Drone boat skills

Oï !

I’m currently looking after training up the Gallente tech tree, and the Dominix looks quite interesting. I think ships using drones as principal weapon need more skills than other one, and mine are pretty low for now.

Currently, I’m flying an Algos for T1 mission, but it would be nice to start on Vexor with better skills. My drone skills are :

  • Drone IV (in training for V)
  • Drone Navigation II
  • Drone Durability II
  • Drone Avionics III
  • Light Drone Operation III
  • Medium Drone Operation II

I also have the skills for operating a T2 armor tank with the T2 Damage control.

So here’s my question : which skills should I train to use Vexor at a good capacity and then jumping in Myrmidion to go up to Dominix ?

Thanks in advance =)
Sasha Viderzei

Returning player here. So not sure if my info is correct or not.

I have only been back for a week and able to run threes with a vexor. That is with max drone skills and shield tanking with max shield skills. Also have all my fitting skills maxed. So it is able to run all t2 tank, drones, and damage mods.

However something is seriously wrong with drones at the moment. I used to be able to just let them loose and go at it. That however is not the case any more as my drones are drawing agro pretty much nonstop. If you don’t pull them in to the drone bay every 15 to 20 seconds you will lose them.

With that said it may be different with sentry drones at 70km, and a Domi using remote armor reps on the sentry drones. Not sure but hopefully a vet pilot will pop in and add some light as to why drones are drawing so much agro as of late cause it’s something that never used to happen. >.<

Again take every thing I just said with a grain of salt as I have been away from awhile.

I actually never used Sentry Drones, are they good for a Dominix or is it better to use the Light / Medium / Heavy drones ?

Also, I think you can prevent your drones to be locked. Unless the enemies are sleepers that switch target more often than other rats, you just have to wait the enemy to lock your ship, and then you can launch your drones without having them locked and thus tacking damage.

But thanks for the reply =)

A while back I bouaght a domi equipped with a good mix of light/medium/heavy drones and started running L4 missions. Did okay until I ran across one (I forget which one) I couldn’t handle. Meanwhile I trained up Sentries and the micro jump drive. Equipped with those, that mission was cake. :slight_smile:

Well, thanks for the help ^^

for pve its sentries or nothing, heavies get vaporised by anything sub BS size. As such Sentries remain the only way drone boat can actually apply full damage throughout whole mission.
Just another fine example of CCP failure: add aggro mechanics without ways to control it.

Okay guys, I need your help here.

I finally reached Gallente cruiser, so I’m able to fly a Vexor. Or, that ship is apparently less effective without the right skills, could someone please help me with them ?

Thanks :slight_smile:

ISIS has very good selection for vexor, just train drone tab first.

Ok, let’s go through drone skills and talk about priority of each one along with some logic, shall we?

  1. Drones. This needs to be at 5. It allows you to field 5 drones, which you absolutely have to have if you want to fly any drone both (except for Guristas ships, but you also need it as a prereq for other skills so you have to have it anyhow).
  2. Light and Medium Drone Operation. These should both be at 4 ASAP and get them to 5 when possible. Any drone ship will use lights and mediums and starting out they’re bread and butter.
  3. Drone Interfacing. Take this to 4. Get it to 5 as soon as you get a chance. It used to be the single most powerful bonus in the drone tree; it’s been halved and it’s still critical to train up.
  4. Drone Avionics. Take this to 4 to start. You don’t want your drones all that far away. Taking this to 5 and Advanced Drone Avionics to 4 would be basic for sentry drones but not so much other drones.
  5. Drone Navigation. Bump this to 3 and work your way up. Faster drones take less damage and get to target faster. It’s rather important, but not the top of the list.
  6. Drone Durability. Take to 3 and trickle up. To start you should be using navy drones, which have some built in durability bonuses. Before leaping too far into T2 drones take this to 4 or 5.
  7. Drone Sharpshooting. Low priority. This is for sentry drones more than anything else.
  8. Drone specializations. When you have good support skills, make the leap to T2 lights/mediums. Train specs to 3 or 4. Personally I’d do all of them; I may be lonely out there but I find uses for all four racial drone types.
  9. Sentry Drone Interfacing. This is a game-changer. Sentry drones are immobile (almost) but have awesome range. They are great on a Dominix and the Ishtar is built for them. However, they are their own long train and require an investment in sharpshooting and avionics that other drone types don’t get much from.
  10. Heavy Drone Operation. Lowest priority. You’re not going to be using heavies that often; they’re slow and awkward. Unless you’re afk ratting sentries are a better option on everything but the Eos. If you’re training for an Eos you already know what you’re doing so… Otherwise, take this to 1 to have access to Geckos in case you want to run a Gecko Rattlesnake or some such.

