Long time Miner trying to understand combat!

Hello everyone,

I suppose I should start this off with Happy New Year! I’m not exactly a new player to EVE, my main character is a few years old but I’ve done almost nothing but mining since the beginning, my brother taught me this game and the little combat I was shown was using a Drake and other Missile Launcher ships. During my time flying Kestrals and Drakes I don’t ever recall Missiles missing, but since moving over to drones and my Dominix I’ve started to try learn how to properly fit ships, armor tanking, tracking as well as using different drones depending on ship size and distance (not very good at these last two at all!!)

I don’t really know how people share fits so easily so I will use this opportunity to point out that I do have a YouTube channel where I am sharing my EVE journey as I learn the game, I am not sure if it’s ok to share my link here or not, so I won’t be doing that, if at all you’re interested my latest video is showing off my current Dominix fit and how it performs in a level 2 security mission … The only reasons it’s a level two mission is because it’s the exact one I showed myself struggling in my Drake on.

If anything, moving from the Drake to my Dominix has shown me what a week or more of training can do as far as improvements to damage, suitability and utility? Thing like a MJD and a MWD basically! I’m sure if I spent that time learning missile skills I’d probably be doing similar damage to my Dominix fit, but it’s kinda hard to say!

I’m really struggling to learn and get my head around why Drones miss, how to see the minimal range a drone will hit (knowing when to swap my Wardens for Gardes essentially) and even reading guides online seems to go over my head at times. I don’t really understand Tracking, especially when I’m trying to choose scripts for my range/tracking buffers, most people seem to run range on them and my only guess is because you’re sniping from so far away, the AI ships will be flying directly at you and tracking doesn’t matter?

Anyway, this only really scratches the surface of what I want to ask, but this post is already really long, feel free to leave me any and all tips for combat!

Thank you,

Combat in EVE is easy!
Simply strap on the biggest guns up the other person’s tailpipe and push the button! :smiley:

Okay, okay… so you want to learn. Like… seriously learn?
Better double-tie your shoelaces… because this may take awhile.

Interesting facts about missiles:

  • They have a velocity (like a ship)
  • They have a flight time (think of this as “time til fuel runs out”)

If a ship can outspeed a missile or lies outside of its max range (which is velocity x flight time… plus or minus 1 to 3km) then the missile will “miss.”

Another interesting fact is that if the Explosion Radius of a missile is far larger than the Signature Radius (see; “sensor footprint”) of the target ship, it will do reduced damage.
There are cases where a missile is large enough and the target ship is small enough that the missile effectively “misses.”

To mitigate this issue, utilize a Target Painter (to make the target’s sig radius larger) or use a Stasis Webifier (to slow down the target ship… and yes speed also factors into all this).

In game you can simply open your Fitting Window, then click and drag the name of your ship into the desired chat box.

For out of game stuff… look up Pyfa.
It is a free to download, free to use, 3rd party tool that allows you to play around with ship fittings and import/export ship fits into EVE (which you can do by opening up the fitting library in the Fitting Window (it should be in the upper right).

Ohhh boy… umm… okay.

Think of tracking as a turret’s ability to follow the target.
Smaller turrets (both in general and within each class) tend to have better tracking and rate of fire, but poorer range and damage per volley.
Larger turrets (both in general and within each class) tend to have better range and damage per volley, but poorer tracking and rate of fire.

There are grey areas and exceptions to the above, but that is the general layout.

Now… in terms of applying damage, the best way I can describe it is thusly:

You want to have less “angular movement” between your gun and your target.
By this I mean…

  • If a target is flying directly towards you or away from you, your odds of applying damage increase.
  • If a target is flying parallel to you at a roughly similar speed, your odds of applying damage increase.
  • If a target is flying right past you in the opposite direction, your odds decrease.
  • If a target is flying in circles around you, your odds decrease.

(Note: There is a way to make this info appear on the Overview. Simply open your Overview settings and play around with info columns. Look for “Angular Momentum” or something to that effect)

You can see the drones’ range by right clicking the drone and selecting “Show Info.” Look in the “Attributes” tab.
You are looking for “Optimal Range.”
In general… once a target is within 50% of the optimal range, tracking is going suffer. And within 25% of optimal you are going to have to maneuver a bit and/or apply another module to assist (like a Stasis Web).

