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EVE New Citizens Q&A

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Losing Heavys while drone ratting?

Kirk Long
Northern Crux LLC
Virtue of Selfishness
#1 - 2016-08-10 22:19:45 UTC
Hey guys so i just started to rat in null sec for isk using heavy drones. A friend of mine gave me a fully fitted dominous to use with plenty of heavy drones. The fit works 100% i can do the havens, forsakens, and anything else with no problem pretty quickly. Last night i was running site after site with no issues. But now every-time i send out drones all the rats at the entire site immediately switch to my drones and start blasting them. If i don't pull them back in quickly i will eventually lose them. I even tried sitting there for 5 min letting them attack me and then send out drones and they still immediately switched. I tried switching sites even docking and coming back. How do i avoid them focus firing my drones so hard. ??
Zoltan Lazar
#2 - 2016-08-10 23:25:41 UTC
Rats choose their target based on your damage, ewar and repping output. If you aren't directly damaging the rats they'll shoot your drones a lot. You can alleviate this with ewar use - fit a target painter or ECM and use it.
Tsukino Stareine
Garoun Investment Bank
Gallente Federation
#3 - 2016-08-10 23:25:58 UTC
fit some kind of ewar like a target painter.

Also sentries work brilliantly on a dominix so you can keep your drones close and safe from most harm.
The Squirrel Academy
Curatores Veritatis Alliance
#4 - 2016-08-11 01:04:21 UTC
If you use medium drones on frigates, they will kill your drones.
If you use heavy drones on frigates, dessies and cruisers, they will kill your drones.

As a rule; use light on frigates and destroyers, use medium on cruisers(sometimes heavy)
Use Heavy on BC and Battleships - you'll be fine.
Why?: Because of the signature radius and tracking speed.
Cruiser rats, cannot hit light drones to easy... same goes for medium vs BC and BS. etc.
Your light drones might take a hit, but recal them and launch them again, or have reserves.

As for those other tips in thread; I support that :)
Wombat65Au Egdald
#5 - 2016-08-11 03:48:16 UTC  |  Edited by: Wombat65Au Egdald
Rat ships are programmed to target whoever is causing them the most trouble. If you are relying on your drones to do all the damage while you just sit there in your ship, then the rat ships will target the drones.

If you want the rat ships to stop shooting at your drones, you need to give those rat ships a more important target, your ship, which means you need to do something with your ship that makes you a more important target than your drones. Target painters can help, but one target painter can only affect one rat ship at a time.

Sentry drones. These drones are the same size and need the same bandwidth as heavy drones, but sentry drones cannot move once they are launched into space. When you want to bring sentry drones back into your ship, your ship needs to be within 2 km from the drones. If you are further away than that, your sentry drones won't be able to come back to your ship.

Why are sentry drones good? The other combat drones (light, medium and heavy) have to fly from one ship to another before they can shoot at it. That flying time is time that they are not shooting. Sentry drones sit in one spot and simply turn from one target to the next one, the time delay when they are not shooting is very small.

Now for one very important detail about sentry drones. They don't all have the same weapon range.

Caldari sentries have the longest weapon range. With the right skills and modules on your ship, Caldari sentries can hit targets over 100km away, but they have slow tracking and are pretty useless against targets that get close to you.

Minmatar sentries come second. Their weapon range (depending on skills and modules) is 80-90km, and they can reliably hit a cruiser size target at around 35 - 40 km range. Much closer than that and the Minmatar sentries will start to miss a lot.

Amarr sentries can reach out to 50 - 55km and are still ok as close as 30 km.

Gallente sentries struggle to hit anything further than 45km but they have the best tracking speed of all the sentry drones and can deal with nearby targets the easiest, but they still have limits. A fast frigate or destroyer that's only 15 km or closer will be difficult to hit with Gallente sentries.

