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20Dec/13Off

A little Panzer Orca that could…

Some time ago I saw this sad video on Twitch TV

(Scroll to 1:48 to see the action, otherwise bear with ice mining for nearly 2 minutes)


Watch live video from x3aro on TwitchTV

Ganking is of course part of the game, and CCP is unlikely to do anything about it. Why? If ships are not blown up, nobody would buy new ships to replace them, and mineral prices would plummet quickly. I'm sure that would make miners way more sorry than ganking.

So, can an Orca survive a gank? Can Orca make it harder for the gankers?

When fitting a ship in EVE one always has a choice: more DPS, more tank or more mining laser output. Ships have limited number of slots, so they cannot be fit to excell at everything. As a high-sec miner, one would immediately assume that he should fit for mining laser output, whereas Orca pilot would fit to expand the cargohold as much as possible. Why would they fit any tank if they don't anticipate any combat?

See, the problem is that even if miners don't intend to fight, someone else might want to fight them. When fitting Orcas and mining ships, the real question should be:

Is the extra cargo space/mining output worth losing Orcas and Hulks? Does the margin gained by fitting 100% towards mining output or cargo capacity cover the losses? If your answer to this question is "yes, my profit margins are so great that I don't care about losing a few Orcas", then go ahead, fit for cargo space, and stop reading right here. However if the margins over untanked ships don't come close to the price of your Orca, read on.

What I should do to make my Orca harder to gank?

- Fit a Panzer Orca of course:

tanky-view

tanky-fittingWhile this fitting won't prevent a gank from happening, it forces the gankers to use five time as many ships to perform the gank (cargo expanded Orca only has 64,8k EHP, because Cargo Expanders and Cargo Rigs reduce hull and armor respectively). Unless someone is really determined to gank your Panzer Orca (which, knowing James315 is of course entirely possible), gankers will most likely ignore it and look for an easier target.

282k EHP with base Tech II fitting, Tech I rigs and Shield Harmonizing link II. This fit can be further improved by using Tech II rigs and deadspace mods, but the latter would again encourage the gank, so I don't really recommend it, but yes, it's doable.

  • Adding Tech II rigs will increase the EHP to 294k
  • Adding A-Type Invulns and X-Type EM/Therm hardeners will further increase EHP to 363,000
  • With Estamel's hardeners, the EHP reaches mind-blowing 380,000, but 2 billion worth of officer modules will more than likely encourage the gankers to kill the ship for loot.

Granted, Panzer Orca pilot will have to warp back to station much more often, but as I said, that's the choice:

  • excell at cargo and add lost ships into running costs,

or

  • have less cargo, but reduce probability of losing the ship by a substantial margin.

There is one more advantage to this fit: it increases EHP of all barges and exhumers in the fleet. It works as if they had one more Tech I Invulnerability Field. Pretty neat, eh?

Is there anything else I could do?

Of course there is! First off, watch local. While it was not initially intended to be an intel tool, it has quickly become one and you should make the best possible use of it. If local is at lets say 15 pilots, and then out of a sudden a ship warps to your belt and local jumps to 30, this is a sign of incoming danger. I would warp out if I were you, just in case. Better safe than sorry!

Every player in EVE who did any PVP is also very familiar to the directional scanner. It's basically a magic radar that tells you what ships and other items are in space in a given range and angle from your ship. If you have ever mined or missioned in low sec you have most likely used it as well. Yes, you have to actively scan every x seconds, and if you see a group of ships like Tornado, Brutix, Catalysts or Thrashers showing up on radar all at once, it's better to warp out.

You can keep an align to a station or celestial, but this means your ship will be moving. Depending on how you mine, this might be a serious disadvantage. What does it do? It allows for a very quick warp out in case of danger - just hit WARP and you will be on your way.

TL; DR

Always anticipate PVP in EVE. Fit tank on your Orcas, fly tanky Skiffs for mining. Take the game mechanics available to you in your hands and play them to your advantage!

By using the fit above you agree that author of this post will not be held responsible if you lost your Orca despite fitting Panzer Orca fit. Sufficiently determined group of pilots will always be able to gank any ship in high sec, including famous Chribba's Veldnaught. It's only a matter of determination and amount of combat ships involved.

29Oct/12Off

The little Skiff, that could…

SkiffWith the changes to Mining Barges and Exhumers introduced in Inferno, Skiff has become a valid PVP platform. Devs have boosted the EHP and fitting capabilities, but seem to have forgot about the exceptional agility and speed (250m/s on a mining barge!), which come from it's pre-Inferno role of the "ninja" Mercoxit miner. High sensor resolution of 825mm makes it an excellent tackler, in line with most frigates and interceptors.