At least that’s how I’d think about it these days.

Don’t neglect your ship skills of course.


Get drones + drone interfacing to V. Get all your drone support skills (avionics, durability, sharpshooting, navigation) to IV or V, then train for tech 2 lights, mediums, then heavies. Until you can use tech 2 drones you will get a lot of use out of faction drones; forget tech 1 drones, they are terrible.

Thanks for that list :slight_smile:

I would like to know : what do you mean by ship skills ?

Thanks in advance :slight_smile:

CCP changed how NPC’s deal with drones last year. NPC’s are much more likely to target your drones depending on the size of your drones, the size of the NPC ships and whether or not you can control the aggro of the NPC ships (make them target your ship instead of your drones). Some types of EWAR such as target painters can help you control NPC aggro. Pulling your drones into your ship and giving the NPC’s a little time to target you before you launch your drones is another way to do it.

Small (frigate and destroyer) NPC’s can target any size drones if you cannot keep control of the NPC aggro.
Medium (cruiser and battlecruiser) NPC’s can target medium, heavy and sentry drones but will generally ignore light drones.
Large (battleship and larger) NPC’s can target heavy and sentry drones but will generally ignore light and medium drones.

This is not a bug, this was a deliberate move by CCP. Drones were getting too ez-mode with little penalty to the players.

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What drones you use depends on how you are trying to fight. There really isn’t a single easy answer to say that one type of drone is always better than another type of drone, it really depends on how you plan to use them. It’s also generally better to carry several different types of drones until you have more experience with them and how you want to use them.

The T1 Domnix is particularly good for sentry drones because the Dominix has a special bonus for drones that improves their ability to track targets. There is an improved version of the Dominix, the Federation Navy Dominix, which has overall better stats in general, but the Navy Dominix does not have the drone target tracking bonus the T1 Dominix has.

So, getting back to the first point, which drones you use depends on how you plan to use them. I use drones a lot in PVE, and if I’m doing level 4 missions I have two main ships I use, a Dominix and an Amarr Armageddon, which also has special bonuses for drones, but I don’t use those two ships in the same way.

My Dominix is set up for “sniping” with sentry drones. When I enter a mission pocket, I’ll move my ship to a position where the NPC’s are around 100 - 110 km away, deploy some sentry drones, lock the NPC ships as targets and start blapping them with the sentry drones. I actually shoot the smallest NPC ships first and work my way up in size to the biggest NPC ships last. Since the NPC’s are so far away from me when I start shooting them, they all fly towards me in a fairly straight line, and that makes them easy to hit at long range. Depending on how many NPC ships there are, I may have to pick up my sentry drones and run away for a bit to open up some space between the NPC’s and my ship, then I deploy the sentries and shoot some more.

The bigger NPC ships are slower so they take longer to get to me. The faster I pop the small NPC ships, the more time I have before I need to re-position my ship. Shoot the smallest ships for as long as I can, then move to a new position, shoot some more, repeat. It’s a fairly easy strategy to perform, but it’s a slow strategy in terms of how long it takes to pop all the NPC ships If you want to collect the most bounties. This is not a high isk/hour method.

The Armageddon is not set up to fight the same way. I do use sentries with it but I back those sentries up with Rapid Heavy Missile Launchers as well as medium and heavy drones. I typically start a mission in the same way as I do with a Dominix. Set myself about 100-110 km from the NPC ships, launch the sentries, start shooting the smallest NPC ships first. The missiles have a range of around 65 km and depending on how many NPC frigates and destroyers there are, I might relocate my ship like I do with the Dominix until the small ships have been popped (because heavy missiles don’t work all that well against small ships).

Once the only NPC ships left are cruiser size or larger, I swap the sentries for medium drones and use those on the NPC cruisers/battlecruisers while I get to work on any NPC battleships with the missiles. If I clear out the cruisers/battlecruisers first, I pull the medium drones back and swap them for heavy drones, then go to town on the battleships that are still there. With the right skills and fit, a T1 Armageddon with Rapid Heavy Missiles and Gallente heavy drones can put out 1000+ DPS with T1 Meta and T2 modules and faction heavy missiles (there’s a ship CPU issue with the Geddon if I use T2 Rapid Heavy Missile Launchers).

