Thursday, 5 February 2015

Elite Dangerous Outfitters - Zorgon Peterson Adder

Enter the Adder

Since I lost my ship, my fortune and my pride in a catastrophic station-related accident I've all but started from scratch, building up credits one by one.  The spirit of adventure calls and the second star to the right guides my frame shift so I've taken this chance to get back in the cockpit of the Zorgon Peterson Adder.

In my Ship Focus articles I talked about a couple of specific builds for the Adder. In this first Outfitters article we'll focus in more detail on the facts, figures and feel of the ship.

Shipyards and Outfitting

I don't usually fly ships straight off the forecourt, and the shop-floor Adder doesn't boast much so of course I'm going to be upgrading my Adder before takeoff.

The Adder is the successor to the ZP-Hauler in more ways than one. It also boasts a lightweight hull and great jump range, and I'll be outfitting this ship for some long distance trips on a budget.

The budget for this build is an even one million credits, so some corners will have to be cut but I'm going to try and build a viable vessel for running rares with a better feel than its little brother, the ZP-Hauler. Keeping to a 1M budget is going to demonstrate a ship that can be yours early on, its not the Luxury Adder you would downgrade to if you were looking for a sporty weekend racer.

Baremetal build

I'll be starting my Adder from a baremetal refit. I've talked about baremetal refits before but the concept is simple. Take off the weapons, loose any additional scanners, shields and scoops and max out the cargo racks. Then buy Class-D upgrades for all remaining components. Its possible to fly ships like this, but the feel often isn't great.

The baremetal refit demonstrates some raw figures about the vessel and allows us to make some key decisions in outfitting from early on. The Class-D components are cheap and the ship plus refit is going to cost 144,000 Credits total.
[For scale, its possible to spend about a hundred times that on an adder, with a maximum configuration build coming in over 13M Credits]

The baremetal refit demonstrates the maximum carrying capacity of the ship, and gives an overview of which compartments we are able to use for shields, scoops or other upgrades. The empty Adder has a compartment size classes of 3,3,2,2,1. This gets us a pair of 8T racks, tow 4T racks and finally a 2T.  This gives us the 26T maximum capacity of the Adder.

As well as the maximum capacity, the baremetal refit is the lightest configuration of the ship, which allows us to gauge its potential jump range. When looking at jump ranges, its good to know the minimum (full) and the maximum jump range you'll get when empty.
With a Class-D FSD, the baremetal 26T adder gets 10.7Ly full and 16Ly empty. This 10.7-16.0 Ly range isn't great. I know I want a long-range ship so I'm going to add a premium Class-A FSD as my first pick.
The premium 3A FSD costs half a million credits extra, increases the baremetal jump range up to 19.0-28.0 Light years, and completes our baremetal build.  This premium component represents half of our entire ship budget, but we're building a ship that makes 500K an hour and the Class-A FSD really helps maximise that.

This shows us the maximum range we can get out of the adder and we have a 26T ship with a 19-28 range costing about 633K Credits.  This is a good starting point to build a ship we are really happy with. Technically the ship is ready to fly - but we have more to spend.  If we were so short on money that 1M was overbudget, then the Adders little brother, the ZP-Hauler, would be a better starting point.

Safety Features

The Zorgon Peterson Adder weighs a little more than the Hauler but is still a light hull, benefits from a good jump range and its 26T, 19-28Ly stats give us plenty of room to play with.

The shields and hardpoint options mean that whether you are shipping long-distance rares, making local runs in hotspots, or traveling in a larger convoy, the Adder is a more attractive ship than any ot ifs smaller counterparts, including the Hauler.

Continuing our low-price point I'm going to start with a 3D Shield Generator for 18.8K and put 1E Gimbal beams in each of the small hardpoints for 74K each.  The little beams can suffer from overheating which gets frustrating, but the gimbal keeps them firing in the right direction. Lets call that 167K for the lot.

