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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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Friday, October 14, 2011

Kill of the Week: Honor bot

This week's Kill of the Week is a historical oddity:

Go take a look.  At first blush, you'll probably think that this is a fail fit.  After posting the KM, Xythe got on Twitter and asked what was going on.  The comments on the kill, similarly, express surprise and outrage.  Cargo rigs?  The wierd drone layout?  An extra large shield booster?

But what if I were to tell you that everything on this carrier makes sense, if you view it in context?

And this takes us to the ancient days of... oh, about two years ago.  Is this carrier completely fail?  Actually, not really!  It turns out that this carrier is "honor tanked", a term that's apparently been forgotten.  And the credit (or blame) for killing the honor tank can be laid at the feet of none other than Seleene, current CSM6 member and former CCP Abathur.  ;-)

So let's explain what's going on with this carrier, step by step.

First, let's talk about the cargo rigs.  Prior to two years ago, "carrier" was a term that a lot of null residents took quite literally.  Sure, carriers were used for reps and for launching fighters, same as today.  But they were also used for transporting large quantities of materials to null-sec.  Every carrier in the game used to have cargo bays about four times the size of what they are today.  Honor tanking was the practice of fitting and rigging capital ships to carry large amounts of cargo for the jump to null.  The Thanatos, for instance, used to have a 3500m3 cargo bay.  Which meant that if you honor tanked it using three cargo rigs and six Expanded Cargohold IIs, you ended up with a ship with about a 23,000m3 cargo bay... pretty significant "carrier" capability!

In August 2009, CCP put a stop to this practice.  Seleene's byline is on the devblog, so he's to blame.(1)  ;-)

What about the low slots?  Why would you nano a carrier?  Back in the pre-Dominion day, sanctums and havens were rare.  What you did instead was belt rat: travel from belt to belt looking for rats to attack.  And it's still a pretty good way for null-sec residents to make ISK.  Nano-fitting a carrier would make it a lot more agile and able to move from belt to belt quickly.  I'm not discussing the wisdom of using a carrier for this... these days, a Tengu is a much more viable choice for belt-ratting.  But there's a definite method to the madness here...

...particularly since most of the rest of the mods go directly toward increasing drone DPS.  Three Drone Control Units give this ship more than 1600 DPS and is greatly assisted in that DPS with dual Target Painters.  This is more DPS than pretty much any other comparable single ship could do.  The nano-fit allows the carrier to warp every 18 seconds, which is sufficient time to allow the drones to kill all the battleship rats in a belt.  The tractor beam and salvager allow scooping and looting of the rare faction or officer spawn.  The empty cargo hold indicates that no such spawn had been found yet.

And the non-capital shield booster?  The Thanny is a natural armor-tanker.  My Thanny pilot can use a Capital Shield Booster because he can also fly a Rorqual, but I assure you that's not commonly the case.  But an XLSB provides a non-resist Thanny with about a 250DPS tank versus Angel rats... quite sufficient for belt-ratting.  And with a single implant, that tank is cap-stable.

So, believe it or not... nearly every mod here has a place and a purpose.  The cargo rigs could have been removed, sure, but the pilot was probably just being lazy.

When Xythe posted his Tweet about this kill, I responded:
@Xythe Carriers used to have MUCH bigger cargo bays. That's an old-generation logistics carrier converted to ratting duty. #tweetfleet

What else can we divine from this KM?  Well, that's the fun part: we can be nearly 100% sure that the player flying this ship was botting!

Bots excel at belt-ratting, of course.  Most bot programs use Ravens or Tengus, but there's nothing saying that a bot carrier wouldn't work fine as well.  All you need is DPS and a cap-stable tank.  Bot programs are also smart enough to salvage and scoop loot from officer and faction spawns.

But how do I know this was a bot?  There's simply no way that a Curse and a single dictor should have been able to take out this carrier under normal circumstances.  Even with no tank whatsoever, and completely or nearly-completely capped-out, this carrier should have been able to drive its aggressors off.  More than 50 small drones, launched in waves of 13, would have made very short work of the dictor and any bubbles he dropped.  And 13 fighters assisted by even occasional dual TPs could have easily dealt with the Curse if it didn't run.  I myself have killed Scimitars in similar circumstances.  Fighters can hit cruisers, trust me.

I wasn't there, but it's a damn good bet that the Curse and dictor took no damage at all, because the carrier pilot was well away from his keyboard when this kill took place!  The botting program continued doing its duty until the Angel battleship was dead, tried to warp off, couldn't because of a dictor bubble, and eventually, the shield booster failed thanks to neuts from the Curse.  At that point, even the anemic DPS from the two aggressors was enough to push through an unboosted Thanny shield and -- slowly, over a long time -- burn down its armor and structure.

Great kill.  And as a bonus, you get a history lesson... and a little something more besides.  ;-)

EDIT (16/Oct/2011): OOZ662 points out correctly below that my brain saw Warriors in this carrier that weren't there.  Those are Berserkers, the Minmatar heavy drone.  That changes the math quite a bit.  A Sabre should be able to outrun Berserkers and tank the majority of fighter damage.  So, it's just barely possible that the carrier pilot was  there and doing his best to fight off these two ships.  Still, it would have taken many minutes to burn this carrier down, so I should expect that had the pilot been at the keyboard, he could have called for help.  Thanks for the good catch, OOZ!

(1) You'll note the same devblog references future upcoming ammo bays, mineral bays, gas bays, etc., that you "will see again in the future."  Yeah, not so much.  Yet another example of CCP iterating once, then dropping iteration after that.


  1. The term "honor tank" came from this event. http://www.eve-tribune.com/index.php?no=2_36&page=7
    I can't find the eve-o thread now, but basically someone asked why he had cargo expanders on, and someone else said he needed them to carry his honor. Thus the term "honor tank" was born.

  2. Large cargo bays would make sense if it was a bot, since that means the bot doesn't have to take the extra step of warping to POS and scooping out cargo. No doubt the owner has simply increased the cargo capacity until it was able to hold the maximum haul of any given day (or weekend, or however long that bot is supposed to run unattended for).

  3. So our CSM6 Seleene is the one that I have to "thank" for that cargo bay nerf?

    Damn I hated that change, it's completely uncalled for and just about "being right" and I said it back then and I will say it again. That was just about forcing Jumpfreighters down our throats. For a normal Null resident the carrier was the SUV, today hauling stuff, tomorrow in a combat fleet. Thats how we used them. Now you had to have an obscenely expensive JF in addition for that purpose. Oh how i HATED that change, that was the end for me. The moment Logistics started eat up lots of money and time and EVE and made me quit a few months later.

    I never realised it was Seleene, thanks for clarifying that for me. Maybe i find a way to setle this personal grudge.

  4. ::grins:: I was being facetious. Seleene's name is on the devblog, but I'm reasonably certain an entire development team worked those changes, and the decision to make them was made at a higher level.

    But hey, this is EVE. Shooting the messenger is a perfectly valid thing to do. ;-)

  5. Gist Seraphim is not a belt rat.

  6. Berserkers are heavy drones, not lights, too. Tha'd have to be one brick of a Sabre to not outrun heavy drones. Better yet, it was Lee Chanka, pilot famous for camping us in H-W in a Dramiel with a squad of bombers and battlecruisers. I actually have an accidental kill on him that only the killboards seem to know of, since it never showed up in my character sheet.

  7. @OOZ: Eeep! Good point. Either my eyes or my reading comprehension was total fail. I could have sworn I saw Warriors there. That does indeed change the math. Never tried using fighters against a destroyer hull.


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