Regarding why drones miss:
Remember how I went over turrets above? Drones are basically “turrets” that operate semi-independently of the ship.
More than that… Sentry Drones are one of the largest class of drones in the game (before you get into Fighters)
And they are considered “long range” weapons too.
And they are quite stationary.

Apply the paradigms I described in my brief about turrets.

Regarding your Dominix:

  • In general, no battleship class should be without a “flight” (see: 5x drones) or two of Light Drones. Light Drones are ideal against smaller targets and are pretty much one of the few effective ways of dealing with smaller ships.
  • A Dominix has a large drone bay. Use that to its advantage. Carry different types of drones for different purposes and enemies.
  • Don’t be afraid to pull in the drones you already have on the field and deploy something else based on the needs of the situation. The Dominix is a drone ship, which makes it a veritable “swiss army knife.”
    Sure, it looks a little silly only having a few little “bees” for drones buzzing about… but you know what is sillier? A big honkin battleship that is in flames due to one Frigate NPC. :wink:

That is a seriously useful reply, thank you so much! I’m glad to say I figured a few things out myself, such as the Missile velocity, but describing it as basically having fuel makes it a lot easier to make sense of! Now that I think about it I suppose some of my missiles would’ve missed, but instead of it saying on screen that the missile missed, it just doesn’t show it hitting!

I have actually been tempted to fit a Target Painter to my ship for a while, hopefully stop my drones tanking things, but if I remember right they go on the mid slots right? Currently on my Dominix I’m running a MWD, MJD, Sensor Booster and 2 Omnidirectional Tracking Links (no scripts on the links, still playing with that).

I will look up Pyfa today! I didn’t know there was a fitting library though, I’ve been putting my ship into simulator mode and playing with things there, eventually if something works I’ll write down the changes in the notebook haha!

Your explanation of tracking has actually helped a lot and has actually made me very tempted to learn to fit a gunship, I’ve been interested in trying the Hecate for a while, but for now I’ll stick to learning combat at a nice and safe 100+km with Wardens haha! The only issue I can think of with drones is there’s no way to manually increase their chance to hit? So if I was flying a ship fit with turrets, if something was proving difficult to hit because it was orbiting me, I could attempt to orbit them also to get the angle between us more parallel?

I also forgot to mention which drones I was running in my first post, currently I’m using 5x Warden I, 5x Garde 1 and 5x Ogre, but I need to replace my ogres with 5x Hobs and 5x Hammerheads I think, or if Salvage Drones are small enough add them in there instead of Hammers or hobs, depending on if hammerheads can hit frigs easy enough!

Thanks for everything though, this has been a really useful read! I think I’ll have to play around with my wardens and gardes some more, just to figure out when would be best to swap from one to the other (range wise), but currently my wardens kill everything at the 100km mark, but I think that’s bound to change in T3s and T4s!

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Using a battleship for a level 2 mission isn’t recommended. Bigger isn’t always better. You’ll find that your large weapons miss more often than they hit - the tracking issue discussed above.

Level 2 missions are intended for medium hulls - cruisers or battlecruisers. Your Drake can fit a massive passive tank and should be able to coast through level 2’s (or level 3’s for that matter)

Try something like this. The target painter will increase the signature of small opponents allowing your weapons to apply more damage. The heavy launchers will let you engage from about 60Km depending on skills, if you prefer close range brawling, substitute heavy assault launchers. You’ll get a bit more DPS and they’re easier to fit. This fit is omni-tank you can replace the invulnerability fields with mission specific hardeners if you prefer but with over 50K EHP and 300 EHP/sec regen (again skill dependent), no level 2 mission should be able to break your tank.

[Drake, Drake fit]

Ballistic Control System II
Ballistic Control System II
Shield Power Relay II
Missile Guidance Enhancer II

10MN Afterburner II
Large Shield Extender II
Large Shield Extender II
Target Painter II
Adaptive Invulnerability Field II
Adaptive Invulnerability Field II

Heavy Missile Launcher II, Scourge Fury Heavy Missile
Heavy Missile Launcher II, Scourge Fury Heavy Missile
Heavy Missile Launcher II, Scourge Fury Heavy Missile
Heavy Missile Launcher II, Scourge Fury Heavy Missile
Heavy Missile Launcher II, Scourge Fury Heavy Missile
Heavy Missile Launcher II, Scourge Fury Heavy Missile
[Empty High slot]

Medium Core Defense Field Purger II
Medium Core Defense Field Purger II
Medium Core Defense Field Purger II

Hornet II x5

You can easily copy this fit into the in-game fitting tool. Copy everything between (but not including) the ______________ to your clipboard.

