Monday, 23 November 2009

Scanning Skills Part 1

Ok so I need to be able to scan, what skills are there and what should I learn when and why?  This is just a small post to start this whole topic off.

Fundamentally there are only four skills associated with scanning:
  • Astrometrics
  • Astrometric Aquisistion
  • Astrometric Pinpointing
  • Astrometric Rangefinding
Before you start you will need science at level 3, however all characters have this as a basic skill at this level so it is easy  to start.

Skill Descriptions
Ok before going through the training stages it worth describing the skills.

Astrometrics (Rank 3, requires Science 3)
The skill at operating long range scanners (probes).  The skill allows you to use one additional probe per level.  Starting with 4 probes at level 1.  This is a vital skill and you should aim to get this to level 4 asap.  This frees up all the other skills for you to access and also gives you more probes.  Ultimately with 8 probes out you can be scanning two locations simultaneously.

Astrometric Aquisition (Rank 5, requires Astrometrics 3)
Skill at the advanced operation of long range scanners.  10% reduction in the time taken for a scan probe cycle.  Starting time is 10 seconds.  So how much does the standard deviation really affect me?  Well if you are scanning at 4AU resolution and an anomaly to reading a distance of 0.681AU then it could actually be 4.681AU away, so when you reduce your probe range for the next scan there is a change you might miss it altogether.  This skill comes third in my list of importance and I would suggest getting this to 4 as soon as range finding has been trained.

Astrometric Pinpointing (Rank 5, requires Astrometrics 4)
Greater accuracy in hunting down targets found through scanning.  Reduces maximum scan deviation by 10% per level.  Starting scan deviation is 100% of the total range that the probe is set to.  This is probably the least important of the four skills as it does not affect your capability to find something and therefore should be one of the last skills you train to max.  It does however provide you with a huge benefit when either chasing down other capsuleers, trying to find that high value radar site before anyone else or just processing the 20+ sites you have found in w/hole space.  SO yes aim to increase it but not before you have focussed on the others.

Astrometric Rangefinding (Rank 8, requires Science 3)
kill at the advanced operation of long range scanners.  10% increase to scan probe strength per level.  Training this up is vital, your going to need all the scan strength you can get so you should target training this up as soon as possible.

You are going to undertake the process of learning the scanning skills in several stages.  Why?  Well first and foremost the skills are ranked reasonably high and to train these all the way through is gonna be boring, and furthermore these skills are not the only ones you are going to need whatever active you are going to be doing so expect to break these up into stages.  This is going to get a lot more focus in Dominion where there will be specific scanning / exploration career paths so will be interesting to see how close I am.

This is very much a straight out of the box capability.  You have just started playing EVE, get the skill book and jump into a frigate and your away.  The draw backs here are that some of the higher value, harder to find anomalies are going to be out of your reach in finding (locking down to 100% and warpable).  So you are going to want to get up to beginner asap.

This is where you will start to find your getting good at scanning, you have worked out your system for managing the probes and have found a pattern for scanning.  This level is good for exploration and will give you a good setup for finding anomalies.  You will probably plateau here for a little while as you will now need some of the other supporting skills (hacking and archeology).

Your now getting into the professional scanning, fleet support type of role here.  Your skills base is now getting to the point where your ship scanning skills are at a speed where you can scan down pilots quickly and effectively and are useful with fleet scouting and recon roles.

World is your oyster and it is time to train up on something else.  Congrats on getting here.

Friday, 20 November 2009

Covert Operations

What do we mean by covert operations (cov ops for short)?  In summary it is the ability to move around New Eden without detection, or without being detected easily.  This however means different things to different people and hopefully I will try and pull together a good overview here of the various aspects of covert operations and dispel any myths and clear up those things that people ask (well I did at least).

Ok throughout this article when I talk about covert operations I am talking about ships and activities that rely on the use of the "covert ops cloaking device" module.  There are other modules available, but being elitist about this, who wants a cloaking device that means you cannot move, or at a vastly reduced speed and cannot warp whilst cloaked?

Firstly the ship types that can fit this module are:

  • Blockade Runner
  • Covert Ops
  • Force Recon
  • Stealth Bomber
What about Black Ops?  Well it is not included in this list as it cannot fit the covert ops cloaking device.  It is worth noting here however that it does get a "Black Ops" skill bonus of +125% of cloaked speed per level.  This would be an increase in cloaked speed of 625% when at level V.  So for example if you fit an "improved cloaking device" your cloaked speed would be 356.45 m/s with all skills at V.  The basic speed for the Panther is 228.13 when no cloaking module is fitted.  Remember however you still will not be able to warp whilst cloaked in this ship and so it is advisable to use the jump to get into the best location possible.  For the purposes of further discussion the Black Ops class of vessel will be included.

So what can these ships be used for?  Well there is a level of overlap between them, but the common tasks that these ships are used for is:

  • Alpha Strike
  • Exploration
  • Fleet Logistics
  • High Value Cargo Transport
  • Scouting
  • Sniper
This list is not meant to be exhaustive and is based on the details I give for each below, however you might well have other definitions or thoughts that I have not covered here.  Let me know and I will update as necessary, but in general this covers the basics.  Each one of these activities has a different set of secondary skills required in order to fulfill the roll being discussed.

