Astero vs Stratios - Astero vs CovertOps (Null Sec)

Good morning / evening everyone. I’m posting here to ask the others explorers out here who might help me on that topic.

Since I could afford to buy (and replace) my Astero, I mostly did Wormhole exploration with that ship, but recently I got less lucky on the pirates Data and Relic spawn. I think we can all agreed that Astero can’t take the sleepers guarding the Frontier and Perimeter sites, even in C1. I since learned that the pirates sites in WH are the same in Null Sec, I tried it for the first time and it was pretty fun (making 100k ISK the first time, and loosing it because I failed a hack in a Ghost site --").

So know I would like to know if Astero still suit the needs for my activities, or if I should upgrade it to a Stratios, or “downgrade” it to the CovertOps frigates. Speaking of them, I don’t really know the differences between Anathema, Buzzard, Helios and Cheetah, so if someone could help me to find out, it would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance and sorry for the bad english,
Sasha Viderzei.

Greetings !

For the exact same activities that are yours, ie Data and Relic pirates sites, I think CovertOps frigates are superior to Astero. They are cheaper, and with max skills have better bonus.

For me, the Astero is useful only if you don’t yet have the skills to fly the COvOps properly or if you want to run the lesser combat signatures.

So, if you want to “evolve” your ship, I’d say :

  • “downgrade” to CovOps if you have the skills and want do more of the same ;
  • “upgrade” to Stratios if you want to engage in some form of fighting.

Thanks for the answer !
Actually, I did know that the Astero have bonus to Drone hitpoint and armor, but I didn’t expect the ship to be able to run lesser combat signatures :confused:

I saw that it was required to train Frigate to V in order to train the CovertOps skill (I have it trained at III). Do you have something like a skill plan to properly use a CovertOps, please ?

Also, could you please tell me the differences between the CovertOps of the différents nations ?

Thanks in advance :slight_smile:

Astero is preferable because you can compete with other explorers. If other explorers are using Cov Ops, they will run when they see Astero on Dscan. If you are feeling cocky you can also engage other Asteros.
If you are the one in the Cov Ops and you see an Astero on Dscan, you should run and give up on that site.

Stratios can be used too but for the sole purpose of exploration, it’s too slow and expensive for the job.

Regarding the different Cov Ops, the difference is mostly on your play style. If you want to fit for Warp Stabs you should choose the one with more low slots, if you want more versatility (more scan strenght for finding sites fasters, etc) you should look for more mid slots. If you want more speed go vor the cheetah. However I prefer the Astero.

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Hi Sasha,
I recommend Astero for Null-sec exploration for the following reasons:

  1. I would say it is the most difficult exploration ship to catch, hence very safe for you.
  2. It gets the job done almost as fast as cov-ops, but safer
    The fit you use is bad unfortunately - even worse than my fits. I would realy wait with Stratios, it would be only an expensive loss mail now.
  3. You will be able to chase off T1 and cov-ops T2 explo frigs from sites. You are above them in food chain. But take some drones with you, not like me, when I tried to get rid off Probe last time, from relic site without any drones, and was upset why he did not run, but instead contested the site with me
  4. You can at least partly do Sleeper caches, all 3 types in null-sec… partly, but still it is a lot of ISK… and thrill. You can’t do that in T2 explo frigs.

T2 explo frigs are niche. Super effective, but more likely to be caught compared to Astero (but still very difficult to catch). My favourite is Helios, ballanced slot layout, a lot of mid slots, best alignment from them. Cheetah is also cool. Buzzard is superb in scanning due to utility mid slots, but quite heavy to my taste. Anathena… what to say, I do not get why to use it.
Stratios opens other possibilities, just remember that there will be always a bigger fish in the pond with you or just more fish, in Stratios you will be way slower and may not be able to disengage as smoothly as in Astero. You are also more likely to be caught in Stratios in null by camps. Take Astero and became EVE billionaire :slight_smile:



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Thanks for your reply :slight_smile:
I suppose you saw my fit on zkillboard ?

Do you have something to propose me to use a better fit ?

Yes, I refer to the fit you lost to Loki recently.

