Drones plus a mounted weapon or just drones?

Just getting to the agency starting combat missions and I’m also just starting to play with drones.
So my question is this, will hobs, hornets and the warrior be enough in most at level pve stuff I encounter? I have drones trained to 4 so far and have 5 qued after cloaking 5. I have most other drone skills trained to at least 3 and 4 on a couple.
I plan on eventually flying an Astero in exploration mode most of the time so I know I need to learn drones now but are tech 1 drones enough early on?

Thanks in advance

Drones are usually a secondary weapon system, except on the ships that have bandwidth for a full set of 5 drones (size of drones proportional to ship class), and bonuses to drones. For example, the Vexor cruiser. For these ships, choosing to not install the guns frees up powergrid, which allows you to oversize the defenses (armor, typically) by installing battleship-sized armor plates. With this, you get extra buffer hitpoints (not extra repair capabilities).

So, basically, it’s a choice between more DPS (faster killing) and more survival.

What’s the best choice can change depending on the PVE, and even from mission to mission (if that’s what you’re doing). Though typically you do want some minimum level of DPS in order to kill bosses and lieutenants, and missions / PVE usually allow you to warp out and repair, so defenses are important but there’s a workaround if you don’t have them.


depends on what you are in and what you want to do. Many of the drone ships have popular fits that use only drones with maybe a small gun for aggro. Then some use a full rack of weapons and drones, the big issue there is running out of slots to support both weapon systems. Rattlesnake is probably the most popular of these ships.

Astero will mostly just be drones. I don’t think you need cloaking 5, I’d suggest drones 5 way before that. For most exploration content you won’t need drones, they should be more of a self defense kind of thing. You could run combat sites in an astero but I don’t know if it’s worth it or not. Might be better off having a vexor or arbitrator near by to swap for the combat sites.


If you’re flying a low skilled astero with 4 drones and no cloak, you might as well be flying an imicus. Same capability, 1% of the price.

An astero’s main advantage is in pvp, where the cloak helps you choose engagements. Cloaking capability is useful if you run pve sites in low sec (a well fit astero can easily run a DED 2/10, 3/10 is possible but slow…) For high sec combat sites and missions, I would probably look towards a vexor, as others have recommended.

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you need cloaking 4 for a covert ops cloak, cloaking 5 is for very dedicated recon/covert ops pilots as all it does is takes the sensor calibration time down by 1s per level on the covert ops cloaks. Bombers and BLOPs have a role bonus that completely removes that penalty.

If you don’t have a covert cloak then yea it’s probably better to fly the cheap t1 explo frigs

I say it because I see (and shoot!) plenty of astero with non-covops cloaks, or with t1 drones…

My main advice: don’t use faction ships to compensate for low skills… use them to make good skills shine!* If you don’t, you will look silly at some point (look up the ships I’ve killed while flying a magnate.)

(*Yes, I know I stole that first half of my advice from… someone… lemme know if you want credit! The killing part is all my own though!)

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For nice drone skills, you need weeks of skilling. But for a properly cloaked Astero, you need months (and you also need those months to understand how to survive in New Eden).
My favorite start is an Algos with Drones V. Learn how to setup drone enhancement modules (there’s more than 35 km range :slight_smile: ) and which skills help you to fit T2 drones and modules, like Drone Damage Amp II or Drone Link Augmentor II.
At the start you will still fit some guns, because T1 drones are not too strong, but with better skills, you can go ratting in a mere droneboat - enjoy!

PS: Some Algos fitting examples.

always depended, for me. depends on where i am and what im doing. also maybe to consider what skills and ship im flying as well.

Drones are for when frigates get under your guns.

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Drones is at 5 now and I’m at 3 on most drone support skills.
Cloaking is at 4, I pulled level 5 off to work up more drone skills. I’m hoping to do mainly pve and thought cloaking would make that easier so I’ve been working skills towards that. I’ve got just over 2 mil sp concentrated on the magic 14, Astero required skills and drones with a few offshoots needed to unlock other key skills.
I’m sure I’ll die a few time but by the time I buy my first Astero I should be able to replace it a few times without worrying.

If it’s for PvP slap neuts in the highslots of drone hulls.

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