Ship fitting is one of the key parts to this game. A lot of people get very upset when CCP changes stats on certain ships, as it can mean a total change to the fitting meta. Some people love stat changes, as it means they are being provided with new and exciting content for their EFT Warrior games.
They are a number of ways to theory craft a ship. The main two are EFT (Eve Fitting Tool) and Pyfa (Pyfa), with EveHQ (Eve Head Quarters) an outlier. The third way I've seen is by doing it on the test server, SiSi, where modules cost 100isk each. SiSi has a major advantage, and a major disadvantage. The advantage is that once your ship is fit, you can undock it and go fly it around to see what it's actually like and how it actually works, then go back and tweak things to make it suitable for purpose. You could do this on TQ, but you might die and that would be an expensive way to test a lot of fits. The disadvantage is that you have to physically buy all the mods and ammo and stuff, I know they only cost 100isk, but it's still a lot of fucking clicks to buy 1000 of every item that every exists. The other disadvantage is that faction/officer mods are not seeded, and are limited in supply. On TQ, there is a constant supply of these modules. On SiSi, there are only the ones that were currently on the market when a mirror was taken. Nobody in their right mind rats on SiSi.
I've used all three of the main tools, but primarily I use EFT. I cannot stand the UI on Pyfa, and it's the only reason I don't use it. It looks stupid and ugly and badly designed. The logical part of my brain tells me that the actual software functions better than any of the others, and that you can do fancy things with charts and graphs, but I can't bring myself to actually use it. EveHQ, the outlier, has a fitting tool as part of the package that EveHQ provides. You can do a lot of things with EveHQ, but because it can do so much, I find its responsiveness is rather slow, and too much of the screen real estate is taken up with menus and stuff that I don't need when I want to fit a ship. I mostly use EFT because it's what I'm used to, and change is bad. I'm used to it, and it's comfortable.
Occasionally (and quite regularly in recent weeks), I come across a ship someone wants me to fly and I've fuck all idea how to fly it, or fit it. So I thought I'd give a brief rundown of how approach ship fitting. I say brief, but I'll probably waffle on for quite some time. This is just my way of doing it, and everyone has a slightly different way.
Once I've decided what hull I want to fly, I open EveMon and read all the details of the ship. You can also do this in game, but I tend to get distracted if I concentrate on the eve client when I'm trying to do something else. What I'm looking for are the parts that tell me about the ship and role bonuses. This is the largest indicator of how CCP has designed the ship for you to use. If you put energy turrets on a ship that has bonuses for projectile turrets, you are doing it wrong. There are occasional exceptions, but you're probably doing it wrong.
I'll just go back to EveMon briefly. EveMon (I don't know what it stands for) is an incredibly useful piece of software that helps you plan your skill queue. That's what most people use it for, but it also has a lot of utility that people often over look. It includes a database of all the modules and ships in the game, as well as a useful blueprint tool and a couple of other things. You can also import a fitting from EFT (and I think from the other tools) and it will tell you what skills you need in order to fly it. The important distinction is that it tells you what you NEED as a minimum, not what you should ideally have.
OK, you've got a rough idea of what should be on your ship. If those bonuses include a bonus to armor or shield, then you instantly know what kind of tank you should probably be fitting. Most of the time, it doesn't, but an easy way to tell is to look at the raw armor and shield amounts. Whichever is the bigger is normally the way you want to go. There's also another way, but it's rather generalised and there are a lot more exceptions. It's to do with slot layout. All tanking modules go into either low slots or mid slots, armor goes into the low slots, shield goes into the mid slots. Whichever has the greater number of slots is a reasonable indicator of how it should be tanked. You could also look at what race the hull is, but again, there are exceptions, and that's a fairly dumb way of looking at things.
I normally start with drones. This is because if I don't do it at the beginning, I forget about it. Unless it's a ship that specialises in drones, you're pretty safe to go with a set of Warriors, Hobgoblins or the ECM ones. If you're fitting a logistics ship, you can consider logistics drones as well. But if you don't take damage drones, you don't get on killmails, so it's something to consider. The web drones and TP drones sound like a good idea, but they're terrible so don't.
Once that's out of the way, get yourself a propulsion module. These tend to take up the largest amount of fitting space, especially on smaller ships, so getting it on first leaves you knowing what you have to play with. Fit an appropriately sized one. Fitting an oversized prop mod can be amazing, but it mostly just ends up with you flying a really terrible fit very quickly. Choosing between an MWD and an AB is a hard choice, except when you might want both. Both have their advantages and disadvantages but this blog post is telling you the process of fitting, not telling you how to choose.
