2011-09-23

Life in a Wormhole: "How do I shot teh Sleepers?" #eveonline

Those of you who don't really play EVE and just read this stuff to see what I got blown up this week might want to either skip this post, or just read the bits that aren't in text-blocks.

This post is a bit of a departure from my normal day-in-the-life post series in two ways.

First, it's intended as something of a guide, which isn't something I normally do (or really feel that qualified to do).

Second, it's not time-shifted; unlike my regular posts, which recount events that have already gone past, this particular post exists due to the fact that we have some new players in EVE who are thinking about joining us in Wormhole Misadventures, and are trying to figure out what kind of ships they need to train for RIGHT NOW.

(Related: the ships I list below will, in general, not be the leet tech2 and tech3 hulls that are so popular in wormholes -- this guide is written for the newcomer to a lower-class wormhole like a class 1 or class 2, and as such, you're not going to see me cover good fittings for a Tengu Strategic Cruiser.)

So, this post is about what kind of ships, VERY SPECIFICALLY, to bring in a wormhole as a relatively new player and (again, very specifically) how to fit them so you don't immediately explode.

"Probes Going Out"

In a minute, I'm going to get into the ship category everyone wants to know about: PvE or "Sleeper-shooting" ships, but I want to make this point very clear: this is NOT the most important category of ship for life in a wormhole. That distinction goes, without doubt, to your dedicated scanning ship. If you can't scan, you're dead. If you can't scan reasonably well, in fact, you have no goddamn business in a wormhole, and I'm not talking about your character's skills; YOU, the player, must be able to competently manipulate the scanning interface, and that means you need to practice. You can't just sit on your ass until your corpmates do the work and hand you some bookmarks; you're not a tapeworm, for fuck's sake: Get scanning.

Seriously: if you can't scan, you shouldn't be in a wormhole. You're a danger to yourself and a dead fucking albatross to everyone around you.

I'll talk more about scanning ships in a later post.

I Run Level Four Missions, I Know How to Shoot NPCs


With all due respect: No, you don't. When it comes to Sleepers, you are a rank amateur, and if you bring in the stuff you are used to flying in New Eden missions, you will lose that shiny ship in a few minutes. In known space, you will fight npc opponents who are generally vulnerable to specific types of damage, and who do specific types of damage, so fighting them (and fitting your ships to deal with them) is relatively simple: shoot them where they're weak, defend yourself against their best attacks, and you're fine. Only the Sansha forces in Incursions -- the toughest NPC opponents in New Eden -- don't work this way.

And of course Sleepers don't work that way. They hit you with every kind of damage type, which means you can't leave any defensive holes, and they hit you HARD, which means your defenses have to be both all-inclusive AND strong. Further, they don't have any real defensive holes*, and they both self-repair and remote rep their allies, which means that while you have to gimp your damage a bit to get your defenses up to snuff, you can't hinder your offense too much or you just won't be able to kill the frakking things.

So, we're talking about cheap reasonably affordable ships that can take a pretty good pounding (tanking around 350dps with mediocre skills) and dish out a reasonable pounding in return.

Cruisers?
It might be nice to think that you can jump into a cruiser with a big thick tank on and go poking around in wormholes, but the fact of the matter is, there's really very few tech 1 ships in this class that can survive a sleeper assault.

The trick is working out a balancing act between resists and recovery. Your tank needs to recover fast, and it needs to sport some pretty powerful resistances to all damage types, and unless the ship already comes with some good solid resists right out of the box, you'll have to spend so much fitting space getting the resists to up par that you won't have the room to get the Recovery where it needs to be. This is a real problem on cruisers, because they have fewer fitting slots to work with, compared to their big battlecruiser brothers, and at this point the only tech1 cruiser I've been able work out that can survive in a sleeper combat situation is the Caldari's Moa-class cruiser.

(Yes, the Amarr have a cruiser with a bonus to armor resists, but it doesn't have enough fitting space to give you a sustainable omni-damage tank. The Moa is your only tech1 cruiser option.)

