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To Buff or not to Buff – That is the question

February 3, 2013

Hi All,

I’ve been thinking (uh-oh). There are quite a number of posts out there at present, both pro and against making things safer for newer players. Frankly, a gank can happen at any time to any person, no matter their in game age or experience.

I’m really only looking at the high sec end of the game and to a certain extent low sec (survivability to get back to the gate), where the engagements tend to be smaller numbers as opposed to OMGBLOB.

Now, what the hell am I talking about? That there is a middle ground between fully active and fully passive tanking your ships. Something that pilots can sometime overlook in their desire to run on the bleeding edge. This is about buffer fitting to give Concord enough time to do their thing.

And there are two elements to this post. The first is about increasing the cost to gankers. The higher the cost and the less the chance of making a return = fewer gank attempts.

To give an example – I run a fairly standard proteus exploration boat (well, OK – it’s a little bit of a non standard set up, but not in an over the top blingy mcbling tengu kinda way). I’ve also lost one previously though not to a gank.

The biggest difference between the two fits, the then and now? The right subsystem and the addition of a 1600mm plate. Yes, you may lose a little DPS or perhaps a few percentage points of resistance, but your effective EHP jumps from 35k+ to over 80k.

Lets take a look at the aforementioned blingy mcbling Tengu. Now you can get some truly ridiculous active tanks on this wee beasty. Again you can also have an EHP ranging from 35+ toΒ  a semi-active (defense 300+) with a buffer of 85k EHP or more dependent on fitting.

Once you start adding Caldari Navy Invuls and Ballistic Control Systems to the mix, you are turning a 500 million iskie hull into a 1 billion or even 2 billion plus ship if you choose to use deadspace or (dear god) officer gear.

The problem is gankers flying cheap ships with high alpha damage, and to a lesser extent those with high DPS. Take Minmatar battleships. Even with T1 or low meta guns, some of them can push out an 8k plus alpha. If they want to T2 weaponry and gyrostablisers, a well skilled pilot can exceed 10k damage in a single volley.

You can be absolutely sure they will have already scanned you and loaded for your weakest resist, which in the Tengu’s case is usually EM. Even if your resistance is 60%, a 35k EHP Tengu will likely die to a single volley from 5 Maelstroms.

Given they’re running at just over 200 million a pop in Jita (Tempests are even cheaper at just under 150 mil), essentially gankers are running the risk that between 600 and a billion iskies blown up by Concord will net them between 500 and a billion iskies in loot drops after costs.

The numbers become even better for the gankers when you consider this: the lower the sec status of the system, the longer it takes for Concord to arrive. Add to this the fact that Minmatar guns do not require cap, rendering Concord neuting ineffectual, means that two gun cycles are pretty much guaranteed.

The second part is more to the fittings – the question is: do you need that hyper-expensive pith shield booster and boost amplifier combo? What about ripping out the boost amplifer and dropping in a Large Shield Extender? Do you need three Caldari Navy Ballistic Control Systems? Or will two and a Damage Control II work almost as well?

Every shiny that you add to your ship makes you more and more of a target. And the more of them you add at a cost to your effective hit points, makes you both more easy to kill and the more likely a cost effective drop for a gank will occur.

I’m painting in broad strokes here I know (Jester has written a much better article with a break down of how many guns with which type of ammo for each of the shield, armor and structure resists), but the principle of what I’m saying is solid.

Be a little bit smart about things and perhaps lose that 2.5% extra DPS or 2.5% resists.Β  Add 20k (or another two ships to the gankers costs) to your effective hit points as the trade off for it. Consider the cost of your fittings as well and remove the big red target painted squarely on your back.

If it’s less likely to be worthwhile for a gank squad to hit you, the more likely they will go find fatter, slower, and more attractive targets to kill.

Fly Smart,


From → Eve Online

  1. -K- permalink

    but I LIKE my bling Tengu! its all ZOOM and BOOM with a side order of oooooh shiny πŸ™‚ Stop being all logical and rational and all that grown up stuff and just admire the pretty.

    (please note not all personalities are in agreement on this opinion but the rational ones are currently being held captive in the mental sub basement of sleep deprivation)

  2. Oh, I like my shiny as well you know – sleep deprived or not. The problem is others like my shiny and would quite happily take it off my hands in exchange for a small sec hit. Yours too, for that matter πŸ™‚

    The thing is this: even if you don’t have a quite the same active tank, in real world terms a greater buffer gives you longer survivability period. If you have something doing 500 DPS after resists and you have a buffer of 80k and an active or passive tank of 200 dps, you’ll last approx 4.5 minutes before going all explody.

    If you have a buffer of 30k and same incoming DPS and an active tank of 300 DPS, you’ll last about 2.5 minutes. Neither are linear of course because hopefully you’ll be reducing the incoming DPS during that time. Unless you don’t have enough ammo on board πŸ˜›

    Gives you more time to make choices and hopefully bug out if you can. Still, that whole alpha’d off the field thing alone gives me cause for pause. One sensor boosted fast tackle plus a handful of Tornadoes sitting at a gate should give just about anyone the heebie jeebies.

  3. -K- permalink

    Sorry but your response contains far more actual sensible reality than I can currently process therefore I reject your reality and substitute my own.

