Monday, December 19, 2011

Thoughts on the Wolf (( here is where I began my love affair with this ship. You will get a feel for what a long, often misguided process it was.))

I haven't had much flight time the past 2 days, as planetside duties have been taking every stitch of my free time. However, I was able to sit down with a calculator, and, with a little bit of help, managed to find my way through the following information and tests.

For a baseline for our test, I will be using the following fit, as concerns highs, mids, and rigs:

1 Small Projectile Burst Aerator II
1 Small Projectile Metastasis Adjuster I
4 x 200mm Autocannon II
1 x Small Nosferatu II
Gistii B-Type 1 MN Afterburner
J5B Phased Prototype Warp Scrambler

As a baseline, this fit deals 212 DPS (No gyro fitted yet) and moves 1076 M-sec; an actually respectable speed for a Wolf! The trick with the Wolf is those lowslots; Plate? Active? All gank? What size plate? Do I run hardeners?

Lets try it all. And for every test, we will focus on the wolf's weakness in combat, that cursed explosive resist hole.

Fit 1 Lows:
Small Armor Repairer II
Gyrostabilizer II
200 mm Rolled Tungsten Plates
Pseudoelectron Containment Field I (fitting issues)

Ok. That gyro takes our DPS to 257, a huge increase really; 21% over the 212 baseline with 200s and a T2 burst rig. I have a strong dislike of plates on a Wolf, for 2 reasons....

Reason 1, the Wolf is slow. Plate makes it slower.

Reason 2, we cannot repair between fights, or during prolonged fights. A SAR allows us to do both.

(( The above two concerns NEVER changed, and are how my development progressed in the direction it did))

Sadly, some sort of plate seems to be just necessary. No way around it.

In the interest of completeness, I ran my AB, scram, and  overheated repper on a rat until I ran out of cap (No nos activated) and my repper cycles 13 times until I cap out, for a total armor repped amount of 1040 points, or the equivalent of a 400 mm RTP; this (Theoretically) blows the 200mm RTP out of the water. With a cycle time of 4.08 seconds, this means I repped for 53.04 seconds before capping out.

Not bad. Now, many AF and faction frig fights will last this long, except vs things blasting away at our exp resist hole; we will look at that momentarily.

I am using that as a bare-bones baseline, of the SAR being able to rep 1040 HP. That isn't EHP, that is raw armor amount; we haven't figured in resists yet. However, that already beats the bonus of a 200mm RTP, and is quite competitive with a 400mm RPT, with 2 caveats.

1) We are not being neuted and

2) We are not fighting something with high alpha.

Well, let me comment here. I almost never, as in, less than 10% of the time, encounter neuts on other frigs and AFs, and when I DO, its on damn Jaguars. I haven't seen another Wolf neut me yet. And we WILL be packing a nos on any Active fit, right... right?

And on 2... its a Wolf. You shouldn't be attacking an artillery cane in it anyway unless you BEGIN in scram range.

So. A SAR is obviously better than a 200 RTP fit... in theory. A 200 RPT drops our speed to 1029 msec, still decent for a Wolf, but our align time now begins to suffer. A Wolf has no web, so has difficulty dictating the terms of a fight. Well, there is simply nothing we can do about that, until CONCORD decides to allow the Sebiestor engineers to weld a third midslot on the thing. That doesn't seem likely.

The lovely falloff bonus of our Wolf, combined with the high DPS and alpha of 200s, means that fighting on the edge of web range is not as huge a drawback as it may seem. Sure, yes, the other person can run away if they have a web. Often, people will burn away as fast as they can, once they realize they are losing... placing them at 0 transversal and well within our kicking distance as they do. I have seen frigates evaporate in 1-2 shots from a Wolf when they do this.

This leaves a comparison with a 400 plate fit versus our SAR fit. Lets do it!

First, unless you have stupid fitting skills AND run a fitting rig, you cannot get 200s onto a 400 plate Wolf. It just wont happen. So, its 150s and a rocket, with a gyro, dealing some nasty DPS; about 256, or 1 less than we do with a gyro. Also, let's of course assume we are both shooting Fusion and Phalanx rockets at one another, and just calculate it as pure EXP damage. With the expected DCU II, Adaptive Nano Plating II, and 400mm Plate on that Wolf, it has a 37% EXP Resist, and 2191 Armor amount.

