Exploration Part 3: The Final Step

2019-02-01

Illustration by Redline XIII

Hello again Explorers. Welcome to my third and final part of my exploration guide series.

Unlike previous parts (part 1 and part 2), this is the what I would call the advanced section, where having good skills are required to both fly Tech 2 frigates as well as rather good scanning skills.

Before going into fittings, I would like to answer some common questions that are brought up by explorers and other pilots quite often:

Should I fly a Covert Ops or Astero for Relic/Data sites exploration?

Based on the ships bonuses (tailored to exploration alone):

  • The Astero has a ROLE BONUS of 37.5% bonus to Core and Combat Scanner Probe strength and 10+ bonus to Relic and Data Analyzer virus strength, with a Cloak reactivation delay of 15 seconds.
  • The Covert Ops has a 10% bonus to Core and Combat Scanner Probe strength and 10% reduction in Survey Probe Flight Time per Covert Ops skill level and a ROLE BONUS of 10+ Relic and Data Analyzer virus strength. Aside from that the cloak reactivation delay for these ships is only five seconds.

So by analyzing the bonus themselves, if a pilot has not trained for Covert Ops or has the respective skill at level 3, then the Astero has a slight advantage. The moment the pilot has Covert Ops level 4 skill trained, then flying one of the four Covert Ops ships will be more desirable (in terms of bonus alone).

But that is not to say that flying a Covert Ops is always the best way to do exploration in null sec or even wormhole space, although I still remain with the opinion that is more hassle to explore in wormholes than in null. The Astero has combat capabilities and you can actually fit it to hack and also force other explorers out of the site you wish to run. So it will be up to the pilot if he or she wishes to do so by flying a more expensive frigate and having combat capabilities, or just go exploring in a cheaper CovOps frigate.

What about the Bubbles and camps in null sec?

You will need to make a choice, and this is assuming you have the Interceptor skill trained into a decent level: Do you prefer bubble immunity and having an under 2-second warp time initiation, or will you prefer warping cloaked?

If the answer is bubble immunity, then we can use an interceptor for exploration. However please bear in mind that you also need very good scanning skills, preferably able to use a T2 Relic or Data Analyzer or the Zeugma Integrated Analyzer (more on this type of module later) and fit a more expensive core probe launcher: Sisters Core Probe Launcher. This is because unlike the Covert Ops or Astero, the Interceptors do not have any bonuses that benefit from scanning and hacking. Also, Interceptors have less cargo space compared to the other types of ships mentioned here, so people tend to use those in hostile areas not far from where they are staging.

What about Zeugma Integrated Analyzer/Ligature Integrated Analyzer? Are they better than T2 and T1 dedicated analyzers?

The answer is no. They are not. They are, in my opinion, a very expensive quality of life if you prefer to do both Data and Relic sites in the same ship. I would rather have a Relic-dedicated ship and a Data-dedicated ship than to increase the cost of my ship fitting one of these modules. The reason behind my way of thinking is the moment I undock, I came to terms that I would lose said ship; and in the event it doesn’t get blown up and I am able to run the Relic sites without any hiccups, I impose my own rule of not having more than 150 million ISK worth of loot in my cargo hold.

Ok, so which race/faction should I choose to fly a Covert Ops?

Initially pilots will focus on one race/faction but some tend to then skill into others. Nevertheless, here are some of my opinions:

  • Anathema: One of the slowest in its class, with 4 mid slots and 3 low slots.
  • Buzzard: 5 mid slots but 2 low slots. Not really that agile. Can however fit a bit of tank to survive 1 smartbombing battleship at the gate, but the 5 mid slots can be quite useful for exploring quicker. Requires very good fitting skills.
  • Cheetah: One of the fastest in its class, with 4 mid slots and 3 low slots but requires very good fitting skills.
  • Helios: 5 mid slots and 3 low slots. Just like the Buzzard, mid slots can and should be dedicated to scanning upgrades.

I personally can fly all 4, yet I use a Helios due to its mid slots.

Fittings:

Author’s note: I will use T2 modules across the board, but you may downgrade them to T1 if need be. Also these will be focused on Relic sites only. Feel free to adapt to Data only or both. Also, of all Interceptors, the Caldari Interceptor (Crow) is the only one that cannot be configured with fittings to be under 2 seconds align time.

Covert Ops:

[Anathema, Advanced Exploration]

Nanofiber Internal Structure II

Nanofiber Internal Structure II

Inertial Stabilizers II

 

5MN Quad LiF Restrained Microwarpdrive

Relic Analyzer II

Scan Pinpointing Array II

Scan Rangefinding Array II

 

Covert Ops Cloaking Device II

Core Probe Launcher I, Sisters Core Scanner Probe

[Empty High slot]

 

Small Emission Scope Sharpener I

Small Emission Scope Sharpener I

 

 

[Buzzard, Advanced Exploration]

Nanofiber Internal Structure II

Micro Auxiliary Power Core I

 

5MN Cold-Gas Enduring Microwarpdrive

Relic Analyzer II

Scan Rangefinding Array II

Scan Acquisition Array II

Scan Pinpointing Array II

 

Covert Ops Cloaking Device II

Core Probe Launcher I, Sisters Core Scanner Probe

[Empty High slot]

 

Small Emission Scope Sharpener I

Small Emission Scope Sharpener I

 

 

[Cheetah, Advanced Exploration]

Micro Auxiliary Power Core I

Nanofiber Internal Structure II

Nanofiber Internal Structure II

 