Drone bay of 50 cubic meters fits 5 medium drones, or 10 small ones. They would not pack a lot of punch, but with the Drone Damage Amplifier II, 5 medium drones can pump up to 216 DPS - I would say quite a lot for a mining ship. Retribution will further improve this, because Drone damage mods will receive a further buff (19% -> 23%).

With 5 med slots, Skiff has enough space to fit a propulsion mod and tackling mods, leaving room for two tank mods. Two low slots give a little choice really: Damage Control II and damage mod, or two damage mods for all-gank setup. High slot is really optional: you can fit a Nos/Neut, or drone range mod, and that's about it.

  

How well does it perform?

Not as good as a dedicated combat vessel, but not bad either. The EHP is in the HAC - BS levels, while damage output is closer to Tech I cruisers. Of course drones can be killed, and Skiff can quickly end up with no guns. Using small drones allows to hold two full flights of them, but it reduces the DPS by half, reducing Skiff potential to a frigate killer.

http://eve-kill.net/?a=kill_detail&kll_id=14330271

http://eve-kill.net/?a=kill_detail&kll_id=14320342

8Jun/12Off

Fueling the eternal War Machine made safer.

When you ask anyone who plays EVE Online, what the game is like, the immediate response is "EVE is a PVP game". This short sentence is both true and false, depending on the point-of-view. EVE Online players rarely admit to the fact, that part of the game success is it's player-driven economy. Those who don't engage in PVP, and instead run missions, mine asteroids or make money in any other way are considered inferior and called "carebears" by the self-assumed "elite" players. The truth is, if EVE had no economy and everything was supplied by the NPCs, this would most likely hold true. Truth however, is not so simple.

The War Machine needs fuel!

The eternal conflict in New Eden needs fuel, and that fuel is ships and armaments, which players use to blow each other up. Manufacturing of most goods in EVE requires minerals. With the Escalation to Inferno changes (removal of mineral drops from Rogue Drones), and further nerf of meta-0 loot, the only valid source of minerals becomes, again, mining.

"Mining?! u kidding me bro? It's boring as hell and gives no kills. And it pays almost no ISK. And Tech II ships that we elite pvpers fly don't need minerals, right? They only need moon goo. Everyone knows that." - said the elite pilot

"You know jack shit about how stuff is made." replied the carebear.

"STFU*, noob! You know jack shit about PVP.", said the angry elite egger.

*) Silence, I kill you!

Guess what? It's our carebear, who is right in this case. Due to the Tech II manufacturing mechanics, Tech I items are still neccessary to build their Tech II versions. They are simply one of the materials used for manufacturing. What this means is, every ship in the game is made of minerals, doesn't matter if this is Tech I, Tech II or a faction ship* Those minerals have to come from somewhere.

Without the carebears making ships, PVPers would fly Velators and Reapers and shoot civilan guns. We don't want that, do we? Both playstyles are necessary for EVE Online to thrive.

*) faction ships are made from BPCs or require a Tech I ship trade-in.

Here come PVPers again.

Ganking can be a rather lucrative business. Killing juicy haulers in high sec is just as easy as anywhere else. The only difference is the presence of CONCORD, but it does not prevent killing. Instead, CONCORD ships only deliver a punishment by destroying the offender's ship. Ganking can also be done for fun. Guess who's the easiest target? Miners.

Mining ships are not even half as resilient as their combat counterparts, making them excellent prey.

"You forgot to add that carebear tears are sooooo delicious!", said the elite pilot.

As a pilot who has been on both ends of suicide ganking (been a piwate once, but I'm teh good guy now!) I can throw my two cents.

The defense against suicide ganking is rather limited, except for simply not flying these vulnerable ships. Carebears have everything against them:

  • very limited EHP of Exhumers and Barges
  • element of surprise on gankers side
  • low agility makes it difficult to warp out quickly
  • Destroyers are cheap and powerful enough to blow up Exhumers and Barges
  • There is no defence against alpha volley, except for EHP

With that in mind, instead of whining to CCP for EHP buff, we can make ganking harder, by fitting the mining ships accordingly.

