Life in Eve: How to Kill Joy-sucking Faction Warfare Farmers #eveonline

So one of the more annoying (albeit small) problems with Faction Warfare that I mentioned yesterday is the fact that "running" complexes (either offensively or defensively) is, about 90% of the time, done by guys flying small, cheap ships that are built to tank damage, move fast, and let's-not-even-bother-with-guns. This post details the basic process (and what to do with the loyalty points you make), but since then people have... let's say "honed" the basic idea.

See, while the MLYT version works, it's got -- from a risk-adverse farmer's point of view -- a fatal flaw: it's an armor-tanked ship, and as such, all of its low slots are devoted to tank, which means it can't also fit Warp Core Stabilizers that will prevent anyone from tackling it and holding it on the battlefield. Well, we can't have THAT.

I was going to post up a theoretical fitting for a ship like that, but I don't want to waste the screen space on it. The basic idea is: Take a Merlin, then add an Afterburner, one or two Medium Ancillary shield boosters for an active tank, three Warp Core Stabilizers in the lows, and whatever rigs seem useful or necessary.

Suffice it to say you can spot a lot of Merlins on d-scan in the war zones.

I happen to love the Merlin, and it makes me sad to see it used for such lame activities. It is a noble ship, and worthy of much better things.

It behooves us, when we see such injustice, to put the poor thing out of its misery.

But how?
The problem with this type of ship is that it's very good at what it does, which is:

  • Orbit a structure fast enough to mitigate most damage and repair the rest.

  • Leave when anyone shows up to interfere.

With the original YLMT ship, it was hard enough to catch the damn things -- anyone even half awake could warp out as soon as they saw you on short-range scan. With the Warp-stabbed version it's even worse, because you might actually get in on top of an inattentive pilot, and he'll STILL get away, because you didn't bring enough tackle to hold him down.

So, in order to liberate the Enslaved Merlins of Farm Warfare, we require a ship with almost the same degree of singular focus in its design as the farmer-frigates it hunts.

Our challenges:

  • Quick travel times. We're going to be roaming all over faction warfare, looking for targets, and we want to do so quickly and with as little interference from third parties as possible.

  • Fast closing speed. Bottom line, we aren't going to catch a pilot who's paying close attention to directional scan. A skittish farmer will see us when we land on the acceleration gate that leads into a complex and warp away. Some won't, though, either out of laziness (hoping we won't actually come after them) or lack of attention, which gives us a chance when we land inside the complex. Once on-grid, we are much more likely to be noticed, and we need to get on top of our opponent before they can react; we need the speed of an interceptor in the affordable chassis of a cheap frigate.

  • Tackle, and then some more tackle. In short, we need enough tackle to negate a whole rack of low-slots loaded with warp core stabilizers.

  • Enough damage to finish the job. Our targets will be fit to tank a bunch of NPCs, so you will have to patiently whittle down their tanks until they run out of power or need to reload their capacitor boosters. Upside: You shouldn't be taking any damage from them as this is going on, so your own tank can range from 'thin' to 'nonexistent'.

Also, we want the build to be cheap (no extra-strength Faction warp scramblers that cost 14 times more than the rest of the ship), and able to get into any complex in the war zone (no Interceptors).

With these goals in mind, I've come up with a couple options.

[Atron, Burn the Farm]
Damage Control II
Overdrive Injector System II
Nanofiber Internal Structure II

Warp Scrambler II
Limited 1MN MicroWarpdrive I
Warp Scrambler II

Light Neutron Blaster II, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge S
Light Neutron Blaster II, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge S
Light Neutron Blaster II, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge S
[empty high slot]

Small Polycarbon Engine Housing I
Small Hybrid Burst Aerator I
Small Hybrid Metastasis Adjuster I

The Atron makes a fine steed for your crusade.

  • Quick travel times. Attack frigates warp fairly quickly for ships of their tech level -- all we'll really need to worry about is how fast we get IN to warp, so as to avoid gangs and gate camps while we pursue our calling. This particular fit get into warp in 2.1 seconds.

  • Fast closing speed. With overheating, this little Atron can push over 6600 meters per second, which is enough to get from the warp-in-point to the complex beacon in roughly 10 seconds (depending on the size of the complex). You can lock your opponent about five seconds into that rush, and tackle them about as soon as the lock finishes.

  • Tackle. I don't like this part of the fit for two reasons -- one, I'd rather have one long point and one short scrambler, or better yet a web and a scambler, but that's not enough tackle to stop our heavily warp-stabilized farmer, so this is what we have to do. The main problem here is that a farmer with an afterburner can still keep trying to escape at his full speed, which means we'll have to pulse our microwarpdrive to keep up and keep him tackled.

  • Damage. This fit does around 155 dps, which is more than enough to finish a farmer frigate quite efficiently. Bring more ammo than you would for a normal PvP fight, since you'll need to wear through a ship that relies on a strong, cap-booster-supported tank.

All in all, a good ship; nimble and hard-hitting.

Let's try one more:

[Slasher, I Come for My People]
Damage Control II
Overdrive Injector System II

Warp Scrambler II
Experimental 1MN Afterburner I
Warp Scrambler II
Limited 1MN MicroWarpdrive I

150mm Light AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet Phased Plasma S
150mm Light AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet Phased Plasma S
150mm Light AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet Phased Plasma S
Small Energy Neutralizer II

Small Polycarbon Engine Housing I
Small Projectile Burst Aerator I
Small Ancillary Current Router I

Let's just sum this up relative to the Atron:

  • Travel. Lacking some of the agility mods of the Atron, this Slasher gets into warp just a shade slower (2.3 seconds) but it's still quite quick out of the blocks.

  • Fast? Again, it's a hair slower than the Atron, pulling 6200 meters per second while overheating, but still quite fast.

  • Tackle. This is where the Slasher has an advantage over an Atron, as the fourth slot lets you address the issue of holding an afterburner-fit farming frigate down. I've opted for a dual-propulsion solution, which lets you switch to the afterburner once you have the ship tackled, easily running circles around the tackled ship, but you could accomplish pretty much the same thing with a webifier in that fourth slot. As an added bonus, the Slasher can easily run a Small Energy Neutralizer, which should let you shut off their afterburner in a cycle or two. You can't run it permanently in this fit, but you shouldn't need to.

  • Damage. The Slasher boasts about 65% of the Atron's damage output, but you can afford to be patient -- with superior tackle to the Atron, the ship isn't going anywhere, and eventually the farmer will run out of cap boosters... bring lots of ammo.

I generally prefer my ships to be a little more versatile than this -- these builds aren't good for much but the job I've laid out here, as they are too fragile for proper PvP and somewhat too easy for bigger ships to blow up in a fleet environment -- however, I could easily see myself spending an evening banging around the war zone in a ship like this, terrorizing farmers, freeing Merlins from ignoble service, and humming a jaunty tune. It would be fun.

And really, what more can you ask?
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