April 28, 2010

New comment system

Looking to the future for my blog I have installed the Intense Debate commenting plugin as it seems to be the comment system of choice for many other EVE bloggers out there.  The change was spurred on by someone having issues with leaving a comment on the blogger integrated system, the comments must flow!

Go to IntenseDebate

There are several benefits over the standard blogger commenting system as it lets users log in with a wider variety of accounts, twitter included and also allows readers to keep track of comments so it is easier for them to come back to articles of interest and that helps build a community rapport.

I will go through my previous blog posts and restrospectivly enable intensedebate on all the pages, that should keep most of the comments on the site hopefully...

UPDATE: Seems like my old template would not play nicely with intensedebate and broke a few other things, taking it off for a few days while I sort out a permanent fix.

April 23, 2010

ECM in depth: Part 4 Kitsune and practical piloting

We are over half way there!  Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 have all been tweaked, reformatted, modified and updated to include extra details, slight corrections and more ECM loving so have a look back to see if you have missed anything.

Things on the to-do list today are the Kitsune, Thermodynamics and the Overview and without any further ado here it is!

I just finished training for the Kitsune, what do i need to know?
1. The average sell price is just under the 20mil mark
2. They are fragile
3. Max ECM strength mods are a must
4. Make sure you train Electronic Attack Frigates to at least level 4.

Kitsune skill bonuses:
Caldari Frigate Skill Bonus: 20% bonus to ECM target jammer strength and 10% reduction in ECM target jammers' capacitor need per level

Electronic Attack Ships Skill Bonus: 10% bonus to ECM target jammer optimal range and 5% bonus to capacitor capacity per level

Skills and Skill Plans
I would recommend getting behind the controls of a Blackbird before skilling up to the Kitsune as they are comparatively much more expensive and being a T2 variant offers almost no payout compared to their actual costs.  Insurance payouts are due to be changing to be more in line with actual hull costs, rather than some mumbo-jumbo-brown-magic figure created by CCP.

You will want these skills trained to the corresponding levels to enable you to fit the Kitsune in the best way possible for ECM.  For the other modules such as the MicroWarpdrive, Armor plates and Damage Control you will want Hull Upgrades to level 4 and High Speed Maneuvering to 3 in order to fit them.

Long Range Targeting 4
Electronic Warfare 4
Jury Rigging 3
Electronic Superiority Rigging 1
Caldari Frigate 5
Electronics Upgrades 5
Electronic Attack Ships 4

Fitting the Kitsune
Being a frigate hull the Kitsune is subjected to the lower end of the scale when it comes to the number of available low/mid/high slots so the amount of customisation for general use fits are quite small.  For your sampling I have two fits;

[Kitsune, speed and tank]
200mm Reinforced Rolled Tungsten Plates I
Damage Control II

ECM - Spatial Destabilizer II
ECM - Phase Inverter II
ECM - Ion Field Projector II
ECM - White Noise Generator II
1MN MicroWarpdrive II

Small Particle Dispersion Augmentor I
Small Particle Dispersion Augmentor I

Once again you will notice that the High slots have been left empty, this time it was done simply because there was no more power grid to use.  Higher survivability is the objective of this fit and with 3,606 EHP with my skills that is very respectable.  The MWD to dictate the range, since the base locking range is a limitation with this ship rather than the modules effective range.  Be careful with the MWD though as it makes you as it makes your sleek body balloon out to epic proportions.

[Kitsune, max range]
Signal Distortion Amplifier II
Signal Distortion Amplifier II

ECM - Spatial Destabilizer II
ECM - Phase Inverter II
ECM - Ion Field Projector II
ECM - White Noise Generator II
Sensor Booster II, Targeting Range

Small Particle Dispersion Augmentor I
Small Particle Dispersion Augmentor I

80km targeting range with your optimal being at that range also.  To use this fit correctly; blip in, jam what you can and stay aligned to something close by to reduce the downtime between being safe and being on the field.  See Part 2 for a short list of pointers on how to operate as an effective ECM pilot.

