I'm doing something wrong in combat!

I’m doing something wrong with combat. I did fine in the tutorial. Now, I’m doing my first missions. I have two 125mm railguns, I believe it is. First mission, I fought some pirates. I approached the closest one, targeted it, waited till I was close to it, then set orbit at 500m. However, instead of staying in range, the pirate just move out to about 2K m and circled me. I was shooting at him, but every shot missed. The only way I killed him was to just approach him head on. Otherwise, he stayed out of range of my crappy railguns. Any ideas? Thanks!

Usually the game teaches you to orbit due to one method of tanking, Speed Tank. By being faster than the other ship as long as not going directly at the other ship. called Angular Velocity, you will give the enemy ship tracking issues since turrets do not track instantly without the aid of modules, skills, ship bonuses and implants, as well as less damage on their missiles due to explosion velocity and radius from missiles

However by doing that type of tank you are hindering your ability to cause damage with those turrets too if you lack tracking on them, so when you decided to go straight to the enemy, the enemy will naturally want to go away, which reduces angular velocity, its almost like he is a sitting duck.

By the way, you might want to look at Blasters for close range combat, Railguns lack tracking compared to Blasters and they are much more efficient by range, check your optimal range and falloff again with those railguns.

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Look at the optimal range on your guns. If they are railguns, they should have an optimal range bigger than 500m. By orbiting your target too close, you are increasing their angular velocity relative to yourself and hindering your guns.

In general, with turrets, combat goes as:
If you have longer range than the enemy, don’t go inside ~2/3 of your optimal range.
If you have shorter range, charge in and kill them at close range.

Obviously, in a 1v1 situation, one ship is likely to fall in each category, so the two opponents will have different preferred strategies.

In the situation you describe, you were behaving like a short range fighter and the NPC tried to stay at its optimal range (they always orbit at optimal range, or fly straight out/charge straight in if too close/far).

What would have worked better is to stay at longer range (~5km, depending on ammo), and let the NPC try to get to 2km of you. Since you outrange the NPC, he has issues doing damage while you deal damage well, especially since he is going straight for you so there is little angular velocity to mess with your guns.

This is the alternative to speed tanking, range tanking: staying further than your opponent’s engagement range to take little damage, while minimizing angular velocity to deliver as much damage as possible.

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I was in the basic ship with the railguns and no modules, skills, anything. Was that the problem?

With railguns look at the optimal distance and try to keep the enemy at that distance as much as possible, Erethond also gave a very nice explanation about it.

It doesn’t help, but that’s how we all start, so it is doable with the right tactics. If you have not yet done them, go do the career agent missions for combat. You will get better ships, guns and modules and they are designed for new players, so it should be manageable.

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125mm rails have optimal of 9k, 4.5k if you use antimatter. 500m is for blasters.

The closer target is the faster they tend to move sideways, (think real life carousel for example, the core moves superfast but outer rim at walking speed). And rails are long range weapon with bad tracking so they have problems hitting stuff near you if they move.

Also you wont get far with just guns, you need other modules too. Sure at start it might work but you want some kind of tank / repairs and usually afterburner / microwarp to move faster.

The faster part (afterburner) helps you to get out of blaster range and closer to your optimal longer range so you can start to hit the targets.

You want to buy supportskills for your weapons and other stuff pretty early, unless you get some free books, they arent expensive. The skills help will help you and early levels take just minutes or couple hours max to train to lvl 1-2.

Fast google-fu: Alpha skillplans from Brave

OK, thanks guys!

Do I need to start orbiting at any particular point? Or will my ship automatically try to close to the optimal range if I have the enemy targeted and I’m closing?

Also, what skills are optimal for ratting?

You can hit orbit any range in pve, your ship will first close in and then start orbit.
And the newbie skillplan i listed is good starterstuff, ofc you dont need the remote repair things.

it sounds like you’re flying a corvette. If you’re new, I’m surprised you can fit 125mm rails to that thing. Hm. If you’re using rails, you’re either Gallente or Caldari. Doesn’t really matter. The corvettes are pretty much the same, and there are good gun frigates for both races.

