Updated Mon, Feb 08, 2010 by Space Junkie
This article is the first in a series dealing with ways to trick yourself out for PVP, beyond simply using modules and skills.
EVE has a thousand different ways to micro-manage success in combat. Implants are one such method, and among the most important. Most players know about the so-called learning implants, but remain ignorant of PVP-specialized implants. This article discusses some of the more affordable yet useful implants with PVP applications.
If you find the actual listings a bit dry, try to think of them as a catalogue to peruse for impulse purchases.
"Implants" You Say?
First, a brief explanation of implants for those of you that are unfamiliar. Implants are installed into your character, in order to provide a bonus until that clone is killed (by having his escape capsule destroyed) or until he relocates to a new body (called a Jump Clone). In the case of jump clones, the implants remain in the inactive clone until the player jumps back into that body. If you don't know what jump clones are, don't worry about the second half of that sentence.
There are ten implant slots. The first five are usually used for learning implants, of which gives a bonus from +1 to +5 to a specific attribute, e.g., a "Memory Augmentation - Basic" implant gives a +3 to Memory, and goes into slot 2.
Because attributes determine how fast skills are trained, they are often referred to as "learning implants." Most professional pilots in EVE Online will always have learning implants installed unless they are expecting difficult PVP, in which case they are eschewed because of the risk of being "podded."
For implant slots 6 through 10, there exist a bewildering number of powerful and interesting implants, called Hardwires, that are often skipped because of the astoundingly poor presentation of them in-game. Each gives a bonus to specific activity or module, like probing or missile damage. If you don't know about one of the bonuses given by an implant mentioned here, try reading my guide on weapon systems to get a better grounding in the game mechanics of EVE Online.
Why Use Implants In PVP?
Though the most powerful implants often cost an arm and a leg, and are thus impractical to use for PVP, the middle of the road implants are more palatable, usually costing between ten and twenty million ISK. They provide very significant bonuses, especially when used in tandem with other high-end PVP gear, and on a well skilled character.
More than anything, implants represent an additional bonus beyond that yielded by ship fittings or skills. A character with nearly optimal skills may need to train for weeks just to do another 2% damage, but with a reasonable set of implants he can do far better than that.
Implants are often re-usable because of how slippery escape pods are. When flown by a reasonably cautious pilot they represent a long-term investment that will pay off dividends for many combats.
But Which Implants?
Nobody wants to browse a list of hundreds of hardwires in the market browser. I have sorted a list of the PVP-related implants that I think are most likely to appeal to players. I have sorted them by slot, for ease of selection.
Note that there are several versions of each hardwire, with each having a minor change in name. When referring to these implants or searching for them on the market, it is best to just search for that part of the item. For example, when I want to find a "Hardwiring - Zainou 'Gypsy' KMB-50" I just type KMB-50 into the market search.
For convenience and cost efficiency, I describe with the mid-level implant of each type. Most skillwires of this level impart a 3% benefit, which is just enough to make a different for most things. After each entry, I include the abbreviated name of the other versions of each implant and their respective bonuses, in parenthesis.
Hardwiring - Inherent Implants 'Squire' PG4
+3% Power grid. While 3% might not seem like much, it can make all the difference in the world with battleship fittings. Particularly handy if skills relating to fitting could use some work. (PG2 1%, PG8 5%)
Hardwiring - Zainou 'Gypsy' KMB-50
+3% CPU. For a lot of battleship or cruiser setups, 3% CPU can make or break a particular fitting. Particularly handy if you use missile-related rigs, because the CPU penalty caused by that kind of rig. (KMB-25 1%, KMB-755%)
Hardwiring - Zainou 'Gnome' KTA100
-3% Missile launcher CPU requirements. Cheaper than the KMB series, but often able to fulfill the same role when you're shy on CPU in a ship that uses missile launchers. (KTA10 1%, KTA1000 5%)
Hardwiring - Zainou 'Snapshot' ZMU1000
+3% Cruise missile damage. Pro for mission running, and if you fly a Scorpion (the Blackbird's battleship-sized big brother) or a Raven in PVP it could conceivably be useful. Most players prefer not to use battleship-sized missiles in PVP, though. (ZMU500 1%, ZMU2000 5%)
Hardwiring - Eifyr and co. 'Rogue' MY-1
+3% bonus to afterburner and microwarpdrive speed boost. An incredibly versatile implant that will help with nearly every ship, but especially ships that rely on their speed in order to survive. Because nearly every PVP ship uses a propulsion module, you can know that your ISK is being well spent when you plug this in. (MY-0 1%, MY-2 5%)