Tuesday, 24 January 2017

A look at the Astero

I've been messing about with an Astero in one form or another for months now. Initially, I ran it with T2 mods - in part because I wanted to see if I would actually enjoy flying the ship before spending too much on it, and in part because I wanted to get to know the hull before deciding how best to spend that extra ISK.

Recently, however, I decided to upgrade my Astero to broaden the range of targets I can engage. This is what I'm currently flying.

Damage Control II
Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II
Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II
Coreli A-Type Small Armor Repairer

1MN Y-S8 Compact Afterburner
Small Cap Battery II
Faint Epsilon Scoped Warp Scrambler
X5 Enduring Stasis Webifier

Covert Ops Cloaking Device II
Gatling Pulse Laser II, Scorch S

Small Auxiliary Nano Pump I
Small Auxiliary Nano Pump II
Small Auxiliary Nano Pump I

For those that don't want to plug it into pyfa, that has 5710 EHP, is cap stable, repairs 145/176 EHP, and does 120/123 dps with Scorch, or 125/129 dps with IN Multifrequency. It moves at 1010/1320 m/s.

The low slots

The low slots are fairly straight forward: a damage control, some resistance plating, and a cheap deadspace repairer. Two other modules that I've seen used, but that I think are wrong, are drone damage amplifiers and ancillary armor repairers.

I think ancillary repairers are wrong because, unlike the Tormentor, the Astero does not put out enough dps to win the fight before running out of NRP. And I think the drone damage amplifiers are wrong simply because the damage you are amplifying is so low. The base drone damage with a flight of Hobgoblin II is only 99 dps. The DDA pushes that up to 119 dps, but at the cost of 700 ehp and 30 hp/s.

And remember that you can't overheat your drone dps, whereas you can overheat your repairer.

The high slots

The high slots are also fairly straightforward. While you could drop the cloak, it's not clear why you would fly the Astero at that point, and it's fairly integral to my hunting style. My choice of turret is perhaps more controversial.

The obvious choice would be some autocannons. These have lower fitting requirements, do not require cap, and give you selectable damage. However, the fitting requirements of the GLP II are low enough, and while I'm locked into EM damage, the GLP switches effectively between close range and long range without losing much damage.

This is useful because I want to scram kite (most) frigates with Scorch, but I want to get under the guns of (most) larger vessels with IN Multifrequency. It's doubly useful because I also don't have the speed to guarantee that I can control the range, so I may need decent tracking as well as the ability to hit out to scram range (and this improved tracking is one reasons I've chosen the GPL over the DLP or FPL).

As a bonus, using lasers allows me to go on long roams without worrying about how much ammunition I need to bring.

For a while I tried running with a nos or a neut. The nos just wasn't needed against anything that didn't try to neut me, while still not being enough to sustain me against larger ships that did try to neut me. And there are too many ships that don't care about cap to make running my own neut worthwhile. Keep in mind that giving up the GLP II means giving up even more dps than a DDA offers me.

The mid slots

While the prop mod, web, and scram are standard fare, the Cap Battery II will likely raise some eyebrows.

I don't see why it should, though. It keeps me cap stable, performing much the same role as a Cap Booster, without the massive cargo requirements and resupply issues that come with it. The energy warfare resistance is a nice bonus, but not the reason I run the module. As with any actively tanked ship, I'm going to do my best to avoid anything that can seriously attack my cap anyway.

I could have dropped down to a meta cap battery and fit a larger gun (FPL). But the added dps was minor (about 4 dps or so), and my actual damage application would have been worse in close orbits.

In addition, the increased cap demands of the FPL(as well as the lower cap regen of the meta module) would have forced me to use a meta web and scram to remain cap stable. I thought that the increased damage mitigation of the extra scram range, and the additional range control offered by a 60% vs a 55% web, were probably worth the 4 dps that I was giving up.

The afterburner deserves some mention. I have the fitting space to move up to a more cap efficient prop mod, but I chose not to. This is because the reduced CPU requirements allow me to fit two scanning mods, or two scrams instead of a web and scram, without modifying the rest of my fit.

The rigs

I would seriously consider damage rigs here if there were any damage rigs for drones, but there are not. And there is no point rigging for turrets when I only have one (unbonused) turret on the ship.

Instead, I have chosen to beef up the repairer. This makes sense - the repairer is where I've chosen to spend money, so adding multipliers to that module is the most efficient way of spending fitting space.

I have chosen nano pumps over the more efficient nanobot accelerators for two reasons. First, the additional cap demands mean I'm no longer cap stable, which is a headache in long, grinding fights against larger ships. The ability to just turn on the repairer and forget about it makes flying the Astero much easier than it might otherwise be.

Second, there will be times when I do get neuted. In these cases the speed of each cycle is much less important that the efficiency of each cycle. In other words, I'll repair more ehp under cap pressure with the nano pumps than I will with the nanobot accelerators.

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