ALOD: HOW NOT TO FIT A BOMBER

2013-08-29

I’m no stranger to badly fit bombers.

Having flown with Bombers Bar for the past year, I’ve become desensitized to seeing an abundance of creative – albeit ridiculous – ideas on how a stealth bomber should be fit and flown. Most of these come in the form of an EFT screenshot or a fitting link for a ship which has never undocked. However, on occasion, I receive the pleasure of reviewing an API verified killmail which really makes me chuckle. Take for example the PvE Anti-Guristas Manticore, the 400mm Plate Dueling Bomber, or the classic Prototype Cloaking Device “Ninja” Salvager.

These various ideas about how stealth bombers can and should be flown are a product of the ship hull being unlike any other in the game. The ability to fit battleship sized weapons on a frigate sized hull compels most solo pilots to engage ships of hull size four or five times their own, while simultaneously being unwilling to engage frigates and destroyers. This same pilot, when using the bomb launcher module, will purposefully hunt for large gangs and clusters of ships in an attempt inflict the most damage possible; with a few compatriots, bombers can drastically change the dynamic of large fleet engagements.

This is to say that there are many ways to use a bomber, and each way requires a very unique fit. Even amongst the more elite bomber and blops groups, there is no consensus on the proper way to fit a bomber. That being said, there are most definitely improper ways to fit bombers.

I thought I’d seen them all.

I was wrong.

Today’s subject comes in the form of the Gallente stealth bomber, a Nemesis flown by Large Eye.

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I want you to take a look at the picture one more time, and then go look at the killmail. There are an unbelievable number of things wrong with this fit that can’t be seen at first glance. Look past the officer module and the warp core stabilizer, as those are simply the most obvious flaws in this monstrosity, not the worst.

On the next page I’ll go through each and every module on this ship, trying to explain why this is the worst bomber fit I have ever seen. Page 3 contains an analysis of the fit itself, with additional comments from Large Eye and Letelio Denmun regarding the killmail and the circumstances behind it.

I hope, through this article, you’ll learn how not to fit a Bomber.

It’s quite easy to find an example of people who have made mistakes when fitting a shipdumb people who lose multiple billions to CONCORD, or dumb people who lose poorly-fitted multiple billion ISK ships. This fit, however, does not achieve ALOD status for its worth or sheer loss in ISK, but for simply managing to fit the wrong module in every slot, with no exception. Let me show you what I mean.

HIGH SLOTS

Auto Targeting System

The ATS is such an arcane utility high that few people have ever actually seen it, let alone know what it actually does. In essence, the Auto Targeting System will lock any hostile targets when active, as well as adding to the maximum number of possible locks. Unfortunately the “hostile target” portion of that description involves another ship actually aggressing you – in the case of a bomber with less than 2k EHP, this means you’re more than likely already dead.

Thankfully the Tech 1 version of this module only requires 1 CPU and 1 PG, so it’s better than leaving an empty slot and can at the very least serve as a heat sink. Unfortunately, our hero elected to fit the Tech 2 version, which has negligible increase in performance for an astounding 35 CPU.

Verdict: Not only useless, but a waste of CPU.

Torpedo Launchers

Although it is easy to tell that this bomber is employing faction launchers, what you may not have noticed is that Large Eye has used a different faction launcher for each hard point. Whereas the Domination launchers are actually considered decent – having better fitting and damage than the meta 4 variants – the Dread Guristas launchers have similar fitting to the T2 Launchers without the added benefit of using T2 ammunition.

Additionally, at the time of destruction the launchers were loaded with Guristas torpedoes, as opposed to the cheaper and more powerful Caldari Navy variety.

Verdict: 33% Okay, 66% Terrible, 100% not worth the ISK.

Cloaking Device

At first glance, I mistook the cloaking device equipped for the rarely seen “Smokescreen” cloaking device, which is actually useful as it requires only half of the CPU of a T2 Cloak. However, the cloak used on this particular fit is the even more rare, and not at all useful, “Guise” cloaking device.

