Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Tormentor v Astero

The fight

It was my last day in faction warfare, and I was running a final plex or two (so that I could round out my LP purchases), when I saw an Astero on Dscan.

Now, as cloaky ships, you don't get much warning with an Astero. If I was seeing him on Dscan, he was almost certainly using the acceleration gate. If I was going to leave, I needed to leave now.

But I decided to stay. My post-FW plans probably involve flying an Astero, and it occurred to me that some of the things I wanted to test were cheaper to test against an Astero than with an Astero. I've been messing around with fittings, and will probably have a 'hot-rodding' post about this at some point, but the basic theory I've been playing with is as follows.

The Astero does not have any kind of damage bonus, and base damage of an Astero with perfect skills is 99 dps. That is about the (rock) bottom end of viable, and even then leans heavily on its excellent projection and resistance to ewar. In addition, the Astero cannot overheat its weapon system! So while everyone else gets a boost to their numbers, the Astero does not.

Devoting half your low slots to damage brings your damage up to roughly 141 dps, which is still nothing to write home about, and is not going to be enough (once damage is applied) to break a SAAR. By way of an example, my Tormentor reps 117 ehps when overheated (and it's always overheated).

On the flip side, an active tanked Astero can overheat it's tank. And because you have to wait out your opponents SAAR before you have any hope of killing them - even going for 'max' damage - it is far better to invest in an efficient and sustainable tank than dps.

This was all theory, though. Would an actual fight against an Astero play out the way I thought it would?

So, going into this fight I was looking for two things. First, could the Astero break my SAAR tank? For all I knew, the drone dps might apply unexpectedly well, allowing him to grind me down despite the SAAR. Second, I could I break the Astero's active tank? While there was a possibility that the Astero was buffer tanked, against my Tormentor that probably just meant it would die, which was fine by me.

Once the Astero landed, I established my range and set to work. The Astero seemed content to fight at whatever range I chose, and his drones starting chewing away at me. As I suspected, his application was low enough that he could not break my SAAR. In fact, he could not break my SAAR even once I turned off the overheat. He was going to have to wait out my supply of paste before the 'real' fight began.

Conversely, my opponent had no difficulty at all in weathering my own dps - and the Tormentor has dps to spare! Unconcerned with his own tracking, the Astero was orbiting me (interestingly, if you 'orbit' someone using 'keep at range' and the chosen ranges are similar you end up with one ship mostly motionless and the other in orbit), which no doubt helped reduce my dps.

Seeing that I was not going to break his tank (I did not know if it was a SAAR or a repairer), I sent my drones after one of his drones to see how effective it would (spoiler alert: not very). In the end, I exploded, just as I expected I would, but only after my SAAR ran out of paste.


I don't know my opponent's fit, as he does not seem to have lost an Astero recently. But I do think the experience validates my view that the Astero needs to be fit with an active tank that takes the long view. Like a python, the Astero is about wearing down your victim with a sustained active tank, rather than melting them quickly the way the Tormentor does. By relying on drone damage, the Astero is free to fly in whatever way is most unhelpful to it's target, managing the range or tracking as appropriate, maximizing the value of that active tank.

As an aside, according to my killboard this was the 100th ship I have lost playing Eve. I don't know if I'm surprised the number is so low, or if I'm surprised that the number is so high. On one hand I feel like I'm losing ships constantly. On the other, have I really been playing Eve that long?

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