New Players Guide to Escort Ships
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Welcome to level 10. By now you have no doubt seen your factions abandon base and spoken to Chief Tyrol or Number Eight. You have no doubt gone through and looked at all the Escorts and Lines and thought long and hard about which one to get. Allow me a few minutes to help put together some things to consider about escorts.
Escorts bear a variety of roles. They are a superior mining ship, a excellent and cost effective NPCer, they are superb hunter-killers, and outstanding in group defense. The roles of the escorts vary from person to person, they are more survivable in pvp, and 2-3 can, with some thought and skill, take on a line. This class of ship, no matter if you are a Strike or Line Pilot, will greatly benefit you as its increased fire power and cost is low enough that it will be your money and tylium maker.
Like Line ships and Strikes, each escort comes with its own type, Assault (Tank), Interceptor (Super fast), and Command (The perfect mixture of both plus power and computers). The most important thing is to examine your style of play, and these ships are ideal as a stepping stone into a Line ship. Gotta learn too crawl before you learn to walk. As you cater your skills to be that PvP strike god(goddess), or be that which lurks in the nightmares of the enemy fleet in your Line, you will find the escorts you fly allow you to develop and integrate a lot of your play style.
The Assault and Interceptor classes will cost you 600,000 tylium upfront, and 45k cubits to upgrade them. The Command ship is 60.000 cubits, and is considered fully upgraded off the show room floor. Multi-Role ships are 75,000 Cubits and 45,000 merits to upgrade.
These pitbulls feature the ruggedness to get you through either some murderous npc spawns, or carry you through some thick PvP combat. Ideally suited for guns due to a slightly lower powerstore, they are the light tanks of the fleet, and often found to be the workhorse of both factions. With 4(5 advanced) armor slots, you can custom tailor your tanking style easily with significant hit points for its size. They do carry a drawback as they can occasionally be outmaneuvered by some crafty strikes and other escorts, as these ships have significantly larger blind spots than the other escort ships. And while they offer a decent speed, do not expect to chase down pesky raiders or vipers. It should be noted that if you are Line bound, this is a good warm up ship.
These highly agile speed demons are very comfortable in raiding parties and wolfpacks. They find their home chasing down targets, and can even in the end game rival mid grade strikes for speed. While they do require significant practice NPCing, they are very adept in PvP. With 4-5 Engine slots you can tailor these speed demons to be agile, nimble, and FAST. If getting in and out and running down other players is your thing, then the Interceptor is the choice for you. It is a plus as well if your skills are tailored for being a professional strike, as maneuverability, speed, and avoidance do help ALOT. These ships are super strike killers, but do keep in mind that going toe to toe with heavier Escorts and Lines, do require a form of skill and finesse. Its not a broadsword, its a rapier, and it is deadly when handled elegantly.
The Command Ships
For 60,000 cubits, this versatile prowler can be yours. Often finding their way into hardworking hands, these ships offer a sweet mixture of armor, speed, and maneuverability. With 5 computer slots stock you have the ability to use the Electronic Warfare and Electronic Support combined with the Capacitor back ups to always keep those missiles and guns alive. These ships are a great addition to a fleet as they do have the ability to top out at around 75+ m/s mid to endgame. Their sensor range offers the ability to sniff out and hunt down miners hiding in asteroid belts, as well as give the fleet a heads up as it approaches its objective. But do NOT let the nerdage of computers fool you, these craft do have the armor to stick it out with other escorts and strikes, and are maneuverable enough to crawl up on a Line's Blindspot. Between power, armor, and speed these babies are the perfect hunter killers in the hands of a skilled pilot.
Important is to consider the appropriate mix of weapons for your new moneymaker and life taker. I never recommend mixing with them, though I'm sure many pilots will swear by it. Here's why. These weapons take some power, but remember, you need to fly one specific way to make your set up work. With 1.6 if you get into a scrape with some strikes, your missiles wont be able to help your guns. In turn if you are a missile boat you need to stay far away from your target. as one gun on a side, prolly wont save you. At this point you need to consider your skills prior to going into weapons, as well as what you will use the ship for. Guns are superb all around, and missiles, are best for NPCs and situations that you will not have something dashing up on you.
The Multi-Role Ships
75,000 Cubit master pieces. These ships are really "Multi-Role" as they are great for PVP, PVE, and mining. They offer 3 slots for computers, engines, and hulls while 6 slots for weapons. With a well upgraded ship, taking on Line's is very much possible. Beware, the Multi-role escorts are not invincible and need much weapon upgrading to be effective in PVP. The advanced versions require 45,000 Merits, which almost implies that these ships are geared to be good for PVP.
GP Missiles, or General Purpose Launchers, are effective for fleet engagements where your trying to pick strikes off a line or your buddies. They are harder for a strike to dodge as they are a lot more maneuverable than the long range. BE CAREFUL where you release these. Strikes may not be able to out run the missile, but they can out range it, meaning if you release your payload to soon on a fleeing strike, your missiles will probably run out of gas before they reach their target. A good rule of thumb is know your max range and 2/3 to 3/4 of that range is the ideal release zone, where the missile will have the fuel to catch up to the opponent.
Long range Missiles
Are the perfect NPC weapon at times, but very decent in taking out strikes or picking on other escorts and lines. The only real drawback is the maneuverability. It is not uncommon to see escorts dodge these out and gun them down. Remember, if a escort can dodge this then a Starbuck or Scar wannabe can too.
Short Range Cannons
Rapid fire cannons, almost nuff said. These cannons are super for NPCing as they tear their targets to shreds, for pvp you will be able to rip up lines fairly quickly and easily, but remember your an escort, so while helping or taking on lines is your role as an escort, fighting strikes may leave you at a disadvantage because to shred them in PvP, the strike must be lacking in the brain department, very unlucky, or a mix of the above. Think of these as Uzi's
GP or General purpose Cannons
Offer a high rate of fire, not as high as the short, but they can reach out and touch someone better than the short range. They are the assault rifle of the escort cannons. GREAT for npcing and fighting other escorts and lines.
Long range Cannons
Best association to these is a Heavy Machine Gun. They do very well in pvp with a nice range of just over 1000m, They can pick off strikes trying to run, or allow you to safely make strafing runs on a station. For PvP this is the cannon for you. It also does semi decently with PvE.
I hope this guide helps you make your selection. Remember there are a few vital things to consider with every tool. What will you use it for? Is this going to be your miner/NPCer? Will this be for ganking and running down? Will it before fleet support? In the end upgrading a Escort is never a horrible idea, especially considering that it can quickly kill for low cost.
- Edited by StrelokX