Posts Tagged ‘ nullsec ’

Ninja Ratting

As you may already know, ratting in nullsec is one of the fastest ways to gain security status. However, for those not in a nullsec alliance, nullsec ratting can be quite challenging, as not only must they have enough DPS and tank to kill NPCs, but they must also be able to stay (relatively) safe while doing so.

Several ship classes can meet these criteria to greater or lesser degrees, but one greatly neglected type is the stealth bomber. Stealth bombers are cloaky T2 frigates that have battleship class firepower but less EHP (effective hit points) than rookie ships. The cloakiness and impressive firepower clearly are desirable traits, yet the paper thin hull poses quite a problem.

The most obvious way to attempt to solve this is to speed tank: simply orbit the NPC battleships at around 50 km, fire torpedoes at them, and use a microwarpdrive to stay away from the battleships’ smaller escorts. However, this method is very ineffective, as NPC cruisers hit MWDing bombers quite easily, and one mistake will put a stealth bomber in armor or hull (and repairing can be difficult while deep in nullsec).

So at first glance, this lack of tank appears to make stealth bombers unsuitable for ratting. But the stealth bomber has a special method of tanking that few others have: stealth tanking (yes, I coined the term). Stealth tanking is strategically using your cloak to prevent enemies from getting a chance to even target you (obviously this does not work against Sleepers, who can see through cloaks). This takes advantage of the fact that stealth bombers have no module/targeting reactivation delay after uncloaking, and can recloak after fifteen seconds. The concept is quite simple, but some quirks in NPC targeting behavior make this more complicated than it appears. Here is how to ninja rat.

Choosing an appropriate ship. Select a stealth bomber with damage bonuses against the NPCs that you plan on killing. For example, use a Purifier on Sansha rats and a Hound on Angel rats. Fit a target painter to increase DPS and a MWD to help you escape bubbles and increase your mobility.

Warping. Once you have reached a suitable nullsec system for ratting, set a custom warp distance of 10 km (do this by right clicking on your “warp to” button and changing the default from 0 to 10,000). Why 10 km? Warping to 0 can be dangerous, as everyone lands at that range. Warping to 100 km is another favorite warp range, and it places you too far away from the rats. And warping to anywhere between 20 and 70 km will usually land you amidst the asteroids, causing you to decloak and start bouncing off of asteroids. Warping to 10 km, on the other hand, places you just inside the asteroid belt’s circle while staying clear of the very center.

Landing in a belt. If you get decloaked upon warping in at 10 km, move away and recloak as soon as possible. If the belt has scrambling frigates (“loyal” frigates for Sansha), then move on to another belt. If you get scrambled, you will die nearly instantly. If you arrive at a belt and find that you are too far away, you can decloak, MWD closer, and recloak after 15 seconds before getting targeted (I will explain why in an upcoming blog post).

Attacking. Once you cloaked are in a belt with battleship rats, you can begin attacking. Uncloak, fire two volleys, and recloak right after the second volley is fired. Wait 15 seconds before repeating the process. You can cloak while your second volley is still en route to the target because your launcher and painter still finish their cycles after recloaking. However, you will need to get to within around 30 km of the rats, because if the launcher and painter finish their cycle before your torpedos hit, the torpedoes will simply vanish without inflicting any damage.

Ninja ratting is a fairly exacting art, as you cannot simply warp in, activate all your modules, and wait for the NPCs to die. But what benefits do stealth bombers have in comparison to other ships? Here are a few:

Safety. Stealth bombers, like their covert ops cousins, are among the best ships for getting through gatecamps. In addition, if you are jumped while ratting, it is quite easy to get to safety by cloaking and warping off. You can also scout out areas while cloaked, which other ships cannot do.
DPS.
Stealth bombers can kill most NPC battleships in 6 volleys. In addition, NPCs do not repair damage taken while you are cloaked.
Speed.
Being frigates, stealth bombers can outrun larger ships both in and out of warp.
Low cost. First, cheaply fit stealth bombers cost a mere 30 mil ISK, a price comparable to T1 cruisers. Second, they only use three torpedoes per volley; at 6 volleys per battleship and 100 ISK per torpedo, you only spend 1800 ISK per battleship on ammo. And third, repair costs for stealth bombers are extremely small, around 40,000-80,000 ISK to fully repair hull and armor damage.

In conclusion, if you are planning on ratting in hostile nullsec, consider using stealth bombers, as they are safe, powerful, fast, and cheap.

I hope this guide has been helpful; please leave any thoughts, suggestions, and questions in the comments below.

