The Rifter

Posted: August 19, 2013 in Uncategorized

The first frigate I ever flew was a Tristan. It was the natural choice for a Gallente born. I remember liking the ship quite a lot. But not long after my first few stumbling steps  in New Eden, I came across writings about the Rifter. It was described as the king of frigates and I loved its rugged and mean look. I started reading Wensley’s Rifter Guide andMiura Bull’s and Jack Dancer’s blogs from beginning to end. And through their writings I found a purpose and a mission in New Eden. I was going to be pirate and  become a member of the famous Black Rebel Rifter Club. And I wanted to do it all in a Rifter.

The time in Black Dragon Fighting Society and shortly thereafter in the Black Rebel Rifter Club was a great enviroment for a newbie pilot trying to learn the ropes. Thanks to the great pilots in those corps and their willingness to share of their knowledge, it didn’t take long until I got my first kill and then some. As with a lot of people starting out playing Eve, what impressed me the most at first was pilots in T1 frigates who managed to take down larger boats. So apart from getting in to scraps with frigate pilots as young as myself, I hunted larger prey as well. My first Hurricane kill is still one of my most fondest memories in Eve. This hunt for taking down larger boats in a Rifter reached its climax not too long ago, when I managed to pin down an Abbadon that was missioning at a site.

After the Abbadon kill I did some thinking. I wanted to become a better pilot and I had realised some time ago that hunting larger boats wasn’t the way. Taking down a battleship doesn’t have a lot to do with good piloting. It’s rather doing your homework before engaging. Who’s the pilot? How old is he? How much battle experience does he have? How does he fit his ships? Does he use neuts? What kind of drones does he use?  These are the types of questions that are of importance when you engage a larger boat. If you get satifying answers to most of them, cross your fingers, say a prair and engage full throttle. And if you’re lucky you’ll be the only one with your target in the system.

So I wanted a new challenge. And I found it on the R1DER forums. There  I read a post about the Rifter and  the difficulty in taking down Merlins with double mag stabs. Some members of R1FTA had even staged sparring matches to see if the AC Rifter could somehow win the fight. It turned out that the Rifter was not up to the challenge. During the same period I found an interesting and unorthodox fit by Cerain on the forums. It was a long-range autocannon fit that operated in overheated web range. Problem was that it used a tracking enhancer and the nerf was due in a couple of weeks. What this meant was that I wouldn’t be able to use faction ammunition after the nerf, but had to go with Barrage instead. I figured it was worth a try though and decided to give it a try after a few minor changes to the fit. The reason why I didn’t go for an arty fit was that I needed to be able to take a peak at the Merlin before the engagement to make sure he wasn’t rail fit. This also meant that my opponent would have time to check out my own weaponry, and if he would see artillery turrets from afar, I didn’t think it was likely that he would want to engage if  in a afterburner blaster fit.

So I wanted to find an experienced pilot in a blaster fit Merlin with two mag stabs. Not the easiest thing to do. My first fight against an experienced pilot in a blaster Merlin took place in Ahrner. After the fight the pilot said he would quit Eve since he had lost against a Rifter. It was a good fight but it hadn’t been a double mag stab. Shortly thereafter the corp headed out to Molden Heath for a summer campain. Frig fights were scarce to say the least during the coming month but I tried to make the best of it. At the end of the campain i finally had a good fight against a Merlin that fitted the bill though, and against one of the pilots that I had looked up to since starting to play Eve. I can still remember looking at my hands after the fight. They were shaking like never before.

After Molden Heath I hit the wall. I was burnt out and was considering quitting Eve for a while. I tried taking a break, but couldn’t stop myself from hitting the undock button in search for more explosions. I was urged again and again to try another ship. I had been flying only the Rifter for quite some time but I wasn’t tired of it. On the contrary all the talk of the Rifter being underpowered, nerfed to bits and a shadow of its former self fueled my resolve in trying to make it work. I realised that my liking for a pixelated ship that was now considered one of the worst ships for solo pvp was highly irrational. But my mind was made up. I was going to make the best of it, at least until I had capped the skills and felt I was out of ideas.

I was still trying to come up with something new to do in Eve. Something to make it more fun again. In the end I decided to leave R1FTA and search for something smaller. After a short stint in my own little corporation that I shared with my lazy and incompetent alts, I joined Screaming Hayabusa. At this point in time I  had also realised what the next step in becoming a better pilot would have to be. I wanted to fight some of the best frig pilots I knew. Most of the ones I knew of lived within the space of four systems: Hevrice, Jovainnon, Aschee and Adirain. The homes of the Tuskers, The Black Rebels and Stay Frosty. I set up base in Jovainnon and that would be the start of one of the best learning experiences I had ever had in New Eden.

I tried to get into as many fights as possible with pilots I looked up to. I was experimenting with different fits, different tactics and different approaches to different targets. I was losing quite a few ships, but I also managed to win a lot of fights I never thought were possible for me to win in a Rifter. And most importantly, I was learning a great deal.

I had tried for quite some time to figure out how to  tackle good pilots in both blaster and rail boats since those seemed the most common. After some months of tinkering I was lucky to found ways to use speed and range to the Rifters advantage: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. I found ways to utilize the Rifter’s superior tracking and relative speed advantage: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. And most importantly, I found a way to hunt down those annoying LML Condors who happily kite unwelcome capsuleers to death inside plexes by the slowest means possible: 1, 2, 3. I also had some really good fights along the way that I should have lost horribly, this one being the the craziest fight I’ve ever had in a Rifter. I think I brought back that ship to life two or three times while spamming the armor repairer as my cap went dry.

I think I have reached some sort of end at this point. I’m done experimenting. Now I want to see if I can actually make all these ideas work in practice without losing too many ships during a month. Not because I care about my win/lose ratio, but because I can’t afford losing as many ships as I have up until now.

I’ve been wondering lately what some of the really good pilots could achieve in this hull if they tried. I still consider myself an utter noob and not a very good pilot at that, and I still make many mistakes. Some of the fits I experimented with have been, to say the least, embarrising. But all and all, it’s been fun. And I’m still having a lot of fun flying Rifters and will probably continue to do so until I max out the skills for it. Should only be about 4-5 months left. Phew!

I would also like to thank everyone who has fought me and who has taught me how to become a little less of a sucky pilot.

I guess I just needed to get this out of my system. Hope you enjoyed the wall of text.

  1. Urkhan Law says:

    Rifters, impossible not to smile when I’m in one.
    Fly it like you stole it Crake o/

  2. Taoist Dragon says:

    \o/ once R1fta always R1fta they say. 🙂

    The rifter is a great ship that just feels more minmatar than ever before. Added bonus now is that everyone and his dog will engage them regardless of their actual ability cos everyone thinks they are crap now. I still fly mine and have plenty more to derp around.

  3. Ashton Smyth says:

    Mate, some news for you, you are a really good pilot. Great read, thanks for posting. You have really stoked the fires of my frigate fancies 🙂

  4. Miss Carry says:

    I remember when you came fresh into R1FTA and punctured me with all sorts of questions 🙂

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