First, a few things that *will not* protect you:

  • Having friends in BS/BCs or even Falcons: because gankers rely on Alpha strike - the first volley which is usually fired the instant they lock your ship. This gives friendly pilots no time to intervene.
  • Active tank: neither shield boosters, nor armor repairers will help, exactly for the same reason.
  • Warp Core Stabilisers: because of long align times and quick alpha strike - this module is completely not viable for mining.
  • Drones: they will not have enough time to destroy the attacker, but if you fit for EHP and survive a gank attempt, Drones might give you a killmail 😉

Fly Barges instead of Exhumers

Players can easily offset the high cost of a Hulk by using a Covetor instead. With the current mineral prices, the difference between Hulk and Covetor mining output is not that much, but the difference in prices of these two ships is huge. Here's two samples of a "Resilient" Covetor fit:

[Covetor, armor]
Damage Control II
Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II

Residual Survey Scanner I

Modulated Strip Miner II, Veldspar Mining Crystal II
Modulated Strip Miner II, Veldspar Mining Crystal II
Modulated Strip Miner II, Veldspar Mining Crystal II

Medium Trimark Armor Pump I
Medium Trimark Armor Pump I
Medium Trimark Armor Pump I

[Covetor, shield]

Damage Control II
Adaptive Nano Plating II

V-M15 Braced Multispectral Shield Matrix

Modulated Strip Miner II, Veldspar Mining Crystal II
Modulated Strip Miner II, Veldspar Mining Crystal II
Modulated Strip Miner II, Veldspar Mining Crystal II

Medium Core Defence Field Extender I
Medium Core Defence Field Extender I
Medium Core Defence Field Extender I

Both setups offer about 12k EHP, which is... well... still not too much. But it is over twice as much as an untanked Covetor has, and it takes more than a single Dessy to kill it.

Please keep in mind, that mining in a Battleship is not a bad idea as well.

And if you really have to fly a Hulk...

Tank it as much as humanly possible! It will not guarantee 100% safety, but it will either discourage potential gankers, or even make you survive a gank (if bad guys don't scan your ship before attacking it). When fitting a Hulk these days, survivability is the key word. Here's an example:

[Hulk, Tanked]
Damage Control II
Reinforced Bulkheads II

Small F-S9 Regolith Shield Induction
Adaptive Invulnerability Field II
Adaptive Invulnerability Field II
Small F-S9 Regolith Shield Induction

Modulated Strip Miner II, Veldspar Mining Crystal II
Modulated Strip Miner II, Veldspar Mining Crystal II
Modulated Strip Miner II, Veldspar Mining Crystal II

Medium Core Defence Field Extender I
Medium Core Defence Field Extender I

This setup offers 27,1k EHP, which is much better than untanked Covetor (5,5k) and untanked Hulk (9k). With someone flying a booster Tengu or Vulture in the fleet it might even be enough to actually combat gankers.

[Hulk, Tankit]
Damage Control II
Micro B88 Core Augmentation

Adaptive Invulnerability Field II
Adaptive Invulnerability Field II
Medium F-S9 Regolith Shield Induction
Limited Adaptive Invulnerability Field I

Modulated Strip Miner II, Veldspar Mining Crystal I
Modulated Strip Miner II, Veldspar Mining Crystal I
Modulated Strip Miner II, Veldspar Mining Crystal I

Medium Core Defence Field Extender I
Medium Ancillary Current Router I

The above setup (credit goes to Jorma Morkkis) gives 28,8 kEHP (32,8 with overheat). It will be rather hard to get it past this point without the use of faction/deadspace mods.

But what about Orca?

Orca is usually used as a giant hauler with Mining Links. This makes most people fit Orca with Large Cargohold Optimization rigs and Expanded Cargohold IIs. These players score their own goal, because both rigs and expanded cargohold mods reduce EHP. Comparison is quite simple: Tanked Orca offers 278,8k EHP versus 64,8k EHP of Cargo expanded Orca. This requires many more than 5 Tornadoes to kill. The choice (and the risk) is, of course, yours.

[Orca, Tank]

Damage Control II
Reinforced Bulkheads II

Adaptive Invulnerability Field II
Heat Dissipation Field II
EM Ward Field II
Adaptive Invulnerability Field II

Mining Foreman Link - Mining Laser Field Enhancement
Small Tractor Beam I
Mining Foreman Link - Laser Optimization

Large Core Defence Field Extender I
Large Core Defence Field Extender I
Large Core Defence Field Extender I

PS. The fitting above has more EHP than a Freighter. 

Stay out of plain sight

There is one last idea to make mining a safer task: mining in Gravimetric sites and mission deadspaces. Of course gankers can scan, too, but you will notice Core/Combat probes on directional scanner long before the bad guys can warp on top of you. The rules are the same as for missioning/mining in low sec: watch local and watch directional scanner like a hawk, warp out at the first sign of trouble.

