Saturday, 31 January 2015

Level 4 PVE Vargur Guide

I've wanted to do a post about missions for a while now, maybe even several. My inner carebear refuses to be silenced, so I've decided to let loose. This post is going to be about the best missioning ship I've flown so far in EVE, the Vargur.

I've flown the Vargur for about two months since I've trained Minmatar Battleship V, and frankly it's amazing. It does a shitload of damage with only T2 modules, is easy to fly, super tanky, damn quick and it's pretty sexy to boot. Add some faction module love and it only gets better. Before we go any further, here's the fit I've been using so far.

Vargur - 24/7 Wrecking

Republic Fleet Gyrostabilizer
Republic Fleet Gyrostabilizer
Republic Fleet Gyrostabilizer
Tracking Enhancer II
Tracking Enhancer II

Gist A-Type 100MN Microwarpdrive

Pith C-Type X-Large Shield Booster
Adaptive Invulnerability Field II
Adaptive Invulnerability Field II
Shield Boost Amplifier II
Large Micro Jump Drive

Bastion Module I

800mm Repeating Cannon II
800mm Repeating Cannon II
800mm Repeating Cannon II
800mm Repeating Cannon II
Small Tractor Beam II
Small Tractor Beam II
Salvager II

Large Capacitor Control Circuit I

Large Projectile Burst Aerator II


Hammerhead II x 5
Hobgoblin II x 5

So there we go. Now obviously the first thing you're going to notice is that I've thrown faction and Deadspace gear on here, which should push the price up right? Well not massively. At time of making this fit (Dec 2014) it was fairly cheap for a faction fit marauder, coming in at around 1.55 billion, the majority of which is the hull and gyrostabilizers. The Deadspace MWD is definitely not a priority, it just lets you be lazy about cap management. The Deadspace shield booster is cheap as hell (around 40mil last I checked) but if you're looking to keep costs down you can replace all of this with T2/Meta and it'll work just fine. Infact, I wouldn't have bothered buying fancy Deadspace stuff if I didn't have the MWD and gyros lying around already, the T2 version is about 95% as effective to be honest, and a hell of alot more ISK efficient. Hell if you live in quiet NullSec or LowSec, a fully T2 fit Vargur will probably pay for itself in less than a week if you run high end anomalies/L4 LowSec missions. However you'd want to make some changes to the fit. Swapping the tractor beams and salvager for heavy/medium neuts is a good idea, and carry a set of light or medium ECM drones just incase. The MJD helps alot in avoiding people too, but it's a good idea to have backup plans. I'm not saying a LowSec Marauder is always a good idea, but if you have a quiet missioning system or your corp is well set up in a dead-end pocket, you can get away with it pretty safely.

However the one thing about this fit I really recommend is the use of faction ammo. You might think I'm being crazy here but hear me out. The Vargur only has 4 turret slots with a 100% bonus damage role, so you're doing the damage of eight guns with only four which halves your ammo consumption straight off the bat. Plus the increase in damage is definitely worth it, since you gain over 100DPS at all V skills (875 Gun DPS -> 1007 Gun DPS). Don't worry either, you'll earn the ISK to pay for your ammo consumption per mission at some stupid rate of like 20:1. So for every mission you run, you could afford to pay for twenty more mission's worth of ammo with the proceeds (I'll admit this is some guessing here, but the point stands, it's completely sustainable). Often when I run missions, I only need to reload once, and even then it's pretty rare. So don't skimp on cheap ammo when faction gives such a boost in completion times, which is what this ship is all about.

Tips for flying like a pro

Now when it comes to flying this thing it's easy as hell. Autocannons with the tracking bonus of the Vargur can hit frigate sized rats flying towards you to a minimum of 12km ish, which is damn good for battleship sized weapons. Cruisers are fairly easy to track, even the elite ones, and battlecruisers get smacked off the field in two or three bursts. Battleships obviously have zero tracking issues unless they're 500m away in tight orbit (i.e Angel battleships). Your falloff starts showing a noticeable dropoff in damage at around 35 - 40+ kilometres with all Vs but that's why you're dual propped. Just burn within 30km or so of the targets, hit bastion for a minute and gun everything down. You travel at nearly 1km/s if not a bit more under MWD so you're damn quick at approaching targets.