There are also a couple of ship rigs you should look at. One is called the Drone Durability Enhancer. It gives all your drones more hp's, so they can take more damage before they die. "But my Dominix has a bonus for drone hp's". Yes, it does, I have a Dominix too, but the rig is still worth considering.

The other rig, if you decide to use sentry drones, is the Sentry Damage Augmentor which increases the damage of sentry drones. "But my Dominix has a bonus for drone damage". Yes, it does, I have a Dominix too, but the rig is still worth considering. This rig only affects sentry drones, it does not affect any other drones.

Drone rigs have a penalty of reducing your ship's available CPU. The Drone Rigging skill reduces the CPU penalty of these rigs.

A mid slot module that is very useful for sentry drones is the Omnidirectional Tracking Link which increases the tracking speed and optimal weapon range of sentry drones.

I would not advise using only sentry drones. My advice would be to position yourself at least 80 - 100km from the rat site and use a set of longer range sentries such as the Caldari or Minmatar sentries. Concentrate on the small ships first and use the sentries to snipe them at range. Start with the frigates, then the destroyers, then the cruisers, etc. By positioning yourself so far out, the rats will come to you in a straight line, making the smaller rat ships easier to hit at long range. When the remaining ships are getting close enough that the sentries start having problems hitting them, recall the sentries and switch to regular drones appropriate to the situation. Make sure your ship is close to your sentries, they can't fly to you, you have to fly to them.

How to deal with your drones taking damage.

Option 1: Try to keep the rats more interested in shooting at you than at your drones.

Option 2: Fit a small remote shield or armour repper to your ship and repair your own drones (drone shields regenerate on their own, armour never regenerates on it's own). The repper module will have a limited range so this is not so easy to do with regular combat drones that can fly outside your repping range. Depending on your ship's cap stability, the added cap use of a repper may be a strain. You also need to target your own drones to repair them. If you are not careful, you could shoot your own drones by mistake.

Option 3: Carry a shield or armour repping drone (they do exist), recall one of your combat drones and launch the repper drone, use it to repair the other combat drones. You lose some drone dps but it may save your other drones. You must target your own drones for this and you could shoot them by mistake.

Option 4: Switch to another set of drones. When the drones you are using start taking damage, recall them, wait for the rats to retarget your ship, then launch a different set of drones. It will take time for the rats to switch targets back to the drones, which may be enough to pop a few more rats before you need to switch drones again.

I normally carry an armour repping drone. When the fighting is over, I launch any drones with armour damage and the repper drone, and repair the damaged drones.

If there is a citadel nearby that allows anyone to tether to it, do that. If your ship has damage, a few seconds after tethering to the citadel, it will start repairing your ship for free. Any damaged drones in your drone bay will also be repaired by the citadel.

There is a display bug related to this. If you look at the drones in your drone bay, it can show them as damaged even after they have been repaired by a citadel. To clear this, just launch and recall the drones.
Memphis Baas
#6 - 2016-08-11 10:26:50 UTC
Normal rats only go for drones that are bigger than them. So frigates will ignore light drones but go for medium or heavy, cruisers will ignore light and medium and go for heavy, and battleships should ignore all sizes. However, this is normal rats only.

Named / officer rats have special AI and they attack all types of drones.

For normal rats you can use smaller drones to kill the smaller ships first. For officers / named, you'll probably have to use a gun or missile ship.
Major Trant
Red Federation
RvB - RED Federation
#7 - 2016-08-11 14:44:42 UTC
Memphis Baas wrote:
Normal rats only go for drones that are bigger than them. So frigates will ignore light drones...

This isn't correct, I was running a bunch of high sec level 4 missions for the Sisters on my alt just last week and my light drones were being regularly attacked.

As I recall CCP changed things a couple of years ago to make drone boat missioning more difficult. Especially to prevent AFK missioning. The only solution I have found is to pull back the drones after every kill, they only need to dock for a split second and the aggro is reset to your ship and will stay there for another minute or so, enough time to make the next kill.

