Monday, February 9, 2015

What Is Ten Coherence Worth?

I didn't have a lot of time to play video games this weekend, but I did manage to undock my Cheetah and sneak into Great Wildlands to do a little exploring.  An exit opened up in Thera to a rather remote area so I probed the wormhole down and set out to see what I could find.

In the first system, I came across a relic site.  Cool, my first null sec exploration site.  Not so cool, these are a little tougher than those in low sec.  I managed to get two out of the three cans I tried, and abandoned the fourth when an Astero decloaked.  I buzzed around a couple of other systems without finding anything I wanted to try, then headed back to Thera.

I wondered if I just needed to get better at the mini-game or if I also needed to upgrade my ship.  My Cheetah works wonderfully in low sec, but do I need something better for null?  I did a little research and wondered if I needed a covert ops frigate with five mid-slots instead of four.

I looked around and decided that the Helios looked like a good ship with which to do a little theory crafting.  I wanted a fit that would give me the same or better probing capability while increasing my hacking ability.  So I came up with the below fit:

An attempt at a Helios fit
NOTE: Replace the Scoped Survey Scanner with a Cargo Scanner II.

The fit does what I required.  The Scan Rangefinding Array II and AR-810 skill hardwiring gives me 2 points greater scan strength when using Sisters Core Probes compared to my current Cheetah fit (which doesn't use hardwirings) while at the same time giving me 10 more coherence when playing the hacking mini-game.  The fit can even scale down for lower skillpoint pilots to use.  Explorers having difficulties with the fit due to CPU can downgrade to a simple Sisters Core Probe Launcher and if power grid is an issue a pilot can replace one of the low slots (preferably the WCS) with a power grid module.

But is the cost worth it?  The AR-810 hardwiring that gives a 10% boost to scan strength is 79,375 LP and 79,375,000 ISK in the loyalty points store.  That means the one hardwiring will cost more than twice as much as my ship.  As I sat pondering the question, another thought popped into my head.  Why not just keep the Cheetah and plug in an EY-1005 hardwiring to add 5 coherence?  Those only cost 10,875 LP and 10,875,000 ISK in the loyalty points store.

A Cheaper Option
NOTE: Replace the Scoped Survey Scanner with a Cargo Scanner II

After playing around, I'm not sure purchasing the Helios is worth the cost.  While the Helios is easier to fit for a little more capability, I've got the skills to fit the Cheetah now.  Besides, I'm a Minmatar pilot and if I can keep flying my Cheetah I will.  Now, I just need to learn how to play the hacking mini-game better.


  1. This is the fit I use in Providence for Relic/Data sites, as well as some combat scanning, With 5-4-4-4 probing skills, there's nothing I can't probe down cosmic sig-wise, in K-space at least. In this configuration, you get 140 Relic and 115 Data coherence which is for me enough to hack the vast majority of sites, unless I'm really unlucky. It's easily configurable, however, as you can modify the numbers with rigs/implants. 1 MWD cycle sends you flying ~20km, which allows you to nicely time most flights between hacking nodes, as they're usually 20 or 40km apart.

  2. First: You need to equip mining lasers if you want the Scoped Survey Scanner to be usefull (choose a cargo scanner instead :p )
    Second: As long as you do not plan to run those new sleeper caches (and I guess you wouldn't run them in a frigate because of the AoE damage etc.) don't focus on scan strength. You won't run data/relic sites in nullsec with 20 other players in local, will you? It doesn't matter if you need 2 or 3 scans to get the data/relic site to 100%. But +5 or +10 coherence can really make the difference.
    My priorities: max virus strenght -> max virus coherence -> max agility -> if there are slots left I might push my scan strength but most likely the scan speed.
    Third: it might be hard to squeeze in a MWD but nullsec = bubbles and hacking cans can be >30km away from each other.

  3. I'll second all the recommendations here. You have the virus strength maxxed, so there's nothing more to do about that. Coherence can be boosted by rigs, and should be. (I'd boost relic site hacking, since relics are generally worth much more than data.) And you will want a microwarpdrive for the two reasons Samdara mentions. Some of the sites have cans 80km from each other.

  4. Personally I dont believe that a person can get "better" at playing the hacking mini-game. The game is skill-less. The only general rule of any applicability is work to the opposite side from where you start. Other than that the game is wack a mole. So the only real way to get better is to improve your character "skills" (as opposed to the player's "skills") and get a better equipped ship.

  5. I also agree with Samsara.

    I've been exploring in null for quite a while and have settled on an Ares for my ship. It doesn't have the bonuses - but it does make it easier to get away with its very quick align time (less than 2 seconds) and immunity to bubbles makes it easy to travel around.

    It doesn't matter how many scans it takes to find the radar site (you're alone in the system and have no competition) - but you do need max coherence inside the sites. I add a couple relic rigs because they are my main focus - both because they are much more profitable per site and because the loot is much smaller and can be stored in my Ares much easier.

    I rarely lose a can - maybe once every 5 sites. And learning how the minigame works can really help you out. Pay attention to what order you go about things. In high sec it might be wack-a-mole, but these null sec sites are much tougher and a false move or two can doom you.

    Good luck!

  6. And, FWIW, I don't have any implants in my head - but I have very good skills (all 5s maybe?) on my explorer character.