Thursday, December 2, 2010

Walk Softly, Carry Bombs

When asked what I think the best ship for wormhole defense would be, my first answer would be more ships then the other guy.

Of course, that isn't always the best answer. Or the most helpful.

It is however, the most correct.

But usually if you had the most ships your wormhole space would most likely not be in this predicament right now. So what happens when you are down pilots and are being invaded for sites?

Enter the bomber.

Stealth bombers are ships I recommend that every serious WH pilot should have. Why? I'm glad you asked. Sit back and relax, for I am about to let you know exactly why the bomber is (aside from a fleet of caps in a class 2 wormhole) one of the most feared ships in all of w-space.

1. Torpedoes. Stealth Bombers are the only frigate class ship that can have torpedo launchers attached. And not just one launcher. With decent skills, a well equipped bomber will have three launchers and one bomb launcher. For the uninitiated in missile skills, torpedoes are the short ranged version of what is generally considered the battleship class of missiles. These missiles do big damage at short range, and with three launchers a stealth bomber piloted with decent skills can do upwards and around 400 plus dps.

Torpedoes (like all missiles) do damage based on a simple calculation of target speed and signature radius. Meaning, the larger the target's signature radius and the slower it moves, the more damage it takes from the missile. Torpedoes as a battleship class missile will generally do full damage against other battleships but do poor damage on anything smaller, so if you think to use bombers against cruiser and smaller ships, think again. Generally one will only use Stealth Bombers against a battleship target. Which is good for wormholes, as most corporations that aren't skilled enough to use T2 and T3 style cruisers will use battleships to take out WH sites. But don't think its completely worthless against cruisers. While it will do very little damage against an armor tanked cruiser, shield tanks are a completely different story. Feel free to use bombers against a shield tanked cruiser fleet. To be able to tank the dps in a wormhole, most shield tanked cruisers carry a signature radius slightly smaller then most armor tanked battleships, so torpedoes should do most of the damage against them, depending on the speed of course.

2. Stealth. It isn't called a stealth bomber for nothing. Stealth and the surprise attack is the best part of this ship. Remember, there is no local in w-space. So unless the target(s) saw you when you decloaked, they will never see you on d-scan until you want them too. As an added bonus, the bomber is the only frigate that can lock instantly after decloaking. Most ships have to wait out a “decloaking penalty” measured in seconds based on skills. To find out how long that penalty is in a non bomber, simply show info on your cloak. See the “sensor recalibration time”? That is how many seconds you have to wait after decloaking in order to begin to lock. Stealth bombers have a native -100% targeting delay after decloaking, meaning they can begin to lock as soon as they drop cloak.

The art of surprise is an intricate part of the bomber mystique. Good bomber pilots in null and low sec have scored many, many kills solo against battleships because of the surprise factor as well as the insane amount of damage a bomber can put on a large target. It becomes even more important in a wormhole, where as local is gone. If the enemy doesn't know you are lurking out there, it is a tall order to formulate some sort of defense when the missiles start flying.

3. Bombs. Yeah the granddaddy of them all. This is the component that strikes fear in opposing pilots and demands respect. A single bomb is devastating when deployed correctly. Multiple bombs completely ruin people's day. If you doubt the power of this little frigate, watch the included video. All of that is made possible by this little munition.

Bombs work very similar to missiles in that the target's signature radius is very important in determining how much damage the target is about to take. However, unlike missiles, the target's speed has nothing to do with the damage. Expect to do good damage against ships with a large signature radius; in this case battleships and shield tanked cruisers will take the brunt. Smaller targets like frigates will not take that much damage unless they help you by turning their MWDs on. Frigate + MWD + inside bomb radius = just about insta-pop. While cruisers and battleships will generally survive a bomb strike, if they help you by turning on the MWD, its going to hurt a lot more.

Bombs are even better as they are unguided munitions. This means you don't have to target any ships before launching the bomb. When you activate the launcher, the bomb will launch directly in front of your ship and travel 30 km at a specific time. Once that timer is up, the bomb explodes, causing damage to everything within a 7.5km radius. That means anything that is 7.5 km from where the bomb detonates is about to take damage. As an uncontrolled munition its pretty easy to aim at stationary ships, simply align to, decoak and activate the launcher once you are 30km out. Cackle madly. Against moving targets it takes a fair eye and practice, but bomb strikes can be successfully completed against them. Generally this is done by either being directly in front of the target or behind. Remember that the bomb travels 30 km and don't forget to take the target's speed into consideration.

Bombs come in 6 flavors. All of the bombs do damage, however, four of the bombs are generally considered the “damage” bombs whereas the other two are more utility bombs. Each damage bomb does one type of damage in a very large chunk. These bombs are Concussion (kinetic), Electron (EM), Scorch (thermal), and Shrapnel (explosive). Each bomb does a large amount (6,400) of damage to everything in the area, including other bombs. Each damage flavor bomb also has a large damage resist to same type of damage it does. What does that mean? Simply put, don't mix your bombs if coordinating a bomb strike from multiple bombers at once. Use all shrapnel or all concussion, don't try to launch two of each. The result will be only one type of bomb will go off, as it vaporizes the other bombs before they can explode.

