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Keitaro Baka
Babylon Scientific and Industrial Enterprises
Babylon Project
Posted - 2008.03.25 17:01:00 - [1]
 

Edited by: Keitaro Baka on 25/03/2008 17:55:24
My last drone guide was started over a year ago and since there have been quite a few changes in the recent month I figured I had better rewrite my guide. I still have a lot to say about the drones in EvE and I feel I'm still quite qualified to do so (also noone else seems to be doing it).

Not only the game has changed in the past year, I have too. My drone skills have grown to over 9000k sp (always start with a lame joke) and I can now use all drones in game. Been doing 0.0 pvp-ing too, so my experiences have broadened nicely (including non gallente drone ships). I think that should show my arrogance enough, lets get down to business:

I know a thing or two about drones. I'm not gonna limit this story to drones and non-cap ships, but since I don't have a carrier to play with, capital and fighter info will be limited.

The way things are now, and have been for ages, everyone should have at least Minmatar and Gallente tech II combat drones (light and medium = combat drones). It's easy, almost every ship has a drone bay and it will always help you. For pvp I would extend this to ECM drones and for battleship (BS) pilots maintenance and probably sentry drones.

Keitaro Baka
Babylon Scientific and Industrial Enterprises
Babylon Project
Posted - 2008.03.25 17:02:00 - [2]
 

  • The rules..

  • One of the big changes we've had in the recent year has been the addition of Bandwidth. Something that has been thought up to nerf the damage on the Myrmidon and had great potential to change the way drones are used. Sadly imho the devs didn't go all the way with it. The number of drones a ship can use is almost always limited to the dronespace it has, bandwidth only limits the size of the drones used (exception being the Sentinel).

    The way bandwidth works is simple:
      Every drone has a bandwidth number needed to field it, which is atm directly related to its size: light drones use 5 MBit and 5m^3, medium drones 10 MBit and 10m^3 and heavy drones and sentries 25 MBit and 25m^3.


    Another drone rule is that fighters aren't drones. They don't benefit from any of the drone skills. There are only 3 useful skills where fighters are concerned: Fighters, Advanced drone interfacing and Electronic warfare drone interfacing. Drone control is the only thing which works on fighters, be it control range (including Drone link augmentor, though to be fair control range is a ship attribute) or control amount (basically the Drone control unit, which can only be used on carriers, ow and just to make it clear, a mothership is just a tier 2 carrier where this guide is concerned).

    Drones still have an aggro-list, more on this later.

    Drones now have settings. Most people will want their drones set on 'aggressive'. The 'Focus fire' option seems to be a bit picky, especially when operating with a group of assorted drones.

    Drones can be set to 'Guard' or 'Assist' a gang member. This cannot be used to have your drones attack yourself. The guard option lets the drones act as if they are launched by the guarded person. They will put everything that aggroes the guarded person on their aggro list. When assisting a gang member they follow the aggrolist of the assisted person. Please note that these options seriously limit the aggro lists of the drones performing these tasks. Also note this: assigned drones cannnot be controlled by that pilot: assign your drones to a dictor/hictor and watch all your friends die from warping into their bubble.

    Drone dps can be given in two ways: The normal theoretical way (the damaging entity is doing damage at optimal and the damage per second of normal hits is given) or the actual damage over time way (drones need to travel to enemy, start doing damage, kill, travel to next target, shoot, kill, etc), including travel time. When I talk about drone dps I will usually talk about the second type of dps.

    Keitaro Baka
    Babylon Scientific and Industrial Enterprises
    Babylon Project
    Posted - 2008.03.25 17:02:00 - [3]
     

  • The ships..

  • Gallente have the most drone ships, followed by Amarr, then Minmatar and finally Caldari. Basically, if you fly Gallente ships you will want to learn drones up well. Amarr benefit from extra drone skill training if you fly certain ships, Minmatar has a few ships which benefit from extra drone skills and Caldari.. well for Caldari you only need the basics, most extra drone skills will go to waste since you won't be able to (or want to) use those drones anyway (unless you fly capitals).

    I still feel the drone king out there is the Dominix. The Eos has been nerfed beyond use, it's now a pure command link ship. The Myrmidon is still a more than decent ship, I would have preferred to see it's drone bonus only apply for combat drones (light and medium) and still have 125 MBit bandwidth, but it's the drone BC of choice. Still since the Eos is now useless as a drone ship I'd skip it in favour of a Dominix. For pvp I still like the Dominix as a drone ship, you can snipe with them if needed and they are great for shooting an empty/disabled POS. Being a BS means you can bring heavy neuts (meaning better defense vs tacklers and nano-***s) and a capable tank and remote rep option. The Ishtar is the other pvp drone ship of choice, being able to field a full set of t2 heavies and carry spares/alternates and it can be nano-ed up nicely.