Our little Wolf has no plate! It has only 879 Armor at 23.5% EXP Resist. Ack! We can see where this goes; At our resist, that Wolf deals an effective 196 DPS to us; our little repper will make no difference in this fight. We deal 162 DPS, assuming perfect hit quality. It will take us about 13.5 seconds to beat that armor, while he chews through ours in a mere 4.48 seconds, barely enough for one repair cycle. Ouch! Well, we obviously don't want to do this, do we?

This is a worst-case scenario; an enemy Wolf will do more raw-explosive based DPS than anything else we may face. But, we have a few advantages; we are faster, we have our nos and repper, and... oh! We have an empty low-slot! We only have DCU II, Gyro II, and Small Armor Repairer II fitted so far... what can we do?

Enter the Centii A-type Reactive plating. At a mere 4m isk each, and with an explosive bonus of 35.25% for a mere 1 PG, this is an awesome little part. This takes our little Wolf's Explosive resistance up to a more respectable 54.5%. Now, lets do some math.

(( And here is the first time I seriously considered a 4-lowslot resist active tank.))

Applied DPS = Raw DPS - % lost to resists vs specific damage type. So, DPS = 256 – (256 * .545) which equals a much more reasonable 116 applied DPS. HA! Now, our little Wolf will live for 7.57 seconds. Hrmm... still looks grim. However, that enemy wolf is still melting in the same length of time, 13.5 seconds. Our repairer will probably cycle twice at best, meaning another 160 HP, or perhaps 1.5 seconds, for a lifespan of about 9 seconds before he is through our armor. What can we do, our little SAR Wolf still has no chance, does it?

Well, on paper, no, it certainly does not. What if we lose our Gyro for an Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II? This gives us 63.6% Explosive resists, as well as helping that kinectic hole, but lowers our DPS significantly, to 212. Lets do the math.

We apply 212 DPS Vs. a 37.5% Resist, for about 133 actual DPS. He is gonna live for 16.47 seconds...

We are going to take 257 DPS vs a 63.6% Resist, for about 93 applied DPS. We have 9.45 seconds. We can now easily expect 2 repper cycles, for 160 more armor, or about 11-ish seconds of armor life. Hrmm... what can we do?

Well, first things first; can that EANM, and put our Gyro back on. We want our lifespans to be as even as possible. With the Gyro II, SAR II, DCU II, and C-type Reactive Membrane, we lasted 9 seconds or so, versus the big plated nastie's 13.5 seconds.

First, our structure. It helps. We can absorb some structure bleed versus our 60% structure resists, which will get us one or two more precious rep cycles.

Second. Transversal. Neither of us will be delivering full DPS. If we are, we are being stupid and sitting still, blasting away at something that will kill us. Our Wolf is nearly 200 msec faster than his, 1079 msec versus 911 msec (A B-type Afterburner will increase his speed to 988, but seriously, who runs faction and deadspace stuff on frigates... well, besides me?)

Transversal lowers our DPS. It also lowers his. It makes the fight last longer. THIS. IS. GOOD.

The longer the fight lasts, the more our Repairer turns the tide, and the less his big plate does. His armor never repairs, never regenerates. If we have max transversal (We are going full speed at our max orbit around him, at 2-2.5k) We will deal 72 dps. He will deal 76, due to the slightly better tracking of his guns.

72 DPS vs 37.5% resist, we deal 45 dps. Ack... gonna be here for 48.6 seconds (We wont cap out!)

76 DPS vs 54.5% resist, he deals 31 dps. Which will take him 28.3 seconds to chew through... and which our repper will cycle 7 times, repairing us for 540 armor... which will take another 17 seconds for him to chew through.

