The Great Interceptor Debate

So a long discussion insued tonight.  Long story short, one of our little Casualties group is out in null sec pulling strings, and a few other pilots have moved out with him.  So he tells us that interceptors aren’t really used for tackle so much as for scouts.  I’m down with that – and he says that Ares and Stilletto are the only thing that people use.  “Aww,” I says, “no love for my Malediction huh?”  “Nope,” he says – “it doesn’t have the speed or the tank.”   Which leaves me scratching my head, because it has the same speed as the Ares and better tank.  So he starts asking around in their large alliance to their inty scout pilots and with him as the go between, I am told that I am, basically…nuts. 

Now, I have no problem with that.  After all, I’m not out in null sec and they are, so I’m sure they know best what works…

BUT.

I cannot for the life of me get the fits that are being described to me to match the reality of the numbers crunched in HQF.  And I know sometimes what people think incorrectly becomes fact and later passes into the realm of impregnable logic and beyond that – to superstition.  The discussion ended at an impass in game, so, I’m bringing it to you. 

I fit all four of the speed interceptors (the 13.5 AU/sec warp variety) in HQF, with the following guidelines:

Lows – all Nanofibre Internal Structure II.

Mids – 1mn MWD II, Warp Scrambler II, leftover slots for tank (Small Shield Extender II’s)

His – whatever t2 guns will fit, Small Neut II if leftover slots.

Rigs – Small Auxiliary Thruster II’s

So, here’s how it stacks up:

DPS:

  1. Raptor (124.52)
  2. Ares (83.02)
  3. Malediction (78.27)
  4. Stilletto (65.23)

Raptor wins here, but it is not fitted with a neuter, there’s not enough powergrid.  But, DPS is not the point in null sec.  These are scouts.

Tank:

  1. Stiletto (2,701)
  2. Malediction (2,573)
  3. Raptor (2,169)
  4. Ares (2,046)

The Stiletto is a tough little bugger, no doubt about it.  My Mal comes in second with a solid tank, after it there’s a big drop.  Before you go crying “armor tank!” bear in mind it has similar shield HP as the Stiletto and better than the Ares.  But tank is really secondary…these are scouts, we want manuever and speed.

Agility:

  1. Malediction (2.87)
  2. Ares (2.93)
  3. Stiletto (3.02)
  4. Raptor (3.07)

My Malediction comes out on top.  Granted, it beats the Ares by 5 hundredths of a second, but every little bit counts right?  Still, scouts need speed as much as anything and that, is what I am told, more than anything why the Stiletto and Ares are favored.  So check this out…

Speed:

  1. Maledicition (5,086.64)
  2. Ares (4,997.67)
  3. Stiletto (4,809.81)
  4. Raptor (4,650.89)

Yep.  Look at that.

So, again, I don’t question the reality – null sec pilots are using Stilettos and Ares all day long.  And I don’t question that these pilots have solid fits and know exactly what they are doing.  So – what am I missing? I don’t know much about Thermodynamics and overheating, but I don’t think it would give a disproportionate bonus to one racial inty over another right?

Or is it possible…just possible…that people took a general assumption (Minmatar ships are fastest) and turned it into a golden rule?  And that people took another general assumption (Amarr ships are slowest because they are the heaviest armor tankers) and turned it into a tie breaker between the next two highest baseline velocities?

Is it possible that I’m right?

6 thoughts on “The Great Interceptor Debate

  1. Stilletos and Ares are the only thing people use? Bullshit. Complete and utter crap.

    Basically an interceptor needs only two things to be useful: speed and a point. Agility, tank, DPS are all extraneous unless you are trying to solo or in very small gang.

    1. lol, well I believe you at leaast. But you should probably tell Consortium. That’s the alliance channel my incredulous questions were being copied into and the odd responses were being copied out of. Personally I think the Mal would be lovely choice given its speed. The innate tank bonus is just gravy on the biscuit, so to speak.

  2. Phantam

    Stupid question but what skills were u using for the fits… Did u set gal frig and any other racial skills to V?

  3. Xochine

    Wow! I did not realize it was that long ago we had this conversation.
    Seeing as to how I am “one of our little Casualties group” I feel it necessary to clarify the debate.

    Yes. Interceptors are predominately used as “scouts” in Null Sec but can also be used as tackles, especially against the unwary missioner not paying attention to intel or local.

    In my time in Null Sec, the majority of the interceptors that I have come across,on both our side and our enemies (Drone Russians and the Northern Coalition), are either the Gallente Ares or the Minmatar Stiletto.
    This is not theory, rather a first hand perspective on what I witness daily with roaming gangs in and around the Insmother region.