    Sadly the Amarr recons are a bit weak atm, the nos/neut nerf hit them hardest and the Pilgrim is the only force recon without a range bonus (making it exciting, but expensive to fly, ie either fit faction for range or die more often). We have a few frigates with drone abilities, most of them are pretty ok. Gallente t2 frigates are known for their ability to field drone power, a nice dps bonus (no ceptor beats a Taranis's dps). The Sentinel is a new tiny nosdomi wannabee, quite fun and useful, bit expensive tho.

    Obviously this is all my personal opinion, while I love the Ishtar's versatility, the costs for pvp-ing in one puts me off. For pve the Ishtar is great for up to lvl 4 missions and complexes, but I'd rather have a Dominix in lvl 4's and the bigger exploration sites and I prefer a Myrmidon in cosmos plexes. Also the Dominix (and Myrmidon) are easier to get into for (new) players.

    Keitaro Baka
    Babylon Scientific and Industrial Enterprises
    Babylon Project
    Posted - 2008.03.25 17:03:00 - [4]
     

    Edited by: Keitaro Baka on 25/03/2008 17:15:47
  • The skills..

  • Time to talk about the skills. As I mentioned before, training for tech II drones is easy, you only need basic skills (the ones you would want anyway). Of course when you want all tech II drones it will take more than just a few months of dedicated training. First things first: we have tech II combat, heavy, sentry, mining and maintenance drones. There are no tech II electronic warfare drones (yet). Trinity also brought us (new) named drones, sadly I've never seen any, so no clue on how they perform (they should be multiple dmg type like fighters, I dunno about that ..). The one thing everyone should get is some tech II light drones.

    Back to skills:
      Drones lvl 5 is a must really.
      Drone interfacing lvl 4 is a must, lvl 5 is really really really good (sure it takes a while but consider the impact of 20% extra damage, that's 2 levels of most of your ship skills on a drone ship..).
      Combat drones lvl 4 is a must if you plan to use light and medium drones much (which you should)
      Scout drones lvl 5 is a must, you start with 20km control range, 5km for each lvl of this skill is not only useful, the skill at 5 is needed to get t2 drones.
      E/W drone operation useful skill, but one drone link module gives 20km, lvl 5 on this skill only gives 15km drone control range.. Need level 1 for ecm drones, which are a really good asset for pvp.

      Drone navigation sharp double edged skill: makes your drones MWD faster, but it also makes them overshoot more, this thread is still interesting on this skill
      Drone sharpshooting the second double edged skill, far less than the first tho.. It improves your drones optimal range, I'll talk about that later, but it can lower your dps in certain scenarios..
      Drone durability Since we can't use the scoop 'n drop tactic to regain shields for free anymore, this skill has become more important. Still drones are easy to kill, so it's not a necessity in my book.


    Keitaro Baka
    Babylon Scientific and Industrial Enterprises
    Babylon Project
    Posted - 2008.03.25 17:04:00 - [5]
     

    Then the big ones, sentry and heavy drones. Here we have a big pvp/pve division: tech I heavy drones are pretty much crap for missions. They also are pretty silly in exploration sites and pve in general (yeah I know they work for ratting, but you should always carry some ecm/warrior II's too, which means you either have a special ship and should have better drone skills or should bring smaller ratting drones). For pvp however they are decent on quite a few gank setups.

    Let me elaborate on that. Tech I heavy drones are slow .. caldari battlecruiser slow .. They give great bang for buck on tech I full gank set ups though.

    Tech I sentry drones on the other hand are excellent for pve, much higher dps since they don't need to travel and higher hp so they can take a little damage. In pvp their use is quite limited though: gate camps and POS shoots mostly.

    The thing is, sentry drones are very useful in my opinion. I love them for missions (especially tech II obviously) and I love them for my 0.0 sniper mega. Normal drones can't hit a POS through its shields, sentries can. Another useful point: a tech II sentry drone does not require the drone race specialisation skill: it takes just 4 skills, two at 5, two at 4. And they are worth it if you use sentries, if only because you can get very nice, specific, damage without spending any extra money and time on skills. If you fit an Omni drone mod you get a whopping 20% optimal and tracking bonus, your tech II sentries will track a lot (and their tracking has been ok after the buff to begin with).

    Let's face it, I'm a big T2 sentry fan (check ffa1 on SiSi). They give you instant target damage so switching is easy. People often neglect the fact that drones need to move to a target. This is very annoying when fighting fast enemies, especially in pvp where ceptors and nanoers can drag your drones way out of range. With sentries you do not have this issue. You can switch target for your sentries as fast as you can lock. Especially with the Trinity 1.1 patch I forsee a lot more use of the Curator II: This little beauty has the second best tracking, has a decent optimal + fall off and EM damage will be a lot better in pvp when that patch hits. With a single omni mod these puppies can track nanoed hacs at 40km quite well and once they run for cover (the usual burn in a random direction) the sentries will continue doing good damage up to 80 km (with my dominix at least). Unless you move (or are in a capital) your drones will also be in scoop range all the time, frustrating for many opponents who try to kill them.

    While I prefer tanking rigs for most drone ships (and possibly speed rigs for nano ships) the sentry drone is the only one that can really benefit from a drone rig. The Sentry drone damage rig can really beef up your sentries to do more damage than your heavies. For capitals, snipers, dominixes and ishtar pilots I would say tech II sentries are worth the investment.