Why is the “Guise” cloaking device not used? Simple: it’s an improved cloaking device, not a covert ops cloaking device. This means that not only has his covert ship lost the ability to warp covertly, but his ship is subject to the 35% penalty to scan resolution.

Verdict: NEVER fly a bomber with a non-covops cloak. Don’t do it.

MEDIUM SLOTS

Sensor Booster

This really is the crown jewel of the fit.

The normal justifications for increasing the meta level of a module are to take full advantage of a ship’s bonuses (ex. webs on a loki, neuts on a bhaalgorn), or to equip modules to an expensive ship allowing you to use it to its fullest. What high meta level modules should not be used for, is counteracting the penalties applied to your ship by other modules.

I believe the most adequate way to convey the uselessness of this meta 11 module is to compare the scan resolution of Large Eye’s Nemesis, to that of an unfit nemesis.

Large Eye’s Nemesis: 424mm
Standard Nemesis: 531mm

Verdict: At least it’s purple.

Target Painter and Tracking Disruptor

Both of these modules make regular appearances on bombers in a variety of scenarios. Unfortunately, it’s not these specific modules that are utilized, and for good reason. The meta 4 versions of these modules both utilize 50% less CPU, and 50% less capacitor. Admittedly the faction target painter does provide 2% additional sigrad bloom, however the T2 tracking disruptor provides the exact same bonus as the meta 4, providing zero reason for it to be used over the meta 4 variant.

Verdict: Closer, but unfortunately still very wrong.

Afterburner

The Analog Booster Rockets are actually a module that can be justified under the right circumstances. This storyline module trades in a small amount of speed for a reduction in power grid – something that no faction, or deadspace, module will provide. Looking ahead, I see that he has equipped a Micro Auxiliary Power Core, which is essentially a Reactor Control Unit for frigates and destroyers.

Knowing that the Nemesis is notoriously bad for power grid, I decided to withhold judgment until I looked at the rest of the fit. Who know, maybe this fit does actually have some merit.

Verdict: Possibly done for good reason.

LOW SLOTS

Micro Auxiliary Power Core

This is a module that has most recently been adopted for use with Bombers after Medium Shield Extenders began to be a fixture during torpedo engagements and hot drops. They are cheap and provide a good bonus to power grid for a small amount of CPU. The T2 version is very skill intensive, and although there are better MAPCs available, there is no reason not to use this module.

Verdict: Combined with the Afterburner, this might actually be a useful module.

Warp Core Stabilizer

In my opinion, this is really where all of the problems originate. Bombers have been known to use them in combat, most notably by Gypsy Band, who would fit them when conducting bombing runs. This saved them from small quick locking ships, while the penalty to scan res and targeting range had no effect as launching a bomb does not require to lock a target.

However, on any conventional ship, the warp core stabilizer has a crippling penalty. The module is seemingly designed to prevent use on any combat capable ships in order to restrict it’s usage to transport and evasion, rather than a timely and cowardly exit from a fight. This bomber had to make too many concessions in order to counter this penalty, and ended up being caught by a Proteus with a scram anyway.

This module can also be seen as the justification for the chosen rigs, which are being used to counteract the penalties applied by the warp core stabilizer. Unfortunately, the penalty for the rigs and the lack of any tanking module makes this Bomber actually have lower EHP than an unfit Nemesis. Incredible.

Verdict: Cowardly, and useless.

THE FUN NEVER ENDS

At this point, I just couldn’t help myself but to plug this masterpiece into EFT to see what it could really do. I was rather amazed after having done so, as it highlighted more than one mistake with the fit that I had missed the first look over. Have a look for yourself:

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Do you see it?

This Nemesis, with skills all level 5 has an unbelievable 29 power grid remaining. That is more than twice what a Micro Auxiliary Power Core can provide, and leaves more than enough room for a better afterburner than the Analog Booster Rockets. I questioned whether or not this was an issue of low skills, but even with no skill bonuses applied to the ship, there would still be 15 power grid remaining.

There had to be a story here. I decided to finally convo Large Eye and find out what he was doing.

