Monday, September 8, 2014

Fits for Hunting in Wspace

Usually weekends are the best times for interesting happenings in EVE, but not this time.  I drew a blank, and not for want of trying.  So instead of the latest story of killing or weird stuff happening, I thought I'd take up an easy one.  A reader asks what ship I hunt in.

Requirements for Hunting in Wormhole Space

Perhaps the most obvious and important requirement for hunting in wspace is a covert ops cloak.  There are lots of people interested in kills, and if they can see you, eventually they'll catch you.  So, the only ships in consideration are stealth bombers, the cloaky Recon Ships (Pilgrim/Falcon/Arazu/Rapier), and T3s with the Covert Reconfiguration subsystem.

A second requirement for most hunters is the ability to launch probes.  This is wspace, and you must find all the exits once per day.  This requirement really hurts Recon ships, since they do not have any spare high slots once the covert ops cloak is fitted.  They have to give up 1/3 of their already not huge non-drone output.

I hunt in a stealth bomber, a Manticore.  I do this mainly for reasons of price/performance.  Stealth bombers are cheap, so I can afford to lose them.

On the performance side, the most important thing when hunting is high DPS.  Killing your target ASAP prevents it from getting away (if it can), or escaping when help arrives.  It can even prevent it from helping itself.  (I ganked a Noctis a bit back that deployed Warrior II drones but did not kill me with them.  I chatted afterward with the pilot and it turned out he was locking me the whole time!)  Stealth bombers have more DPS, with more modest skills, than anything that can fit a covert ops cloak.  Compare: my bomber gets about 500DPS.  A comparable Loki, which I trained into but never actually flew, gets about 375 DPS.  (Of course the Loki cannot be killed by harsh language.)  Similarly Recon ships do moderate damage by comparison to bombers.

Another important aspect of performance is ability to lock quickly.  Again, bombers are superior to larger ships here.  They have no "sensor recalibration delay" when uncloaking, buying precious seconds.  And they have higher sensor strength so they lock more quickly.

In Hyperion, we also have those new small wormholes.  This is an additional reason to hunt in a bomber, since only the lightest ships can get through.

My Manticore

I have two fits for my Manticore, which you can see below.  The first is the main fit that I hunt in; it is a fairly traditional bomber fit.  I expect you can find this exact fit on battleclinic, except perhaps using higher-meta parts in a few slots.  I use lesser parts to keep costs down, mainly, although it is also helps with fitting on the always-tight CPU.
[Manticore, Wspace Hunter]
Ballistic Control System II
Ballistic Control System II 
J5b Phased Prototype Warp Scrambler I
Alumel-Wired Sensor Augmentation, Scan Resolution Script
Limited 1MN Microwarpdrive I
Phased Weapon Navigation Array Generation Extron 
Prototype 'Arbalest' Torpedo Launcher, Caldari Navy Scourge Torpedo
Prototype 'Arbalest' Torpedo Launcher, Caldari Navy Scourge Torpedo
Prototype 'Arbalest' Torpedo Launcher, Caldari Navy Scourge Torpedo
Covert Ops Cloaking Device II
Core Probe Launcher II, Core Scanner Probe I 
Small Warhead Calefaction Catalyst I
Small Bay Loading Accelerator I
This Manticore can gank most of the soft targets that you'll find in wspace: most transports, Noctises (strangely, some people still use them), salvaging destroyers, scouting frigates, and mobile tractor units.  It can kill Epithals if it gets enough shots in, but it typically cannot stop them because only idiot Epithal pilots fit less than three warp core stabilizers.  It is weak against Ventures because it does not apply a lot of damage to them, particularly if they are moving (as they ought to be), and it does not have enough warp scrambling to overcome their built-in +2 warp core stabilization.

