Thursday, 10 October 2013

Support Skills and Other Skills I Missed Yesterday

So, the blog post yesterday was pretty successful in my eyes. I got more hits than all of my other posts combined, as well as tons of comments on both the blog itself and on Reddit.
However, some of the comments pointed out that I either got something wrong or informed me I'd missed something out, or that I was wrong.
Let me just take a second to explain how I wrote this blog. I have a list of topics that I think I'd like to write about, and every day after my first cup of tea, I open up Gmail and start typing. I actually start with the title, and yesterday I thought the witticism of V skills to V, was pretty good, so I only came up with five items. Once I'd written those five items, I decided I might as well include rubbish ones too, which got a little out of hand as I scrolled through the list of skills and found another one that I thought was worth mentioning.
So, yeh. Some people lambasted me because I didn't include support skills, so here's a list of some often overlooked support skills that I consider important as well as a couple that didn't make the list yesterday. I plan on writing a blog that details all the normal support skills, and why they are useful, but it won't be for a while and in the meantime there's already of horde of information on this subject.
Leadership: For every level of this skill, you give 2 members in your fleet 2% extra targeting speed. At level V, you can pass this bonus on to ten people (which is a full squad). This is pretty useful, especially if you have logistics ships in your squad or are flying in larger ships with a slower lock time. It's also the primary prerequisite for all the other boosting skills, of which the application is incredibly useful to fleets of any size.
Advanced Weapon Upgrades: Every level reduces the amount of PG needed by weapon systems by 2%. At level V, that's obviously 10% PG for your weapons, which is an incredible amount. Have you ever been fucking around with EFT and found yourself needing to squeeze an extra bit of PG from somewhere or compromise your fit because you had to fit a fitting module in order to get that extra bit of PG? Of course you have, that's why you need to train this skill. I personally don't have it yet (Fuck you FC5) but it's next on my list and I'm reliably informed that it opens up a whole new world of fittings.
Drone Interfacing: This is one of the drone support skills, but it's probably the best one as it increases the damage done by your drones by 20% per level. Per level. That means (for the math inept) that at level V, you do twice as much damage. It also has the same effect on mining drones and their yield.
Armor/Shield/ECM Compensations: I'm grouping all of these together as they all serve very similar functions. For the Shield and Armor skills, there are four skills under each tree - one for each different damage type and for the ECM ones, there are four - one for each race type. The ECM (known as [racial] Sensor Compensation) increase your sensor strength for that race by 4% per level. This can be pretty helpful against those pesky ships that fit an ECM mod in their utility slot to surprise you. I do this on all my industrial ships, and it's saved me more than a few times, and I'm sure others do it too. I struggle to think of anything worse than being jammed. It's incredibly frustrating, so i value these four skills alot. The Armor and Shield compensations function in the same way. They give a 5% increase in the resistance to a particular damage type. the Shield skills only apply to the Amplifiers, and the Armor skills only apply to Coatings and Energized Platings, so they are only applicable to certain fits and modules. They aren't to be underestimated though.
Electronic Warfare Drone Interfacing: One of the most misleading skill names in the game. Electronic Warfare Drone Interfacing is the skill that is the prerequisite of using the EWAR drones, but it's most useful attribute is that it adds 3000m to your drone control range, which is very useful. It means your drones can shoot at things that are even further away the higher your level in this skill, which is always a good thing.
Thermodynamics: I include this skill as I often see new players not having it, or not understanding it, or only having it to level I. Thermodynamics enables you to overheat a module to increase performance but at the expense of damage to the module itself, as well as modules close to it. The benefits gained are substantial and can include more range, more damage or faster cycle time. Like anything though, if you abuse it too much, the module will 'burn out' and will become unusable until you repair it. Normal damage can be repaired by either station services or by Nanite Repair Paste while you are in space. A burnt out module can only be repaired by using station services.
Jump Drive Calibration: This is a skill that is only used by Capital sized ships (and Black Ops) and the higher the skill level, the further the ship can "jump". As Capital ships can't use gates, it's pretty important to have this skill as high as possible. The way the systems in Eve are distributed means that by having this skill at V, moving a capital ship becomes a lot easier than if the skill is at IV. For carriers, you can get away with having it at IV, but for dreadnoughts, supercarriers and titans having at V is invaluable.
Biology: Drugs, or boosters, are not in fact bad, despite what anybody tells you. You should be chugging boosters whenever you can, as they give you pretty significent boosts to your stats albeit for a limited time. Biology is the skill that allows you to chug drugs, with the two Neurotoxin skills (Control and Recovery) minimising the side effects you can get. The subject of boosters is planned as a future post, but in brief, there are eight main types of booster, and each comes in a number of strengths. As someone who has never lived in High Sec, I'm hazy on the details but the strongest boosters are not allowed into High Sec space, but as far as I know, Concord doesn't kill you they just confiscate them. The bastards.
Yesterdays blog had a few bits that I got wrong by the way. So I thought I'd make some corrections here, with the excuse that I don't get everything right, try as I might.
The part about targeting was a bit cloudy, and auto targetters don't have to be active in order for them to give you the extra target count. They are still, however, a waste of a high slot in my opinion. Carriers who go into "Triage" also gain an extra target or two.
I also got the part about rigs wrong. I admit I have fuck all idea about rigs and how they work, but I plan to find out and write more words about it at some point. All I can say is that, in my experience, I've never felt I've lost out by not having them trained higher than level I.
There are also a number of things I've left out on purpose, specifically skills at the higher end of the Capital spectrum. If you need to know why having Triage II or Doomsday V is important, perhaps you should re-evaluate if you should be flying that type of ship. I'm also thinking about writing a blog post specifically about capital ships, but I'd probably get it all wrong.


