EDIT: Didn’t notice but I saved this draft initially a week ago, but when I posted it today (7th September) it kept the date when I first started writing the post. So I technically posted to the past.
Perhaps it’s due to my close proximity with lots of people who fly ships designed by Minmatar starship engineers, but I’ve recently been growing more and more attached to their reddish, rusted exteriors, their masses of fins and bits and pieces sticking out in every direction.
I haven’t started flying them properly yet, but I wanted to dig deeper to understand why, just like my infatuation for frigates has suddenly toppled over for cruisers, I’ve suddenly become obsessed with how to use projectile weapons instead of hybrids and drones.
But wait. Minmatar ships aren’t simply characterised by projectile weapons alone. No. So what ARE the Minmatar?
I think if there was one ship that could characterise the race as a whole, it would be the Scythe Fleet Issue.
With a 5/5/5 slot layout, 4/4 turret/launcher hardpoints, a modest 25m3 drone bay/bandwidth and bonuses to projectile weaponry, as well as light, heavy and heavy assault missiles, it simply yells unpredictability.
If you see a Vexor Navy Issue on d-scan, a fairly flexible drone boat, it might be:
- armour buffer fit,
- active armour fit,
- shield buffer DPS fit,
- neut fit
This is already quite a diverse range of possibilities for a single hull. However… A Scythe Fleet Issue could be:
- autocannon shield active,
- autocannon shield passive,
- autocannon armour passive,
- autocannon armour active,
- artillery shield passive,
- rapid light missile armour passive,
- rapid light missile armour active,
- rapid light missile shield passive,
- heavy missile armour,
- heavy missile shield,
- heavy assault missile armour,
- heavy assault missile shield…
(This is not an exhaustive list of either ship’s potential fits, just what I could come up with off the top of my head.)
The appeal of unpredictability, and by extension flexibility, entered my mind while watching alliance tournament matches on YouTube, and I kept wondering to myself how an unprepared or new group to the alliance tournament could overcome issues with the ban phase, for example. My conclusion was that short of having a billion doctrines to train into, an ‘average’ team’s optimal strategy could be to run Minmatar ships to ‘fill out’ a doctrine shift if a ban came out of nowhere and denied you the composition you wanted to fly.
The alliance tournament spawned the initial thought, but translating this into practice and everyday FW activities, the benefits to newer players of Minmatar ships should be quite high. I picture a fleet of Scythe Fleet Issues, able to refit and adapt to any given situation without sacrificing much effectiveness, because the ship accommodates nearly every style of play. Cutting down on the immense amount of high-ranked Spaceship Command skills to train means a pilot can focus on filling out core skills to become a very adept PvP pilot without losing the ability to fly what he/she has trained.
I was watching Chessur’s Stabber PvP video the other day, actually, and I feel like he captured the quintessence of flying Minmatar ships.
It’s about knowing what your ships can do, while the enemy doesn’t. EVE is a little over a decade old, and most of the PvPers know what they’re doing. They look for fights with a good knowledge of the ships they will come up against, and as such, have developed engagement profiles for their own ship(s).
The strength of unpredictability and the appeal of having a ship/fleet that appears engageable becomes apparent when you realise the only reason they are engaging you is because they THINK they have an idea of what your fleet consists of. They will engage with preconceived ideas, and when you prove their assumptions wrong, either they get a nasty surprise and win with more losses than they expected, or have the tables entirely turned and end up limping home.
Some people will tell you that
- The Minmatar will never be as good as brawling as the Gallente.
- They will never powerful missile weapons like the Caldari.
- They won’t have the brute tank of the Amarr, nor the incredible damage output and projection of laser weapons.
But instead of thinking about it like that, why not say the:
- The Minmatar will usually outrange Gallente hybrid weaponry
- They can apply damage at missile range but better with artillery
- They can outmaneuver the sluggish Amarrian armour boats.
Of course, all 6 of these assumptions don’t hold true all the time, the game wouldn’t be EVE Online if it wasn’t at least that complex. But in general, Minmatar starships can outperform everyone else quite decisively if piloted and fit correctly.
The other three races simply won’t match this adaptability across their ship trees. Caldari ships are locked into shield-tanking for the most part. Amarr are the same with armour. Gallente do have a little leeway especially with a hull like the Tristan/Vexor, but even then, going from a brawling setup to something like a kiting Tristan forces it to give up guns in the most standard fit.
I suppose the main thing I’ve taken away from this new interest in Minmatar ships is that, if a fight breaks out, it’s not that the Minmatar will have the advantage every single time. Oh, hell no. But they have the potential to. A Gallente armour brawling fleet will never have the potential to beat a kiting fleet, and if they refit to kite, their effectiveness severely drops. Same with Amarr brawling setups. And also with Caldari missile setups being forced to fight at close ranges where their below-average missile DPS is overpowered by turrets. But for the Minmatar, whether it be a Rifter or Breacher to a Typhoon Fleet Issue, you’ll never know how they’re set-up until you engage them. This opens up opportunities to fight where previously perhaps one side or the other may not have thought a fight would be possible. Until the initial engagement, a Minmatar fleet is simultaneously able to whelp – or be whelped by – the opposing fleet.
Schrodinger’s Matari? Lol.
Well that’s the end of these thoughts. Maybe I can back this up with fits some time in the future. I enjoy reading posts with lots of EFT fittings and graphs, I really should try my hand at one myself. Time to go play on EVEMon!