Seven Ways To Improve Your Drake Fleet
The drake is a fine vessel, and essentially the lowest common denominator of large-scale PvP, especially of the sort that takes place between the large alliances.
The drake is a fine vessel, and essentially the lowest common denominator of large-scale PvP, especially of the sort that takes place between the large alliances. The drake's virtues lie in an overabundance of shield and resistances that allow it to absorb huge amounts of damage and potentially be repaired by other ships during the time afforded by having such fierce defenses. The drake's tank is superior to that of most battleships, despite only being a battlecruiser.
En masse, drake fleets are the terror of null-sec: nearly everybody has the skills to fly them, and with scimitars backing them up they can be terrifyingly effective. Unlike the other two dominant strategies (revolving around heavy assault cruisers and maelstroms, respectively) it is relatively easy to build and pay for large groups of pilots to be equipped with them, and replacing losses is pretty cheap. Nearly any alliance can put together a respectable fleet of drakes.
style="font-style: italic;">Your drake already has incredibly powerful shields, now you just need to get the most out of your missile launchers.
It is, however, difficult to prove oneself amidst a fleet of drakes. Every drake is more or less interchangeable with every other one. Such fleets end up with evenly distributed damage on killmails, differentiated only by skill points and how soon the pilot started shooting. Tepid fare for an intrepid PvPer! To dispel this monotony we have compiled a list of gear that will help you excel, even when flying a drake amidst a fleet of other drakes. By collecting numerous small bonuses, you receive an overall effective bonus that enhances your performance. On an organizational level, making these items available to the rest of your corporation may give you a leg up on the competition.
The first five items are a collection of implants that let the drake inflict more missile damage and give it some more leeway with fittings. With the right implants, you can cheaply accrue an aggregate of small bonuses that serve to enhance your capabilities as a drake pilot. And fear not about prices tags, the drake's virtues as an expensive ride are preserved by our budget-conscious implants!
Note that all implants here are hardwirings with convoluted EVE Online in-game corporate names. For ease of reference they are given here by their identifiable letters and series. Just search for the initials (with or without the numbers) on the market and you will find what you need. To learn more about implants, read this guide.
- Slot 6: KMB-25: Depending on how good your skills are, a very slight boost to CPU from an implant can mean that you do not need to fit a co-processor in a low-slot, or can allow you to fit a more CPU-intensive module. The KMB series of implants provides a general bonus to your CPU available, no matter what ship you are flying. Though the bonus is very slight, you would be surprised how often that can get the job done with fittings. If you do not need extra CPU, it is probably best to skip having an implant in this slot. These implants cost about 1.15mil ISK.
- Slot 7: ZMH500: This implant series provides a bonus to heavy missile damage. Though this particular implant only offers a 1% bonus that may seem trivial, it is significant when added to the slew of other bonuses you are collecting. This implant costs about 1.3mil ISK.
- Slot 8: ZMA10: This implant series reduces the target's damage reduction from having a small signature radius. Normally, a smaller target (even the smaller cruisers) will suffer less damage from a heavy missile, but this ameliorates that problem by 1%. This implant costs about 2.9mil ISK.
- Slot 9: ZMS10: This implant series reduces by the target's speed when calculating how much damage the target takes. Since fast-moving targets suffer a lot less damage from missiles (and even slow moving targets suffer a bit less), this is a handy bonus (even if it is just by 1%). This implant costs about 2.12mil ISK.
- Slot 10: ZMM10: This implant series increases the rate that your missile launchers fire, with this particular implant doing so by 1%. Note that as a general rule, damage bonuses are better when a pilot has poor skills, while rate of fire bonuses are usually better if a pilot has really good skills. No matter your skills, more rate of fire is always good. This implant costs about .9mil ISK.
The total cost of all of these implants is 8.37 ISK. Not bad at all, especially since in many battles it is perfectly possible to escape with your pod intact, implants and all. If you are truly space rich, there are versions of the implants that offer 3% bonuses or even higher, though often at a cost of 25mil ISK or more, apiece.
Combat boosters are an infrequently-used game mechanic used chiefly by high-end PvPers and capital pilots. Though you can read more about them in our guide here, the gist of their use is that you consume one and gain a temporary bonus (a bit less than an hour) while suffering the possibility of a drawback. The boosters come in varying flavors that offer different bonuses, while each flavor is offered in several degrees of potency with heightened bonuses and correspondingly increased drawbacks.
The reason most players eschew using boosters is that they are illegal. Moving them around in high-security space is risky, especially if the ship in question is not a covert ops vessel.
Lucky for us, combat boosters also come in "Synth" varieties that offer relatively small bonuses but that do not have drawbacks and are perfectly legal. The booster most pertinent to drake pilots in a fleet is crash. Synth Crash reduces your missile explosion radius by -3%, causing it to deal a bunch more damage to undersized targets, and a bit more damage even to large targets. While 3% is not a huge amount, the lack of a drawback and cheap price is quite compelling.
Each synth crash booster costs about .49mil ISK, and lasts for 50 minutes with Biology trained to IV. If you can afford the 'standard crash' and are not afraid of the side effects or their illegality (perhaps because you have a provider in null-sec and do not need to venture into high-sec to get them) then it will offer a whopping -20% bonus.
style="font-style: italic;">Faction ammunition is the new de facto baseline for PvP.
There are thousands of pilots out there that spend 25mil ISK or more on a drake, fly dozens of jumps, and wait three hours, all to get to a single fight. In light of this, I find it hard to believe that said pilot would not be willing to shell out a few million ISK more to buy faction ammunition and inflict an extra +15% damage during that fight.
For those of you not in the know, faction ammunition is a slightly better version of any given normal ammunition type. Some types are found in the wrecks of dead NPCs, while most is purchased from the NPC corporations via loyalty point stores.
To see what faction ammunition types are available, click 'get info' on your normal ammunition and select the variations tab. If you wish to compare the various types, simply click on the compare button and check the various boxes as desired. In most cases, a drake pilot wishing to use faction ammunition will opt for the 'Caldari Navy Scourge Heavy Missile' that costs around 1090 ISK per unit.
Skills Vs. Equipment
All of these items are handy to drake pilots, but they are most handy when that pilot already has really good skills. A pile of small bonuses does the most good when sitting atop level five skills. Still, there is no shortage of pilots with more ISK than skillpoints, and these items are one way to leverage that to your advantage.
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