Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Tech 1 Cruiser Fits For Warzone Extraction

Today, CCP celebrates the launch of the EVE: Valkyrie - Warzone with an event in EVE Online. Running one week before the launch of the expansion of the first person spaceship shooter and one week after, the Warzone Extraction should prove the most challenging of The Agency events yet launched on Tranquility. Players unprepared for the content could face a rude surprise.

The setting for the event is fairly simple. A mysterious NPC named The Quartermaster has hired The Agency to find trinary wrecks among the wrecks of Drifter battleships. Players warp to an acceleration gate where they find The Quartermaster in a Viator, the Gallente blockade runner. The player then uses the acceleration gate to warp into a dungeon with 5 Drifter battleship and one station wreck. Players then investigate (i.e. bump into) each wreck until they find the goal, a container holding Corrupted Trinay Relics. If the player fails to find the container after investigating a maximum of three battleship wrecks, a message appears in local chat informing the player where to find the container. Once the Corrputed Trinary Relics are retrieved, players then use the acceleration gate to return to The Quartermaster to hand over the item and receive credit with The Agency for completing the site. The reward was not listed on the Singularity test server.

To make the event more interesting, the site is guarded by Sleepers. According to the EVE University Wiki:
The Sleepers are (or were?) a presumably extinct human race which lived thousands of years before the playable EVE races. Their remaining installations and automated defence systems can be found throughout W-Space. They were far more advanced, technologically, than the current human races, and their drones, which still guard their former bases and systems, can overcome any unprepared explorer easily. Sleeper drones should not be confused with Drifters.
I identified 6 ship types in the high sec sites I tested. The Defenders and Preservers are frigates that web, scam, and neut. The Wardens are logistics ships that can repair the armor of the frigates in one repair cycle. I don't know how effective they are when repairing battleships as I always killed the Wardens before attacking the battleships. The last three ships, Upholders, Sentinels, and Safeguards, are all battleships that can web, scram, and neut. Image a Bhaalgorn with officer neuts. That's right. Expect to have your capacitor drained in short order.

The presence of the Sleepers isn't all bad. While salvage only resulted in scrap metal when I tried, the NPCs drop boosters as well as blue loot normally only seen in wormholes. Bringing a mobile depot unit is highly recommended.

When fitting a ship to run the high sec Warzone Extraction sites, make four assumptions.

1. Unless running a site in a system with a 1.0 security status, plan on facing cap pressure. If you see a battleship, assume you will run out of capacitor in short order. Plan accordingly.

2. Assume your ship needs to output 300 damage per second. The applied damage is probably a little less, but I couldn't calculate the exact amount.

3. The payout for the sites isn't worth using faction or tech 2 ammunition.

4. Bring a prop mod. Spawning and retrieving the Corrupted Trinary Relics may require traveling 60-90 km.

I decided to fit one tech one cruiser of each race and test them on the Singularity test server. I only had time to test in high sec. As the sites get tougher the lower the security status of the system, I won't vouch that the first two ships would survive a low sec site. I'll present the ships in order of preference. I'd say effectiveness, but my top choice may surprise people.

4. Caldari Caracal

The Caracal is the ship I tested with the largest natural shield tank, which meant I could devote more slots to offense in relation to the other three ships. However, the damage is lacking, which results in having to perform certain tactics to win.

Due to the crippling neut pressure in the more profitable sites, each ship fits a shield regeneration tank, sometimes referred to as a permatank. The mid slots hold 2 Large Shield Extender IIs, which allows for fitting a Medium Ancillary Current Router I instead of a third shield rig. The rest of the mids hold a EM Ward Amplifier II and Thermal Dissipation Amplifier II to plug the EM and thermal holes in the shield tank inherent in all the tech 1 hulls. The final mid slot holds a 10MN Monopropellant Enduring Afterburner, because cap is precious and the module uses the least cap of the afterburners.

The lows contain a Damage Control II to enhance the ship's resistances, a Shield Power Relay II for additional shield regeneration, and two Ballistic Control System IIs for enhanced missile damage.

The rigs hold two Medium Core Defense Field Purger Is to add to the shield regeneration rate as well as the aforementioned power grid rig. Using the power grid rig allows for fitting a full rack of Heavy Assault Missile Launcher IIs in the high slots.