  1. The other great reason to train leadership to 5 is that it allows you to pass on boosts from a wing or fleet commander to a full squad, even if you don't have any other leadership/boosting skills. In a hypothetical maximum size fleet of 256 people you need one person with Fleet Command 5, 5 with Wing Command 5 but 25 with Leadership 5 in order for boosts to be applied to members - it's not really practical to expect to have 31 dedicated boosting characters out of 256, but 6 people who've invested a lot of SP in the leadership tree plus 25 combat pilots who've also trained Leadership to 5 and nothing else in that skillgroup is far easier to achieve.

  2. For the compensation skills, the armor skills are definitely a must train to V, but the shield ones are pretty lackluster as they only affect amplifiers as you stated. For 90% of fits you will rarely use the amp as an Invuln Field or active hardener will be used which gains zero benefit.

    1. EM Shield Compensation V + Em Shield AMP II gives the same or better results as the T2 EM Hardener, with the added benefit of not taking cap, and not being vulnerable to neuts.

  3. You didn't actually state why Thermodynamics V is valuable, or more valuable than training to just I.

    1. The higher your Thermodynamics skill, the less heat is put out by each overheated module. The general effect is that a player with higher thermodynamics can overheat for longer before their modules burn out completely. That said I wouldn't call it a must-have at 5; 3 or 4 will be enough for most engagements (IMO at least). If you're frequently flying something like an interceptor you may want to train all the way to 5 though, as they tend to overheat a lot as part of their regular operation - prop mods for more speed and tackle mods for longer range.

    2. I'm saving it for a separate post.

  4. The compensation skills, while beneficial, don't provide a significant benefit at V versus the training time. They're certainly worth getting if you're at the point of "Well what do I train now" at 50+ million skill points, but not before.

    Advanced Weapon Upgrades V is, likewise, a long train for a benefit that can be made up far cheaper with implants that you can earn the isk for dozens upon dozens of times over in the time it takes you to train. Furthermore the few fittings it legitimately enables above what you can get from AWU IV and a cheap implant are only going to be critical in solo PvP or very very small gangs. If you solo PvP or fly with just one or two partners, it's extremely critical for you to have it, for everyone else it's lacklusters for the time investment until you've covered full T2 fits (including guns) on your chosen ships and the actual critical skills to V.

    Electronic Warfare Drone Interfacing is questionable for the time at IV, and definitely not worth the time at V.

