Friday, May 18, 2012

The Tornado now officially scares me.

Back in the old corp, when we were mining and missioning in a dead-end pipe in Lonetrek, our system was infected by a griefer who liked to bump miners and gloat that he was invincible, that he owned the system.  He was in an NPC corp so he was immune to war declarations, he never actually used offensive modules so he was under CONCORD's radar, and he just kept bumping people in their mining barges until they were ready to tear out their hair.  They couldn't maneuver, they couldn't stay in range of a rock, they couldn't even warp away to dock.

In short, the only way to get rid of this pest would have been to suicide-gank him, and he was too fast and too well-tanked; he only needed to be able to survive for about 15 seconds or so, long enough for CONCORD to vaporize whoever was attacking him.  Nothing but a battleship could possibly hit him hard enough quickly enough, and that battleship would then be doomed.

Then the Tier-3 battlecruisers were released.

After one frustrating night of mining that turned into a night of getting punted all over a belt by the griefer, I was sent a mail with the griefer's fit - while he'd been making a pest of himself, other people had managed to run ship scans on him and doped out what he had on his Stabber.  And I realized that, theoretically, the just-released Tornado battlecruiser might be able to do the job.  Killing the griefer would require massive alpha damage, targeted to his weakness - he had a strong shield, but he hadn't reinforced against shielding's natural EM weakness - so the natural weapon of choice would be the 1400mm artillery cannon.  Their rate of fire is slow enough that you'd think you could brew a cup of coffee as they cycle, but the amount of damage they deal all at once is, on paper, terrifying.

I'd theorycrafted a fit that would let me slam him with a warp scrambler (take his oversized microwarpdrive out of play) and multiple stasis webifiers, plus modules and rigging so that I could keep pace with him when he was webbed, plus a full rack of eight 1400's loaded with faction ammo tailored to the hole in his shield tank.

Ultimately, the griefer gave up and moved out of the system before I could test the Tornado fit, and I passed the Tornado on to someone who felt he could use it in faction warfare.

But the sense of how powerful those guns could be never left.

I picked up a Maelstrom for mission running - the only other ship capable of mounting that full rack of 1400's - but while I was bringing my skills up to par, I generally armed it with either autocannons or 1200mm artillery, because the 1400's are incredibly greedy for powergrid and CPU.  1200's are shorter-ranged and not nearly as powerful per shot, but they fire twice as fast and track better than the 1400's, as well as being much more forgiving where a ship's powergrid and CPU are concerned.  Finally, I reached a point where I could fit the 1400's on the Maelstrom without gutting my shield tank to make room for them ... and then I got a near-perfect mission to test them out: Guristas Extravaganza.

Guristas Extravaganza differs somewhat from its more popular cousin, Angels Extravaganza, in that ships will camp at longer range, out to 50km, and their electronic-warfare method of choice is ECM jamming, which will wipe out any target locks you have.  If you don't know how long you'll be able to hold the lock on your target, you'll want to make every shot count, and the 1400's massive alpha damage is just what the doctor ordered..  Of course, the 1400's are nearly useless against cruisers and frigates, but two salvos can blow through a battleship's shields and armor and leave it with its structure half-gone.

And if you turn those guns on a battlecruiser?  One salvo will take it from full shields and armor to thirty percent structure. If it's lucky.  More often than not, it was one shot, one kill.

And don't let the optimal range numbers fool you - even if the optimal on the 1400's as I had them set up was 33 kilometers, that was coupled with a 55km falloff, which meant that any one gun had a 50-50 chance of hitting a target out to 88km, so those Gurista battleships orbiting at 50km have something like an 80% chance of getting the full effect of a salvo.  Sure, you can only throw three salvos a minute, but not many NPC ships will be able to weather those three salvos.

Eight 1400's have to be respected.

And since militias are fielding Tornados, which are probably fitted either for autocannon's nasty sustained damage, or for "8x1400mm of FU," to quote Corelin of the Mad Haberdashers, it worries me that the next time I see one of those things, I'll be next in line for a one-hit kill.

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