Guide: Fleet Boosting

Original post here: https://aidenmourn.wordpress.com/2012/09/04/harder-better-faster-stronger/

 

Overview:
The purpose of this guide is to educate the masses, not bore them to tears with excruciatingly high word-counts on what every single skill and module pertaining to this post does. I’ll be sticking to the basic principles here unless otherwise necessary; the module and skill descriptions are readily available in-game or elsewhere, such as wiki.eveonline.

As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, PvP in Eve Online, after a certain point, is really more about getting an extra edge on your opponent rather than actual skills, either trained or human-learned. A great fleet booster can in effect be like having a second PvP ship with you in the fight. Though more broadly accepted, understood, and used in game recently, the basic concepts of fleet boosting are often only half understood, due to both a lack of a concrete centralized guide, as well as lots and lots of Scary Math™.

Our goal here is to understand not just that boosts can obviously help you, but more specifically HOW they help, and how best to use them. I’ve pawed through more than a few bits here and there online, but a lot of this comes from my own extensive experience using fleet boosts and alts for the better part of 3 years.

The Basics:
A “fleet booster” is character + ship combination that can add small to significant “boosts” to those with whom he or she is in a fleet with. They can be either part of the vanguard itself, or more frequently, hidden off-grid either in a safe spot or POS. In addition to the ship piloted, gang link modules fitted (either a t1 or the more recently added t2 variants), skills, as well as implants will effect overall fleet abilities in huge and awesomely silly ways.

Boosts on Boosts – The Modules:

Again, I won’t be giving a written out explanation of each module here, but the basic groups of Warfare Links are:

Armored – Grant bonuses to armor resists, speed of repair modules (local and/or remote), and capacitor need of repair modules. Confusingly, bonuses are show as a negative here, but that’s because of the way in which they help. The basic command bonuses for Armor links are -2% for t1 mods and -2.5% for t2s. We’ll get to that later though in the “Scary Math™” section.

Siege – Basically the same bonuses as Armored links, only pertaining to shield tanking. Command bonuses are also the same here as with armored.

Skirmish – Bonuses to ship speed, sig radius, and range of tackling mods. Command bonuses vary.

Information – Bonuses to e-war and sensor strength. Probably the least used of all Warfare Links, most likely because that asshole in the Falcon whining in fleet about needing someone to actually boost his ability to be an annoying shitbag on the battlefield even more is just asking for some friendly fire in the ass. Command bonuses vary.

Mining Foreman – Increases range, decreases cap need and duration of mining lasers and harvesters. Command bonuses vary.

Additionally, the Command Processor, which is a mid-slot mod, grants the fitting of one additional Warfare Link per Command Processor, which can help with ships only geared to fit 1 Warfare Link. Note that the Command Processor requires Warfare Link Specialist 5.

Mad Skills:

The basic Leadership skills will grant a 2% bonus per level trained to their respective areas (i.e. “Armored Warfare” gives a 2% bonus to armor hit points to those in fleet per level; or a 10% bonus at level 5.

However, to use the above modules, the boosting character will need Leadership 5, the appropriate warfare skill to level 5, and the appropriate specialist skill to at least level 1, and level 5 for the t2 versions. For instance, “Armored Warfare Link – Damage Control 1″ requires Leadership 5, Armored Warfare 5, and Armored Warfare Specialist level 1.

That said, seeing as each Specialist skill increases the effectiveness of modules by 100% per level, its probably worth training as high as you can. You can see now why people tend to have dedicated alts for this. Also note that you’ll want to spec for Charisma/Willpower for all Leadership Skills.

The Ships:
Since Gang Link Modules have hilarious “5000 CPU” fitting requirements, only ships with certain fitting bonuses geared towards fitting them actually can. Unfortunately, this means there is no possible way to fit an armor link onto your hidden Bantam fleet booster (’twas not to be, Boost Burst). The following ships (with their inherent link availabilities) however, can:

  • Strategic Cruisers – 1 link
  • Battlecruisers – 1 link
  • Field Command Ships – 1 link
  • Fleet Command Ships – 3 links
  • Industrial Command Ships – 3 links
  • Capital Industrial Ship – 3 links
  • Carriers – 1 link
  • Supercarriers – 1 link plus 1 per level of Carrier skill
  • Titans – 1 link plus 1 per level of Titan skill

Additionally, these ships can also fit the aforementioned Command Processor, which grants them use of an additional Warfare Link per processeor. This can be abused to hilarious effect, as illustrated by my old bud Skippermonkey here.

