Missions are fun, but I prefer to run them while only half paying attention. For this, drones are my weapon of choice, and the vexor is a Gallente cruiser that is as effective as it is newbie-accessible. Fly the vexor now, thank me later.
Why Fly The Vexor
The vexor is an all-out offensive cruiser that combines hybrid turrets with a swarm of robotic drones to tear through swarms of NPCs. It is an excellent choice for a new player looking to grind through first and second level combat missions. This is particularly so because once they begin fighting, drones will attack every enemy NPC ship within range. This means that as long as your ship has aggro and can tank the incoming damage, you do not need to constantly micromanage your drones. And if you do feel like micromanaging, you can use your turrets to good effect supporting your drones.
Another pleasing thing about the vexor is that, although hybrids can only inflict a blend of thermal and kinetic damage, drones can inflict any damage type you like. This flexibility is important for running missions, where being able to adapt to your enemies' weaknesses can mean the difference between success and failure.
A Word About Gallente In General
style="font-style: italic;">Making missions easy is the Gallente way.
Gallente are the drone race, and they have a good progression of drone-using ships. Training drone skills will help you early on with the imicus frigate and vexor cruiser, then as you become more skilled you can use the myrmidon battlecruiser and dominix battleship. Both of the gallente heavy assault cruisers use drones, though the ishtar specializes in their use. All carriers and supercarriers excel at drone use, and the Gallente nyx supercarrier is currently the most popular of its ship class in the game.
The point of all of this is that investing in drone skill points will help you as a Gallente pilot. Even if you eventually branch out, the majority of other races' ships will involve at least some aspect of drone usage.
Drones are a weapon class that is especially reliant on good support skills. This is not to say that you can't use them on your first day, just that you will reap solid returns on skill points spent on skills like Combat Drone Operation, Scout Drone Operation, and eventually Drone Sharpshooting and Drone Interfacing.
[PROTIP]Pro Tip: do not train Drone Navigation up all the way before you have at least a few levels of Drone Sharpshooting. The alternative is that your drones will start to move faster than they can effectively track, and you will suffer a reduced damage output as a result.[/PROTIP]
- x3 Dual 150mm Railgun I (Antimatter Charge M for ammo)
- x1 Salvager I
- x1 Small Tractor Beam I
The hybrid turrets are for backing up your drones, while antimatter charge gives you the best bang for your buck. The salvager and tractor beam is for mission business and incidental loot. Depending on your skills and the exact versions of the modules you use, you may not be able to have both a salvager and a tractor beam fit at once.
- x1 10mn Afterburner I
- x2 Cap Recharger I
Your afterburner and armor repairer require capacitor to function, and the cap rechargers will give it to you. If you still find cap stability to be a problem, try upgrading your modules to named versions with a higher meta level, as well as training up more levels in Energy Management and Energy Systems Operation. If you still end up needing more capacitor than that, you may want to invest in rigs, specifically one or more Capacitor Control Circuit I rigs. With three you should be able to keep your armor repairer running indefinitely.
- x1 Medium Armor Repairer I
- x1 Damage Control I
- x2 Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane I
The two "EANM" can and should be switched out for more appropriate hardeners depending on what kind of enemy you are fighting. The "N-Type" versions of each hardener are the best-named non-tech II version, and should be affordable even to new players. Once you are able to use tech two modules it will be worth your while to switch out the damage control for a third hardener, but with bare bones skills the damage control contributes more to your survivability.
- x5 Hammerhead I
- x6 Hobgoblin I
You should vary your drones according to what kind of damage you want to deal. For most NPCs I default to Hammerheads, but you really should keep spares to inflict each damage type, excepting perhaps for the EM-causing ones, those are rarely if ever worth it due to their lower damage output.
style="font-style: italic;">Vexors are flexible and effective. I wouldn't want to run missions in any other tech I cruiser.
A general rule in EVE Online is that the larger a weapon is, the less effective it will be on smaller ships. This is especially so with drones, where you want to use the most size-appropriate type for any enemy. That means that you should use the hobgoblin drones for dealing with frigate-sized enemies, and hammerheads for dealing with even larger ones. Theoretically you could also mix in a heavy drone or two into the mix, but that probably is not worth your while until you have more than a newbie's share of skill points.
Unless something has slipped through my fingers, vexors are allowed into every non-faction war combat mission of level one and two. That means this can be your one size fits all mission grind solution, at least until it is time for level three missions and you need to upgrade to a myrmidon.
Accept a mission, adjust your resistances and weapons based on what enemy you will be fighting, warp into the mission, wait until the nearest enemies are actively attacking you, and release your drones. If your tank is holding out, great. Just sit back and let your drones do the work. If your tank has trouble, try to put some distance between you and the NPCs while the drones do their work. Expect to lose a few drones here and there as new waves of NPCs arrive. Otherwise it's all a cake walk.
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