If you haven’t yet, read part 1.

You’ve purchased your Black Ops of choice and are sitting in the hangar staring at a blank fitting screen. What to do? To be honest, other than the Sin, Black Ops are pretty simple to fit. You basically fit them like you would a gank BS, except for certain fitting limitations.

*You’re going to see a bit of faction/deadspace stuff on these fits. Absolutely feel free to downgrade to T2 if you’re not comfortable dropping more isk than you already have. Just remember: You’ve spent a lot of isk on a ship that needs all the help it can get, I highly recommend you don’t skimp on fittings. They don’t need to be super pimped, and none of these fits really are, but a little extra spent will go a long way in the field.

Let’s take a look at some setups: (All EFT ready)

Panther

[Panther, Gank PANTHER]
Damage Control II
Republic Fleet Gyrostabilizer
Republic Fleet Gyrostabilizer
Republic Fleet Gyrostabilizer
Republic Fleet Tracking Enhancer
Nanofiber Internal Structure II

Gist C-Type 100MN Microwarpdrive
Large Shield Extender II
Large Shield Extender II
Invulnerability Field II
Invulnerability Field II

Dread Guristas Cloaking Device
800mm Repeating Artillery II, Republic Fleet EMP L
800mm Repeating Artillery II, Republic Fleet EMP L
800mm Repeating Artillery II, Republic Fleet EMP L
800mm Repeating Artillery II, Republic Fleet EMP L
800mm Repeating Artillery II, Republic Fleet EMP L
Heavy Unstable Power Fluctuator I
Heavy Unstable Power Fluctuator I

Large Core Defence Field Extender I
Large Core Defence Field Extender I

Ogre II x5
Vespa EC-600 x5

Nothing better than gank and tank. This bad boy can push out 1,000 DPS and ruin the day of an active tanker with the Dual Neuts.

Redeemer

[Redeemer, Gank Redeemer]
Damage Control II
1600mm Reinforced Rolled Tungsten Plates I
1600mm Reinforced Rolled Tungsten Plates I
Energized Regenerative Plating II
Imperial Navy Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane
Dark Blood Heat Sink
Dark Blood Heat Sink

Cist C-Type 100MN MicroWarpdrive
Dread Guristas Warp Disruptor
Federation Navy Stasis Webifier
True Sansha Heavy Capacitor Booster, Navy Cap Booster 800

Dread Guristas Cloaking Device
Mega Pulse Laser II
Mega Pulse Laser II
Mega Pulse Laser II
Mega Pulse Laser II
Mega Pulse Laser II
Mega Pulse Laser II
Heavy Unstable Power Fluctuator I

Large Trimark Armor Pump I
Large Trimark Armor Pump I

Berserker II x5

Over 900 DPS, and a solid tank. Issues here will be range, so make sure you’ve got a full range of ammo types in the hold. Ideally, your covert cyno will have the target pinned down so you won’t need to be racing all over the place to apply damage. You’ll want to hit your Booster as soon as you’ve begun applying DPS.

Widow

[Widow, Never Along]
Signal Distortion Amplifier II
Signal Distortion Amplifier II
Signal Distortion Amplifier II
1600mm Reinforced Rolled Tungsten Plates I

Sensor Booster II, Scan Resolution
Sensor Booster II, Scan Resolution
ECM – Spatial Destabilizer II
ECM – Phase Inverter II
ECM – Ion Field Projector II
ECM – White Noise Generator II
ECM – Multispectral Jammer II
ECM – Multispectral Jammer II

Dread Guristas Cloaking Device
Cruise Missile Launcher II
Cruise Missile Launcher II
Cruise Missile Launcher II
Cruise Missile Launcher II
Heavy Energy Neutralizer II
[Empty High Slot]

Large Particle Dispersion Projector I
Large Particle Dispersion Projector I

Vespa EC-600 x5

You’ll notice the Widow really isn’t gank fit. To be honest, I can’t fly the Widow and the only time I see the widow really shine is with more than one Black Ops or a whole gang of bombers/recons/T3’s. I went with an “armor” tank because I love having a ton of jams and a decent scan res.  Check out some BC fits if you’re looking to do solo work with it. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Sin

[Sin, Lord and Savior]

Damage Control II
Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II
1600mm Reinforced Rolled Tungsten Plates I
Armor Explosive Hardener II
1600mm Reinforced Rolled Tungsten Plates I
Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II

Domination 100MN MicroWarpdrive
Sensor Booster II, Scan Resolution
True Sansha Heavy Capacitor Booster, Navy Cap Booster 800
True Sansha Heavy Capacitor Booster, Navy Cap Booster 800
ECCM – Magnetometric II
ECCM – Magnetometric II

Dread Guristas Cloaking Device
Large Energy Transfer Array II
Large ‘Solace’ I Remote Bulwark Reconstruction
Large ‘Solace’ I Remote Bulwark Reconstruction
Heavy Unstable Power Fluctuator I
Drone Link Augmentor I
Covert Jump Portal Generator I