Your shield is extremely cap efficient while in bastion (and still pretty efficient out of it) so don't be afraid to let yourself hit 33% or so cap when closing range before engaging bastion. You're stupidly tanky with the Vargur's bonus to shield boosting + bastion bonus to shield boosting and shield resistances. There's no need to swap resistances for different missions either, though obviously  as a shield tanker, Angel rats are hilariously easy to fight/tank, especially with their helpful tendency to fly straight at you for zero transversal. On a related note, here's a sped up video of me blitzing Angel Extravaganza in my Vargur.

Youtube link

I usually don't bother salvaging/looting anything that isn't a battleship sized wreck since most other stuff is trash, and besides this ship is designed for blitzing. If you want to full clear I'd recommend a Rattlesnake and Noctis combo with a Mobile Tractor Unit to create a wreck ball in each room. I might throw my Rattlesnake fit on here in the next few weeks, I'm still tweaking it currently.

Anyway give this fit a try if you're looking for a high skillpoint, if slightly pricy, mission blitzer. I promise you it's worth the train!

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Stretching old muscles

Khanid Region
Fekhoya Constellation
Tegheon Solar System (0.4) - Far orbit over Planet IX
15:32 EVE Time (Local System)

It had been so long since he'd flown in the deep black. Months stuck in station, his pilot license stuck in limbo between CONCORD's red tape and the multiple arrest orders out on him from Minmatar authorities, several for crimes he'd not actually committed. Or atleast, he felt he was no longer the man who'd committed those crimes. A strange moral compass true, but atleast he had one now.

That being said he was no saint. Not one of the holy men from the stories in his youth, who had led peaceful and philosophical lives for hundreds of years before allowing the technology anchoring them to existence to cease, freeing them to the great beyond. One last great journey. But the life of a saint was not the one he craved. Excitement and adrenaline were the drugs he was addicted to. But today, his first flight into space in months, he wanted to keep things slow and methodical. To reawaken his dulled senses and slowed reaction speeds from too long spent in station, drinking nights away.

As a result, his recently refitted Pilgrim hung in deep space near the ninth planet in the Tegheon system. Beautiful carvings in the gold embossed over thick starship armour plating showed her name to be "Ad Astra". New developments in energy transfer technology and power core management had resulted in huge increases in range for energy neutralizers fitted to Pilgrim class ships, and the capsuleer was looking forward to putting them to use. Reliable intel from his alliance had thrown "Tegheon" up as a potential hunting ground, and he'd been loitering in system for about three or four hours now. Annoyingly, the locals seemed content to sit in their tower, probably chattering over secure comms. Two ships were on scan off towards a nearby moon, but Seraph felt no need to observe them directly. The sophisticated sensors onboard his ship would detect any sudden warps away from the tower. He was content to wait silently, cloaked up, allowing his crew to rest and recover from the long flight here from Jita.

He toyed with the idea of decloaking several hundred kilometres from the tower, just to jolt the motionless capsuleers into some sort of action, but he knew this would be a pointless waste of the ease he was steadily putting his targets at. Experience hunting in wormholes with a past group of mercenaries had taught him that greed and boredom soon outweigh caution. Of course this was easier to come by in unknown space where a lack of CONCORD regulations meant there was no way to track how many ships were in system via the use of gate idents. LowSec was still constrained by these legalities, meaning his name would be showing up bright and clear on all "Local" comm channels. A blessing and a curse from CONCORD, but it was only a matter of time before one of the pilots was sure enough Seraph was no threat, and then they'd be vulnerable. It helped that his months stuck in station had meant his confirmed kill history, publicly available, was severely lacking.

