Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Remote Sensor Dampener Guide

People often complain that certain ship hulls are overpowered.  "Ishtars OP.  Tengus OP.  Logi OP.  Drones OP.  Svipuls OP.  Orthrus OP."

All of these pale in comparison to the effectiveness of bonused sensor damps and information links.  These are, in my opinion, the single most disproportionately overpowered thing in the game in terms of price:effectiveness.  A single Maulus can reduce a Scimitar's lock range from 112 km to less than 3 km.  That is not a typo, and you did indeed read this correctly:  a ship that is worth less than 10M isk is capable of making a T2 logi ship worth >200M isk completely useless, and those numbers are assuming that the Scimitar is receiving sensor integrity links.  Unlike ECM from a Falcon or a Griffin, damps have a near-100% success rate, and they're useful against any sub-cap in virtually any situation.

Damps are useful in any gang, whether it's a brawling gang, a kiting gang, a 100+ man fight over a POS or a 5-man microgang roam.  Why every single gang in the game doesn't include at least 1 Celestis or Keres is beyond my comprehension.  Every time I schedule an op, the gang I ask for is essentially just a Celestis gang with whatever DPS people feel like flying.  I don't really care whether people are in Omen Navies, Mallers, Caracals, or Machariels; The damps are what are going to win fights for us.

The strength of damps obviously hasn't escaped the notice of Alliance Tournament teams either.  Both Hydra Reloaded and The Camel Empire routinely brought 3-4 bonused damp ships in their setups in the last Alliance Tournament, and the only true hard-counter to damp-heavy setups was an e-war immune Marauder with a Bastion module.  I suspect that the broader Eve community doesn't fully realize just how powerful damps can be, so I will present some numbers here.  I would like for this to eventually be a comprehensive guide on sensor damps in Eve.

Bonused Damp Ships


Image result for Maulus   Image result for Celestis eve

Remote sensor damps are the Gallente racial e-war, and all the bonused sensor damp ships are in

  • Maulus: T1 frigate, +7.5% Remote Sensor Dampener Effectiveness per Level
  • Celestis: T1 cruiser, +7.5% Remote Sensor Dampener Effectiveness per Level, +7.5% bonus to Remote Sensor Dampener optimal range & falloff per Level
  • Keres: T2 frigate, +7.5% Remote Sensor Dampener Effectiveness per Level

The Maulus has four mid slots while the Celestis and Keres both have 5.  The Celestis is the only hull which gets a range bonus to its damps (more on this later), while the Keres also gets a bonus to warp disruptor range which gives it extra utility in small nano gangs.

The Arazu and Lachesis also get the same bonus to damp effectiveness as the other ships, but they do not get an optimal range bonus.  The Lachesis is pretty unique in it's ability to fit up to 6 damps, but apart from this there is not a particularly strong argument for using a Recon over a Celestis if your only concern is damp effectiveness, especially when considering the price differential.

The optimal range bonus and slot layout make the Celestis an outstanding all-around damp ship in any gang, while the Keres can really shine in smaller nano gangs because of its point range bonus and added mobility.  The Celestis hull is currently selling for less than 9M isk in Jita.  It would still be worth using even if it cost 90M.

Let me share some fits that I like.  As with all e-war modules, currently the meta 4 version is superior to the T2 version in terms of overheat lifetime, capacitor use, and CPU requirements:

A good, solid, all-around Maulus fit

[Maulus, Armor]
200mm Reinforced Rolled Tungsten Plates I
Small Ancillary Armor Repairer, Nanite Repair Paste
Damage Control II

Phased Muon Sensor Disruptor I, Targeting Range Dampening Script
Phased Muon Sensor Disruptor I, Targeting Range Dampening Script
Phased Muon Sensor Disruptor I, Targeting Range Dampening Script
Limited 1MN Microwarpdrive I

[empty high slot]
[empty high slot]

Small Inverted Signal Field Projector I
Small Ionic Field Projector I
Small Particle Dispersion Projector I

Warrior II x6



Armor Celestis, excellent for Armor brawling gangs, and although it's a bit slow it can probably work in some armor kiting gangs too.  Although it's buffer is "decent", the resist profile on the ship is not great, so you still need to focus on staying at range and not getting tackled.

