Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Punisher is the Worst Ship in Eve

Image result for eve punisher
Thar she blows!  It certainly does blow...


I have played Eve since 2013.  During this entire time, the Punisher has been the worst ship in the game.  There is no role, circumstance, or situational use that the ship excels at, except maybe as a ridiculously overtanked bait frigate, or as a tanky 2-point screening ship for an AT team, and even then one could argue that the Tormentor is better.  The Punisher is simply horrible.

I never really flew a Punisher ever, mainly because I understood from very early on that it was sub-par.  I decided to give it a spin throughout the past week simply to demonstrate how bad it is.  I mostly succeeded in killing poorly-fit ships, or people who made very big piloting mistakes: 


Two Mid Slots

The Punisher only has two mid slots.  This is often cited as its biggest drawback.  It is indeed a major one, because it means that a Punisher cannot fit a web, and within scram range it is is incapable of controlling range against anything.

That said, there are several other Amarr laser ships which only have two mid slots, and all of them are fairly strong within their class.  Lets look at what separates the Punisher from the Crusader, Slicer, Retribution, and Coercer:

Effective TurretsTracking (%)Optimal (%)Speed (m/s)
Punisher3.7500355
Crusader537.50455
Slicer4.5050350
Retribution537.550278
Coercer85050255

Every other ship here either has a tracking bonus, an optimal range bonus, or both.  That is a major difference.  The Crusader is probably the ship which is most similar to a Punisher.  Within its ship class (combat interceptors) it has the most effective turrets and very good speed.  On top of that, it has a great tracking bonus, which helps make up for the fact that it cannot fit a web.  The Punisher has none of these features; it's number of effective turrets is fairly average for a T1 frigate (it's the same as an Incursus, Rifter, or Merlin for example), it has no drone bay to help it deal extra damage, and no tracking or optimal range bonus. 

So: a Punisher's guns can be out-tracked by Blaster or Autocannon ships who orbit at 500, a Punisher's guns can be out-ranged by kiting ships, and the Punisher's DPS potential is clearly below average.  On top of that: the lack of a web and complete lack of range control means that virtually every other ship can disengage from a Punisher at will, meaning that even if a Punisher has the advantage in a fight, it's possible that it could still miss out on getting a kill.

Comparison with the other Amarr T1 frigates

I'm just getting started.  Let's compare the Punisher to the other Amarr T1 frigates:

Eff. TurretsMid SlotUtility HighDrone BWCap Bonus?Armor Resist Bonus?
Punisher3.75210NoYes
Executioner3.75310YesNo
Tormentor3.753010YesNo

So the most obvious difference: The Tormentor and the Executioner both have an extra mid slot which is usually fit with a web.  This alone makes them much better as solo PvP frigates.  Because of the way the tracking formula works, a 60% web is equivalent to a 150% tracking bonus in terms of pure dps application.  That is a huge advantage for these two ships over a Punisher, particularly because none of the 3 hulls has a tracking bonus.

On top of this, both the Executioner and Tormentor have much better capacitor because they get a -50% cap bonus to laser usage whereas the Punisher does not.  The Tormentor also has more DPS because of its drone bay, and the Executioner has much better speed than a Punisher in addition to the same utility high slot.  The Punisher's only advantage over the other two ships is its 4%/level armor resist bonus.  This usually means that the Punisher just dies a bit more slowly than it otherwise would.

Unlike the Executioner and the Tormentor, the Punisher also does not benefit from the recent small beam laser buff at all.  Its lack of a web, lack of a tracking bonus, and horrible capacitor means that it cannot realistically use beam lasers at all, at least not in a fit that expects to ever kill anything.

How to use the Punisher

The Punisher is the one frigate in the game that I recommend people not fly, ever.  The Rifter is also sub-par, but still serviceable, and the Slasher is also weak apart from one fit which is ridiculously overpowered against the right targets.  The Punisher is just plain bad.  That said, an MWD brawling fit will at least have some value.  It is still very much capable of slingshotting and killing MWD kiting ships such as Condors and Tristans, which are actually quite popular in low sec.  This is the fit I have been using:

[Punisher, MWD]
Pseudoelectron Containment Field I
Heat Sink II
Adaptive Nano Plating II
Small Ancillary Armor Repairer, Nanite Repair Paste

5MN Microwarpdrive II
J5b Phased Prototype Warp Scrambler I

Small Focused Pulse Laser II, Imperial Navy Multifrequency S
Small Focused Pulse Laser II, Imperial Navy Multifrequency S
Small Focused Pulse Laser II, Imperial Navy Multifrequency S
Small 'Knave' Energy Drain

Small Energy Burst Aerator I
Small Energy Collision Accelerator I
[empty rig slot]

Nanite Repair Paste x100
Scorch S x3

An afterburner-fit Punisher is exceptionally horrible and cannot realistically win any fight against anything unless your opponent is bad.  An AB fit cannot slingshot kiters, and even with the AB, it still cannot control range against very well any ship which has a web because it doesn't have a web of its own.

Suggested Changes to the Punisher

The Punisher needs to be completely reworked.  The entire Amarr T1 line of frigates all consist of laser ships, which is pretty boring.  Simply adding a mid slot and a bit of CPU to the Punisher would indeed help the ship, but it would also make it into a clone of the Tormentor.

Gorski Car suggested turning the Punisher into a missile ship, and I tend to agree.  I would replace its energy weapon bonus with a +7.5%/level rocket damage bonus, and replace its turret slots with launcher slots.  This would give the Punisher 4.125 effective launchers; less than a Kestrel, but slightly more than a Breacher.  The Punisher would still do less DPS than a Breacher because of its lack of a drone bay.  The Punisher would also need a 3rd mid slot, and some extra CPU to fit a web.  A rocket ship without a web would be even more useless than the Punisher is today.

Eff. TurretsDrone BWResist BonusUtility High
Punisher4.12504%1
Breacher41000
Kestrel5000
Vengeance6.6604%1

I think this would strike a nice balance; the Punisher would be the only armor T1 frigate with a missile bonus and a utility high slot, and would have the best buffer tank and least DPS of all the T1 missile frigates.  It would also be a nice stepping stone into a Vengeance, a Malediction, or a Heretic for newer players who are specializing in Amarr ships.

The other logical option would be to turn the Punisher into a drone ship, which would make it a first-step into a Dragoon, a Prophecy, or an Armageddon.  I suppose this is also an option, but I think it would be difficult to implement this in a way that doesn't turn it into a clone of a Tristan.