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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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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Guide: Battleship fast warps

Introduction and definition
"Fast warping" is a trick mostly associated with PvP battleships in EVE Online.  It is the act of using a ship's MicroWarpdrive module to trick the ship into the high speed needed to get into warp faster than its standard propulsion can do so.  Learning this skill is more of a "how-to" than an actual EVE player guide.  Still, it is a very useful skill and deserves to be covered.  Once you've learned and practiced the skill for a couple of weeks, you'll find yourself doing it automatically whenever you're in a ship that will benefit from the process.


A basic understanding of how and why ships enter warp is vital to the understanding of this material.  If you don't have a good understanding of that topic, I wrote a basic guide on Warp Drive that covers it.

For the purposes of this guide, it's important to realize the two most vital factors about getting into warp: one's alignment, and one's speed.  The fast warp process tweaks both.  Under normal circumstances, these two factors combine into an "align and warp" rating for each EVE ship.  This rating is measured in seconds: the number of seconds that it will take the ship to align and get up to the 75% speed necessary to get into warp.

Still, to get into warp, a ship must be at 75% of its current maximum sub-warp speed.  This is a factor that a ship's propulsion module can obviously alter.  When you examine a ship with a propulsion module in EFT, this is the default behavior, in fact.  The ship will be shown with its align and warp speed taking the MWD or Afterburner into account.  Only by deactivating the propulsion module in EFT is the true align and warp speed of the ship revealed.  And for every ship, the displayed align and warp speed with the propulsion module active will be greater than with that module inactive.
Fast warp principles
Fast warp is impossible without a propulsion module of some type -- a MicroWarpdrive or an Afterburner, usually the former -- fitted to your ship.  The basic principle behind the fast warp process is that there are many ships for which the following is true:
If the align and warp time of the ship is longer than the cycle time of the ship's fitted propulsion module, that ship can (and should!) fast warp.
The most commonly-used example are armor-tanked battleships using MWDs.  A single plate Abaddon -- that is, an Abaddon with a single 1600mm Reinforced Rolled Tungsten Plate fitted as a low slot module -- aligns and warps in about 14 seconds with good pilot skills.  However, the cycle time of a MWD fitted to such a ship with a good pilot aboard is ten seconds.  The guiding principle behind fast warping is that you can engage the MWD for that single cycle to boost the ship more quickly to the speed it will need to enter warp.

As long as the cycle time of your propulsion module is shorter than your align and warp time, you will benefit.  At worst, you will lose nothing.  At best, you'll allow the Abaddon to get up to 75% sub-warp speed in ten seconds instead of 14, a 29% faster entry into warp.  A similar principle can be used with afterburner-fit ships, though the benefit of doing so will be somewhat lessened.

Finally, it is very useful when using the fast warp process to assign your propulsion module to "top row" slot consistent with the F1 through F8 keys.  This process requires fairly quick reaction time and benefits from faster reactions.  As a result, you will have more success with this process by temporarily (or permanently) making this change when using this process.

In short, this principle is very similar to a large plane using JATO to reduce the time needed to achieve take-off speed.  The trick is the proper application of the increased speed.

Fast warp process
OK.  Now that you understand the principles, here's how the fast warp works:
  1. After jumping into a new system, wait for the interface and Overview to appear completely.
  2. Either in space or on the Overview, click on the destination you intend to warp to.  Usually, this is a gate.
  3. In the selected item dialogue, click "Align to" or press the Align hot-key (default: "A").  You can also combine steps two and three into the single action to right click in space and align toward your intended destination.  Do not click "warp to".  You want to align.
  4. Press the hot-key associated with your MicroWarpdrive once, wait two seconds, then press it again to prevent it cycling a second time.
  5. Watch your speed and movement to ensure that your MWD is cycling once and you are in motion toward your intended destination.  Make sure your MWD module is flashing red.
  6. Either in space or on the Overview, click on the destination you intend to warp to.  In the selected item dialogue, click "Warp to" or press the Warp hot-key (default: "S").
  7. You will hear Aura announce "Warp drive, active."  Your speed will climb but probably will not make it much higher than about 50% speed.
  8. But when your MWD cycle completes, you will immediately jump to warp.

During the ten-second MWD cycle, your ship will only accelerate to about 55-60% of maximum speed.  This is normal.  On a single plate Abaddon, this represents about 300m/s.  The warp speed of a single plate Abaddon under MWD is about 500m/s, so you will not enter warp during the MWD cycle.  However, the warp speed of a single plate Abaddon not under MWD is about 74m/s.  This means that the moment your MWD cycle ends after ten seconds, you will be at approximately 300% of maximum speed.  This far exceeds the 75% of maximum speed needed to enter warp, so you will enter warp immediately.

