Drones - How to use

Hi all … trying to uinderstand how I should be usng drones whilst exploring. I am flying a Probe for now, and realise that I’ll need to move up eventually, but want to stay here for now. Have had differenting fittings with different types of drones, and I have never used them, manly I think because I don’t know when … or really what type.

My assumption is, perhaps, that I should have them out whilst I am scanning … or hacking … to help me in case I get jumped? Is that right? If that is the case shouls I use a combination of ECM and Combat drones? Suggestions on mixes, settings when launched etc. woiuld be really helpful.

Thanks in advance!

You should be cloaked while scanning, sitting somewhere like 100-150 km off planet (not sun or gates). There is no need to put drones out.

ECM drones would allow you to warp out if you’re lucky. If someone lands on you put your ECM on him and once he’s jammed warp away. Don’t try to pull in your drones - saving ship is more important.

Also while scanning in null or low try to sit somewhere cloaked if someone else is in the system. Otherwise you have a chance of someone landing on top of you and boom.

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When hacking another option is to orbit close enough to loot but not lose lock on the hacking module so you aren’t sitting still, but also your drones out as they might either decloak someone trying to sneak up, or be enough to maybe deter a bomber that’s lurking.

Thanks Phrynohyas_Tig-Rah … cloaking is not an option as am Alpha, and flying a Probe. I do sit out in the middle of no where having set some safe waypoints/spots followng the instructions for this on the wiki … TBH not so worried about whilst scanniong (though did learn today taht if I see Sisters Combat Probes on the dScan whilst in a WH … it’s time to pack up and run :smile:

Really just looking to see if buyingn drones would actually help me whilst hacking … i.e. some auto protection to give me the change to get away

Orbiting will in more cases slow you down when you want to warp off than it will help you.
Keeping at range of 2300m is what I would recommend for the following reasons:

  • Keeps you in looting range
  • Still able to cloak when something scary happens
  • Cloaking up will stop an initial lock of a hunter - if done quick enough
  • You won’t bump into the can when trying to warp or move to the next can

About the drones:
If you are out for non-combat exploration you look for data and relic sites for which you will not need any kind of drone. Drones are a weapon system. And if you sit in a Probe, you most of the time don’t want to fight - unless you know what you are doing and explicitly have your ship fitted for pvp purposes.
Drones that might help you to escape an ambush are EC-300 Hornets. They can jam a hostile ship, so it won’t be able to lock you for a short while and enabling you to warp away. But it will likely require good reflexes in order to pull this off as your ships has little ehp and may die quickly.

But if you should find a T2 Covert Ops frigate in any other space than highsec in a site, you would want to have at least a few combat drones with you. This will enable you to force the other pilot out of the site. The T2 variant of the exploration frigates have extremely low combat capabilities. Those and maybe Interceptors fitted for exploration are the only ships you could engage and hope to successfully fight with drones from a Probe.
But be aware that they also might reship and come back, or have friends.


A couple of advises then:

  1. Once you land on a safespot align to something and engage your AB. So even it they scan you down they won’t be able to land at you at 0. Sometimes this can save you
  2. Hunters often scan down all sites in the system and can use ships that are non-visible on D-Scan. So you might land on a site, see no probes or ships on D-Scan and then someone lands on grid and tackles you. Be ready for this. If possible check ppl that are in the system on ZKillboard to see if they do hunt for scanners

my advice: don’t care about drones in your t1 explo ship. If you are caught you are dead. use d scan, fit your ship to reduce align-warp time, and get ready to warp out if someone lands on grid
when you fly an astero, then your drones become useful, and you can fight
probe is an explo ship. You have to choose: pvp or explo

Google how safe spots work, 100km from a planet is not a safe spot. If someone sees you cloak (you may not see them because they might be cloaked) they’ll be able to decloak you.

As an alpha, don’t bother with drones. I don’t believe alphas can use EC-300 drones, and those are the only ones that can help explorers escape.

I think alpha can use ec-300’s, but don’t put drones out unless needed. You’ll just warp off and leave them constantly (speaking from experience :).

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EC-300 drones are Omega only.
Not that they would make any considerable difference if you get caught in Probe.