    Keitaro Baka
    Babylon Scientific and Industrial Enterprises
    Babylon Project
    Posted - 2008.03.25 17:04:00 - [6]
     

    Finally we come to the last of the drone skills:

    The racial specialisation skills. In my previous guide I told everyone to get them all and all to lvl 2 or 4. I hope you all did this, because it is even more true now than it was then. EM Drones are very impressive now that a normal armour tank setup (3x active, dcu, adaptive nano) will have EM as their lowest damage type. Yep, an armour tank has like 10% shield, 68% armour and 60% hull EM resists .. starting to like those Amarr drones a bit better now eh? Gallente remain the top raw damage output drones, minmatar have the speed and caldari the biggest shields. Yes large shield hp on drones is important again. Shields recharge over time, be it in space or in your bay, making them pretty interesting when facing the odd smartbomb or FoF missile.

    I still feel it is a great advantage to be able to use all tech II drones. In missions I must admit I rarely use other drones than the Ogre II, Berserker II, a bunch of assorted light tech II drones and Warden II or Bouncer II. For pvp however you're easily stuck with limited markets, so being able to use the tech II drones available is a plus: it will save you iskies and time, ie more iskies. You can also use drones you find on you way, quite useful when your drones are being targeted.

    NB: the Advanced drone interfacing skill is ONLY useful for carrier pilots, the mod you can use with it is just for carriers. This module, the Drone control unit does work for drones and fighters alike. Last I checked this mod needed activation (which doesn't really add anything, just makes carrier pilots bitter and mad, specially in lag).

    Also, there are indeed 19 drone skills at the moment, the skill Salvage drone interfacing is in game, it however doesn't do anything (well it gives me more drone sp and it makes EFT think I have scout drone operation at 0).

    Keitaro Baka
    Babylon Scientific and Industrial Enterprises
    Babylon Project
    Posted - 2008.03.25 17:05:00 - [7]
     

  • The skillz .. or 'how do I use drones' in a nutshell

  • I was going to simple copy paste my old guide here, but reading it made me realise quite a few things changed too much and I might aswell rewrite the whole thing. The pve - pvp division is still useful though, so here comes the pve part first, or at least how I see pve with drones.

    When in missions or ratting you should know exactly what your enemy is fielding. You know their strengths and their weaknesses. Check any mission site and you can see this info, most even suggest what type of damage to bring. Some are however wrong. This hasn't changed:

    Just because a rat is weakest on EM, doesn't automatically mean you should bring EM drones. Unlike missiles (because lets face it, drones are a lot like missiles in that they only do one type of damage, take time to reach the enemy before they do that damage, and can be killed before they do damage): different drones have different damage multipliers. Take for instance a EM drone vs a Thermal drone .. The em drone has higher tracking and higher velocity (very good) but the thermal drone has a higher dmg multiplier (think 50% higher). In most situations the Ogre II will be a better pick (most EM weakest rats have Thermal as the second lowest resistance). If these rats are always far away however you might still go for the faster EM drone since that will do more damage over time.

    I should mention here:

      Amarr drones do EM damage, are fast and have decent hitpoints
      Minmatar drones do Explosive damage, are beyond fast and do good damage
      Caldari drones do Kinetic damage, have high shield hitpoints (will talk later on the benefits of this)
      Gallente drones do Thermal damage, slow but do the best damage

      The sentries not only have this setup, but add different ranges, 30, 40 , 50 and 20 km base optimal iirc. The tech II versions vary this list a bit tho, but all of the sentries have a 250km activation range m(ore on activation range later).


    Now you know your enemy and have picked you drone: Lets talk aggro. Most of you will know what aggro is, but for those of you that don't: A ship that commits an aggressive act on your ship is considered aggroed to you. Similarly, you are aggroed towards an enemy by an aggressive act. The red blinking targetting brackets in EvE are the indication here (yellow blinky means actively targetting you).

    Lets not be comfortable with rats shooting our drones and try and avoid mass aggro in missions. In some missions you will get jumped on by the entire room just for launching drones, no way to avoid that. Not shooting rat sentry turrets and structures is a good way to start and I like to get aggro on me before unleashing the drones. This means bringing something that is considered an aggressive act to get those rats going. If you use guns, any gun will of course do. If you don't there are other options. Sticking a small/medium laser on is a great way, they don't take ammo. A target painter is also useful, but takes up a med slot, while it's usually the high slots you have spare. Webbers and nos have a max range and are therefore not really useful to cause aggro.

    Keitaro Baka
    Babylon Scientific and Industrial Enterprises
    Babylon Project
    Posted - 2008.03.25 17:05:00 - [8]
     

    Edited by: Keitaro Baka on 25/03/2008 17:52:01
    This does not mean using drones to pull aggro (on themselves sometimes) is not a valid method. Just know that your drones might get shot. I usually go for long range in lvl 4 missions with my dominix (5x t2 sentry, 5x t2 heavy, 10x t2 light, 100mn AB) and I have used my sentries to get aggro, just scoop the one they are focussing on and snipe all the small fries. The problem with this tactic is the rats tend to keep aggroing drones. Even if you switch. So there might be a period where you have no drones out, just waiting for the rats to aggro you again.