After you can move, you want to be useful, so I fit the bonused mods next. This can either be high slots or mid slots. If it's high slot weapons, you now have to decide whether you are short range or long range. Each weapon type has a short range and long range module, so choose wisely. Your choice of prop mod will have a large impact on this choice (remember you can change your prop mod though). Next fit the support modules for these bonused mods. If the bonus is guns, this will mean damage mods, if it is a utility mid; you'll want extra range or extra strength. If it's tackle, you'll be wanting either extra scan resolution or extra tank.
Once you've done that, it's time for tank. Here, the choice is between active and passive. An active tank would be one that utilizes things that actively repair your armor or shield, so an Armor Repairer, or an Ancillary Shield Booster for example. The passive tank is one that doesn't, so hardeners and extenders. Most of the time, you'll probably be a mixture of the two. The key thing here is to never mix your tank types. The second key involves resistances. I don't pretend to understand how damage application is calculated, I I'll never submit you to reading about it on this blog. All you need to know is that every ship has a resist profile. It's measured in percentages, and you want them all to be as even and as high as you can make them. There are four types; EM, Kinetic, Explosive and Thermal. Every ship has an ingrained resistance hole, and this is normally determined by the ship race. (Race as in racial, not race as in ship racing. Obviously). The idea is to add a specific resist hardener to your fit in order to close this hole. If you know what your ship is going to be fighting, you can ignore closing the resist hole and concentrate on increasing your resist against the damage you will be taking. This is getting a bit complicated. Just go with equal resists as much as possible.
Some things to consider that didn't make full paragraphs:
· Generally, the better the module, the more capacitor it uses and if you have no capacitor, you will die.
· More tank is better, with the exception that armor plates make you slower.
· Speed is a type of tank, and fitting things to make you go faster can help you not die as well as being fun.
After you can shoot, move and won't explode too easily, it's time for rigs. You have three rig slots, and can basically do what you want with them. Most people stick some extra tank in there, or some extra damage, or some extra speed or manoeuvrability. You can also add utility rigs, that make your sensor strength stronger, or make probing easier, or let you lock things further or faster. T2 rigs are mostly not worth it for everyday use by the way. Oh yeh, a point worth mentioning is that once you fit a rig to a ship, there is no way to get it off, which is why it's great to mess around with it in EFT (or your preferred tool) beforehand.
If you have any slots you haven't filled, or don't know what to throw on, I have a trick for you. I recently discovered this and it's pretty bloody useful. Go to EveMon. Go to the Item Database and on the left hand side, there are filters. You have a mid slot that you don't know how to fill? Change the filter to high slots only, then input the amount of PG and CPU you have left and it will show you all of the modules you can fit there.
The only slot you should EVER have free is a high slot. If you have a rig slot free (some ships can only use two by the way), or a low slot free, or a mid slot free, people will laugh at you and call you names. It's better to adjust something in your fit to give you more PG/CPU or fit something a bit bad than to leave a slot empty.
The best way to learn how to fit ships is to fit them and play with the fit. Make some hilariously bad fits. If you seriously have no idea where to start, go to zkillboard and go look at the killed/lost fits of the ship in question. Make sure to look at least 5 or 6, and you'll start to notice a common theme of fitting. Another good thing to look at while you're there is how many people were involved in the kill. If it was a 1 v 1, and the ship that killed it wasn't a hard counter (like a sniper taking out a short range ship), then it might be a bad fit. If there are 18 people on the kill, it's possible that the guy was just unlucky. It's possible to spend hours trawling through various kills this way to find out what a good fit is and what a bad fit is and I encourage you to do so. That's called learning. You're welcome.
Please don't go to battleclinic or one of those user submitted sites, because they are generally terrible. The only reason you should be going there is to look at bad fits.
Remember that there is a huge difference between a solo PVP ship, a gang PVP ship and a Fleet PVP ship. That's going to be a topic for another post, mostly because my fingers are getting tired and I have shit to do today.
Also remember that there is a gigantic difference between a ratting ship and a PVP ship, and that there are very few ships that can switch between the two interchangeably. For ratting ships, you will be staking your resists to match the damage that the rats deal. And you'll mostly be wanting more gank than tank. Spending 1b+ ISK for a module that gives you 20 extra DPS probably isn't worth it if you are in any way likely to die.
One more thing, as I'm now late for a meeting.
Implants are important. They can give you a pretty good boost in lots of different areas. Don't be afraid to trash them if you want to try something else. You can include them in your EFT fit to see how much your shit will improve. Don't use fucking 5% implants. They are expensive and make you so ridiculously risk averse it's not even funny. +2 or +3s if you can afford it. Never leave home without at least a set of +1s (provided that buying +1s won't make you a pauper)
Oh shit. I forgot about fitting mods. There are some modules that will help you fit other modules, and some rigs too. Don't be afraid to use these. But never use more than one or two. If you have to fit 3 rigs and a low in order to be able to online your guns, you're an idiot, unless it makes you super-duper overpowered, which it won't.