Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Ship Setups - Blockade Runners, by Casiella Truza

This guest post comes to us from Casiella Truza, who writes the blog Ecliptic Rift and can be found tormenting the Tweet Fleet at @casiella.


Think industrial pilots and traders don't get to have any white-knuckle fun?

Think again. We operate in the shadows of giants, in the spaces they cannot see nor follow. You might think that waxing poetic about a transport ship sounds slightly insane, and while you might have a point, the fact remains that the blockade runner presents pilots with tremendous fun and opportunities for profit.

This ship class gets bonuses to shield boosting or armor repair, depending on the racial type. But that bonus doesn't mean much in most cases, because this ship can equip covert ops cloaking devices, meaning it can warp cloaked.

In low-sec, a blockade runner pilot is nearly uncatchable at stargates. Once you've jumped through and see a gate camp, just choose your destination, issue the "warp to" command, and cloak immediately. If you do it right, only the Local comms window and perhaps a flash on the overview will signal your presence to the enemy. Your most vulnerable period will come when leaving a station, so if you get caught, keep moving, stay within docking range, and engage your shield booster or armor repairer.

Null sec might give you a little more trouble if you run into a warp disruption bubble, but even then you should generally survive if you keep your wits about you. Zoom out, find the closest point on the surface of the bubble, and align to it, then immediately engage your afterburner and cloak. You might reach the edge of the bubble before the enemy can decloak you, in which case you should align to the celestial nearest your heading and warp. Other typical nullsec navigation tricks may work better for you. Comment below and share your ideas!

Blockade runner pilots typically belong to one of two schools of thought. The first, and the one to which I belong, assumes that you use the ship to move small, valuable cargo (though not so small as to fit in a covops frigate). In this case, your ability to slip through gate camps or other hostile fleets matters most. You'll want nanofiber internal structures in your low slots, which will increase your agility but lower your structural integrity. (Protip: if structure HP matters for a hauler, you've already lost.) Inertial stabilizers can shave about half a second off of your align time, but they also increase your signature radius. With no rigs, I have 4063 m3 of space in my Prowler, or 5373 m3 with a couple of Medium Cargohold Optimization rigs. I also have an EFT align time of 5.8 seconds (5.2 if I use inertial stabilizers). If you feel like an opportunist and can fit it properly, you might throw a salvager in your spare high slot.

[Prowler, Quick]
Nanofiber Internal Structure II
Nanofiber Internal Structure II

10MN Afterburner II
Medium Shield Booster II
Invulnerability Field II

Covert Ops Cloaking Device II
[empty high slot]

The other school of thought wants to increase cargo space no matter what. Replace the lows with Expanded Cargoholds, and you can substantially increase your cargo capacity to 6604 m3 (or 8734 m3 with rigs). Then again, your align time increases to 7.9 seconds, and those two full seconds can mean the difference between a successful run or crying about Tech II insurance payouts.

Have fun space trucking!


The opinions shared here are those of its author and not necessarily mine. /CrazyKinux

10 comments:

Shirrath said...

Why on earth would you use an afterburner with a blockade runner when you can use a microwarpdrive? The increased signature radius doesn't matter much, because you'll be using it only for one burst and cloaking afterwards. And most of the time, that one burst is enough to get out of the bubble and dodge the interceptor sent to decloak you.

Jaggins said...

Would there ever be utility in fitting warp stabs in case you get targeted and can't cloak?

Casiella Truza said...

Shirrath, I couldn't make it fit properly. I'd love to see yours though!

Shirrath said...

If you skip the shield booster, fitting a microwarpdrive is not a problem. I only use a booster when I'm ninja salvaging and there's still a few rats around.

In PvP, if you're getting shot, you're doing something wrong. That booster will only allow you tank 70 sustained dps and up to 120 for about a minute. Since the attacker doesn't really have to worry about his own health, he can just keep you scrambled and either wait for your cap to run out or reinforcements to arrive. It's much better to avoid getting shot altogether and milking that cloak for all it's worth.

But if you do get locked and tackled, surviving for a minute longer isn't going to save you unless you were already expecting reinforcements. But jamming the tackler could. Naturally, jamming triggers the aggression timer, so you won't be able to go back through the gate. However, after jamming the tackler you can just warp away and cloak in midwarp. Even if the enemy interceptor was particularly attentive and guessed your destination and warp-in range correctly, you'll be able to re-enter warp before he arrives and never be seen again.

Would there ever be utility in fitting warp stabs in case you get targeted and can't cloak?
In lowsec, yes. With the absence of bubbles, velocity is not that important and thus you won't need those slots for speed mods. But an attentive pirate with sensor boosters can practically instalock you when the gate cloak dissipates. If he was just a tackler, that pair of stabilizers would allow you to enter warp. You'll still be screwed against heavy interdictors, but I don't think there's anything to be done about that.

DocFloyd said...

MWD is mandatory on a prowler. Here's my setup:

[Prowler, 0.0 Prowler]
Inertia Stabilizers II
Inertia Stabilizers II

ECM Burst II
Invulnerability Field II
10MN MicroWarpdrive I

Covert Ops Cloaking Device II
Small EMP Smartbomb II

Cargohold Optimization I
Cargohold Optimization I

Casiella Truza said...

The ECM Burst is a really nice touch and one I'll have to consider.

Dirk said...

I agree with DocFloyd's fitting with one exception: Instead of ISt2's I would put nanofiber t2's.
It would increase velocity and compensate (at least partially) for the CO rigs.

Letrange said...

Every time I see cargo expanders on a blockade runner I cry. If you need to move over 4k, use a dst. I fit 2 low friction nozzle joints, 1 istab, 1 nano, mwd, cov-ops cloak, and an ecm burst for when you've totally screwed up.

Anonymous said...

[Viator, New Setup 1]
Nanofiber Internal Structure II
Nanofiber Internal Structure II
Inertia Stabilizers II

10MN MicroWarpdrive II
ECM - Multispectral Jammer II
ECM - Multispectral Jammer II

Covert Ops Cloaking Device II

Medium Cargohold Optimization I
Medium Cargohold Optimization I

Kename Fin said...

Heh, I think Anon posted that just to make Letrange cry. I have to agree with the camp to align and get out crowd. The inertial stabilizers and low-friction rigs are sweet success for getting the boat swung around and warping off in the right direction.