15:48 EVE Time (Local System)
A quiet ping from the bridge sensors was the only sign anything had changed in the silent darkness of space. Lounging in his captain's chair, Seraph suddenly sat up, alert. A surge of energy had just emanated from the space surrounding the tower, an obvious sign of a ship dropping into warp. A mere thought from the now awake capsuleer started the Pilgrim's sensors on active directional scans, invisible fingers streaming through space attempting to locate what the ship was and where it was headed. A minute or so passed. A low tone from the sensor suite, followed by a blinking icon on Seraph's holographic HUD screen showed the ship to be a mining vessel, a "Retriever" class strip miner. Seraph tried not to feel too disappointed. A target was a target after all, but a mining vessel was hardly dangerous prey. Then again, it would serve as good practice for covert operations maneuvers, and perhaps would bring combat ships out in defense. The potential for a good fight perked him up slightly, and he worked quickly to locate the clueless miner. He had no need to wake his crew for a defenseless target, there was very little chance of any danger in this engagement.

Within the minute he had located the barge to an asteroid belt surrounding planet VIII. A little slower than he used to be, but much better than he expected after months away from the complex sensor systems found in all combat ships these days. A slight tug on engine power aligned the Pilgrim towards planet VIII, and the muted sound of low-energy covert engines hummed through the hull. The familiar split-second feeling of falling was the only indication that they were in warp. He nodded to himself in satisfaction. Warp technology had come a long way from throwing anything that wasn't tied down to the deck from sudden acceleration.

Deceleration was felt only as a slight pressure pushing him back into the seat. Viewscreens from tiny camera drones launched on landing flickered to life, displaying the surrounding environment, next to distance and speed indicators on surrounding monitors. Automated collision prevention fired microthrusters to float smoothly past gigantic spinning asteroids. In the distance, almost a hundred and seventy kilometres away, the Retriever was visible on the centre screen. Seraph flicked his eyes over at sensor readouts while plotting a short warp that would put his ship within a few kilometres of his target. A few last minute checks confirmed everything was ready.

Power rerouted to sublight warp engines, powerful ion thrusts flaring into visibility as the Pilgrim shimmered back into the visible spectrum halfway through the hundred and sixty or so kilometre warp towards her prey. Seraph had disabled his cloaking device, knowing the few seconds he'd save recalibrating the targeting sensors might make the difference in the barge being caught or slipping away. 

Ad astra had landed perfectly between the barge and her intended warp-out alignment, causing the barge to attempt emergency maneuvers, giving Seraph the dual advantage of surprise and time to act. Not that he needed much time. In one flowing action, energy neutralizers slammed into the Retriever's hull, Hammerhead combat drones launched from the Pilgrim's drone bay, and the warp disruptor pinned her down. He had her dead to rights. With no power for her shield arrays and no avenue of escape, the brutal hybrid rounds from the Hammerheads had torn holes through the lightly armoured barge in mere seconds. The light armour plating was designed to protect the crew from small asteroid impacts or a short fight with ill-equipped pirates. However it was about as effective as plastic against the military-grade ammo used by Seraph's drones. A slight flicker, then a blue flash washed over the camera drones as the Retriever exploded. An escape pod was blown from the wreckage and warped out before it could be locked onto by the Hammerheads.

Salvage drones quickly stripped the wreck of anything that could be sold on the open market while Seraph kept an eye on directional scans. No sign of retaliation just yet, but his comms system had already began decrypting a short burst of static from the Retriever before it had met its demise.

" - Miner Three to Home One, we are under attack from a Recon Class Cruiser
 // Roger Miner Three, we are sending reinforcements
 - Far too late for that, he's downed my shields 

Seraph smirked slightly. Despite the calm tones attempted by both pilots, he could hear their voices shake and hesitate. Clearly they were not expecting combat. His scanner beeped a warning, picking up two cruisers enroute. A Vexor and a Vexor Navy Issue were barreling towards his position. Time to move. A shimmer in space, a short warp, and he was gone. 

But he wasn't done picking off these pilots yet.