Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Eve: The Retribution Heron

The Heron is an odd looking Caldari frigate whose main purpose is not as a ship of war, but as a ship of exploration and discovery.






Its getting a fairly major buff in the Winter patch and I'm very much looking forward to using the new versions.

Heron:
Frigate skill bonuses:
7.5% increase to scan strength of probes
5% bonus to Codebreaker, Analyzer and Salvager cycle time

Slot layout: 3 H (+1), 5 M (+2), 2 L (+1), 2 turrets (+1), 2 launchers
Fittings: 24 PWG (+4), 260 CPU (+10)
Defense (shields / armor / hull) : 400(+126) / 200(-58) / 200(-26)
Capacitor (amount / recharge rate / cap per second): 245 (+88.75)/ 135s (+17.8s)/ 1.814 (+0.48)
Mobility (max velocity / agility / mass / align time): 340 (+20) / 3.57 (+0.04) / 1150000 / 3.84s (+0.04s)
Drones (bandwidth / bay): 15(+10) / 35(+25)
Targeting (max targeting range / Scan Resolution / Max Locked targets): 37.5km / 430 / 4
Sensor strength: 12 Gravimetric
Signature radius: 40 (-8)
Cargo capacity: 400 (+243.75)

Its old bonuses were a useless kinetic missile damage bonus, 5% probe scan strength per skill level and a reduction in survey probe flight time.

CCP Fozzie states:

We hope to see them being used for solo highsec exploration for newer players, or to support the combat ships in an exploration group in wormholes or lawless space. They're getting bonuses to hacking, archeology and salvaging so you can use them to both probe and run mini-profession sites.
Their combat ability has also been directed at drones instead of weak weapon bonuses. We've designed them to be able to kill the rats in highsec mini-profession sites, although a combat frig will clear them faster. The ship isn't directly intended for a pvp role, so the ehp remains quite low and we skewed the fittings towards CPU and away from PG. Best way to kill the rats with this ship is fit a light active tank, drop drones and kite.

We wanted these ships to feel like an expedition vessel for newer players, something that can run sites independently and with enough cargo, no ammo use and extra dronespace to take long journeys away from their home base (even if they stay in highsec)


For me, I don't need a highsec explorer but I'm very interested in using this ship in mini-profession sites.  For that role, it's been double buffed - not only does it now have a relevant ship bonus but it also has gained an extra mid slot for another Codebreaker or Analyzer module.

So for sites I'm planning on two Herons, one for Mag sites (archaeology sites requiring Analyzer modules) and one for Radar sites (hacking sites requiring Codebreaker modules)

Heron, Archaeologist

Salvager II
Salvager II
Salvager II

Limited 1MN Microwarpdrive I
Analyzer II
Analyzer II
Analyzer II
Analyzer II

Damage Control II
50mm Reinforced Steel Plates II

Small Salvage Tackle I
Small Salvage Tackle I
Small Salvage Tackle I

CPU 234 Power grid 24

Tech 1 modules are perfectably acceptable substitutes for Tech 2 modules. I'd have liked to have used an Archaeology rig but they don't seem to exist. The low slot modules are for the rare occasions when a can will pop frigates which instantly aggro and scram. Warp Core Stabs are an alternative for the low slots. However the job of this frigate is to get in quick and grab the loot so slower locking and lower targeting range (the penalties from using Warp Core Stabs) would impede this. Just goes to show "Stabs" isn't the right solution for every problem!

Here's the radar site version of this ship:


Heron, Hacker

Salvager II
Salvager II
Salvager II

Limited 1MN Microwarpdrive I
Codebreaker II
Codebreaker II
Codebreaker II
Codebreaker II

Damage Control II
50mm Reinforced Steel Plates II

Small Memetic Algorithm Bank I
Small Salvage Tackle I
Small Salvage Tackle I

CPU 234 Power grid 24


The ship is also useful in other roles. It's clearly meant as an exploration ship for scanning sites down so let's look at how well it does that:

Scan strength bonuses from ship and fit =
Ship bonus 37.5%
2 Small Gravity Capacitor Upgrade Is (note that despite having 3 rig slots we can only fit two of these rigs because they use 200 calibration each) 20%

Compared to a cov ops with a ship bonus of 50% it's worse, however it's just about as good if your cov ops skill is only 4 and better if your cov ops skill is lower. The Tech 2 ship also lacks the mini-site bonuses. The cov ops can warp cloaked which makes it much safer when used outside high sec.