The medium hardpoint is up to you. For this build I'm going to add a fixed forward Cannon. The 2D cannon does a lot of damage for its lots power draw and keeps to cost down at only another 168K.  If you have more to spend, consider a gimbal cannon.  The combination of beams and cannon allows you to take down shields and tear through unprotected hulls.

We've spent 330K - about a third of our budget on safety features, which feels like a lot for a small ship, however the advantage of the Adder over the Hauler is we get to pack it with shields and guns and still have enough cargo space and jump range to make rares trips quickly.

The Plasma Accelerator is a very attractive alternative to the cannon, and we've saved enough power using Class-D components that we can fit one. However this is a low-price build and I'm steering away from costly luxuries.  This is a rare-runner ship that we are outfitting to defend itself, not a combat vessel.

Finishing the build

The Adder has all of our safety features and currently fits 18T with and 18.4 - 23.5Ly range. The last decision is the fuel scoop. Out of the two compartments left we have to choose to lose either 2T or 4T of cargo, and both would be a shame as we don't want to cut much lower than 18T.

To finish our build, we are going to juggle these last components to a configuration that tries to maximise the internal space we have and remaining budget.

Because of this, I'm going to replace the 3D shields with a 2C shield Generator. The price and protection is about the same, but it saves us cargo space we can use for the scoop, which I'm choosing the budget 2C model as well.

The five internal components now look like this
Size 3: 3E Cargo Rack (8T)
Size 3: 3E Cargo Rack (8T)
Size 2: 2C Shield Generator
Size 2: 2C Fuel Scoop.
Size 1: 1E Cargo Rack (2T)

The 2C scoop means we may have to spend 20-30 seconds scooping after each jump, which isn't ideal but its good range will reduce the jumps needed so on balance it'll work out. If you find yourself scooping for too long and not filling your hold, then you can upgrade to a 2A or Size 3 scoop.

While the middle-of-the-road 2C Shield Generator goes against my usual advice of "Double-A or Nothing", having some shields is a lot better than having none.  You could remove them and fit a single 3A Fuel Scoop, giving you:
8T, Scoop, 4T, 4T, 2T and maintaining your total capacity of 18T.
But this is meant to be an all-round build, not a blockade runner. 

The Reactor, Thrusters and Power Couplings have all been left at Class-D. We aren't planning on doing much fancy flying and will be spending all of our time making frame shift jumps, which is where the bulk of our investment has gone.

Our final specifications are pretty impressive, and I'm happy with the spend.  Its an 18T ship and we've maintained the long jump range of 18.3 - 23.3 Light Years, making it ideal for running rares.

We've equipped shields, guns and scoop so its a capable solo ship or in a convoy and this dedicated build comes in at under a million credits.

Afterthoughts.

If you are running in a convoy, I might recommend a wake scanner to help out should you need it. Its reasonably cheap and does make the difference.

The ship doesn't have great conventional thrust, although you only spot it on take off and landing. For this reason, getting into fights feels like a risk and it relies on its hard hitting lances rather than its ability to corkscrew and get a good angle. At medium range you might find it hard to get an attack vector against smaller ships and don't hesitate to boost out to a longer distance where you have the upper hand.

Flying this ship solo does feel a little weak, and its not a space superiority starfighter. With its cannon and beams the ship is more heavily armed than its little thrusters and low power configuration would normally suggest but you could strip off the cannon to upgrade both the thrusters and power couplings so that you can boost away from trouble rather than staying to fight - and this will still keep the price tag around the one million credits mark.

Obvious upgrade candidates are the Shields and Scoop. I'd upgrade the scoop as soon as you can - every second lost scooping costs money.  The 2C shields are the illusion of safety, designed to help you see off the riff-raff and boost away from a fight.

I wouldn't reccomend building a Combat-Adder, and there are better suited ships, but you could throw a few more million getting all-round Class-As and make this a surprising contender in a dogfight.  In a larger group you could hold back and run the Adder as a cheap missile gunboat, launching torpedoes and missiles once the quarry had dropped its shields.

As always, fly casual.