Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Pimping Your Noobs

In this article I am going to discuss overloading, boosters, faction/deadspace/officer modules and skill hardwiring implants.

The first weeks I played Eve, I found tons of information from older players/on the forums about how to play. Do not fly anything you can not afford to lose. Do not fly a ship before you are at least moderately skilled for it. Guns are better than missiles for fleet pvp because they do instant damage. Armor tanking is more popular for pvp because you need your mid slots for propulsion jamming so shield tanking is less viable. Stuff like that.

However, there is some game content that I started using quite late, and by the looks of it, it is like that for a lot of the new players. For some reason, the barrier to this content seems higher than with other stuff.

"Overloading? My modules break then!"
"Boosters? What are those? There are drugs in Eve you can take? Cool!!"
"Faction modules are too expensive for me." but I still like those more than: "Hey guys, (I just bought 2b isk on a site and) look at my fully faction fitted strategic cruiser." after which they die a horrible death after their first nullsec trip.
"Implants? Yes. I use the +4 attribute enhancers. The others? No.. I dont use them. Never really looked at them. They are too expensive, right?"

Most of the stuff discussed here is only useful for pvp.


Overloading is one of the things combat pilots really have to master in Eve. Although overloading gives in general only like a 10% bonus to a certain module, when used right, it can be a 1.2-1.5 gang multiplier when everyone in your gang understands the concept as opposed to none. Overloading your mwd might mean not getting hit instead of getting hit, overloading remote repair might mean gang member being primaried holds tank or not and overloading warp disruptor might mean you can stay out of the targets optimal range as a tackler. There are tons of scenarios. The capabilities of your gang just become a bit bigger all of a sudden.

With the Dominion expansion, skill requirements for overloading were even more lowered, which makes the barrier to use it pretty damn low.
Actually, at first, this article was only going to be about overloading your modules. The other things mentioned are just read and absorb, while overloading is something you actually have to master.

The skill that enables you to overload is Thermodynamics. It is definitely worth to train this to at least IV, even if you are a character starting out, suffering from omg-so-much-to-train syndrom.
Anyway, all the information about overloading can be found in this guide.

Many new players read this article. The basic understanding is there.

There are some things that guide does not mention explicitly or not enough:
* Damage always occurs on the same rack, so a high slot mod will never damage a med slot nor vice versa.
* Leaving a slot open gives the same benefits as an offlined module. However, if you are overloading a module, it is better to offline the modules next to them if you dont need them right away, since they will start taking heat damage otherwise if you dont.
* Only the fitting screen shows you which modules are next to each other. Moving buttons around in the interface does not change their relative position to each other.

When to use it?

But still, the big question remains: when do I use overload in practice? The idea of modules breaking in the midst of a fight prevents some from using it at all.

I am going to try and answer that question here.

* Short range guns get like a 15% damage bonus, which comes down to an actual 10% in general due to the way bonuses stack. This speaks for itself. Use it as soon as possible in a fight. At least one cycle. Turn it off on time though.
* Long range guns and missile launchers get a -15% duration bonus. Similar point as above.
* Propulsion modules, both MWD and AB, get a 50% speed boost. This might be useful if you are speed tanking, if you want to get in range quicker, and definitely if you need to get the hell out.
* Propulsion jamming modules. Overloading these gives boosts to range. Very useful. Webs get a 30% bonus, warp scramblers and disruptors a 20% bonus. Use overloading to be able to catch the target a bit sooner or to keep it catched a little bit longer. Might also be useful to keep range when you are faster than target and you want to keep your own optimal/avoid his optimal.
* ECM modules get a 20% bonus to jam strength. ECCM modules get a 30% bonus to sensor strength. Overloading these is arguably most useful in the beginning of a fleet fight, or if you notice that either of them is not working. Tracking disruptor, target painters and remote sensor dampeners cannot be overloaded.
* Energy neuts and drains get a -15% duration bonus. Overload if you want to cap dry the target faster/want more cap coming in.
* Active tank modules, like armor hardeners and invulnerability fields get a 20% bonus to the resistance bonuses. Overload as soon as you know you are not holding/going to hold tank.
* Local tank repair modules, like shield boosters and armor repair systems, get both a 10% bonus on amount repaired as a -15% duration bonus. Overload as soon as you took damage and your repairer cant keep up with the incoming damage.
* Logistics, such as shield repair, armor repair and cap transfer get a -15% bonus on duration. Use when the tank of a friendly is not holding but not going down like poof either. Use when tons of people in fleet are asking for any of the three, and you know you have enough cap to push it a little bit more. Obviously useful if you are flying a logistic.
* Capacitor boosters get a -15% duration when overloaded too. Use them if you want more cap coming in. Most useful when being neuted.