I have had some feedback from Manasi from A Mule in EVE about using Meta 4 modules over T2, he has some good points and the figures do show that the Meta 4 versions of ECM jammers are in fact a better choice if you are short on CPU or your cap is highly unstable.  The downside Meta 4 though is often the cost and availability, Meta 4 items normally run for double the price of T2 while being hard to find outside of trade hubs.  In the fits shown there is not much of an issue with cap stability or CPU so use your own discretion as to how you spend your ISK.

From the EVE WIKI: "Allows you to deliberately overheat a ship's modules in order to push them beyond their intended limit".  Thermodynamics otherwise known as overheating lets you get that little bit extra out your gear for a stronger ECM cycle, faster missile reload time or a quicker cycle of your energy neutralizers.  To be able to take advantage of this you need to have the following skills trained up:

Engineering V
Energy Management III
Science IV

The Thermodynamics skill is about 4.5mil so it is not overly cheap but the benefits are worth the cost as it can be used on pretty much every single active module, passive modules cannot be overheated but can suffer heat damage.  Each module has hit points much the same as your ship does, overheating modules chews through those hit points quickly and once you are out the module effectively dies.  Using nanite repair paste or the repair facility in a station can patch your modules up.

Starting with the top, you can overheat a module by clicking on the small green section, you can also activate/deactivate overheating by right-clicking on the module.  If you have a whole rack that you need to overheat then use one of the buttons to do so, but beware that this will burn out your modules very quickly.  The red portion of the outer circle displays how much damage has been done to a specific module.

Carrying on from the Meta 4 note I made in the fittings there is also an additional bonus with using it, the heat damage is significantly reduced when comparing to T2 modules.  So this means you can overheat more modules or entire racks for longer than you could with a sole T2 fitting.

The overview
It can be an unforgiving mistress capable of causing you horrible distress, but luckily I have found someone who has created a terrific set of tab and brackets profiles for you!  Brother Benthor over at the EVE-O forums has a great post listing the details of his overview settings and a download location for them, click here for the thread and download details.  Further details about the overview can be found on the EVE WIKI.

That wraps up Part 4 of the ECM guide, the next part will be looking at the Rook and Falcon Recon ships.

April 20, 2010

Blog Banter SE: I wish my wife played EVE

Todays banter comes from CK himself:

What could CCP Games do to attract and maintain a higher percentage of women to the game. Will Incarna do the trick? Can anything else be done in the mean time? Can we the players do our part to share the game we love with our counterparts, with our sisters or daughters, with the Ladies in our lives? What could be added to the game to make it more attractive to them? Should anything be changed? Is the game at fault, or its player base to blame?

I wish my wife played EVE

Recently I read something about helping people jump to conclusions, this one example involved pretending to be a time traveler to garner the love from the girl of your dreams, but since this method cannot be used enmasse we must look at our other options.

Marketing, where does CCP spend their marketing dollars? I have no idea but it seems like most of it goes towards advertising on banners for various websites. Which websites? Male orientated ones! Go wack a 30 second advertisment during a girly talk show, tell them they can be the CEO of a galactic empire from their home or a mogul that controls the EVE economy and if that fails tell them about the pretty ships.

Give them something to be excited about, because lets face it EVE can get boring and then without warning be interjected with moments of face melting awesomeness. Like the butterfly effect video, highlight the awesomeness without the dodgy 'evil' Russian overlords.

What can CCP do directly? Hire Adrianne Curry and several other nerdy hot chicks to promote EVE. In Australia almost no one has heard of EVE let alone thought about trying it out. Of the people I have attempted to bring to EVE the learning curve aggrivates them to no end and the time requirments to actually learn just what is required to properly fit and fly a ship seems to instantly turn on the 'boring' switch in their brain.

