Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Elite Dangerous Ship Focus : The Adder


The Adder

Today I'm going to focus on the Adder.  I'm going to talk in terms of range, capacity and utility. At 88K the shop-floor Adder is a reasonably cheap cheap but its stock 6T hold and 8.4Ly jump range are nothing impressive.
The slimline refit really drops the weight and increases the range, making giving this 6T a 12.5Ly range for 147,000 Credits.  None of these numbers are too impressive but its the start of an interesting build with the ship.

Play to its strength

The strength of the Adder is its light weight and long range, so we are going to consider this for doing long range rare-runs. We're going to strip the Adder down to the lightest weight we can to get the maximum range, and then look at the price points.
I'm assuming pilots looking for an Adder are trading up from a smaller ship and are looking to make some quick money on long distance rares.  The Rare Runs require very little investment capital and have a huge per Tonne profit, making them ideal for pilots who can't afford to trade expensive cargo in bulk.

The Adder just isn't as light as the ZP-Hauler, and relies on some expensive Size-3 components which pushes its upgrade price through the roof. In optimising this ship for travel, we are ignoring both its high maneuverability and the fact that its the only small ship with a Medium hardpoint so we'll talk about combat builds too.

Increasing the range

Off the bat I'm going to replace the discovery scanner with a 2D fuel scoop, and add another 4T of cargo space. To drop weight I'm going to go for the 2D powerplant and thrusters instead of the 3D as I'm trying to make every tonne count.
I'll leave the decision on shields and lasers to you, but given we have stripped the weight you can manage 2D shields instead of 3D if you want shields.

Next off, I'm upping the cargo space to 8+8+4 = 20T of space. I'm not expecting to use it all, but its available. Our fully Laden adder has only an 11Ly range now, going up to 15Ly when empty so we've built a 20T ship with 11-15Ly range (expected 13ish) and dropped the price to 128K.

These specs are alright for a small ship and we've kept to a low(ish) budget, but the ship isn't ready for the big leagues yet. For the enthusiast market, I'm going to strip those guns and shields. Lose 4T of cargo space we probably won't be using, and upgrade the FSD to a Budget Class-C drive. The specs now read as
Capacity 16T, 
Range 14.7-19.2Ly 
Price: 152,000

This build is looking a lot stronger than the shop-floor model. We've tripled the tonnage, added a few light years onto the range too.  The prices are starting to creep up here, partially due to the heavier hull and our need for some Size-3 Components.

Optimising for rares

Next comes the hard sell.  We've stripped the shields to reduce weight so we're also going to be jumping with less weight. This means running the fuel tank around 25-50% full to reduce weight and only partially scooping at each stop. Its a risky business that may leave you stranded if you don't plan your route well but you'll get an extra ~2 Ly range per jump out of a low-fuel adder. If time is money then that extra fuel weight is going to cost you.

If running on fumes doesn't excite you then consider the Performance upgrade to a Class-B FSD. Its more than an extra 100K, but this sleek star trekker will give you 16T at 19.7-22.7Ly for 265,000 Credits.

And lastly, for the Premium space hoppers out there our best deal yet.  This is a fully stripped down Adder and about as lightweight as you can get. For low-low price of 604,000 Credits you can have a 16T hold and manage an amazing 22.2 - 28.8 Light years per jump. Without scooping you could manage 128Ly on a single tank of fuel.  Scoop along the way and this Premium Adder is your ticket to the stars.

The three builds that really count look like this
14.7Ly - 16T - 152,000 Cr
19.7Ly - 16T - 265,000 Cr
22.2Ly - 16T - 604,000 Cr

Combat Adder

If you aren't into bare metal rare racing, then consider the Adder as a James Bond Aston Martin of the stars. Its sleek, fast and full of surprises. A full Class-A across-the-board refit is going to cost you around 2.5 Million for an Adder, and then you will have to add weapons and scanners on top of that.

We are talking about a premium ship here, with great specs and really top notch flight characteristics, and with some good piloting you can really hold your own in a fight.

The Class-A Power is going to be needed if you want to make the most of the available firepower, and the Thrusters and Power Couplings to keep maneuverability at its peak.
You can get by on smaller Life support and Sensors and while going for budget models here will only save you a hundred K, the lower power consumption will save juice for bigger weapons.

I'd recommend keeping Kill Warrant and Wake scanners small - 0E for both, again to reduce the power consumption for ...
... A good selection of weapons!
Despite its great moves, I'd give your combat adder a 1F/T Beam laser.  This will overheat quickly but cause an initial dent in your opponents shields. Likewise a 1F/T Cannon is a good partner in your other small hardpoint.
Lastly, your Medium hardpoint can afford to have a fixed forward weapon. Its up to you if you prefer the 2B Rail Gun or the 2C Plasma Accelerator.  Both pack a huge punch for such a small ship and your ships ability to bring this to bare will be the deciding factor in any fight.

With you focusing on staying out of your enemies fire arc, that beam laser and medium hardpoint will wear down shields, after which you switch the the Cannon to tear through the hull. If you are lancing at each other, that medium hardpoint combined with your Double-A shields and both turrets firing puts you at an advantage against all but the strongest opponents.
After the first lance, spiral around the enemy letting your turrets deal the damage and then aim up the big gun once the shields are down.

This Class-A Adder with a Rail Gun OR Plasma Accelerator as well as two turrets of your choice can be yours for around 3.7 Million Credits in total.  You can drop the price down to about 2.7 Million is you base it off a Class-B outfit, but I think the extra expense is worth it if you are going hunting with any conviction.

Summary

A racing Adder for 152,000 Credits is a pretty good deal and unless you are playing against the stopwatch to earn those extra credits it'll make the same money as the more expensive adder builds.
I'm going to say that the Performance build adder at 19.7Ly for 265,000 Credits is an incredible deal. 

The Premium Class-A FSD does help the Adder, but you are talking about spending that much money you could get a ZP-Hauler with similar range for a lot less and its not a great value proposition.

As a fighter, not a racer, the Adder really is the featherweight champion of the stars. With your wits about you and luck on your side its only a little weaker than a Combat Cobra or Viper build although it'll struggle against the Asp, or Python builds that will literally have twice your firepower and turrets of their own.
A fighter Adder build is really going to cost a lot of money, but you get a lot of punch for a small ship.

Lastly, as with any build, play around. Maybe you prefer better thrusters or other system configurations.  This Rare Run Adder was considered from the perspective of a Hauler pilot who wants to start earning big with the minimum investment. 

As always, Fly safe.