[Moa, I Just Want to Come See a Wormhole and Not Die]
Shield Power Relay II
Shield Power Relay II
Shield Power Relay II
Shield Power Relay II

Large Shield Extender II
Large Shield Extender II
Large Shield Extender II
Invulnerability Field II

'Malkuth' Standard Missile Launcher I, Piranha Light Missile
'Malkuth' Standard Missile Launcher I, Piranha Light Missile
425mm Medium Carbine Repeating Cannon I, Depleted Uranium M
425mm Medium Carbine Repeating Cannon I, Depleted Uranium M
425mm Medium Carbine Repeating Cannon I, Depleted Uranium M
425mm Medium Carbine Repeating Cannon I, Depleted Uranium M

Medium Core Defence Field Purger I
Medium Core Defence Field Purger I
Medium Core Defence Field Purger I

Hobgoblin II x3


The thing with the Moa is its really remarkable baseline shield resists and a pretty good slot layout for a tank. This sucker is TOUGH: with a well-skilled pilot, it can easily ignore anything a class2 wormhole can bring to bear. What this ship isn't is mean; it's damage is mediocre, trending to weak -- it probably couldn't solo even the easiest of the class1 sites, but that's not the point -- it's a stopgap kind of ship that lets you come visit your wormholing buddies, and since it's Caldari, you're probably training to one of the great workhorses of Wormhole living, the Drake battlecruiser. In the meantime, your job is going to be killing the close-range frigates that are orbiting your buddies and annoying them with energy draining.

(Note, though, that this Moa build doesn't use Caldari railguns, but Minmatar projectile weapons -- sorry, but you can't maintain that amazing tank without using guns that don't hit your capacitor. Them's the breaks. You might as well train for Projectiles anyway: they're pretty much better than Rails and Blasters in every respect.)

As an added bonus, if you *do* happen to fly one of these as a training-wheels-on wormhole ship, you can retask the thing later for other non-combat things when your skills improve; the Moa makes a fine-if-not-great gas cloud harvester (and can basically just ignore the piddly little sleeper frigates that show up in class 2 gas clouds), or with even less tweaking can be used to salvage Sleeper wrecks WHILE your buddies are still in combat, making it one of the few cheap(ish) salvaging ships that won't explode the moment a sleeper sneezes in their direction.

So talk to me about Battlecruisers

Battlecruisers come in two Tiers. The first tier battlecruisers look cooler (and are good for PvP). The 2nd tier battlecruisers are better for killing sleepers. That's just how it works. The only Sleeper-killing tier1 battlecruiser exception is the (again, Caldari) Ferox, thanks to the shield resist bonuses that it shares with its big brother the Drake.


[Ferox, "I fly Caldari But I don't like Missiles

Magnetic Field Stabilizer II
Shield Power Relay II
Shield Power Relay II
Shield Power Relay II

Large Shield Extender II
Large Shield Extender II
Large Shield Extender II
Invulnerability Field II
Invulnerability Field II

Dual 150mm Compressed Coil Gun I, Uranium Charge M
Dual 150mm Compressed Coil Gun I, Uranium Charge M
Dual 150mm Compressed Coil Gun I, Uranium Charge M
Dual 150mm Compressed Coil Gun I, Uranium Charge M
Dual 150mm Compressed Coil Gun I, Uranium Charge M
Dual 150mm Compressed Coil Gun I, Uranium Charge M
Core Probe Launcher I, Core Scanner Probe I

Medium Hybrid Burst Aerator I
Medium Core Defence Field Purger I
Medium Core Defence Field Purger I

Hobgoblin II x5


The damage on this ship isn't bad, the tank is adequate (new pilots can put another field purger rig on for more tank), but it's still kind of a head-scratcher, because if you can fly this, you can (or almost can) fly a Drake... and to be honest, you probably SHOULD. Still, if you want to save 10+ million isk on putting a ship together, and your rails skills are good, this works.

Since we're already talking about Caldari, let's talk very briefly about the Drake: Shield resists built into the ship. Tons of fitting slots for a shield tank. Weapons that don't use capacitor power. Relatively inexpensive. Actually symmetrical. The Drake's only downside is that they're so goddamn common - they're the Toyota Corolla of Wormholes - but they're common for a reason.