[Celestis, Armor Gang]
Signal Amplifier II
1600mm Reinforced Rolled Tungsten Plates I
Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II
Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II
Damage Control II

Phased Muon Sensor Disruptor I
Phased Muon Sensor Disruptor I
Phased Muon Sensor Disruptor I
Phased Muon Sensor Disruptor I
Experimental 10MN Microwarpdrive I

Civilian Gatling Pulse Laser, Civilian Pulse Crystal
Drone Link Augmentor I
Drone Link Augmentor I

Medium Inverted Signal Field Projector I
Medium Inverted Signal Field Projector I

Hornet EC-300 x5
Warrior II x5
Targeting Range Dampening Script x4
Scan Resolution Dampening Script x4



XLASB Shield Celestis is preferred for smaller shield nano gangs where you do not have logi support.  Each pulse of the ASB restores nearly 75% of your shields, so pulse it only as needed.

[Celestis, Shield - XLASB]
Signal Amplifier II
Overdrive Injector System II
Nanofiber Internal Structure II
Nanofiber Internal Structure II
Damage Control II

X-Large Ancillary Shield Booster, Cap Booster 400
Phased Muon Sensor Disruptor I
Phased Muon Sensor Disruptor I
Phased Muon Sensor Disruptor I
Experimental 10MN Microwarpdrive I

Drone Link Augmentor II
[empty high slot]
[empty high slot]

Medium Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer I
Medium Core Defense Field Extender I
Medium Inverted Signal Field Projector I

Hornet EC-300 x5
Warrior II x5
Targeting Range Dampening Script x3
Scan Resolution Dampening Script x3
Navy Cap Booster 400 x18



Armor Keres

[Keres, Armor]
Small Ancillary Armor Repairer, Nanite Repair Paste
Signal Amplifier II
Pseudoelectron Containment Field I

Limited 1MN Microwarpdrive I
Warp Disruptor II
Phased Muon Sensor Disruptor I, Targeting Range Dampening Script
Phased Muon Sensor Disruptor I, Targeting Range Dampening Script
Phased Muon Sensor Disruptor I, Targeting Range Dampening Script

150mm Light AutoCannon II
Drone Link Augmentor I

Small Inverted Signal Field Projector I
Small Inverted Signal Field Projector I

Warrior II x2


Shield Keres

[Keres, Shield]
Nanofiber Internal Structure II
Signal Amplifier II
Pseudoelectron Containment Field I

Limited 1MN Microwarpdrive I
Medium Shield Extender II
Phased Muon Sensor Disruptor I, Targeting Range Dampening Script
Phased Muon Sensor Disruptor I, Targeting Range Dampening Script
Warp Disruptor II

Drone Link Augmentor II
[empty high slot]

Small Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer I
Small Ancillary Current Router I

Warrior II x2



Edit 4/22/2015: A few new Keres fits were suggested to me.

The armor Keres can drop the signal amplifier for a 200mm plate, which is a good trade if you're running skirmish links to boost your speed and sensor integrity links to boost your lock range.  A deadspace MWD plus a standard mindflood booster and means you're cap stable with your entire mid rack running:

[Keres, Armor v2]
Small Ancillary Armor Repairer, Nanite Repair Paste
200mm Reinforced Rolled Tungsten Plates I
Damage Control II

Coreli C-Type 1MN Microwarpdrive
Warp Disruptor II
Phased Muon Sensor Disruptor I, Targeting Range Dampening Script
Phased Muon Sensor Disruptor I, Targeting Range Dampening Script
Phased Muon Sensor Disruptor I, Targeting Range Dampening Script

Drone Link Augmentor I
[empty high slot]

Small Inverted Signal Field Projector II
Small Particle Dispersion Projector I

Warrior II x2


The shield Keres can drop the ACR rig if it downgrades to a meta 4 shield extender.  This is also cap-stable with a standard mindflood booster.

