Archive for April, 2011


Next Level Thinking

I commented on Ardent Defender’s blog that next-level thinking can be very lucrative when given prior warning of a shift in the status quo. I missed out on the planetary materials changes, but it’s reasonable to say that everyone who invested their entire savings in stockpiling T3 planetary materials at NPC-sale prices has made out like a robber baron.

Similarly, those who bought cheap Planetary Vehicles before CCP fixed the mission that dumped thousands of them on the market, or those, like Akita T, who could see the secondary effects of the moon mineral alchemy changes on Technetium prices.

In real life, this is exemplified by some people buying Viagra when it first came onto the market, while others bought shares in the company that made it.

Back to an Eve context, next-level thinking can be applied to the recent patch. In short, these changes:

  • High-end cosmic anomalies will be reduced in frequency
  • More cosmic signatures have been created

are related by the fact that cosmic anomalies sometimes escalate into cosmic signatures, but only if there’s a relevant type to escalate to.

Fewer Havens and far fewer Sanctums mean fewer high-end escalations, which mean X-type and A-type deadspace modules prices will rise. Oh, that also means faction battleship prices will rise, since that’s how a lot of BPCs enter the economy.

Missing signatures mean that B- and C-type modules that previously didn’t spawn now will. This will depress prices for the other type, since extra choices will alleviate demand. In addition, more low-end anomalies will be run compared to now, further depressing prices, especially in the DED5-9 range.

So, following my own advice, I sold some cheap deadspace stuff I could do without, and speculated on a few pieces of high-end gear that I wouldn’t mind keeping but would happily sell off if the price rises. It’s not as easy as buying from NPC orders, but hopefully it will pan out well.


New Forums, now with 33% more snark

new eve forum logo: 100% more unicorns

I can tell you've been lurking on Scrapheap, CCP, and it's changed you for the bitter.



O Tengu

The Tengu series:

  1. Tengu Subsystems
  2. Fitting a Tengu
  3. Enjoying a Tengu
  4. The Salvage Tengu

How Do I Love Thee? Let me count the ways.

The Tengu is undoubtedly the most well-known of the Strategic Cruisers introduced in the Apocrypha expansion. The Strategic Cruisers (also known as T3 Cruisers) were also the last new sub-capital combat ships to be released into New Eden, and thus retain some semblance of newness.

Designed to be supremely configurable, strategic cruisers have been pressed into action in a variety of combat and non combat roles.

Some point to the relative unpopularity of certain racial subsystems as evidence that the T3 Experiment has failed and players only use the “best” fit and ignore the others. Perhaps that’s true; perhaps there are other factors at play, like relative balance between subsystems, or the dubious wisdom in configuring a very expensive ship to be a bad version of a much cheaper hull.

vicious-looking Tengu ship

OMG a Caldari ship that actually looks vaguely good

Of all the strategic cruisers, the Caldari Tengu is acknowledged as a solid performer so when it came time to switch from training support skills to a more aggressive bent, I naturally gave some serious consideration towards training to fly one.

What decided it for me were the subsystems skills. Some subsystem skills are Int-Mem primary; others are Per-Will so it made sense to train whichever were easiest now, before the neural remap.

For most ships, its role is predetermined; recon ships are for PVP engagements; logistics ships are for repairing; Heavy Assault ships for pure damage. However, a multi-role vessel such as a T3 necessitates a different approach.

A T3 poses the question: what roles do you want it to play? for me, I narrowed it down to a few roles:

  • HAC-like damage dealing for Sovereignty-related cosmic anomalies and belt ratting
  • Tanking like a brick for harder DED-rated complexes
  • Possibly a gang fit for either warfare links or (mutual) remote repair

An all-in-one exploration fit was discarded because I can easily swap ships, although some friends swear by their Tengu for high-sec exploration.

Similarly, a pvp fit was out of the question because I’d much rather lose a half dozen T2 ships than a single T3, not least because I would have had six times the number of fights.

