Last Thursday I wrote a little post about an adventure I had ice mining. I made a comment about having the implants of a blockade runner. That's a bit of a misnomer, as I only have skill hardwiring that gives me benefits for hauling, not implants. I just lump anything that I stick in my head as an implant. Probably a bad habit.
What is the difference? Implants give bonuses to your attributes (intelligence, perception, charisma, willpower, and memory) and skill hardwirings do not. While all the skill hardwirings give bonuses to activities, only some of the attribute enhancers, referred to as pirate implants, do so. Each clone has 10 slots for implants, with slots 1-5 dedicated to the attribute enhancers and slots 6-10 dedicated to skill hardwirings.
With the basics out of the way, I want to look at the implants and hardwirings I might want to use once Kronos goes live. First, the implants. I've got plenty of +4 implants rattling around the various stations, so losing a clone wouldn't hurt in that regard. But getting a set of pirate implants is a much bigger deal. The ones that would interest me are the Ascendency and Nomad sets.
The Ascendency is interesting because of the warp speed bonuses the implants grant. According to the UniWiki, the Ascendency set provides a 53.6% increase in warp speed while the low-grade set provides 33.8%. In Kronos, the high-grade set will see the attribute bonus raise from +3 to +4 and the low-grade increases from +2 to +3. Higher warp speeds? Not only for the blockade runner, but for the Procurer as well. A set of mid-grade Ascendency implants combined with a WS-615 hardwiring in slot 6 would give the Procurer a warp speed of 4.4 AU/sec, or almost as fast as a destroyer (4.5 AU/sec unbonused).
Where things get really amusing is the effect on deep space transports. With the fleet hangar providing 50,000 m3 of cargo room, I could see someone fitting a Mastodon with 2 Hyperspatial Velocity Optimizer I rigs. With them? The Mastodon, with just the WS-615 hardwiring, will have a warp speed of 5.35 AU/sec. That's faster than a regular frigate. The mid-grade set increases warp speed to 6.76 AU/sec and the high-grade increases the speed to 7.15 AU/sec. That means a Mastodon (or any other DST) could outrun everything except interceptors and covert ops frigates. Assuming, of course, that someone flying a blockade runner does little to nothing to improve its warp speed.
Most pilots, however, will either try to maximize cargo capacity, defense, or alignment. For example, in addition to the 62,500 m3 fleet hanger with Transport Ship V, the Mastodon's regular cargohold can expand out to 15,727 m3 by using tech 1 rigs and filling all the low slots with Expanded Cargohold IIs. In those cases, the ship could have a warp speed of 4.8 AU/sec with a
set of low-grad Ascendency implants and 5.1 AU/sec with the high-grade
The only thing that gives me pause is the price. If I can't find and build the damn things myself, I probably won't use them. Finding and building a set is called content and something to do. A challenge. Buying a set? No thanks. I'm getting along fine with what I have. But after hearing from Neville Smit how great the Ascendency set is for flying freighters, I'd pay the money gladly if I step up to that class of ship.
The next set is the low-grade Nomad. The current set reduces agility by 26.94% and the new low-grade Nomad set will reduce agility by -17.4%. What does that mean in practical terms? For my standard Procurer setup, and also using the EM-705 hardwiring, my align time would decrease from 6.7 down to 4.9 seconds. With the proper fit, the align time on the Mastodon would get down to the 9-10 second range. Is that worth the price? If the Ascendency set isn't worth plunking down ISK, then the Nomad is definitely a solid "No."
How about the hardwirings? For slot 6 I currently use the Eifyr and Co. 'Rogue' Warp Drive Speed' WS-615 and Eifyr and Co. 'Rogue' Evasive Maneuvering EM-705 in slot 7. I like the 15% warp speed and 5% agility bonuses and recommend both highly. If price is a factor, get a lesser hardwiring. The WS-613 and EM-703 will definitely help. For slot 8, the Inherent Implants 'Noble' Mechanic series, with its bonus to hull hit points is intriguing. For those piloting deep space transports (especially the Impel and Occator), Orcas, freighters and jump freighters, the hardwiring will help. But since I plan on continuing to refine my own ore after the industry changes go live, I'm looking at eventually getting the Zainou 'Beancounter' Refining RX-804. Of course, I'll probably get another clone to put that one in, because Wandering Rose will fly around in a Mastodon and an Orca on occasion.
Slot 9 I'll leave empty. Combat pilots will find lots to love, but as a miner and hauler? Not too much. Slot 10 is very interesting. The Mining Foreman Mindlink, which I own, would go in a dedicated clone and only come out to fly an Orca. That's it. Also in slot 10 is the Inherent Implants 'Yeti' Ice Harvesting series implants. I only ice mine an hour or two a week when I have a good week, but every little reduction of cycle time helps. Another one to look at is the Inherent Implants 'Highwall' Mining Upgrades series, which reduces the CPU penalties of using mining upgrade modules. I don't have issues with CPU, but others might need to use one.
After visiting Singularity and looking at the changes currently on the test shard, I'm not very excited about the changes to the pirate implants. If I upgrade my clone at all, I'll add hardwirings in slots 8 and 10. But at this point I'm not sure I really want to do that either. Maybe once the industry changes appear on Tranquility in July. So I'll just keep saving my money and get something nice, like a ship or some blueprints, instead.