Zurakaru Ze addressed the Open University view on the use of the Light Cruiser on his blog, Ore, Pirates and Pods. He discussed the concept of an inexpensive, a lightly armed, maneuverable cruiser with a specific defensive or offensive role, much like those used post WWI by the US Navy. I have to say I love a guy who can study history and apply it to a video game. I've got my own thoughts about the role of the light cruiser in a small gang, and my favorite ship in the role.

When we first started discussing the use of cruisers on the OUCH forums, it was in the role of what we called Heavy Tackle. We were losing a lot of frigates in those days, trying to hold down DPS dealing HACs and BCs. Some wanted to up-ship into Assault Ships for the role, but instead for several reasons we chose cruisers: As a PvE stepping stone, most of our veterans could already fly them; a brand new pilot with low SP could get into a decently skilled fleet fit cruiser in a month; the hulls were cheaper than Assault Ships; and they could be fit with a decent balance of DPS and tank.

So we settled on T1 cruisers with a little bit of tank. AB/Scram/Web. Medium guns if you could fit them (DPS), small guns if you could not (drone duty). T1 fit so low sp players can fit them, and afford to lose them. Don't forget to load your drone bay.

The forums were populated with a ton of good fits, but as time went on, the cruisers got beefier and beefier. Big guns. Big armor. 1600mm plates welded on like they were giving them away. Ships got slower, MicroWarp drives replaced afterburners. Light, Fast and Cheap got thrown out of the window. Ships started coming out to the fleet with half hour align times and signature radii the size of small moons. T2 fittings made for 30 million isk flying bricks. When they were caught on the bubble, their superior tanks, well, allowed them to take that much longer to die.

Then it happened: Folks started believing that the problem was the tanks weren't big enough. They started talking about building battlecruisers so we could have even more survivable tackle.

We hit the Reset Button. "Heavy Tackle" was only supposed to be heavier than a frigate. The concept was never supposed to be a heavily tanked, heavy DPS cruiser. Light cruiser. Secondary tackler. Medium DPS. Quick align times. Easy on the wallet. All the things that Zurakaru Ze was talking about when he coined the phrase "Medium Tackle".

Looking back, my own ships had been fast, lightly tanked cruiser in the 10K-14K ehp range with relatively quick align times so I could GTFO when things got rough. At first, I was using AML Caracals because, honestly, they were what I had on hand. Let me tell you, you haven't lived until you scram-web a HAC in a fast, lightly shield tanked Caracal, and imagine his disbelief as the rest of the gang warps in on him. I tried out a MWD/Scram/Dual Web Blackbird. But I've come to love one ship above all others for my light cruiser come tackler role: The Stabber.

The Stabber does not have a lot of tank or gank. It doesn't have a decent sized drone bay. It doesn't get great weapon bonuses. But it is damn fast for a cruiser and that makes it pretty damn fun to fly.

At first, I tried AB/Scram/Web, with small ACs to kill frigates and drones, heavy missiles for bigger stuff. Too slow, so I risked the signature bloom and on a MWD and went at it from there. A Nano and an Overdrive with a DC2 for my tank. Plenty fast. Not a lot of tank, but I had a plan: Fly her like a Super Rifter. Don't die.

It worked. I was burning around in a light (<10K ehp) fast (>2.5km/sec) cruiser and having a great time doing it. But after a couple of fights, I got caught up in the standard "the only thing wrong with this ship is it's lack of DPS". I swapped out my small guns (just let the frigates kill the drones, silly) and put in some medium ACs and HAMs for DPS. Finally, after getting blown 50 percent into structure twice in one fight (I warped out, got remote repped and warped back in to tackle a second BC), I decided to go to an almost standard LSE fit.

Damage Control II
Nanofiber Internal Structure I
Tracking Enhancer I

10MN MicroWarp Drive
Large Shield Extender II
J5b Warp Disruptor I

Dual 180mm Autocannon I
Dual 180mm Autocannon I
Dual 180mm Autocannon I
Dual 180mm Autocannon I
Heavy Assault Missile Launcher I
Heavy Assault Missile Launcher I

Dual 180mm ACs and Tracking Enhancer because for me, more hits at lower damage is better than more damage at fewer hits. YMMV. This is a gang, not a solo ship. It's DPS is just a contribution to the overall damage output of the gang. Its primary role is to be fast enough to get and hold a secondary target while others get on the primary. Rigs? You can use any combination of medium shield extender rigs, shield resist rigs, or projectile rigs. Shield rigs with my skills put me in the 11k range.

Sure enough, although we have pilots loyal to their Ruptures and Vexors, a little Stabber cult has formed in the corp, with a few of our pilots piloting their own Super Rifters, MWD/Scram/Web fit with Energy Neutralizers in the highs. They've ruined the day of many a cap boosted BC or BS pilot.

And to be honest, their fit might actually be superior to the one I fly. But the most important thing to remember about the Stabber, and our fits in general, is the ship is like 1 wrench in the whole toolbox that is the Fleet. OUCH FC's typically don't have to ask people what they are flying and then fit them in their fleet picture. OUCH pilots join fleet and ask, "What does the Fleet need?" and given an answer (scout, DPS, tackle, EWAR, etc), they get in the ship and fit that fills the role. This concept proves itself every day in our training camps.

When you can use the whole toolbox, you find that you need very few specialty tools to build, or in our case, disassemble whatever you're working on. Besides, killing battle ships and battlecruisers with cruiser and smaller sized ships is fun. Wink