One final remark on overloading though. Overloading is micromanagement. Do it when you have the time. For example, locking, sending drones and applying damage as soon as possible are a lot more important than getting the heat thing right.
And in lagged scenarios, mouse clicks should always be spend elsewhere.

Nanite Repair Paste

When you have Nanite Repair Paste in your cargo hold, you can repair partially(!) damaged modules on the fly, by clicking on the damaged module and choosing repair. Taking some Nanite Repair Paste with you is usually a good idea. Note that you can only repair modules that are not active and not on cooldown, but they do not have to be offline. Right after you overheated a module, you cant repair it right away after you turn it off though. You have to wait a bit until the heat wears off. However, it is possible to overload mwd and burn to a target, turn your mwd off and start repairing as soon as the heat on the module is zero again, which might still be during the battle. So, in some cases, repairing modules during battle makes sense. Note however that once repair started, you cannot activate the module, until you choose to stop repairing it first. So, it involves a lot of micromanagement to actually use it then. Most people only repair in between battles, not during them.
The skill Nanite Operation lets you repair more with the same amount of repair paste and the skill Nanite Interfacing lets you repair more per second.


You can read more about the basics of boosters here.

Boosters are a bit of a mystery to some players. Although they are illegal in high sec with the exception of synth boosters, it is very easy to transport them with cloaky ships, so they can be bought in pretty much all normal market hubs, and transported from there to whatever station. Synth boosters cost less than 1m, standard boosters around 4m, improved ones around 8m and strong ones around 16m.

Although boosters are temporary, they last for quite a long time. 30 minutes standard. With the Biology skill this can be raised to 60 minutes.

Boosters give a rather large bonus for this amount of time to a specific aspect of your skills. You can increase your capacitor or decrease your signature radius, or enhance your active tanking skills, like armor repairing or shield boosting(Slot 1). You can also improve your weaponry. Like improving your turret tracking speed, optimal or falloff(Slot 2). Or giving your missiles a lower explosion radius, making it possible to hit smaller targets with them(Slot 3).

All boosters have 4 possible negative side effects, except for the legal synth boosters which have none. The chance and impact of these side effects can be reduced with the Nanite Control and Neurotoxin Recovery skills. Nanite Control is a very expensive skillbook though, and although it is not so useful, you need this skill first to be able to skill for Neurotoxin Recovery. It is well worth the isk if you are planning on using boosters frequently, and you are already a couple of months playing/300m isk isnt that big of a deal to you anymore. Assuming that Neurotoxin Recovery is at IV, with Standard boosters you will typically get around 0,75 of the side effects, with Improved ones 1 and with Strong ones around 1,35.

It often comes down to one really negative side effect you do not want. Still, chances of getting that particular side effect are only 16% with standard boosters, which is about 1 time out of 6 times. Also, when this one evil side effect occurs, it usually does not matter that much. The bonus and the penalty together usually still make your ship better than before.

In the case the booster crippled you instead of boosting you, you can still volunteer for the role of scout in the gang. Or you can even make it customary in your gang to take those drugs together before starting an op, assigning the role of scout to the one that got the worst side effects. There might be other options even. If you got a bad penalty to your gunnery, you can opt to fly an electronic warfare recon maybe.