[Keres, Shield v2]
Nanofiber Internal Structure II
Signal Amplifier II
Damage Control II

Limited 1MN Microwarpdrive I
Medium F-S9 Regolith Shield Induction
Phased Muon Sensor Disruptor I, Targeting Range Dampening Script
Phased Muon Sensor Disruptor I, Targeting Range Dampening Script
Warp Disruptor II

[empty high slot]
[empty high slot]

Small Inverted Signal Field Projector II
Small Particle Dispersion Projector I

Warrior II x2



Skills to Train

Skill training for a Maulus or a Celestis is incredibly easy.  The most time-consuming skills are Gallente Frigate V and Gallente Cruiser V, but these are needed for so many other ships that it's hardly a waste of time.  You'll also need Sensor Linking IV and Signal Suppression IV to boost the strength of your damps:

  • Gallente Frigate V
  • Gallente Cruiser V
  • Sensor Linking IV
  • Signal Suppression IV
You'll need to train a few more skills to get into a Keres.  Electronic Attack Ships V takes a bit of time, but this class of ships are so strong that it's worth doing.  This will also allow you fly ships like the Hyena and the Sentinel:
  • Long Range Targeting V
  • Electronic Attack Ships V
A few extra support skills to increase the range & falloff of your e-war:
  • Long Distance Jamming IV
  • Frequency Modulation IV
  • Signature Analysis V
Finally, if you like flying e-war ships then you should get into Recons in order to unlock the Arazu and the Lachesis, and finally finish up Signal Suppression V to maximize the strength of your damps.
  • Recon Ships V
  • Signal Suppression V


Damp Effectiveness Bonuses

There are a few sources of  bonuses to sensor damp effectiveness:

  • Hull Skill (Gallente Frigate, Gallente Cruiser): (+7.5% per level, +37.5% total)
  • Signal Suppression Skill (+5% per level, +25% total)
  • Inverted Signal Field Projector Rigs (+5% per rig)
  • Bonus from Overheat (+20%)
  • Electronic Superiority Links (+16.5%, or +20.625% with an Information Mindlink)

Where damps start to get ridiculously overpowered is when all of these bonuses combine.  A single linked, heated damp used by a pilot with maximum skills will reduce the lock range of a ship by about 84%.  Usually that alone is enough.  And a Celestis gets up to FOUR of them!  When I first saw these numbers fairly early into my Eve career, I immediately trained Gallente Frigate and Gallente Cruiser to V and Signal Suppression to IV.  I've since trained Signal Suppression V.  It's worth it.


Examples: Lock Range Damps

A good damp pilot will know what the base lock ranges of every ship out there and how many damps are needed in order to reduce its lock range to an acceptable level.  Most (non-ewar) Frigates have a base lock range of less than 60 km.  Most Battleships will have a lock range of about 100 km, and Cruisers will usually be in the 60-90 km range.  Logi will have lock range of about 100 km, or 150 km if they're running a sensor booster.  Recons can easily hit 170-200 km lock range, even without sensor integrity links.

I've chosen 3 ships as examples:

1. An Omen Navy Issue, which can lock to 79 km if you include leadership bonuses from the squad commander
2. A Scimitar.  Many competent gangs will be running Sensor Integrity links, and these will boost the lock range up to 112 km.
3. A Huginn.  Recons have outstanding base lock range, and with sensor integrity links are able to lock up to 233 km.

I'll show the lock ranges of these ships for a few different scenarios as lock-range scripted damps are applied.  In every case, I'm using a Celestis with two Inverted Signal Field Projector rigs as my damp ship.

Case 1: Unheated damps are being applied by a pilot who has Signal Suppression IV trained.  The Celestis is not receiving information links.  Lock ranges are in km:

# DampsOmen NavyScimitar*Huginn*
079.06112.13233.59
135.0549.71103.56
218.0925.6653.46
312.3517.5136.48
410.414.7530.73
* The Scimitar and the Huginn are receiving sensor integrity links

The stacking penalty applies here, and any damp beyond the 4th has essentially zero impact.  This already looks pretty impressive!  A single Celestis with three damps is able to reduce a Scimitar's lock range by nearly 85%.  Shutting down a 200M isk ship is pretty good, although that alone doesn't help your small gang much if your opposition has 4+ logi ships.