    It does happen sometimes that you have one group aggroed and are having fun (afk?) watching your drones ignoring your commands, when suddenly you see the shields on one or more of your drones vanish.. this means your drones have somehow attracted aggro. This could have happened because they came too close to a different group (although in some missions I've seen mine kill a rat that has flown inside a non-aggroed group without any consequences, so it's a bit random). Sometimes it's best to retrieve it (return and dock), sometimes it's best to immediately attack the rat that is shooting them.
    Drones are very easy to hit while travelling (mwd on drones works the same as on ships, exploding sig radius) so chose carefully. Since they orbit at short range they are hard to hit when attacking, especially for long range rats.

      Medium tech II drones rip through frigates like a mega pulse through butter, but like I said they are quite expensive and relatively slow compared to light t2 drones. For pve I therefore recommend using light t2 drones on anything that uses drones as secondary weapon (Raven, Megathron, anything with the large high dmg weapons that will have trouble with frigates). An added bonus is you can usually bring back up light t2 where a raven for instance can only carry 5 medium drones..

      I also recommend light t2 drones for the domi pilots that use heavy tech II drones. If you use tech I sentry drones I recommend using medium and/or heavy t2 drones, since even Garde sentry drones will have a lot of trouble killing cruisers circling within 25 km. And here we come to the afore mentioned problems the Drone sharpshooting skill can cause: I have it trained up quite high to make sure my Wardens kill anything within 100 km, sadly this also means my Gardes prefer 30km iso 20 km. They still rule for shooting stationary targets as close as 2 km, but moving targets have to be BS size to be hit ok-ish. Like I said, once you have tech II heavies, this isn't a problem, 25 km is a workable distance for these drones and the dmg output is great.

      The auxiliary drones are useless in pve unless you're remote repping someone or your own drones. The webber drones are large (25m^3 each) drones and could therefore be used by a blasterthron in mishes (to compensate the lack of mwd).. but who does that anyways, just bring rails and combat drones.


    For low sec ratting I would suggest you always bring a batch of Warrior II's and if possible Light ECM drones. This will make you that bit safer versus pvp enemies that might come in. Heavy drones give that nice dps, but are very slow, sentries work like a charm, but looting can be an issue if the wrecks are outside tractor range. A bunch of medium drones will probably be your best best: most ships can then take a batch of pvp drones too and they still do nice damage.

    Keitaro Baka
    Babylon Scientific and Industrial Enterprises
    Babylon Project
    Posted - 2008.03.25 17:06:00 - [9]
     

    Ok now the pvp part of drones. I've been quite active in pvp this last year, mostly 0.0 alliance warfare, so POS and fleet warfare mostly, with limited small gang warfare and basically no solo pvp-ing. My experience in pvp is still quite limited and in pvp most facts are opinions anyway, but I feel I have a decent grasp on what drones mean for pvp.

    For most people drones are free damage output. These people tend to bring tech I medium drones to the table which have little chance to catch anything fast and die fast. The reason to bring tech I drones can have only 2 valid reasons in my opinion:

      - Availability (either market or skill wise), and
      - You know you will need to drop them


    I know a lot of people don't tend to use tech II drones because of costs, but honestly, they are so much better, it's a waste not to take them. Bringing medium combat drones is something only the Amarrian recons and certain gank ships should do, and even the latter is highly questionable. The thing is: your medium combat drones are completely useless versus dedicated tacklers. The best ways I know to break those are:

      - Having a nice heavy neut/remote sensor damp/ecm, but dedicated tacklers can still get you,
      - Dumping a load of Warrior II's on them, with good drone nav skills you might chase them off or even kill em (don't bother with tech I tho),
      - Dumping a load of light ecm drones. This is one of the best ways to escape a tackler and they are very useful in normal fights too, a jammed enemy is usually distracted and dies a lot easier, gives your tank time to tank, or your gank time to gank.


    Basically I suggest using light ecm drones on a lot of ships. My pos BS usually have a number of (medium) armour maintenance drones, 5 warrior II and/or 5 light ecm or if I know it's a pos without guns, sentry drones. Cruisers do something similar. I know a lot of people want their gankage and will only field 'as much of the biggest combat drones as possible' in their ships, like vexors with 2x heavy, 2x medium, 1x light and thoraxes with 5x medium. Sure that works. But what if your thorax had 10x light ecm drones.. you could get away from a tackler at least once (and lose drones) and still be able to fight. Your gank setup also survives a lot better (usually) when your enemy is jammed.. And if you have watched the fifth alliance tournament you should know that those little ecm drones get a jam off quite well (basic eve maths too). Light ecm drones give you the chance to get out of a fight you can't win, medium combat drones give you a chance to break a tank easier. Bring 5x light ecm and 5x warrior II for a great mix.

