A PvP Fitting Look:Falcon Class Scout Recon
In last weeks issue, Aries looked at ECM in light of the changes of Revelations. The “nerf” to ECM in the patch was something I greatly feared because my character specializes in flying the Falcon as a jamming platform. It must be stated that in light of the changes Revelations brought to Eve, specialized jamming ships have become even more valuable. Only jamming specific ships truly have the ability to “permajam” a battleship now and I can say from experience that the nerf was mainly for non-jamming specific ships (think Domis and Curses). A decently skilled recon pilot maintains about .8 of the previous jamming abilities when combined with the new mods for jamming strength and .9 with the new rigs (if anything not being able to fit two warp core stabs is the bigger nerf). With that said, let me get into the basics.
The Much Anticipated and Oft Promised Basics:
The Falcon runs from 65-75 mil of late, down from earlier in the year when its price had climbed to 120 mil. The covert ops cloaking device II is the wallet breaker though, costing 70 mil at the very least to make your falcon cloak as it should. What you get for that price is a ship that can change the course of a fight to your favor.
The bonuses for the hull itself are the percent reduction in ECM cap usage, twenty percent bonus to ECM optimal range, and ten percent bonus to ECM jammer strength per level, with the first two getting their required bonuses at level V, as cruiser V is a prerequisite for recon ships. The cloak also gets a 100 CPU usage bonus for each level of recon ships, from 500 to 400, 300, 200, 100 and finally 0 if a pilot take the time to train recon V.
Its slot layout is four highs, seven mids, and three lows, with 875 PG and 625 CPU to work with at full skills (Electronics V and Engineering V). It is important to note that a cloaking device should occupy one of those high slots, and as such, the ship will only have three slots in the highs to work with. With out further ado, lets move on to the slots.
Swing Low, Sweet Plates:
Without a doubt for me, this is the most important fitting on the Falcon. It may seem like a secondary role to the mid slots, the ones that will be used for jamming, but without a good fit in the lows a Falcon will be mincemeat in a second. Therefore, at the very least a 800mm plate should be fit into the lows, with a 1600mm plate being the better option. With a 1600mm plate, a falcon can have over six thousand armor with natural resists above forty percent in every damage type except for explosive. This plate will give your fragile little Falcon, a no-brainer primary for any fleet commander, a little extra bulk that can make the difference between a long trek into empire to snag another or scooping enemy loot. Without a plate, in a situation where you are primaried, you will be almost insta popped by any sniper or fleet set up battleship.
With one slot used, your Falcon now has a passable tank and its time to move onto creating a powerful jamming platform. For the last two slots, the best choice is determined by the situation. If it is going to be fleet combat, two signal distortion amps are called for because of the extra bonus in jamming you will receive. If on an op far from a station you can access, however, if may be advisable to fit a small armor repairer in your lows to ensure you can repair any random damage you may take in the course of fighting.
Wrap Up: 1600mm Plate, with two signal distortion amps or one amp and one small armor repairer
Typically when fitting a ship, I move from lows to mids, yet in this case, I move to the highs for a few reasons. First, it’s pretty damn simple. Second, from many fitting experience with my Falcon I can confidently say I have never fit something to do damage to an enemy. This may seem stupid to anyone who loves to see the little red bar on the locked ship get bigger, but in all truth, putting weapons on a Falcon is a waste. The ship has no bonuses to any damage dealing weapon and with the plate in lows has less power grid to work with. So there is my argument for no weapons on the ship, they will only distract you from your job, which is making sure the other guys can’t fire their weapons. If you are looking to do damage and fight, a Rook is the better and cheaper option (no cloak needed).
First off, a covert ops cloaking device II should (must!) occupy one of the high slots. This cloak pretty much demands that recon ships be trained up to level IV to give it a usage of 100 CPU. Otherwise, the cloak sucks up so much CPU a true fitting is all but impossible (not to mention the lack of ship bonuses). If you are unfamiliar with recons and covert ops ships, this cloak will allow a ship to warp cloaked and will give a pilot with the skills about six second to lock after it decloaks. It will deactivate 2000m from any celestial object and take about five seconds to reactivate after it is shut off.
For the other three slots, quite honestly, the fitting shouldn’t matter too much. A team player can fit remote armor repairers for those Caldari pilots or interceptors in gang who may take armor damage and not have the repairer to fix it themselves. You will have several happy gang mates if you can help them far from a dockable station. At current I myself am running two medium nosferatu. They are simple to use and if an inty locks me down and I can’t manage to jam or am in a long-term short-range battle I can drain the enemies and regain cap. In truth, I hope never to have to use the nos, however. They are a last resort.
