Thursday, 12 December 2013

Deiknymi: Rifter - The Flaws

Last time we did a brief overview of the Rifter. We discussed it's strengths, and a little history. But now the bad news.

It is now obsolete.

When ship designers set about updating their blueprints, the Rifter was the baseline. The Incursus is designed to out brawl an armour Rifter at close range. The Merlin is designed to out damage a shield Rifter. Even the humble Executioner is designed to mimic the Rifter's scram range kiting ability, but with better damage projection (with the added bonus of the Kontos variant).

The Rifter sits in the middle of all the combat vessels, it's once vaunted flexibility now a curse. Now that the relative combat potential of frigates is equal, it simply cannot compete in any one area.

It can b argued that's it's primary strength is speed, but it is not competitive in this area, even compared to some other armour frigates.

Much worse, it's little brother, the Slasher, out performs it in a projectile-based flexible brawler/scram range kiter role, and most fits simply work better on the more nimble attack frigate. That ship even has more fitting options that the Rifter, often utilizing it's 4 mid slots for Electronic warfare.

The role of flexible craft is adopted by another vessel. The Tristan with it's drones can field a far greater variety of fits than the Rifter can, and thanks to it's more sturdy Hull, can withstand similar damage with less given to tank. The Rifter, once loved and adored for it's fitting and flight flexibility, is now without an identity.

Many pilots of New Eden have said the Rifter is now useless to fly, and by and large, I agree with them. I never worry about fights with this particular vessel. I have lost to many different ships, proving I am a terrible pilot. However, I have never lost against a Rifter.

Many pilots believe it is time to send the Rifter back to the shipyards, to be re-fitted for another role. But what role should that be? What it the identity of the Rifter in the modern world?

Most would argue that the Rifter is now a simple brute brawler. When placed aside the Slasher, it would appear so. When placed alongside other brawlers, it is simply under-powered. It has advantages, but these advantages are much too small to make a difference.

In summary:

  • No longer the most flexible
  • Not fast enough to make use of it's firepower application advantages
  • Over-shadowed by the Slasher
  • Relatively low firepower

The list is actually quite small, and there are pilots out there earning kills with the Rifter. It is, however, objectively less appealing than other frigates.

Next time, let us look at what to do about this.

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