I will link you a few fits in game. It is not just one fit, which is valid. There are MORE options, each has different strengths. Most important is to feel comfortable fying the fit, to know how to fly it and what you can get from it, to understand the logic behing the fit… Generally I would recommend the following Astero to you:

  1. High slots
    Covs ops cloak
    Sisters core probe launcher with sisters probes, it will save time and will pay off, once you stop loosing ships use it. Have several sets of spare probes, even the basic version is enough.

  2. Mid slots
    MWD, Astero is light and hence greatly benefit from MWD, 5000+ m/s on overheated MWD is not a biggie, all that with superb acceleration and alignment. You will need this eventualy in a bubbled gate camp. In contrary, T2 explo frigs are heavy and do not benefit from MWD that much, most heavy … surprisingly Cheetah, hah dont get me wrong, I love them, Astero is just superior in this aspect
    Relic analiser
    Data analiser
    I do not recommend very expensive zeugma analizer right now, give it some time untill you learn the cradecraft, no offence, it is all business, the ship you use must earn you more that it costs… and Astero is the way to go.
    last one is up to you, go for scan strength enhancing mods, it will save time to you

  3. Low slots
    1x Nanofiber
    1x Internal stabiliser
    Rest 2 optional, I would suggest to go for at least 1 warp core stabiliser. I hate these mods, because they wreck your scan res and range, but only if they save you once from interceptor in null, it was worth the pain with it

  4. Rigs
    Enhance scan strength and your alignment speed
    Or if you go for zeugma, enhance your hacking coherence, it benefits from both and you can get insane total coherence, which is usefull for speed hacking, because you know where the core is most likely, just to get there… tripple antivirus can ruin your day

Get alignment under 2 sec. You can get around 1.7 easily and it is enough. If you pay attention to your surroundings then you shall get out mostly in this Astero. You will be vulnerable while hacking, hack fast, spend minimum time in site, in gate camps, that is a lottery trully, but an awesome thrill, and last but not least problematic are smartbombing battleships by gates. Hate them,

Eventully, you will loose you beloved Astero, but before that happens it will earn fortune to you.

Are you a new player? Let me give you one advice on the end, take dirt cheap T1 exploration frigs and learn the craft in them. More shiny and expensive ships will not make you invulnerable, forget about Stratios now, it will only produce bigger tears. Give a Probe a go :slight_smile: it is awesome.




Thanks for the fit Baltic =)

About that Loki… Yes. Double bubble on gate, sitting here with a buddy in an artillery-fitted Rupture…

I don’t have access to the Zeugma or Ligature scanner yet, mostly because I can’t afford to lose them.
For my experience, I did quite a lot of exploration with Imicus on an old account, plus I continued on that one with WH exploration. I leaved Probe quite quickly when I had the ISK to afford Astero, but now that I found wormhole less attractive…

You think I should use Probe to gain more experience in low/null sec exploration ?

Well, gate camps are hard to predict. It is always a gamble to say how it will end up. But potential of Astero in escaping camps is phenomenal. If you let me bet on outcome even with your fit where you left one low slot empty, I would bet on your Astero that it can escape this camp. Whatever, it is a game, have fun. Astero will earn you so much that you can forget about occasional losses. My point of recommending basic T1 frig was that they are way less forgiving than Astero and are great for improving your skills and to be hunted in them.

Okay, thanks again.

Also, do you know what are the best parts of Null Sec to do Exploration ?
I heard the Sansha’s controlled space have the best drop from Relic Sites, but are also full of explorer hunters.
Normally I fly with Astero around Geminate, but it seems that there isn’t very much Data & Relic sites…

I tried the rogue drone infested space too, I know there are only Data sites, but I only found Combat Signatures, can someone help me with that too please ?

Ahh, if I tell you then I have to shoot you (in space of course)
I’m sure others will know this better than me. I’m not ISK focused explorer.
Try less travelled roads perhaps.


In WH I prefer an astero for data/relic sites because it’s sub 2-sec warp, tank, ability to fight other frigs successfully, and launch ec-300’s in desperation.

I prefer a cov-ops (buzzard or helios) for a pure scanner because it can use an expanded probe launcher.

In NS, I like the raptor for running data/relic sites for bubble immunity and ability to cover a lot of space quickly.