This process will work on any ship, for any pilot where the align and warp speed is greater than the propulsion mod cycle speed.  This includes nearly all battleships, armor-tanked battle cruisers and Command Ships, and many T1 and T2 industrial ships, including the Orca.  All that is needed is a propulsion module, preferably a MWD.  Ironically, the lower the character's skill point total, the more likely this process will work since a low SP pilot may not have the support skills needed for a fast align and warp time.

Cloaking variation
Finally, a variation on this process exists for ships that are also fitted with a cloaking device.  However, this process is somewhat more exacting.
  1. After jumping into a new system, wait for the interface and Overview to appear completely.
  2. Either in space or on the Overview, click on the destination you intend to warp to.  Usually, this is a gate.
  3. In the selected item dialogue, click "Align to" or press the Align hot-key (default: "A").  You can also combine steps two and three into the single action to right click in space and align toward your intended destination.  Do not click "warp to".  You want to align.
  4. Press the hot-key associated with your MicroWarpdrive once.  Then press the hot-key associated with your cloaking device.
  5. Watch your speed and movement to ensure that your MWD is cycling once and you are in motion, cloaked, toward your intended destination.  Your MWD can be flashing either red or green; it does not matter.
  6. When the MWD cycle ends, quickly press the hot-key associated with your cloaking device to shut it off.  But see below.
  7. Then, also quickly, either in space or on the Overview, click on the destination you intend to warp to.  In the selected item dialogue, click "Warp to" or press the Warp hot-key (default: "S").
  8. If your current speed exceeds 75% of your standard non-cloaked speed, you will immediately jump to warp.

This process is trickier for a couple of reasons, but the principle behind it is the same.  In this case, though, you are effectively using two speed mods.  The MicroWarpdrive greatly increases the speed of your ship.  The cloak greatly decreases it.  What you are hoping for is a balance that will allow your ship to enter warp while:
  • maintaining the maximum period under cloak; and,
  • is as close as possible to the ten second MWD cycle time without being longer than that time.
A couple of examples will suffice.  We'll continue to use a single plated Abaddon as our example ship.

As noted above, the align and warp speed of such a ship is about 74m/s.  Under an Improved Cloaking Device II, this speed is reduced to 19m/s, but of course the Abaddon cannot warp while cloaked.  However, while the MWD is cycling, the ship's top speed while cloaked is increased to 174m/s.  The Abaddon pilot cycles his MWD, then engages the cloak.  That will cause the ship to continue to accelerate under MWD to about 95m/s while still under cloak.  When the MWD cycle disengages, this speed will rapidly drop.  However, if the cloak is disengaged at that point, the Abaddon will continue at or near this speed.  Once the cloak is disengaged, if the pilot is quick enough with the "warp to", the Abaddon will almost immediately enter warp at the end of this time.  This is exactly similar to the normal fast warp process with the added benefit that the Abaddon will be cloaked during its acceleration phase.

However, the timing is quite critical, the steps exacting, and the process requires good reflexes.  The exact cloaking module is also important.  Consider an Abaddon under a standard Prototype Cloaking Device, for instance.  The ship's top speed even under MWD is reduced to 69m/s.  This is below the 74m/s needed for immediate warp.  However, the pilot can fake it a little bit by disengaging the cloaking device a second or two before the MWD cycle ends.  This will reduce the time period under cloak but will increase the ship's speed at the end of the MWD cycle, probably closing the gap and allowing instant warp when the MWD cycle ends.

That gap and the precise timing needed to make this process work requires a lot of practice.  However, once mastered it allows the fast warp process to be attempted right under the guns of an enemy gate-camp, if that camp is not using a bubble and doesn't have a good decloaker.

One of the biggest disadvantages to piloting a battleship or armor-tanked battle cruiser are long travel times.  This reduces the fun of flying the ship, makes chasing an enemy ship or gang much more difficult, and means that you'll be spending more time jumping gates than you will be making people explode.  All of these are bad things.  The fast warp process doesn't entirely make up for these short-comings, but it can at least make flying these big, heavy ships more bearable.

Practice this process every time you get into a big, heavy ship and soon it will become automatic.  Muscle memory will take over and you'll find yourself using this process every time, traveling faster, arriving at the fight first, and getting kills before your fleet-mates.  Good hunting!


