Gathering intelligence on rats in EVE Online

26th July 2008 – 6.42 pm

I mentioned before about trying to find out some intelligence on the enemy ships I am fighting in EVE Online, but didn't really make much progress of my own. I tried finding some ship scanners to help me inspect the systems of the ships for valuable data, and looked in to any skills that might be available to help. I realise now that I have been approaching this problem from the wrong direction, being a newbie and all. Applying some thought and what little experience I've picked up so far I think I've come up with a solution.

When you get a mission you can call up the mission briefing from the journal. If there is information about the type of enemies you'll be fighting it will be presented here, showing the flag of the pirates to be encountered in the target system. The flag can be selected to give an information screen on the rat type, from which the affiliations of the rats can be found. For example, if you are to encounter Blood Raiders you can call up information about them and find out that Blood Raiders typically recruit from the Amarr faction. This is good information.

Once you have found the faction information you can hit the market, but not to buy anything. Find a type of ship you're likely to encounter, which could be frigates, and look for those of the faction you're interested in, in this case the Amarr frigates. Pick one of the ships available for sale and call up the information screen for it, and head to the 'attributes' section. This is where you can find all the details of the ship, everything the shield, armour and structure, and the radar type. All this information is just what I've been looking for, it just needs to be interpreted, about which I think I have a better idea.

The shield, armour and structure sections all have details about the level of resistance each has against the different kinds of attack: electromagnetic (EM), kinetic, thermal, and explosive. Each level of protection can have different resistances to each kind of attack, and working out which type of damage to concentrate on is a matter of finding the best compromise between damaging the shield, armour and structure. It's possible to be able to take out the shield with one type of damage before switching types for the other protections, but it's probably more convenient to stock up with a single type of weapon rather than keep track of which launcher has which missiles loaded. Note that I'm basing this on missiles as that is my weapon of choice at the moment.

The information screen also tells you about the kind of radar system in use, which from my limited sampling seems to be uniform across a faction. Finding out whether the ships uses radar, gravimetric, ladar, or magnetometric allows you to pick the right ECM systems for more efficient jamming.

There is probably more information to be gleaned from this kind of information gathering, such as examining the types of ship in use by the faction to give clues about whether you're more likely to be facing turrets or launchers and tailoring your jamming to counter them, but I think I can give myself enough to be working on for now.

As for ship and cargo scanners, I imagine that these are more specific to the PvP aspects of EVE Online, allowing ships to find out what modules are in use by another character, or to see if a transporter is worth raiding. I'll no doubt try to stay away from that for now.

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