Best Exploration Ship?

What is the best low to mid tier exploration? I was looking at the SOE ships, as they look gorgeous and seem to be made for this kind’ve stuff!

If the mid-ship of the SOE is any good, what kind’ve fitting should I put on it for PvE exploration, and what skills are best traine for exploration?

The SoE ships are indeed good for low to mid tier exploration as they get the full scan strength bonus regardless of your skills.

The Astero is perhaps a little expensive for an exploration frigate, but it’s a good choice in multiple situations:

  1. You cannot yet fly a T2 explation frigate, or
  2. You want to be able to fight/scare/kill other explorers

The Astero is the only CovOps exploration frigate that can put up a fight, so I would always fit it capable of fighting even if your main intention is to do purely exploration.

The exploration cruisers (Stratios and T3 Cruisers) may be more powerful once you get into combat, but data and relic xploration is all about being quick and frigates are better at that.

I would fly something like this:

[Astero, *Astero v2]
Small Armor Repairer II
Damage Control II
Multispectrum Energized Membrane II
Inertial Stabilizers II

1MN Afterburner II
Relic Analyzer II
Warp Scrambler II
Small Cap Battery II

Covert Ops Cloaking Device II
Core Probe Launcher II

Small Gravity Capacitor Upgrade II
Small Low Friction Nozzle Joints I

Hornet II x5
Hornet EC-300 x5
Acolyte II x5

Sisters Core Scanner Probe x8

But you can use T1 or meta versions of the modules if you don’t have the skills yet.

I would recommend against flying an Astero if you do not have the CovOps cloak yet, this ship is pretty expensive and that cloak adds a lot of survivability.

Skills to train for exploration are:

  • Archaology (for relic sites)
  • Astrometric Pinpointing, Acquisition and Rangefinding
  • Astrometrics
  • Hacking (for data sites)

Electronic systems

  • Cloaking level 4

Spaceship command

  • Covert Ops
  • One racial frigate to level 5, your choice

About the racial frigates: compare them and make some fits to see which one you like. The Amarr Anathema and Minmatar Cheetah both have the same 3 high, 4 mid, 3 low slot layout, but the Anathema has more fitting space while the Cheetah aligns and moves quicker. The Gallente Helios has a 2 high, 5 mid, 3 low slot layout which can offer a lot of scan strength and agility, but the lack of a third high slot means it cannot fit another utility module next to the cloak and probe launcher, such as a nullification module or covert cyno. The Caldari Buzzard is a favourite of some, but I have not yet used it myself.

Of course the Astero is a good option as well once you have good skills, but if you’re purely looking for data or relic site loot the T2 exploration frigates are a bit better.

And then there’s also the Pacifier, which is a good alternative to the T2 exploration frigates, but at a much higher price.


I love the Astero but it’s a skill intensive ship to use. Is it a ship worth actually worth paying the rl $ to skill inj into?

It’s so versatile and easy to train into but the drone skills are murder.

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Why yes they are, that’s why you should fly it! :grin:

Seriously though, decent light drone skills would be near 1M skillpoints so yeah, it requires a bit of investment of time or training.

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The BS is an excellent platform, plus you get to carry a frigate AND a fast shuttle, with the frigate you won’t be locked out of any interesting anomalies (combat), where lots of good drops happen, I like to carry the Garmur within the frigate escape bay.

Something to fit on your BS is the Ligature Integrated Analyzer instead of the 2 independent mods, saves the extra slot to fit a pinpoint mod giving you more points to your already powerful SOE ship.

Thanks for the advice, guys! c: I’ll see if I can probably get an Astero once I’ve trained into it and have the money.

If you are going to get an Astero then the Covert Operations Cloak is an absolute must.
You are just a juicy target without it.

Where are you planning on exploring? That would ultimately change the answer to the question.