So, Serps, I hear you say, why not just buy a Ship for each role? say, a CNR, an Ishtar and a basilisk?

Well, basically because I can’t fly them 😦 and anyway, what use is a T3 ship if you don’t change the subsystems from time to time?

With this in mind, I set about investigating the Caldari subsystems for purchase. Of course, I’ll have to choose at least one from each group, but since some of the subsystems are quite pricey, it’s worth taking the time to choose wisely.

Defensive Subsystems

As you’d expect, all the defensive subsystems affect defence, as well as providing different module slots.

Supplemental Screening

10% bonus to shield hitpoints per level

This is obviously the module of choice for PVP shield buffering: a buffer bonus, nice base shield amount, and two mid slots. I suppose you could make a passive tank fit but then the signature radius blows out and you lose a lot of the benefits to flying a small ship, as well as waste all the low slots on shield power relays instead of damage modules.
Good for: PVP buffer tanking
Buy? No

Adaptive Shielding

5% bonus to all shield resistances per level
10% bonus to shield transporter effectiveness per level

This is an intriguing module. It offers a high slot and a mid slot, but the shield resistance bonus compensates for the missing mid. It seems really good for remote repair setups, so depending on price, I’ll chalk this one up as a maybe.
Good For: Remote reps (wormholes)
Buy? Maybe

Amplification Node

10% bonus to shield booster effectiveness per level

Ah, this is nice: an excellent PvE tanking bonus; this will be the mainstay of my PvE fits.
Good For: PvE Solo tanking
Buy? Yes

Warfare Processor

5% bonus to effectiveness of Siege Warfare Links per subsystem skill level

Considering my siege warfare skills are terrible, I think I’ll delay this purchase, although I note that Tengus benefit greatly from each of the three types of Siege Warfare links. Fitting multiple warfare links will require a Command Processor, which is yet another long train, so this aspect of helping others will take a back seat, I fear. The missing second mid slot also means that a fleet boosting Tengu will be more fragile, which also doesn’t appeal.
Good For: Gang Boosting, getting awoxed by fleet members
Buy? No

Electronic Subsystems

The Electronics subsystems affect the targeting range, sensor strength and provide, it seems, a lot of mid slots.

CPU Efficiency Gate

5% bonus to CPU per level

T2 fitting a Tengu can be daunting at low skills like mine, so it’s good that this option is available. However, since its base CPU is pretty low, you need Caldari Engineering Subsystems III to even match the other subsystems, so you’re really only getting maybe 10% more rather than 25% more CPU. I appreciate the option of using this subsystem but I think I’ll give this a miss in favour of adjusting my fit downwards until my skills catch up.
Best For: Pilots who load up on missile rigs or T2 modules
Buy? No, but it’s cheap anyway

Dissolution Sequencer

15% bonus to ship sensor strength per level
5% bonus to targeting range per level

This subsystem provides resistance against ECM as well as longer targeting range for the heavy missiles I will be using. This is the best electronics sub yet.
Best For: Long range combat, especially vs Guristas rats
Buy? Yes

Obfuscation Manifold

10% bonus to ECM target jammer optimal range per level

ECM optimal range is good, since the only other cruiser with that bonus is the Blackbird with its tragically weak tank. By some accounts, the Tengu could be put to use as a durable ECM boat for incursions or wormhole space, but I will give this a miss for the time being
Best For: Pilots who want a really tanky Falcon
Buy? No

Emergent Locus Analyzer

10% increase to scan strength of probes per level
20% bonus to range and velocity of tractor beams per level
Role Bonus: -99% reduced CPU need for Scan Probe Launchers

I don’t need an exploration fit at the moment, but if I did, this would be awesome. 4 mid slots allow for exploration modules, or extra-tough tank for a brick fit. I will keep this one in mind.
Best For: Exploration, or really tanky fits
Buy? Yes, because it’s cheap.

