Monday, April 28, 2014

Rats!

Picture from flickr user Jeff Howard

My training queue for the past few weeks has been concentrating on raising various support skills to level four. This included some drone skills, plus getting Combat Drone Operation to level five, so I wondered what kind of drone damage I could put out in a useful scenario. I remembered that when I joined faction warfare, one suggested way of making ISK was to hunt Clone Soldiers in asteroid belts. They each will drop a tag worth between 1M and 30M ISK, depending on which type of them you encounter. The type is based on the security level of the status you're in: the real money is to be found in 0.2 and 0.1 systems.  I checked the map and found a few systems to go check in my new kiting Algos.

[Update from the future: This fit doesn't work any more for hunting clone soldiers, though it's fine for general ratting. Clone Soldiers got a buff that make them able to hit out further and harder.]

[Algos, Clone Soldier Hunter]
Drone Damage Amplifier II
Drone Damage Amplifier II
Drone Damage Amplifier II

F-90 Positional Sensor Subroutines, Targeting Range Script
Limited 1MN Microwarpdrive I
PL-0 Shipment Probe

[empty high slot]
[empty high slot]
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Drone Link Augmentor I

Small Anti-Kinetic Screen Reinforcer I
Small Polycarbon Engine Housing I
Small Anti-Thermal Screen Reinforcer I


Hammerhead II x2
Hobgoblin II x3


With all my drone skills at IV (and Combat Drone Op at V), this does about 250 DPS and can lock targets at 80km, and control drones at 74km. I warp to asteroid belts at 70km and see what is there. I mostly ignore the cheaper rats (when you click on one, your "Selected Object" window shows what bounty will be paid if you kill them.) I carry some spare Hammerhead and Hobgoblins, but so far none of my drones have even been attacked.  I use the "Shipment Probe" module to check the content of the wrecks to see if its worth crossing 70km of space to pick it up.

Originally I had a Cetus ECM burst in place of the Shipment Probe, anticipating that I'd encounter human pilots that wanted to fight. But so far I've seen nobody, though I have avoided crowded systems. When I find rats that I want to fight, I burn straight up to get out of the warp-in plane. If a pilot happened to warp in at 70km too, they'd land right on top of me, which would be dangerous.

Sadly I found no Clone Soldier rats in the half-dozen or so 0.2 and 0.1 systems that I spent about 3 hours in. But I did get a few high-level Serpentis battleships worth 500-800K each, plus their loot, and lots of other rats worth between 100-200K. The best find was a Shadow Serpentis Infantry that dropped an 8M ISK smart bomb.

[Update: I'm probably doing it wrong: the recommended way is to enter a system and kill all the rats in the belts. Twenty minutes later (start the clock from the first belt you cleared) come back and see what new rats have appeared. Hopefully you'll find a Clone Soldier and can take him out!]

Fliet continues to be a busy system and my T1 manufacturing operation has produced a lot of useful items to sell there. Also, while scanning down signatures in Fliet last night I found a Minor Serpentis Annex, a tough PvE combat site. I didn't have time to run it myself, but I let my corpmates know about it and several of them got together and ran it - I hope it turned out well! (Update: yes it did! A Serpentis nano membrane was found, and it sold for 962M ISK!)