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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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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Fit of the Week: Tag-ratting Vexor

Before too much longer, the new type of low-sec "tag rats" should be appearing on the Singularity test server.  And we don't know how tough they're going to be yet.  But I thought it might be fun to put together a ship that would theoretically be good at hunting them.  The goals for this ship are:
  • very inexpensive and cheap to lose;
  • very agile and able to evade typical low-sec gangs;
  • good DPS; and,
  • tanky enough to do the job without endangering itself.
With these goals in mind, lots of ships lined themselves up for inspection.  HACs (Ishtars, say, or Vagabonds) have good DPS and are agile and tanky, but expensive.  Attack BCs (like the Talos) have great DPS and are tanky enough to rat in, but typical low-sec frigate and destroyer gangs will make mince-meat of them.  Destroyers (the Algos, for instance) are cheap, have good DPS, and are very quick and evasive but I doubt their ability to tank a tough rat or rats.  Bombers are the typical choice for this kind of thing, but how tough are these new rats going to be?  We don't know yet.  Bombers are pretty specialized ships for low-sec flying and just might have a hard time tanking the new rats.

So I thought a good first candidate ship to go after these tag rats would be a tough, agile cruiser.  That put me in the mind of the Vexor:

[Vexor, Tag Ratter]
Pseudoelectron Containment Field I
Drone Damage Amplifier II
Drone Damage Amplifier II
Nanofiber Internal Structure II
Nanofiber Internal Structure II

Experimental 10MN Microwarpdrive I
10MN Afterburner II
Large Shield Extender II
Adaptive Invulnerability Field II

200mm Prototype Gauss Gun, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge M
200mm Prototype Gauss Gun, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge M
200mm Prototype Gauss Gun, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge M
200mm Prototype Gauss Gun, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge M

Medium Core Defense Field Extender I
Medium Core Defense Field Extender I
Medium Sentry Damage Augmentor I

Garde II x3
Warrior II x5
Hornet EC-300 x5

A Vexor has a lot to recommend it for this kind of work: it's very cheap to fly and to replace if needed.  It's an easy fit and lots of people can fly them.  It does great DPS: 500 or more.  And it's agile and survivable, particularly as a dual-prop nano-shield fit.  In this configuration, it will be damn tough to catch even on low-sec gate camps.  Let's start with that last bit.  Dual nanos allows the ship to align in about four seconds and on overheated MWD its speed approaches 3000m/s.  If someone gets a lucky scram on you, you can easily fit dual prop and overheat AB back to gate at about 1000m/s.  And the tank is sufficient that with an overheated Invul, you can easily hold off a decent size typical low-sec frig or destroyer gang for a while.

Main ratting DPS comes from a set of three Sentry drones and rail guns that as I mentioned are good for a combined 500-550 DPS.  Not too bad for an easy fit cruiser!  Carry faction ammo for a little more punch.  The hardest part about the fit are the T2 Sentries and you can use T1 Sentries in a pinch until your skills come up to scratch.  A set of light drones can clear rat frigate tackle if needed, and a set of EC drones will clear player tackle off a gate.  That said, if you get tackled in a belt by a single frig and want to fight it out, with your dual prop and mobility, you've got a pretty good shot at popping him and then warping off.

The Vexor's large cargo hold is ideal for picking up a lot of rat loot and if you're particularly confident in your flying you can even drop the light drones for a set of salvage drones.

Once we know how tough the new tag rats are, we'll have a better fit for what kind of ship might do well against them, but the Vexor's ability to kite away from damage should serve it in good stead to mitigate most or all damage.  Sweep out away from your sentries after you drop them, then sweep back in to scoop and redeploy them if they start taking too much damage.  The shield Vexor's fast align time will quickly take it from belt to belt to belt in low-sec looking for its prey.  While you're looking for tag rats, this ship should have no problem knocking down the occasional low-sec battleship rat.

Anyway, nothing fancy here and if you lose it, the whole ship and everything on it costs about 25 million or so.  From the way things are looking, that might end up getting paid for with a single tag...

Happy tag ratting!

All Fits of the Week are intended as general guidelines only.  You may not have the skills needed for this exact fit.  If you do not, feel free to adjust the fit to suit to meet your skills, including using meta 3 guns and "best named" defenses and e-war.  Ships can also be adjusted to use faction or dead-space modules depending on the budget of the pilot flying it.  Each FOTW is intended as a general guide to introduce you to concepts that will help you fit and to fly that particular type of ship more aggressively and well.


  1. A drone ship isn't ideal for this type of work, in low sec.

    You want something that is both ganky and tanky, fast enough to get in, powerful enough to pop the specific NPCs quickly, and then move along to the next belt, before someone else comes along, looking for you.

    You most definitely don't want to waste time dropping drones, nor hang around to pick up drones, nor make yourself an easy target by orbiting sentries. Guns are the weapons of choice here.

    Preferably, you want something that does max damage at medium ranges. Pulse lasers are good - rails are not so good. You want to keep your ship within tractor range (yeah, you should have a tractor in your utility high), so you can collect those tags from the wrecks quickly, while popping the next rat.

    BTW - cargo space isn't an issue - tags take up very little space.