Case 2: Now the same Celestis heats his damps, adding an extra +20% to their effectiveness.  Lock ranges are again given in km:

# DampsOmen NavyScimitar*Huginn*
079.06112.13233.59
126.2537.2377.56
211.0115.6132.53
36.819.6620.13
45.537.8416.33
* The Scimitar and the Huginn are receiving sensor integrity links

This is already starting to look ridiculous.  With heat, now two range damps are about as effective as four unheated damps.  This means that a single armor Celestis can now stop two Scimitars in most practical situations, or they can stop four Omen Navies (an ONI with a 26km lock range isn't very useful).  Damps are really amazing force multipliers.

Case 3: Now let's look at heated damps, with the added benefit of information links given by a Tengu with a Caldari Navy Mindlink:

# DampsOmen NavyScimitar*Huginn*
079.06112.13233.59
115.3621.7845.37
24.66.5313.6
32.493.537.35
41.922.725.67
* The Scimitar and the Huginn are receiving sensor integrity links

People seem to complain the most about skirmish links, but information links are just as overpowered.  Two damps now reduce a LINKED Scimitar's lock range to 3.5 km, which is a 97% reduction.  Even a Huginn, which started with a lock range of more than 200km becomes useless with only two damps.

Case 4: All of the previous cases assumed that the Celestis pilot had only trained Signal Suppression to level IV.  Now let's increase this to V while keeping heat and information links (these are basically max-strength damps now):

# DampsOmen NavyScimitar*Huginn*
079.06112.13233.59
112.718.0237.53
23.444.8710.15
31.792.545.29
41.371.944.03
* The Scimitar and the Huginn are receiving sensor integrity links

Can you believe that the game allows this?  

Example: Scan Resolution Damps

Scan Resolution damps aren't used as often, but they're still very powerful in a brawl.  If enemy logistics are balled-up on a tight anchor, then your only option can be to apply scan-resolution damps and quickly switch targets.  Combining ECM with scan-resolution damps can also be very, very powerful.

As an example, I've chosen to look at the time it takes for one Guardian to lock up another Guardian.  I'm assuming here that the Guardian is receiving sensor integrity links, but is not using a sensor booster.  Damps are again being applied by a Celestis with two damp-strength rigs.  Lock times are shown in seconds:

Time (in seconds) for a Guardian to lock another Guardian with Scan-Resolution Damps Applied.  Each column shows different scenarios for the ship applying damps.
# DampsSignal Suppression IVSignal Suppression IV + linksSignal Suppression V + linksSignal Suppression V + links + heat
03.13.13.13.1
16.27.98.513
211.116.818.938.3
315.625.829.667.7
418.331.13686.3

Damp strength is increasing as we move from the left column to the right.  The first column shows a "typical" case where the Celestis pilot has Signal Suppression IV, but is not heating his damps and is not receiving links.  Next we add electronic superiority links, which for 3 damps nearly DOUBLES the lock time when compared to the case without links.  Moving to the right-most column, max-strength damps with heat start to look truly ridiculous; a single Celestis now has the ability to make a Guardian take more than 60 seconds to lock up another cruiser.  By that point, it will be dead even if your gang's DPS is relatively low.

Countering Damps

"LOL, whatever, I'll just apply remote sensor boosters to my logi!"

That doesn't work when damps are used properly.  Let's assume I put four max-strength, heated, linked damps on a Scimitar.  I showed in an earlier table that this will reduce the Scimitar's lock range to less than 2 km.  Now let's apply remote sensor boosters to try to counter-act the damps:

# remote sebosScimitar lock range (km)       
01.94
13.35
25.12
36.66
47.56

No amount of sensor boosting helps here.  There is no counter to bonused, linked, heated damps, apart from either counter-damping the opposing Celestises with your own, killing them, forcing them off field, or bringing e-war immune ships (basically, either Marauders or Capitals, all of which cost >1B isk)

Optimal Range

Source: Eve University Wiki

The way that optimal range and falloff of e-war modules works is a bit counter-intuitive (at least it was to me).  To quote the Eve-Uni wiki:

