Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Interceptors in small gangs

I'm not exactly falling in love with interceptors. In fact, I fit out a couple of Taranis interceptors as close-range blaster boats, and have been having great success (haven't lost one yet); in my longer-range railgun Taranis, I was struggling against ships I could handle solo in my Incursus.

Yesterday I had an experience, however, that showed me the role interceptors can play in piracy: I spotted a Cerberus heavy assault ship (HAC) in the system where I was in my blasteranis, and called in some corp support. There was no way I would mess with a Cerberus in anything short-range. A single interceptor tackled the Cerberus and held him there for well over 20 minutes while we tried to kill it. I had time to wait out a criminal timer and fetch a Vexor; I sent in 15 drones against the Cerberus, and eventually he popped them all. Another corp mate likewise lost all his drones. The whole time our interceptor pilot was pinging away with some light weapon that barely registered on the Cerberus' shields.

After 20 minutes, we had the Cerberus down to about 40% shields--not much to show for such a long time. As we were sitting there scratching our heads trying to think of where to come up with some DPS that could hurt the Cerberus while surviving its missiles, the Cerberus managed to briefly get out of range of our warp scrambler and escape.

Obviously, it's frustrating not to be able to do significant damage. In my Taranis, I can kill many ships in a matter of seconds. However, any ship that can tank what I dish out--and scram me while he's at it--will kill me. The flip side of locking a ship down from long range is survivability. My mate in a relatively easy-to-train-for interceptor survived more than 20 minutes against an HAC. Our corporation likes to tackle ships, and then hold them there for 5 minutes, 10, even 20...until before long a swarm of light interceptors is buzzing around the target, eventually bringing it down like so many piranha on a wild boar.

I'm considering learning how to fly the Crow interceptor built by my own Caldari people; to its' survivability it adds a rack of missile launchers that can do significant damage at any speed. In the meantime, I'll just be doing it the old-fashioned way...up close and personal.

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