[Drake, The Drake is Not Always Bait]
Shield Power Relay II
Shield Power Relay II
Shield Power Relay II
Ballistic Control System II

Invulnerability Field II
Target Painter II
Invulnerability Field II
Shield Recharger II
Large Shield Extender II
Large Shield Extender II

XR-3200 Heavy Missile Bay, Scourge Heavy Missile
XR-3200 Heavy Missile Bay, Scourge Heavy Missile
XR-3200 Heavy Missile Bay, Scourge Heavy Missile
XR-3200 Heavy Missile Bay, Scourge Heavy Missile
XR-3200 Heavy Missile Bay, Scourge Heavy Missile
XR-3200 Heavy Missile Bay, Scourge Heavy Missile
XR-3200 Heavy Missile Bay, Scourge Heavy Missile
Core Probe Launcher I, Core Scanner Probe I

Medium Core Defence Field Purger I
Medium Core Defence Field Purger I
Medium Core Defence Field Purger I

Hobgoblin I x5


The nice thing about this is that you can downgrade pretty much every tech2 module on this thing to some kind of tech1, 'named' module, and it can still tank most stuff in a class 2, which means if you can fly at Drake AT all, and fit anything kind of in the basic neighborhood of this fitting, you can survive well-enough (be ready to warp out just in case), and keep getting stronger and stronger as you continue to skill up.

That's nice, but what if I don't fly Caldari ships?

Well, every tier2 battlecruiser can tank a class two sleeper anomaly, but you might not always like how I get there. Let's look at the options from the least objectionable to the most WTF.


[Hurricane, Passivecane (WH)]
Gyrostabilizer II
Shield Power Relay II
Shield Power Relay II
Shield Power Relay II
Shield Power Relay II
Damage Control II

Invulnerability Field II
Invulnerability Field II
Large Shield Extender II
Large Shield Extender II

650mm Medium Prototype I Siege Cannon, Fusion M
650mm Medium Prototype I Siege Cannon, Fusion M
650mm Medium Prototype I Siege Cannon, Fusion M
650mm Medium Prototype I Siege Cannon, Fusion M
650mm Medium Prototype I Siege Cannon, Fusion M
650mm Medium Prototype I Siege Cannon, Fusion M
Small Remote Armor Repair System I
Core Probe Launcher I, Core Scanner Probe I

Medium Core Defence Field Purger I
Medium Core Defence Field Purger I
Medium Core Defence Field Purger I


Hobgoblin II x4
Hammerhead II x1


The Hurricane is an excellent wormhole-running ship, and as an added bonus you can take a second one and fit it out for PvP -- just don't get the two mixed up, cuz they will each suck at the other's job. Although the 'cane is running one additional Invulnerability Field, it's capacitor life is still about the same, thanks to... I dunno. Better cap regen than the Drake? Maybe? Maybe it's just that awesome.

In any case, the tank is solid, the ship looks cool as hell, and the artillery cannons make really big booming noises. As usual, one utility high goes to an emergency "OMG all my buddies are dead and I need to scan a way out of here NOW" probe launcher, with the second utility slot going to a remote armor repper you can use between anomalies to repair your drones -- hell of a lot cheaper than replacing them all the time.

What if you fly Gallente?

That means flying the Myrmidon, which would typically mean sporting an armor-repping tank, but it's damn hard to make an armor-repping build work, thanks to the balancing act of Resist/Repair, so what I typically suggest is a shield-tanked version, using minmatar artillery cannons (since the ship doesn't give you a damage bonus to any particular kind of guns anyway).


[Myrmidon, Minbari Artillery]
Gyrostabilizer II
Gyrostabilizer II
Shield Power Relay II
Shield Power Relay II
Shield Power Relay II
Shield Power Relay II

Large Shield Extender II
Large Shield Extender II
Large Shield Extender II
Invulnerability Field II
Invulnerability Field II

650mm Artillery Cannon I, Fusion M
650mm Artillery Cannon I, Fusion M
650mm Artillery Cannon I, Fusion M
650mm Artillery Cannon I, Fusion M
650mm Artillery Cannon I, Fusion M
Core Probe Launcher I, Core Scanner Probe I

Medium Core Defence Field Purger I
Medium Core Defence Field Purger I
Medium Core Defence Field Purger I


Hammerhead II x5
Hobgoblin II x5
Hornet EC-300 x5
Light Armor Maintenance Bot I x5
Warrior II x5


This is a tight fit, so if you may need to tweak this a bit to make it work, but it's a solid, solid ship. Yes, I'm putting artillery cannons on yet another ship, but frankly projectile weapons are, pound for pound, better than both railguns and blasters, so as a Gallente pilot, you should continue training them.

Don't blame me -- Gallente guns are just fucking broken. That's how it is right now, and how it has been for a long, long time.