What about ganking battleships?  Or other big/slow but armed targets?  I am afraid I have never done it.  I'd love to do it someday, but here's the problem.  Stealth bombers have two weaknesses: missiles (which always apply at least a little damage to your tissue-paper tank), and drones.  Most people in wspace do PVE in T3s and drone boats.  There is little point in optimizing your bomber to deal with a target you'll never actually see.  Nor for a target you simply cannot kill before it kills you.

Variant Fittings

I fly Caldari because I when I was looking at which frigate V to get, the Manticore seemed the most easy to fit good fits in.  I still like the Manticore more than the other stealth bombers.  It has the most CPU, allowing it to fit all the stuff you see above.  The disadvantages of the Caldari ships, which are larger signature and lower speed/maneuverability, are not very important when you are ganking.

That said, the performance of all bombers is quite similar.  All get around 500 DPS.  The four-midslot models (Manticore and Nemesis) generally get a little less raw DPS but can fit a target painter, which is better against most targets.  The three-midslot models (Hound and Purifier) have to face the hard decision of which midslot module to sacrifice: the target painter (and its +36% damage against most ships), or the sensor booster.  I'd probably give up the sebo (and thus most pods), but I'd rather not have to make that choice.

As I noted previously, I use several lesser-meta fittings.  If you are rich, go ahead and use meta-4 or tech II.  If you are really rich, then you might use various faction or deadspace parts to improve performance.

Don't bother with T2 launchers.  They do a bit more damage, but it's not worth the much higher CPU required.  They do much more damage if you use rage torpedoes, but you very likely won't, because as previously noted the very low incidence of gankable big ships in wspace.

One fitting that's worth extra thought in the Hyperion era is the microwarpdrive.  Formerly, a MWD was vital not for hunting per se but for moving around in wspace.  However, it is much less so with the new guarantee that you'll never appear within decloak distance of a wormhole.  We might replace it with an afterburner (which would be of some help fitting in non-Manticore bombers).  Or we may drop the prop mod completely.  This seems risky to me, but one rarely sees interdictors, and it would allow an extra midslot item.

That said, for now I am keeping my microwarpdrive.  The thought of being caught by a Sabre with no microwarp scares me.

Anti Venture

I noted above the weakness that my fit has against small stuff, Ventures in particular.  Because of this, I have a second fit which uses light missiles.  [Update: rockets are better if you have the skills; see this comment below.]
[Manticore, Anti Venture]
Ballistic Control System II
Ballistic Control System II 
Alumel-Wired Sensor Augmentation, Scan Resolution Script
J5b Phased Prototype Warp Scrambler I
J5b Phased Prototype Warp Scrambler I
Limited 1MN Microwarpdrive I 
Light Missile Launcher II, Caldari Navy Mjolnir Light Missile
Light Missile Launcher II, Caldari Navy Mjolnir Light Missile
Light Missile Launcher II, Caldari Navy Mjolnir Light Missile
Covert Ops Cloaking Device II
Core Probe Launcher II, Core Scanner Probe I 
Small Warhead Calefaction Catalyst I
Small Hydraulic Bay Thrusters I
This fit is sufficiently similar to the main one that you can carry around the diffs in cargo (along with a mobile depot).  When you find a Venture, usually it is sucking gas for a while.  So, if he is not alert to dscan and the discovery scanner, you will have the time to go and refit at a distant planet.  (Or if no planet is safely out of view, in a nearby system.)  This fit has a small fraction of the DPS, but applies it well against small, fast things.  More importantly it has the two scramblers needed to deny the Venture the ability to warp.  I expect you can kill a Venture with torpedoes if you don't want to carry the full refit, but you do need the second warp scrambler.

Note the use of Mjolnir missiles.  Ventures have one low slot and three mids.  If they tank at all, they shield tank.  And stealth bombers get no damage bonuses for non-torpedoes.  As such, go ahead and use whatever missile type you think is best.  I think it is Mjolnirs.

Anti Epithal?

