Thursday, April 30, 2015

Training To Fly A Stratios

I admit I'm a bit strange. When I mined in low sec, I did so in a Procurer and with neutrals in system. I fly in fleets hunting down war targets armed only with festival launchers and ECM.  I like the hacking mini-game. So when I say I want to train to fly a Stratios, I'm referring to what skills to inject into the queue.

I'm not saying that I am not lacking skills. Currently I'm training for tech 2 heavy and sentry drones. As more proof I'm a strange EVE player, I've never used sentry drones. Never. I've always flown either shield-tanked Minmatar or shield-tanked ORE ships. While Procurers rely on drones, the drone bandwidth pretty much limits the ship to using light drones.

Now, see my problem? The Stratios is an armor-tanked drone boat that ideally uses lasers. I, on the other hand, have always flown shield-tanked, Minmatar ships fitting either projectile weapons or missiles. Drones were something I used to handle NPC frigates and cruisers while I concentrated my main weapons on bigger ships. I may have the skills to fly a Stratios effectively against NPCs, but I don't have the experience I'd really like when flying such an expensive ship.

So, if I want to spend a few days getting used to armor tanking in a cruiser, what should I use? I came up with three possibilities: Vexor, Omen, or Arbitrator.

The Vexor seems like a good ship to learn how to use drones. The drone bandwidth is a bit smaller than the Stratios', but like the Sisters cruiser has 4 turrent hardpoints. Both ships also have 10% per level drone bonuses. One other factor in favor of using the Vexor is that the SoE ships share the same armor resist profiles as Gallente ships. I could probably learn a lot about using different types of drones, but I also want to learn about cap use.

The Omen, on the other hand, looks like a nice, sturdy ship. Capable of fitting 5 turret slots, the Amarr cruiser lacks the drone bonuses of the Vexor. But, I would learn armor tanking in a laser ship, something I possibly did running an Amarr character through the old tutorial. Maybe. I probably need to practice that.

The most intriguing possibility is the Arbitrator. Yes, I know, the ship is an electronics warfare cruiser, but that never stopped me from running low sec sites in a Bellicose.  The ship receives the same drone bonuses as the Stratios, but with 2 less turrets. The Arbitrator doesn't receive armor bonuses like the Sisters cruiser, but doesn't have that huge Gallente explosive armor resistance hole either. One big disadvantage that the Arbitrator has is that its drone bandwidth is half that of the Stratios.

What to choose? The Vexor seems like the strongest choice, especially if I decide to take a hit to my cargo capacity and fit autocannons or artillery to the Stratios instead of lasers. That seems to cut against the design of the ship as a self-sufficient long rage exploration ship, however. The other choice is the Arbitrator. The Arbitrator may seem sub-optimal, but if I can handle running level 2 missions and sites in an Arbitrator, I shouldn't have a problem flying a Stratios, right?


  1. I wanted to skill into a Stratios early this year to do Combat Signatures and started of with the Arbitrator after going through a similar thought process. I used it for DED4 sites without too much difficulty. Also, I used only light and medium drones, not heavies so the Arby bandwidth was fine for me. Most of my DPS was from drones and I used my lasers only to draw aggro and help with some of the larger BC rats.

    It didn't take me too long and I was able to afford the Stratios. Once I started flying the Stratios I sold my Arbitrators and never looked back.

    My highest priority skills for the Stratios were Med. Laser V, Gallente Cruiser V and then Drone Interfacing V. I have yet to train Amarr Cruiser V but my Stratios is already a beast so no hurry on this one.

  2. Strat is way more expensive, but has cloaky goodness. Armor res and scan bonus too. You can run 4/10 combat sites in one.... provided you're careful...

  3. I would not worry too much about the lack of turrets. With a Stratios you'll have a cloak and probe launcher taking up some of those high slots. (unless you want to schlep around a mobile fitting service). With extra slots I would add at least one RR to top the health of the drones. And if you going to go with sentries, maybe a drone augumentor so that the sentries have range to work with.

    I have not yet flown this cruiser. I use my Asterio to scan down, but use an Scythe to run low end sites. I found a site recently that would not accept tech2 hulls. (cannot recall which it was now).

  4. Stratios is mainly a drone boat and that is best simulated with a vexor I think. Hybrids use cap just as lasers do.
    My stratios fit:
    high: SoE core probe launcher, cov ops cloaking device, tractor, salvager, deadspace NOS (and carrying a second one for refitting)
    mid: MWD, relic analyzer, cargo scanner, webifier, omnidirectional tracking link (second web, point, AB, data analyzer in cargo)
    low: 1600mm plate, DCII, corelum c-type medium armor repair, DDAII, EANMII (second DDA and EANM in cargo)
    rigs: T2 anti-explosive pump, T2 auxiliary nano pump and T1 CCC rig.
    Drones: 2 gecko for main damage. Spare is 2 flights of lights, ecm 300 and 600, 5 sentry drones (1 spare). 1 more spare gecko.
    And of course a mobile depot for the actual refitting.
    It's not as tanky as I want and I try to fit to many roles at once because I want it do do everything (which it can't).

  5. I swear in my preview it looked readable...

  6. I do love my Stratios. It is expensive, but a joy to fly, especially for exploration. The cloak comes in very handy in dangerous space. You'll enjoy it, once you get one, I promise you. Until then, I recommend the Vexor - an excellent cruiser for learning drone skills. Tech II sentries will be a revelation when you get them. You are right about the Arbitrator, though - also a fine drone cruiser and more flexible than you might think. Both are good for mastering armor tank skills, while you skill up for your Stratios.