Today I want to talk about something that has been on my mind for a while but I simply have not been able to find the right way to present it. Then I saw this meme (right) that was the catalyst for the proverbial lightbulb turning on.
What I want to talk about today is a ship and its loadout, a ship that exemplifies a few different concepts coming to together to rain death upon your enemies in unexpected ways, and that ship is the Freelancer. According to Chris Roberts himself, the Freelancer is the largest ship that he wishes to be able to travel in the smallest of jump points. In naval terms, the largest of shallow draft vessels who can travel anywhere needed. There is a rarely used naval term to describe a small well-armed ship in shallow waters: A gunboat. So without further delay, I present to you The Gunboat Loadout.
Gunboat Loadout Details
A vanilla Freelancer has two unmanned turrets near the cockpit, allowing us to mount four, size-three weapons that are gimbaled, a turret in the rear with two size-twos, two size-four missile mounts, and two size-three missiles mounts. For perspective, that is more missile capacity than a gladius and is more direct firepower than the Sabre. But how to make the most of it? I have chosen to go with four size-three Mantis, two badger repeaters for the turret, and an all size-two missile compliment for six Dominator IIs and six Tempest IIs.
Why the Mantis?
Because the gunboat is a weapons platform, not an acrobat. The longer a fight goes on the more likely it is the opposition will be able to get a favorable position on the gunboat; so the solution must be to make the fight as short as possible. To that end, the mantis has the second highest DPS of all size-three or smaller weapons and beats out a fair number of size-four plus weapons as well. The “better” weapon is the T-21 Tigerstreik, which is limited to only the avenger at this time. Beyond the raw DPS potential, the physical damage is my answer to the lightly armored Sabre, Gladius, or other very nimble dogfighters. Even just a little bit of damage in a few key places, like engines or thrusters, can even the odds in a turning battle considerably.
Gimbals are awesome!
With the Freelancer being less nimble than many others, it needs an edge to bring its guns to bear and do all that wonderful damage. Well, it just so happens that a Freelancer has unmanned turrets to give us that edge. With increased accuracy on the pilot’s behalf and firing arcs that can stretch to a full 90 degrees to port or starboard; the opposition will be taking a ton of damage from a skilled pilot. Up against ships with all fixed weapons, (coughs Sabre, cough) you should easily be able to force them out of their comfort zone of turning wars, lest they pay with their lives.
Dirty Dozen Missiles
These missiles are chosen as a hard counter to Superhornets. If four Mantis are my answer to Sabres and non-combat vessels, I have to have an answer for ships that have armor that works well against the physical damage those Gatling guns can dish out. Accordingly, I chose to mount as many size-two missiles possible. Even though a good pilot can dodge missiles, with twelve chances, I should be able to get some good hits or kills. Though tempting to go with all Tempest IIs, the Dominator IIs are needed for the little pest ships like M50s or merlins. With this ‘missile and Mantis’ combination, I have an answer for every problem until I run out of resources.
The True Militia in the PU?
I can easily see this gunboat being the premiere one or two man militia ship. Flying in squadrons of these gunboats could outright eliminate the need for endurance or a long fight because in just a few seconds you can put out an insane amount of DPS or missiles. The overlapping fields of fire of the turrets of a half-dozen of them are amazing because it allows them to concentrate fire in ways that other ships could not. Just give me plenty of ammunition and we’ll kill ’em all!
The Freelancer gunboat definitely takes offense to the extreme, which is also its potential downfall. That said, I deeply appreciate how it is a welcome addition on any battlefield and that it can get to that battlefield a number of ways that may not have been as accessible to others. I love it and hope you do too. Got any comments? come talk with me about it, tell me what you think.
Originally posted on the Those Guys with Ships forums. You can come talk with Dietrich there, or leave him a comment here in the INN comments section!