Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Function Vs Aesthetics

I have a thing for symmetry and neatness. I always have, I always will. When I built Lego as a kid anything I constructed not only had to be perfectly regular, but also well defined. If it didn't look right, I broke it apart and started again. The same goes for anything I design today, with everything being well-proportioned and refined with the 'less is more' motif attached. By profession I'm an engineer, and a lot of engineers will know that more than often things just can't be completely symmetrical. So I have managed to (mostly) accept that as long as things are at least 'neat and tidy' then I will pass them. But I think the quality of my work swings more towards a level of 'OCD' than 'pride'.

My girlfriend might be thinking at this point why do I not adopt this attitude with house cleaning? I just don't. My house seems to emanate a symmetry-and-tidiness dampening field that affects only me. I can't explain it, so don't make me try.

When it comes to flying ships in EvE, it goes without saying that I will always opt for symmetrical designs. I almost have to. If I ever turned up to a mission-blitz with my Corp in a Moa, it would be like arriving at work wearing yesterdays underwear and a very ill-fitting suit. I would feel dirty and ridiculous.

Being an engineer, I have even found myself mulling over some of the irregular ship designs and decided they clash with physics. Many of the vessels should not be able to fly in a straight line, unless they have a component of ridiculous mass hidden in the hull on one side of the vessel. Some of them just seem to have either too many rocket motors or oversized exhaust nozzles bias to one side.

But who cares? It's a game, and what's more it's science-fiction. Anything is possible in science fiction. But everyone has their quirks, right? Some people worry about CCP nerfing ships, I worry about CCP not positioning the engines correctly about the vessel's centre-of-gravity. It takes all sorts. And who am I to question the design teams' work, anyway? I'm not trying to take anything away from the folks over there - it's better than what I could have ever done. And as space-ship designs go, they can be as ogre-looking as the designer likes - no atmosphere, no stream-lining required!

So enough about my peculiar mental characteristics.

Being a CareBear, much of my income has come from running missions. So, in light of everything I have just said, you can probably guess my Caldari ship-choice as I've progress through the levels.

L1 - Merlin
L2 - Caracal/Hawk
L3 - Drake
L4 - Drake/Rokh

For those who know their ships well enough, all of the above are missile-platforms (apart from the Rokh which is a hybrid. Yes, the Merlin is, too, but at that stage of the game it doesn't really count). Apart from the Rokh, I'm sure that most Caldari pilots will have followed a similar pattern up until the Drake. After the Drake, however, many would have jumped into the Raven. Me being me, I opted for a Rokh due to the Raven's very irregular design. But (as just mentioned) the Rokh is a hybrid ship, and nearly all my weapon skills are in missiles. So I had to spend a month or two learning gunnery skills just so I could fly the Rokh effectively. Is that being ridiculous? Probably. But then I will play in a way that makes me happy, as I'm the one paying for my account.

I managed to get the Rokh in a set-up where I could perma-run an X-Large shield-booster and chuck out 515 DPS. I was running all Level-4's no problem, providing a few sensible tactics were employed in some of the more demanding missions. It was working out superbly until I made the fatal error of leaving my drones in aggressive-mode on one particular run. My overview was suddenly filled top to bottom with blinking reds. The Rokh's shields quickly fizzled down and I began to align to warp out. I recovered my drones and casually clicked the 'warp-to' icon.


I started spamming the icon. Still, nothing. Then I realised. I had been warp-scrammed by three or four Frigates.

A lot of swear words exploded out of my mouth. There was no way I could deploy drones and kill the Frigates with the rate my armour was being chewed up. It was a horrible feeling as my Rokh popped. My cockiness and over-confidence had got the better of me. Not only that, but I now carry the shame of losing a Battleship to an NPC mission. D'Oh!

So, back to the Drake. But I didn't mind returning to that ship. Sure, it was taking me far longer to complete missions, but it is such a good ship. I also think its one of the best looking hulls in the game.

While I rebuilt my funds, I started thinking about a new mission-running vessel. I thought long and hard as I compared my missiles skills to gunnery. Missiles were winning by an obscene amount, so it made sense to go back to them. The Raven only has 3 DPS more than the Rokh with my skills, and the shields are 10,000hp inferior. But the Caldari Navy Raven is a different matter. It comes in at 586 DPS with shields 10,000hp superior than the Rokh (it's worth noting here that I always fit out my mission ships to run cap stable, hence the low DPS figures compared to what could actually be squeezed out. And, no, I don't like pulsing the SB!). I took a deep breath and (finally) decided that it was more important to have function over aesthetics.

But then a Corp mate suggested the Rattlesnake. I didn't even know what that was at the time, but now I know it's a variant of the Scorpion. The Scorpion is a ship I had always over-looked, and not just because it was once an irregular design. I knew it was geared for ECM, and I have no place in ECM warfare, so I never considered it for anything. I was almost embarrassed when I suddenly learned only recently that there are a total of four Scorpion hulls.

After some extensive research through forums, I decided on the Scorpion Navy Issue. Although the Rattlesnake seems like the T1-variant Daddy, I do not like the idea of relying on drones for DPS (for those that do not know, the Rattlesnake is a passive-fit drone-ship with an amalgamation of Caldari and Gallante technology). The SNI variant, however, drops it's ECM role to become a missile-platform.

But the biggest bonus for me is the design. I absolutely love the look of the new(ish) Scorpion hull, and anyone else I've spoken to has also given it a big thumbs-up.

At 542 DPS, it's lagging the CNR's 586 (remember I always fit cap-stable for perma-running an XL-SB). But the SNI's shield is 5,000hp superior. To me, that's an offensive-to-defensive trade I can live with. Plus, the SNI come's in at around 400mil ISK, 200mil cheaper than the CNR. I've only ran a few missions so far, and none have really been testing. But in some cases I haven't even needed to turn the shield-booster on, so it looks promising.

And the best part of all this? I have a missile-platform with a symmetrical hull! Well, in truth, the bridge is slightly offset on the Scorpion. And even the Rokh has an additional structure half-way down on it's starboard side. But, really, I'm not that pedantic!

However, sooner or later I'm sure the day will come where I will have to put aside my petty quirk and step into a Golem.


  1. I fly a rattlesnake and i absolutley love it. Tanks anythign you can trhough at it, does respectable dps, and looks cool while doing it. highly recomend ti if you got the skills to use heavy and sentry drones.

  2. Yeah, I'm sure the Rattlesnake is one of those vessels where I'll shout 'Why didn't I get this ship in the first place!?' when I finally get one!

    I can't use sentry drones although I can use T1 heavies. So I don't think my drone skills are quite strong enough at the moment to make the Rattlesnake effective. I'm on Cruise Missiles L5 at the mo, so it'll be a bit of a wait before I can get those drone skills topped up!

    Thanks for you comment!