Holding aggro from drones

What do you guys use to prevent drones from getting spontaneously combusted?
I know Target Painters help. Do active omnidirectional links help? Is there anything else?
Assuming that targets are out of webbing range

I’m not sure that there’s much that you can do. I don’t let them deploy that far. I watch to make sure that none of the ships that were red on me go suddenly yellow. I watch my drone condition bars. The minute I find they’re taking fire, or likely to be about to, I call them back into the bay. Other than doing that and just absolutely minding and micromanaging them the whole time, I think they’ll get vaporized. That’s my experience anyway, which likely means “functioning as intended” given past experience with CCP.

Case in point, once upon a time, if you brought your drones back in after they took aggro, you could put them out once it came off and not have to worry about it again. Alas, that was taken out many years ago, and I wouldn’t expect it to come back.

If you want to use drones, you’re just going to have to babysit them. :frowning:

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Okay, different rats can have different A.I.'s, but there are things you can do to help reduce drone losses.

First, you can move your ship(s) up the agro table relative to your drones by:

  • Doing more damage with your ship
  • Having more Ewar (this includes the autotargeter for some reason)
  • Spider tanking
  • Remaining in range of the rats (so that they are less likely to switch to the drones that remain in range)

Furthermore, you can:

  • Train Drone Durability, Drone Navigation, and any ship skills that increase drone HP.
  • Make sure you are redboxed before launching drones.
  • Keep an eye on agro, and pull your drones in if you lose it.
  • Prioritize webbing frigs, as they will increase damage application to drones and slow their return to your drone bay.
  • I’ve also heard some voodoo about ejecting from your ship to reset agro, but have never tested it.

Finally, I treat T1 and T2 drones as expendable, and avoid using expensive faction drones in content where I expect a lot of losses.

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In the end, this is really the answer. I still grumble about it, but in the end you’re going to lose drones if you rely on them. I try to think of it in the same way as faction/tech II crystals or ammo for other guns: you burn it as time goes on. It’s just part of the game.

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Thank you! That was incredibly informative. Some of it I knew, most was new to me!

One thing that costs me a lot of drones personally is the tendency for rats and drones to start orbiting each other and drifting off, increasing the distance they need to travel when recalled. The AI has a preference for certain distances. For example, Angel rats and Triglavian frigates like to orbit close. Keep an eye out for when they break their preferred orbit distance, it might be a sign the rats and your drones are tumbling away. Also, in some cases it might be worth it to fit a remote (armor) repper to repair your own drones. This has helped me to prevent drone loss in Abyssal sites, or to be specific: to prevent me from launching a bunch of damaged drones that will get popped even quicker.

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