Now with that said, it's actually not impossible to make an armor-tanked version work (something you won't find me saying very often), and CB has been known to roll out in this guy, which can compete with the shield-Myrm in tank+dps pretty much point for point, though the ratios are different:


[Myrmidon, RAILS, BITCHES]
Medium Armor Repairer II
Medium Armor Repairer II
Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II
Armor Thermic Hardener II
Armor Kinetic Hardener II
Armor Explosive Hardener II

Cap Recharger II
Cap Recharger II
Cap Recharger II
Cap Recharger II
Cap Recharger II

200mm Prototype I Gauss Gun, Antimatter Charge M
200mm Prototype I Gauss Gun, Antimatter Charge M
200mm Prototype I Gauss Gun, Antimatter Charge M
200mm Prototype I Gauss Gun, Antimatter Charge M
200mm Prototype I Gauss Gun, Antimatter Charge M
200mm Prototype I Gauss Gun, Antimatter Charge M

Medium Nanobot Accelerator I
Medium Auxiliary Nano Pump I
Medium Capacitor Control Circuit I


Hammerhead II x5
Hobgoblin II x5
Ogre I x2
Hammerhead II x2
Hobgoblin II x1


Somehow - and damned if I know how - it's even cap-stable. Just remember to switch to Uranium ammo when you're going after frigates.

Finally, the Amarr.

Dear god, the Amarr...

Armor tanked, by preference, but with incredibly intensive power requirements, which make armor reppers difficult at the best of times, and pretty much impossible when you have to tank every kind of damage at once.

Nope: have to go shields. Luckily, the Harbinger doesn't really have any armor-tanking bonuses, so he doesn't seem to mind:

[Harbinger: Attitude Adjuster]
Damage Control II
Shield Power Relay II
Shield Power Relay II
Shield Power Relay II
Power Diagnostic System II
Power Diagnostic System II

Large Shield Extender II
Large Shield Extender II
Large Shield Extender II
Invulnerability Field II

Focused Modal Medium Laser I, Multifrequency M
Focused Modal Medium Laser I, Multifrequency M
Focused Modal Medium Laser I, Multifrequency M
Focused Modal Medium Laser I, Multifrequency M
Focused Modal Medium Laser I, Multifrequency M
Focused Modal Medium Laser I, Multifrequency M
Small Remote Armor Repair System I
Core Probe Launcher I, Core Scanner Probe I

Medium Core Defence Field Purger I
Medium Core Defence Field Purger I
Medium Core Defence Field Purger I


Hammerhead II x5


I tried my best to come up with a Harby armor fit that actually worked, but there's just no way to do it and keep your guns firing for more than about 3 minutes, even assuming PERFECT Amarr piloting skills. That's not enough.

Y U No Battleships?


These guidelines are built under the assumption that you're (a) a fairly new pilot and (b) in a class 2 or class 1 wormhole. Battleships require more training, yes, (especially if you want to fly more than one race's ships) but more importantly if you put Battleship sized guns on your Battleship (as you should) you won't be able to hit most of the sleeper ships that are commonly found in a smaller wormhole -- they're too fast, and too small for those big guns to track.

Listen, I'm a drone-control freak and I don't care who knows it. Just give me something I can fly.

... Fine.

[Dominix, What I dont' Even...]
Shield Power Relay II
Shield Power Relay II
Shield Power Relay II
Shield Power Relay II
Shield Power Relay II
Power Diagnostic System II
Power Diagnostic System II

Large Shield Extender II
Large Shield Extender II
Large Shield Extender II
Invulnerability Field II
Invulnerability Field II

650mm Artillery Cannon I, EMP M
650mm Artillery Cannon I, EMP M
650mm Artillery Cannon I, EMP M
650mm Artillery Cannon I, EMP M
650mm Artillery Cannon I, EMP M
Drone Link Augmentor I

Large Core Defence Field Purger I
Large Core Defence Field Purger I
Large Core Defence Field Purger I

Ogre II x5
Hammerhead II x5
Bouncer II x5
Warrior II x5


Yeah... that's a shield-tanked Dominix, mounting cruiser-scale minmatar artillery cannons because they don't use up the capacitor and they can actually hit what you're shooting at. It's wrong on so many levels it makes me hang my head in shame.

But it works.

Now let's never speak of it again.

In Conclusion...


If you're looking at these fittings and thinking "I can't fly that", then you need to train up until you can. Yes, seriously. If you have some extra isk, you can cut some corners by buying more expensive named modules on the market -- lower requirements with the same output -- but ultimately, you need to get the skills; in the long run, there's no substitute. This is what you need to survive Sleepers in a Wormhole.

Surviving the other players is a whole different problem.
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