Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Art of the Rifter (Art of, Part 1)

In Eve there are few ships classes that are as difficult to fly and as unforgiving as almost all of the  t1 Frigates.  Even "bitter vets" remember flying them with a smile, squeezing on your first good fit just to have it blown out from under you.  No matter your skill level the desire to fly them remains to some extent.  See if you can finally fit that bigger gun, or bigger tank.  Try to work out a way that rockets could be effective...  but I digress.

There are also few ships as well known as the infamous t1 Rifter.

Favorite of pirates, nullsec tackle, pirate hunters and Minmatar specialists alike.  The Rifter is the first of a long line of truly flexible Minmatar ships.  The ship can inspire fear and awe if fit properly or laughter if fit improperly.  It also highlights where SP and pilot skill meet to turn a otherwise serviceable ship into a great one.

If you haven't taken the time to read the guides availible on this workhorse frigate I suggest you take a look at the following.

Eve Online Rifter Wiki (taken from Wensley's Rifter Guide.)

These two guides delve deep into the depths of what flying a Rifter is all about.  Even the linked items at the bottom add volumes.

< Here we have what is largely my Rifter fit... at least one of them.  I don't like fitting anything above a X5 web on a ship this fragile but that's no reason why you shouldn't!  The important thing to note here are the Rigs and Faction Ammo.

Rigs add 22 DPS, enough to turn a fight in your favor.  Since they are so cheap now, each one being little more than the cost of the Rifter, the increase in performance they provide makes them a worthy expense every time.

Always bring more than one type of ammo.  On the other hand, refrain from changing ammo types during combat unless absolutely needed.  I recommend carrying faction EMP, Fusion, PP, and Titanium Sabot, as well as the T2 ammo Barrage.  EMP is great against those pesky shield tanking ships, while Fusion can work similarly well against armor tanked ships up close.  Phased plasma aka PP is great for needling Amarr t2 frigates since their lowest resist will be Thermal.  Barrage really should be your base ammo fit and flown with, only swapping to others when you know they will be needed.  Barrage allows you to strike at range, deep in your falloff at around 6-9km and still leave you with some level of being able to get out if things go poorly and orbit at a speed that makes tracking you a pain.

So why do I say refrain from changing ammo during combat?  It takes 10 seconds to reload your guns.  You have to be hitting for very very little damage for the new ammo type to make a viable change.  Enough of a change that you will be able to make up for your lost 10 seconds of damage.  In a cruiser or above this becomes less and less critical solo as you have enough time to make a change without it significantly changing the battle.  When you are in a frigate, that 10 seconds can be more than enough time to die.

To cover my other fitting modifications, In my high slots I fit a NOS instead of the usual Rocket launcher.  I like being able to sustain my tackle as well as stealing the energy required to run the small rep, even under medium and heavy neut cycles.  At times having cap can be the difference between winning and losing, or winning and letting the target warp out.  Now keep in mind that this is an AB setup, not a MWD fit.  It should be useful mostly for roaming lowsec looking for your first hundred kills, and not as fleet tackle or an interceptor replacement, unless you are in a wolfpack of similar ships and they are close by.

Advanced piloting tips. . . manual piloting, when done right, can save you a lot of ships, but getting to that point will be painful.  In the end, understanding how to engage and what to expect from you ship comes from losing more than a few.  Get used to double-clicking in space, and finding ways to twist your ship into the orbit you want vs the one the computer figures out.  Sometimes orbits can be the direct opposite way you are currently heading when you use the orbit button, so where before you were safely flying along at 1km+/- a sec, now suddenly you are down at 100m/s and a big fat target for those lazy gunners.  Usually ending badly.

The Rifter's utility as a training platform and ship is only paralleled by it's lethality.  I just love the look of the guns bristling off the sleek hull, and the Wolf and Jag take this look to a whole new level, but that is the subject for another pair of posts.


  1. @ Rigs: What you linked is a dura fit, what I tend to recommend for tackler duty. Lacking the gank of fits using Gyros or a couple of other T1 frigate fits, I favor 1x collision and 2x ambit rigs. This way I do loads of damage with barrage around 6km, where other frigates are going to be doing less. This allows my nos to really shine fueling the SAR tank.

    @ Ammo: I personally don't bother with PP: EMP strike T2 Amarr tanks usually just as well, as most pilots plug the thermal hole. Also, the tracking on the Rifter from the bonus it receives is legendary, thus you really don't need + tracking ammo.

    Regarding manual piloting, I find this most useful for pulling kiting targets in to tackle range, or approaching a target that would normally fry you if approached with zero transversal velocity. It also can be necessary if the orbit path the orbit function sets you on forces you against objects in space like asteroids: quite often bumping into an asteroid can ruin your transversal speed and force you to take damage that a frigate simply can't tank otherwise.

    Going back to the nos, there are many, many pilots that swear by the extra damage afforded by a rocket launcher. I don't buy this philosophy. a nos means you can maintain tackle under capacitor pressure, and in a pinch apply a little pressure of your own by running with minimal sustainable cap. Also, in duels with other frigates, you can outlast DPS setups by fighting in heavy falloff range, fueling repairs with the nos fueled SAR that other frigates typically can't match, at least while maintaining the agility, speed, tank and gank combination of the Rifter.

    It's a nifty ship. I often take breaks from larger hulls to roam around in a Rifter, as honestly its unimposing presence often instigates more combat that would normally be seen flying cruiser hulls or larger.

  2. @rigs, I had never thought about the ambits but that's brilliant actually, I will change my fit accordingly! That should really add to the SAR tank and win factor of Barrage.

    @ammo, I love me some PP somehow. The 10 thermal/2 Kin base split on it works great for me against shields and armor, plus I got really used to it when Minnie Ammo's used to all be different. I would say I use EMP S with it about equally now, but I still see it's utility against Amarr t2, but I can see the argument for EMP for sure.

    I flew with a rocket launcher for a while, and prefer the RL for my 400mm plate fit, but once I changed to the NOS fit I never looked back. It adds so many intangibles to the fit that I really can't pass it up in favor of the dubious DPS from the rocket launcher.

    For manual piloting, I am trying to get back into the habit of rarely using approach or orbit because it has gotten me in trouble too many times. You should head over to Bei and teach Eve SOB ( some frig lessons :)

    Maybe Astral as well, but he flys the punisher so he's not as cool as us Rifter Jockeys!

  3. I am trying to earn that title BBW. Rifter Jockey and I am open to anyone who would take the time to meet me in Bei for a 1 Vs 1 frigate fight.

    In fact I am testing outm a similar fit to the above with some rigs tonight :)



  4. That would require me to fix my sec.