Welcome to Jester's Trek.
I'm your host, Jester. I've been an EVE Online player for about six years. One of my four mains is Ripard Teg, pictured at left. Sadly, I've succumbed to "bittervet" disease, but I'm wandering the New Eden landscape (and from time to time, the MMO landscape) in search of a cure.
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Friday, March 25, 2011

Play to your strengths

My strongest single negotiating and business skill is my ability to read between the lines, and to make connections between four or five apparently completely unrelated facts to come to a new conclusion.

Let's talk PvE in 0.0 this time, but come at it from an interesting direction, shall we?

Kirith Kodachi, over at Inner Sanctum of the Ninveah, has written an examination of the Revenant super-carrier, comparing it to the similar Caldari Wyvern.  The subject comes up because the first Revenant BPC publicly available for auction has been advertised on the EVE Online forums.  Starting bid?  50 billion ISK.  And the price is only going up.  After examining the two ships and comparing them in a number of ways, Kirith concludes that the Wyvern is the superior craft.  And in the process, unfortunately, he misses a key point to the ship.

Over at Fiddler's Edge, Mord is also in the mood to talk about PvE.  He's talking about the current war in Geminate between the DRF and the NC -- a topic I'll probably have a bit to say about next week sometime -- and the enormous losses that the two sides have taken in super-caps.  More than 1.8 trillion ISK in Titans alone, by Mord's math, and I can find nothing wrong with his math.  He points out that major super-cap losses are no longer life-threatening to an alliance.  He then spends a great deal of time talking about the ways and means for developing the ISK flow needed to finance these losses when they occur.  And while Mord is an excellent writer and blogger, he also kind of misses the point, at least when it comes to the NC.

Super-capitals were initially intended to be an alliance-owned asset with no capability for individuals or even corps to purchase them.  A well fit super-carrier and the implants needed to sit in it cost more than a full-on 0.0 station egg, for Heaven's sake.  But things have changed since super-carriers were first put into the game.  I mentioned on my own blog a couple of weeks ago that 0.0 ratting has become the tail that wags the dog when it comes to 0.0 income.  A typical 0.0 alliance these days uses moon goo to finance its PvP reimbursement programs.  The corps that make up that alliance typically get their funding from tax on 0.0 rats, and it doesn't take a particularly high tax rate to be viable if you have enough ratters in your corp.  Mord and others have written about striking the right balance between PvPers and carebears in a single corp to balance the funding needed for this model, and that's certainly still challenging (note to self: write a post about funding a 0.0 corp).  But the fact remains that a viable 0.0 corp gets a significant portion of its on-going funding from ratting.

But as we've already learned in that very same blog post, the value of those 0.0 rats is about to change... and it's likely going to change the whole dynamic of how 0.0 corps are funded.

Over at Scrapheap, there's been a thread talking about the various use of carriers.  Also on SHC, in another section, there was this question:
If a carrier with fighter bonuses Thanatos/Nyx assigns fighters to someone who is off grid, does the fighters get the damage bonus still?
The answer is "yes."  I've done numerous tests on this one myself (and said so in the thread), and in the very next post, teds formalizes those tests thanks to the fact that you can now see drone damage in your combat log as of a recent patch.  That apparently also includes damage from assigned fighters.

I should write a full post on this one as long as I'm in a PvE mood, but one of the most common ways to rat in 0.0 with two accounts is to have your first account launch in a carrier, set up shop at a safe POS somewhere, and launch five fighters.  Then your second account launches in a fast ship with minimal need for drones (Machariels and Tengus most often, but even a humble Drake will do fine) and heads for his first asteroid belt or anomaly.  The carrier pilot then assigns these fighters to the second account.  Again, I'll write in more detail on how this works because I have never seen a decent guide on it elsewhere (note to self: write a guide on carrier uses and tactics).  For now, take my word for it: the ratting ship gets an additional 500-600 DPS from the fighters that are assigned to it.  This makes even our humble Drake a 1000 DPS ratting power-house.

And the fighters retain the damage bonus of the carrier pilot that launched them, and the bonuses of the ship that he's sitting in.