Well, in theory, he still wins! In practice, he may not. Some of those shots will simply miss, prolonging the fight a few more seconds. A few seconds is all we need, for one more rep cycle (Remember our structure?)
Obviously, this gives us a new respect for the 400 plate Wolf, no? However, it is slow... uurgh slow. It has no nos, no repairer, and suffers in longer fights. It suffers more if there is a lot of manuvering involved. We will never maintain total transveral throughout a fight. We will have low transversal at times, high transversal at other times. We want to get close, fast, and orbit. Versus a wolf... versus a Jaguar or Vengeance, who tend to fit webs, well... what can we do?

What if we put that 200 plate in? Well, as much as I hate plates, the Rifter runs one for a reason; it gives us more buffer in case some hero neuts our cap dry, and it does give more armor amount for them to chew their way through. Lets see...

Our wolf; 200 Rolled Tungsten Plate, Gyro II, Small Repairer II, Pseudoelectron DCU, 1535 Armor at
a measley 21.7% resists. The 256 DPS of the 400 plate fit chews on us at 204 effective DPS, back to 7.52 seconds. Our repper cycles twice... so 9 seconds. We still do 257 dps, and still kill him in 13.5 seconds.
The same amount of time... and we die. Now, this is versus only explosive damage. Versus kinectic, EM, and thermal, that plate will help us live a while longer. Penalties of that 200 plate? Our speed drops to 1029 M-sec, and our Align time goes down by a full half-second, from 6.1 to 6.6 seconds.

Not huge, but not changes I am particularly crazy about.

For completeness, let's run a theoretical fight against the other Big Nasty, a Jaguar! That Jag has 150mm Acs, a neut (!), an MSE II, a web, scram, and AB, and a DCU, 2 Gyros, and 2 extender rigs...

It also has 2782 Shield HP at a 54.8% Explosive resist... ungh. It deals 189 DPS, and is almost as fast as us, 1052 msec, plus a web.

Not. Good. At. All.

Even with our higher DPS, this thing is going to be able to neut us, prevent us using any sort of transversal or range advantage, and kill us dead, quite fast. His tank even regenerates on its own!

As much as I HATE to say this... what about that 400 plate fit?

Lets throw a C-type Reactive Layer and that B-type AB on our 400 plate Wolf and see if we can pimpslap that Jaguar?

Wolf; 4 x 150mm Autocannon II, OE-5000 Rocket, Gistii B-type 1 MN Afterburner, Warp Scrambler II, 400 Rolled Tungsten Plate, Damage Control II, Gyrostabilizer II, C-type Reactive membrane, Small Projectile Burst Aereator II, Small Projectile Ambit Extension I. 988 msec, 256 DPS, 2191 Armor at 54.5% EXP resist.
Jaguar; 3 x 150mm Autocannon II, Small Unstable Power Fluctuator, 1 MN Afterburner II, X5 Web, J5B Scram, Medium Shield Extender II, Gyrostabilizer II x 2, F85 Damage control, 2 extender rigs.

189 DPS, 1052 msec, 2782 shields at 54.8% Shield resist.

This is gonna be close.

Jag deals effective 86 DPS to Wolf. Wolf's tank breaks in 25.47 seconds.

Wolf deals an effective 116 DPS to Jag. Jag's tank (without regen!) breaks in 23.98 seconds.

In theory, Wolf will vaporize the Jag... in practice, no, as that Jaguar's shield regen will give him the edge. The Wolf also cannot control the range or the conditions of the fight, especially with a big, fat 400mm plate. The Jag can simply bug out it the fight turns against it.


Looks like the Wolf really, really is the runt of the Minmatar Assault Frigate litter, no matter how bad its bite. Guess I'll go lose the six I have left?

(( Losing those six led me to try the current fit.))

PS. For those interested, the best fits I have found so far have been the 400 plate fit with 150s and a rocket, or the 200/SAR fit with 200s and a nos. B-type AB fits on both, and it helps the Wolf's speed disadvantage tremendously. Not a “Bad” ship, by a long shot.

The Jaguar is simply that good.

EDIT: Yep, every stitch of this is pure theorycrafting, but it does highlight some of the weaknesses that a Wolf faces, at least versus sensible dogfighting enemy frigates. In practice, the 200 / SAR wolf does relatively well, and my tests of the 400 plate wolf have been decent, at least against things that cant rep or easily dictate range.

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