Flying The Arbitrator In EVE Online
The arbitrator, a tech one cruiser-class Amarr ship, has two exceptional and advantageous capabilities: a bonus to using tracking disruptors, and a bonus to drone usage. It is one of the few non-Gallente ships that receives a bonus to using drones, making it an excellent choice for any player that has developed those skills. It is also easily underestimated, despite being able to pack a wallop between its two advantages. As a tech one cruiser, the arbitrator is very cheap, with a good cash to effectiveness ratio.
This guide covers fitting and using an arbitrator for PvP combat, with a brief treatment of using it to run missions included at the end.
Why Fly The Arbitrator?
The Arbitrator relies on drones and electronic warfare to get the drop on opponents.
Decent electronic warfare platforms that do not specialize in the Caldari-flavored ECM modules are rare. Indeed, they are so rare that players in EVE Online will tend to underestimate their capabilities. The arbitratorÂs potent application of tracking disruptors will offer a compelling lesson for these unwary pilots.
The arbitrator lives and dies based on its drone skills. If you have decent drone skills, which most pilots in EVE Online eventually train, the arbitrator is one of the best options out there. I prefer it to any of the tech one Gallente cruisers because of the utility of tracking disruptors.
About Tracking Disruptors
Tracking disruptors are the Amarr flavor of electronic warfare. They differ significantly from ECM in the following ways:
- Rather than temporarily shut down a targetÂs ability to lock targets, tracking disruptors reduce the optimal range, falloff range, and tracking of turret guns (including lasers, hybrids, and projectiles).
- If the target is within optimal range, the disruptor is always effective. Within falloff range it has a percentile chance each module activation cycle of having any effect.
- If the target is not using turrets, then the module will not have any noticeable effect.
- Tracking disruptors offer no protection against non-turret weaponry, such as warp disruptors, stasis webifiers, or energy neutralizers.
- A target shipÂs race and sensor strengthy are unimportant to tracking disruptors.
- Tracking disruptors can be loaded with scripts, which are a special item that causes an item to specialize its effects. The options available to tracking disruptors cause the module in question to double its effectiveness at either reducing tracking, or reducing optimal/falloff range. When it does so, it stops penalizing the unscripted option. I.e., if you script a tracking disruptor with a ÂTracking DisruptionÂ script, it doubles the tracking penalty afflicted on its target, but ceases affecting turret ranges.
Tracking disruptors are similar to ECM in that they do nothing against drones, smartbombs, bombs, or any other weapon system or module that does not require locking to be effective.
High Slots (A Dash Of Projectiles)
- x2 Dual 180mm Autocannon I (Depleted Uranium M)
- x1 Small Energy Neutralizer I
- x1 Salvager I
Autocannons are not lasers, but thatÂs a good thing. These projectiles add a bit of extra punch to your drone damage, and have decent damage flexibility. The medium-range ammo listed above could easily be swapped out for ÂTitanium Sabot MÂ if you find the damage profile of that ammunition more to your taste.
You may also care to carry a long-range ammunition in order to snipe, since you actually have a pretty good lock range. I like ÂProton MÂ but tastes may vary. This is especially handy if you want to be sitting a bit farther from a gate that you are camping, because you expect that fleeing may be in order.
The small energy neutralizer has very limited range, but can be a life-saver if a frigate-sized ship gets that close. Or a ship with precarious capacitor stability.
As always, faction ammo is better if you find the price tag worth it.
Mid Slots (Tackler and E-War)
- x1 Y-T8 Overcharged Hydrocarbon I Microwarpdrive
- x1 Warp Scrambler I
- x2 Tracking Disruptor I (Un-scripted)
Nothing ruins a pilotÂs day like a warp scrambler. The drawback being that it has very limited range. I strongly suggest ameliorating this by purchasing a tech two warp scrambler, which improves the range of the module from 7.5km to 9km.
The tracking disruptors should probably not be loaded with scripts unless you know exactly what you are doing. Carry the scripts, just in case you end up in a situation where you need them. If you are being hit by a target that is 100km off, ruining his tracking is no longer as effective, and you should switch to an ÂOptimal Range DisruptionÂ script. Conversely, if you are fighting a target that is only 1km away, you should load a ÂTracking Speed DisruptionÂ script
Upgrading to ÂnamedÂ equipment will yield significantly better results. The ÂMWDÂ module listed above is now available for very lower prices, thanks to the Tyrannis expansion, and is much superior to the basic tech one version. Named tracking disruptors can get pretty expensive, though, so do not go for the best-named version unless you really, really know what you are doing.
