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Friday, December 5, 2008

T1 Astrometrics Frigates

This particular article will be about the lowly T1 astrometrics frigates. These ships consist of the Magnate, the Heron, the Imicus and the Probe class frigates. For all intents and purposes these should be considered the "jeep" class vehicle of the T1 fleets. Let's take a look at the common capabilities of all these vessels.

Cargo capacity: As a class of vessels these ships all have a base capacity of 320m3. The exception is the Probe. It's capacity will vary between 352 and 400m3 depending on the skill of the pilot. This is better than the mining frigates (which vary between 236.5 and 293.75m3 depending on specific class and pilot skill). It is this specific capability that gives this class of vessels their main application.

Drones: These are the drone carriers of the frigate fleet. All of them can carry at least 10m3 of drones and the Imicus can carry 15m3.

Two high slots: All of them are restricted to only 2 high slots which limits their offensive ship born armament. On the flip side, they have enough CPU to mount recon and scan probe launchers as well as cloaks, tractor beams and salvagers. Even with these modules they maintain a minimal self defense capacity with their drones.

An astrometrics bonus: Not as good as the cov-ops but it's there. Because of this they will rarely be used in this capacity except by newbies learning the ropes of exploration. And even those who use it in this capacity will graduate quickly to the cov-ops before getting serious about exploration. The bonus differencial between the cov-ops and the astrometrics frigates kick in at cov-ops skill level 3 but everyone who flies cov-ops at least gets cov-ops 4 asap so that's hardly a consideration.


Jeep: The WWII Jeep is classified as a 1/4 ton truck. This is usualy an indication of it's carrying capacity. It's also indicative of it's primary intended usage: Light cargo movement in and arround the battlefield. It is in this capacity that this class of vessels most resemble the Jeep. With mission running one tends to favor the destroyers/battlecruisers for dedicated salvage operations. These vessles are vulnerable in low sec due ot their horrible 0-warp characteristics. My standard probe fir has 2 Inertial Stabilizers on the lows and a Tractor Beam/Salvager combo in the highs. Some will argue that cargo expanders are more useful. It must be pointed out that there are better ships if you want to move volume arround - even in low sec. The whole point of using an astrometrics frigate as a cargo ship is that with inertial stabilizers it becomes much more survivable in low sec. Adding Inertial Stabilizers on the lows significantly enhances it's 0-warp characteristics. Hence it's survivability. It is also rather in-expensive to lose. This makes it rather ideal to move ammo and modules arround low sec from base to forward base and back. Policing up recent battles. Taking care of low sec rat/mission/battle wrecks. The point here is that even with a Prowler available to me, having one of these at my forward base became rather useful all the time.

Recon/Exploration: Slap a cloak and a probe launcher in this ship and it becomes the poorman's cov-ops. This role should only be reserved for newbies trying out the mechanics before going down the road towards cov-ops ships.

Drone boat: Should the pilot be working on their utility drone skills (e-war drones/repper drones) or want to work out the mechanics of working with larger drone formations early in their career, these are the boats to take. This can add some rather tasty options to a frigate fleet and should not be discounted as a valid tactic.

Cyno ships: With their large cargo holds these can usualy contain two to four loads of cyno generation fuel (more with expanders) depending on pilot cyno generation skill. This makes them useful when on extended ops moving capital fleets around. Thier cheap price usualy means that the most expensive part of being a cyno ship is the cyno modules itself.

All in all using these as low sec salvager/light cargo carriers is rather useful. If you decide to use them in high sec for this purpose, you could exchange expanded cargo holds for the inertial stabilizers but generaly I tend to keep the IS anyways. The other roles are rather situational. The greatest thing about these ships is their inexpensiveness. If you get unlucky and get jumped by an on the ball oponent you are never out a lot of isk. Note that it is a BAD idea to use these to transport expensive and valuable BPOs, but for most light cargoes (salvage, bpc, ammo etc...) they make great little courriers. Their warp speed of 6 and their nimbleness with inertial stabilizers make them rather quick to get arround as well.

1 comment:

Leumas said...

Good information.

I have been wondering what to do with the Magnate I picked up.