A wise man once (very nearly) said ‘EWAR, huh, yeah! What is it good for?’. Well, to my mind the answer is simple – it’s good for making your target’s day worse than it was just a moment or two before.
I love flying EWAR – it was the first specialist role in PvP that struck a chord with me, and one where I could make a big difference to the course of an engagement whilst still being a total newbro. My first exposure to PvP (well, to PvP I had made the choice to engage in) was with Eve University and the Low Sec Camp project where a small group of players had made the move out of Hi Sec into the big bad world of systems with a security status of below 0.5. The usual encouragement for newbros in the camp was to get a load of cheap tackle frigates (Rifters were the ship of choice at the time, and I still have a soft spot for them), and help out pinning down targets for the more experienced pilots to pop – but I never really found this very fulfilling and wanted something a bit more exciting (and less likely to be primaried off the field early on), and flying EWAR seemed to fit the bill.
I was mainly an Amarr pilot at the time, so I headed to Hek, fitted out an Arbitrator, and headed back home ready to really annoy anybody who was planning on using turrets against my fleet mates. Soon enough there was a fleet heading out, and I got my first experience in the hot zone and I never looked back – there was something really satisfying about having that little bit of independence in fleet, sitting at 80km from the battle and looking at the enemy fleet, prioritising the threats and counteracting them by either messing with their optimal range or the turret tracking speed.
I felt like I was really making a difference to the survival of my fleet mates by limiting the amount of damage that was being applied to them. Instead of just following the primaries called by the FC I was having to think a bit about what I my ship was able to do, what the enemy ships could do, and what would be the most efficient use of my modules – as well as having to look after my own safety, learning to clear drones, fighting aligned to bounce points, and making that decision to bug out if things started to get a bit too close to going from being in a ship to being in a pod. From that point on if I could fly an Arbitrator in the fleet, then an Arbitrator is what I would fly – I was an EWAR pilot, and I always would be an EWAR pilot even if I get less chance to fly EWAR now than I did then.
EWAR is a fantastic tool in fleet combat. It is never going to be directly responsible for destroying the enemy fleet or keeping your fleet mates alive, but it can be indirectly responsible for both of these things. Target painting isn’t going to make that ship explode – but because your fleet can now lock that target significantly quicker than it could before you unleashed the PWNAGE on it, it will start receiving damage sooner than it would before, and the sooner damage starts landing the sooner a ship pops. Tracking disruption isn’t going to rep up your hero tackle’s shields or armour – but by applying three tracking disruptors, all loaded with tracking speed disruption scripts, onto the target that your Tech 1 frigate-friend is pinning down you will reduce the amount of damage that is potentially heading towards them, thereby meaning that they could stay alive that little bit longer.
EWAR really can be the difference between success and failure going into battle, and not just for the reasons above. Battlefields in Eve are generally fairly uniform (wormholes and their varying effects being an exception to this), so there isn’t the terrain that can be used to your advantage (or the enemies’ disadvantage) as there is in other PvP games. There are ways of influencing engagements in Eve, however, that can almost simulate terrain effects, and one of the most effective ways of doing this is by using EWAR. If you are going up against a long range fleet for example it could be difficult to get your tackle close enough to pin down targets so that your damage dealers can actually deal some damage – but a combination of EWAR types can make a huge difference. In order to keep your tackle frigates alive long enough to actually get a point on something you can apply tracking disruptors to make turrets less effective, and sensor damps to reduce the enemy’s locking range, thereby reducing the potential time window for damage to be put down range at your tackle.
If you have access to some of the Tech 2 EWAR ships then you may have the advantage of extended range webs and points that could further reduce the effectiveness of the enemy fleet doctrine. If the enemy have logistics ships then the effectiveness of these can be reduced by effective use of sensor dampeners – reducing the locking range of logistics ships will force them significantly closer to the body of the fleet, and closer to your damage dealers than they would like to be – and if they are reliant on a capacitor chain to keep the reps flowing then they will find that this could also be disrupted, potentially leading to a total breakdown in reps.
There is something about EWAR that I find really satisfying – I think that the fact you have to think a bit more and make more decisions for yourself when flying EWAR than you do when flying a damage dealer is one of the big appeals, as is the fact that what you are doing is genuinely significant to the outcome of the engagement. Everybody likes to feel that they are making a difference, and flying an EWAR boat might give you the opportunity to do this.
Oh, and ECM is terrible, and only makes people not want to fight you.
This article originally appeared on TheMittani.com, written by Wotan Mjolnir.