Friday, 20 December 2013

Deiknymi - Rifter: Final Thoughts

Kidrith Kodachi put it best when he discussed the Rifter:

"So to summarize, we have a ship that doesn't do the most damage or have the most tank, but is superior in damage type selection and tracking at short range or alpha strike at long range. In other words, a Frigate experience in hard mode."
 - Kidrith Kodachi

He's absolutely correct. The Rifter is renowned, partly because it is the first frigate many pilots engaged in capsuleer combat in. It was my first frigate, in what seemed like eons ago. I still remember hunting pirates in the belts of Metropolis, back when it was considered a legitimate career. I had a lot of fun in that frigate, and I think it's still in a hangar somewhere, gathering dust.

However, it is no longer the easy to fit and new pilot friendly hull it once was. The other frigates, with clearly defined roles and specialties, are now much more accessible. That's a good thing, and under no circumstances should a vessel claim the monopoly on new players as the Rifter once did.

The Rifter in it's current incarnation requires far too much piloting skill and knowledge to be as effective as other craft, at least for newer pilots.

To be a effective Rifter pilot you must have knowledge of:

  • Other crafts likely lowest resistance.
  • Other crafts likely operational range (tracking and falloff )
  • Damage reduction through range control 
  • Damage reduction through tracking advantage
  • Charge management (of about 6-18 charges)
  • Damage absorption through repair
  • Damage absorption through buffer

To put that in context, here is the list for the Kontos, kiting Executioner:

  • Capacitor management
  • Damage reduction through range control
  • Other crafts likely operational range
With relatively low firepower to damage absorption ratio, the Rifter's advantages are eclipsed by the skill required to take full use of them... and again, the Slasher outperforms it in all roles due to it's higher speed, and better fitting options.

Should it be fixed?

I think so. The argument that it's still viable is a non-argument. Yes, you can still achieve victory in it, but it will be a much harder won victory than if you simply used a different hull.

To that end, I recommend either the double-bonused version, or simply adding a fourth turret. The increased damage will make it more forgiving to pilots learning how to fly, and can be put to devastating effect by more experienced ones.

The usual counters are still there: range control, tracking disruption, and other e-war.

Gosh that was fun!

This thought experiment has inspired me to go out and see, armed with the knowledge I now have, if the Rifter is actually as viable as people claim. And I've spent enough time just thinking about them. I'm itching to get behind the pilots yoke, and load those autocanons.

So, as I love to be prepared, I'll start looking at resistances, and appropriate ammunition types to use. I'll post that in the coming weeks. For now... I have a wedding to attend.

My wedding, in fact!


  1. Excellent series, I enjoyed it. Thanks for the reference.

  2. Nice work! I'm glad I found your blog (thanks to Kirith for the reference). I really enjoyed the series on the Rifter, and now I'm looking forward to reading more of your posts. And most importantly, congratulations on your wedding!

  3. They did try to fix it once already, buffing the armour hit points a little after it was clearly underpowered following the Frigate tiericide.

    The only saving grace of the Rifter is engageability - any frig pilot even remotely interested in a kill will come in after you.

  4. "Yes, you can still achieve victory in it, but it will be a much harder won victory than if you simply used a different hull."

    To be honest, I've been struggling a bit myself in deciding wether the Rifter should get a buff or not. But the argument that you presented above is not something I agree with. On the contrary I actually like having a hull that represents a sort of hard mode where it takes a lot of skill to win against an equally skilled (or more skilled) opponent. A hull that isn't for everyone. A ship that you have to know inside and out to be succesful in. A ship that isn't necessarily made for new players.