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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, November 4, 2012

Guide: Implants and Jump Clones, Part 3

Pirate Implants

As mentioned in part one and part two of this guide, parts three and four focus on the various sorts of specialty implants.  The most common sort of specialty implants are the so-called pirate implants.  They carry this name because they are produced from completing pirate faction missions and sites in much the same way most of the standard implants are produced from running empire faction missions and sites.  However, pirate implants have a special nature all their own because they are slot one through five implants that carry both an attribute enhancement and a form of skill hard-wiring enhancement.  As a result, they are quite valuable, often the most valuable implants in EVE Online.

Many pirate implants come in two varieties: standard (sometimes referred to as "high grade") and low grade.  Low grade pirate implants carry a +2 bonus to the affected attribute and smaller bonuses.  High grade pirate implants carry a +3 bonus to the affected attribute and larger bonuses.  Not every pirate implant set has both low grades and high grades.  Many have low grades only at this time.

Pirate implants are also nearly unique in that using a full set (from slots one through five) of the same type of pirate implant will confer a "set bonus".  This is a concept that is familiar to other MMOs and single-player RPGs: having the full set confers an additional bonus to the effect each individual implant gives.  These set bonuses are conferred whether or not low grades are mixed with high grades though only a full set of high grades will confer the largest bonus.

Pirate implants are named for the first five letters of the Greek alphabet: Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, and Epsilon, and are assigned to their slots in that order.  Thus, the Delta implant goes in slot four, and like all slot four implants, affects character Intelligence.  However, CCP has set the drop rate of these implants such that their drop frequency is inversely proportional to their slot number.  As a result, slot one Alpha implants drop the most frequently and slot five Epsilon implants drop the least frequently.  Following the law of supply and demand, Epsilon implants are therefore nearly always the most expensive pirate implants.  For some sets, the Epsilon implant's price will exceed the price of the other four implants combined.

Each pirate implant set also has a slot six "Omega" implant.  The Omega implant is unique among EVE Online implants in that it does absolutely nothing by itself.  Its only effect is to greatly increase the bonus conferred by the slot one through five implants, each bonus taken individually and not as a set.  The drop rate for Omega implants is so low and the bonuses they confer so strong that Omega implants are far and away the most expensive type of pirate implant.  Indeed, there are a few cases where the Omega implant exceeds the cost of the other five implants -- including the Epsilon implant -- combined!  As a result, often players will go without the Omega implant as a cost-savings measure or try to mimic the Omega's effect using less costly implants.

There are 14 types of pirate implants, detailed in the table below:

Implant Set    Low grade/Both    Effect of implants
CenturionLow gradeIncreases optimal range of all electronic warfare
CrystalBothIncreases shield boost amount
EdgeLow gradeReduces booster side effects
GrailBothIncreases radar (Amarr) sensor strength
HaloBothReduces ship signature radius
HarvestLow gradeIncreases mining laser range
JackalBothIncreases ladar (Minmatar) sensor strength
NomadLow gradeIncreases ship agility
SlaveBothIncreases ship armor hit points
SnakeBothIncreases ship velocity
SpurBothIncreases mag (Gallente) sensor strength
TalismanBothReduces duration of all energy transfer modules
TalonBothIncreases grav (Caldari) sensor strength
VirtueLow gradeIncreases probe scan strength

Far and away the two most commonly used pirate implants are Slave sets and Snake sets, produced by the Sansha Nation and Serpentis, respectively.  A closer examination of these two sets will be valuable for the pilot considering investing in these implants.  Most often, pirate implants are associated with expensive ships and are used to help protect the investment in those expensive ships.  Therefore, for the purposes of this examination, I'll use a faction-fit Machariel as a subject ship for Snakes, and a dead-space fit Damnation as a subject fit for Slaves.  In the following tables, when referring to four implants, the table assumes the player will use the slot one through four implants and not the slot five implant.

Our subject Machariel has a single Domination Nanofiber Structure, and a single T2 Polycarbon Engine Housing rig.  Running under MicroWarpdrive with no fleet links or boosts, such a ship has a top speed of 1741m/s.  This is modified by the various Snake implants as follows:

Implant set    New top speed    Improvement
None1741 meters/second0.0%
Four low grades1812 meters/second4.0%
Five low grades1849 meters/second6.2%
Four low grades, LG Omega1923 meters/second10.5%
Five low grades, LG Omega2020 meters/second16.0%
Five low grades, HG Omega2080 meters/second19.5%
Four high grades1827 meters/second5.0%
Five high grades1877 meters/second7.8%
Four high grades, LG Omega1960 meters/second12.6%
Five high grades, LG Omega2095 meters/second20.3%
Five high grades, HG Omega    2172 meters/second    24.8%

Our subject Damnation has two 1600mm plates, two C-type EANMs, an A-type Energized Thermic Membrane, and two T2 Trimark Armor Pumps.  With no fleet links or boosts, such a ship has 35654 armor HP and 331k EHP.  This is modified by the various Slave implants as follows:

Implant set    New armor HP / EHP    Improvement
None35654 / 331k0.0%
Four low grades41147 / 379k15.4%
Five low grades45087 / 413k26.5%
Four low grades, LG Omega42608 / 392k19.5%
Five low grades, LG Omega47715 / 436k33.8%
Five low grades, HG Omega50458 / 460k41.5%
Four high grades42281 / 389k18.6%
Five high grades47703 / 436k33.8%
Four high grades, LG Omega44064 / 404k23.6%
Five high grades, LG Omega51147 / 466k43.5%
Five high grades, HG Omega    54776 / 497k53.6%

The tables clearly show the significant impact of the Omega implants and the reason they are so desirable.  The effects of pirate implants while also under the effect of a fleet booster's Mindlink and fleet links is so powerful as to be nearly over-powered.  The speed of the subject Machariel with a full set of low grade Snakes, plus a low grade Snake Omega is 2020m/s.  Adding a T2 Rapid Deployment Warfare Link, plus the Skirmish Warfare Mindlink on a Loki to the subject Machriel raises the Machariel's speed to 2636m/s, a 30% increase over the low grade Snakes alone, and a 51% increase to the ship's base speed.

Similarly, under the effect of a full set of low grade Slaves, plus the low grade Slave Omega, our subject Damnation has 47715 armor HP and 436k EHP.  Adding a T2 Passive Defense Warfare Link, plus the Armored Warfare Mindlink to this same Damnation raises its armor HP to 54872 and its EHP to an incredible 599k!  This represents a 15% improvement to armor HP over the "slaved" Damnation, and a 54% improvement to armor HP over the "unslaved" Damnation.  The ship itself has 81% more EHP and is effectively nearly twice as difficult to kill.

This is why players invest in pirate implants.

The other pirate implants are generally used for more specialized pursuits.  You'll notice that four of the sets -- the Grail, Jackal, Spur, and Talon -- work to improve the ship's effective sensor strength.  These implants are quite often used by logistics pilots where preventing being jammed is so important.  A typical Basilisk running a single low-slot mod for increasing sensor strength has a Gravimetric sensor strength of 32.6.  Until Retribution, that effectively represents a 50% chance of being jammed by a solid Falcon pilot.  Adding a full set of low grade Talon implants improves that to 43.9, reducing that jam chance to about 33%.  As of this writing, a full set of low grade Talons costs only 78 million ISK, far less than the cost of the ship itself.

Crystal and Halo implants are most often used in PvE.  The Crystal sets are extremely powerful in the hands of actively boosting Tengu, Raven, and Raven Navy Issue pilots.  The former are quite often found in ratting or null-sec site-running scenarios.  The latter ships are most often found in missions.  However, there is a large subset of pilots that enjoy using Crystal implants for their effect on dead-space shield boosters and the new Ancillary Shield Booster modules.  A full set of low-grade Crystals can greatly improve the survivability of a PvP Cyclone, Maelstrom, Rokh, Rattlesnake, or Scorpion Navy Issue.  As I've mentioned once before, Rote Kapelle calls such tactics "Bushido".

Halo implants have the opposite impact: by greatly reducing a ship's signature radius, passively tanked ships -- particularly Strategic Cruisers -- can use these implants to reduce the effect of attacks on the ship.  This is quite often seen in shield-based Incursion Tengus and Lokis.  Even an inexpensive purchase of slot one through five low grade Halos can reduce the signature of a typical Incursion Tengu by more than 20 meters, a 10% improvement on paper but a quite effective practical improvement to the ship's damage mitigation.  Halo implants are sometimes used by PvP interceptor pilots for the same reason, though of course at a much greater risk of loss.

Virtue implants are most often used in wormholes, where their effective increase of sensor probe scan strength makes finding even the most difficult wormhole or w-space site quite easy.  Centurion implants are of course beloved of specialized Falcon pilots, but are expensive because of their extreme rarity.  Centurion Epsilon implants are almost never found.  Talisman implants are the nearly exclusive domain of Bhaalgorn pilots; their effect is mostly intended for neuts and nosferatus.  Nomad implants, interestingly enough, are most often used by freighter and jump freighter pilots.  Eleven seconds can be trimmed from a Fenrir's align-and-warp speed with a set of low grade Nomads and a single 5% ship agility implant.  That's a 30% improvement.

Finally, Edge and Harvest implants are collector's items, not implants actually used by players.  Their drop rate varies from "incredibly rare" to "non-existent."

The expense of pirate implants in general is not inconsiderable.  Though a few types are relatively inexpensive (a full sensor strength or Halo set comes to mind), the truly useful ones will generally set you back a half billion ISK or more.  As of this writing, a full set of high grade Slaves including the Slave Omega costs about 2.5 billion ISK.  A full set of high grade Snakes is even more expensive, at about 2.7 billion.  They are therefore not implants that should be used lightly unless you have a great deal of confidence in your ability to extract your clone, or the chances of your pod coming under attack are slight (such as a set of Slaves used only in incursion armor fleets in high-sec).