Large Trimark Armor Pump I
Large Trimark Armor Pump I

Hammerhead II x5
Ogre II x5
Hobgoblin II x5
Warrior II x5
Vespa EC-600 x5
Hornet EC-300 x5
Medium Armor Maintenance Bot II x5
Medium Shield Maintenance Bot II x5

Mr. Sin here isn’t going to be holding anyone down, but that’s not the primary role in this case. On Jump in, you’ll probably be repping up your covert cyno from the barrage of damage he’s taking from your intended target. You can actually apply some decent DPS with the ogres out, with the Sin’s bonus you’re looking at around 400 DPS. Typically, I’m repping whoever is taking damage and keeping my eyes out for force multipliers at range (Falcon, Curse, etc) to throw drones on to get them off the field. After the fight, you can touch up the cap on other Black Ops to get them jump ready and you can be the bridge home. Jack of all trades right here.

———-

So there we are. Those are all fits you can start out with and keep for life. (Though, you may decide to go  Shield on the Widow) Hopefully you’re starting to connect the dots between what we saw when discussing the basics of each ship to how they are fit.

Have your own fit you like more or has worked well? Toss it up in a comment and let me know why you love it. I’d love to see some other interesting fits.

Stay tuned for Part 3: Flying my Black Ops (or maybe better termed as, Hotdropping people with my Black Ops)

(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

New Theme and Bot Down

Posted: June 17, 2011 in EVE Online, Ganks

As much as I enjoyed the color palette of the old design, it won’t work for my upcoming pieces that will be image heavy.

The other day, I had the motivation to begin writing an inclusive guide to Black Ops. I’m currently working on it and will have it up ASAP. It’s going to cover everything from the skill tree to fly them all the way to tactics on the field. I’m hoping it becomes the one-stop shop for all questions about Black Ops.

Stay tuned.

Ninja Edit: Almost forgot! It wasn’t a Black Ops drop, but I finally got my man.  (I wrote about this guy, here) Too bad he wasn’t fit with anything nice.

This is a Black Ops Blog?

Posted: June 15, 2011 in EVE Online

Looking over my recent posting history, you wouldn’t know it.

The grind of sov warfare doesn’t allow for much in the way of normal Black Ops roams. Our alliance tends to not use bombers during large fleet fights, mostly because we don’t really get fights any more. The local residents have all packed up and moved out.

Until we reset our temp-bff’s, I don’t see this changing much. With DRF and Raiden having taken over the adjacent systems, the only real black ops possibilities lie 5+ bridges from our new home. With everyone in cool-down mode, grinding sov/towers/stations, moving assets, etc – we’re not really in a position for a 20 man road trip.

Luckily, I write this thing more as a running diary of goings-on, rather than some instructional tape on how to competently use a specific class of ship. (ironic, right?)

I’m looking at a few more semi-passive income streams to help keep my wallet propped up. I’ve got the R64 moon humming now, so I’m excited at that great find. I never really thought I’d be able to scoop up a nice moon but lady luck shined on me and, barring anyone trying to shoot the thing, it should bring in ~1 billion a month in profit (after subtracting fuel costs).

I’ll run some Black Ops asap so I keep you all interested.

 

Odds and Ends

Posted: June 14, 2011 in EVE Online

And I’m back. I’ve been on vacation so I’ve had little to report.

Sadly I have even less Black Ops to report. We’ve finished our soul-crushing attack on the North and have, for all intents and purposes, claimed victory. We’re currently settling down in our new home region of Tribute. This new home will be a far cry from Providence (Though it’s pretty hard to believe we haven’t been in provi for almost 3 months). There is a bunch of great space for people to bear it up, tasty moons, and close proximity to Jita. I can definitely see why it was worth holding onto for so long.

Anyway, with not a ton of PVP opportunities within bridge range, I focused on my income a bit. I generally don’t like to rat. from time to time I’ll run DED plexes and hope for some nice shiney loot. In the absence of having any real goals for isk, however, I’m not really interested in grinding Sanctums all day. I was looking for ways to get a better passive income and that really means moongoo. I found a nice R64 moon close by that still had an offline enemy tower on it. (Small tower, thank god.) I grabbed a Tempest and loaded her up with as much ammo as I could and moved one of my cyno alts up from lowsec to help with a bomber.

Picking out the correct damage type to shoot was helpful, but between my tempest and the bomber, we were only doing about 1150 dps. (The bomber alt doesn’t have amazing missile skills at the moment.) Anywho, I ground away for about 2.5 hours, dutifully reloading and restarting on the two characters. Alliance was dead and people weren’t keen on joining a random POS bash 10+ jumps away.

Luckily a couple a corpmates answered the call and came up in another Tempest and a Manticore. I got it down to about 60% shields on my own, but it would have taken another 6 hours or so going alone. These guys saved my sanity.

The tower popped after about 4 total hours of shooting at it. I unanchored the moon harvester and left over guns with the alt while I ran back to home to grab my new tower. I got everything up and running and watched the warm-up cycle begin on the harvester.