If you have not seen the theme I am running with here, it is almost about taking the interesting bits to the market place then following up with an exciting community that is spurred on by CCP. To start with CCP can do the following for the existing community to get them excited enough to bring other people into the game:

  • More DEV blogs and more response, when they release a devblog organise an interview on one of the many podcasts out there or release one of their own.
  • Get better forums, if you cant create a decent set of forums whats the chance of your game being any good?
  • Scream out your initiatives, CSM? FFS a member has to use their own webspace to publish the minutes in PDF form.  Give these people some more loving and spend as much money as you do on their flights back and forth towards support infrastructure within the community.
  • Get the Chronicles out there, CCP you started with a single podcast for them then let it die in the ass - something like that is very cool but the uptake might be slow at first so dont just stop after one. Most people give no thought to the back story and universe events because it is something that can be easily ignored. Make it fun and entertaining and something easy to find - give everyone a bookmark to the chronicles on the IGB! Let the jukebox play the audio version of the chronicles.
I could go on for pages but what is the core of the problem is the interest that is created when seeing EVE, show someone one of your trailers and they will install the game. Get them logged in and once they log off I doubt you will see them again. Deliver on the promises of fun and adventure and the masses will come.

The good news is that my wife can change the skills for me in game now and I think with a bit of fun teamspeak banter she might have a laugh or two and miss the boring bits as she finds something she enjoys doing.

So getting back to the questions presented by CK, who is to blame?  Can you really blame a player for the game they are involved in?  Nope, you can ask them to contribute to and build a community but the responsibility must be solely placed and balanced precariously on CCP's head.

You can find other banters at:

Ghost Report
Cataclysmic Variable

And a full list from CK's site.

April 15, 2010

ECM - not quite so in depth!

Over at the Rifter Drifter Wensley posted about an ECM 101 guide found over at the SCH forums, there is some great info that is very easily absorbed and displayed with a touch of class and a dash of humor.

Asday is the forum member who put it together.  Image after the jump

April 13, 2010

ECM in depth: Part 3 The Blackbird

Venturing on from Part 2 we are getting into the Blackbird this time around, as a recap did you identify all the ECM modules correctly?
Being able to associate the modules to the targeted ship types should be something that you do instantly and without reference, an easy way to identify the correct module to ship is the racial background - the colours should match - with that lets get cracking!

I just moved away from the Griffin what is different?
1. You are bigger, three times as big actually - so people can now target you faster and hit you for more damage
2. Targeting will be slower, when targeting a cruiser for example it take 2 seconds longer
3. You have a fat ass and it takes double the time to turn around
4. A full tech 2 fit with rigs costs roughly 12mil compared to 5mil for the Griffin
5. Extra slots to fill, 2 medium and 1 low.
6. Your ranges will have changed by roughly 30km (depending on skills).
7. The small Griffin drone bay gets removed entirely when moving over to the Blackbird

The mightier Blackbird!
Caldari Cruiser Skill Bonus:
15% bonus to ECM Target Jammer strength per level
10% bonus to ECM Target Jammer optimal range and falloff per level.

Skills and Skill Plans

With the above stats you can see that the ship bonuses are quite large so getting Caldari Cruiser to level 4 should be higher on your priority list than any other ECM skill at this stage, you should also apply this rule to all other future ships as the Spaceship Command skill always has the best bonuses (apart from drone interfacing).

If you absolutely MUST be seen to be flying the Blackbird then the minimum requirements for getting into it are:

Caldari Cruiser 2
Spaceship Command 3
Caldari Frigate 4
Spaceship Command 1

A relatively new feature to EVE are Certificates, the only time I use them is when I get the notifications from my character sheet, but they do have their merits as it lets you easily see related skills to your profession.  EVE recommends the following certificate levels to pilot a Blackbird:

Active Shield Tanking @ Basic Level
Core Competency @ Basic Level
Cruiser Launcher Control @ Basic Level
ECM Operator @ Basic Level

EVEMon will assist you here as they have a very good section for planning for certificates, by now you should be to the 'basic' level so after you have Caldari Cruiser planned to level 4 add in the additional skills for ECM Operator Standard - basic will just not cut it for the Blackbird!