In any case, use them! Stick to the Synth boosters if you prefer, but try to incorporate them in your play.

In the remaining part of this section, I will try to describe how to get the most out of these boosters.

Which sizes should you use?

Synth boosters are an easy answer. Although their impact is rather small, they are cheap too. Use them if you like detail. Or to make an almost cap stable fit, stable, for example. Actually, I use those cheap ones all the time, but I am even more a fan of Standard boosters. They definitely have the best price/performance ratio. Although their effects are only like half of the Strong ones, they are 4 times cheaper and it is easier to control their side effects too. Unlike the synth boosters, their effects are really significant. When flying capitals, I would consider using the Strong ones. For regular ops I just find them too expensive.

Which types should you use?

Mindflood boosters give more capacitor. More capacitor also means you recharge more cap per second, although the time to fully recharge remains the same. 10% more cap means 10% faster cap recharge. This booster is popular for cap-intensive buffer tank setups. Most of all, in regular play, for logistics. There are two local tanking penalties and two weaponry related penalties for this one. If a logistics ship fits buffer and no local tank(which is often done in rr bs gangs with multiple logistics) and no weapons, the side effects are entirely neglible. The most important use for this booster, however, is probably for carriers, as capitals often do not local rep, and carriers usually have a nursing role instead of a firing weapons role. Definitely buy strong ones for those to get the huge 20% bonus. Arguably the most popular booster around.

In remote repair close range BS gangs, the drop boosters(better turret tracking) are nice. Injecting the standard one is like having the skill Motion Prediction at 10. You get significantly increased tracking, and the local armor repair and shield capacity penalties do not matter. In general, use them for close ranged combat. Useful for fast, close range ships, such as the vagabond too, as long as the pilot does not get the velocity penalty. The velocity penalty is pretty much always the one you do not want to get. You will only get the penalty like 1 time out of 6 though.

Just like the drop boosters are nice for close range combat ships, the frentix boosters(improved optimal range) are nice for long range snipers. It enables you to use higher damage ammo or sit even further out.
The sooth sayer boosters(improved falloff range)are popular among snipers as well, since they have less worse penalties. Since pretty much all sniper setups are buffer, it is better to get a armor repairer penalty than a armor capacity penalty, the last one being definitely a bad one to get. Usually, people fight at optimal and not at falloff though.

Crash boosters(lower missile explosion radius) work a bit as target painters. These will give your missiles a significantly reduced explosion radius, making it easier to hit smaller targets like frigates and cruisers. The only penalty that usually matters in this case is the Missile Velocity penalty. Chance to get it is at 16% with Neurotoxin Recovery at IV. Probably most useful on stealth bombers, since it makes sense to engage frigs and cruisers with those.

X-Instinct boosters(lowered signature radius) are used by pilots flying ships that depend on their size for not being hit, or that want to be locked as slow as possible. Seems popular among interceptor pilots. Offsets the increased signature radius caused by mwding. Helps with surviving a bomb. Makes sense when flying covert ops vessels too, for that little bit of extra time others would need to lock you. In general, useful when flying frigs made of paper.

Exile boosters(better armor repairing) work very well for active armor tanking setups. For example, an Hyperion can reach a 2000 dps tank with those, making it possible to tank multiple ships at the same time (whether you want to fly a setup that is so vulnerable to neuting is something else entirely). The armor capacity penalty is the really bad one to get, and even less desirable if you combine the active tanking mods with buffer plates.
A similar thing can be said about the blue pill boosters(better shield boosting).
Due to the impopularity of active tanking without buffer in pvp, these boosters are not used very often. Arguably the least popular boosters around.