    Keitaro Baka
    Babylon Scientific and Industrial Enterprises
    Babylon Project
    Posted - 2008.03.25 17:07:00 - [10]
     

    On with the drone ships in pvp. This really depends on scale. Large scale conflicts tend to be laggy at best, dumping a bunch of drones in the mix only makes it worse tbh. I've been in a few 250 people in local fights where there was no real lag.. up to the point where the ~20 carriers decided to launch drones/fighters.. And those were mostly sniper fleets so little drones to begin with.. bringing fighters in causes a lot of remote rep drones to be dropped too, lag train wreck..

    The drone ship really gets into play in smaller scale or solo pvp warfare. A ship like the Curse is a great asset, able to do cap, tracking and drone warfare at a decent range, same holds for the Sentinel. A remote repping group of Vexors / Arbitrators has great tech I potential, whereas the Ishtar can be fielded as a great tank (quite fun with sentry drones) or nano ship (ghey, but effective).

    I recently have been doing some research on SiSi on the solo drone ship option. The curse is a great contender here, but in the end it must pick targets very selectively: While you can nos/neut most people quite dry, most pvp-ers that need cap have cap boosters, and most of those know how to time them right. Also the Curse itself usually needs a cap booster to drain targets fast enough. Passive tanked and non cap using weapons make your target group that bit smaller. As a gang ship it is arguably the best drone pvp ship, since dps is something other gang members can bring easier and more readily than for example an Ishtar, and lets face it, a pvp dominix is not really nimble and might hold the gang back.
    The Ishtar vs Dominix is a lot more difficult tbh. The Ishtar is more mobile and hence a bit more flexible. It tends to be a bit more expensive too. What I love about the Dominix is the fact you can bring remote rep easily and can field 25km neut/nos (without going faction). A dual rep tank on a Dominix tanks at least as good/better than a dual rep tank on an Ishtar, dump a few rigs on there (extra rig slot) and you're solid. It's slow and ponderous, that's true, it's a big battleship. It's pretty cheap and insurable though and pretty easy to fit. Not having guns on a Domi feels less like a waste since you can fit the cap warfare at range. The Dominix starts with 375 m^3 drone space, the Ishtar needs HAC 5 for that and the extra drone range can be more than compensated by a drone link (which then also counts for all your drones, not just combat and heavy drones).

    Basically in a gang I would rather go for a Curse than an Ishtar than a Dominix, solo I'm not a nano*** and prefer the Dominix.

    As for drones themselves: As I mentioned before I feel carrying 5 light ecm and 5 warrior II (the 'usual setup') is something every drone ship should do. The only possible exception is the Vexor here, in gank mode, since it only has 75m^3 drone space. The Myrmidon now has it's dronebay in line with all the other gallente drone ships (3x full load of reasonable drones), so it's perfect for something like 5x tech II sentry (a drone ship with tank bonus is perfect for sentry drones), 5x light ecm or 10x medium, and the usual setup.

    As for the other drones.. I feel web drones are very niche and mostly useless (big, low impact and relatively slow), target painter drones again lack impact. The other support drones have more uses, but in a pinch I would rather have the usual setup. Maintenance drones are very very useful and a must for large scale combat.

    Keitaro Baka
    Babylon Scientific and Industrial Enterprises
    Babylon Project
    Posted - 2008.03.25 17:07:00 - [11]
     

    Edited by: Keitaro Baka on 25/03/2008 17:54:29
  • Now for the most important thing, drone AI operation, useful for both drone users and drone fighters.

  • A lot of the stuff I mentioned here in my last guide has been fixed. The bad drone bugs are all gone (or should be with the Trinity Boost Patch), although the rigs are still iffy, we still lack tech II mods, any damage mod, any implants/hardwirings and there is still a large group of drones without a tech II version. There is still however the issue of drone aggro, and it's gotten a bit more complex too :), so lets learn:

    1. Drones that are within the control range of their controller will perceive anything that aggroes or has aggroed the controller, from any distance, as a viable target. It will be placed in the 'to do list'. If the drones are in attack mode they will work through this list at random until dead, the list is empty or only holds targets outside drone control range from the controller, or they are put on 'return', 'guard' or 'assist'.

    2. Drones that are idle (this is the state a drone is in after launch and after it has completed a 'to do list') will no longer automatically attack anything that aggroes the controller, from any range. This sadly has changed. Drones will now only automatically attack if the attacker is in drone control range of the controller. Drones that are returning and orbiting (this is the state they are in after you have recalled them to orbit you and only after that command) will only automatically attack anything the controller aggroes himself.

    3. Drones, even when set 'aggressive' will not help eachother. That's right, if you see a drone user drop drones, you can sneakily try and pop his drones one by one.


    Please read these last things again and again until you understand them. This means that if you ever tell a drone to return and orbit it will not respond to enemy aggro anymore. It also means drones can attack outside your control range and/or lock range if they are already in attack mode, something very useful in missions with those pesky sentry turrets outside your control and lock range, just drop some sentries to kill the last thing you can lock and is within control range, let them destroy it and watch as they kill those 95 km turrets. It can be used against the drone controller by luring his drones out of control range.