EVEMon certificate planner
I would not stick with the certificate method for training the rest of your skills however as they often expect you to get everything to level 5 which is just not practical for most of us, diminishing returns and all that guff.  Taken directly from the EVE wiki: 'Certificates are only recommendations and serve as some useful guideline to the skills you may require to do a specific task or fly a specific ship. They do not prevent you from flying or doing a profession without having all the prerequisite certificates for it.'  There are many other skills that also need to be trained up at the cruiser level so you will probably need a good 2 or more weeks to start fitting the better ECM related modules and rigs to your ships.

Moving onwards and upwards from the Griffin you will need to create a skill plan and aim to get the following trained while behind the controls of the Blackbird:

Caldari Cruiser 4
Targeting 4
Electronic Warfare 4
Long Range Targeting 4
Long Range Jamming 4
Frequency Modulation 3
Mechanic 3
Jury Rigging 3
Electronic Superiority Rigging 1
Signal Dispersion 3

Review Part 2 of the guide to check the core ECM skills and level them further as your patience allows.  At this stage, if you have not done so already, you will need to look towards getting through the learning skills, engineering and navigation skills so that you have a wider choice of fitting options.

Fitting the Blackbird

We have cookie cutter fits and we have mission specific fits, I will look at both types of fittings and how to make the most out of them. There are no high slot fittings on any of these as I do not want to steer you towards any type of missile or gunnery skills that you might regret.  To help you along though you can choose one of the following or a combination of missile launchers, nos, neuts, smart bombs, salvagers or tractor beams.  I tend to fit standard missile launchers or assault missile launchers to take out light tackle or drones although I am becoming a fan of fitting energy neutralisers more recently as two medium neuts can cap out frigates with a single cycle.

Rigs? Aha! Rigs!  These are new from the last fitting suggestions, rigs are like other modules except for one major difference, and if you unfit them they are destroyed.  Kind of like whacking a sticker on something, there is no chance of you peeling it off 100% intact.  NEVER FIT T2 RIGS TO AN ECM SHIP as they are way too costly for their benefits.  The ECM related rigs are:
  • Particle Dispersion Augmentors - strengthen jamming, but decreased shields as a drawback
  • Particle Dispersion Projectors - increase optimal range of Electronic Warfare modules, but decreased shields as a drawback
  • Signal Disruption Amplifiers - reduce capacitor cost of all ECM and Burst modules. No drawback.
The other thing you will notice is when I can I double up on Caldari jammers (Gravmetric) then Minmatar (Ladar), the reasoning is that there are more Caldari ships out there and I want to be able to jam the jammers.  The second doubling up is for Minmatar as they are the second most common ships I am seeing in hostile fleets, change this layout as required or when intel is received on specific ship types.

T1 tank! Cheap and practical.  It is a good starter ship that offers you a little extra survivability if you run into more than you bargained for.  Drop the rigs if you want to keep the price down. But they are cheap enough to warrant their use.

Purely T1 ECM, you can also go for meta 1 depending on the cost - just grab whatever is cheaper at the time.  This is a good fit to start with as it gives you the ability to jam an entire small gang.  Speed mods are not attached as you balloon in size when active and at the range you should be operating at, it should be quicker to warp out and back in than burn to the gate.

T2 is where the love is.
 With a jamming range past my targeting range it means I can lock and cycle away knowing that I am laying on the unlock-able frustration at a safe and secure distance, you can add a sensor booster with a targeting range script to increase your targeting range.

If you see tackle burning towards you align to a planet and depending on your weapons of choice you might be able to take them down, otherwise see if you can keep them jammed.  If you get a jam cycle off on someone trying to tackle you, do not warp off if your gang will be able to come to your aid in time.  As a force multiplier you need to stay on the field as long as possible.  Fitting medium neuts will help against light tackle.

Triple the range and over double the strength compared to the T1 Griffin

This is my typical Blackbird roll out, all T2 ECM modules with neuts and some damage output with the missile launchers.  I can drain the cap from an interceptor or frigate in a single cycle and can take care of any drones coming my way.  This is not the "perfect fit" but it is a fit that works for me, you will notice the microwarp drive on this fit also as the places I roam around normally have some type of warp disruption bubbles up on gates.