As has become the norm for Eve pilots to fully exploit bad game mechanics, T3s fitted with the warfare processor subsystem have hugely surpassed the originally niche-filling Command Ships for the role since their introduction, due to stupidly unbalanced ship bonuses. As an example, a Claymore has a 3% bonus per level of Command Ships to the effectiveness of Skirmish Warfare Links, while a Loki with the warfare processor sub has a 5% bonus per level of subsystem to the same links. So much for niche ship classes. I myself tend to plant my own armor boosting alt in a 6-link legion, with 3 skirmish links in addition to the 3 bonused armor ones.

Headgear:

Last but not least, we have implants, namely what are called Mindlinks. Mindlinks provide a massive 50% boost to the base command bonus of their respective Warfare Link modules, and replace the basic warfare skill bonus with a fixed 15% bonus. Note that Mindlinks require Cybernetics 5 and a free space in slot 10.

 

Scary Math™:

Ok, this is going to be the tough part. Read twice and take notes though, because THIS is that tricky stuff that’s going to give you that edge over an opponent. Remember as you struggle through this that by finishing and actually understanding this, you will have a severe advantage over every other guy that goes “oh fuck this” halfway through.

The ships, the mods, the skills, and the implants all add up here. Come to think of it, “add” is the wrong word here, as they are actually multiplicative.

Total Fleet Bonus = Specialist Skill bonus x Warfare Link Specialist bonus x Ship bonus x Mindlink bonus

 

Math Warrior – Real Example:

Now that we have the basics, lets delve into a real scenario where we can see just how every advantage of having a boosting alt can add up. To aid in the simple accessibility and understanding of this guide, we will be using one of my favorite ships, the armor plated Hurricane, as an example to illustrate the use and benefits described here-in. Lets go with an uber-tanky version here:

[Hurricane, Armor Gank]

220mm Vulcan AutoCannon II
220mm Vulcan AutoCannon II
220mm Vulcan AutoCannon II
220mm Vulcan AutoCannon II
220mm Vulcan AutoCannon II
220mm Vulcan AutoCannon II
50W Infectious Power System Malfunction
50W Infectious Power System Malfunction

Warp Disruptor II
Medium Capacitor Booster II
10MN Afterburner II
X5 Prototype Engine Enervator

1600mm Reinforced Rolled Tungsten Plates I
Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II
Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II
Damage Control II
Gyrostabilizer II
Gyrostabilizer II

Medium Trimark Armor Pump I
Medium Trimark Armor Pump I
Medium Trimark Armor Pump I

At all level 5′s this beast is rocking 69,600 EHP, with 80/67.6/62.6/55.1 armor resists. DPS is a nominal 523, although it along with speed, sig, and all the other trappings are irrelevant to this guide; all we care about right now is how you’re going to use a fleet booster to turn this Hurricane into a steroided-up tanking monster.

Again, assuming all level 5′s, you have a booster alt in fleet, in system, and in the “booster” position within that fleet with you (write that down: all three are necessary to receive bonuses). They’re flying a Legion, which gets bonuses towards armor links at 5% per level. They’ve fitted a t2 Damage Control Armored Warfare Link, which is going to be giving a base -2.5% to armor resistances (remembering that negative is a actually good thing here where we’re talking about resistances), and they’re also rolling with an Armored Warfare Mindlink plugged in. Lets go back to Scary Math™ here and plug it in:

Total Fleet Bonus = Specialist Skill bonus x Warfare Link Specialist bonus x Ship bonus x Mindlink bonus

Specialist Skill Bonus: Armored Warfare Specialist 5 with t2 warfare link.

bonus: -2.5% * 5 = -12.5%

Where “-2.5″ is the command bonus from the t2 link and “5″ is the level of Specialist skill trained. I know, its confusing, but try to keep up.

Warfare Link Specialist Bonus: As stated before, the Warfare Link Specialist skill boosts the effectiveness of all warfare links by 10% per level, so at level 5, your alt is pushing this 50%. We add this as a percentage to the command bonus from above, so bonus = Actual Specialist Skill Bonus * (1 + % of Warfare Link Specialist Bonus).

bonus: -12.5% * 1.5 = -18.75%

Ship Bonus: Now we factor in the boosts from the Legion itself, which is 5% to armor links per level of subsystem trained. Again, we’re assuming your alt has all level 5′s. Your ship bonus is now 25%, so the NEW bonus is now: Total Bonus from Skills (Specialist and Warfare) * (1+Ship Bonus).

bonus: -18.75% * 1.25 = -23.4375%

Things are looking pretty awesome right now for your armor ‘Cane. So far, your booster alt is increasing (I know, its strange with the negative number, but that’s a positive here) your armor resist by ~23.5%. But wait, we’re not even done!