5MN Quad LiF Restrained Microwarpdrive

Relic Analyzer II

Scan Pinpointing Array II

Scan Rangefinding Array II

 

Covert Ops Cloaking Device II

Core Probe Launcher I, Sisters Core Scanner Probe

[Empty High slot]

 

Small Emission Scope Sharpener I

Small Emission Scope Sharpener I

 

 

[Helios, Advanced Exploration]

Nanofiber Internal Structure II

Nanofiber Internal Structure II

Inertial Stabilizers II

 

5MN Quad LiF Restrained Microwarpdrive

Scan Rangefinding Array II

Relic Analyzer II

Scan Pinpointing Array II

Scan Acquisition Array II

 

Covert Ops Cloaking Device II

Core Probe Launcher I, Sisters Core Scanner Probe

 

Small Emission Scope Sharpener I

Small Emission Scope Sharpener I

 

 

Astero:

I have only listed 2 Astero fits. One dedicated for exploration only with an under 2 second align time and a combat exploration variation.

[Astero, Under 2 Sec Exploration]

Inertial Stabilizers II

Warp Core Stabilizer I

Warp Core Stabilizer I

Warp Core Stabilizer I

 

5MN Y-T8 Compact Microwarpdrive

Relic Analyzer II

Scan Rangefinding Array II

Scan Pinpointing Array II

 

Covert Ops Cloaking Device II

Core Probe Launcher I, Sisters Core Scanner Probe

 

Small Emission Scope Sharpener I

Small Low Friction Nozzle Joints I

Small Low Friction Nozzle Joints I

 

 

[Astero, Combat Capable Exploration]

Damage Control II

Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II

Small Armor Repairer II

Drone Damage Amplifier II

 

1MN Monopropellant Enduring Afterburner

Relic Analyzer II

Faint Epsilon Scoped Warp Scrambler

Fleeting Compact Stasis Webifier

 

Covert Ops Cloaking Device II

Core Probe Launcher I, Sisters Core Scanner Probe

 

Small Emission Scope Sharpener I

Small Anti-Explosive Pump I

Small Trimark Armor Pump I

 

Hobgoblin II x5

Warrior II x5

Acolyte II x5

 

 

Interceptors:

[Ares, Exploration Ceptor]

Nanofiber Internal Structure II

Nanofiber Internal Structure II

Inertial Stabilizers II

Inertial Stabilizers II

 

5MN Quad LiF Restrained Microwarpdrive

Scan Pinpointing Array II

Relic Analyzer II

 

Improved Cloaking Device II

Sisters Core Probe Launcher, Sisters Core Scanner Probe

[Empty High slot]

 

Small Emission Scope Sharpener I

Small Emission Scope Sharpener I

 

 

[Crow, Exploration Ceptor]

Nanofiber Internal Structure II

Inertial Stabilizers II

 

5MN Quad LiF Restrained Microwarpdrive

Relic Analyzer II

Scan Rangefinding Array II

Scan Pinpointing Array II

 

Improved Cloaking Device II

Sisters Core Probe Launcher, Sisters Core Scanner Probe

[Empty High slot]

[Empty High slot]

 

Small Emission Scope Sharpener I

Small Emission Scope Sharpener I

 

 

[Malediction, Exploration Ceptor]

Inertial Stabilizers II

Inertial Stabilizers II

Nanofiber Internal Structure II

Nanofiber Internal Structure II

 

5MN Quad LiF Restrained Microwarpdrive

Relic Analyzer II

Scan Pinpointing Array II

 

Improved Cloaking Device II

Core Probe Launcher I

[Empty High slot]

 

Small Emission Scope Sharpener I

Small Emission Scope Sharpener I

 

 

[Stiletto, Exploration Ceptor]

Inertial Stabilizers II

Inertial Stabilizers II

Nanofiber Internal Structure II

 

5MN Quad LiF Restrained Microwarpdrive

Scan Rangefinding Array II

Relic Analyzer II

Scan Pinpointing Array II

 

Sisters Core Probe Launcher, Sisters Core Scanner Probe

Improved Cloaking Device II

[Empty High slot]

 

Small Low Friction Nozzle Joints II

Small Emission Scope Sharpener I

 

And with this, my Exploration Guide series comes to an end. I hope that you have found this helpful either towards yourself or to someone who you might think would benefit from.

Have fun exploring and fly dangerous!

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Comments

  • What for do you use MWDs on CovOps?

    February 1, 2019 at 11:37 am
    • DickDastardly Vladimir Korff

      To speed up getting from can to can, in some of the sites the distance between them is very large so the quicker you can move from one to the other the quicker you can leave it. 3k m/s with a 5MN MWD vs 1k with a 1MN AB.

      You’re relying on the covert ops cloak to hide/escape and not your sig size.

      February 1, 2019 at 4:28 pm
      • Makes sense, what you say about travelling between cans. As to the escape, can you activate the cloak while you are being targeted but not locked yet?

        February 1, 2019 at 8:23 pm
        • No, targeting prevents cloaking. You need to be cloaked before they land on grid.

          February 3, 2019 at 5:34 am
          • In such case, the cloak is not much help, as Dick suggested.

            February 3, 2019 at 5:48 am
    • Reality Check Vladimir Korff

      I was taught how to jump past gatecamps with the mwd and covops cloak. I don’t know if you can even do that without one.

      February 1, 2019 at 8:08 pm
      • I understand, MWD is much more useful with regular cloak which affects your max speed.

        February 1, 2019 at 8:16 pm