Archive for the ‘Strategy’ Category

Hi folks,

Hard to believe I wrote this guide over 4 years ago now. Nearly 200,000 guide views later, this site is still getting quite a bit of traffic. I know the post below spells this out pretty clear, but it begs reminding:

This guide was written in a different era of black ops combat in Eve. Jump range was terrible, fitting was tragic, jump fatigue was merely a twinkle in greyscale’s eyes and the MJD didn’t exist. If you do decide to read this guide, keep all of that in mind. The meta is different, the game has changed. Most of my instructions just don’t make sense in today’s Eve.

So CCP Fozzie has graced us with some new changes for Black Ops. Are they good? Terrible? Let’s take a look:

  • Increase the base jump range of all Black Ops ships to 3.5 light years (equal to that of Titans)

This is clearly the most drastic change. There really isn’t much to comment on here 4.5 light years to 7.8 = amazing.

  • Reduce the mass multipler used for Covert Jump Portal fuel costs from 0.00000018 to 0.000000135 (Reduces the fuel cost of covert bridges by 25%)

This is a good change, but if I’m going to complain about anything – it’s this one. I have no real gripes about this, I just wish it scaled 1:1 with the increased jump range. i.e. the cost to send a Falcon to maximum bridge range today (4.5 LY) now equals the cost of sending it to the new max bridge range (7.8 LY).

I know that it isn’t realistic and is asking too much, but a true bittervet finds a reason to hate everything

  • Increase the fuel bay on all Black Ops to 1250m3 (25% increase)

A welcome addition. 6,666 isotopes were just never enough and having to rely on your cargohold even for solo stuff was the symptom of an obviously poor design choice.

  • Change the CPU requirements of Covops cloaks to 100 and change the bonus on coverts, recons and blockade runners to “-20% CPU needed for cloaks per level”. This means that cloaks will use the same CPU at level 5 (0) but the CPU use at lower levels is less crippling, making the use of these ships at less than level 4-5 more viable.

FANTASTIC. Those friends with pesky Recon Ships III are now actually useful.

  • Open up the use of Covert Cynosural Field Generators on any Strategic Cruiser that has the Covert Reconfiguration subsystem fitted, as well as on Blockade Runners. This means that the availability of covert cynos is consistent and simple. If you can jump through the bridge you can light the cyno.

I don’t really care about the blockade runner part of this since it really only has an effect on the Prowler. The T3 part is something I’m pretty scared about. Obviously they will make incredible Covert Cyno tacklers, and their ability to evade via nullifier and cloak is great – but I don’t love the idea of adding T3’s to the recon class of “always assume they have a cyno”. Oh well.

  • As a more neutral side effect that is still worth noting: the Combat and Attack Battlecruisers, as well as the Blockade Runners and Deep Space Transports, will now be in separate groups. This means anyone with custom overviews will need to add the new Attack Battlecruiser group and the new Blockade Runner group to their list of groups that show up on the overview. The default overviews will be adjusted automatically.

I read this a few times and considered whether he was leaving the door open for covert-capable battlecruisers.

Speculation/Conclusions

I believe this will lead to more dead Black Ops. (Obvious) I believe so for two reasons.

  1. Force projection is more viable with these changes, so we’ll see more people flying them. Just playing the simple odds of more ships in space, we’ll probably see more of them blown up
  2. With greater range projection, we’re dudes pushing farther than before. Mix an 87% increase in jump range with a 25% increase in fuel capacity and a 25% drop in jump mass costs and you get dudes running out of fuel. Very quickly. I’m exciting for the daring, “The gates are probably clear, just hoof it back” lossmail quotes.

We’ll see more cloaky T3’s preying on the weak and ignorant, which is always fun. Most of all though, these are really solid iterations and changes that are, on the whole, very necessary. For the love of god though, fix the goddamn SIN.

So, I’m continually amazed at how much traffic this blog gets – especially a blog in which I take a year between posts. Shout-outs to those who sent me mails in-game about starting a podcast. As much as I love the sound of my own voice, I assure you it would be dreadfully boring after the first episode. How about one of you start one and I’ll be your guest sometime?

Anywho, I don’t really know what to write about next. I was going to do a piece on the other side of black ops – hunting. How to find target rich areas, how to not die while lighting the cyno, etc, etc. Though I am open to suggestions if people want to hear about something else.

In the meantime, here is the second installment of Search for Answers, where I run through the keyword searches that brought people to this blog and try to assist them as best as possible. (Check out Part 1, if you haven’t already)

Search: “Eve carrier ratting”

Answer: Hopefully these people were coming here for tips on how to rat in their carriers and not die to a hot drop. Here’s my tip: don’t rat in a carrier.