Any module is 100% effective from 0 to optimal. At optimal+falloff the effectiveness drops to 50% and at optimal + 2*falloff it is about 2%. This means that at optimal+falloff there is a 50% chance that the module will fail and not do anything. To determine the chance of success in falloff range, we use the following formula:  
C = 0.5^((R-O)/F)^2)
Basically, all e-war is either "all or nothing".  If it is being applied beyond its optimal range, then it has a percentage chance to "miss" and do nothing for a cycle.  I'll list the optimal & falloff ranges for the ships, assuming skills at level IV, no rigs, and no links:
  • Maulus: 42 km + 84 km
  • Keres: 42 km + 84 km
  • Celestis: 62 km + 124 km
The optimal bonus of the Celestis is pretty damn strong, and I think is somewhat underrated.  Having less of a % chance to miss a damp is very useful.  A missed damp on an enemy Rapier at the wrong time could mean that someone in your gang gets tackled and dies.  A missed damp on an opposing Guardian could mean that he locks up a target and applies reps before you can break it.

Optimal range can be enhanced in a few ways:
  • Training Long Distance Jamming (optimal) and Frequency Modulation (falloff)
  • Particle Dispersion Projector rigs (+20% optimal, no not change to falloff)
  • Information Links (Recon Operation), although this particular link is pretty seldom used compared to the others.

Using Damps in Small-Gang PvP

Flying a Celestis or a Keres well is actually pretty challenging.  It requires excellent positioning on your part, as well as complete awareness of the positioning of all the opposing ships.  You also need to quickly identify threats on the field and damp them, or else your entire fleet could be lost. You need to be able to do this quickly without specific instruction from the FC (he has other things to worry about, or he might give you an order which is stupid).  On top of that, you need to be aware of opposing tackle frigates or anti-support ships and run away from them if necessary.  It's a much tougher job than being an F1 monkey.

In order to highest priority to lowest priority damp targets:

1. Other bonused damp ships (Maulus, Celestis, Keres, Arazu, Lachesis).  Damp these ASAP.  If you don't, then you need to assume that they're going to damp you.  If you're flying a Celestis with less than 20 km lock range, then you're pretty useless, and all the potential force multiplication your gang can get from having damps is lost.

2. Every other e-war ship on the field, especially Recons.  This could include Huginns, Curses, and Rooks, but also Griffins, Blackbirds, and sometimes even Crucifiers will need to be dealt with.

3. Enemy Logistics.  This should be obvious.

4. Long-range DPS.  This also should be obvious.  Damping an Omen Navy or a Cerberus to less than 10 km lock range completely negates their ability to apply damage.

5. Everything else

For the most part, you should focus on damping your targets and on not getting tackled.  These are your goals.  If you try to use your damps to whore on killmails when there's other high-priority targets on the field that should be damped, then you're an idiot.

One big advantage of a Keres is that it can pera-run its MWD in addition to 3 damps and remain cap stable.  A Celestis however is not cap-stable with its damps running (only having about 2 minutes of cap life), so you must carefully pulse your MWD.  If your gang has logi, then make sure you stay within logi rep range.

Videos & Links

I thought I'd share a few videos showing Sensor Damps in action.  Let me know if you have a great Celestis or Keres video and I'll add to the list.

Conclusion

Sensor damps are and exceptionally powerful and reliable form of e-war that can benefit any gang.  Unlike ECM, damps will succeed nearly 100% of the time.  Unlike target painters tracking disruptors, or long-range webs, they're always useful no matter what ship they're being applied against.  

Heat and Information links raise the strength of damps to such an absurd level that it amazes me that they haven't been nerfed yet.  Take this as motivation to skill your link alts into information links and abuse this for as long as you can.  Given enough time, I have to believe that everyone will recognize how strong these are, and that Celestises will become as essential to gangs as Logi currently is.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Beginner Low Sec Frigate PvP Guide (feat. Executioner)

I've wanted to make a more "basic" guide on how to get started in low sec frigate PvP.  This is intended for less experienced players who are just getting involved in solo PvP.  I was initially hoping to make a 30-40 minute video, but it eventually ballooned to more than 1 hour, and I probably could easily have added another hour's worth of info.

The ship I chose is a Beam Executioner, which is a pretty solid ship following the buff to small beam lasers.




Edit: Someone asked for a link to the slides used in the video.  They can be found here: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1ji9RP2w8vU2y1GbU_DQxCLqZ3pW4hwOMGhO7NTo7nm4/edit?usp=sharing