Can anyone suggest a training plan for getting into VNI ratting

Looking to get my skills in order and have a plan for ratting and running lvl 2 missions atm then work up to a VNI. I currently have a vexor, with a full flight of federation navy hammerheads I can get 200 DPS and 23k EHP as an armor tank. Any tips are appreciated!

OĂŻ mate !

Alright, I’ll try to help you as best as I can. Currently I am using my Vexor Navy Issue to do ratting in nullsec, but I think it’s application could be migrated toward Missions. Currently, one of the best tactic to use in a VNI is the 100MN Afterburner. Basically : you use a battleship-sized module to speed tank everything if done correctly (except small guns). Don’t use a MicroWarpDrive, as the signature radius bloom will make you extremely easy to hit, even at extreme speed for a cruiser hull.

So, before we start, please note that I am going to give you my Navigation (related to the 100MN Afterburner) and Drones skills, and that they are not the best, but will already permit you to do VNI ratting/missioning quite easily. A good reference is this page : EVE University - Vexor, that will give you the basics baselines for Vexor’s skills. Also, I hope you have already trained CPU and PowerGrid Management to V, plus some skills in Capacitor (for convenience) and be able to equip either T2 Shield or Armor modules.

So, Navigation skills will be quick : training the Navigation and Afterburner skills to IV will give you good subwarp speed (for the former) and acces to every T2 Afterburner in the game, which are a bit more heavy of fitting, but make your ship faster and reduce the weight of Afterburner on your capacitor (you really don’t want to cycle your speed tanking module).

Concerning Drones skills, here we go :

  • Drones V, of course. You shouldn’t even step in a Vexor without it, as you’ll be killing your DPS with one less drone.

  • Drone Interfacing IV, I have myself trained it to V, because a +10% bonus to damage and mining yield for drones is a very good upgrade (even more if you use the same character for Orca piloting and VNI ratting, like me), but the long train to step up to level V could be used to train more interesting skills. If you are ever interested in a carrier or supercarrier, you’ll already have the prerequisite trained for Fighters skills.

  • Gallente Cruiser IV, technically not a Drones skill, but each level training in this one is like training a level in Drone Interfacing, as you’ll get a +10% bonus to Drone hitpoints and damage, making them sturdy and hard-hitting machines. Also, you get a +5% to Drone tracking speed and max velocity, which is great. If you equip a Omnidirectional Tracking Link I with a Tracking Speed Script, even heavy scout drones will be able to hit frigate-sized craft, which is one of the selling point of VNI. If you’re planning to go on the Ishtar(d), you’ll be forced to train it to V anyway.

  • Heavy Drone Operation IV, because heavy scout drones are going to be your main source of DPS. Again, the long train to get T2 Heavies isn’t really worth (to my eyes), as you’ll get little damage bonus for that long train. Federation Ogres could be a better pick if you’re wealthy, as they have the same damage output as T1 Ogre, but better survivability. 5% Bonus to Heavies damage per level is a nice stackable percentage.

  • Drone Sharpshooting III-IV, as this skill will actually help your drones track smaller stuff, because they will start to shoot sooner at a target and orbit from further away (as drones always orbit at their optimal range). This skill will also unlock Omnidirectional Tracking Link I at level I, and the T2 variant at level V. But be careful, this skill can work both ways, as NPC rats will also need less tracking to hit your drones, and heavies aren’t the smallest targets around. You just need to look often at your drones’ shield bar, and when it start taking damage, recall them. But beware that heavy scout drones fly veeeery slow, even with VNI’s bonuses. Which is a good transition for my next point.

  • Drone Navigation III-IV, because drones that travel faster to their target are drones that apply damage earlier, and happier drone (yes, scientifically proven that fast drones feels happiness !). You’ll also unlock Drone Navigation Computer I that way. Because the T1 module give a +25% bonus to drone’s speed (stacking bonus can be applied), equipping one is like having this skill trained to V.

  • Drone Durability II-III, keep this skill among the last, as it’s just to be sure your drones won’t instantanly die if a rat get a moment of intelligence and decide to shoot the little thing that is actually wrecking havoc amongst his comrades, and not the cruiser orbiting some random object at 30km and going way too fast for them to catch up, or their weapons to track.

On more trivial skills, you could do the quick train for Medium Hybrid Turret and fit one of your ship, just to be sure the rat keep the aggro on you (or even more if you want every last drop of DPS, but beware that VNI doesn’t get any bonus to any kind of weaponery, except drones).


Some comments to follow up on your post, primarily concerning the VNI ratting aspects:

  • Fitting a T2 AB on a VNI is typically not worth it. A T2 100MN uses 350 GJ per cycle (before skills), whereas a 100MN Monopropellant Enduring Afterburner uses only 250 GJ per cycle (before skills) and is easier to fit (less PG). The difference in performance is minimal, with the T2 having a 135% max speed boost versus 125% for the Monopropellant. Since VNI ratting involves orbiting something, your maximum speed is more constrained by your ship’s agility than the AB anyway.

  • Fuel Conservation is an important skill to snatch at least a few ranks in. You want the VNI to be cap stable with an oversized AB running full time. Fuel conservation cuts back on the cap use of the AB.

  • Ship agility is just as important as raw speed. Agility determines how fast you can go while changing direction. The Spaceship Command and Evasive Maneuvering skills improve this. Added benefit is that this also speeds up your align time, making leaving sites in a hurry faster.

  • Drone Avionics is an essential skill. As you’ll be orbiting things at a considerable distance, you need the drone control range to make sure your drones stay active. When targets move out of control range, your drones will simply stop attacking them. So get that control range up. Rank 3 unlocks the Drone Link Augmenter, which is a high slot module that further increases control range. Since a ratting VNI doesn’t use guns (except perhaps for a token pea-shooter to draw attention from rats), you have plenty of space to fit one.

  • Consider using the Zor’s Custom Navigation Link implant. This implant increases the duration of your AB cycle by 10%. This directly translates to a reduction in capacitor use, making it much easier to become cap stable. The implant is very cheap (<100k isk).

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