Good advice in here. I’d question any fit that doesn’t have a data analyser though. At the very least get an integrated one on there. And yes the counter most will come back with is that if you are in null data sites arn’t worth the time. Which is mostly correct…Untill you scan down a standard sleeper cache or superior sleeper cache which require a data analyser and can net you 100-200mill for 20minutes work. They are few and far between but why have a fit that cant run them when you do find them.

I alternate between an Imicus, Helios, Pacifier and Astero. Depending on where I’m going. And of the 4 only the Astero hasn’t been out of the hanger in month. I just don’t think its worth it at all.

I’m ‘new’ to exploring but not sure! Relic and Data sites mostly I imagine. I like the idea of being an explorer but am just a bit new to know what I want exactly, I guess?

But are you planning to go looking for those in high sec? Low sec? Null sec? Wormholes?

High sec, low sec and wormholes are a maybe.

Honestly for high-sec and a bit of low-sec you could get away with just a t1 explo frigate. Imicus or heron would be my first choices. The only significant draw back is that you cant use the covert cloak…but you can use a cloak. The difference being you have to decloak every time you want to move. But being careful and not hanging around in busy low sec systems would still make that a viable option.

The biggest pluses to this is you can probably fly one adequately now and they are super cheap. One successful trip into low sec (or even a wormhole) will pay for the ship many times over. Which means you can afford to lose a few making it ideal for getting used to moving, scanning, cloaking and hacking without risking the price of an astero to do it.

My mantra for exploration is generally fly as cheaply as you can.


Awesome, thank you for the advice! I’ll look into that, then.

For this t1 built, what are your suggested skills? And would it be worth doing exploration MISSIONS at all? I feel like I enjoy it more if I have a ‘goal’ in mind.

Are you talking about the career agent missions for the exploration career?

Yes, do all the careers, it shows you the basics of each career which is really useful knowledge even if you don’t plan on doing anything in that direction yet.

After the exploration career missions, there are no exploration missions that I know about. Just explore. :wink:

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I do very well in an Imicus or Probe.

And it’s a lot cheaper and much less a target.


JayEm is right. The t1 exploration frigates are pretty great, and very cheap. Definitely use them while you’re learning and you’ll make tons of money even if you explode.

Astero is so fun and a good next step. Gotta train for it though.

Also, The corporation Signal Cartel are the legendary explorers of Eve. Katia Sae and many other famous explorers are members. Get in touch with them and see if you’re interested in their mission.


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So what would y’all fit in a T1, generally, and what skills?

Same skills apply to T1 exploration as I linked above (except you don’t need cloaking or CovOps ships).

Try to fit the following:

  • Probe launcher
  • 16 probes (keep a spare set)
  • Relic and/or data analyzer (you could choose to only hunt for one, which saves a mid slot)
  • Propmod (5MN MWD is a bit faster, afterburner is also an option)

Scan upgrade modules in the mids (scan rangefinding array, or acquisition/pinpointing array)
Scan upgrade in the rigs (gravity capacitor upgrade)
Inertial stabilizers or nanofibers in the lows to get into warp faster
Rigs that get you into warp faster, make you fly faster or make you warp faster
Extra health in the form of a damage control unit or small shield extender, medium if it fits

Something like this:

[Imicus, Imicus cheap explorer]

Damage Control I
Nanofiber Internal Structure I
Nanofiber Internal Structure I

5MN Microwarpdrive I
Scan Rangefinding Array I
Data Analyzer I
Relic Analyzer I

Core Probe Launcher I
[Empty High slot]
[Empty High slot]

Small Gravity Capacitor Upgrade I
[Empty Rig slot]
Small Gravity Capacitor Upgrade I

Hobgoblin I x4
Warrior I x4

Core Scanner Probe I x16

(And feel free to use T2 versions of these modules if you have the skills and ISK for it)


Astero and Helios are great choices . Buzzard has PG problems , Cheetah lacks cap hard and slot layout ain’t optimal , Anathema also lacks mid slot .
For plain t1 , Heron.

Heron is relatively expensive (as a bare ship) compared to a Imicus or Probe.