Saturday, 28 February 2015

Elite Dangerous Outfitters - Green Stinger Viper

Hey Space Cadets! What is going on?
I'm Cmdr TwingTwang and welcome to the outfitters!

In this article we'll be looking back at some viper builds and trying to improve upon them.  In previous articles I've presented the quad-beam wingman viper, designed to aggro and harass targets, and the Red Venom Viper with big A2 Frag Cannons that was a great space superiority starfighter but its limited ammo meant it lacked staying power in a conflict zone.

The Red Venom
The Red Venom Viper was a good contender for an escort fighter role. The hard hitting A2 Frag Cannons really tore into hulls once the shields were down and their peak-power-to-damage makes them a top pick for a power-limited Viper loadout. They are backed up by a pair of E1 Gimbal beam lasers in the small hardpoints - in combination with the Vipers tight turns you should be able to keep any ship in your sights while you empty the banks and then unleash the fraggers.
The Red Venom is taking a little gamble as an escort vessel - usually it sees 0-1 starfights between chance to dock and reload, but in the case of a second - or third - interdiction you have to start a fight with no ammunition.

The Wingman
The Wingman Viper build relies on quad beam lasers to light up the skies, and is a warzone build designed for sustained sorties by avoiding the ammo limited weapons. It it great in a swarm when you can tag team against a large ship, or you can perform a sustained lance with the beams in conjunction with an opportunist hard hitter like a Missile Gunboat Asp to score quick kills.
Quad beams are also a great way to aggro and draw attention as a convoy escort vehicle, with your freighters packing seeker missiles to compensate for the lack of punch in the wingman build.  A Sixer with dual B1 Seeker missiles can add a lot of muscle as soon as the quad beams have worked away the enemies shields.

Of course, the Solid Gold Viper isn't a serious combat vessel - its a premium ship for a prestige audience and it's a choice to dress-to-impress instead of getting stuck in.  I'm not going to talk about the loadout as a serious ship - I guess you could fly a wing of these with competent pilots and fare well enough though.

Adding staying power to the Quad Beam Wingman viper is pretty tough.  It suffers from Thermal Overload on the weapons, causing them to cut out and the overall temperature raises into the 100-130 range often enough in a dogfight.  Having flown it in anger for a while I can only recommend adding heatsinks to help out. The large power draw of those beams puts it in the 12.22 MW range and it really can't afford the power for the bigger shields and thrusters that it wants.

The Red Venom is a better starting build. At only 11.41 MW, it already has Class-A thrusters and can afford to put the extra power into Shields or shield banks.  Running out of ammo on your primary damage dealers is quite a hassle so the first thing we are going to do is swap out those big A2 Fraggers for D2 Beams on a Gimbal mount.

This leaves the small hardpoints up for grabs, as beams on there are going to draw too much power.

Cannons or Missiles?
The lure of Frag Cannons is very strong for their amazing power-to-damage ratio and high damage-per-second value and it's possible that Fraggers on the small hardpoints is acceptable, since the Size-2 beams on the medium hardpoints will see most of the action, but the Frag Cannons chew through their ammunition quickly and as we are trying to add more staying power I'm going to discard them.

This leaves us with the two real choices for low-power high yield weapons pictured here.  The B1 Dumbfire missiles take the crown for highest impact damage, and can be a crippling one-two punch with the larger gibmal beams.
And lastly I'm going to highlight the E1 Cannons on a Gimbal mount.  They don't pack as much power as the B1 Dumbfires by a long stretch, but the 16 shot missile rack isn't up to our criteria for a long fight. In the end the 100-round Cannons win out as the biggest-damage high-ammo small hardpoint weapons.

To finish the build, I'm going to spend the extra 0.4MW on either a pair of Point Defence turrets, or on upgrading the main shield generator from 3B to 3A. Actually the difference between the 3B and 3A shields isn't that great, so I'm going to try out the point defence turrets this time around. It's possible that I'll revisit this if I think I'm taking too much heat.

And that completes our build.  The Red Venom Viper has been reconfigured to use D2 Beams as its primary and E1 Cannons the hammer on hulls once the shields are down.  The old Red Vipers A2 Fraggers were real can-openers when you bought them to bear, and the replacement cannons aren't going to be as deadly but the faster shield takedown combined with increased ammo makes this a much better ship in larger fights.

Green Stinger Viper
So following my experiences with the Red Venom and Wingman builds, its time to introduce the Green Stinger Viper.  Its not got the poison of the Red Venom, but still has quite a sting from those dual cannons.
The Green Stinger
Thanks for reading, I hope my flight time helps you in your outfits and builds. If you've got experience flying the Viper, or there is another ship outfit you'd like to see then let me know.

I'm Cmdr TwingTwang, and this has been the outfitters.
As always, Fly Casual.