—–

Search: “How to use a covert cyno”

Answer: The Covert Cyno is very similar to the standard cyno module, except for a few key differences.

  • Covert Cynos can only be fit on a Covert Ops, Stealth Bomber or Force Recon Ship. (I’m told you can fit on a Black Ops, but I’ve never tried – nor should you)
  • They have a base activation time of 1 minute
  • They have a base Liquid Ozone consumption of 50
  • The mod requires Cyno 5 trained.

Otherwise, it’s the same as a regular cyno, you can’t warp, move, jump or eject while it’s active.

—–

Search: “sin gank fit”

Answer: Not an easy one to answer. To be honest, if you’re serious about all gank, worry about guns first. Slap a full rack of Neutron Blaster Cannon IIs, MWD, point, mag stabs and tracking enhancers. Use the rest of your available slots (and rig slots) to make it work.

—–

Search:how does black ops velocity bonus work”

Answer: This is a very good question. You may notice that under the description of every Black ops you’ll see some variation of the following:

Black Ops Skill Bonus: …. and multiplies the cloaked velocity by 125% per level.

What this is saying is that for each level of the Black Ops skill you have, the speed you travel while cloaked is upped by 125%. This is a very clutch thing. This is why you don’t want to stop training when get you Black Ops I. Having this skill at Level 3 or higher means that when you’re cloaked, you do more than 75% of your normal, uncloaked base speed — and that means insta-warping after decloak. Think of this as the MWD+Cloak trick, except you don’t need to use an MWD. This is a big deal for getting through gates (if you ever have to even use them) or cloaking up when shit goes bad and knowing you can warp immediately upon decloak.

—–

Search: “transport ships on black ops gangs”

Answer: Transport ships are either crucial or a nice addition to have to any Black Ops gang. Why are they good?

  1. Cloaky transports can bridge through a Black Ops
  2. They can be your personal gas can, extending your range very far beyond your own fuel bay
  3. They can carry loot, ammo, cap boosters, paste and other necessities

Take for an example, my alt’s Viator. The Viator can hold 10,279m3 of space, which means 3 giant secure containers each filled with 26,000 racial isotopes (with an additional 1,279m3 of spare room for additional cargo). That’s 78,000 isotopes in addition to the full fuel bay and cargo hold of the Black Ops. That’s a long distance you can cover.

—–

Search: “best solo covert cyno ship”

Answer: I’m assuming this person means the best covert cyno hunting ship to use when you’re running a solo Black Ops behind it. When alone, I’d recommend the Falcon. The Falcon gives you the best opportunity to not lose your cyno without having to pay much attention to it with your Black Ops. The ability to jam your target frees up your ability to fit more for gank on the Black Ops, and having some additional jammers fit allows you more opportunity to escape, should the drop go wrong.

I do hate ECM, but when it comes to hot dropping, I wasn’t looking for a fair fight anyway. Beyond that, I’d really take just about all of them, except maybe the Pilgrim. While the neuts are nice and can be quite handy, the lack of a range bonus can be dismal if shit hits the fan.

—–

Well, that’s all I have that aren’t answered elsewhere on this thing. Just for fun, here are a couple random searches that got people here:

– how to get into ops eve
– eve can you launch t3 in wormhole
– eve ratting carrier guide
– carrier cant use jump portal  <— (My personal favorite)

Friday Afternoon Edit:

Ok, people are asking for a gank Sin. Don’t say I didn’t warn you that this is asking for trouble:

[Sin, StraightGankHomie]
Federation Navy Magnetic Field Stabilizer
Federation Navy Magnetic Field Stabilizer
Federation Navy Magnetic Field Stabilizer
Republic Fleet Tracking Enhancer
Reactor Control Unit II
Damage Control II

Gist X-Type 100MN MicroWarpdrive
Warp Disruptor II
Stasis Webifier II
Sensor Booster II, Scan Resolution
True Sansha Heavy Capacitor Booster, Navy Cap Booster 800
Large Shield Extender II

Neutron Blaster Cannon II, Void L
Neutron Blaster Cannon II, Void L
Neutron Blaster Cannon II, Void L
Neutron Blaster Cannon II, Void L
Dark Blood Large EMP Smartbomb
Improved Cloaking Device
[empty high slot]

Large Ancillary Current Router II
Large Core Defence Field Extender II
Ogre II x5

at all lvl5

1,156 dps with Void (1250 overheated) / 45,000 EHP

When you think of running Black Ops, the first thing that typically comes to mind is nullsec then lowsec and sometimes highsec when you daydream about hot-dropping freighters.