Alpha Strike
This is what the stealth bombers where made for.  I have not included them as snipers as they do not have the tank capacity to remain in place once they have decloaked.  The aim here is to get within a sensible distance of a target; say 40km whilst cloaked.  Then to revel oneself, fire a high damage payload and either cloak again or warp away.  This can be useful in a fleet senario as the lead to a bigger assault where by the Stealth Bomber gets a good amount of the targets shields down prior to the remaining fleet warping in and finishing him off.  The use of torpedos here is vital and for nu,, sec bombs are also recommended.

This career path is primarily involved in finding anomalies and signatures like worm holes or RADAR sites.  This is usually undertaken with a covert ops frigate and requires you to have salvaging, code breaker and analyzer modules on board.  Also the ability to scan using the astrometric skill sets.

Fleet Logistics
By this I am referring to the use of the cynosural field generators that allow for other ships out of the system to jump into the system you are in without the use of existing jump gates.  You are more likely to use a covert version working with some of the other ships we talked about above.  This is usually undertaken from a covert ops frigate, stealth bomber of force recon ship.  Secondary skill depend on the type of ship you are flying but will be primarily propulsion skills, why?  Well when deploying a cyno you cannot cloak and so need to be able to protect yourself somehow.  Fr the frigates especially there is little power left to use any shield or armor boosters and so speed is your better chance.  For the force recon ships you are more likely to have a more reasonable combat set up fitted.  I will also add the Black Ops ship in here as it is used to create a ump bridge for other cov ops ships to be deployed into a system.

High Value Cargo Transport
Blockade runners are a type of transport ship and are used for moving high value cargos around.  These ships are usually based on industrial class I ships and though not able to hold huge amounts of cargo can still move enough around to help fuel a pos or move minerals around in low sec between stations.  Speed and cargo expansion modules skills are the order of the day for these ships.  With changes made in Apocrypha 1.5 Back Ops ships were also given the potential for POS refueling operations.  All the other ships can be used for this but have very limited cargo hold spaces so can only take very small items, e.g. special cargo delivery for a npc mission.

This skill set is focussed around obtaining intel in hostile areas and relies on you being able to slip into occupied territory and collate information on opposing fleet sizes and composition, location of gate camps.  It can also include scanning down hostile ships that are hiding at a safe spot.  the smaller frigate class ships or Force Recons are used for this activity and primarily require good propulsion skills.

This skill is very much aimed at the Black Ops ships, though can include the Force Recon (see above for Stealth Bomber).  The aim here is to be able to provide a high level of damage from a reasonable range; sitting outside of the targets own range.  This is especially true when setting up an ambush on a gate.   This is very much a combat based skill and needs large gun related skills.

Common Mistakes, Questions and Key Points

  • Your presence can always be seen in local, whether or not you are cloaked.
  • You cannot be scanned down with probes if you are cloaked.
  • You cannot use any other module whilst cloak is activated.
  • If you have already launched probes you can be cloaked and scan at the same time.
  • Your cloak will deactivate if you are within 2000 metres of almost any another item.  There are some items that will not decloak you if they are nearby, one of these is corpses.  In general though you should act as if anything too close with deactivate your cloak.  Probes returning to your hold will not cause you to decloak.
  • Once you are targeted you will not be able to cloak.
  • After jumping through a gate you will be naturally cloaked for 30 seconds (please note that you cannot jump whilst cloaked).  In order to activate your cloak you will have to start moving.  Be ready to activate your cloak as soon as you align or warp to something.  This is the main time at which your presence can be located.
  • When in a fleet always warp to no less than 5km as the person you are warping to may be cloaked and you do not want to annoy him by deactivating his cloak.
If there is anything else that I have missed you you have any comments let me know.

Friday, 13 November 2009

Minimum Core Skills

There are two lots of skills that are going to help you progress quickly within the game.  The first are the learning skills and these should be maxed out as soon as possible as they will speed up your training.

  • Learning, +4% to learning speed/level
  • Instant Recall, +1 memory/level
  • Analytical Mind, +1 intelligence/level
  • Iron Will, +1 perception/level
  • Spacial Awareness, +1 willpower/level
  • Empathy, +1 charisma/level
  • Eidetic Memory, +1 memory/level
  • Logic, +1 intelligence/level
  • Focus, +1 willpower/level
  • Clarity, +1 perception/level
  • Presence, +1 charisma/level
  • Cybernetics, allows the use of implants for further attribute boost.

In addition to the learning skills you should aim to get the following skills to V:

  • Electronics
  • Energy Management
  • Energy Systems Operation
  • Engineering
  • Shield Management
  • Shield Operation
  • Hull Upgrades
  • Mechanic
These will provide maximum cpu, power, shield, armor and structure capacities.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

The Sand Box

Well eve-life has not been dull that is for sure, I have not even had enough time to get a ship out of station.  The biggest thing that has kept me busy over the last couple of days is diplomacy.  Why?  Well that is the sand box effect for you ...

Picture the following recipe.

  • A few members of a corp that is part of our alliance acted in a way that is embarrassing to say the least.
  • A knee jerk reaction by the alliance to this event, included in this reaction is a lot of other issues that have built up over time but not really been addressed.
  • A corp reliant on status settings of the alliance.
With all of these up in there air you are left with a diplomatic nightmare to say the least.  There is a lot of talk about what Dominion is going to bring and for me that is quite exciting (especially now).  However I do not envy those that are at nearer the top of some of the larger null sec alliances.  I can see a bumpy road ahead over the next couple of months with some potential big changes happening.

As for my corp well I think it is time to review and make the most out of what has happened.  Sure might be uncomfortable for a while but it will sort itself out and will turn out one way or another.  It is all part of the mix of EVE which I am slowly learning about.