Monday, February 20, 2017

A Closer Look At The Nestor

Sometimes I think I don't appreciate the efforts the developers at CCP spend designing the ships they put into EVE Online. I normally fly the same set of ships, but last week finally completed building my Nestor. Flying the Nestor reminds me of a Swiss Army knife: very versatile, but perhaps not great at any one task.

One of the problems with the ship is that CCP tried to fit a square peg into a round hole. Designating the Sisters of EVE as a "pirate" faction doesn't quite fit the lore. Sure, the Sisters do a lot of underhanded things, some of which probably falls into the category of evil. But pirates don't often make a habit of rescuing people or manning refugee centers.

Since each pirate faction has a battleship, what type of ship would fit in with a group more likely to perform search and rescue work than become involved in massive fights? I would argue that the Nestor is more of a command ship than a battleship. Most battleships' mass comes in around 100 million kilograms. The Nestor, at only 20 million kilograms, masses half-again the amount of the average command ship.

What does a command ship for a fleet of exploration vessels that most often operate in multiple systems look like? Command bursts obviously do not work. Instead, we see the jack-of-all trades, master of none approach. Below is the in-game description of the Nestor:
"This was one of the first vessels the Sisters of EVE made available to capsuleers. It had been under development by the Sanctuary corporation, whose interest in exploration includes not only search & rescue operations but also a constant inquiry into the nature of the EVE Gate. Thanks to the Sisters' efforts and the Sanctuary's particular expertise, the Nestor is an agile, tenacious ship that aptly adheres to the mantra of both rescuers and explorers: Stay safe, stay hidden, and use every tool at your disposal.

"It is particularly adept at venturing into dangerous territories, not merely in recovering whatever may be of interest but also in being able to safely bring it back. Its engines have alternate power sources that come into play should any of its cargo - for which it has plenty of room - cause serious interference with internal systems. Its weaponry runs best on renewable sources, an ideal for a ship that doesn't know how long it'll be in deep space. Its carapace is extremely well armored for a ship this agile, and covered in sensors capable of letting its crew track a myriad of different organic signatures. The crew itself is safely protected from any number of transmittable ailments from rescues and other unexpected passengers, thanks to special quarantine bays that are conveniently located near jettisonable openings.

"The Sanctuary corporation poured uncountable resources into making the cloaking technology developed for the Stratios fit the Nestor, but were eventually forced to concede that it was impossible. The effort was not without benefit though, as part of their work focused on reducing the Nestor's mass enough that it could make its way into unexplored territories that might've been hazardous to bulkier vessels. This paid off by affording the Nestor unmatched access to wormhole space, and meant that the embedded miniature rescue vessel on the ship's hull could be relegated to a decommissioned role. With covert function off the table, the Sanctuary turned their eyes on logistics and now the Nestor serves as one of the best support platforms in New Eden."
As the description above indicates, the Nestor handles three main roles. The first is a combat role. The ship receives bonuses to drone hitpoints and damage as well as armor resistances and large energy turret optimal range. With both Gallente and Amarr battleship skills trained to 5, the Nestor's drones can dish out and take 50% more damage while receiving a 20% across the board boost to armor resistances. While the Nestor does not have a tech 2 resistance profile, a pilot who specializes in armor tanking can achieve an omni-tank of 60-65%.

The SoE salesperson who put together the ship description overstated the effectiveness of the Nestor's logistics capabilities just a little. The short optimal range of the remote armor reps is more suited to the old-school practice of warping off-grid to a location to receive repairs than the modern practice of receiving on-grid reps. Combine that with a working, if small, ship maintenance bay, and the Nestor can serve as a mobile repair base that removed the necessity of carrying around a mobile depot to make equipment changes.

The third function is one people laugh at: exploration. If one thinks of the Nestor as a battlecruiser hull instead of a battleship, the function isn't as laughable. The 50% role bonus the Nestor receives to core and combat scanner probe strength is the same that covert ops frigates receive for training the Covert Ops skill to 5. The ship also receives the same +10 bonus to relic and analyzer virus strength as covert ops frigates. I created a fit that might serve well. Admittedly, my skills almost all level 5 for the fit, so your results may differ.

Below are two fittings I played around with on Tranquility over the past few days. I did a little role playing with the fits, as the description states the Nestor does not know how long a mission will last. Since a mission could last a month or two, I decided to not fit any modules that required consumables to work. So I stayed away from tech 2 crystals, cap boosters, and nanite paste.


[Nestor, PvE Nestor]

Damage Control II
Reactive Armor Hardener
Large Armor Repairer II
Drone Damage Amplifier II
Drone Damage Amplifier II
Drone Damage Amplifier II

Omnidirectional Tracking Link II
Large Micro Jump Drive
Target Painter II
Cap Recharger II
Large Cap Battery II
100MN Monopropellant Enduring Afterburner

Mega Pulse Laser II, Ultraviolet L
Mega Pulse Laser II, Ultraviolet L
Mega Pulse Laser II, Ultraviolet L
Mega Pulse Laser II, Ultraviolet L
Large Remote Armor Repairer II
Drone Link Augmentor II
Drone Link Augmentor II

Large Anti-Explosive Pump I
Large Ancillary Current Router I
Large Hyperspatial Velocity Optimizer I


Bouncer II x5
Berserker II x5
Valkyrie II x5
Valkyrie II x5
Warrior II x5
Warrior II x5
Vespa EC-600 x5
Vespa EC-600 x5


The fit above is similar to my first attempt to theorycraft a Nestor fit back in October. In the high slots, I replaced one of the Mega Pulse Laser IIs with a Large Remote Armor Repairer II. I added the remote rep module in order to repair my drones. A couple of times my drones returned to my ship in structure so I figured I needed a way to repair them. The move also had the side benefit of requiring only one Large Ancillary Current Router I rig instead of the two I originally fit. The two Drone Link Augmentor IIs give a drone control range of 108km, which is useful for a module I stuck in my mid slots.

