4 Jun 2013

Those Daring Young Men in Their Flying Machines

... Ain't What They Used To Be!


'The king is dead, long live the king!'


artwork by Joe Struck.





Myths and legends die hard in New Eden. The status of the Rifter is in danger of slipping into the realms of the forgotten. Some say it is already there, wiped from the consciousness of many a budding pilot and veteran alike, a former champion now taking a backseat role.



I'm not buying that. No way. Although I admit that I found myself falling into that trap recently.

A few days ago, in a chance conversation with a fellow frigate junkie, I was asked what my all-time favourite frigate was, and for my best fit to go with it. I fumbled around for an answer, struggling to come up with the goods, scrolling through pages of saved fittings for a fit. I was stuck there on the spot, it should have been an easy answer.

The conversation remained silent for a moment.

In the end I linked a Wolf fit that I hadn't flown in a while. It was a great fit, I admit to that, but as I linked the fit I didn't pass it over with any real pride or passion, it was a strange feeling, as if I was cheating on something. In that very moment I had inadvertently dismissed an old friend--my buddy the Rifter. My top flown frigate with over 500+ kills.

To make up for this, for a few days I decided to fly pretty much nothing but the Rifter. With mixed results.


The common enemy for the Rifter in the current climate is the Hybrid turret. Even the lowest tech 1 blasters have the ability to shred a Rifter up close and personal, similarly a railgun can obliterate you at range. Not good. On the same level, Laser turrets can also pose a problem, a well flown scram kiter can punish you with his Scorch crystals in quick time. Anything with rockets or missiles and the ability to dictate range is the enemy of anything frig-sized, so that wasn't a concern. If I came up against a kiting Condor or a Kestrel or a Hookbill, I expected to die or die to backup.

So the main enemy that I expected to come against would be the hulls of the Merlin, Incursus, Atron, Tormentor, Executioner, Fed Navy Comet and a sprinkling of others in various guises. I decided that I needed to have an Energy Neutralizer to try and shut down my enemy. That for me is a must in the current frigate climate for the Rifter.

The first fit I decided to fly died before it could even tally a kill. Not the best of starts, as you will see.


[Rifter, SUPARI]

Damage Control II
Small Armor Repairer II
Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II

1MN Afterburner II
Initiated Harmonic Warp Scrambler I
Small Capacitor Booster II,Navy Cap Booster 400

200mm AutoCannon II,Republic Fleet Phased Plasma S
200mm AutoCannon II,Republic Fleet Phased Plasma S
200mm AutoCannon II,Republic Fleet Phased Plasma S
Small Unstable Power Fluctuator I

Small Anti-Explosive Pump I
Small Auxiliary Nano Pump I
Small Projectile Burst Aerator I


This is a lightweight armor tanker that relies heavily on the cap booster to permanently inject and run the repper and neutralizer. The 200mm autocannons, in theory at least, providing the punch. I and many others I know have had great success flying this fit. I once had a fight with an Incursus with this fit that seemed to last for over 10 minutes, with neither of us finding the killer blow it ended in stalemate and plenty of fried modules.

Back to the now and the first fight I had was with a Tormentor. We met at a novice plex and the fight was on. It was a gritty affair, a struggle at times to try and make up ground as the Tormentor dictated the range. Both frigates exchanged vicious blows and both dipped into armor in equal time. But this was no quick 30 second fix and as we brawled away we continued to repair the incoming damage. Just as it looked like I was stealing an edge, an opportunistic Atron landed on grid, and, with my Rifter already bleeding bits of structure and the Tormentor slipping away and out of scram range, the Atron inflicted the killer blows and the Rifter was no more. The Tormentor then escaped the field.

0-1

But not to be deterred I went back to my hangar and took out another Rifter.

[Rifter, SUPARU]

Damage Control II
Small Armor Repairer II
200mm Reinforced Rolled Tungsten Plates I

1MN Afterburner II
Warp Scrambler II
Small Electrochemical Capacitor Booster I,Navy Cap Booster 400

125mm Gatling AutoCannon II,Republic Fleet Fusion S
125mm Gatling AutoCannon II,Republic Fleet Fusion S
125mm Gatling AutoCannon II,Republic Fleet Fusion S
5W Infectious Power System Malfunction

Small Projectile Burst Aerator I
Small Projectile Collision Accelerator I


Now this is the fit I should have linked when I was asked the question of my favourite fit. Again you are relying on perma running that rep and neut. This fit has an added buffer with the 200mm plate. If the Gods are smiling and you time everything right, it can be an awesome little killer. As this Vengeance found out. One of many great kills that sticks in the memory from flying this particular fit.