    When HarbingerZero asked me about the Malediction I decided to inquire on why the Ares and Stiletto are so popular in null sec. The reason given to me, in multiple forms, is that the Ares and Stiletto are the fastest of the four based on fits. Again…based on “fits”. Now I can appreciate the work that was put into your above analysis but there are a few things of which should be considered:

    1. Out of the four interceptors listed, the Stiletto has 1 more MID slot than the other three and the Ares has one more LOW slot than the other three. As you know, the MID slots are used for shield tanking and tackle mods; whereas, the LOW slots are used for armor/resist and speed mods. The Raptor and Malediction both have their extra fitting sitting in the high slot of which is primarily used for damage mods. As we’ve already discussed, the interceptors are not used as a dps ship.

    2. Both the Ares and Stiletto Frigate bonuses increase their turret damage and TRACKING SPEED. Ask yourself what is the most common type of dps that is used vs an interceptor?!

    3. Out of the 4 ships listed, the Malediction has the shortest targeting range.The Raptor has the longest due to its innate bonus to turret optimal.

    4. At it’s max innate resist bonus, +25% to all armor (comes from Ammar Frigate V) , the Malediction still has a weaker tank than the Stiletto, no resist bonuses, to EM damage. EM is the primary pvp damage type.

    5. I’m not sure how HQF shows the Malediction as a faster ship than the Ares. The Ares is faster than the Malediction at base: Ares (Max Velocity = 450m/s) vs Malediction (Max Velocity = 435m/s). Neither ship receives innate bonuses to velocity, both ships have the same calibration and number of hardpoint upgrades. As stated earlier, the Ares has one more extra low slot than the Malediction meaning that anyway you cut it, the Ares can fit more nanos than a Malediction.

    Finally. In your analysis you fit all ships with the exact same fittings. In practice the ships are fit quite different from each other based on their individual strengths/weaknesses. The Stiletto has the strongest natural tank and the Ares has the fastest natural speed. The Stiletto has an extra med slot meaning it has the option of fitting an extra webifier (indirect increase to speed) or tank (shield). The Ares has an extra low meaning it can fit an extra nano (direct speed) or tank (resist/armor). In addition, they both have innate bonuses to turret damage and tracking speed, wrapped with a longer targeting range than the Malediction.

    I disagree that general assumption leads to standardized fittings. Different environments call for different setups, most of which are derived from tweaking through actual play and loss in a live environment rather than theory craft.

    -Xo

    1. Xo and I love to debate. I tell everyone this so that you all don’t freak out and think this is personal between he and I. We both enjoy the heck out of it.

      First off – I do acknowledge that Xo has real life null sec experience. And I do not deny what he tells me are the favored birds and the rate at which he sees them in operation on their daily roams. Quite simply – he is there and I am not, and furthermore, I know he is a reliable eyewitness and person.

      Point by Point Rebuttal:

      1. Agreed, interceptors are not dps ships. Please note, armor tanking the Ares reduces both its speed and its tank compared with shield tanking it. It makes no sense whatsoever to armor tank an Ares if speed, tackle, and tank are your concerns as a pilot.

      2. From (1) above: “As we’ve already discussed, the interceptors are not used as a dps ship.” So…tracking speed bonuses are a moot point, aren’t they? At the very least they are purely a secondary concern to other areas.

      3. Yes, the Mal is shorter in targeting range by 3,125. Which is space it will cover in less than a second. As I said above, I do suppose every little bit counts. Pilots need to ask themselves – would I prefer: 10% more targeting range or 5% more speed. We’ve already said, speed is everything. Also worth noting – the Mal has 25% more sensor strength to counter enemy ECM with.

      4. If EMP is the primary damage type, then the Mal helps you even more with dps. But this is a meaningless red herring. Switching the damage spread to EMP instead of Omni changes the overall numbers of the four ship – *but not the order in which they are ranked above by tank.*

      5. MWD’s velocity bonus is modified by the Mass of the ship (an often overlookted attribute btw). The Ares is 10% heavier than the Mal, and thus does not get as big a bonus from the MWD. This is also the reason the Stiletto is not as fast as the Mal – it’s a heavier ship.

      Again, I’ll concede the point about localized, fight-specific fittings. But I think I make a strong argument for the Mal being at least equal to the Ares and Stiletto in its use as a null sec scout/tackler. And ultimately, that’s all I was setting out to do.

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