Tuesday, 14 March 2017

The Impel: a w-space review

I knew that I needed something better than a T1 hauler for shifting goods, whether that was running fuel to the POS, or running PI to the market. Training for a Deep Space Transport was a no-brainer, and I just wish that I could have finished the training before suffering any losses.

I went with the Impel primarily because I already had ranks in Amarr Industrial, so the training time was a little bit shorter. Equally, armor tanked DSTs have slightly higher max hull points, and their smaller signature radius means they take less damage overall. When you are worried about high sec suicide ganks - my main concern, since I transition directly from Vanaheim to k-space - the armor tanked transports make a lot of sense.

Now that I've spent some time using the Impel, though, I think it has a few shortcomings that a shield tanked DST might not share. Anyone considering training for a w-space DST may find these observations useful.

Mass restrictions

To my credit, I did check that the Impel would fit through a C1 wormhole before training the skills. With a base mass of 19,500,000 kg, it fits just fine, and in fact is slightly lighter than the Bustard, which has a base mass of 20,000,000 kg. However, it did not occur to me that adding plates would alter this mass; I either fly shield ships or active armor tanks, typically.

As it turns out, none of the 800mm plates that the Impel usually fits will keep the mass below the magic 20 million kg mark. This means that a 'typical' Impel will need to off-line it's plate if it wants to transition from k-space to w-space (or vice versa) via a C1 system.

Given how incredibly dubious that seems, I've gone with an alternative fit that uses two 400mm plates. With max skills (or faction plates) that works fine. But it does mean losing about 10% of your ehp because of the resistance mod you give up for the extra plate.


The Impel cannot easily do the oft mentioned cloak-mwd trick. For those who don't know, the trick is used to get slow aligning ships into warp relatively safely, and works as follows:

You align (not warp!) to your destination, and then hit 'cloak'. Done properly, you are only visible for about a second, making it difficult for anyone on the gate to lock you.

For five seconds after activating your cloak, you can still activate modules that would not start an aggression timer. So about four seconds after cloaking (which gives your ship time to get pointed in the right general direction) you activate your mwd, and then immediately turn it off (you only want one cycle).

The mwd increases your speed (subject to your cloak's speed penalty) as you align. Just as your mwd cycle finishes, you deactivate your cloak and hit 'warp'. As the cycle finishes, you will find yourself aligned to your target, moving faster than 75% of your base speed, meaning you instantly enter warp, with no time for anyone to lock you.

Or at least, that's the theory. This only works, though, if one cycle of an mwd (under cloak) can get you to 75% of your base speed. The Impel is just a little too heavy. I've put a Caldari Navy Cloaking Device (lowest speed penalty) and a 50mn Microwarp Drive II (highest thrust short of deadspace modules) on the ship, and I only reach about 86 m/s by the end of the mwd cycle; I need to hit 96 m/s in order to reach warp.

I'm probably one agility mod/implant away from hitting that target, but agility mods compete for fitting space with my tank, and I'm not a big fan of non-training implants (I don't want to have to worry about which clone I'm in when jumping into one of my ships). At some point I'll probably just bite bullet and get the implant, but it's an extra hassle that I might have avoided with a shield DST that has low slots for an agility mod.

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