  1. Nice post. Back in the day, this is how I stocked our corp POS's. 8 jumps into low-sec in a Cloaky/Afterburner Mammoth. Server timing was key. It led to some white-knuckles when I'd jump into system 5km from some bastard. Good times.

    Eventually, it got to the point when the gatecamps started just leaving me alone.

  2. Using this trick with my Orca, I find that it's possible to use the "warp to," "jump," or "dock" commands and still be able to cycle the MWD, removing the need for the "align to" command.

  3. This is also essential knowledge for all serious transport/Orca/Industrial carebears :)

  4. Not to mention those times when you have to move things in HS from station A to station B.... (and you're a n00b and you don't use Red Frog, like is 10 misk worth 30min + of your game time? I don't think so...).

    I like to think of this as the EVE equivalent of the assmode hack (from some webcomic).

  5. "Press the hot-key associated with your MicroWarpdrive once. Then press the hot-key associated with your cloaking device."

    No, do this the other way around (you have about 2 seconds after cloaking activation to activate MWD). Doing it this way around makes you prone to getting locked fast.

    Also, this is one of those cases where it pays to use an Improved Cloaking Device (the speed penalty is lower).

    1. That's interesting. I'll give it a try.

    2. Yes, that's true.

    3. I would just suggest jamming them both at the same time. It's not like increasing the sig radius of a BS significantly decreases locking time.

    4. I have to weigh in here... You engage cloak then MWD 1 sec later then align as quickly as possible... I have been doing this for a year now. Plus I do a variant, I do not align first, I simply click on the increase acceleration ">" icon and as my ship accels forward, regardless of direction, I engage cloak and then MWD THEN I align...

      With this variant, I have several times had an ebil pirate head off in the wrong direction trying to uncloak me as I turned cloaked and alinged to my intended destination or other off vactor safe direction... when the MWD dies and I uncloak and warp off... they was none too happy!

      I once did this trick, and a pirate inna Cane popped droans and headed for where I was vectored... I turned under cloak with the MWD on and I was able to burn far enough out of his path, before my MWD died, that he passed 3000km below me... and as he was balls to the wall on MWD his droans dint spread out but tailed along behind him trying to catch up so he missed me...

      I was in a Mammoth 6 hops deep in losec and fully loaded with POS mods and fuel using GS cans, so somthing like 39Km3 of corp assets...

      I watched as he started to try and poke around and pop me, then he went back to camping the gate... when I started to open range on him, at all of like 13kms or somesuch... I finally relaxed and made a sammich and had a cuppa for about an hour... until he warped thru the gate and then I got the hell outta Dodge... LOL

  6. I agree with Anshu, I can just "warp to" and cycle the MWD without aligning first.

    Regretfully, the only time this trick doesn't work is on station undocks.... :(

  7. You don't need to align first, than warp. Just press warp, turn on MWD, turn it off in a sec, wait to get into warp.

  8. Hey jester, sorry for going off-topic but would you recommend a Wolf or a Jag for solo PVP and why?

    1. LOL, yeah. Extremely off-topic. That said, I'm more impressed with the kiting Wolf fits that I've seen. The Jag kind of suffers in comparison to the Enyo and Vengeance.

    2. Yeah, I was planning on going for a wolf.

      I honestly don't think I've seen such a argument in corp till I asked that question. It needed an answer

  9. + http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bVi1CWcbSUE&hd=1

  10. Nice guide. Since I just did some 'research' in this area, I figured I'd mention that. It might not always be a good idea for you to turn off the mwd while trying to warp. Specifically, I looked into the case of a 90 degree turn before warping. I'm sure many of you have noticed how your ship can get 'stuck' before going into warp in some situations.

    I investigated this, and made some graphs!

    I also speculated that this effect has something to do with garmon's web abuse with freighters.

  11. In my experience you only need to worry about the align element of fast warping when using the cloak + mwd trick - a plated battleship can happily warp to, cycle mwd once and benefit from the decreased time to align and warp.

    It could be useful for you to add an additional advanced supplement to the above guide that covers the use of session warping for true fast warps (the art of right-clicking in space at point of session change, but before grid has loaded to trigger the right-click menu in the next system before fully loading allow you to warp to next gate while 'between' systems, and then using the F1 to cycle mwd for the fast warp as well). Cuts down a hell of a lot of time when racing to get ahead of a target or running to catch up with a fleet.

    Also worth pointing out that this is why supers often carry deadspace mwds in cargo - the fast warp trick applies to them and can be really important when in a travel fit - you start to see real benefit when dealing with a 60 second align time!


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