Even with all the skimping on the tank in order to improve missile damage, the Caracal cannot break the tank of either a Defender or Preserver receiving Warden reps without overheating the missile launchers. So as soon as the Sleepers show up on grid, lock up a Warden and destroy it as fast as possible. Even then, the battleships can keep you webbed down and screened from the Wardens. As I mentioned before, I don't know if the Wardens will remote repair the battleships, but why take the chance?

3. Minmatar Rupture

The Rupture came in third based on its ability to destroy the Sleeper frigates through Warden reps. However, the unbonused drones the Rupture carries, along with the limited drone bay, means careful drone management is required to not lose any damage. Also, the short range of the autocannons comes into play when killing the battleships. The battleships like to kite at 15 km using their webs and neuts, just out of falloff range of short-ranged ammunition like Phased Plasma M. I carried Depleted Uranium M for this situation, but the destruction of the battleships took a long time.

In addition to four 425mm AutoCannon IIs, the utility slot is filled by a Heavy Assault Missile Launcher II. The HAM launcher, with a range of 20 km, is a welcome addition when attacking the battleships at the end of a fight.

The mid slots are fit with a Large Shield Extender II for buffer, an EM Ward Amplifier II and Thermal Dissipation Amplifier II to shore up the weakest resists, and a 10MN Monopropellant Enduring Afterburner for scooting around the site.

The low slots hold three tank modules and two damage modules. A Damage Control II increases the resists further while 2 Shield Power Relay IIs add to the shield regeneration. Finally, two Gyrostabilizer IIs add to the damage output of the autocannons.

Finally, the rigs are filled with Medium Core Defense Field Purger Is to provide the required shield regeneration to withstand the fire of the Sleepers. With this fit, my shields never dipped below 60%.

2. Gallente Vexor

A lot of people think the Vexor is overpowered. The Gallente drone boat is definitely a dominant ship even if one has to use tech 1 autocannon, or even tech 1 artillery in the high slots to supplement the damage of the drones. The only worry really is making sure the NPCs don't kill your valuable drones. The safest way to use the drones is to go after the frigates first, because the Vexor has enough damage to kill frigates before the Warden reps land. After the frigates are gone, kill the Wardens so reducing the battleships to slag doesn't take as long. Then switch to the Ogres and mop up the battleships.

Since the Sleepers bring a lot of neut pressure, I fit four 425mm AutoCannon IIs in the high slots. Just remember to bring Phased Plasma to use during the frigate fight and switch to Depleted Uranium to take down the kiting battleships.

The mid slots are fit exactly like the Rupture fit above, and for the same reasons. The lows are fit with a Damage Control II for the resists, three Shield Power Relay IIs for the shield regeneraton, and a Drone Damage Amplifier II for additional drone damage.

Finally, the rigs are filled with two Medium Core Defense Field Purger Is to bring up the shield regeneration to a safe level and a Medium Core Defense Field Extender I for additional buffer.

1. Amarr Arbitrator

For purposes of the Warzone Extraction event, the Arbitrator is almost the same ship as the Vexor. The only difference in the modules used in the fits is the Arbitrator, due to its split weapons layout, has two HAM launchers and two 425mm Autocannon IIs in the highs instead of four autocannons. For drones, due to bandwith limitations, the Arbitrator carries 2 full flights of light drones and 2 flights of medium drones compared to the Vexor's 2 flights of light drones and 3 heavy drones.

Fly the Arbitrator exactly the same way as the Vexor in the site. Upon landing, start firing on the frigates and launch the drones, making sure the drones always attack the same target. Afterwards, kill the Wardens, then switch to the medium drones to finish off the battleships. While the medium drones do less damage, the heavy assault missiles help make up for the damage deficit with their greater damage application. Just remember to swap out the Phased Plasma M for Depleted Uranium M if the battleship is kiting beyond 13 km.

So, if the Arbitrator is just as good as the Vexor, why fly the Arbitrator? Three reasons, none of which will appeal to the min/maxers out there. The first is I already own an Arbitrator and I've never flown a Vexor on Tranquility. The next is that I just like the idea of tooling around these sites in a ship everyone will think is weird. The final reason is I just like the looks of the ship more. If the choice is a coin flip, then why not fly around New Eden in style?

UPDATE: After experiencing the content for a few days on Tranquility, I've posted artillery fits for the Arbitrator and Vexor that may work better, depending on your skills.

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