So, the Dominix is set up to shoot at long range and move to keep the NPC’s at long range. The Armageddon can also shoot at long range but can move in and fight at much closer range once the most troublesome NPC’s have been dealt with. The Dominix could be set up to do something similar but the Dominix cannot fit missile launchers, the Armageddon can fit any kind of weapon in it’s high slots. The down side to the Armageddon setup I use is that it requires a lot more micro-management of the drones, especially knowing when to switch from one type of drone to another type, and Rapid Heavy Missile Launchers have a long reload time when they run out of missiles, so that 1000+ DPS is not possible for the entire fight, there will be noticeable periods when only the drones are shooting while the missile launchers are reloading.

Another couple of points to be aware of concerning sentry drones.

First: They do not fly around. When you launch them from your ship, they stay where they were launched. If you fly your ship away from them, they cannot follow you, you have to fly back to them to pick them up. They’re kind of like loot from a wrecked ship, you have to get within a certain distance from the sentries to bring them back into your ship.

Second: Different sentry drones have different ranged weapons and target tracking speeds.

Gallente sentries have the shortest weapon range. It can be hard for them to hit a target that is more than 65 km away, but they do have the fastest tracking speed. Even so, there are limits on how well they can track a small fast target that has gotten closer than 20 km to them.

Amarr sentries are a step up for weapon range, up to 80 km, but they tracking speed is slower than the Gallente sentries.

Minmatar sentries are another step up for weapon range, a little over 110 km is possible with the right skills and ship modules, but their tracking speed is worse than the Amarr sentries.

Caldari sentries are the kings for weapon range, 120+ km is possible, but they have the worst tracking speed. One other up-side to the Caldari sentries is their damage type. Kinetic damage is one of the most common weaknesses for NPC’s in the game. Hitting an NPC with a damage type they are weak against helps pop them faster. The only damage weakness more common than kinetic is Thermal, and the Gallente sentries do Thermal damage, but Gallente sentries don’t have the weapon range for long range shooting.

Id like to add that there are numerous cases of NPC breaking CCP stated code so basically any drone can be targeted at any moment.
Non believers are welcome to get out meds in blood 4/10 (cruisers only NPC) and wait a bit.
Also sleepers/incursions/drifters have their own AI, which acts differently.

Sorry this is a bit off topic, but for some reason I cannot create a new topic.

Looking to see if anyone has found a way to control aggro against drones.

In the old days if you targeted one of your drones and hit it with a remote eccm that created enough enmity that aggro would stay on the ship, and not the drone. I also used command modules, but both of those modules have changed and do not work anymore to hold aggro on the ship

Mabey there is no way, and that is fine - it helps against afk ratters anyways.

there is no reliable way to control drone aggro.
There are several basic rules, that were already stated,but even they arent set in stone.
In short: Ewar helps a lot, shooting/support helps a bit, nothing helps vs elite frigs :slight_smile:
With navy geddon shooting right left and center + using 2 TP i often manage to use heavies only in missions. Then i tire being mazohistic and go back to sentries.

Another question here : are meta/named drones really worth their prices over the T1 counterpart ?

Also, I saw on the EVE Uni wiki page of the Vexor that it should be played as a sixth drone, and the Gunnery skills shouldn’t be neglect. So I think that a blaster-fit Vexor would be better in that role, but I don’t really know which skills should I train to get the best out of the high slots. For exemple, what should I train to improve the damage output of the blasters ? And should I train to the T2 variants, so I can use the T2 ammos ?

Thanks in advance =)
Sasha Viderzei

they are worth it. faction and augmented drone version kick T1 out of the water. Cost a fortune in case of augmented, as supply is low, and BPCs arent most common thing in this universe. Faction ones are cheap enough to be used on regular basis.

Durability & Interfacing are imo the 2 major skills to focus
Additional control range is now a liability so you can leave that till last.

The Domi & Navy Domi have slightly different skill bonus on the hull.
One favours Sentries, the other works better with Heavies
that said both can use either type of drone quite well

If you collect drones & ship hulls in to size categories
Frigate + Destoyer + Light Scout are all Small
Cruiser + Battlecruiser + Medium Scout are all Medium
Battleship + Sentry/Heavy are all Large

NPC’s now mostly now look at the following list for determining what to shoot at

  • What is doing DPS
  • What is using ECM
  • What is giving remote reps
  • Is it a drone
  • Is the size class of that drone larger

So if your in a Myrm with Heavies deployed and your target is cruiser sized
The NPC is going to tickbox
It’s a drone
Size class of drone is larger
Size class of PC ship is not larger
DPS is coming from the drones

and it’s going to completely ignore you and shred the drones.

Going back to control range, I would monitor what the drones are attacking AND how far they are travelling
I’d keep

  • Heavies to within 20/25km
  • Mediums to within 30/40km
  • Lights to Control Range

The bigger the drone, the slower it travels, if you reduce the distance it has to travel it has less chance of exploding from npc fire.

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