For a while, I also carried around a third warp scrambler with the hopes of using three warp scramblers to pin Epithals.  This is a fine idea in theory, but in practice there is a huge difference between planet-gooers and gas-suckers: gas suckers have to be in a gas site for tens of minutes or hours.  This is plenty of time for you to refit and return.  By contrast, an Epithal is out of a POS and not in warp for perhaps 10 seconds per CO.  Neither does it take much time to set up a PI run.  Because of this, by the time you see someone refit into an Epithal it's too late to refit: you want to watch him right now because if he is going to leave the POS at all, he's likely to do it within the next minute or two.  There's just not the time to go off and hide, refit, and return.

As things stand, I basically cannot kill Epithals except that I get lucky and they are poorly fit.  Such is life.  It's still thrilling to try, and surprisingly many are poorly fit.  (I do lament the reasoning, if there was any such, that went into converting a ship with a large cargohold and four lowslots into a ship without a substantial cargohold that got the same four lowslots.  What did CCP think would happen?)

6 comments:

  1. I would assume that CCP expected 3 classes of ship :
    * Hauler (PI/Ore/Minerals/Ammo)
    * ganker fit with 4-5 points that eats haulers
    * pvp fit that eats ganker fit

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  2. T3, all ahead full speed, ram the epithal and kill him whilst he is trying to realign. I dont even try to scram him, just apply the dps and watch him pop. Scoop any PI from the wreck back into his poco and recloak. Collect PI later when all quiet.

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    Replies
    1. Are you successful in killing properly fit Epithals -- that is Epithals that have a large shield extender and hardening in midslots? That would surprise me... what's the DPS you're putting out? Can you keep bumping and prevent them aligning permanently?

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  3. I had mail from a reader, who asks, "If you are using a scram, why did you chose light missiles? Rockets do more DPS but are range limited -> scram = 8.5km, so you are in range. Just wondering since I think they are also easier on CPU than light missiles."

    It's a good question.

    It's not obvious without using EFT, but the CPU required for both light missiles and rockets is modest. So, CPU is not a factor.

    My fit is personal to me. Back when I was mapped for it, I trained Light Missiles V and Light Missile Specialization IV, but I did not train Rockets V. So that gives a bias towards light missiles for me personally. With my skills as they are, I do more DPS with light missiles (69) than rockets (67), because I can use T2 light missile launchers and only T1 rockets. And the properties of the rockets don't help much: they have a better explosion radius, but worse velocity. (Note that this is using Caldari Navy ammo in both. Don't use T2 light missiles on scouts or frigates; what you gain in DPS is lost in signature.)

    Now, the reason that I did not train Rocket Specialization is because at the time (and largely, still now), I regarded rockets as underpowered. And I had no idea of using them on stealth bombers; that came later. I did want to use light missiles on my ghostbusting Tengu; that's why I trained that.

    Be that as it may, as my reader suggests, Rocket Specialization would be worth getting. With Rocket Specialization IV, and my skills otherwise unchanged, and using Rage rockets, I'd get 92 DPS. That's ~20% more -- certainly worth doing, if you have the skill, but I am not going to spend the time training it until I remap.

    So, that's a good catch, gentle reader. I should have mentioned that in the text. Consider it added.

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  4. 567 dps Proteus and normally just the one ram as travelling max speed with MWD the Proteus turns like a whale. Not really checked the Epithal fits, just pleased with a kill.

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  5. Another reader writes the following, to which I can add nothing.

    you have mentioned three types of ships suitable for WH hunting. You forgot the fourth type which is SoE ships. Stratios is intensively used for both PvP and hunting and Astero is awesome little ship for the same purposes. That frigate packs up decent tank and carry three flights of light drones, which offers some flexibility. You can fit three scrams on Stratios and Astero and be sure that no stabbed Epithals would run away from you.

    Also check out the Prospect. While technically it's not a PvP ship, it's able to use covops cloak. I fit it with light blasters, full armor tank and two scrams and having a blast blowing up miners with a mining ship. DPS is quite meager, but I get the element of surprise to my favor, as nobody expects Prospect posing any threat.

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