Do you ever consider wormholes? Before your brush them off as complicated and unwieldy, think about some of the great benefits to you:

1) Wormholes open up incredible new opportunities for you and your crew. 

Too often, you cover the same hunting territory day in and day out only to find people becoming wise to your tactics. Unless you hunt in Providence, your hunting characters become well-known through alliance mails and internal forum posts and you suddenly find dreamy ratting space suddenly devoid of ratters when you stroll through.

Wormholes give you the ability to find new hunting grounds — access to fresh meat who don’t know you from any other random neutral.

2) Wormholes give you the ability to stay undetected.

One of the biggest issues that the piss-poor range of a JDC 5 Black Ops is the fact that you often find yourself hanging out with your gang in some random system near your target in order to get within bridge range. 20 dudes in some back-alley system can generate quite a bit of interest when people check out the map and check “Active Pilots in Space in the Last 30 Minutes”. This problem is already above the fact that any random guy transiting through your system will most assuredly report you in intel.

The report: (John Doe x20 – SVB-RE Solar System – no visual) – will definitely generate some people either looking around or looking you up on eve-kill.

However, wormholes help put a dent in this problem. This is obviously situational, as your target may be more than 1 jump from the wormhole. But it’s safe to assume you can spend a good deal of hunting time sitting comfortably in the wormhole waiting to jump the exit and immediately bridge out.

——

Now nobody truly enjoys probing. It’s a pain and can be quite tedious to weed out all of those Independence and Mag sites, but much of the time you can find people to do it for you. Namely, if you’re already in an alliance, consider creating a Google Doc spreadsheet that has a list of every system you control or actively monitor. Send out an alliance mail or create a forum post asking anybody that probes to drop a note in the Doc where they may have run across a wormhole. (no need for them to give away that 10/10 they just found) You can add columns for Life left, Mass remaining, destination, and more to get a good picture of what is out there.

While any wormhole out there can have a K162 to what you’re looking for, you’re likely to find some nullsec directs, random C3 with a K346 other than you, and lots more.

If you’re feeling truly hardcore and have a group of people who can spare alts or are looking for new grounds. Consider vacationing in a K346 Class 3. You’ll have a constant connection to nullsec that you can cycle as you see fit to find the best hunting grounds. Win-Win

Adios!

So maybe I lied about when I was going to get around to writing this. Sue me.

I’m not going to write a linear story of how to fly a Black Ops. Rather, I’m just going to point out some good tips to remember when using them.

Pre-Flight Checklist

  1. Going gang or going solo?
    – Select your fit accordingly and if you’re running with a gang consider having reps/rep drones.
    – If you’re running the gang, ask for fittings to be linked in fleet. I’m not a fitting warrior, but if it’s my gang — your fits need to be acceptable. (Black Ops aren’t super easy to fit, people tend to take too many liberties sometimes or fit a ton of faction crap to make it seem ok)
  2. Cynos/Fuel
    – Make sure you’ve got a fuel bay of fuel.
    – Consider bringing a Transport ship alt if you’ll be trekking.

The Waiting Game

  1. Don’t sit in a POS
    – The only reason your Black Ops should ever go into a POS is to grab some fuel from a can you may have there. Don’t have your gang sitting on the Black Ops at a POS. The only time you ever decloak is to shoot/bridge/jump. Don’t give free intel away. Black Ops fleets and bomber drops get killed because they get baited after being seen. Don’t give easy intel.
  2. Be wary of fleet member locations
     You should always be aware of your fleet composition and the location of the members. If someone is not in your system or docked up somewhere and they’re not one of your scouts. They get booted. end of story.
  3. Have a preset plan from your scouts. Don’t start your gang then fire up your map. Check Dotlan for 1hr/24hr jumps and ratting histories. Learn jumpbridge locations and routes. Camp them.
  4. Don’t wait for fights to come to you. If a system is slow or people have docked up, move on and come back later. Camp a jumpbridge for 2 hours if you like, but if you don’t gank something awesome, don’t expect 20 bombers to show up to your next gang. (Edit: ENEMY POS + BLACK OPS = DEAD BLACK OPS — you bridge bombers on to a pos)

Shooting Stuff

  1. Unless you have a solid plan or like expensive thrills — Black Ops are for ganking. Remember that the 600mil + ship you are flying is, for all intents and purposes, worse than its t1 counterpart. Don’t get into a fights unless you have a plan well laid out.
  2. It’s better to cyno in close to your target than far away.
  3. Best cyno ships = Rapier >= Arazu > Pilgrim > Falcon > Bombers > Covert Ops (Rapier/Arazu are a roll of the dice situational. Arazu can point 5 guys no problem at 75KM while the Rapier can point and web in the mid 30’s (using RF disruptor) — your choice)
  4. So you found a target? Sweet, light the cyno and get your Black Ops in there to kill it.
    – Rule #1: Before doing anything – Black Ops should align to a celestial. Being able to GTFO is more important than ganking that t1 fit Apoc.
    – Rule #2: Rep your cyno/friends
…more to come when I become less lazy.