    Assuming that you don't want to go back to station after each belt, you'll also need a repper to patch your tank between belts. A pure active tank isn't a good idea, though - a buffer tank with a single repper is best. The ASB and AAR are actually good choices - since the reload time isn't an issue and you don't need the cargo space for tags (nor ammo, if you use lasers).

    And, wasting time and drone space to collect T1 salvage in low sec is a really, really terrible idea.

    1. Its great when people pick apart and criticize other peoples fits but don't post an alternative fit of their own...

  2. FYI -

    Just decided to jump on the test server to take a looksee and saw one of the tag carrying rats in a belt. The lowest level rat "Soldier Trainer" was a cruiser level rat with a 1 million isk bounty. Took him down in a Corax. Took forever, but took him down.

    With a 1 million isk bounty, I think this is going to be a huge buff for lowsec.


  3. Ship setup will change in summer expansion. Check fozzie's dev blog about it, just so you know.

  4. I checked out the test server this evening and saw some interesting things. I was tired of the new gate jump effect after 3 jumps. I had to keep expanding out. Then i found ice anoms in 0.0 that didn't have ice belts before. Then the radar sweep was not centered on my ship. A small thing but annoying. I hope to have more time on the test server tomorrow.

  5. I suspect that SBs will be used a hell of a lot more, specialised or not simply because of the cloaking abilities.

    I can see belts getting very popular very quickly and so your biggest problem won't be the rats but other players - so being able to warp to a belt and scout it out first will be the most valuable ability as if you warp to zero I would imagine that most other ratters would also be fit to move quickly to intercept you.

    I can also see a new professions of 'ninja looting' for these tags using a cloaky ship since you don't need to lock something to loot it, so the easiest way would be to approach a new wreck cloaked, decloak, ninja loot and run while the ratter is busy with the other rats.

    I would suspect that the tags would be dropped by rats of different sizes and the more valuable tags on bigger ships in lower sec systems, so I can see SB's being used to exclusivly BS rats and ninja loot wrecks.

    Fun times in low sec ahead eh? :P

  6. This isn't the best, thorax would be preferred for Gallante pilots. More DPS application.

  7. A nano'd Talos will still be my ratting ship of choice. Yes it costs more than a Vexor, but you spend very little time in a belt due to instant massive dps and you can still out run all AB frigs and some MWD frigs as you have around 2500m/s or more with heat. Not forgetting that flight of light drones too which can scare off many frigs. Most importantly though, you have a point fitted. Ratting in low-sec belts without a point fitted is, imho, an exercise in madness. Ratting and PvP are not and should not be mutually exclusive.

    Regarding DPS required to take down the tag rats. On sisi today I found a cruiser sized "Angel Clone Soldier Recruiter". The Talos took it down in 5 volleys of null at a range of between 20 and 25km (null gives me somewhere around 3700hp per volley iirc). Transversal was very low. I didn't see an active tank on the rat and it didn't do any nasty ewar me (I was probably out of range most of the time). It has a 1,250,000 ISK bounty and the "Clone Soldier" tag it dropped says it has a processing fee of 4,000,000 ISK.

    As a guide, a normal low-sec cruiser belt rat will go down in 2 - 3 volleys at that range or 1 to 2 volleys at <14km. The range at which I kept the rat meant it didn't scratch the paint of the Talos so I have no idea if they can do nasty dps.

    FAKE EDIT: Whilst writing this I was flying between belts on sisi. Found another "Angel Clone Soldier Recruiter". I sat still and no ewar after 3 minutes. Example log (he was orbiting @4K 200ish m/s):

    13:41:58 70 from Angel Clone Soldier Recruiter - Grazes
    13:41:55 136 from Angel Clone Soldier Recruiter - Hits
    13:41:53 148 from Angel Clone Soldier Recruiter - Penetrates
    13:41:50 131 from Angel Clone Soldier Recruiter - Hits
    13:41:48 83 from Angel Clone Soldier Recruiter - Grazes
    13:41:45 100 from Angel Clone Soldier Recruiter - Glances Off
    13:41:43 138 from Angel Clone Soldier Recruiter - Hits

    13:46:06 1723 to Angel Clo... - Neutron Blaster Cannon II - Hits
    13:46:02 747 to Angel Clo... - Neutron Blaster Cannon II - Hits
    13:45:57 712 to Angel Clo... - Neutron Blaster Cannon II - Hits
    13:45:53 989 to Angel Clo... - Neutron Blaster Cannon II - Penetrates
    13:45:48 939 to Angel Clo... - Neutron Blaster Cannon II - Penetrates

  8. So we can assume the tags are very easy to get and the only risk involved are other players that may kill you and increase the value of the tags?

    Sounds good, more life in low sec. We need more people who farm for goons. No, really, it does sound good to me.

  9. I've been having good results in null belts using a classic PvP fit Hurricane. Passive tank can handle the belt rats (even multiple BS spawns) you have plenty of dps, and just for lols you have tackle if someone you want to fight comes along. The price is not too steep to boot.

  10. I've been playing with these in serpentis lowsec space on sisi in an AC shield thrasher. They all appear to be solo cruiser class spawns with bounties of ~1m. The most dangerous ones I've encountered yet was the negotiators that had a web equipped (fortunately not the 90% web usually found on NPC's). All of them are fairly easy to tank once you get under their guns. I suspect dessies or T1 cruisers (or maybe assault frigs) will be the most effective means of farming them.


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