Use some out-of-character PVP skills

Staying aligned at 3/4 of max speed makes mining more difficult, but can save your life. Also try to have the destination station as selected object at all times, so all you have to do is press the "warp" button. Incoming ships are visible on overview a few sceonds before they can be a threat, but in order to see them, you will have to set up two tabs in your overview. Make one of them show asteroid (let's call it "mining" tab) and the other one - ships (let's assume its called "pvp" tab). When you pop a roid, switch to mining tab, lock a new rock and start mining it. Then go back to the pvp tab. Have the pvp tab open at all times. When you see a cruiser or destroyer warping in, just hit the warp button. Remember to have the station (the one you're aligned to) selected at all times.

21May/11Off

Update on Captain’s Quarters

EVE Online: Incarna is closer than one might expect. CCP released a statement, that Incarna will be deployed in June 2011, so there is about a month until the final build is going to be deployed on a server near you. It seems that the developers took the croudsourcing ideas very seriously, because most of the features mentioned in the forums after the first public Incarna test made it to the current build.

Proposed GUI for Incarna (C) CCP, hf. 2011

Proposed GUI for Incarna (C) CCP, hf. 2011

  • Movement: left+right button makes your character walk
  • Ship fitting: there is now a holo of your ship in the CQ and on the balcony console
  • Gfx: lighting has been adjusted, most of the textures is already there
  • Protein Delicacies + Quafe!! Dear CCP: Please make it possible to eat and drink those 😀 Quafe would have some meaning other than just trading commodity
  • The big three monitors got some overhaul, they don't look so useless now and display some useful information
  • Animations are much smoother and the collision models have been updated - character doesn't get stuck anymore
  • Whole performance (FPS) is much better than the previous build. Loading times are still longer than the current station environment.
  • Micropayment interface has been added - it will be possible to convert PLEX to a special currency

The GUIs are still incomplete. Developers have posted a screenshot with the proposed solution in a recent dev blog - you can see it on the right (current Duality build requires you to right click an object and select options from menu).

As usual, I have posted a couple of screenshots from the current work-in-progress version:

17Feb/11Off

Two armored Cruisers for Incursions

Today I have two fittings that are quite good for Vanguards. Why armor tanks are better? Because buffer shield leads to oversized signature (and thats bad - Tama Cerebellums will eat you alive).

14Feb/11Off

Scorpion fitting for Incursion

Many pilots ask in Syne Public if Scorpion is useful for Incursions. It is definitely worth a look, provided you can armor tank it with enough resists, so logis can cope with incoming DPS. Shield passive tank would increase already high signature radius, making it even more vulnerable to Tama's torpedoes.

Seven ECMs prove to be very useful in disrupting Sansha RR and limiting their firepower.

8Feb/11Off

The guide to solo Scout sites [Obsolete]

This post is from 2011 and after changes in EVE: Hyperion is out of date

Almost every EVE player already knows, that trying to solo an Incursion site is a bad idea. But fear not, if you only need a few more hundred LP to get that famous Meta Capital repairer for your supercarrier, you can do a few small sites solo.

CCP has designed some easy sites with low pay for beginners and people who only need a little bit more LP: the Scout sites. Beacons for these missions spawn in Staging system and can be accessed just like the other Incursion sites. Main difference is the amount of NPCs, which is lowest; usually only three frigates at a time will be trying to kill your ship.

7Feb/11Off

Bring it on, Kuvakei!

Last weekend I finally managed to do more than just a few Scout incursion sites. I have joined a fleet from Synepublic channel (not an official FCORD fleet though) and we went on doing Vanguard sites.

In the meantime, I've noticed, that the Incursion channel was full of LFM DPS! and "Looking for fleet" kind of requests. Immediately I felt like playing ... WoW. EVE universe is harsh by design, players generally don't trust each other, so this kind of questions flooding a public channel is rather unusual.

The fleet was an armor one, consisting of 10 people. We had three Logistics (healers) - 2x Oneiros and my Guardian, 2 Abaddons, Dominix, Deimos (FC), Thorax, Myrmidon and one Ishkur fitted for hacking. The first encounter, "Nation Commander Outpost" is pretty easy. The site consists a few waves of Sansha frigates and the final spawn brings the Boss frigate - Sansha Commander. Since our fleet had three Battleships, most dangerous NPC to us was the Tama Cerebellum - very similar to Cloaked Bomber class, which can fire Banshee Torpedoes against bigger ships.