And now, an EVE term definition for the newer EVE players. You vets can move on to the next post.
From time to time as a new player, you'll hear references to "faction mods" or "deadspace mods", often associated with frightening stories when it's used against new players. To start from the beginning: a faction or deadspace mod is similar to any other mod in EVE but are ones that can sometimes be picked up by completing EVE's PvE content, particularly in low-sec or null-sec space. Faction mods can also be picked up in the Loyalty Point store for factions that generate and accept LP. Each mod in the game has a "meta" value associated with it, a number that ranges from 0 to 14. Tech1 mods are meta 0. Tech2 mods are meta 5. Storyline mods are meta 6.
Faction mods are meta 7 and 8. Deadspace mods are meta 9 through 13 or so, with some overlap from officer mods, which sometimes start at meta 11. Each meta level usually (but not always) corresponds with an increase in quality of that mod. In short, a faction or deadspace mod is simply a higher-quality mod of the same types that you're used to using.
Faction modules are named after the faction that produces them: a Caldari Navy Adaptive Invulnerability Field, for instance, or a True Sansha Warp Disruptor. Deadspace modules are referred to in the more general sense as "C-type", "B-type", "A-type", and "X-type", in order of increasing functionality and expense. Officer modules are generated only by special officer-level rats and are named after the officer that generates them, such as a Hakim's Modified 100MN Microwarpdrive.
Faction and deadspace mods generally fall into five overall categories and are used by different players based on that.
Faction and deadspace weapons. These range from the Caldari Navy Cruise Missile Launchers that are often among a mission-runner's first real expensive purchase up to officer grade weapons. Faction and deadspace weapons are nearly always used exclusively for high-end PvE and are almost never used for PvP. This is due to the extreme expense of these weapons, but also sometimes occurs because faction weapons cannot fire tech2 ammunition which is often desirable in PvP situations. A ship that commits to one faction or officer weapon is often commiting to a full rack of faction or officer weapons so that they can be grouped together. As a result, ships equipped with faction and officer weapons are among the most expensive suicide ganks in EVE Online. Still, the weapons are popular for the greatly increased damage that they do.
Faction and deadspace defensive modules. Quite often, the first faction defense an EVE player will purchase will be the Imperial Navy Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane for armor tanking, but this list also includes faction and deadspace shield hardeners, armor resistance plating, armor hardeners, and even armor plates themselves. Faction and deadspace defenses are used because they are more effective than standard modules of the same type, and when active can be overheated for longer without sustaining damage. They are also common enough that they are frequently used in both PvE and PvP. Faction armor modules -- because they are more common and less expensive -- begin to make sense with any ship with a hull cost of about 125 million ISK or more. Faction shield modules are much more expensive because of the quirks of how they are produced and as a result only begin to make sense at a hull cost of about 650 million ISK or more.
Each meta level of defensive mod is progressively better than the last and as the cost of the hull goes up, it makes more and more sense to protect one's investment with a higher-meta defensive module. Deadspace armor hardeners are quite common on T2 armor-tanking ships as well as strategic cruisers. Deadspace shield hardeners are quite common on T2 battleships and pirate battleships. And of course, faction and deadspace defenses are considered required by many alliances for capital ships.
Faction and deadspace defenses are also valued for the fitting benefit they provide: many of these defensive mods require less CPU than equivalent T2 mods, use less capacitor, or both. In addition, there are certain equivalencies that are well-known to experienced EVE players. For instance, it is generally understood that a "C-type" Adaptive Nano Plating (of any of the three available types) is equivalent to a T2 Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane, but uses 0 CPU whereas the EANM uses 36 CPU. An "A-type" Adaptive Nano Plating is slightly superior to a faction EANM, and again uses 0 CPU compared to 30 CPU for the faction EANM. But of course the market values of these mods reflect their utility and effectiveness.
Faction tackle mods. These are some of the most common faction mods used in the game. Each variation has defining qualities for which they are particularly valued. Most often, this is the range of the mod in question: for instance, a Federation Navy Stasis Webifier is recognized as having one of the longest ranges of any standard web in the game. They are therefore quite often mated to T2 or T3 ships that themselves provide a web bonus. A fully-skilled Rapier pilot, for instnace, can web a target at 40km with a Stasis Webifier II, but can web the same target at 56km with a Federation Navy Stasis Webifier. And skirmish warfare links can extend that range still farther. A True Sansha Stasis Webifier has a still-longer range, but does not apply the same speed penalty as the "FedNavy web" but will often be used in ships like the Vindicator that have a native web velocity bonus.
While faction mods are most often used to extend the tackle range of the ship using them, from time to time, they'll be fit to take advantage of either their excellent overheating characteristics or the reduced CPU need for them. The Dread Guristas Warp Disruptor, for instance, is a popular mod both for its overheating qualities and the fact that it achieves the same tackle range as a T2 Warp Disruptor at a lower CPU cost. Faction tackle mods are obviously most useful in PvP, though some high-end PvE uses faction webs.
Faction and deadspace propulsion mods. These are afterburners and microwarpdrives, and the use of faction and deadspace versions of these are for entirely different reasons. Faction and deadspace afterburners provide additional speed to the ship using them, as well as excellent overheating qualities that will cause them to propel the ship using them still faster. As a result, you'll begin to see faction afterburners on ships of about HAC price or more, about 100 million ISK hull cost or so. They are all but required for any afterburner-based T3 ship. Faction ABs provide high speed, and deadspace ABs provide even higher speed, in C-, B-, and A-type versions. Deadspace afterburners are actually more difficult to fit than more standard ABs, but there are two general varieties, one which is more difficult to fit in terms of power grid (Gist and variants), the other more difficult in terms of CPU (Core and variants).
Faction microwarpdrives don't provide any additional speed unfortunately, but what they do provide is nearly as valuable: a reduction in the capacitor penalty inflicted by fitting a MWD. They are therefore used in ship fittings where capacitor is a chief concern, such as laser- or blaster-armed ships, active-tanking ships, or skirmishing ships that need to run their MWDs for extended periods. Again, each level of MWD provides an increasing capacitor bonus (or lack of penalty, technically). And like their afterburner counterparts, Core MWDs are tougher to fit in terms of CPU, Gist tougher in terms of grid. Faction and deadspace propulsion mods are used in both PvP and PvE.
Faction and deadspace repair mods. These are both self- and remote repair modules as well as support modules such as the Shield Boost Amplifier. For shield boosters, each grade of faction and deadspace module in this area repairs more damage per cycle at the same capacitor cost. For armor boosters, each grade of faction and deadspace module repairs significantly more damage per cycle at an increased capacitor cost. The use cases for deadspace remote repair modules are somewhat more specialized, particularly since large size versions of these modules unfortunately do not exist at this time. As a result, somewhat ironically, their most frequent use is in the new logistics frigates, where three small deadspace repair modules can make a logistics frigate surprisingly effective!
The self-repair modules are used in both PvP (often for solo and ultra-small-gang PvP) and PvE, from level 3 missions up through some level 5 mission applications.
There are obviously many other types of faction and deadspace mods (the Sisters Expanded Probe Launcher is more effective than a T2 probe launcher and is therefore highly prized, for instance), but this covers the basic types and why they are used.
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.