On the other hand, balance the expense of the implants with the cost of the ship.  There are very few armor-tanking super-cap pilots that don't use a full set of high grade Slaves with their ships.  Their 2.5 billion ISK cost pales to relative insignificance when weighed next to the enormous cost of these ships, and the benefit conferred by 50% additional EHP when these implants are used with a linked Command Ship or Strategic Cruiser.  A "snaked" Machariel or skirmishing ship will tend to be much more survivable than an "unsnaked" one.  As with many aspects of EVE, "what can you afford to lose?" will be your guiding question.

It is also definitely worth considering the impact that pirate clones have on a character's training speed.  Most often, low grade pirate implants are used and these sets feature only +2 attribute increases.  Therefore, it's usually in your best interests only to pull out the pirate implants for specialty fleets that can really take advantage of them.  This both keeps their use to ships that really deserve it and makes it less likely that the player will lose them.  Only characters that are supremely confident in their ability to extract their pods, characters that are extremely rich, or characters for which training speed is not an issue should be pulling their pirate implants out every time.

That last case provides special opportunities, by the way.  If a character is either not training, or has such a high number of skill points in desired skills that training is not an issue, pirate implants can provide a little boost to that player's skills or survivability.  A good example is a ratting alt strictly using a Tengu whose skills are no longer being trained -- the character has the highest-desired Tengu skills.  In this case, a set of low grade Crystals to increase the ship's survivability might be desirable.  Alternately, scanning alts not being trained further can benefit from low grade Virtue sets, and freighter alts can definitely benefit from low grade Nomads.

Finally, it is worth mentioning that though fitting a full set of pirate implants is optimal and fitting at least four is preferred, it is worth considering fitting only a single pirate implant here or there to slightly benefit skills.  The low grade Snake Alpha, for instance, usually runs under 10 million ISK and can provide anywhere from 25 to 50 meters/second benefit to a fast interceptor pilot.  This tiny extra boost can be a boon if the pilot doesn't wish to go with a full low grade Snake set and has already taken advantage of the other speed-enhancing implant options.  Similar small, inexpensive benefits can be gained from the Halo implants as well as the sensor strength implants.  Low grade Jackal implants usually run under 10 million ISK each and each one provides a +1 boost to Minmatar sensor strength, effectively decreasing the likelihood that a Stiletto tackler will be jammed off by 11% for each such implant fitted.

This concludes part three of the implant guide.  Initially intended to include sections on industry implants, mindlinks, and other specialty implants, those sections will be covered in part four.


  1. "As of this writing, a full set of high grade Slaves including the Slave Omega costs about 2.5 billion ISK.
    "They are therefore not implants that should be used lightly unless you have a great deal of confidence in your ability to extract your clone, or the chances of your pod coming under attack are slight (such as a set of Slaves used only in incursion armor fleets in high-sec)."

    Correct me if I am wrong but I was under the impression that Avatar pilots find HG Slaves extremely valuble becuase they effectively double thier eHP & the loss of 2.5 billion is negligable when considering that the ships value is ~70 billion anyways?

    1. Yes, that's true and it's a point I should emphasize more. Thanks for the idea!

  2. You left out that virtue implants can allow you to probe "unprobeable" ships.

    Also, you can get all of these implants from nullsec LP stores, you dont have to get them from drops.

  3. You can't mix grades on the omegas. LG will boost LG's and HG's will boost HG's. Having a HG set and a LG omega gets no boost from the omega.

    1. This is wrong, except for eccm implants

  4. "Virtue implants are most often used in wormholes, where their effective increase of sensor probe scan strength makes finding even the most difficult wormhole or w-space site quite easy."

    I don't think this is true. I have a 5/4/4/4 astrometric skills pilot and a 5s pilot and I can resolve every sig with either pilot.

    The value of the Virtue set is scanning down formerly unprobable ships such as ECCM-fit T3 command ships and NPC pirate mission runners.

    1. It will affect the speed at which you can scan down the signatures. In many cases you will not need to put your probes at their lowest setting (or even 2nd lowest), so less passes with the probes and less precision in placement is required. As a time saver they are well worth the investment in addition to the combat scanning use.

    2. Alpha through Epsilon with the 10% strength, deviation, and scan time implants is the optimal combination. 10% strength provides as much as (or as close to as much as you'll need of) the Omega bonus, but is cheaper and frees up the slot for the deviation implant. If you're scanning all the time deviation is as important as strength. Going down 2 or more levels per scan coupled with rarely needing to go past 2au is where it's at.

  5. Whilst they can drop in game, arent some of these also available through grinding their respective pirate faction?



    1. Shhhhhhhh... eh nope can't get anything useful from npc null sec corps their missions are way harder than highsec and the rewards stink...best way to get these implants is by highsec plexing and random drops from faction npcs no point in going to npc null.

  6. Another great guide, Jester!

  7. Dream or nightmare? Another kick in the teeth for EVE?
    If Braben can re-imagine the elite space combat of the original I'll be well pleased. I've said it before and I'll say it again. The climactic explosions are over way too quickly in EVE.

    1. Elite was a wonderous game for its time... I hopethistakes of as well. Does notsound like asingleshard though :(