    Another often misunderstood thing is drone activation range or activation proximity.
      Lets pick a drone to explain this with. The warrior II is the scourge of any interceptor, of course a snaked, faction fitted ceptor doing 12k+ will be hard to catch, but otherwise, just look at them.. so what sticks out:

      Optimal range 1000m, activation proximity 1000m, orbit velocity 900m/s, max velocity over 5000m/s.. but what does it all mean for the drone..

      A drone has several modes, or functions if you will. While in attack mode (doing the whole 'to do list') it will switch between several functions: the mwd towards target at max velocity, the shoot at enemy and the orbit enemy are the main ones here.
      Basically, if the enemy is within activation proximity, the drone will perform the orbit and shoot functions. If the enemy is outside activation proximity it will do the mwd function.


    Keitaro Baka
    Babylon Scientific and Industrial Enterprises
    Babylon Project
    Posted - 2008.03.25 17:08:00 - [12]
     

    Notice here the importance of the activation proximity: this is the orbit the drone will follow, no matter how big the optimal range!! This means some drones don't orbit at their optimal range and increasing it might be very useful or slightly harmful (again this could be related to critical hit chance when not on optimal range)!! If you check out the sentries you will see they have the 250 km activation range, which is also the capped lock range in EvE atm, so they will fire on anything that aggroes you within the rules mentioned above.

    This also means that anything travelling faster than the orbit speed of a drone but slower than the max velocity of that drone can still be killed by that drone (although the drone will act like it is learning to drive with the constant mwd-ing). It is however a true mwd, so a drone will coast (I know this is one of the problems fighters still tend to have, not to mention droneships with drone nav cpu's) and can therefore easily overshoot the enemy, meaning a drop in dps due to not shooting efficiently or not shooting at all for a few secs.

    One more little thing about shooting with drones: I've started noticing this about 3 years ago and it has never been changed at all: drones hardly ever do wrecking hits. Now most people will feel that's logical, the drones mwd and move around, making the tracking formulae used by ccp go nuts all the time, making wrecking hits as rare as [-insert flamebait comparison here-]. However, my Garde II's at 20 km from a sieged dread (seriously, easier to hit than the broadside of a barn) were doing 1 critical per 105 hits (averaged over a couple hours, hull tanked dread ftw). 1 Critical shot per 21 salvo's sounds a bit off tbh. Ogre II's don't really seem to be doing any better. This is a real shame because you can get 1000+ raw wreckings with them with a Dominix, not to mention sentries on a Moros.

    Keitaro Baka
    Babylon Scientific and Industrial Enterprises
    Babylon Project
    Posted - 2008.03.25 17:10:00 - [13]
     

    Alright, that should be about enough for now, if anyone has extra info or I made a mistake, lemme know in here or in game, I'll try and rectify it asap. I'll leave you with a few useful tips (certain tips remain valid):

    1. Your ship is not your pod, and your drones are not your ship. I have never been in a situation where it was worth it to stay just to get my drones back, while in a burning ship with a broken tank. I know it's hard but just leave them behind if you feel like you need to get out.


    2. Know the limits of your drones and ship, know when to let your drones run free and when to command them.. these days I just use my heavy t2 drones in lvl 4 mishes to kill everything, controlled BS destruction and then I let them free roam the rest: it goes faster that way, but make sure you can tank the whole room if you do that..


    3. With drones, more is better, only after that is bigger important, and sometimes you would rather have small. A full set of lights will do better than 2 meds and 1 light or 1 med and 3 lights, not to mention 1 heavy. After that you can vary if you want, but remember, with drones being the only weapon system that can be destroyed (quite easily nowadays if you know what you're doing), spare drones are good if they are you're only means of attack.


    4. fly safe and take care of your drones Smile


    5. When starting a thread don't make it into an essay.. you know, I said that last time and this one is even longer, epic fail Sad



    Oki, that's it, flame on :P

    Perfect Diamond
    Posted - 2008.03.25 17:22:00 - [14]
     

    Edited by: Perfect Diamond on 25/03/2008 17:22:21

    May want to give the thread a tittle.

    Mr Implicit
    Posted - 2008.03.25 19:33:00 - [15]
     

    thanks for the guide Smile

    Recon Three
    Palsies
    Dead Terrorists
    Posted - 2008.03.25 20:52:00 - [16]
     

    Fun read at work. I started up a second account recently (about a month old now) and I plan to specialize in Drones on it. Already have T2 and all that, currently working on getting ECM drones and then off to T2 Heavies.

    This guide helped a ton, toooooooooootally bookmarked. YARRRR!!

    Durao
    Amarr
    Not Quite So Sinister
    Shadow Empire.
    Posted - 2008.03.25 20:56:00 - [17]
     

    Excellent guide. I liked this first guide, and this one is even better with the trinity updates.

