A group of crafty engineers fond of all things explosive had announced a breakthrough in rocket technology a few months ago. In fact, they were mere weeks away from sealing deals with all sorts of weapon manufacturers.
As someone who is at least equally fond of things going boom, I immediately sat down to study missile launchers and specifically rockets when I got wind of the press release. Before, I disregarded rockets completely. They just didn't pack enough of a punch and would lose even more of their already limited damage potential against small and fast ships - in other words, they were utterly useless, even on ships that were designed to utilize them.
Suddenly however, those ships were to receive a significant boost in firepower. Among them was the Malediction, an interceptor of Khanid design; full tackling capabilities, extended warp disruption range, highly durable armor.
The setup I had come up with would be able to pin down targets from 13 kilometers away, i.e. web them and shut down any sort of micro warp drive they might have. A top speed of 1.7km/s would furthermore assure that any ship not flown by a true piloting wizard would have a great chance of ending up within my event horizon sooner or later. Well, ideally sooner - can't keep those midslots overheated forever.
Granted, the damage against a static ball of papier-mâché still wouldn't match a trifecta of blasters or pulse lasers. But pilots tend to stay on the move and fly ships that are made of slightly tougher materials. Rockets also provide any damage type you could wish for and deliver their damage much more steadily than turrets.
After looking at all the pretty numbers and graphs and comparing them with my practical experience, I was sure to have a serious contender on my hands. I could in fact barely wait for its delivery.
When it finally arrived, I would primarily roam in the Malediction for the next few days. I was eager to find out how well it actually fared against other combat interceptors. Luckily, I got to find out rather soon against one of those: a Crusader.
We met on a gate - not my favorite place to fight, especially when I encounter non-flashies, given how extremely important the first few seconds of any interceptor duel are. Regardless, I was pretty confident that I could take this one.
Crusaders tend to load Scorch, thus mainly deal EM damage; something the Malediction's armor easily deals with. For some reason that utterly eludes me, people also favor a micro warp drive on their Saders in place of an afterburner, yet still fit warp scramblers.
When I eventually dropped cloak, the pilot of the Crusader wasted little time and went straight for me. I however pulled off one of my personal pet peeves yet again and started to lock my target only after the first laser pulses had evaporated my shields (exhibit A why I loathe engagements against neutrals on gates or stations).
So my Malediction stumbled around a fair bit until it finally got a lock - with maybe two thirds of its armor left. However, now the nimble Crusader got to enjoy a pretty chill velocity of about 300m/s and a couple volleys of Caldari Navy Thorn Rockets to the face. A contest this was no more.
Considering my much-less-than-perfect performance, I was truly impressed and surprised how easy this fight had turned out to be. Even against a Crusader with an afterburner, my Malediction should still come out ahead.
A couple days after the Crusader kill, another interesting test subject showed up on my scanners; it was a Caldari Navy Hookbill, a rocket boat just as mine, but with a shield tank. Now you can fit a Hookbill in a way that would tear any Malediction to microscopic shreds. Still, there are plenty of ways to fit it badly, so I opted for probing the pilot's combat record.
Lo and behold, her most recent loss had been a Hookbill with the following mid slots: medium shield (duh), warp disruptor, micro warp drive, tracking disruptor (teehee), cap recharger ... ... Aw yiss, no web!
I swiftly made myself comfortable 50km from the local sun's warp-in. Soon thereafter, a
The proper approach was crucial, but wouldn't require pinpoint-precise helmsmanship thanks to my extended warp scrambling range. I started moving towards the Hookbill at an angle, afterburner still off. The Hookbill did more or less the same from what I could see - apparently its pilot was just as aware of how important the initial maneuvers would be.
We closed in on each other like this for a while. With 40km between us, the Hookbill suddenly changed the angle of approach and its micro warp drive roared up. With my mids overheated, I had to immediately neutralize the new angle again and crank up my own propulsion systems.
The distance plummeted rapidly - too rapidly for the Hookbill to pull off another turn. Scrammed and webbed, we were now engaged in a fierce brawl. I still had to chew through a good amount of shields however.
As against the Crusader, I could still move freely, while my target was almost completely immobilized and had to deal with the full force of my rockets. My own speed consequently negated a great chunk of the Hookbill's damage. Finally its shields gave in and my armor was still in good shape, which sealed the deal. I'm fairly sure that three of the four useless, yet shiny mid slot modules exploded out of spite. Oh well.
Needless to say, I love the Malediction. Can't wait to throw it at a Taranis, king of Überceptors - I'm 50/50 on how that'll turn out, as long as it isn't dual propped (99/1 on that one).