The downside is, I started this POS shoot at about 10:45 p.m. local time. By the time everything was said and done, it was about 4:15 a.m. and I had to be up in less than two hours to get ready for work. While not the best idea, all’s well that ends well. Had I not staked a claim on that moon. It might be gone today.

I owe my two corpmates a huge debt. So I’m sure I’ll be out there bashing a POS for them soon.

-P

Extending my range

Posted: May 25, 2011 in Black Ops, EVE Online

Venal has crashed.

I’m not sure if this bears any correlation to poor morale of the NC, but ratters, small roaming gangs and the like have all but disappeared from our little home-away-from-home.

Did a small black ops gang last night. 2 Sins, 1 Widow and a couple covert hunters. We searched high and low but there was literally nothing but a barren wasteland of empty belts and untouched anomalies. It got so bad that we seriously contemplated dropping on an uncloaked Anathema sitting in a safe spot. I decided against it since it may have burnt a freshly minted covert alt.

So, off to greener pastures. As I type, another alt is finish Cyno 5, giving me another fresh covert alt with no ties to me. I don’t have them strewn over a ton of accounts, but this will offer a greatly extended range for me now that I leave a covert cyno at each one of my refueling spots. I’m going to move into a new region tonight that really hasn’t been farmed or fought over during the campaign. I’ve been watching Dotlan and the ingame map quite a bit this week watching for hotspots and daily cynos.

Otherwise, not much to report. Fleet battles have been generally non-existent, except for the 3 titan kills we harvested this weekend. We’re sort of at the point where we can’t really get any big fight, I think we just have too much intel on the other side for them to go into battle with the upper hand.

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.

Bots, continued.

Posted: May 20, 2011 in EVE Online

I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time on my two neighborhood bots. I must have some fiery lust for t3 kills. Tengu #1’s lifespan is hopefully measured in hours now. After much time spent plying my alt back-and-forth into and out of the system probing away, I’m fairly confident I have bookmarked his safe spot.

I wouldn’t normally waste time with my alt probing around and checking this bot out, but I think this is a whale. While I doubt he’s going to be complete pimp fit, bots almost never are– I think this could be a decent haul if I get him. (CN Ballistic controls, Pith a/b-type booster, faction resist)

I won’t spend much longer on this guy, if I can’t get him, I’ll just park my alt in system when he’s not in use to deny him the income.

No playtime over the weekend, so I got back in the saddle last night. One CTA fleet but was more blueball than anything else. I hopped in the ole’ Sin and headed off to a new pocket in Venal to play with the resident bots.  No kills to speak of yet with these guys, mostly doing recon to see how they react to different scenarios.

Some stuff happening tonight, stay tuned for more later on.

No Black Ops last night, so nothing of any interest to report on my side. However, I would like to discuss being on the wrong end of a black ops drop.

The good thing about Covert Cynos is there are only a few ships they will be reasonably fit on. I’d venture to say that Nearly ~100% of all covert cynos are opened by a Recon or a Stealth Bomber. (With the higher percentage on the former)

Now any bomber can be fit with one, but it’s less likely due to their fragile nature. You can probably kill off a bomber before he’s able to bridge in the whole gang. This leaves most of the work for Recons. Even here, we can still narrow down the likely ships. Combat Recons (Curse/Rook/Lachesis/Huginn) are out of the question for this. You need to be cloaky-cloaky. So we’re left with–Falcon/Rapier/Pilgrim/Arazu. Much more often than not the ships used are the Rapier and Arazu.

Rapiers are great because of the web bonus. Long point + double web means they’re going to be able to engage from range and still pin the target down. The Arazu is great due to the range bonus to your point, but also for the fact that you can feasibly point 5 targets. Both of these ships can utilize their bonus while maintaining a decent tank–which is why they make better hunters than Falcons/Pilgrims, in general.

So on to some of the situational awareness you should have dealing with lone Recons. First off, Recons are a hugely preferable cyno ship because a standard cyno fit to it has a 50% reduction in activation time (5 minutes instead of 10). Secondly, for reasons just discussed, they make great hunters for Black Ops gangs.

Last night we had some alliance members chilling outside of station, in our “home” system, when a Rapier warps to the station and starts playing around with a friendly Cane and Hookbill. This is normal, neuts or reds will let you waste your ammo on them for a bit and then dock. However, the Rapier aggressed and put drones out.  Literally, this should have been an immediate red flag. An enemy Recon aggressing on a station with 75 people in system who are not friendly to him. Unless your camping a bubble, you’re not solo’ing in a Recon — sorry, you just don’t. Why waste the 150m isk to just die? The friendlies should have immediately moved out of range/warped/docked. Instead, they aggressed back and he was able to snag the Hookbill as he lit his cyno. In drops the gang and poof goes the Hookbill.

While solo Recons won’t always be cyno ships. Always be prepared for that when you run into one.

-P