Saturday, 26 February 2011

The Merlin Method

I was reading the Eve forums recently when I came across a post by a pve player that was taking his first steps into pvp. His chosen ship was the Merlin, and he was looking for suggested fits.

My reply:

I don't know a thing about fitting Merlins, but I do know a little about learning pvp.

There are various viable fits out there, but until you have the necessary experience, you have no way to tell the good fits from the bad fits, and the bad fits from the fits that are good, but will seem bad because you are not flying correctly.

By picking a T1 frigate you are already heading in the right direction. However, I would recommend that you take things a step further.

Buy 20 Merlins, and then lose each and every one of them in solo pvp. After each loss, think about what went right, and what went wrong. Keep a record; this will help you build on your experience. Try different fits; see what works for you.

About two weeks ago I started this process with 20 Punishers (if you are interested, you can check out my blog ), and I can honestly say that, although I am not finished, and still have a lot to learn, I am a much better pvp'r for the experience.

Some of the issues I faced are analogous to the issues you face. Which weapon system (lasers or autocannon)? Neuts or nos? Can I do without a webber?

Simply copying a fit that you are told is good will not make you a better combat pilot. Figuring out a good fit, one mistake at a time, will.

Good luck, and good hunting.

We ended up chatting in game, and hope to meet up this Sunday for some pvp.

Merlin fits:

All that got me thinking about the Merlin, though, a ship that I have never faced and never really thought about. Now that I look at it, the Merlin is a pretty impressive little ship.

With four midslots and a shield resistance bonus, the Merlin is clearly a shield tanked ship. However, from there, a pilot has a number of different options.


The hybrid range bonus suggests fitting either blasters or rail guns. With blasters, you probably want to fit your lows for speed (although not a particularly fast ship, the Merlin ought to get to "keep" it's speed, because it is shield tanked), and sacrifice some tank for a web.

Your missile slots are probably rockets. You aim to get in close and deal high damage, relying on your resists to keep you alive until your opponent pops. Your weakness will be ships that can kite you. You may also want to sacrifice a dps high for a nos, as you are cap dependent, and fighting in neut range.

Rail guns:

Rail guns, on the other hand, require you to keep range, as your tracking will not be sufficient against opponents that get in close. This probably means that, again, you fit your lows for speed, but you can possibly do with out the web. This would allow a little more tank, and against many opponents the range will also mitigate much of their dps.

Your missiles will probably be javelin rocket launchers, or light missiles. Your weakness will be ships fast enough to close distance and lock you down.


Equally, however, you could fly a bit more like a Punisher, and fit autocannon. With Barrage, you have a fairly decent range, but still have the tracking to fight up close. Pair that with rocket launchers, and you have a ship that fights decently (but not spectacularly) across the whole spectrum of scram ranges.

The autocannon fit would not need to be fit for speed, and could probably do without a web. The weapons are cap-less, too, although you probably need all four slots for weapons to make up for the reduced autocannon damage. These elements would free up the lows and some of the mids, though. Would active tanks or passive buffers become viable? I've seen battleclinic fits that have more ehp than Punishers.

All in all, an very interesting ship, and any new Merlin pilot has a lot to consider.

For Sunday:

Although my opponent will have even less pvp experience than me, I expect this to be an uphill battle. Whereas I am struggling to put together the basic pvp skills, I imagine that he will have many of them by default, and will out skill me when we face off.

In my favour, though, is the laser's natural strength against shield tanks, and the fact that I have already settled on a fit that I like.

It ought to be fun.

1 comment:

  1. Hi there, I've just found this blog and enjoying it quite a bit so far. I am another mostly PvE player who has started exploring PvP and at the moment the Merlin is my ship of choice. The basic fir I've been working with seems to get the job done fairly well against other frigates I have faced, though I'll admit that's not many. (yet!)

    High: 2x Modal Light Neutron Particle Accelerator I, 2x 'Arbalest' Rocket Launcher I
    Mids: 1MN Afterburner, X5 Prototype I Engine Enervator, Warp Scrambler II, Small Shield Extender II
    Lows: Damage control Unit II, Power Diagnostic System II

    The range is abysmal (about 4000m with my skills) but once I get in there the damage is pretty good.