The Harpy Fleet

Well, I did not get back as quickly as I’d hoped. Still, I’m going to try.

I really need to discuss things like the jump changes and the recent ISBoxer (multiplexing/broadcasting, but really, ISBoxer is the 800 pound gorilla of this issue) but that needs a little thought. In a way I’m glad I didn’t get to those posts just yet since the jump changes, especially, require a little time to settle out.

In the meantime though, let me discuss a doctrine that I’ve come to appreciate a great deal: The rail harpy. This doctrine is used by BRAVE, and also by the CFC where I’ve recently relocated to (more on that later).

Low slots
Magnetic Field Stabilizer II
Magnetic Field Stabilizer II
Pseudoelectron Containment Field I

Medium slots
1MN Afterburner II
Adaptive Invulnerability Field II
F-90 Positional Sensor Subroutines
Upgraded EM Ward Amplifier I

High slots
150mm Railgun II, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge S
150mm Railgun II, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge S
150mm Railgun II, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge S
150mm Railgun II, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge S
[empty high slot]

Small Processor Overclocking Unit I
Small Core Defense Field Extender I

Ammmunition should include, at a minimum, 1000 rounds each of faction antimatter (it does not actually matter if it’s Caldari or Gallente, except that it should be all one or the other) and Spike. I like to have Javelin as well in case of close-in targets due to the combination of the tracking bonus and the even better damage, and either uranium, thorium, or lead. BRAVE calls for uranium, the CFC doesn’t keep the mid-range ammos on the doctrine template. Remember, it’s never bad to have extra ammo above what the doctrine calls for, but you should always have your doctrine ammo. If you’re going to be bashing, bring plenty of standard antimatter as well, or possibly uranium for larger POSs where antimatter might be well into or outside falloff. The Harpy isn’t ideal for bashing, but it can certainly do so in a pinch.

Now, I’m not a fleet commander these days, and only once commanded a rather small fleet of these in BRAVE, so I’m not going to talk about how it’s used so much as why it’s a fleet that people will like to fly in.

1) It’s reasonably powerful.

With faction antimatter loaded, it pushes 170 DPS out to 19KM optimal and 26-27KM falloff, depending on skills – and with Spike it can engage at 70KM without much trouble, at lower damage. This makes you feel like you’re flying a ship that has the power to respond to a lot of situations – you feel like you can actually kill things with your fleetmates. You aren’t tied to getting an ideal engagement range, so you feel like if your FC can find a reasonable target, you can fight it. Additionally, you have frigate-size guns, so it’s not going to be easy for anyone else to get on top of YOU and under your guns (and if that does happen, that’s what Javelin is for.) While the ship is by no means a DPS king, it does more than a reasonable amount for its size and range capability.

2) It’s reasonably tough

The Harpy has high native resists, plus the Adaptive invulnerability field and the EM Ward Amplifier plugging the hole make it pretty tough. However, what people often miss is that it doesn’t piss away this toughness advantage with shield extenders and rigs blowing its sig radius up and increasing vulnerability to larger weapons and bombs. It only has one shield rig, and it doesn’t even use an MWD. This does make it a little more vulnerable to bubbling, but not excessively so, and while MWDs on assault frigates are generally a good idea on account of the sig radius bonus, that leads to its other tough area – capacitor. With all systems on it has a good 7 minutes of capacitor, more if you’re using lower-cap ammo, or if you cut the sensor booster. Everyone likes to bring their ship home at the end of a fleet – expect to lose it, but any time you don’t is a treat and the Harpy treats you pretty often.

3) It’s affordable, easy to train into, and easy to fit

While it does require a few level 5 skills to use, none of them are very hard ones and it gets the new pilot into a tech II ship and feeling like he’s something more than suicide tackle pretty early on. You don’t need to wait on Advanced Weapon Upgrades V or anything like that. Moreover, it’s not costly. Yes, there’s SRP, but you have to buy the first one, and you may have to buy replacements while waiting on SRP, especially in BRAVE where reimbursement can take a week or more.

A Harpy hull isn’t precisely cheap for a new pilot, but it’s not outrageous either, and the fit doesn’t use a ton of expensive modules or rigs. While more expensive than a Moa on the hull, it’s cheaper to fit and insure, and with the recent buff of T2 insurance, that’s a more important point than in the past.

Now, this all may seem pretty obvious to the experienced pilot, even those that have never flown Harpy doctrine. “Kiryen, why are you bothering to make a blog post about the obvious?”

Well, because these three things make pilots WANT to get into this doctrine. Harpy fleets usually mean content, and usually don’t mean bashing – even though they can bash.

The Harpy is a great way to cure Fast Tackle Disease – and that’s what I’m going to talk about next. It’s still a frigate, but it’s a few steps up from a suicide fast tackle, while remaining well within reach of the first-90-day player. Fast Tackle Disease is part of what led to my departure from BRAVE and will be my next topic.