Thursday, 29 January 2009

Exploration and "Ze Frenchies" (that'd be me)

Well, a few details have been shed these past few days on what awaits us in the new patch hitting Tranquility on March 10th (or so everyone hopes) - for a few answers to people's questions from devs, check out this ENN post here .

I won't go into detail with what's already discussed over there. Basically, what this means for small (-ish) corps like mine is a new playground to establish semi-permanent bases in. By bases I mean a POS and by semi-permanent I mean it's going to be hard to maintain, since access will be tricky to say the least. But enough about pos-es.

The more important thing to discuss would be what ships are best used in this harsh environment, where refit and resupply opportunities are rare. Say you're attempting a small-scale operation, you and 1-2 buddies find a wormhole and go in for an afternoon or so. This can mean no pos, as it's not worth the wait to anchor/online/offline/unanchor everything. So what can be done is bring in one or several anchorable containers (I fly a Prowler - the Minmatar "covops" Transport, so one GSC and 1-2 smaller anchorable containers to maximize space). T1 haulers can work well too, especially if they have 2 high slots like the Mammoth or the Iteron V.

Once on the other side, the designated industrial pilot anchors the cans and waits for the arrival of the "muscle". Ideally, the "muscle" would fly drone boats (heh, sue me, I'm Gallente), as even though the damage may be a tad lower, you have the advantages of no ammo needed and also get free high slots to fit salvagers, tractors, remote reppers to fix damaged drones, cloaks (and daggers, hehe) and so on. Basically you need "monkey-wrench" ships. And since you'd also like to ideally go back the way you came in, they'd need to be BC-sized or smaller. So, that narrows it down pretty well (BS-es like the Domi are out): Myrmidon, Ishtar, Ishkur... T1 cruisers might also do ok if your skills aren't good enough for an Ishtar... so the Arbitrator and the Vexor also fit the profile.

Another ammo-less category of ships are the Amarr ones, which should do ok too, (Harbinger, Zealot etc.). In this case you'd lose part of the flexibility of an Ishtar or Myrm, but gain more oomph.

In any case, leave room for atleast one of those new 'small' exploration probe launchers so you might find your way home if something unexpec when something nasty happens.

What to tank for and how much tank is "enough", though, is still a mystery, but since the areas will be 0.0-like in nature (with "smarter than your average bear" NPC's), I'd expect tanks on the aforementioned types of ships (or atleast on BC's) to be tested quite thoroughly.

That's it for now, more of my thoughts on this matter later on as more details become available.
Comments are welcome, as always.

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