    Hugh Ruka
    Exploratio et Industria Morispatia
    Posted - 2008.03.25 21:11:00 - [18]
     

    great guide ... I am a born Caldari, but I fell in love with drones (and the Dominix and Vexor) some time ago ... now training drone skills like mad.

    I have to read the guide a few times to digest all the info, but otoh:

    1. drone control range, I never realised ECM drone interfacing adds drone control range to all drones...

    2. drone aggro rules. can I reset the drones to aggro with switching passive/aggresive range ?

    3. how do drones perceive aggro when launched ? I notived that launched drons do not react to aggro that happened before they were launched (i.e. rat is already shooting me when I launch drones).

    sentry drones are a nice thing. I am toying with the idea of a sentry only PvP ship (dominix/ishtar) ...

    Seth Ruin
    Minmatar
    Ominous Corp
    Circle-Of-Two
    Posted - 2008.03.26 04:03:00 - [19]
     

    Great guide. I've been looking for something exactly like this. My only question is: You refer to problems with having high levels of Drone Sharpshooting, but never explicitly say what the problem is. Could you specify exactly what the side-effect is?

    Keitaro Baka
    Babylon Scientific and Industrial Enterprises
    Babylon Project
    Posted - 2008.03.26 10:40:00 - [20]
     

    Originally by: Hugh Ruka
    ..
    1. drone control range, I never realised ECM drone interfacing adds drone control range to all drones...

    Basically: drone control range is a ship attribute and E/W drone int increases it. The only ship that has issues with drone control range is the Ishtar with it's drone control range bonus for combat and heavy drones only..
    Originally by: Hugh Ruka

    2. drone aggro rules. can I reset the drones to aggro with switching passive/aggresive range ?

    Nope. In fact when you have aggroing drones not even scooping and docking/undocking helps all the time (this is a really weird bug tbh). On the test server I've seen my drones randomly start shooting people I had a fight with 5 minutes earlier in a different location. I suspect they have the same timer as ships now, ie 15 minutes.
    Originally by: Hugh Ruka
    ..
    3. how do drones perceive aggro when launched ? I notived that launched drons do not react to aggro that happened before they were launched (i.e. rat is already shooting me when I launch drones)...


    Again this is a bit weird. If a target is already shooting you they will not automatically engage untill a new aggro action is perceived (which happens a lot, scramble, web, EW, reloading of weapons: these all tend to cause re-aggro drone wise). They are put on the list tho, so if you send your drones to one new target, the old aggroers will be put on the list aswell.

    Originally by: Seth Ruin
    ..My only question is: You refer to problems with having high levels of Drone Sharpshooting, but never explicitly say what the problem is. Could you specify exactly what the side-effect is?

    Ok this is a tough one to explain because all the formulae used in EvE basically state that once a target is within optimal there is no range penalty. Tracking should also not include optimal range so you would think what does it matter when by training this skill all my drones will be shooting below optimal. Well my personal experience is it does. For some reason my garde I's started having trouble hitting the same rats after training the skill higher, the rats didn't change (same cruiser, flying same 18km orbit at same speed). I've learned to just live with it and tend to fit a omni drone mod for the extra tracking. The 20% tracking outweighs the 20% optimal increase by quite a fair bit.

    Ok for sentries you need the skill high anyways, but there is seriously no reason to train that skill otherwise. Normal fight drones already orbit at optimal and ecm/logistics drones don't seem to be affected (very hard to test this anyways). In my experience there are quite a few situations where my drones were doing less damage with higher skillpoints :( Again this is pretty impossible to verify, so you'll have to take my word for it, or not :)

    That being said, since the tech II sentries got their tracking boost and drones started hitting harder for a lower rof, a single omni drone mod makes my Ogre II's kill even the fastest frigates with ease and even my Warden II's track 10km orbitting battlecruiser rats, so meh. It's mostly tech I drones that seem to suffer, don't waste time in it if you're not using sentries I guess, and when you go sentries you will want to go tech II fast ;)


    Also, thnx for the great replies :)

    Kaleidon Reth
    Posted - 2008.03.26 12:23:00 - [21]
     

    Originally by: Keitaro Baka

    In my experience there are quite a few situations where my drones were doing less damage with higher skillpoints :( Again this is pretty impossible to verify, so you'll have to take my word for it, or not :)



    I'm a drone user as well and in my own oppinion this is pure speculation on your part. I have never experienced anything like this and there are no game mechanics that would explain such a behaviour.

    I think you're just imagining things.

    Rivqua
    Caldari
    Omega Wing
    Snatch Victory
    Posted - 2008.03.26 13:47:00 - [22]
     

    Originally by: Keitaro Baka

    One more little thing about shooting with drones: I've started noticing this about 3 years ago and it has never been changed at all: drones hardly ever do wrecking hits. Now most people will feel that's logical, the drones mwd and move around, making the tracking formulae used by ccp go nuts all the time, making wrecking hits as rare as [-insert flamebait comparison here-]. However, my Garde II's at 20 km from a sieged dread (seriously, easier to hit than the broadside of a barn) were doing 1 critical per 105 hits (averaged over a couple hours, hull tanked dread ftw). 1 Critical shot per 21 salvo's sounds a bit off tbh. Ogre II's don't really seem to be doing any better. This is a real shame because you can get 1000+ raw wreckings with them with a Dominix, not to mention sentries on a Moros.


