Friday, April 1, 2011

Loki, Trickster God of Mischief

Being April Fool's Day, I enjoy a good laugh as the internet tries to fool me every year. However, I decided against doing the same... coming up with lame stories or untrue facts just to poke fun at my readers. Some people just can't take a joke, and if in my fabrication I get someone blown up because I told them you can solo sleepers in a particular ship or with some expensive mod, SOMEONE is bound to try it. Then they will come crying to me.

By the by, one of my favorites in Wormhole space was one I believe the goons perpetuated. The way it went was if you had a Nemesis bomber loaded with therm bombs, you could launch them at the hole, MWD there and jump through. If you did it correctly, it would instantly close the hole. The trick was it only worked on the side you wanted to close, so you had to jump through fast. The goons referred to it as “Scorching the Hole”. Anyone who tried it found out exactly who got scorched, and it wasn't the hole.

So instead of any of that nonsense, I'm going to focus my trickster sense of being toward a true trickster in wormhole space, the Loki.

Loki was the trickster god of Norse mythology. It was said Loki could change shape at will to anything he wished, and he used this ability to cause chaos for others. While we here in Eve don't get to change our Loki's at will until CCP does something about that subsystem thing, the Loki is the closest thing we have to a true shape changer.

Before I get into fits, take a look at the subsystems to see what I mean:


      1. Adaptive Augmenter – Adds 5% bonus per level to all armor resistances
      2. Adaptive Shielding – Adds 5% bonus per level to shield resistances. Also adds a 10% bonus to shield transporter effectiveness per level.
      3. Amplification Node – 5% reduction in signature radius per level.
      4. Warfare Processor - 5% bonus per level to Skirmish Link effectiveness, allows the use of warfare links via CPU reduction.

Now the warfare processor is pretty standard across all the race's various T3 ships. They allow for a nice 25% bonus to the race warfare link (Caldari Shield, Amarr Armor, Gallente Information). While not game breaking by themselves, combined with the fact you can make the T3 immune to bubbles and unable to be probed down means these are the best fleet boosters money can buy as long as you don't need extra firepower. The interesting thing is the 25% bonus to Link effectiveness can be obtained in a short 5 days of training, where as max command ship skill takes around 36 days and only imparts a mere 15% bonus to links.

The other three defensive subsystems is where the Loki really gets its shape changing much like its namesake. Gallente and Amarr are very much armor oriented. In fact, their subsystems are virtually identical when it comes to bonuses. Caldari are of course very shield oriented. Minmatar aren't really focused at all, gaining subsystems for shield and armor tanking. Meaning a Proteus or Legion will just about always armor tank whereas a Tengu will shield. It is not so clear with the Loki. One can't see a Loki and know for sure if it shield tanks or armor, unless they are that familiar with the subs to ID it on sight.

Obviously the Adative Augmenter is for armor tanking, as is the Adaptive Shielding for shield. None of the T3's make good Logistic ship replacements, even though the bonus would indicate otherwise; this is quite simply because they don't have the necessary range. The interesting sub is the Amplification Node which can really go either way – shield or armor. It is the only sub other then the pure armor one to give both a low and mid slot, making it truly either or. Its benefit to shield tanking is obvious but the hidden benefit most don't pick up on is when its used for armor. That sub at level 5 puts the Loki's sig radius to a miniscule 98. That's under even medium weapons, meaning not only does the Loki take far less damage from large weapon systems, but the benefit extends to medium weapons as well. Since armor doesn't expand the signature radius, that means you can get lots of damage and/or buffer on board while taking more glancing blows like logistic ships do.


      1. Covert Reconfiguration – 7.5% bonus to rate of fire (rof) and use of covert ops cloaks.
      2. Hardpoint Efficiency – 7.5% bonus to rof of both missles and medium projectiles.
      3. Projectile Scoping – 7.5% bonus to medium projectile rof and 10% falloff.
      4. Turret Concurrence – 10% bonus to medium projectile damage and optimal range, 7.5% bonus to tracking.

Each race has a covert reconfiguration. Cloaky T3's are popular in WH space due to cloak use, probe bonus and the ability to ignore bubbles. They are the ultimate scout, other then the longer warp off time when compared to covert ops ships.

Hardpoint efficiency is the standard Minmatar turret/missile split, allowing three of each hardpoints. When paired with an Augmented Capacitor or Power Core Multiplier from engineering, the ship can fit 4 of each allowing for 8 weapons if somehow they could be wedged into 7 high slots. I'm never really a fan of splitting damage in this way, but those with really good skills in both guns and missiles can make it work.

Projectile Scoping is what I consider the standard autocannon subsystem. Rate of fire bonus is pretty good for autocannon style dps, and a falloff bonus is good for the turret that makes a living in falloff. Turret Concurrence screams “Artillery” to me, since it gets a bonus to damage, optimal range and tracking. Autocannons are more damage over time due to high rates of fire, whereas artillery does lots of alpha damage with a low rate of fire. Since autocannons get crap for optimal range, do more of its dps based on rof over damage, and already have great tracking, this makes the Turret Concurrence far better for artillery then autocannons.