The advice above to do the tutorial missions is sound, though I’d say do all of them. There are five sets: industry, business, exploration, combat, and basically EWAR (though they may not be called by those names). IAC, a total of 45 pretty quick missions will net you several ships, some skill books, and about 5 million ISK.

I came up with this basic Velator fit (an Ibis - Caldari corvette - fit would be similar):

[Velator, Basic Velator Missioning]

Damage Control I
Small Inefficient Armor Repair Unit

1MN Y-S8 Compact Afterburner
Small Compact Pb-Acid Cap Battery

75mm Prototype Gauss Gun, Antimatter Charge S
75mm Prototype Gauss Gun, Antimatter Charge S

This thing as an optimal range of 3.5 km and a falloff of 3 km. You’d want to orbit at about 3.85 km. It’s cap stable (though that’s not a requirement). You do need skills you might not have:

Afterburner 1
Energy Grid Upgrades 1
Hull Upgrades 1
Repair Systems 1

Note that the Velator can fly two light drones (you would need Drones 3 and Light Drone Operations 1 skills), which would almost double your dps. The ship you get for free, the fittings will cost you about 50k ISK.

If you swap in long range ammo (Iron) your dps drops by roughly a factor of three, but your optimal range extends to 11.5 km (you would orbit at 12 km or so).

It’s generally a good idea to carry multiple ammo types, so you can adjust your optimal range/dps as needed. I usually carry Iron, Thorium (mid range, mid dps) and Antimatter.

Once you get a gun frigate or two - you’ll get an Atron which is a good one from the career missions.

You have to tell your ship where you want to orbit the target. You can set a default - best is a bit more than your optimal.

When I started, my first skill plan was to get the level 3 mastery certificates for the corvette. That also gives you level 3 mastery or close to it for frigates, destroyers, and cruisers.

Take a look at pyfa https://wiki.eveuniversity.org/Pyfa a third party fitting tool. It can help you figure out how to fit your ships.

Eve can be a complicated game to get to grips with initially.


Fortunately the helpful guys at EveUni put together a whole bunch of guides you can reference.
Happy reading :slight_smile:

I’m so confused. I’m flying an Atron I got from doing missions. I fitted it with three 125mm railguns because someone told me to. Someone else told that the small pirate ships will move around me too fast for me to hit with the railguns if I orbit, and that I should “keep at range” instead. Is that accurate? If I want to close and orbit, do I need some kind of turrets instead?

Atron is great, later you get Incursus which is even better.
You shouldnt have massive problems killing enemy frigates even with the rails since lowlevel pve enemies shouldnt evade you THAT much.

But i think using 125mm rails your powergrid might not be able to support tank and afterburner, you basically want both. So the 75mm rail is prolly better until your skills increase and you get more fittingspace.

If you want to stay REALLY close you can use blasters, they are like submachine guns, rails are more like sniper rifles. But in pve you generall want more range, and i have never had problems with rails. Just make sure you dont go too close, always try to stay at your optimal or slightly outside (with rails, due to tracking issues), not too far or you start to lose damage due to too long range, but if you are too close you lose damage due to tracking.

Yeah, I’m having capacitor problems with all I have equipped. I’ll switch to 75mm railguns. What is tank? Thanks!

“Tank” is the term people use to describe how much damage your ship can take before its destroyed. In pve you usually have some kind of armor or shield repair and resistances. Also do you have capacitor problem, or powergrid. Cap is the “electricity” in your batteries which gets used when you use various modules, like shooting, repairing etc. Grid is one of the things limiting how many and how big modules you can install to your ship.

All of those can be increased with skilltraining and with other modules on your ship.

Capacitor problems. I installed the 3 125mm railguns, a repair module and an afterburner.

When in space, you can hover with the mouse over the gun/charge symbol. It displays the optimal range. Set your orbit radius close to that range, and you will get best results with the railgun.

Eve has three different “gun” style weapons. Hybrid, Projectile and Energy. There are are also missiles and drones, but let’s leave those last two out of the discussion for the time being.

Hybrid, projectile and energy turrets all have two basic types, long range and short range. Long range hybrid turrets are Railguns, short range hybrid turrets are Blasters. Projectile and Energy turrets also have long and short range versions.