With all the fits listed here I have done them based off my skills and not some ideal 'all level 5' character.  I like to see real world figures so that I am not disappointed when I realise that I still need to train for 117 days to get all my ECM related ship and module skills to level 5.  You may not be able to fit everything listed here so substitute it for what you can fit at the time, when flying ECM ships never leave a low or medium slot empty as they are your life blood.  The highs can be ignored if you dont have enough CPU or powergrid to fit everything listed but make sure you are not short changing yourself or your fleet to fit a missile launcher instead of a better ECM module or rig.

Stay tuned for Part 4 of the ECM guide where I will look at the elegant Kitsune, thermodynamics and training towards Recon Ships.

April 07, 2010

ECM in depth: Part 2 Starting out

Continuing on from Part 1, where I mentioned the ships used in conjunction with Caldari Electronic Warfare, basic principals and the maths behind ECM.

We all must have a beginning, so if you are starting out with ECM then the information contained in these articles should get you on track to becoming a force multiplier within any fleet that you are a part of.

Skills and Skill Plans

If you do not have it installed already then First of all grab EVEMon, now install it and setup your character.  These skills are the pillars of producing an ECM pilot:
  • Electronics Upgrades - 5% reduction of sensor upgrade CPU needs per skill level.
    • required for Signal Distortion Amplifier and requires Electronics and Engineering both to level 3
  • Electronic Warfare - 5% Reduction to capacitor need per skill level.
    • required for jammers, level 3 will let you use meta 4, level 4 will let you use T2
  • Frequency Modulation - 10% bonus to falloff per skill level.
    • requires Electronics 3 and Electronic Warfare 2
  • Long Distance Jamming - 10% bonus to optimal range per skill level.
    • requires Electronics 4 and Electronic Warfare 3
  • Signal Dispersion - 5% bonus to strength of all ECM jammers per skill level.
    • requires Electronics at 5, Electronic Warfare at 4
With the necessary skills covered off you need to be looking at getting your skill plan organised for the next few weeks, as with any other profession there is a significant time requirement to get the ECM pillar skill to a respectable level.  Give yourself 1 week to get into a good Griffin fit and upwards of a month for a Blackbird fit if starting from a new character. So here is what to train and to what levels:

Caldari Frigate 3
Electronic Warfare 3
Electronics 4
Electronics Upgrades 3
Frequency Modulation 3
Long Distance Jamming 2
Targeting 3

(your skill plan should look something like this, click to enlarge)
I will not go into specifics of learning skills, but briefly, you will notice in the bottom left hand corner a link 'Suggestion'.  Clicking on that link will provide details of learning skills that will make your overall training time much faster.  Throughout the guide I will be providing skill plans for each ships and their recommended fittings.  All the skill plans are going beyond the base entry point for each ship and modules though as having the skills to fly something is not the same as being able to use it properly.

Griffin for a Beginner

The mighty Griffin!
To go through the fitting in this guide go grab yourself a copy of EFT (EVE Fitting Tool) so you can add in your own items as budget and skills allow.  The basic fit for a Griffin will be:

(EFT fitting details with the above skill plan completed)

[Griffin, Starting Block]
Signal Distortion Amplifier I

ECM - Ion Field Projector I
ECM - Spatial Destabilizer I
ECM - White Noise Generator I

ECM - Phase Inverter I

If you right-click on one of the ECM modules you can get the statistics and information for that module.  You can use this preliminary information to get an idea at your operating range and your ECM strength.

So with this information I know that I need to increase my jamming range to help me live through more fights as being in that close is just asking to be smashed back into our pods, but with all things EVE getting that jamming range improved is a whole bunch of skill levels away.  So we will persevere with what we have.  Something to look forward to if you stick with a longer term skill plan however is a jam cycle strength of 16+/- at a stretch with overheating and a comfortable jam strength of 14.

Operating as an effective ECM pilot

This will be a shortened bullet point list that I will expand on and add to later on as I go through the different ECM ships.