Engineering Subsystems

Augmented Capacitor Reservoir

5% bonus to capacitor capacity per level

Bonuses to capacitor would be a lot better if the Tengu didn’t use its mid slots for tanking, so I could fit a large capacitor battery on at 150% strength. Still, the extra high slot is desirable for damage, so I rate this a buy, especially since I’ll be starting out on much less dangerous sites like belt ratting.
Best For: Moar Damage
Buy? Yes

Capacitor Regeneration Matrix

5% reduction in capacitor recharge rate per level

The truly huge base capacitor size, coupled with the recharge rate bonus and a few Capacitor Control rigs make for a cruiser that can comfortably fit a permanently-running large shield booster for incredible amounts of tanking ability (In the ballbark of 1800 rat-specific damage, not adjusted for damage mitigation due to signature radius and speed). The extra low slot allows for a Power Diagnostic System, Damage Control or Capacitor Flux Coil/Capacitor Power Relay for additional ease of tanking.
Best For: tanking stupid amounts of incoming DPS
Buy? Later, when I need it

Power Core Multiplier

5% bonus to power output per level

A pilot chooses this for the turrets, but it’s widely known that Hybrid Turrets are underpowered, especially on Caldari ships which don’t get damage bonuses for them. Using this subsystem on this ship is a mistake.
Best For: Hybrid Turret fits
Buy? Hell no

Supplemental Coolant Injector

5% Reduction in the amount of heat damage absorbed by modules per level

Considering that the most-overheated module are weapon turrets, the fact that this subsystem doesn’t have an extra turret is a huge strike against it. I suppose that overheating mid slots is a viable niche for T3 cruisers in PvP, but since the ECM subsystems are a bit ordinary, the Tengu is probably not the best strategic cruiser to benefit from this subsystem.
Best For: Overheating mid slots
Buy? No; train your Strategic Cruiser skill more instead.

Offensive Subsystems

Accelerated Ejection Bay

5% bonus to kinetic missile damage per level
7.5% bonus to Heavy, Heavy Assault and Assault missile launcher rate of fire per level
10% bonus to heavy missile and heavy assault missile velocity per level

Five launchers and substantial bonuses to kinetic damage means a big thumbs-up.  No drones for smaller targets, but compensated by moar damage(tm) so it’s a wash. Focused bonuses lend themselves towards best use of faction or tech 2 ammunition.
Best For: violencing cruisers and larger.
Buy? Of course. This is why you bought a Tengu.

Magnetic Infusion Basin

5% bonus to medium hybrid turret damage per level
20% bonus to medium hybrid turret optimal range per level

If hybrids didn’t suck, then maybe this would deserve a second glance.
Best For: Masochists (i.e. those who like hybrid turrets)
Buy? not unless you like pain

Rifling Launcher Pattern

10% bonus to ECM target jammer strength per level
5% bonus to Heavy, Heavy Assault and Assault missile launcher rate of fire per level

Well, this has a drone bay, and the missile bonus is not restricted to Kinetic damage (although lower than the Accelerated Ejection Bay). This may be an option for long-range ECM configurations, where the damage type flexibility for PvP comes into play, and the drones can be used to keep tacklers away, but I remain unconvinced that it’s worthwhile outside of C5 and C6 wormholes.
Best For: do-it-all scenarios, tanky Falcon fits, people who can’t make decisions
Buy? No. There, decision made.

Covert Reconfiguration

5% bonus to missile launcher rate of fire per level
Role Bonus: 100% reduction in Cloaking Device CPU use

Who doesn’t like the Covert Ops Cloak? While it’s nice to have, I suspect I will fit it to fly my Tengu to its null-sec destination, then repackage it and send it back to Jita to sell.
Best For: Cloaky Tengus, travel Tengus and some styles of Ninja Ratting Tengus
Buy? Yes, then sell after use.

