Friday, November 7, 2014

Rolling with a Higgs Rig

For those not keeping up on stuff, as of Phoebe there is a new rig in EVE: the so-called Higgs Anchor.  It has a number of effects on a ship, including doubling its mass.  A reader mailed me asking if I had thought about them for the purpose of popping wormholes.  I have.  I decided to write a bit about it.  This prompted me to get the latest EFT to play around with.

The Higgs does make it possible to make a battleship with almost exactly 300gg of mass.  That is double the current mass (about 150gg) that my wormhole-popper gets.  But I am still not sure if I will use it.  There's just a few problems.

Here's one problems with the Higgs.  It doubles all of the mass on the ship, including microwarpdrive or afterburner mass.  Yes: your 100mn afterburner adds 100gg.  (This violates my intuition, and I wish CCP would change it.  I don't care if the Higgs doubles the armor mass.)  Thus, most battleships will end up slightly over 300gg with prop mod on.  Therefore more than half of the cheap battleship hulls cannot really use it to full effect.  You can still get ~200gg of course, turning your prop mod off.  So you require five back and forth passes to pop a wormhole, instead of seven.  That does not excite me as much as half as many passes.

Another problem with the Higg rig is that it drastically decreases speed.   You get a quarter of what it would be otherwise, and the doubled mass means that prop mods don't have as much effect.  (I get about 1/6 the speed with a microwarpdrive.)  This makes a microwarpdrive almost mandatory, and even that is not very fast.  It's a lot faster than five minutes of polarization.  But it's not just a simple time tradeoff, since the extra time is spent on the dangerous side of a wormhole.

One more problem, which applies only for people with 2000gg wormholes (those in C2 through C4), is that you really do not want a ship more massive than 180gg for the later passes when popping one of these wormholes.  A wormhole can have mass variation of plus or minus 10%, and it is at the 1/10 mass level which it goes critical.  Thus, if your hole popper has mass of over 180gg, then it can potentially pop a disrupted but not highly disrupted wormhole in a single pass.  A single pass leaves you stranded outside.

(If you live in C5+, then getting a battleship with 270gg is still safe.  But none of them can easily reach this number.)

Now, it would be possible to use one set of battleships for the early/middle part of hole popping, then only switch to lighter ones after you've gone well past half mass.  Still, I like the general foolproofness you get from the rule "it's always safe to do a single out and back pass in this ship".  And I don't really want to have even more single-use ships.  I already have two dedicated hole poppers and limited space to store big ships.

A final problem I have with Higgs has to do with my hole popper.  On occasion I pop holes by myself, using two characters.  I fly Scorpions for the purpose; here's the fit:
[Scorpion, Hole Popper]
Damage Control II
'Hypnos' Signal Distortion Amplifier I
'Hypnos' Signal Distortion Amplifier I
Beta Reactor Control: Capacitor Power Relay I
Beta Reactor Control: Capacitor Power Relay I

'Cetus' ECM Shockwave I
'Hypnos' Multispectral ECM I
'Hypnos' Multispectral ECM I
'Hypnos' Multispectral ECM I
'Hypnos' Multispectral ECM I
Adaptive Invulnerability Field II
Large Micro Jump Drive
Experimental 100MN Afterburner I

Expanded Probe Launcher I, Core Scanner Probe I
Heavy Unstable Power Fluctuator I
Heavy Unstable Power Fluctuator I
Heavy Unstable Power Fluctuator I
Heavy Unstable Power Fluctuator I

Large Particle Dispersion Augmentor I
Large Semiconductor Memory Cell I
Large Semiconductor Memory Cell I

Hobgoblin II x5
Warrior II x5

This ship is very hard to stop by any enemy short of a pretty substantial and well-chosen fleet.  It can burn back to a wormhole in reasonable time unless webbed.  It can jam out ships webbing it.  It can microjump out of bubbles, unless scrambled, and if desperate it can try to drain a tackler's capacitor out.  I like it a lot.  The hull's bonuses are used fully.  You'd have to bring a fleet combining several jam-resistant webbers, scrams, and DPS to stop it.

This ship is also a good escort for a hole-popping fleet of battleships with micro jump drives.  If there's an enemy attack, it can get everyone else out and probably escape itself.

I don't feel I can make as good of a ship for popping on any hull but a Scorpion.  But of the sub-100gg hulls, I think the Raven might be the best.  Here's a possibility cranked out with a little EFTing:
[Raven, Higgs Hole Popper]
Ballistic Control System II
Ballistic Control System II
Ballistic Control System II
Drone Damage Amplifier II
Damage Control II
Adaptive Invulnerability Field II
Large Shield Extender II
Large Shield Extender II
Stasis Webifier II
Warp Scrambler II
Large Micro Jump Drive
100MN Microwarpdrive I
Rapid Heavy Missile Launcher II, Mjolnir Precision Heavy Missile
Rapid Heavy Missile Launcher II, Mjolnir Precision Heavy Missile
Rapid Heavy Missile Launcher II, Mjolnir Precision Heavy Missile
Rapid Heavy Missile Launcher II, Mjolnir Precision Heavy Missile
Rapid Heavy Missile Launcher II, Mjolnir Precision Heavy Missile
Rapid Heavy Missile Launcher II, Mjolnir Precision Heavy Missile
Heavy Unstable Power Fluctuator I
Large Higgs Anchor I
Large Core Defense Field Extender I
Large Core Defense Field Extender I
Warrior II x5
Hammerhead II x5
This has just under 300gg mass. It can fight off light tackle pretty well, and can swap to fury missiles against larger stuff.  Still, compared to the Scorpion I'd feel rather exposed in it.  The main good thing about it by comparison is its 300gg mass -- one half the passes.  I'll have to consider whether it is worth it. 

One other amusing possibility occurs to me: the use of a Higgs on a lighter hole-popper.  A Higgs and a 100mn prop mod is 100gg.  So, I should be able to make my hole-popping Onyx better at its single function.

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