Microwarpdrive or Afterburner?

When is it appropriate to fit a Microwarpdrive or an Afterburner? If you Vets have some tips on using them in specific situations it would be appreciated.

I’m training my skills to be able to fly Stealth Bombers if that makes a difference. There is a lot of info out there but most of it is from years ago.


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MWD will give you huge speed but will drain your capacitor VERY fast. So as a result it’s more of a GTFO type of module, where you can react to a situation and either approach or bug out, but you won’t be able to have it on permanently. Except on certain T2 ships that have specific bonus to MWD usage.

Afterburner will give you less speed but its capacitor juice drain is almost negligible. As a result you can keep it permanently on.

Typically, PVP combat is very fast, lots of snap decisions and fast action, so the fight is over and you’re either dead or victorious before the MWD has had a chance to fully drain you; MWD’s are usually used in PVP combat or if you’re trying to transport something in a fast ship across a dangerous zone. Note that industrial ships (whose purpose is to transport stuff) are classified as medium-sized (cruiser-sized) but often won’t have enough powergrid to allow you to fit the 50mn (medium) MWD.

Opposite of that, PVE combat usually involves wave after wave of NPC pirates, and you have to be able to sit there and last for several long minutes; an afterburner is preferred in this case, especially if you are flying a frigate. Frigates rely on speed and mobility as their defense, esp. the ability to orbit close and fast, so for frigates the afterburner is a defense module, not just a convenience module. For slower ships (cruisers and bigger), you are supposed to rely on actual armor or shield resistances and repair to actually absorb the damage, so the afterburner becomes more of a convenience module that allows you to move around between loot cans and mission objectives.

Stealth Bombers specifically are ships that can use the Tech 2 Covert-Ops cloaking device, which lets you warp around while cloaked. With proper use of this cloaking device, you will only be vulnerable / visible at stargates, because the game forces you to have at last 1 second of visibility as you switch from the gate invisibility to your cloak’s invisibility. Also you’ll be vulnerable when you uncloak to launch your bombs; once in combat, if you get targeted, you won’t be able to re-cloak. So, basically, PVP situations, which if you get caught you’ll need the speed of a MWD to bug out / try to escape.


MWD uses loads of cap, makes you 5 x as fast and can be disabled by a warp scrambler (note : not warp disruptor).

AB uses less cap, makes you go approx 2.5 x faster but is not disabled by a warp scrambler.

People sometimes fit both on combat ships so they have the MWD for speed (tackling, chasing) and the AB for menouvering once the enemy has scrambled their MWD.

There is no “better” choice, it depends entirely on the situation. You could fit an AB and end up too slow to catch a kiting target, or you could fit a MWD and end up even slower because the target scrammed you and the MWD didn’t work :smiley:

IMPORTANT : Microwarp Drives increase your signature radius by 5x also, making you appear 5 times larger to enemy targeting and tracking. You are much easier to lock, and easier to hit while you have a MWD activated. This can be offset by the extra 5x speed, but it’s a very important factor that should always be remembered when choosing a prop mod.

Welcome to EvE.


MWD increase your speed, but also your signature radius, so if you’re flying a fighter, the difference isn’t much in signature but is a boost in speed. Afterburner doesn’t increase your maximum speed that much but leave your signature radius the same, that means you’re faster and not larger.

However, warp scrambler can shut off mwd, but leave afterburner alone… so… it depends (as usual).

If you need a MASSIVE increase in speed and are already flying something big, go MWD.

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Unless you’re in an assault frigate, the signature difference for a small ship is a huge factor.


Signature radius, by the way, is factored into damage. Big guns / heavy missiles trying to hit small targets (even if they’re standing still) will do half or even less damage just because of the difference between the gun’s intended use (signature resolution) and the target’s size (signature radius). For frigates, it’s very important to stay “small”, because your defense is “small and fast”. If you turn on your MWD and sit still, big ships can wreck you in one shot with the full damage from their huge guns, because suddenly you’re a big target rather than a small target.

You can get a feel for how important “signature tanking” is by flying a frigate, and then a destroyer, against some mission pirates that use missiles. The destroyer has the same armor and shields as a frigate, but is quite a bit bigger. As a result, you can tank incoming missile damage in the mission quite easily in a frigate, but in a destroyer you’ll get obliterated very fast. All because of signature radius.

EDIT: Also, CCP is devious: adding shield extenders (for more shield hitpoints) to a ship will increase its signature radius; adding armor plates (for more armor hitpoints) will make it slower. Whichever way you go, if you’re in a frigate you lose part of your “small and fast” defense.

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Let me recap the excellent information already given.
MWD - when the need for short term speed overrides all other concerns.
AB - when the need for speed is equaled by other concerns.

Other than a few very specific situations I never understood using a MWD on a stealth bomber.
Don’t need it for the MWD - Cloak trick to get away because cov-ops cloak.
Once de-cloaked so you can activate it you will not survive long enough in a combat situation for it to make any real difference.

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Thank You All very much. I believe all my questions are answered. I understand the difference a lot better than I did.

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