Faction/deadspace/officer modules

The modules you encounter first in Eve are the tech1 modules. Soon, you will discover the t1 meta 1-4 named modules, which are better than their normal t1 counterparts and usually have lower fitting requirements too. And you will get to know the t2 modules, which are meta 5, for which you have to skill, which are usually better than the named modules, but have a little bit higher fitting requirements than all their lower meta variations.

And then you start seeing the faction and officer modules/ships. Maybe you notice them on the mission reward list or when someone posts a fitting with them in your corp or alliance channel. After t2, faction modules are the next meta in line, usually 6-9, with pirate faction modules usually being a bit better, and higher meta, than the high sec navy faction modules. Then come deadspace modules and officer modules, which are always meta 11 or higher, and if you find them, you go “OMFG, I am rich.”

The first rule of thumb is not to fly expensive ships as long as you are too inexperienced for them. Many new players are isk buyers, and due to the low requirements for t3 cruisers, they buy and fly them a lot, and fit them with the expensive faction/officer stuff, copied from the cookiecutter build they found on some forum. This article is not pointed at you guys. I completely support you. Every dead 1b+ ship makes all other players in the eve universe a bit richer, so you guys are really doing a great job.

This section is pointed at the newer players who do not buy isk, and are hesitant to buy/ever use all items above meta 5. Now, the obvious rule of thumb is that you should not buy these modules for use on cheap ships. But once you wander into the t2 ship realm, and definitely when you skill to capitals, you should invest some isk in this stuff. Start cheap. Figure out which modules are worth it and which are not. If you do missions for a navy for example, it may be worth it to buy some nice tanking modules. Or it might be useful(and fun!) to buy a cheap high meta 1MN mwd for your tackling frig.

The most important is to know their prices and the impact they have on setups. Do not treat them as a sine qua non, or as a always-too-expensive item, but use common sense in buying and using them.

Skill hardwiring implants

This article is not going to be about special cases of using implants, like using mindlinks for fleet boosting, or using crystal and slave sets. It is going to focus on cheap skill hardwiring implants in everyday eve life.

Skill hardwiring implants give you extra levels on a certain skill. Some players perceive them as very temporary and too expensive.

It is true. They are temporary. You lose them if you get podded. But you probably do not get podded that often. Think about it. How many times have you been podded in your eve career? You wont get podded in high or low sec if you are a semi-decent pvper, and in nullsec only when confronted with ships with very high scan resolution or when caught in a bubble. And if you buy some more expensive ones, you can still store them in a jump clone you use only in high and low sec.

Indeed, the high end skill hardwiring implants are very expensive, and in my eyes usually not worth it. But since the skill hardwiring implants come at various levels, typically 3, with like a respective 1%, 3% and 5% bonus to something, you can choose yourself how much you want to invest. The 1% ones are usually incredibly cheap, the 3% ones affordable too, while the 5% ones start to become 100M+ expensive.
For example, the 'Noble' ZET50 for slot 10, which grants +1% armor HP, costs around 1M isk. The 'Noble' ZET 500 which grants +3% armor costs around 7M, while the 'Noble' ZET 5000, +5% armor HP, suddenly costs a whopping 140M.
An even more useful skill hardwiring implant, allowing fittings not possible before, are the 'Squire' PG implants for slot 9. The +1% powergrid bonus costs a bit more than 1M isk, the +3% about 20M isk and the +5% a whopping 150M again.
Similar prices for the 'Gypsy' KMB Cpu Output implants for slot 6 and for the 'Gypsy' KNB Signature Resolution implants for slot 7.
For 5M, you get a +1% bonus to 5 of the most important attributes of your ship in Eve, and for 100M a +3% bonus. Especially +3% cpu and powergrid for only 40M is really useful.

I guess I should underline that it is basically the same thing for boosters, faction stuff and hardwiring implants: the lower end the item, the better the price/performance ratio. You get the +1% bonus implants almost for free.

There are some others, who are even less costly, like Zor's Custom Navigation Link, and inserting those are still better than not inserting any at all. Start using these lower end ones!

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