    Actually, thats perfectly whitin the margin of error, wrecking hits (crits) are expected to happen about 1% of the time, which would mean 1 in a 100 shots, so (105) would be perfectly alright. People usually get it more often because they are using 6 or 7 guns firing at the same time, which means you you could get it once every 20 secs with fast firing (3sec duration) guns.

    /Riv

    William Darkk
    Gallente
    Garoun Investment Bank
    Posted - 2008.03.26 19:57:00 - [23]
     

    Originally by: Kaleidon Reth
    Originally by: Keitaro Baka

    In my experience there are quite a few situations where my drones were doing less damage with higher skillpoints :( Again this is pretty impossible to verify, so you'll have to take my word for it, or not :)



    I'm a drone user as well and in my own oppinion this is pure speculation on your part. I have never experienced anything like this and there are no game mechanics that would explain such a behaviour.

    I think you're just imagining things.


    As much as I like the guide, I'm afraid I must agree with this.

    Hugh Ruka
    Exploratio et Industria Morispatia
    Posted - 2008.03.27 11:52:00 - [24]
     

    Originally by: Keitaro Baka

    ...reply...



    Thanks for the reply, we should campain for a solution here :-)

    Maybe switching dronse from aggresive to pasive should clear their aggro list, same for scooping/docking.

    This would help when jammed.

    I have to experiment with gang options (guard and assist) a little ...

    Dajsan Xerzd
    EXTERMINATUS.
    Posted - 2008.04.15 15:12:00 - [25]
     

    Great guide but some notes on using drones in missions:

    Sentries are awesome. They don't seem to (allways) aggro everything instantly in some missions like combat (moving) drones so you can snipe quite alot before you're forced to pull them in.

    When you are forced to pull in, take them all in, shoot something once, then put them right back out to continue killing everything. This is quite nice to keep all your aggro on you and minimizing the micro management.

    A good tactic is to drop sentries, lock everything up and then shoot once with your gun. Drones instaaggro and the entire spawn aggroes you instead of drones and the drones add everything to the "killlist"

    And on drone selection for the domi in missions.. I don't even bring meds or lights anymore, domi has exactly enough cargo for 3 sets of heavies so I bring 2x sentries (Usually Gardes then curators or wardens for sniping) then finally ogers (or berserkers, I'd bring caldari but never trained those).

    With one or even two drone tracking mods the ogers are more than sufficent for popping the frigs that survive your sentries, I just lock them all up, then split my ogers up and sic one on each frig (taking the focus fire off helps) and they tend to just run around and kill everything quickly. I've never had a prob with any 'ceptors.

    Another thing that's been successful for me is to fit a auto targetting system II so you can lock 10 targets (Multitasking 3 required) so you can keep up with locking crusiers and frigs that your sentries one volley.

    Anyways, great guide and good read!


    NoNah
    Posted - 2008.04.15 18:18:00 - [26]
     

    I love you for making it, but there's some "flaws" I want to correct. More on this as I get back home, but it's simply confusion.

    And damn. You win. I still can't use the t2 mining drones. But I'll get there! Eventually...

    Gabriel Virtus
    hirr
    Posted - 2008.04.17 07:34:00 - [27]
     

    This is a great guide. I am new and started as Caldari, but fell in love with drones and blasters so I switched to gallente. Your first guide was very helpful and this updated one just as helpful (If not more). Thank you for taking the time to guide new players. This is one of the reasons why I love eve, because of knowledgeable and helpful experienced players.

    Please sticky this guide!!!

    Heikki
    Gallente
    Erasers inc.
    Controlled Chaos
    Posted - 2008.04.17 08:27:00 - [28]
     

    Excellent guide, thanks :)

    Especially thanks for reminding about Drone rigs for sentries; Moros has no need for cap rigs anyway..

    -Lasse
    skeptical about the optimal issues

    BSZV
    Minmatar
    Ikarus Tech
    Posted - 2008.04.25 12:51:00 - [29]
     

    Edited by: BSZV on 25/04/2008 12:54:09
    I'm especially interested in taking out those pesky nanos with drones.
    Warrior IIs seem to be a good choice when your target is not flying above 5km/s. But they can actually go faster that that.
    My question is, what is the maximum speed you can catch up to with your WarriorIIs if you fit a drone nav computer, and also what is the max speed of the nano ship that you can track if you use an omnidirectional tracking computer with your sentries?

    And by the way, if you max your skills on WarriorIIs and sentry drones, how long does it take to kill a nano ship on average?

    Also, thank you, great guide!

    Umar Khattab
    Amarr
    Ministry of War
    Posted - 2008.05.19 13:13:00 - [30]
     

    Would be nice to have some insights about PVP ships and how to use them effectively. For the Vexor, the Domi, the Ishtar, the Arby etc.


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