Friday, May 6, 2011

Salvage Ships for Wormhole Operations

The majority of money to be made from sleeper sites is not in the actual blowing up sleepers. No money is made that way, as they don't have bounties. Anyone doing wormholes sites knows this already. The real money, therefore, is in the salvage. Thus, the most important job is the one of the salvager. Because without it being done, no one gets paid.

One would automatically think the Noctis would be the best ship to salvage. And they would be right! However, WH space isn't safe, ever. Remember the rules I went over last week? They doubly apply here, as the salvage guy is the most vital and often unprotected guy in your op.

The way most corps do business is warp off as a squad, clear site, warp to the next and start clearing while another guy warps to the first site in his Noctis/destroyer/whathaveyou and starts salvaging.

Houston, we have a problem.


Its not that the Noctis isn't a capable ship for doing the salvaging. Quite the opposite. The problem stems from the ship itself. Since most corps don't defend the salvage operation, the Noctis is easy pickings for just about any bomber that happens to come along. And I mean any. With a sig radius of over 300 without MWD engaged and an align warp off time of over 8 seconds, it isn't exactly the fleetest of fat girls. And with an EHP of under 10k depending on how you fit it, its not exactly what I'd call durable either. By the time the salvager screamed for help, the fleet would warp in time to see the bomber warping off. Or warping into a trap. Neither is very appealing.

The other problem stems from time. While normal operations are not effected (normal being warp to site, clear, salvage, rinse and repeat), time becomes a pretty important factor for Cap escalation. Anyone who's been in a wormhole can tell you that Cap escalation is how the real money is made. Getting up to 30 extra battleship sleepers will line your pockets with not just blue tags but hopefully a greater chance to drop nanoribbons.

Killing 30 extra battleships takes time, unless you are overtanked in a magnetar and/or have many, many friends. Since wrecks disappear 2 hours after they are created, stuff can start disappearing from the field before you finish clearing them all. Its further compounded by the fact that once you start Cap escalation, you only have so much time to warp the next cap in before the site dies. This means there isn't much time to salvage between Caps.

And since I've already gone over how the Noctis can't take a punch from your mother, it leaves us with a different problem. A destroyer isn't going to do any better, so how can we cash in from those wrecks without leaving our paychecks vulnerable?

That answer is in the salvage T3.

While it doesn't have the salvage speed and range of the Noctis, it has several advantages any other ship can't touch. First, it can be fitted with tank. Second, it can actually be in fleet while the site is being cleared. Third, with the right subsystems, it can actually be productive in a fleet.

First the tank. The ability to tank among T3's is pretty legendary. They can take punches and keep right on dishing out punishment. The Legion and Proteus are great armor tanks, and the Loki and Tengu make good shield tanks. Remember the Loki could be fitted with an armor tank if the situation called for it.

Second, the greatest advantage is the ability to be in fleet while the op is going down and salvage as the wrecks appear. This insures that no wrecks disappear due to time. Further, it means the guy who is making sure everyone gets the stuff they need to get paid is part of the fleet and thus, protected. Of course you all should be effectively defensive scouting now right? But you never want to take chances with your paycheck. So a little extra protection is a good thing. In the end, salvaging while you clear will find you clearing everything faster and don't have to worry about the guy lagging behind. 'Tis a beautiful thing.

Finally, a T3, even a gimped one for salvaging can be very effective in a fleet. For my money, the best it gets is the Proteus for armor ops, and Tengu for shield ops. Seriously, is there anything the Tengu can't do? But with the right mods and subs, any T3 can be fitted for a helping hand. The important sub here is the Emergent Locus Analyzer. This gives a 20% bonus to range and velocity of tractor beams meaning at level 5 a Small Tractor beam will pull wrecks at 1000 m/s from 40km out. That's half the distance of a Max level Noctis.

But Shadai, couldn't I just use a Marauder?

You could, but its a battleship so it will take more damage then the smaller signature cruisers for one; Two, it's big because it is a battleship, and most wormhole corps don't like jumping battleships back and forth through wormholes. Having to make a couple of trips through a wormhole to dump off stuff could be dangerous for the hole stability. Thus, the T3 cruiser becomes the best option.

The other thing you will notice is the use of Interdiction Nullifier subsystems. Nothing sucks worse then getting caught in a bubble, and this is one payday you don't really want caught. If someone jumps you and deploys a bubble, at least the ship with the goods can get away, even if your PVE ships can't. Hey, at least you will get SOME money back from your soon to be trip to K-space. For even more protection, I would recommend dropping the various offensive subs on all four for the Covert Ops subs, which allow the ship to fit Covert Ops cloaks. However, this will take away from the fleet effectiveness of the ships and is generally considered unnecessary since it will be flying with the fleet anyway.

For each of the fits I'm about to list I've put in Salvager II's. They will work just fine with T1 but be sure your skills are up to par or they will take you longer to salvage.