    Also, just since I didn't comment on the previous article, Recon Ships as a V skills is pointless unless you've tried Recon ships and plan to make them a regular event. Having Recon Ships opens absolutely zero opportunities in the game short of joining up a dedicated black ops style group and Recon Ship's themselves don't scale well in gangs, there is a point where adding more gets you nothing versus adding another ship (Logistics or DPS). To compare it to Logistics which you also mentioned in the previous article, Logistics V will get you an instant boost in respect and desire in any sort of group activity in the game from massive Nullsec fleets to Faction Warfare to Incursions and everything in-between, not to the mention the capability of multiplying your efficient at the core job.

    1. I'm afraid me and my falcon disagree. How do Recons not scale well? Who doesn't want an extra Falcon, or some extra bonused neuts or webs...

      They're also good solo PVP ships, as well as invaluable as scouts and medium/heavy cynos.

      You say that implants means you don't have to train AWU V, but what happens when you have AWU V as well as implants.

    2. Recon's do not scale well because after a certain point you need more focused ships for killing people. In your example of the Falcon, you can have 10 Falcon's and a couple of Logistics ships, but what the hell are you going to do to actually kill someone? A few Recon's can make a huge difference in a fight, even the Curse/Pilgrim, but once you've got one or two long webs/points, one or two Falcons for jamming out whoever comes around, and a Amarr recon for sucking power, what do the Recon ships bring that a HAC or BC doesn't do better? Pretty much nothing. Adding more Falcon's means you can fight larger groups with fewer (if any) losses, but it also takes longer to kill those groups, if you even can kill them. Unless you're bridging with a Black Ops, I'd rather have a core set of Recon ships with me and then fill in the remaining with T3 BCs or HACs/Cynabals, that gives me the flexibility to actually fight something whereas the full set of recons might mean I'm ultimately safer but I also have a very clear picture of what I can and can not fight with Recons.

      While I can't speak for everyone, I certainly appreciate a good fight and some real challenge in Eve, and you can't get that reliably by stacking the deck with Recons. The only place where Recon's truly shine as a combat doctrine is when you use a group of them to harrass and antagonize another group through piecemeal hit and run tactics. Those are the special moments where Recon ship's are downright amazing, but it requires a very skilled leader (which I'm sad to say, I'm not) and the right situation which is very rare.

      When it comes to solo PvP, they are good, but there are other ships with equivalent skill/cost requirements that are better (even discounting T3s) and the only time you'd need a dedicated Recon scout/cyno is if you're in a Black Ops gang, which I already addressed as the advantage of training for them.

      With respect to AWU V I believe you pointed out you don't have it, and thus don't understand. AWU V is not a massive increase in your fitting potential. When you're running tight enough that AWU IV and AWU V actually make a different, you're running into a situation where a single module is the dividing line. While it is technically possible, finding an actual fit that you can make work with AWU V (or AWU V and an implant) but can't be replicated by AWU IV and a 3% implant is really difficult. Especially because at that point you're probably also riding your limit on CPU and that is a problem as well. The other problem with AWU V is once you depend on more than a few guys you have to come up with a solid structure to your group composition, and you can rarely depend on people having AWU V across the board. you can get an organized group that requires it, but at that point you've got beyond the scope of what you're discussing here in the first place, at which point the original criticism of AWU V being labeled as "essential" or "critical" still stands.

  5. Wait, leadership V gives targeting speed? I never looked beyond the fact it allows me to command a full squad and is required for other leadership skills.

    Armor compensation skills are awesome because of EANM, Shield compensation skills suck because inactive invulnerability shields no longer give a bonus. And yes I used them on a capless nighthawk fit, better as a single resistance amplifier. I'd still advice rank IV for these in most cases.

    How many people actually use boosters?

    1. Leadership 5 does give lock speed at 2% per skill level, as well as increasing the size of the squad you can lead. It works like the passive leadership boost skills (Siege warfare, armored warfare, skirmish warfare, information warfare and mining foreman) in that to get that boost you need to:
      a) Be in a fleet
      b) Be squad leader, or in a squad with a squad leader who has the skill(s)
      c) Be in space in the same system as a squad member who is also in space (if you are the squad leader) or be in space in the same system as your squad leader, who is also in space (if you are a squad member).
      The leadership bonuses don't provide any benefit to you when you're not in a fleet, or if you're in a fleet but nobody else is in the same system or they're in system but docked up. It's very useful if you have 2 or more accounts though, as you can always have them tagging along just to enable those passive boosts.


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