In the fitting tool choose import from clipboard and then select simulate


Ahhh… okay… this makes more sense.

I was actually wondering how a battleship of all things would struggle in a level 2 mission. :stuck_out_tongue:

So yeah… consider Sentry and Heavy drones to be akin to “Battleship-class” weapons. They deal sizable damage, have high range, but poor tracking and speed. Doubly so at close range.
You would ideally use these drones against Cruiser-sized ships and larger.
And for Sentries I would not use them at all when enemies are within 15-20km of me.

For ships that are smaller than Cruisers, you would want to field Light Drones.
Light Drones have very high speed and high tracking, but poor durability.
Because durability is an issue for Light Drones in missions, I would highly recommend having at least 10 of them (so you have spares).

I think you will be surprised how efficiently 5 light drones can cut through NPC frigates in level 2 missions. So much so that you probably do not need to utilize your MJD (frankly, I am surprised you use it at all… a properly tanked Dominix can absorb and rep the full DPS of a level 2 mission).

You’re definately right about bigger isn’t always better, I moved onto Level 3 missions today and I think my Dominix is doing better here than it was doing in Level 2s, I also was running Level 1 missions with my corp member in a drake not so long ago, at times it felt very funny to obliterate everything, but it also felt awkward at times compared to the Kestral I ran mine in! Thank you so much for the tip about copying fits into the game by the way, I always did it manually!

That Drake fit is probably far off what I can currently fit but makes me happy to see someone else running an after burner on one! Every fit I looked up online seemed to neglect having one, which felt horrible in missions where you had to go through several acceleration gates, or even during the permafrost event!

I’m doing level 3 missions now and the MJD has definately come in more useful now, turns out my current fit doesn’t quite tank everything but I don’t run mission specific hardeners, I tank using a Damage Control 2 and a Shadow Serpentis Nano … something. Not currently logged in or I’d send my actual fit!

Training Medium drones and light drones both to 3 overnight, as well as Durability and Navigation to 3, so I’ll swap down from heavy to light and medium drones tomorrow! The last time I used light drones was when I was mining and I had one or two hobogoblins out with literally no drone skills or ship equipment to boost them, so I think you might be right and I’m going to hopefully have a nice shock tomorrow testing out smaller drones for the frigates! All in all though, these tips are coming in very helpful and I’m almost at high enough standing to run level 4s, not sure how a Dominix fairs against those though?

You can scale the Drake back to meta modules without losing much capability - it’s an incredibly forgiving ship because of the huge tank.

Domi with MJD and Wardens a pair of drone link augmentors and omnidirectional tracking links plus a sensor booster should let you engage from 100Km. When the rats close to within 50Km - pick up your sentries and jump. I used a Rattlesnake to run level 4 missions that way as a 6 month old player. Nowadays I prefer to run missions in a Gila or Worm - battleships are slow!

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You can put away the Medium Drone skills for now.

I may catch a bit of criticism for this, but I find Medium Drones to be quite situational and not a common sight (unless the ship in question doesn’t have the space or drone bandwidth to use Heavy Drones).
What would probably be a better choice is 5x Hobgoblins and 5x Warriors/Hornets.

Note: There is a reason for those specific drones. Gallente Drones (Hobgoblins, Hammerheads, Ogres, and Gardes) deal Thermal damage which all but a select few NPCs are weak against to some degree.
On top of that, they have the highest damage modifier of any drone. The tradeoff is that they are the slowest and have the shortest range of all drones (across all sizes).
Warriors/Hornets are for those NPCs where Thermal damage is not the NPC’s weakness. Warriors are also the fastest drones you can get.

You can use Google to find out what NPCs are weak against what type of damage. It should be fairly consistent as the info has not changed all that much for the last few years.


In terms of skills, your current goal should be the ability to field Tech 2 Light drones.
Tech 2 drones are a major upgrade in terms of firepower and durability… making them well worth the cost.
But, because of the cost, it also means that they are less disposable… so don’t let them wander too far away. Otherwise you won’t be able to quickly pull them in if they catch NPC aggro.