(Updated July 2013)

The guide is by no means completely definitive or final. I’ll make changes as I go; however, I’ve had a lot of people asking for more information. I will publish this in pieces, trying to go through it in the order in which you will. I’m going to answer as many questions as possible with this guide.

Part 1: Getting There

Black Ops are skill intensive. With a niche tactical role, there is no wonder why it’s one of the least used ship classes in the game. I’ll take you through as much as I can, in a chronological order. So let’s start with skills.

The Skills


Prerequisite Skills:

Racial BS V
Cloaking Level IV
Electronics Level V
Jump Drive Calibration Level IV
Jump Drive Operation Level V
Navigation Level V
Warp Drive Operation Level V
Navigation Level I
Science Level V
Spaceship Command Level V
Black Ops Level I

The first you thing you see? If you’re a carrier capable pilot, you’re already very close to flying your racial Black Ops. These are simply the skills that get you into the ship. I’m not going to get into the true “secondary” skills that are necessary (Drones, ECM skills, Large Projectiles, Engineering, Shield, Armor, etc. etc.) as they are fairly obvious. However, let’s look at the other skills that are pretty important, especially for gang work.

Additional Necessary Skills:

Jump Drive Calibration V – There’s no getting around this. It’s not like you and your carrier. You really can’t live without JC5. Don’t be that guy who shows up to the gang and has to ask if the hunting is in range for JC4. The Black Ops got a nice boost to it’s range so you don’t want to hinder yourself. It’s a long train, but very well worth it.

Astrometrics V – Without it, you can’t use the Covert Jump Portal – aka you can’t bridge gangs around. While you can rely on others to do the bridging, the ability to do them is necessary to be a well-rounded pilot.

Jump Fuel Conservation IV-V – JFC5 is great, but 4 will do if you’re just that lazy. The fuel bay is an issue with Black Ops, so the higher your skill, the less refueling you need to do.

Black Ops IV – Why only level 4? Again, 5 is great but 4 will suffice. The bonus is worth it on some of the ships to go for 5, but not always. If you have the time, train it.

————

The Ships

Ok, you’re trained up and ready to make your purchase. This decision will either be easy (You only have the skills to fly one) or tough (you can fly many). Which Black Ops to choose? Good Question. The 4 Black Ops ships can be broken up into 3 classes, DPS, Jamming and Other. Let’s take a look at each one and drill into their strength and weaknesses. I’ll start with the DPS class first:

DPS

Redeemer

Redeemer Amarr Battleship Skill Bonus:
~10% reduction in large energy turret capacitor use and5% bonus to large energy turret rate of fire per level

Black Ops Skill Bonus:
~7.5% bonus to large energy turret tracking and multiplies the cloaked velocity by 125% per level

Panther

Panther

Minmatar Battleship Skill Bonus:
~5% bonus to large projectile turret rate of fire and 5% bonus to large projectile turret damage per level

Black Ops Skill Bonus:
~5% bonus to velocity and multiplies the cloaked velocity by 125% per level

The Panther and the Redeemer as the two true “DPS” ships of the class. At the most simple level, the Panther is the easiest choice if you’re looking for straight forward, gank dps. The Panther has an 8/5/6 layout (5 turrets) while the Redeemer is 8/4/7 (6 turrets). Notice the Bonuses to the ship. To even get into these ships you need Racial BS 5, so you’ll get the maximum upgrade to those bonuses. Lazors love to eat your cap on Amarr BS, which is typically a big downfall. With a 10% reduction in Cap use on the guns per level, a lot of the problem is mitigated. Still though, you need to remember, when you jump to the cyno to fight, you’ll use 70% of your cap just to jump. Pray your in range with your cyno because you won’t have good enough cap to be MWD into range.