The rest of the subsystems are pretty standard across the races. The specialized electronics sub for the Loki is the Immobility Drivers, a subsystem that increases stasis web range by 30% each level. That means a Federation Navy Stasis web will reach a cool 35km out to lock a target down.

With those subsystems, a Loki can change from long range, shield tanking Arties to short range, face bleeding autocannons and armor tanks. Any one of them can reach out and web you from 35km out, if properly equipped. The strategic cruiser is said its greatest strength is its versatility, and the Loki has that in spades, even more so then the others, who cannot effectively change tanks.

For those of you who have been following this blog, you know I don't really like shield tanks. And although I can shield tank, I don't really do it often. Mostly because I refuse to train Caldari. The reason being one part stubbornness for when someone tells me it HAS to be one way I always try to look for another (ie, Caldari shield tanks Tengu or Drake is the only way to PVE). The other reason is two parts my hatred of the Caldari aesthetic. Those ships are simply the ugliest fucking things I've ever laid eyes on. Now, I'm probably bias and I'm cool with that. But it leaves me in an interesting position. Since my corp mostly shield tanks sleeper ops, I have to either adapt or stay on permanent scout or salvage duty.

With the change to Sleeper drain, it is really no longer possible to take a ship with T1 resists and slap a decent shield tank on it. The switch from the awesome, all-encompassing Invulnerability Field hardeners to the individual shield resists mods leaves T1 ships with a shortfall in either resists or buffer, neither of which is good in a sleeper environment. One can choose to ignore it and use Invulnerability Fields anyway, but that sounds great until those things wink off and you start taking double (or more) damage from sleepers.

Which means for a decent shield tank, I'm left with few options. Tengu, Drake, Ferox, and Cerberus are all Caldari so we can toss those in the trash right now. A decent tank can be fit on a Ishtar and Vagabond for sleeper ops, but its hardly ideal so skip those. I can't fly command ships (yet) so the Sleipnir (which would be a great choice here) is also out. (Fun fact: Sleipnir is the name of the 8 legged horse Loki supposedly birthed)

That leaves me the Loki, the shape changer of all.

Loki is epic win

Loki, Shield Tank

Defensive – Adaptive Shielding
Electronics – Immobility Drivers
Engineering – Power Core Multiplier
Offensive – Projectile Screening
Propulsion – Chassis Optimization

6x 425mm AutoCannon II (Barrage and EMP)
1x Heavy Missile Launcher II

1x Large Shield Extender II
1x Kinetic Deflection Amplifier II
1x 10MN MicroWarpdrive II
1x Federation Navy Stasis Web

1x Damage Control II
2x Gyrostablizer II
2x Tracking Enhancer II

1x Medium Projectile Ambit Extension
1x Medium Projectile Burst Aerator
1x Medium Core Defense Field Extender

5x Hobbies
5x Warriors

The fit is designed to be supported by my corp's dual Basi policy, meaning logistics are doing the tanking for me, I just need the buffer to survive.

Stats are pretty good, and not as much give as I had to do with the Ishtar or Vagabond. It has over 8k shields with resists of 83% EM, 79% Kin, 73% Therm, and 67% explosive. The explosive is a bit lower then I'd like but it really can't be helped. Total effective HP is over 45k. Cap last 3 minutes with the MWD on.... if you need more time then that to get into range at over 1800m/s then you need a warp in point. Its obviously stable with the MWD off. Signature radius isn't too bad, just a shade over 170.

Damage is very good. With drones and max skills, expect 567 with Barrage and 607 with standard EMP. Expect more with faction. Without drones, guns and one missile will load 468/508 dps respectively. Range is pretty impressive. With the falloff bonuses and tracking enhancers, Barrage can reach out for 3.8km optimal and 48km falloff. EMP for the closer range is still impressive, logging just under 2km optimal and 32km falloff. All in a sleek package that's easy on the eyes as well.

My one hesitation is the resists. Although those will do just fine when you have at least two Basi's on the ship, if I wanted more I could drop the Immobility Drivers for the Dissolution Sequencer and replace the web with an Invulnerability Field or some sort of explosive resist mod. However, I like the thought of helping all my corpmates with their unholy stream of missiles with one long armed 35km web. Once I give it some field testing I'll see how it performs and make the final call.

The cool thing about the Loki is its versatility above and beyond what a normal T3 has. I'm looking forward to melting faces although it irks me I now have to pay for ammo after being used to drones and lasers all this time. Once we get the ability to refit in space I will have a ship that can fit shield for sleeper ops and armor for PVP goodness. Then refit for cloaky scan. Awesome.

Hope you had a great April Fool's Day. Go forth and conquer those sleepers with your very own God of Tricks. At the end of the day it will the sleepers hoping its all a joke.

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