Updated Mon, Feb 08, 2010 by Space Junkie
This article is the second in a series dealing with ways to trick yourself out for PVP, beyond simply using modules and skills.
EVE has a thousand and one ways to micro-manage success in combat. Combat Boosters are one such method, and among the most neglected, even by long-time players. Most casual players probably haven't even heard of them, and long-term players probably don't see the benefit as worth the cost. Hopefully, this article will inform the former and persuade the latter.
Tell Me About These "Combat Boosters"
Combat boosters are basically drugs that your pilot takes to gain a temporary benefit. Each flavor of combat booster offers a different bonus. There's one that gives a bonust to weapon tracking, one that gives a bonus to shield repair, and so forth. With all save the weakest boosters, there is the potential chance of suffering a side effect any time the booster is imbibed. This unreliability with regard to side effects scares a lot of advanced players away, more than anything else.
There are varying degrees of quality of each drug, with the "synth" line imparting a +3% bonus to their particular statistic, the standard with a +10% bonus (usually), and then the improved and strong versions offer even more powerful benefits. As the potency of the booster improves, so too does the chance of suffering a side-effect, and the intensity of a side-effect, should one occur.
All of the boosters except synth are illegal in high security space, meaning that there is a good chance they will be confiscated at any given gate, there, and the pilot found carrying them will be slapped with a fine and sec status hit. Within a system or station they will not cause a problem, as the customs police NPCs that scan for illegal goods are only found on gates.
Being under the effects of a booster is not illegal, so long as they are no un-consumed boosters in your cargo hold. Note also that this illegality means that they cannot be sold on contracts, though they can be sold on the market or used to fill "Want To Buy" contracts.
Boosters fit into "slots" in a manner similar to implants. If a booster of a particular slot is already active, another one cannot be used until the old booster wears off. The boosters sorted by slot are:
Bonuses And Penalties
The boosters and their associated benefits are as follows:
Drawbacks and Penalties
Each of these boosters may cause any of four potential side-effects, though skills may reduce the chance of this and also reduce the severity of these side effects. The precise drawbacks that can affect a pilot vary by booster type, as follows:
The intensity of the drawback increases with the potency of drugs. I.e., an improved booster will have a higher chance of getting each drawback, and the drawback will be a larger penalty, than would a standard booster. Note that synth boosters do not have drawbacks, because they are the weakest variety.
You may notice that certain boosters don't offer much in the way of penalties for particular ships or ship fittings. For example, an Amarr battleship that relies on lasers and plates, rather than armor repairers, will find that none of the drawbacks of Drop matter too much.
Also note that, while it may seem counterintuitive to risk a chance of shield or armor hit points being reduced with the respective boosters, the math works out so that it is still in one's favor to use them. A ship that relies on repairing will almost always care less about maximum hit points than about how much is being repaired.