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Thoughts on Dominion

Last week I posted a fairly negative review of Dominion, as I felt that it was not fully ready for release, particularly with respect to its nullsec changes (sovereignty and capital/supercapital issues). Despite this, Dominion was still released yesterday. Here are my thoughts thus far.

The Fleet Finder

The Fleet Finder has dramatically improved fleet functionality. Broadcasts work better, there are new abilities such as loot logging, automatic re-joining of a fleet after getting disconnected works, and locating members is much easier. The new fleet interface also allows you to see your fleet mates’ ships, locations, and leadership skills:

As you may know, the fleet finder now allows you to place an “advertisement” for your fleet to allow others to find it. This worked a bit..differently from what I had expected. Attempting to make my fleet available to an out-of-corp buddy, I set it open to all people with standings above 5.0 with me (I had him set blue). However, since my corp had blued Proviblock (to make it easier to distinguish NRDS guys in nullsec from, say, U’K), my fleet ended up open to all of Proviblock. I did not even realize this until I was told by several bloggers in-game that they could see my fleet. So if you are using the fleet tool, be very careful when setting who your fleet is open to.

Graphics

The new planets, moons, and stars do look very nice, but after about thirty minutes, I had already forgotten about the changes. The other new Dominion changes seem more important to me than the graphics. The new mega pulse laser graphics do look better than the old one, however.

Evemail

The new mail interface is far better than the old Evemail. However, because of the fact that you no longer have corp and mailing list mails in a separate tab, you must use labels, or you will be overwhelmed by the jumble of mails in your inbox. I only wish that Evemail threaded conversations like Gmail does; currently you need to manually label your replies.

Jukebox

Personally I do not care at all about the ability to import playlists (right click on the Jukebox in the Neocom to do so), as I would rather just use iTunes (where my music is already sorted, rated, etc). The filepaths do not work properly on the Mac, so a fix is here. A word of caution (from a corp mate) concerning the jukebox: Do not attempt to import 10k mp3 files at once.

In-game Browser

Although the browser is now actually usable, I still use my out-of-game browser (Firefox), as the in-game browser does not sync bookmarks, does not support extensions, and does not work with bookmarklets. Of course, many others do use the in-game browser now; this may bring about an increase in the number of fap kills.

Faction Ships

I have not gotten the opportunity to fly any of the new/tweaked faction ships yet, but some mates have told me that certain ones (e.g. Cynabal) are really epic now. There have been some complaints about empire faction battleships being worse than pirate faction battleships, but that is not an issue because empire faction battleships are far cheaper than pirate faction battleships (less than half the price) and thus should not be as good. Of course, some faction ships still need rebalancing (for example, the majority of empire faction cruisers are absolutely useless (Navy Osprey, Navy Augorer, Navy Scythe, etc).

Self-Destruction

Self-destruction still needs a change: if a ship is under attack and self-destructs, the attackers should get some sort of killmail. Or at the very least, the self-destruction notification message should be more visible (e.g. a red countdown timer under the ship’s bracket). Several times I have not even realized that a ship was self-destructing because my combat notifications hid the destruction countdown notification.

Alliance Mechanisms

Alliance creation/disbanding mechanisms should have been changed in Dominion; I cannot understand why CCP would not make it an ultra high priority issue. For example, while playing with the alliance creation controls, fellow blogger Escoce accidentally created an alliance (and thereby lost a billion ISK) due to a lack of confirmation dialogs. This could have been easily prevented using a method similar to my KOS space warning message proposal. And the alliance closing controls still have not been changed, even after the CVA fiasco.

Supercapital Ships

Motherships have not received any buffs in Dominion, and are thus essentially useless. However, the new Titans seem fairly effective for driveby shootings, as they can instapop any ship in the game. Stationcamping Chimera kill. Rorqual kill. Naglfar kill (the fitting seems to indicate the pilot’s dislike of the Naglfar’s new bonuses :P). Phoenix kill.

Sovereignty

This topic was one of the main reasons I wanted Dominion to be delayed, and it still needs significant tweaking. For example, infrastructure hubs are enormous and only fit inside T1 freighters (not jump freighters). This makes it very, very difficult for any alliance without direct highsec access to make upgrades to their systems (like this battle). The full effect of the sovereignty changes will not be seen until the seven-day transition period expires, but Razor and Wildly Inappropriate have already lost a large number of systems (freighter train slaughter).

The new map options are pretty though:

Conclusion

Overall, I feel that Dominion did introduce some very nice features, but high-priority ones have been either neglected or poorly implemented. Motherships are useless, dreadnoughts are terribly imbalanced, and sovereignty is problematic.