I don't rat very often at all (my corp-mates will back me up on this), but on those rare occasions when I do, I do it in a Tengu with five fighters assigned in just this way.  My carrier of choice for this is a Thanatos, and my carrier pilot currently has Gallente Carrier IV and Fighters V.  The Tengu does about 600 DPS, and the fighters add about 600 DPS.  I find that this 1200 DPS total is good enough for me to push through a Sanctum (the highest level of rat anomaly) in about 20 minutes, which is good for about 22 million ISK per "tick", or about 65 million ISK/hour.  But if I really feel like getting serious about ratting (even more rare), I'll use my third main to add even more DPS: about another 500 plus another 600 DPS from five more assigned fighters, for a total of 2300 DPS.

And while it's rather more stressful to dual-box this way, I find that doing it allows me to boost my ratting income to 100-110 million ISK/hour.

I rarely rat like this more than once or twice a month, but I've got alliance-mates that do it for hours at a time, for days in a row.  It's money like this combined with time like this that has made the personally-owned super-carrier possible.  And this is the fact that Mord isn't aware of: the bulk of the expense of replacing a lost super-carrier in the NC is probably being carried by the pilot that lost it.  Because they can.  I'll bet you real-life money that it works much the same way with the DRF.

Let's put all of these apparently separate, unrelated facts together, shall we?

The reason you get 500-600 DPS from the fighters assigned to you (rather than a non-variable value) is because two factors influence fighter damage: the Fighters skill of the carrier pilot, and whether the carrier pilot is sitting in a ship that receives bonuses to its fighter damage.  The Thanatos does receive this latter bonus; a Chimera (for instance) does not.  Therefore, you're going to receive more additional DPS from the assigned fighters of a pilot with Fighters V and Gallente Carrier V, flying a Thanatos, than from the fighters of a pilot with Fighters V and Caldari Carrier V, flying a Chimera.

There is absolutely no reason that I can see why the Revenant will be any different.  All Sansha ships have the bonus of doubling the damage output of their primary weapons.  This is one of the reasons that the Nightmare is so feared: each one of its four Mega Pulse Lasers or Tachyon Beam Lasers does double damage.  The Revenant has the same bonus to its fighters:
Revenant:  Special Ability:
100% bonus to fighter, fighter-bomber damage and hitpoints
Welcome to an unexpected macro-scale outcome of the Revenant's bonuses.  Assuming that a Revenant can assign fighters the way a standard carrier can, that means that a Revenant pilot with Fighters V skill (which every Revenant pilot should have) will be able to assign five fighters that add more than 1000 DPS to any ratting ship to which they are assigned.

Or put another way: I probably wouldn't need that third account any more to make 100-110 million ISK/hour while ratting, with only one Tengu at risk.

Put yet another way: if I ratted for three hours/day like this, I'd make about 10 billion ISK a month.

And that's assuming the Revenant only assigns five fighters to one ratter.  Put five Drone Control Units in the highs, and the Revenant can assign five fighters to three ratters, creating 120 million ISK/hour just by existing.  Remember: while doing this, it can be sitting just outside the shields of a deathstar POS deep in an alliance's controlled space.

I can't even imagine how quickly I could go through a Sanctum if I assigned ten fighters off a Revenant to my two mains.  And a Sanctum, once killed, respawns almost immediately.  Bet my income then would approach 20 billion ISK/month if I ratted like this for a few hours a day.

The Goons are gonna get a ton of money for this first Revenant BPC, but whomever buys it will be getting that money back in fairly short order.  I don't think we're going to be seeing a lot of Revenants in PvP.  That's not what it's good at.  Ships, like players, should play to their strengths.


  1. Obviously, I didn't so a good job of making my point in my blog entry. Or perhaps I was trying to make too many.


    My intent wasn't to write a how-to article. It was to point out that supercapitals are in the process of putting sov warfare beyond the means of conventional PvP-specific alliances. If matters proceed in their current directions, anyone who isn't sitting on the means of producing large numbers of the things won't be competitive.

    In effect, you have to control your own military industrial complex to be a winner.

    I agree that CCP's intent was to make supercapitals so expensive that they'd be an alliance asset. Obviously they didn't anticipate how innovative players would be in production of supers and the ISK generation needed to own one.

  2. With re: needing supercaps to be competitive. Unfortunately, we're already there. We've been there for six months, and it's only getting worse. We're soon going to reach a point that even as a renter/guest/whatever, the big alliances aren't gonna want to talk to you unless you can field super-carriers.

    As for taking or holding space without super-carriers? In a word: impossible.


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