  • Do not be the first to warp to a fight or gate when in fleet, ideally you want to be landing in the middle of the crowd or dead last with smaller groups..
  • When warping to a fight, DO NOT WARP TO ZERO!
Fleet smarts
  • Ensure you have enough capacitor to jam before jumping into a fight, if you have been warping around and have an almost empty capacitor you will not be able to perform your role
  • You have a very small signature radius, but that is negated if you dont keep moving, set the smallest orbit you can while maintaining full speed - you can orbit a fleet mate
Damage dealing
  • Dont worry too much about shooting at hostiles, your job is to stop them from shooting at your and your fleet
  • You damage will be measly but the Griffin can fit a single drone which you can set upon someone and if using missiles in your high slots then your damage is best used on the faster targets
The right ships
  • Sometimes Fleet Commanders will not want any ECM out of disregard/hate for them or because they do not know how to use them effectively
  • If the fleet you are in is Battleship size and going after a similar ship composition then a Griffin is probably not your best option unless it is your only option
That concludes part 2 of this guide, I had planned on detailing the Kitsune but I will do that in part 3 as it fits in much better as a step up from the Blackbird than it does here.  As always please leave a comment with your thoughts and suggestions.  I will leave you with the 5 types of ECM modules, see if you can identify them.


Keep an eye out for the next part of the series: ECM in depth: Part 3 The Blackbird

ECM in depth: Part 1 Introduction


The glorious Caldari Electronic Warfare: Electronic Counter Measures or more commonly known as ECM.  You can get a brief run down on all the various forms of electronic warfare from the EVE wiki (a wonderful source of info on all things EVE) here, the specific type of EW (Electronic Warfare) I will be going through however is ECM.

There are a few basics that need to be covered off before even thinking about getting our feet wet with ECM:
1. Jamming does not always work
2. if you successfully get an ECM module activated on a ship they will not be able to target for 20 seconds
3. you will be the primary target for hostile pilots.

As the ECM pilot you will not be dishing out the damage and you will not be the first responder so there will be no ship tackling or being in the thick of things.  You will be sought out from amongst the fleet and in your ever so flimsy ship be the primary target for anyone who happens to stumble across you.  So why on earth would you want to train to become an ECM pilot? Because you can potentially do more against the enemy in a ship that costs 5 million ISK (Griffin or Blackbird) than a 2 year EVE veteran with with a 250 million ISK setup.  How can you do that?  By being a force multiplier.  A capable ECM pilot should be able to take out anywhere from 1-8 ships in a fleet engagement within seconds - what other pilot and ship can do that? None, if that doesnt perk up your interest towards ECM then pop over the the Rifter Drifter for a great beginners guide to pew pew.

The Ships

Beyond the ships specific bonuses and your own skills there is a very small list of items that can boost your jamming strength, certain rigs and single low slot item.  Caldari have 7 ships with bonuses to their race specific electronic warfare, those ships are sorted by their hull type in the list below.

Frigate Hulls
T2: Kitsune (Electronic Attack Ship)

Cruiser Hulls
T2: Falcon (Force Recon)
T2: Rook (Combat Recon)

Battleship Hulls
T2: Widow (Black Ops)

The Maths of ECM - formulas credited to Ryysa

To figure out your chance to jam your target the following formula can be used:
  [Your Jammer Strength] (divided by) [Target Sensor Strength] (multiplied by) [100%]  

To figure out the falloff for your jammers this formula can be used:
  [[Jammer Strength] (divided by) [Target sensor strength] (multiplied by) [100%]] (multiplied by) [[[Falloff*2] - [[Range to target] - [Optimal]]] / [Falloff*2]]  

The maths is straight forward but doing it on the fly can be quite a head fuck so before you undock your ship make sure you know what ranges to operate at!  Your skills, ship and fitting will have an impact on your ranges and your specific ship will put a soft cap on your ranges so be sure to right click the module to get your actual ranges.

Rather than making one giant post of information I will be breaking up the content into several parts with a PDF document published at the end which will hopefully become a beginners guide to getting into Caldari Electronic Warfare.

Part 2 of this guide will look at:
- Frigate hulls and their fittings
- Effective beginner skill plans
- How to operate as an effective ECM pilot in a fleet

(one of my Kitsunes sitting in OBE)