A tech two warp scrambler has much better range than its tech one version and is probably the single best thing to upgrade to tech two on this fitting.
Low Slots (Armor Tank)
- x1 800mm Reinforced Rolled Tungsten Plates
- x2 Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane I
- x1 Damage Control I
The Arbitrator's drones arguably make it the best Amarr cruiser-class vessel for running missions.
- x2 Medium Trimark Armor Pump I
- x1 Medium Anti-Explosive Pump I
My recommendation is to go whole-hog for the armor tank, despite the penalty to velocity. The extra armor keeps you alive, and the extra explosive resistance helps ameliorate your damage problems.
- x10 Warrior I
- x5 Valkyrie I
- x5 Hammerhead I
You can swap these out for any light and medium drones, but I prefer the speediest versions despite their always inflicting explosive damage. The hammerheads are important for blowing up shield-tanked ships, like the Caldari Drake battlecruiser, which often have a painfully high explosive damage resistance on their shields. Not that I think you should fight a missile-using ship like the Drake or can overcome its tank with your drones (hint: you cannot do either), but these drones will come in handy should you find yourself in a fleet with friends and want to pitch in with the damage, or if you want to blow up any shield-tanking ship that has turrets (like a Moa or Ferox).
When trying to hit a frigate or destroyer sized ship, or to destroy light drones, always use light drones. When trying to blow up a cruiser, medium drones, or anything larger, always use medium drones.
The first rule of flying an arbitrator is to never engage a missile or drone ship without significant backup. This includes: Drakes, Vexors, Caracals, et ceteras. Arbitrators have solo killed turret-based battleships like Armageddons, and supposedly even heavy assault cruisers like Vagabonds, but these require finding a target that is foolhardy, and likely involve more advanced skills. But you can try killing pretty anything whenever you have backup, since the arbitrator is so cheap to replace.
With your tracking disruptors, you can trick turret-using ships into getting closer than they ought to, where you can hit them with your warp scrambler and energy neutralizer. Although many pilots are wary of getting too close to a target, arbitrators are not famously dangerous. When a pilot finds that his range is no longer sufficient, he may throw caution to the wind and close in on you, where you can hit him with your warp scrambler to turn off his microwarpdrive and prevent his escape.
Tracking is your enemiesÂ weakness. Try to get as close as possible to a target, without hitting approach. The key is to manually click in space to spiral closer, until you are very close indeed, and then to orbit at 500m (or whatever). When doing so, you commit to the fight and will likely be tackled, but you can bet that a turret-using target would prefer that you be farther away, when you have two tracking disruptors on him. Good skills help with the disrupting, of course. The skill ÂWeapon DisruptionÂ is required, and ÂTurret DestabilizationÂ helps a great deal.
While you can reliably castrate any targetÂs turret-based weapons, drones are another matter. Your first order of priority, once you are near your target, should be to use your turrets and drones to destroy any drones that are haranguing you.
If you can get really close to your target, hit him intermittently with your energy neutralizer. DonÂt leave it on permanently or you will run out of capacitor. You may also want to switch tracking disruptor scripts to the ÂTracking Speed DisruptionÂ option.
If your enemy seems to be hitting you with a neutralizer, you can turn off your microwarpdrive to buy a little time, though it may be better to ponder escape options. If you run out of capacitor and can no longer use your tracking disruptors, you are probably screwed.
Using an arbitrator in PvE is great because drones will blow up everything without you micromanaging things. Swap out your 800mm plates for a ÂMedium Armor Repairer IÂ module, swap your tracking disruptors for a ÂStasis Webifier IÂ module and a couple ÂCap Recharger IÂ modules. If you ditch your high slot options, you can even fit a second repairer (perhaps a small-sized one in order to be able to leave it on all the time).
Instead of the two ÂEnergized Adaptive Nano Membrane IÂ modules and the ÂDamage Control IÂ, you should fit mission-specific armor hardeners. If your mission is against Guristas, fit ÂArmor Kinetic Hardener IÂ modules, and so forth.
ThereÂs not much more to it, really. I love arbitrators, even as a long-time player. I hope you learn to love them, too.