Jayne Fillon > o7

Large Eye > yo

Jayne Fillon > Hey, I’m with TMC, do you mind if I ask you a few questions regarding your bomber loss?

Large Eye > no go ahead

Jayne Fillon > Well, first off, I was wondering if you could help me understand the circumstances surrounding the loss.

Jayne Fillon > What were you doing in Hagilur and area?

Jayne Fillon > You’re in an NPC corp, so were you solo hunting, or doing something else?

Large Eye > I was moving bomber down to rens where most of my ships are running missions, and wasnt paying attention when i got shot up.

Jayne Fillon > So you were in transit?

Large Eye > yep

Jayne Fillon > Unfortunate. So you caught just going through a gate? Forget to cloak? Minimized browser? What actually caused the loss?

Large Eye > why you so interested in my loss anyway?

Jayne Fillon > The lossmail was linked to us [Bombers Bar], and we were having an argument over the merits of the fit and what your intent was.

Large Eye > lol oh ok i see.

Jayne Fillon > So on that note, can you speak about the fit?

Jayne Fillon > It does look like some thought went into it – the sensor booster counteracting the scan res penalty from the warp core stabilizer, etc.

Jayne Fillon > And on top of that, what prompted you to bling it out so much?

Large Eye > yeah its an old fit of mine just updated it with some expensive stuff i hated to loose.

Large Eye > i was trying to fit maximum love into the small core so it took some cash

Jayne Fillon > by core, you mean the powercore, and the ship’s available powergrid?

Large Eye > yes of course

Jayne Fillon > And that would be the reasoning behind using the mismatched faction launchers as well?

Large Eye > yes

This short conversation unfortunately did not grant me all the answers I was looking for. It was all too unbelievable: the circumstance surrounding the loss, the improved cloak and warp core stabilizer, the micro auxiliary power core with 30 unused power grid, the officer module on a 25M ISK hull, and so on. Large Eye explicitly stated that he wanted to get “maximum love into the small core,” and yet he only used up 50% of that love.

As a last attempt to demonstrate just how bad this fit really is, I’ve attempted to emulate the fit, using nothing but T2 and meta 4 gear, while trying to keep the original module type as similar as possible. In the end, I only made two type changes:

  1. Because the MAPC was not required for fitting reasons, it was replaced with a signal amplifier.
  2. The targeting range rig became unecessary after the improved cloak was replaced with a covert.

To be clear, I in no way recommend the following fit. This was simply an exercise of trying to make a bomber similar to that of Large Eye, while eliminating all high meta modules. This serves to further exemplify not just how bad his choice of modules were, but how poorly the meta of the modules were selected as well.

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The result was better than I expected, exceeding every single attribute of Large Eye’s original bomber: More DPS, more EHP, higher scanres, farther targeting, faster velocity, better cap life, and most importantly, cheaper. Twenty seven times cheaper.

When I contacted Letelio Denmun regarding the killmail, he has this to say:

Jayne Fillon > What happened on your end?

Letelio Denmun > I had literally just warped to the gate for a short solo camp before bed when I saw a nemesis about to jump through with my scout. Usually I wouldn’t have paid any attention to a cloaking ship but this one had warped to the Hagilur gate uncloaked which caught my attention.

Letelio Denmun > So when he jumped and uncloaked I tried to tackle him and did so successfully; he made no attempt to use his cloak whatsoever.

Jayne Fillon > He didn’t have a covops cloak, only an improved

Letelio Denmun > I noticed. To be honest if he had used the improved cloak he would have avoided that extraordinary loss because I wouldn’t have bothered trying to burn after and de-cloak a stealth bomber.

Letelio Denmun > I only wish the kill had occured under more exciting circumstances, but it was all quite ordinary until I checked the combat log for the mail.

I can’t help but agree with Letelio – the only thing that could have made this better (or worse, depending how you look at it) would have been a story other than pure idiocy.

Having specified that Large Eye was moving his bomber to Rens where “where most of [his] ships are running missions”. I can only imagine what those ships are fit like if he was using a officer sensor booster on a frigate. One can only hope for more purple. Not that I’m encouraging anyone. Not at all.

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