Although I don’t suggest it, a pilot could fit heavy launchers or assault missile launchers in the two hardpoints the ship is afforded in place of the nos I have suggested, giving a meager amount of damage in a fight. Once again, a Falcon jams and wins fights; it doesn’t do damage.
One other thing to keep in mind is a pilot may want to consider making some fitting sacrifice in order to fit a recon probe launcher to scan down enemies. It has a large CPU usage, however, and may require more expensive or less battle ready fittings to fit it. Probes are now very simple to use and a handy guide is available stickied on the Module E-O forums. A recon pilot with level V will have little fitting worries if they chose to train the skill that high, however, and can provide a full battle fit with probes.
Wrap Up: Beyond the cloak, your highs are not as important as your lows or mids. Weapons are only distracting. Cloak is the only must, and a probe launcher is a nice addition to any fleet.
No More Mediocre Mids:
Now that all auxiliary slots have been filled, it is time to move to the bread and butter of the Falcon, the midslots. If a pilot were to use the fitting I have outlined already, they will not have to worry at all about tanking and can focus on getting the most jamming out of their ship as possible.
The most obvious fitting is seven jammers. This is in cases where there is going to be a massive fleet battle and there will be no shortage of nice turret battleships to jam. It allows the best flexibility between jammer types and will give the ship the most jammers to use (of course). With this said, it may be better to scrap a jammer in favor of a point, ECCM module, or sensor booster as the occasion dictates. In a fight against many ECM ships, an ECCM module on a Falcon could result in enemy Ecm ships wasting all of their jammers on your high sensor strength Falcon while you have just one slot used up. There is always a chance the enemy will get lucky, but if they try to jam you, they will likely fail miserably.
A point (disruptor) on a Falcon is ideal for smaller roving gangs where you are going to be scouting the way ahead and be the one attempting to locate and lock down enemy ships. The ability to warp to a gate cloaked and either create a jump in on a target or a quick point on a ratting battleship is a benefit not to underestimated. I have many a time not fitted a point and sadly watched an enemy battleship warp away to safety. In larger fleets, a point is probably worthless, however.
The last example for this extra slot is a sensor booster, best for medium sized gangs where you may face one or two ECM ships or enemy drone boats. The reason for it against other ECM ships is obvious enough; you have to try to jam them before they jam you. The quick lock is what best achieves this. Against drone battleships, it also may prevent them from activating their drones on any of your gang mates, taking away a Dominix’s or Myrmidon’s ability to do heavy damage (and nos).
The rest of the slots are then left for jammers. A decision must be made about whether to use racial jammers or multispecs, a choice that should be made on the basis of the situation. In the case of seven jammers, I am wont to suggest two racials of each type and only one Minmatar jammer, as every jammer, with skills should be up around a nine-point strength with an optimal range of 150km. With this type of range and strength, all but the longest-range fleets should be at your mercy. If you can manage to be within 100km, the range on a multispecs jammer with level IV long range jamming, a simpler fit can be either one of each racial with three multispecs, or just a whole rack of multispecs for ease of use.
When using six slots for jamming, the same options are available. In a fleet, turret ships should be jammed first, so with an all-racial fitting one Caldari and one Minmatar racial with two Gallente and two Amarr is a solid fit, giving the best balance of strength, range, and race types.
With multispecs fitted, the same things as mentioned before are in effect. Six multispecs are very easy to use compared to knowing races and then assigning the correct jammers to the correct ships. At current, I run one Amarr, Caldari, and Gallente jammer with three multispecs to give the best balance.
Wrap-Up: Fit six or seven jammers, racial or multispecs as you chose, with a sensor booster, point, or ECCM as the situation calls for.
Rigs? We Don’t Need No Stinking Rigs:
For the pilot that wants to bring their jamming to next level (please pardon the cliché) picking up rigs for their jammers in the best choice. Whether the rig helps with the optimal of strength of their jammers, either will give worthy benefits. The BPOs are very cheap and a pilot can easily assemble two rigs themselves (I made two jammer sensor strength ones myself) if they can find the materials. The damaged artificial neural networks that have been so rare on Tranquility are supposed to drop more in the next patch and as such, prices should drop on these rigs in the future. All in all though, these rigs aren’t really tat important to a falcon, so their fitting is optional.
All told, the Falcon is an extremely valuable ship in any gang and can and will change the outcomes of a fight in the hands of a skilled pilot. Its cloak gives it good survivability and the ability to move around enemy territory relatively unscathed is priceless. It makes a solid scout, and its only real weakness is getting caught in a bubble. At the cost of one ship’s damage output, one Falcon can take away at least the damage of three battleships. This trade off is not to be ignored. Properly fit, this ship should be able to take a little beating too, if your enemies can even fire on you.
- Alcean Dark
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