Mindlink: Lest we forget; your alt in this example obviously has the Armor Mindlink plugged in, which is replacing that 10% bonus to armor hitpoints you normally get from your alt having Armor Warfare 5, with a much tastier 15% bonus. Furthermore, its increasing the effectiveness of your armor gang mods by 50%! So, total armor bonus from alt now is (Bonus from Skills and Ships) * (1 + Mindlink Bonus).

Total Armor Bonus: -23.4375% * 1.5 = -35.15625%

Lets take a look at our Hurricane now. From 69,600 EHP,  80/67.6/62.6/55.1 armor resists, we now arrive at an awesome 98,100 EHP with 85.2/76/72.3/66.7 armor resists.

And remember that this is all percentage based: throw this Legion together with a brick Proteus for instance, and you can take it from 166,000 EHP with 76.9/85/92.5/78.2/ resists to an amazing 237,000 EHP with 82.5/88.6/94.3/81.5. Hot damn.

Further Applications:

As all this starts to click and you really start to delve into this and realize just how insanely awesome it is to have someone pushing boosts in your fleet (hell, even if your “fleet” is just you and a boosting alt), you’ll start to see the bigger picture here. Lets look at Skirmish Links for a second.

Skirmish links boost speed, sig radius, and as we’re about to really look at, point range. Pretend you’re an Arazu pilot; you’re already getting a 20% bonus to disruptor range per level, meaning as a level 5 Recon pilot with a t2 point and no boosts, your point range is 48km. Range bonus: .20 * 5 = 1. Point Range Bonus = 24 * (1 + Range Bonus); you’re already a huge asset to any roaming gang.

Now lets throw in an alt pushing Skirmish links in a Loki with all level 5s and a Skirmish Mindlink. A Loki gets bonuses towards Skirmish links at 5% per subsystem level, and the t2 Interdiction Maneuvers Skirmish Warfare Link has a mouth-watering base command bonus of 3.75% (yay, we’re back to dealing with non-negative numbers!). Even better, that Skirmish Mindlink is boosting the effectiveness of that link by 50%. Lets head back to Scary Math™ and plug it in.

Specialist Skill Bonus: Skirmish Warfare Specialist 5 with t2 warfare link.

bonus: 3.75% * 5 = 18.75%

Warfare Link Specialist Bonus: Again, we add this as a percentage to the command bonus from above, so bonus = Actual Specialist Skill Bonus * (1 + % of Warfare Link Specialist Bonus).

bonus: 18.75% * 1.5 = 28.125%

Ship Bonus: Loki boost here is giving bonuses towards Skirmish, at 5% boost to effectiveness per subsystem level so our bonus is now: Total Bonus from Skills (Specialist and Warfare) * (1+Ship Bonus).

bonus: 28.125% * 1.25 = 35.15625%

Mindlink: 50% bonus to links, so our total Skirmish bonuses from our alt now equal (Bonus from Skills and Ships) * (1 + Mindlink Bonus).

Total Skirmish Bonus: 35.15625% * 1.5 = 52.734375%

Holy. Balls. Your Arazu, with just a t2 point, can now point someone from 64.9km out. Overheating brings it up to 77.88, and if you turn that t2 version into a Republic Fleet Warp Disruptor with a base 30km range and you’re now at an 81.1km range, or, sweet-tap-dancing-jesus, 97.32 km overheated. People might actually pay you to be in their gang at this point.

And the possibilities are really limitless here. Poke around in-game a little and you’ll see ways of making the same ship you always fly faster, or a smaller signature radius, or hugely increase its shield boost amount.

=====

Again, as I mentioned before in my previous post on boosting alts, I am in total and complete favor of them exactly as they are now. I don’t think having a near-impossible-to-scan boosting T3 in system or at a POS is in any way cheating, nor cheap, or unfair at all. It’s an edge, and it gives you power over someone who is without one. And once you start to look at the time and money investment necessary for a toon like this, you might start to realize that too. A boosting alt like this is not an over-night “win button” like a 16-hr Faction Warfare PLEX runner. Something like this takes months of dedicated training while attribute-specialized for pretty much this only, or alternately, around 10bil for a fully skilled T3 Leadership toon.

Regardless of your feelings or moral leanings one way or another when it comes to boosts though, I hope this guide simplifies things for you, and shows that you not just the obvious but helps you to better understand more broadly how it all works. For the solo pirate or griefer, to the group out for some gang fun, or hell, even for a PvE nut, free up that extra slot on your second account and get training; you’ll thank me later.

-Aiden

 

notable references:

http://wiki.eveuniversity.org/Warfare_links

http://wiki.eveuniversity.org/Fleet_Leadership

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