The utility bombs are the Lockbreaker and Void. Lockbreaker sends an ECM pulse to all ships in the area of effect (the same distance as the damage bombs). This ECM effect is not affected by the targets signature radius like the damage bombs are. Void bombs send out a energy pulse to sap the targets capacitors, however the amount of energy drained is dependent on the target's signature radius. The higher the radius, the more energy is sapped.

These utility bombs have a few differences from their straight damage brethren. First is speed and time. Damage bombs travel 3000m/sec for 10 seconds which gives them the 30km range. The utility bombs travel 4000m/sec for only 7.5 seconds. The result? Same 30km range as the damage bombs but they blow up 2.5 seconds faster. Second, each utility bomb does a flat 7 damage across all damage types, meaning they will deliver damage on the target, but not nearly the damage potential of the 6,400 damage to a single damage type the damage bombs do. This small damage is to insure that too many of these bombs are not deployed at once. And because the utility bombs have no resists, they also cannot be mixed and matched with the damage bombs. They can, however, be mixed and matched with each other. Ie, you can't mix three scorch bombs with two void bombs, but you can mix three lockbreaker with two void.

Each races' bomber receives an increase in the damage type associated with that race. So the Minmatar bomber Hound gets an increase in explosive damage whereas the Gallente bomber Nemesis gets an increase in thermal. This damage bonus not only includes the torpedoes, but bomb damage as well. Expect the Hound to do lots of damage with Shrapnel bombs, normal damage with Scorch, and vice versa for the Nemesis. This bonus will also include the utility bombs, as each utility bomb does 7 damage across all damage types.

So how many bombs can you launch at once? Depends entirely on fleet makeup really. Generally a bomb strike of 4 to 6 bombs should be able to be safely launched without destroying the other bombs. Any more bombs and you may risk them being blown up by the others and losing impressive first strike dps. If you have more, great! Just stagger them so as the first bombs are over halfway to target before launching the second wave.

The following is an example bomber fitting for w-space:


3x 'Arbalest' Siege Missile Launcher (Caldari Navy Bane Torpedo)
1x Bomb Launcher I
1x Covert Ops Cloaking Device II

1x Coreli C-Type 1MN Microwarpdrive
1x Warp Disruptor II
1x Small Capacitor Booster II (75s)

1x Ballistic Control System II
2x Nanofiber Internal Structure II

1x Small Bay Loading Accelerator
1x Small Polycarbon Engine Housing

The Hound packs a serious punch at a decent price. 'Arbalest' Launchers are used to help everything fit without fitting mod assistance, allowing maximum punch for price with the Bane Torpedoes. T2 launchers are generally considered a waste due to the higher fitting requirements, and since you are going to use the race damage there is really no need for them. If you can fit T2 launchers, more power to you, but don't use T2 missiles since they split the damage profile. Cap Booster is to run the MWD to allow you to outrun small drones which is really the only thing you'll learn to fear in this ship. The rest is pretty much Minmatar speed tank, very storyline like. Its a tight fit, be sure your fitting skills are on par.

The other races fits are similar but season for taste. For example the Nemesis has an extra mid slot. Use that for either a target painter or some sort of shield tank if you wish. The base bomber setup will always be the same: at least 3 torp launchers, bomb launcher, warp disruptor, and whatever you can fit within grid to increase damage.

So the bomber is a killing machine. Right. How does this matter for w-space defense?

The bomber is not only an internet spaceship killing machine, but it is also an instrument of psychological warfare. Since there is no local, the pilots raiding your hole have no idea what or who you have in there unless they are very well scouted. Allowing a couple of bombers to be “seen” on D-scan is enough to start making them nervous. If they are running a few of your sites, a few coordinated bomb strikes make be just enough to cause chaos and confusion amongst the enemy. I find void bombs particularly devious, especially when the targets are fighting sleepers. Nothing like launching 3 or 4 of those at the enemy at the same time with help then warping off. The chaos bombs cause over voice comms is delicious. When they blow up with no or very little damage there is a collective sigh of relief until they realize their tanks are failing due to loss of cap. Sleepers love ships with no tank. A good strike will have them running for the hole, and out of your space.

Usually the simple sight of a few bombers on d-scan is enough to ward them off from even entering your space, even if your are grossly outmatched.

Powerful little frigates, and easy to get in and trained up for. Recommended for any serious w-space pilot.

1 comment:

  1. I recently got my Covert Ops skills up and have been really enjoying the Stealth bomber. Can't believe I hadn't considered it until i got into wormholes.

    I look forward to using Cov Ops Cloaking devices soon and fully expect to have a lot of fun with them.

    Great article as it really summed them up well.