I also tried this fit on occasion with the Small Ancillary Armor Repairer. I can't decide which one I prefer at this moment in time. I'm leaning slightly towards the standard armor repairer though.

[Rifter, SUPAARU]

Damage Control II
200mm Reinforced Rolled Tungsten Plates I
Small Ancillary Armor Repairer

1MN Afterburner II
Warp Scrambler II
Small Capacitor Booster II,Navy Cap Booster 400

125mm Gatling AutoCannon II,Republic Fleet Fusion S
125mm Gatling AutoCannon II,Republic Fleet Fusion S
125mm Gatling AutoCannon II,Republic Fleet Fusion S
5W Infectious Power System Malfunction

Small Projectile Burst Aerator I
Small Projectile Collision Accelerator I

The first fight with the standard armor rep fit was nothing spectacular. I had spotted an Atron in a plex, as I landed an Executioner decloaked right on the button as the Atron was some 40k away, obviously the Atron was looking to decloak the Executioner. Unfortunately, just as he was about to make his daring escape, my Rifter landed right next to him. Great timing. The Rifter had its first kill as the Atron closed in. It too was also destroyed, the Rifter not even having to run the repper under any stress whatsoever. Admittedly not ideal fits to provide an adequate 1v1 challenge.

2-1

The next fight was more of a challenge. A Tristan. The potential for a deadly mix of blasters, neutralizers and nasty, stinging drones. The fight was on. It ended with a smoking hot Rifter leaving the field in deep structure. A very good fight.

3-1

It seemed like we were now ramping up the levels somewhat. I was soon on grid with an Incursus. I absolutely had to shut down his blasters and while I went about doing just that I had to keep range. Not an easy task. Right from the get-go the neutralizer was overheated and so too was the afterburner. My DPS was not important at this stage. I just had to survive long enough to shut down my foe. And that I did. The Incursus lighting up the Jovainnon sky. The Rifter was again on fire and holding together in the very last throes of structure.

4-1

Again, increasing the difficulty somewhat, a Federation Navy Comet was next up. For this fight I swapped out the standard repper for the ancillary repper. Same tactics. Overheat the neut, ancillary repper hot, afterburner hot, rep fleet fusion ammo at about 4k. The Comet went the same way as the Incursus before him. A good fight. Repair bills for this plucky little Rifter were starting to stack up!

5-1

Playing in the faction warfare lands it was only a matter of time before we came up against something like this. But we'll add it to the tally regardless.

6-1

Next up, another Atron. An odd railgun fit. I took a big hit as soon as he locked me up upon landing in his plex. That gave me the reason to snake my way under his guns and quickly finish off the Atron in easy fashion. Not much a fight more a sacrifice to the final score.

7-1

The next fight was with a Kestrel. I still had the ancillary repper fitted. I was loitering in the top belt and got lucky with the warp-in. It could have been a whole lot tougher had the Kestrel been able to dictate the range from the start. In the end it was a bit of a mismatch up close and personal.

8-1

I was starting to feel that this Rifter was invincible. A Dramiel on scan! A perfect test. I landed some 20k off of him and he immediately burned towards me with microwarpdrive blazing. Snagging him with my scram the fight was on. The Dramiel was going down, but without the luxury of a web I was always at the mercy of an escape artist if the Dramiel was dual-prop fit--and that he was, with the Dramiel slipping deep into armor he opened up the jets and easily outran my Rifter and secured his escape. A victory by virtue of causing the Dramiel to flee, but nothing more.

A short while later I scrammed a Merlin and then what was only a few short minutes later, an Heron, both warped off into the distance laughing.

I decided to strip my afterburner and fit an extra scram. I also went back to the standard armor repper at this point.

I got them both in the end.

The second attempt versus the Merlin bringing up a funny local chat moment as I scrammed him once again.

Fortis88 > dont waste your time again Miura Bull

Fortis88 > I will just warp

Miura Bull > gf

Fortis88 > whatevs rookie, you had to change your fit


10-1


Following on with the warp core stabilizer theme and this Atron was next up for the chopping block.

