Updated Wed, Apr 07, 2010 by Space Junkie
The Harbinger is an Amarr battlecruiser that dishes out major pain with its lasers, but is still friendly to newer players. It's easy for new pilots to fly without problems, and it doesn't take very long to train up the skills needed to use the hull and modules.
Amarr ships tend toward two general archetypes: taking a ton of damage without blinking, and pouring out lasery death. The harbinger falls into the latter category, and is in many ways the big brother of the Omen cruiser.
The harbinger is a good investment for new players because it can be used for running missions, PvP, or even mining. This guide focuses on the PvP applications of the harbinger, because new players often want to fly larger ships without spending hundreds of millions of ISK, and this is a great way to do that.
As usual, this guide focuses on using mostly tech one modules or cheap named modules in order to ensure that newer players have the skills needed to use the modules, and can foot the bill. My two concessions toward pricier items are justified, below.
Cheap As Sin
When you eventually lose it, hopefully after netting some killmails, the insurance payout will be 38.5mil, meaning that your total cost was somewhere around 17.5mil ISK. Assuming that you don't lose more than one a week, this should be pretty reasonable for even for very isk-poor players, so long as they are courage-rich.
A caveat: CCP has published their intention to fiddle with insurance costs and payouts. The exact costs and payouts will be changing over time according to market prices, but for a taste of what to expect I checked out the test server, where the cost and payout of insurance have both been decreased. Platinum insurance on the test server now costs ~8.4mil ISK, and the payout is ~28.1mil. If these values carry over to the main server, it will instead cost about 25mil ISK per harbinger loss. Ce la vie.
High Slots: Guns And A Neutralizer
In my opinion, it is better for new players skilling up for a harbinger to work on their Gunnery support skills, than to embark on the months-long skill grind for tech two lasers. Because this article is intended for newer players, my recommended fitting will not use tech two lasers.
Unfortunately for Amarr pilots, there are some pricing issues with named medium lasers, which are the sort that harbinger pilots use. Named lasers, that is, the laser modules dropped by NPCs that are generally better than their tech one equivalents but worse than the tech two versions, are ridiculously expensive. However, they do more damage and are easier to fit with sub-par skills, making them indispensable to new players. The version listed above cost about 1.5mil, each, in Jita.
The ultraviolet m ammunition listed above it probably the best compromise between needing capacitor despite not having the greatest capacitor skills, and inflicting damage at a decent range. Keeping Microwave M for somewhat better range, and Multifrequency M for when you need to do as much damage as possible, are both good ideas. Remember, lasers change ammunition instantly, so optimizing your ammunition for the range that you are fighting at is critical.
The medium energy neutralizer is a way to screw with smaller ships that move too quickly for your guns to hit them. Even normal tech one frigates can manage this trick, but not if you zap their capacitor with a neutralizer, leaving them dead in the water, for your drones to kill or your lasers to hit.