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A general rule of thumb, big weapons have problems hitting small targets, and heavy drones are slow. Light weapons/drones for shooting frigates and destroyers, medium weapons/drones for cruisers and battlecruisers, large weapons/heavy drones for battleships. Under the right circumstances you can use large weapons to shoot small ships, but you need to do a bit of work to make those circumstances work in your favour.

I’m inclined to agree with Shah’s comment about medium drones, on a situational basis. L3 missions are going to have a higher proportion of cruisers/battlecruisers so medium drones should be a decent choice for L3 missions, but less relevant in L4 missions. Depending on your skills you might consider switching back a ship size from a Dominix to a Myrmidon. It’s a Gallente battlecruiser with drone bonuses, including a drone speed bonus. I did most of my L3 missions in a Myrm with a sniper fit using four sentries plus a mix of medium and light drones. The Myrm leans towards armour tanking with it’s armour repair bonus and I don’t know what your armour skills are like.

I’d also recommend looking at the Fleet/Navy versions of the combat drones. There are Fleet/Navy versions of every T1 light, medium, heavy and sentry drone. They are more expensive than T2 drones and they don’t have as much dps as T2 drones, but they do have the largest tank of all drones, including T2 drones, so they are more survivable, and you do not need T2 drone skills to use them. There are also “Augmented” and “Integrated” versions of the T1 light, medium and heavy drones but they are very expensive and don’t have great tanks, their emphasis is on firepower. I’d consider them too expensive and too fragile for use in missions when your basic drone skills are not strong.

Now let’s cover some details on keeping your drones healthy. Just like a ship has three layers of tank (shield, armour and hull) drone tanks are the same, they also have shield, armour and hull hp. Just like shields on ships, drone shields will regenerate over time, any damage to their armour or hull must be repaired by the player in some way.

Caldari drones have the most shield hp, Minmatar drones are similar, more shield than armour hp but less shield hp and more armour hp than Caldari drones. Gallente drones flip the other way with more armour hp then shield hp and Amarr drones have the lowest shield hp and the highest armour hp.

What this means is that Caldari and Minmatar drones can absorb the most damage before that damage reaches their armour, while Gallente and Amarr drones will go into armour damage sooner. If the damage never gets to the armour, the drones will eventually regen their shield back to full hp by themselves. If the damage does get to the armour, you have to do something to repair it.

I’m not saying never use Gallente or Amarr drones. Depending on which rats you are facing, Gallente or Amarr drones may be the best choice, but they will go into armour damage more easily than Caldari or Minmatar drones will.

You can repair damaged drones in your drone bay by tethering to a player owned citadel that allows public docking. While you are tethered to the citadel (don’t dock inside the citadel, just warp to 0 to it and wait), if your ship has any damage, the citadel will auto-repair your ship for free. This includes damaged drones in your drone bay. Any damaged items in your main cargo bay are NOT repaired by a citadel. You can get a free full repair to your ship and drones by stopping off at a nearby citadel while you are on your way back to an agent to hand in a completed mission.

There are some specialised repair drones which can be used to repair your combat drones but using the repair drones involves training up some specialised repair skills which you may not have, plus the repair drones need to be carried in your drone bay. It’s also possible to fit one or more remote repair modules to your ship’s high slots, but depending on your fit you may not want to use the high slots for repair modules, and the repair modules need the same specialised repair skills as the repair drones.

One last option for drone repair is to dock in an NPC station and pay isk for repairs, but why pay isk to the NPC’s when you can get the repairs for free from a player citadel.



Is the answer to your question.
There’s some handy info on turret tracking, damage, missiles etc in the EU files. (ex-wiki info for the part)


That’s all the technical stuff
The hard part is putting into practice live in-game
Best to start with frigates for that, they are dirt cheap, so explosions won’t affect you too badly
Then you can move up to cruisers
And eventually after you’ve lost a few battleships, you’ll start to think that the most fun you had was in a frigate
(honest, it’s true. frigates are awesome)

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Great to see a miner converted. A good way to start pvp is ganking, you get to pvp every 15 minutes, which will provide a lot of experience. Many situations will let you study the killmails and battle log, do it and learn what happened, if in doubt ask a senior in your corp. Another good way is low sec pvp, its very easy to get people to fight you in a frig vs frig engage, good learning material are for example chessur’s coaching vids on yt, or also these docs : https://drive.google.com/file/d/1SV_sWWIinoheBaGZgL2nUVJGYwnsNJqJ/view

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