Heron, Explorer

Expanded Probe Launcher II, Sisters Core Scanner Probe (8)
Improved Cloaking Device II

Survey Scanner II

'Halcyon' Core Equalizer I
'Halcyon' Core Equalizer I

Small Gravity Capacitor Upgrade I
Small Gravity Capacitor Upgrade I

7 Hornet EC-300 drones


Cargo: Sisters Deep Space Scanner Probe I (1), Sisters Combat Scanner Probe I (8), optionally moon survey probes.

I made some interesting decisions here so let's talk about them. Expanded Probe Launchers allow you to fire combat scanner probes, deep space scanner probes and moon scanning probes. For a real explorer ship you need those options especially the DSPs because you can gain a lot of information very fast from a DSP scan as detailed here. Combat scanners are great if you're even remotely interested in pvp because sometimes you'll just happen across targets of opportunity. I didn't take the Sisters launcher because the ship is too cheap to justify it. Save those for cov ops.

I picked the tech 2 cloak over the basic one even though it hoses the rest of the fit for cpu. This is because the main danger to this ship is accidentally stumbling into a well-organised gate camp. In that situation your cloak is your main defence. Angle the camera either down or up, double click space activate the cloak. You'll drift out of their camp unless you get unlucky and get bumped. Make sure you have an overview that shows everything when you're doing this so you don't pilot your ship into a can and decloak yourself.

Warp stabs give a second defensive option and the drawbacks are inconsequential as this ship almost never target locks anything. I really had nothing I could fit in the mids now, having used up all the CPU so I stuck an asteroid scanner on which might occasionally be useful in grav sites.

The ECM drones are intended to be throw-away. If tackled put some on whoever's got you scrammed and continue to try to warp off. It's another chance to survive.

As before, Tech 1 versions of the modules are fine and this is a ship that is very friendly to beginner explorers or to pilots with priorities other than skilling up for cov ops ships.

The final fit I'll present here is intended for an unusual but very lucrative role: battlefield scavenger. The idea here is that you go to where there's recently been a big fight and salvage the wrecks. It's extremely dangerous doing this as where there are pvp fights there are pvp ships and most would love to blow you up. However salvaging a field of T2 wrecks could earn you hundreds of millions of isk.


Heron, Thief

Salvager II
Salvager II
Improved Cloaking Device II

Limited 1MN Microwarpdrive I
Small Ancillary Shield Booster, Cap Booster 25s
Limited Adaptive Invulnerability Field I
Cap Recharger II

'Halcyon' Core Equalizer I
'Halcyon' Core Equalizer I

Small Salvage Tackle I
Small Salvage Tackle I
Small Salvage Tackle I

7 Hornet EC-300 drones (Alternatively leave the drone bay empty and just steal some when you get to a battlefield, there's always abandoned drones about).


CPU 240 Grid 23

Designed to sneak around battles and then when the coast seems clear scoop the loot. In case you get caught it has warp stabs, sacrificing a lot of targeting capability for safety and enough shield tank to survive an interceptor long enough to get into warp. To use this you need offgrid perches at the likely fighting sites - stargates, stations, possibly POSes (although salvaging outside a hostile POS is only viable if the attackers have incapped the defences). Sit just offgrid cloaked checking the progress of the battle on D scan with your D scan range very close. When there are no ships on D scan, just wrecks, it's time to steal. Keep your D scan open as you salvage for advance warning that someone's coming back. You can make perches during fights, even off-grid perches as the ship does over 100 m/s even cloaked.Uncloaked you make perches very fast as you're a microwarp drive frigate.

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