In the mids, I replaced the Tracking Computer II with a Cap Recharger II. I kept the micro jump drive for the mobility around the grid and well as the afterburner. The Large Micro Jump Drive sends a ship 100 km away from a ship's current location. With the drone control range provided by the two drone links in the high slots, hopefully using the MJD will not result in the loss of controlling any deployed drones.

Before continuing, I should say one thing about prop mods. The Nestor, in my opinion, requires one. The first time I ran a site in a Nestor, I thought I was using an oversized prop mod. That's a function of the ship's low mass. The 100MN afterburner eventually gets the ship up to 358 m/sec, but the ship handles like a pig. Without the prop mod on, the ship aligns in 6.55 seconds, which is 1.5 seconds faster than my Cyclone.

The lows I think are pretty vanilla, with a Damage Control II, Reactive Armor Hardener, Large Armor Repairer II, and 3 Drone Damage Amplifier II. When using Bouncer IIs, which I did due to the Guardian Gala, my drone damage, at least on paper, was 569 DPS. I'd like to think I apply most of the damage due to the presence of the Target Painter II and Omnidirectional Tracking Link II in the mids.

The rigs are expensive so have to work with both my fits. The Large Anti-Explosive Pump I is present to plug the explosive damage hole in my armor. The Large Ancillary Current Router I is present to allow the use of 4 Mega Pulse Laser IIs. The lasers are primarily used to draw aggro from the NPCs and I found 4 lasers and a target painter get the job done. Three lasers don't work quite so well. The Large Hyperspatial Velocity Optimizer I is what really gives the Nestor that command ship feel. The warp speed rig increases the speed of the battleship from 2.5 AU/sec to 3.0 AU/sec, the same as a command ship.


[Nestor, Hacking Nestor]

Damage Control II
Reactive Armor Hardener
Large Armor Repairer II
Nanofiber Internal Structure II
Inertial Stabilizers II
Inertial Stabilizers II

Relic Analyzer II
Data Analyzer II
Target Spectrum Breaker
Cap Recharger II
Large Cap Battery II
500MN Cold-Gas Enduring Microwarpdrive

Mega Pulse Laser II, Standard L
Mega Pulse Laser II, Standard L
Mega Pulse Laser II, Standard L
Mega Pulse Laser II, Standard L
Drone Link Augmentor II
Sisters Core Probe Launcher, Sisters Core Scanner Probe
Improved Cloaking Device II

Large Anti-Explosive Pump I
Large Ancillary Current Router I
Large Hyperspatial Velocity Optimizer I


Bouncer II x5
Berserker II x5
Valkyrie II x5
Valkyrie II x5
Warrior II x5
Warrior II x5
Vespa EC-600 x5
Vespa EC-600 x5


The hacking fit is pretty basic. In the high slots, I removed the remote armor repper and one of the Drone Link Augmentor IIs in order to fit a Sisters Core Probe Launcher and a cloak. With a sensor strength of 113 points, the ship should easily probe down any signature in high sec or low sec. The cloak is for the adventurous set willing to take a chance in more dangerous space.

In the mid slots, I left in the Cap Recharger II and Large Cap Battery II and changed the rest. The relic and data analyzers are just about mandatory for a hacking fit, while I swapped out the afterburner for a microwarpdrive in order to zip quickly between the cans.  The Target Spectrum Breaker is for those leaving high sec.

Removing the three drone damage mods in the lows and replacing them with a Nanofiber Internal Structure II and 2 Inertial Stabilizers IIs makes a significant difference. The align time drops down to 3.94 seconds while the maximum speed increases to 1300 m/sec.

All of the figures above did not use skill hardwiring. For example, using an Eifyr and Co. 'Rogue' Warp Drive Speed WS-615 in slot 6 increases the ship's warp speed from 3.0 AU/sec to 3.45 AU/sec. Trust me, the difference is really noticeable. But playing around with what you stick in your clone, especially with the really expensive skill wirings like the WS-615, is a personal preference.

I am having fun flying around in my Nestor running the Guardian Gala sites and collecting SKINs despite the fact I own no Gallente ships. One can't get the most out of a Nestor in high sec, though, as the combat sites one can probe down are restricted to cruiser-sized hulls and smaller. I just wish the ships weren't so expensive so that taking them into dangerous space made more sense. Yes, the Nestor can do a lot of things well, but more specialized ships can do them at least as well if not better and at a much cheaper cost. The ship is also very skill intensive to fly well. I personally wouldn't undock in something as expensive as a Nestor without having excellent skills. Still, for the veteran with a huge wallet wanting something new, a Nestor is an interesting ship to fly.

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