    *mutter mutter* forget your ammo just once and they never let you live it down *mutter mutter*

    {was more than once}

    *glare* voices in my head are supposed to agree with ME dammit!

  4. My PVE T3 are all active tanked, with not much of a buffer. I take the approach to limiting my fitting costs to mostly T2 and the cheap but effective faction gear, and never Autopilot or AFK in them. In my experience however (at least how I fit my ships), generally swapping out one mod for more of a buffer often has big impact on the ship (not just a few %).

    • Good points as always Hermit, but then you’ve been around the block once or twice and no doubt know your stuff.

      Newer players not so much – and, as you’ve pointed out, you’ve reduced the attraction of killing your ship by using the cheaper mods.

      I’m just pointing out that even if you lose 100 DPS by ripping out the 3rd CN BCS (down to 700+ on a HAM Tengu) to put in a DC II, you increase your survivability by 8k.

      Yoink a shield boost amp out and putting in a large shield extender in combination with the DC, you’re nearly doubling your EHP.

      The choice is, as always, for each individual. But I will say I’ve found having just that bit of extra buffer damn useful on occasion.

      • Oh, I agree with your advice – even if I don’t tend to follow it! Then again – my PVE DPS never gets as high as 700+!

  5. Really? My proteus exploration boat does over 500, though not all of that is always immediately applicable. It makes up for that in flexibility though. If we’re talking mission running, my Navy Meg puts out over 1000 dps by herself.

    I’ll put a disclaimer in here, while H is not a combat specialist like a couple of my alts, she is still over four years old and probably has more than half her skill points in blowing stuff up.

    Suspect you probably have the opposite weighting and be quite a bit better on science/indy and certainly on the market-fu side than I am.

    • After years of constant interruptions, my PVE ships tend to be over tanked so I can just walk away. My Exploration Legion does 400dps and has a 391dps cap stable omni tank – it also has T2 Codebreaker / Analyzer / Tractor Beam and Salvager fit – so I never have to swap modules. I have a Cruiser Rattlesnake I use for some PVE – with a 664dps and a 664dps omni tank – but I can swap that up to 830dps with Torps. The PVE tengu I am going to have to revisit, since it was a sit and forget 789dps tank – again Omni – but only did 275dps. I would agro everything, orbit a wreck, and bring in my Alt in a DPS Proteus. All the fits are cap stable and over tanked, long ranged to save in mission travel time, and generally never need to be changed for different missions. To be fair I am often in fleet and being boosted by my Alt, so the numbers tend to be better than that. I do however have to suffer through number envy!

      • Yeah, sorry Hermit. I know this is going to be opposite to what I’ve just talked about, but DPS tanking is damn effective. It’s just that when it goes wrong, it usually goes horribly and expensively wrong.

        Big Guns. A good title for my next post I think….

      • Oh – I agree – but DPS tanking is useless if you rarely get through a full mission without having to walk away from your keyboard due to kid or wife agro. My wife has no issues with me playing EVE – as long as I instantly drop what I am doing the moment she yells from the other end of the house… πŸ™‚

      • LOL – I hear you!

        I tend to go for the opposite end of the spectrum – kill everything in 10 or 15 minutes flat if you can and be done. Usually when others are still asleep though.

        Will have to be a different approach when the wee cherub arrives oO

  6. With the advent of tier-3s, pretty much the game has become all about buffer + resist + remote logis. Just how it is. “Proper tank” nowadays is buffer, DCU, buffer, resists, moar buffer, and if you STILL have a slot free, an ASB or AAR.
    CCP says they’re putting more tools in the toolbox, but they’re also quite clearly making sure that “swiss army knife” is thoroughly removed from the toolbox.

    As far as deadspace/officer mods go, if you can’t put em on a T3, what the hell CAN you put them on??? I mean seriously… T3s can mount BS-grade tanks on a cruiser-sig hull. As for gate-crashing, I’d respectfully suggest (if you’re going to bling a T3), a deadspace MWD. Heat, run 1 cycle, and you should be back at the gate and jumping before they can get off a 2nd volley.

    Besides, it’s all just freakin pixels anyways. What good is having those modules if all they do is sit in your hangar and collect dust? You can look at it, but that’s it? What use is that??? :-/

    • Your points are all valid…. but sleepy headed carebears operating in their quiet little corner of high sec aren’t necessarily going to be the quickest off the mark when they’re suddenly red boxed. Defense is inherently more difficult than offense, and as I’ve said, the aggressor has probably already scanned you, figured your weakest resist, and is about to pour that particular flavor of DPS right in the hole.

      I suspect though given the RR + logi comments, you’re talking more small gang warfare. Something gankers tend not to try and take on. The isk likely to drop isn’t worth trying to tool up for that kind of operation. Gankers by nature are looking for easy, blinged out solo targets.

      If you want to drop an officer mod or three on your T3, well just be prepared to have them all over you like a rash. You’re a smart man WeiLoh. One sensor boosted scram/web frigate or inty just there to stop you while the big guns cycle would absolutely ruin your day.

      And no, I don’t accept anyone has fast enough twitch fibers to assess the situation, counter lock a small, fast target, destroy it (if your guns do manage to hit it), turn and crash the gate…. especially if you’re not expecting it.

      Deadspace is common enough that I can agree with using it (and do). Officer stuff worth in the order of high milliions and into the billions of isk worth? Not so much.

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