"The initial design purpose of the Bellicose was to act as a long range missile platform similar to the Caldari Caracal. The standard model was armed with four heavy missile systems and a Republic Fleet Dual 180mm Gallium Caseless Machine Gun for point defense against drones and light frigates. In addition, the dorsal auxiliary plasma afterburners were not present in this early design.When I first read CCP Ytterbium's dev blog on the cruiser ship balancing in September I wondered if the changes to the Bellicose would bring back memories of the original version of the Bellicose as described in Kirith's Fighting Spacecraft series in the Eve Tribune. The Bellicose is the first ship I ever got on a kill mail with and I always wondered why a ship with the target painter bonuses the Bellicose has a bonus for projectile turrets and not missiles. When I was in Eve University I didn't care and fit missiles anyway because the Bellicose's main purpose for existence was to paint the enemy and any DPS was just icing on the cake.
"The design presented several problems early on. For one thing, heavy missile production lagged in the new Republic's manufacturing centres and chronic shortages of the ammunition cut short many sorties. Secondly, the Minmatar engineers lacked the extensive experience of the Caldari corporations with missile systems and the performance of the Bellicose's armaments never came close to matching the Caracal cruiser that it was inspired by.
"Two of the missile systems were ripped out and replaced by the autocannon turret hardpoints and the point defense machine gun was upgraded to a full autocannon pairing as well, all coupled with an upgrade in fire control systems designed for projectile weaponry. The extra propulsion units were added to increase speed and agility and the new design was designated the CL-B."
- Kirith Kodachi, Project Athena
Just a quick review of the changes. The Bellicose lost one high slot but gained both a mid and a low slot. To justify the high slot change according to Kirith's lore, modern tactical doctrine now advocates using drones and not machine guns to combat frigates and other drones. And, let's face it, the Bellicose is a pretty old ship and electronics that used to fit in one slot can now fit in two. This is YC114, not the beginning of the Republic.
I am happy with the Bellicose, especially flying around low-sec with Ripard Teg's Bellicose fit. I didn't run into anyone but when I engaged NPCs the heavy assault missiles tore the Angel frigates and elite cruisers to shreds. Angel Cartel ship wrecks just brighten my day. I then modified the fit, replacing the HAM launchers with heavy missile launchers and the point with a shield booster and ran a Dirty Site, merrily blowing away ships from range. I'm beginning to wonder if I should even fit a shield booster since I was barely scratched even when webbed. That would be a surprise, flying a PvP fit complete with point when someone thinks I'm fit for PvE. Regular readers will know I love surprises, especially when I'm the one springing them.
The funny thing is that my PvE rampage ended early for the same reason that Bellicose sorties ended early in Kirith's history: a shortage of heavy missiles. I stocked up on heavy assault missiles and just brought a few heavy missiles with me. That new missile rate of fire bonus really burns through missiles. The nice thing is now that I have set up in low sec getting a new supply of missiles is as easy as undocking a mining ship, mining for less than an hour and then putting the ingredients in the oven. So what if making 20,000 missiles takes 13 hours. This is Eve, I'm supposed to plan ahead, right?