Friday, 13 December 2013

Deiknymi: Rifter - Proposals (1st Round) Damage bonus

Last time we looked at  what was not so good about the Rifter. Now let us look at giving the Rifter a new identity.

In the first round of proposals, and analysis, we will consider the ship as it is, and concern ourselves only with the improvements offered by the manufacturers. These are the so-called bonuses, called that because they are something unique ascribed to the hull.

The simplest of fixes would be to give the Rifter a slightly different bonus to it's guns. In essence, we'd be making the Rifter all about it's firepower.

Proposal 1: Rate of fire

Rate of fire increase 5%/level
Tracking 7.5%

Old DPS:     122
New DPS:   129
Range: 0.7+5.5km

Not spectacular. To compare it to an Incursus, it's Gallente rival, conservatively fit with rail guns for much greater damage projection, armour repair, and even speed:

Incursus DPS: 143
Range: 6.8+6.3m

Out-ranged and outgunned, the Rifter would lose horribly, it's only advantage being the energy vampire... unless fit with a rocket launcher for 141 dps. Hardly helpful. The Rifter does perform better in close-range tracking, but the Rifter isn't fast enough to make use of it. The drop in alpha also harms artillery fitted Rifters.

For the second option, we take inspiration from the double bonused Rupture.

Proposal 2: Double bonus

Rate of Fire 5% /level
Damage 5%/level

Old DPS:   122
New DPS: 163

Now that's a huge difference!

At least on paper. Actual damage application is lowered due to a massive hit to tracking. It no longer enjoys the excellent tracking versus Amarr lasers it had before. It is still better (by about 0.1 radians) but that's a far cry from the 0.3 radians it enjoyed before.

Alpha is kept roughly the same, meaning that artillery Rifters are also able to enjoy the damage boost, and fittings for all types stay the same. Shield Rifters would enjoy an even greater damage potential, but at the cost of any range control (choosing either a point or a web).

Whilst this is indeed a good buff to the Rifter, I still think in practice it would lose out to the more versatile Minmatar frigates: the Slasher and Breacher. Both these ships (in practice) are usually faster, and will be able to apply damage better than the Rifter. The Slasher still maintains the fitting advantages over the Rifter.

There's also the potential for over-powering the weapon systems... remember, we can add a rocket launcher for upwards of 175DPS. That's comparable to a blaster fit Incursus, but with much greater damage projection.

That said, I do like this version of the Rifter. It has the hallmarks of a great ambush/guerilla fighter, unloading a torrent of bullets before the enemy can counter. This gives the Rifter a shock trooper role, a perfect compliment to the more steady Breacher, and wily Slasher.


Commonly asked for is a fall-off bonus, instead of a tracking bonus, to differentiate the Rifter from the Slasher.

Initially I thought this was a simple thing to put the numbers down for, but after a quick review of Fall-off mechanics (which I must admit I was largely ignorant of before), it gets more problematic than that.

So lets look at that next time.

In the meantime, discuss how you feel about the above. Too over-powered? Under-powered? Bad maths? Let me know.


  1. I think changing the rifter to a double damage bonus is a good idea.

  2. As much as the matari ship philosophy is 'lots of guns' and 'lots of speed', the rifter kind of falls short in both areas. Low damage output and low speed in the current meta. I think the double damage variant is a good fit, but the real competition for the old rifter design isn't incursus, merlin, or any of the other combat frigates. It's actually the attack frigates - all of which are faster, and most of which are better at filling the roles traditionally filled by the rifter. The atron is the closest straight-up upgrade to the rifter than anything else.