Long range turrets are good for shooting from long distance, but they have real problems staying locked onto a fast moving target that is close to you. Short range turrets are much better at staying locked onto a fast target that is close to you, but they can’t hit a target that is a long distance from you.

If you are going to use railguns, you need to keep a longer distance between you and whatever you are shooting at. If you prefer to get in close to your target to shoot it, use blasters instead of railguns.

How do you use railguns effectively? By knowing what their best shooting range is and using that as your orbit distance. How do you know what the best shooting range is? That depends on what type of ammunition you are using. There are eight different types of basic ammunition for hybrid turrets. Each type of ammunition will change the effective shooting range of your turrets. Some types of ammunition give you longer shooting range, at the cost of doing less damage per hit. Some types of ammunition give you less shooting range, with a bonus of doing more damage per hit.

When you are in space and have some ammunition loaded into your turrets, mouse over the icon for your turrets, a pop-up window will appear that will show two distances, the “optimal” range of the turrets with that ammunition, plus a “falloff” range with that ammunition. If you are carrying several different types of ammunition on your ship, right click the turret icon and a pop-up menu will appear with options to change the ammunition loaded into the turrets. Select a different type of ammunition and mouse over the turret icon again. The optimal and falloff ranges will be different because changing the ammunition in the turrets has changed the range the turrets can shoot at.

For railguns, your ideal shooting range is your optimal range or a distance close to that. Your optimal range depends on what type of ammunition you have loaded in your turrets. Hybrid ammunition also changes the shooting range of blasters as well, not just the shooting range of railguns.

Another way of fighting is to “kite” the target. Basically, once a ship is hostile to you and is chasing you, run away from it, but control your speed so that you don’t run away too quickly. The easiest targets to hit are targets flying at you in a straight line. If you fly away from a hostile ship, it will fly straight towards you in a straight line. By controlling your speed you can keep the target ship chasing you, like holding the string of a kite while you walk or run on the ground, hence the term “kite”.

NPC ships are not very smart, they don’t use any clever tactics, they just fly straight at you until they get close enough to orbit you and shoot you. If you make them chase you at a fixed distance, they shouldn’t get close enough to do much damage to you, while you blap them with your weapons. Kiting can be done with blasters, but it’s more effective with railguns because of the extra shooting range railguns have compared to blasters.

Capacitor problems. You do not need to keep your afterburner and armor repairer running all the time. If you have been told that you need to be “capacitor stable” (your capacitor never runs out of power with all your weapons and modules in use), that’s actually not true, especially for PVE (fighting NPC pirate ships and the like). The idea is that you only use your afterburner and armor repairer when you actually need to, and the rest of the time they stay turned off. That way, your capacitor will last much longer before you are in danger of running out of energy.

While you are still learning the game and training up important skills, it’s ok to warp out of a fight before you get overwhelmed or run out of capacitor energy. If you dock inside a station, your capacitor and shield will be recharged to full for free in just a couple of seconds. Then fly back to the pirate ships you were fighting, take out a couple more of them, warp out again if you need to, repeat.

As your skills get to higher levels, your ship will become more powerful and you’ll gradually get better at clearing out pirate ships without having to warp out mid-fight. The number of times I did that when I was new, all my shields and armor gone, smoke and flames coming out of my ship because I was in hull damage. Sometimes I got out of the fight in time to save my ship from popping, sometimes I didn’t.

Knowing when you should use energy hungry modules like an afterburner or an armor repairer isn’t something I can easily describe in a forum post. It depends a lot on what ship you are flying, what equipment you have fitted to it, what combat tactics you are using, what skills you have trained, and other details. You’re going to have to undock, fly around, do some fighting, try different things out and see for yourself what works for you and what doesn’t.

For the time being, here’s a link to some blog posts discussing capacitors in Eve, how they work, and what skills you can train to improve them. The blog is not mine, I’ve never spoken to the person who wrote it, but it’s written by someone in the Eve University player corp who teaches new players how to play Eve. I’m not sure how long ago these blog posts were written, some of the information might be different now because of changes to the game over time, but the fundamental information is still useful.

Part one, An overview of capacitors.

Part two. Skills that make capacitors better.

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