A stratios will scare off more competitors, but you’ll still run into people/groups that will take you out and it’s a much more expensive loss, plus it’s slower. Same for T3C’s. These ships are more about looking for PvP or DED sites.

Drone Data Sites have always the same name - except for the last, alphanumerical part.
Example: Abandoned Research Complex DA005 (Source, mostly in German)

They can drop:

  • BPCs for drones
  • Drone parts
  • Carbon
  • Data Sheets
  • Electronic Parts
  • Hydrogen Batteries
  • Metal Scraps

It’s not always, but often worth to use the BPCs. Alternatively sell them via contract. (posting actually viable contracts in Jita-Local is a thing)
How you know how much a BPC is worth? Right click on it and select “find in contracts” to see what other people are selling it for.

ISK/hr ends up roughly the same, no matter where you go. Sansha space does provide the best relic sites, but you’re much more likely to run into camps, bubbles and fellow explorers, bringing your ISK/hr down. If you think you can successfully muscle your way through, then try Sansha space. But if you’re looking for something more chill, the Great Wildlands is a good region. The loot is kinda sucky, but they’re virtually uncontested.

Thanks =)

Actually I thinked that the less players there in that part of 0.0 the more signatures there would be.

In low ans 0.0 sec syst the better Is Astero.
Better tanking than CovertOps for Sleepers’gaz cloud damage, or ghost site explosion.
Better probe scanner strength.
I travel with 3xT2 warp stab fited on low slot to be safe.
Thanks to warp stab I escape to several Gates camp easily.
Scan and do all reliks and datas without pb, even ghost sites.
Some dificulties to scan medium and large sleepers.
If is the case I use a mobil depot to fit medium modules to improve the trength and the range of scan.
For sleepers use also the MD to change warp stab by some tank modules.
Low fit: damage control II; Small Armor repair II; prototype energised adaptative nano membrane I (This meta module uses less CPU than T2); 200 mm reinforced steel plates II.
Rigs: Small gravity capacitor upgrade x 1; Small auxiliary nano pump I; Small anti explosive pump I.
For high slots: covert ops cloaking device II; core probe launcher + probes (if possible sisters or eve or T2).
Medium: T2 relic and data analyzers; 5mn MWD; cargo scan.
Scout drones.
Tell you witch are the best region to do isk with exploration is like to reveal where I use to find mushrooms in the forest. But lets be kind with you!!:yum:
Region I found fine: great wildlands (lot of relic sites); Aridia ( lot site some sleepers) but much more people, LowSechnaya Sholupen leave there be carefull.
Scan and cross all WH you find to low or null sec syst, it could be a great oportunity, or a safe way to escape.
I Always take Time to create several safe and scout bookmarks.
Add as contact everybody you cross, take notes about the vessel they fly, the syst, day and the Time you crossed them.
Always read description or tutos of signatures before to warp in unless you allready know them!
Set the standing distance at 4000 m of your target to cloak if somebody Comes in the syst.
Never hak with some body else in the syst.
Exploration is a good way to make isk and could be a Real thrill, so take Care ans fly safe!


People need to stop using the cost of a Cov Ops as a selling point.

Unless you lose exploration ships left and right, it’s irrelevant. You can frequently pull more ISK in salvage than an Astero actually costs. In general, the purchase of a cloaky exploration ship is closer to a single time buy than a recurring cost.

Honestly - get an Astero. So what if it misses a few 12% scan strength - at least it’s just handed to you through a role bonus.

You can contest sites.
You can catch other explorers and get THEIR loot.

Covert Ops frigs are outdated - the game moved forward without them. Even Bombers got buffs over the years, several other ships came up with good fitting to afford combat probes AND have serviceable fit (FC maledictions, package deal storks, T3Ds, etc).

CovOps frigs are bad. Astero is better. Price difference is trivial.

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Yup, I saw that recently. A single run in 0.0 and I already paid my Astero.

Agreed. Asteros are more fun to explore with, and give you more options.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can try an explorer-fit Sunesis. It’s a destroyer with scanning bonuses, in case you feel like taking on Asteros and combat frigates. :smile:

Could be fun to run around with a SoCT destroyer ^^