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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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Sunday, September 9, 2012

Sunday definition: Nano

And now, an EVE term definition for the newer EVE players.  You vets can move on to the next post.

I haven't done a definition of the week in a while, but I seem to have a block of newer EVE players reading the blog, so I'm going to bring back this regular feature to help them out.  Feel free to check out the past Sunday definitions.  This week, "nano".

Nano-fitting a ship refers to the process of fitting a ship such that the major portion of its "tank" is high speed.  This goes back to an old Mr. Miyagi quote (paraphrased): "The best way to block a punch is not to be there."  Instead of taking the full damage of a shot on shields or armor and then repairing it (or getting it repaired), you are attempting to either mitigate the damage through high speed or avoid it entirely.  Speed can help mitigate damage in three ways:
  • Enemy missile damage is based partially on the speed your ship is moving.  The faster your ship is moving, the less missile damage you will take.
  • In addition, enemy missiles have a limited range and can be out-run if you are moving quickly enough or if the missiles are fired from far enough away from you.
  • Enemy gun tracking can be disrupted by maintaining a high angular velocity relative to the enemy ship.  If you are moving fast enough, the enemy guns might not be able to track you and they might miss.

While nano-fitting is usually associated with PvP, fitting a ship this way is useful for both PvP and PvE.  The Incursus and other frigates that survive faction warfare sites are doing so primarily through nano.  Many 0.0 complexes can be "tanked" using an interceptor or like ship traveling at high speed at the edge of the grid while a glass cannon DPS ship does all the work.  In the first case, while most of the missiles (if any) that are fired by rats will hit the frigate, they will do little damage.  Most of the guns will miss entirely.  In the second case, the interceptor normally kites out of effective firing range of the rats.

In PvP, nano-fitting is associated with skirmish tactics.  Such ships will burn out of the effective firing range of most of the enemy fleet and then dare tacklers and stragglers to come into the skirmisher's kill envelope.  These tactics are particularly effective against missile-firing ships such as Drakes.  A Drake has a typical missile range of about 70km, but that assumes both the Drake and the target are stationary.  If the Drake is in a tail chase attempting to catch up with a nano skirmishing ship, as much as 20km of missile range can be lost.  Meanwhile, if the skirmishing fleet includes nano Drakes, the missiles these ships fire at pursuing targets will have greater than expected range: the missiles might start out of range but the pursuing targets may fly into range as the missiles travel.

Nano-fitting is also particularly effective for smaller targets attacking larger ones.  Many interceptors and tackle frigates are nano-fit by default simply because there isn't enough grid or base hit points available to put in any particularly effective tank.  But cruiser-class ships make particularly fine nano-ships and indeed the two types of ships most associated with nano tactics are the Cynabal and the Vagabond.

That covers the "why" behind nano-fitting.  What about the "how"?

First and most obvious, a nano fitting must have a propulsion mod: a MicroWarpdrive or an Afterburner.  The former is preferred, and some nano ships include both.  That's called "dual prop".  There are common dual prop fittings for both the Cynabal and the Zealot, for instance, and dual prop interceptors and tacklers are legion (particularly the expensive ones).  Since you're going to be concentrating on high speed, it's a pretty good idea to go with a faction or dead-space afterburner and/or a faction or dead-space MWD.  A faction or dead-space MWD does not give any more speed, but the cap penalty from MWDs is reduced and they respond better to overheating.  A faction or dead-space afterburner gives both extra speed and better overheating capability.

After that, the two most common modules for nano-fitting are the Nanofiber Internal Structure II and various sizes of the Polycarbon Engine Housing rig.  Both of these increase both the speed and the agility of the ship using it.  There are individual mods and rigs that increase these values separately but they are rarely used since the bonuses on the "Nanofiber" and the "Polycarbon" are so good.  Two of either of these modules is better than a single of each of the separate ones.

When nano-fitting, it is most common to use two nano mods in some combination.  For instance, on Minmatar battleships that I intend to use nano tactics in, I'll fit a single Nanofiber and a single Polycarbon.  The first generation PODLA Drake used two Nanofibers.  The second generation uses one Nanofiber and one Polycarbon.  Frigate-class ships, by contrast, usually use only a single nano mod and that mod is almost always a Nanofiber.  Cruisers might use one or two mods depending on pilot preference.  My current favorite Vagabond fit uses two Polycarbons, for instance.

Still, natively fast agile ships might get away with no nano mods at all.  As long as you're not making the ship heavier (with armor plates or Trimark Armor Pumps and the like), that in itself might comprise nano-fitting.  In the end, it comes down to how you fly the ship and the tactics you use with your other modules.  Implants can also be very important.  The pirate implant set called Snakes greatly increases ship speed, and there are a number of skill hardwiring implants that do the same.  In the new market organization, you can look for them under Implants and Boosters -> Implants -> Navigation Implants.  There are few players that will attempt nano tactics without at least the slot 6 speed implant plugged in.

Quafe Zero boosters are quite popular with pilots using nano tactics since this booster provides a 5% speed boost.  Still, use of Quafe Zero is now dwindling a little bit as the finite stock of this booster in New Eden is consumed.

Finally, you might hear from time to time about the famed "nano nerf."  Nano fitting used to be even more effective in the past than it is today.  Early in EVE's history, it was possible to dual-fit MWDs, for instance.  Even without that, the effect of the various nano mods was much more pronounced than it is in today's EVE.  CCP eventually decided to nerf the tactics, which they did in the Quantum Rise expansion in late 2008.  The bonuses applied by most propulsion mods and nano modules were heavily nerfed which resulted in a reduction of nano tactics.  Today, the new features in that expansion are pretty much forgotten.  It is simply referred to as the nano nerf expansion...

Occasionally on Sundays, I will be defining a common EVE term for those who might not have heard it.  If you have a suggestion for such a term, please drop it into the comments.


  1. Very informative and well explained. Thank you.

  2. Great article. Would you mind to explain the term "Skirmish" next sunday?

  3. That's quite a broad definition. It's all correct, but I think it's important to point out that there are two completely different things being discussed.

    On the one hand there's using high speed to control your engagement (in either PVP or PVE), generally falling under the banner of kiting. This is usually done with a MWD or oversized AB, and for the most part isn't about directly 'speed tanking' damage (in fact you usually take *more* damage because of your MWD) so much as pulling away from the ships which are causing it so that you're only ever taking damage from a smaller group at any one time. This is what I'd generally refer to as 'nano'.

    Then there's using a combination of low signature radius and moderate speed (usually using an AB, or a MWD if you're flying an interceptor) to directly reduce the damage that you're taking. Interceptors and oversized ABs aside, these ships aren't usually 'nano fit' in any sense - they're generally quite slow, and don't really overlap at all with the definition above at all other than that speed forms some component of their survivability. That's enough to fall under your definition of 'nano', but I'm not sure that's the common understanding.

  4. Another big thing in Quantum Rise was the new function of the warp scrambler to turn off MWDs. I cannot remember that I saw dual fits prior to QR.

  5. The nano nerf also reduced the base speed of virtually all non-frigate ships. I remember well, since I was a low sp pilot running lvl4's. As soon as the expansion was deployed kiting in PvE became harder since the rats were not adjusted. Ever wondered why bs rats are so much faster than unskilled pilots?


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