I don't understand why the OP has only experienced this in the last couple days. I can only assume he has exaggerated the sample size and just got lucky in one or two missions, but today (yesterday) he wasn't so lucky.

Don't try repping drones while in combat as another poster above suggests. It is virtually impossible to accomplish before the drone dies. Pull it as soon as it starts taking damage. But if you have a spare high it doesn't hurt to put a small remote armor repper on and rep your drones inbetween combat.
Tsukino Stareine
Garoun Investment Bank
Gallente Federation
#8 - 2016-08-11 14:55:37 UTC
might also consider using caldari drones since they have a higher shield buffer and therefore not as much repairing needed.

The natural regen is also higher meaning they can tank the stray shot now and again
Pandora Carrollon
Provi Rapid Response
Apocalypse Now.
#9 - 2016-08-11 14:56:55 UTC
Don't forget EWAR drones either. When I'm in a tough fight, my EWAR drones are actually better than my combat drones. They keep the DPS off of my Exequeror Navy Issue while it prosecutes the attack and keeps the focus on itself with the combat and webbing down opponents. My drones are rarely targeted. As long as you engage with your ship first, draw the aggro with your guns for a little while THEN pop the drones to add to the party, the aggro should never leave you.

The dilemma is which EWAR drones to use. Usually if you are in a smaller ship and do speed/sig tanking, tracking disruption seems to work really well. If you're up against other EWAR NPC's then you need to fit to break their target locks so you can stay locked and out from under EWAR restrictions.

My ENI uses 4 Light Combat Drones and 1 EC-300 because if I need someone jammed I really need them taken out of the picture, the ENI is small for a cruiser but still large enough that other cruisers can pick on it successfully even at good AB speeds. Anything larger than a cruiser and they usually miss it. Smaller and it can either 1,2 or 3 volley the target. Other cruisers usually die in 5-6 seconds when fully targeted.

A Dominix would have different engagement envelopes and would have to be fit differently to use long range (Sentry Drones / Rails) vs. short range (Lights + Meds + Heavies / Blasters). Long range is lower DPS but higher safety factor provided you can stay at along range but it's also a serious problem if you are jumped on by players. Short range is far better for PvP encounters and gives you the most versatility but also is more work/effort to run everything efficiently.

I used to be a pretty dedicated long range fighter with a rail specialization, and it worked well in HiSec. Out in Null Sec it's almost worthless as a fit. You are pounced on at the gates and bringing a sniper rifle to a knife fight isn't going to work at all.

So if you are in Null or WH, fit for max dps and for PvP. Yes, it's slightly less efficient because you have to waste slots with things like a Warp Scrambler, but it's still good enough to take down Rats.

My ENI engages 5 ship Rats with any mix of 3 Frigs/Destros/Cruisers and 2 Battleships and the fights take about 5 minutes. A Dominix should crush stuff like that. The combat priority would change but it should still be a pretty quick fight.
Eleonora Crendraven
Global Communications AG
#10 - 2016-08-11 16:41:16 UTC
Wait till the rats attack you and then deploy your drones. So wait a few seconds until everyone is shooting at you and then your drones can shoot back. If in doubt, call your drones back to drone bay, wait again a few seconds while shooting and deploy them again.


Tau Cabalander
Retirement Retreat
Working Stiffs
#11 - 2016-08-11 17:45:25 UTC  |  Edited by: Tau Cabalander
Don't let heavies travel more than 15 km.

And fit a remote repper.

Works for me.

EDIT: Some people use ECM module to draw aggro. NPC really hate ECM.
Memphis Baas
#12 - 2016-08-11 19:02:04 UTC
Major Trant wrote:
This isn't correct, I was running a bunch of high sec level 4 missions for the Sisters on my alt just last week and my light drones were being regularly attacked.

So normal, grunt rats (for example Guristas) ignore drones of equal size or less, whereas elite rats (for example Dread Gurista) and any named will go for all drones. Quite a few of the missions will have elites appear in some of the waves. Some SoE missions have them too.