The Panther, while missing the 6th turret, gets two great bonuses to it’s Minnie BS bonus – 5% ROF and 5% Damage. Awesome! And firing capless guns to boot!

~~~~~~

Jamming

Widow

Widow

Caldari Battleship Skill Bonus:
~5% bonus to cruise and siege missile launcher rate of fire per level
~10% bonus to cruise missile and torpedo velocity per level

Black Ops Skill Bonus:
~30% bonus to ECM target jammer strength and multiplies the cloaked velocity by 125% per level

The Widow is probably the most straight forward of the Black Ops — it’s a spiffier looking version of the Scorpion. The ship is great for jamming out the enemy and applying some decent DPS. 7/8/4 (5 launchers) layout provides a decent option to go standard shield fit or for an armor fit with fleet jamming capabilities.

Skip the Kaikka’s Jammers, I know they look cool, but you really don’t need them.

~~~~~~

Other

Sin

Sin

Gallente Battleship Skill Bonus:
~5% bonus to large hybrid turret damage per level
~10% bonus to drone hit points and damage per skill level

Black Ops Skill Bonus:
~5% bonus to agility per level and multiplies the cloaked velocity by 125%
The Sin used to be terrible – before CCP decided to fix hybrid weapons. I originally relegated this ship to the “Other” category because,

“…it actually makes a great logistics platform and flying gas can for bridging. First and foremost, a logi Sin is pretty awesome. 400m3 drone bay (125m3 bandwith) gives you 5 Heavies out at once – and plenty of options for damage and RR drones. Be a lifesaver when you rep your mates and cap up other BO’s so they’re ready to jump on the fly.”

While Logi-Sin is still incredible and well-worth the expense, you can realistically fit a Blaster Sin, for full-on gank. You can pump out over 1,000 DPS with CN Antimatter on Neutron Blaster Cannons + 5 Ogre IIs.  (Just remember, you need webs to hold down your target) So rather than the sin being relegated to the “Other” category due to it having a lame role, it’s now here because it’s a multi-faceted ship that can wear multiple hats.

Conclusion

As you can see, the ships have varying degrees of utility for each situation. They can all apply DPS, just some better than others. If you’re rolling solo, you need to be very careful. These are battleships that don’t really outclass their t1 equivalent in damage. Black Ops require selectivity. The surprise is on your side when you light that covert cyno, but if you’re alone, make sure you know you will win before clicking jump.

I’ll discuss solo and gang fits for each of the ships in the next installment and how to best use the utility of each ship.

~~~~~~

Stay tuned for part 2 on Sunday: Fitting your shiny new ship

Fuel Depot Logistics

Posted: May 20, 2011 in Black Ops, Ganks, Strategy

Been busy with large gangs lately. While rolling around 70 deep in gangs is wholly uninteresting to me, I understand that they are necessary to complete our objectives.  Might as well have some fun with them, right?

We had an op to generally screw around in H-W while slowly incapping their JB’s to procure a fight. However, this was a night of ganks. Dudes blindly jumping through the other side of the JB into us. (Note: I’m not sure if most 0.0 denizens realize this – If you’re pointed or bubbled on a JB, you can’t jump through. Don’t burn back to the JB — The only place your should be burning is for the shields of the POS)

We had another opportunity on the way home, next door to H-W with Black Legion.

———–

Anyway, we got back and it was beginning to get late. It was that awful time in EVE, when you still have some play time left, but not enough to commit to a roam. I figured I could best use my time by refilling my fuel depots.

I definitely recommend spending the initial time setting up various fuel depots along your usual mid-point routes. While the base fuel bay of a black ops leaves a bit to be desired, it’s not unmanageable. Typically, I don’t roll with Recons or T3’s in gangs because their DPS/Ewar/Logi benefit typically doesn’t justify their fuel cost to the black ops. Also, you don’t want to be bridging an your Recons and T3s onto a JB at a hostile POS.

I like to place 1-2 cans at each stop, with the number increasing the further out from home. So I loaded up the isotopes and began bridging the trusty viator all over northern New Eden. Each can holds 26,000 topes (a little more than 4 full fuel bays worth at base levels).

Now this might seem completely unnecessary when we could simply bring a transport ship on our excursions. This is true, but being able to eliminate an extra human element makes you more successful when using black ops.  First off, nobody wants to be the dude hauling fuel around and only getting to whore on mails with a Target Painter (if even that). Secondly, dual-boxing isn’t ideal when you could be bringing something more valuable, like a bomber or extra hunter. Lastly, by eliminating that job, you eliminate the risk of A) Having your fuel supply get killed somehow, B) your fuel supply disconnecting and not coming back, and C) Needing to wait around with the black ops and always need two bridges to a singular destination.

Take the time to study the map, strategically place fuel so you can hit the widest array of space, this will come absolutely come in handy and make more ganks possible. Having the fuel set up, having cyno’s pre-positioned, you can covertly project an immense amount of power that the enemy is probably never going to consider.