Amarr Legion

3x Salvager II
3x Small Tractor Beam I
2x Heavy Beam Laser II (Aurora)

1x 10MN MWD II
2x Drone Navigation Computer I
1x Empty Slot (flavor to taste)

1x 1600mm Reinforced Rolled Tungsten Plate
1x Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II
1x Damage Control II

1x Medium Anti-Thermic Pump I
2x Medium Salvage Tackle I

5x Hammerhead II
+ 150 m3 of Drone space to flavor for your taste

1x Defensive – Adaptive Augmenter
1x Electronics – Emergent Locus Analyzer
1x Engineering – Augmented Capacitor Reservoir
1x Offensive – Drone Synthesis Projector
1x Propulsion – Interdiction Nullifier

The basic idea is a very solid tank with the ability to add to damage. I threw 2 beams in the highs, but feel free to change those to 2 more salvagers or pulse lasers if you wish. The drone nav computers are just to give some much needed speed to the medium drones, which I generally try to avoid in WH space. This might allow them to clear distance and get back. Ideally, have them assist one of the dps ships and let them do the work. One mid slot being empty gives plenty of choices depending on what your skill set is. ECM, Target painting, Turret disruption are all good choices here.

With the Hammers and two beam lasers, this ship can pump out around 279 dps, depending on skill level. Pulses would increase this total slightly if you wanted the shorter range guns.  Not bad for a ship that usually isn't part of the fleet anyway.

Minmatar Loki

3x Salvager II
3x Small Tractor Beam I
1x Empty Slot

2x Large Shield Extender II
1x 10MN MWD II
2x Empty Slot

1x Damage Control II
2x Empty Slot

1x Medium Anti-Kinetic Screen I
1x Medium Anti-Explosive Screen I
1x Medium Salvage Tackle I

4x Hammerhead II
+ 40 m3 of extra drone space

1x Defensive – Adaptive Shielding
1x Electronics – Emergent Locus Analyzer
1x Engineering – Augmented Capacitor Reservoir
1x Offensive – Hardpoint Efficiency Configuration
1x Propulsion – Interdiction Nullifier

I fitted this with the basics, but like any Minmatar ship it is highly versatile. The Offensive sub can be changed to anything you like... I just picked that one randomly. Obviously fit the empty slots with whatever you want... you have enough of them to do several different things. My suggestion would be to put a missile system in there, with some BCS in the lows. Put in a passive kinetic shield hardener and whatever you want else for the mids, then you can drop the Kinetic rig for a second Salvage Tackle which is far more useful.

The one disadvantage of the Loki is it has the smallest cargo hold of all the T3's (280) meaning you may have to use a low slot for a cargo expander. Just be forewarned.

Now I'll move on to what I consider the better ships for this duty, shield tanker first:

Caldari Tengu

3x Salvager II
3x Small Tractor Beam I
1x Heavy Missile Launcher II

2x Large Shield Extender II
1x Magnetic Scattering Amplifier II
1x ECM – Phase Inverter II
1x ECM – White Noise Generator II
1x 10 MN MWD II

1x Damage Control II
1x Signal Distortion Amp II

1x Medium Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer I
1x Medium Anti-Explosive Screen Reinforcer I
1x Medium Salvage Tackle I

5x Hobgoblin II
+25 m3 of extra drone space

1x Defensive – Adaptive Shielding
1x Electronics – Emergent Locus Analyzer
1x Engineering – Augmented Capacitor Reservoir
1x Offensive – Rifling Launcher Pattern
1x Propulsion – Interdiction Nullifier

While this ship doesn't do much in the way of DPS help like the other three, it does something far better in terms of defense... ECM. With two ECM and good skills, you could potentially lock out 2 Sleeper ships for less dps coming in. And at the very least you can get one. Its also running only one of the Salvage Tackle which could be a problem for those of you with lower salvage skills. You can fix this one of two ways. Either drop one of the ECM for another EM shield resist mod and drop the EM rig for one Salvage Tackle, or just drop the explosive rig and run a bit short on explosive resist (it will be just under 70% so not terrible) to add a second Tackle.

The Tengu has one more thing over the other ships, a larger cargo hold. At 420 m3 it is the largest cargo hold of all the T3 ships built in this pattern for salvage.

Gallente Proteus

3x Salvager II
3x Small Tractor Beam I
1x Drone Link Augmentor I

1x 10MN MWD II
2x Omnidirectional Tracking Link I

1x 1600mm Reinforced Rolled Tungsten Plate
1x Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II
1x Damage Control II
1x Energized Reactive Membrane II
1x Inertial Stabilizer II (can be swapped for cargo expander)

1x Medium Sentry Damage Augmentor I
2x Medium Salvage Tackle I

4x Garde II
4x Bouncer II
5x Hobgoblin II

1x Defensive – Adaptive Augmentor
1x Electronics – Emergent Locus Analyzer
1x Engineering – Augmented Capacitor Reservoir
1x Offensive – Drone Synthesis Projector
1x Propulsion – Interdiction Nullifier

In my opinion, this is simply the best T3 for this type of operation. Not only do you carry no ammo, leaving the full 320 m3 in the cargo for tags and ribbons, but this boat can actually add decent DPS to the fleet. With good skills, just 4 Garde II's will reach out to 43km optimal and 12km falloff and touch up sleepers for the tune of just a shade under 400 DPS. The Bouncers are for longer range, doing a respectable 50 dps less. Simply park the ship where you can reach the wrecks from 40km out, drop drones and shoot away, while hauling in wreck after wreck.

If you are running ops and have a choice, I would recommend the Proteus for armor ops and the Tengu for shield. But even if you run Legion or Loki, it will be a better fit then letting your vulnerable rear guard be exposed and potentially lose all that you working for.

2 comments:

  1. We simply make sure that one of our combat t3s has a probe launcher, and they throw a deep space probe. They see any combat probes that are positioned anywhere in the system, which makes it hard to get the drop on the Noctis

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