11-1

Back to more challenging themes and another fight versus a Tristan, incidentally the same Tristan pilot as previous. Again it was a close run fight with the Rifter only just coming out on top.

12-1

The next challenger was another Incursus. I find that the dual rep Incursus is no problem for this particular Rifter fit (especially when it isn't fed by cap boosters) and the Rifter was soon claiming another scalp.

13-1

I renamed my Rifter to 'Lucky 13'. Feeling confident I spotted another Incursus on scan and soon gave chase to the plex that it was sitting in. It was however to be game over for 'Lucky 13'. Not so lucky any more. I met an absolute wall of armor and maneuverability and the Rifter was no more. After the fight, checking local it was obvious that the Incursus was gang-linked. It was never going to overcome the odds in that particular circumstance. Links FTW!

13-2

A good run was over. I jumped into another Rifter but this time with the Small Ancillary Armor Repairer fit as above.

It lasted only one fight. Versus an Atron. I left it way too late in the day to start running the ancillary repper and when I did finally run it I inexplicably forgot that it was set to 'auto-repeat off'. Fumbling around with the settings, in the end I only managed to rep off three cycles before I was blown out of the sky. Good fight but a bit of a screw up on my part.

13-3

The experiment was over.

There were a few 'gimmes' in the final score admittedly, but I feel the Rifter performed more than admirably versus what (if you believe the doomsayers) are superior ships now. I fancy my chances in my Rifter versus any blaster or laser frigate that is thrown my way. Sure, I will take losses along the way and will always meet my match versus the better pilot, as would anyone, but I feel that is all part and parcel of the nature of the beast and frigate dogfighting in general.

Is the Rifter still the King of Frigates? Probably not. The field is level now and the throne is empty. There is no King. But this makes for a better environment for us all. Now is the time to enjoy the balance of it all.


MB.

















15 comments:

  1. Hasta la rifter victoria siempre!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I was looking at your KB the other day and saw a lot of those riffies on the board. I'll have to try it out and see what I think.

    I had done some testing in the past to see if the rifter could compete with a blaster fit using a neut and it was not contest, maybe the ancil repper and your cap booster has made the difference in lasting long enough to neut down your foe.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah I had a few complaints in local about the neut. So it definitely caused them grief on that front. The fights were very close though with the Tristans and Incs. It was literally 'by the skin of teeth' stuff, but it was damn fun.

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    2. Also, I never did bump into a proper Merlin blaster fit. I'm sure that would have been a good test.

      Delete
    3. Yeah the buffer merlin raped my riffies in testing as they went faster than the rifter if both ships were ab/scram/web, and fights ended with the merlin at like 1/3 cap, shields fine. I honestly don't see how you could be having so much success against competent pilots, but as I've never tried the fit I can't talk down on it.

      Delete
    4. Sard, there's no accounting for MB's success without mentioning his voodoo. Seriously man, you should see our HQ; shrunken heads, homunculi, fetishes and slaughtered animals by the score. Samedi's a rank amateur by comparison.

      Delete
  3. Well, this post has inspired me to try out the Rifter again. I must admit, I had succumbed to the cries of "RIFTAH SUCKS NAOW" without bothering to try it myself.

    Five "normal" rep Rifters and five AAR Rifters are on their way to LowSec as we speak. Let the tests begin!

    ReplyDelete
  4. The issue I keep having with the rifter is that while there are some fits I've found that work... okay, they almost all work better with a Slasher, and the ones that don't work better with another race entirely.

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  5. MB, you are a very experienced pilot, and you can make the rifter work well. Is it still a good frigate to learn on?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not like it used to be. You can still learn your trade in the Rifter, but you'll be doing it in hard mode. Depends how much of a challenge you enjoy. :)

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  6. Replies
    1. Hey Sob. Yarr the Rifter ain't what she used to be. Well, she is, it's just everything else hardened the fuck up :)

      Delete
  7. Yes, many of us have moved on and now parade around with more glamorous ships on our arms, but that first love of ours, that girl next door with the cute smile that first caught our pirate eye, she still holds a special place in our heart.
    I will never forget you RIFTER.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I've been toying with the neut/booster fit recently as well, and the problem I run into is range dictation. Basically everything can keep out of neut range due to not having a web. They just load null/barrage and go to town. A hot ab doesn't solve that problem.

    I guess I'm curious as to how you're able to keep them at arms length all the time.

    ReplyDelete