Propulsion Subsystems

Fuel Catalyst

10% bonus to afterburner speed per level

Well, it doesn’t go particularly fast at 160m/s base speed, but the 50% bonus adds up to a pretty decent speed tank. Considering that many Tengus fill their low slots full of Ballistic Control Systems, dropping a BCS for a speed module should push you faster than 800m/s for only a small drop in damage output if you feel the need for speed.
Best for: PvE
Buy? Yes

Gravitational Capacitor

15% bonus to warp speed per level
15% reduction in capacitor need when initiating warp per level

The highest base speed (175m/s) makes up for bonuses that don’t affect your play style very much. The fastest subsystem when a MWD is fitted.
Best for: MWD fits, loltastic racing Tengus, expensive salvage boats.
Buy? No

Intercalated Nanofibers

5% increased agility per level

A popular choice. Many players don’t use an afterburner or MWD, or care more about the align time than speed. I’ve yet to see whether this is an issue, but no doubt someone will eventually violence my boat and I’ll wish I had this fitted instead.
Best for: scared carebears, close-orbit HAM PvP fits
Buy? No, but I’ll regret it later

Interdiction Nullifier

5% increased agility per level
Role Bonus: Immunity to non-targeted interdiction

It’s missing a lot slot which means that your fit is slightly gimped by using this (although nowhere near as gimped as an armour tanking ship) and it’s pretty slow and not particularly agile, but the ability to ignore warp bubbles is pretty awesome.
Best for: travel Tengus
Buy? Sure, it’s cheap

Next up: fitting a Tengu. I just can’t wait!


Suspiciously Knowledgeable

A picture of a Team Fortress 2 spyAfter successfully fielding some obscure questions from corp mates in the last few weeks, on such varied topics as

My CEO now suspects I am too knowledgeable to be a first character and possibly an alt spy.

I don’t know whether to be proud or annoyed.


How Dreadnoughts kill stuff in Wormholes

For those who may not know, wormhole space (or w-space, as it’s commonly known) has some tough NPC ships called Sleepers, whose wrecks are somewhat profitable to loot and salvage. The smallest class of wormhole doesn’t allow many ship types, but the largest type, C6, can happily fit capital ships through.

An interesting thing about Sleeper combat sites is that warping a capital ship into a fight will also spawn some Sleeper battleships as the battle escalates. While this is a great idea to get more ships to shoot at, you then are stuck with a friendly capital ship that needs help to kill anything.

While a carrier can go nuts repairing fleetmates and send out fighter drones to (briefly) kill things, dreadnoughts are somewhat less obvious in approach.

Turns out that you can pump out a lot of damage from a short-ranged Dreadnought fit – perhaps 6-7000 DPS. The problem is applying that damage without missing.

The solution? The Armour-tanked Support Rapier.

[Rapier, Ded Menace’s Rapier]
Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II
Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II

Stasis Webifier II
Stasis Webifier II
Stasis Webifier II
Phased Weapon Navigation Array Generation Extron
Phased Weapon Navigation Array Generation Extron
Phased Weapon Navigation Array Generation Extron

Small Nosferatu II
Small Nosferatu II
Small Nosferatu II
Small Nosferatu II

This is a cheaply-fitted Rapier; while better webbers and painters aren’t necessary, additional tank in the lows (1600mm plate and a damage control) and maybe some rig slots (anti-kin and anti-thermal resists) wouldn’t go astray, although maybe it’s impossible to tank enough for a C6 wormhole anyway. The idea is that the Rapier orbits a carrier, draining its capacitor using the nosferatus and practically immobilizing its target enough for a dreadnought to annihilate it. The reason for an armour tank is fairly obvious; it can’t fit a tank anywhere else. In addition, armour tanked dreadnoughts provide better damage application than the shield tanked ones, so the entire fleet probably ends up being armour tanked.

So, there you have it – a neat technique for taking on some of the hardest PvE content in Eve.