I was wrong about the Ishtar nerf two nerfs ago being sufficient. I was wrong not in claiming that the Ishtar would obviously be weaker, but with regard to the idea that other doctrines might have room to shine. So I could write a generic article, apologize generally, apologize to Apothne, complain about battleship weapons on a HAC, rabble rabble, other HACs suck, celebrate the upcoming o7 Show promised nerf, etcetera. You could probably put the entire article together in your mind, complete with whining about the BC/BS warp speed nerf.
That is not happening today. Do not worry. I will make a wild-assed guess about the results of the next Ishtar nerf after I have had some time to chew on it. The reason I was in error last time was that I did not fully explore the new nerfed Ishtar’s impacts on EFT. I was writing an unpaid opinion piece and being a lazy shit. (Disclosure – They give me ISK for this.) But rather than me just doing all the EFT work a month or so later than I should have, long past when it matters, let me take the opportunity to explain the process. This is how you EFT.
A while back I whelped a Vulture fleet to Black Legion Ishtars. We had even numbers, but I ate dirt. This made me wonder what I had done wrong. I had not made any serious play errors. It did not make sense. Finally, I went back to EFT to see if something there was the cause. This is the context for why I am going to compare the Ishtar and the Vulture, rather than the Ishtar and the Cerberus. It is also an important point about EFT. When you sit down to EFT, the possibilities can be overwhelming. It helps greatly if you have a goal to achieve or a question to answer.
I’m going to ask the question in the modern context. I do not have EFT files from when that happened. The reader may not have old EFT files with which to follow along. So the question will be, “Does the Ishtar beat the Vulture right now?”
Here is the generic Ishtar and the PL Vulture. An EFT warrior generally knows what his group is flying. It is best to confirm enemy practices by looking across their lossmails to figure out their standard fit. In this case I am just going to use the currently popular setup. Which one should win? It is not entirely obvious looking at the stats. The Vulture appears to be much tankier and has a higher EFT DPS.
We start by asking ourselves to visualize a fight between the two doctrines. Who can dictate range? Well, the Vulture has an MJD and if the enemy’s sentries were too close, the Vulture could blink far away to reduce damage. Even if the Ishtar FC managed to drop Gardes right next to the Vulture, the Vulture FC could order an MJD cycle and get out of range in seconds. To engage Vultures, the Ishtar FC is going to need to use a longer range weapon system. That probably means Bouncers, but Curators may also have a role. On the other hand, the Ishtar is much faster with MWD than the Vulture. An Ishtar FC should be able to pull out to range against Vultures. This means the Vultures will have to load lower damage, longer range ammos as appropriate. Both doctrines benefit from being at range from the enemy’s weapon systems. Both have the ability to pull range from the enemy’s weapon system, but neither can force the enemy to be close to their own weapon system. However if the combatants get too far apart, the losing group can warp away with little difficulty. The fight will be at range, but probably not much further than a Lachesis with a faction point can reach.
OK, we have a rough estimate of range. What about tracking? Well, the Vulture is roughly the same size as the broad side of a barn. Look at its signature. Sentries will track it. The Ishtar is a bit tougher to hit, with the HAC 50% MWD signature reduction. Ask EFT for a damage chart of a Vulture shooting an Ishtar. It seems to track well at range, particularly if one or two target painters are involved. The Vulture has a decent medium weapon system and a range bonus is like a tracking bonus because tracking gets better as range increases. Now we compare the damage curves of the two ships by making a bunch of copies in EFT and loading various ammos. For the purpose of comparing the damage, we put both on the same chart, shooting a target painted webbed Ishtar to split the difference. You will notice that the Ishtar does better at the ranges in which the fight will probably occur. The Vulture FC will likely attempt to pull outside of the Ishtar’s range because Vultures have massive range with Spike. This will probably force the Ishtars to rewarp when it happens. The only thing you can do at 105+KM to stop someone from rewarping is suicide a dictor, which buys a few seconds.
The next problem is that while the Ishtar does more damage at the relevant ranges, it starts with less hitpoints. How do we calculate the effect of that? Well, you would look at ratios of damage and tank in both cases. You would consider how many enemy ships’ DPS an individual logi can rep through; however, we do not have to consider that here. The answer is surprisingly simple. We have established that the Ishtar will use either Curators with EM damage or Bouncers with explosive damage. We know that the Vulture is limited to firing thermal and kinetic. So we create custom damage profiles. Then, we ask EFT for the EHP each ship has against the other ship’s damage profile. In the case of the Vulture, we can choose between Curators with EM or Bouncers with pure explosive. We choose the one the Vulture does worse against. And there we have it. Not only does the Ishtar do more damage than the Vulture at the relevant ranges, but the Ishtar has more EHP. That is, when the Vulture and the Ishtar shoot each other, the Ishtar appears to have more EHP than the Vulture does. Both Gallente and Caldari T2 ships have bonuses to kinetic and thermal resists. The Ishtar’s ability to shoot other damage types is a defining advantage over the locked-in Vulture. Damage type matters a great deal in practice. Never let the generic EHP value confuse you. Always check specific resistances on a fit.
If the answer was less simple than that, we would also have to talk about the possibility of killing enemy logistics or support ships like Huginns. We might end up talking about the intricacies of EWAR, piloting skill, or fleet warps. Some things just need to be tested. A handful of people can utilize the test server to accomplish this, but larger tests may require going out and fighting someone.
In closing, the result of good EFT work is not some metric or magical number. Successful EFT work feels good when you put it into practice on the field. You crush your enemies, see them driven before you, hear the lamentations on the forum and say to yourself, “This is a good doctrine.”
Tags: EFT, ishtar, Mukk, Vulture