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My First Fleet Op
Electronic Warfare is a powerful tool in all forms of Eve combat. From 1v1 to enormous fleets, the strength of a force's electronic warfare can often dictate the course of the battle.
Older GoonFleet members tend towards advanced damage platforms in the form of battleships and sophisticated tackling interdictors. As a result, we strongly encourage newer players to focus on Electronic Warfare to complement the advantages of our older players. A day-old player with a racial jammer on a frigate can potentially incapacitate a three-year-old veteran in a battleship.
ECM Jammers render a ship temporarily incapable of locking onto targets. If you succeed at jamming a ship that already has locked onto one or more targets, all targets are unlocked and the jammed ship will not be able to re-lock for 20 seconds. As most non-drone ships are incapable of fighting without locking targets, ECM will almost always castrate your target. As you might imagine, this is extremely infuriating and as a result ECM is one of the more fun things a goon can do. It's also extremely useful, and can easily turn the tide of a battle.
There are five "flavors" of ECM: multispectral, which is mediocre at jamming all ships (don't ever use these), and four racial jammers (Ion Field, Phase Inversion, Spatial Destabilizer, and White Noise), each of which specializes in disabling ships of one of the four races of the game. Here are the four types of ECM jammers, presented with the associated race and sensor type:
|Race||Sensor Type||ECM Module Name||ECM Module Color|
|Gallente||Magnetometric||Ion Field||Green (Cyan)|
Also, in case you ever run across someone flying a juicy faction ship, the general rule of thumb is to jam against what racial "background" the ship picture has.
|Faction||Sensor Type||ECM Module Name||ECM Module Color|
|Blood Raiders||Radar||White Noise||Yellow|
|Serpentis||Magnetometric||Ion Field||Green (Cyan)|
As you can see, the ECM modules are not named after the sensor type that they jam. For example, an ECM - Spatial Destabilizer module is best at jamming Gravimetric sensors, which are used chiefly by Caldari ships. Because these different names are confusing even to many experienced players, it is advisable for newer players to print out this table and keep it handy when using ECM. You should also consider the following two tips:
- Fit your jammers to your mid slots in alphabetical order: Amarr, Caldari, Gallente, and Minmatar. This allow you to be able to find the jammer for whatever ship pops up on the overview faster.
- The Racial Jammer colors match the backgrounds of targeted ships. Amarr = Yellow, Caldari = Blue, Gallente = Green, Minmatar = Red. You don't have to memorize every ship, just lock up a bunch of ships and then match up the colors.
ECM Sensor Strength
Each ECM module has a sensor strength that indicates how powerful it is at each of the four different flavors of jamming. Enemy ships also have a sensor strength, which indicates how difficult it is to jam them. Different classes of ships have different sensor strengths --frigates are easier to jam than battleships, which are easier to jam than covert ops.
An ECM - Multispectral has a base strength of 2 against all ships. Racial jammers have a base strength of 3 against their race of ships, and 1 for all others. Racial jammers also have about half-again more range, and require less capacitor to use.
- The probability of a jamming attempt succeeding is
- Your ECM Strength divided by their Ship Sensor Strength.
For example, a single ECM - Spatial Destabilizer module used against a Merlin (without any other factors involved) has a 27.27% chance of success per module activation. The Spatial Destabilizer has a Gravimetric jamming strength of 3, the Merlin has a sensor strength of 11, and 3 divided by 11 equals .2727. That same Spatial Destabilizer would have only an 11.11% chance of jamming a Punisher, which also has a sensor strength of 9, because it only has a Radar jamming strength of 1 against non-Caldari ships.
Because ECM relies so heavily on sensor strength, it is nearly worthless when used on a ship without bonuses. If we repeat the above example, but assume that the Spatial Destabilizer is being used by a pilot in a Blackbird with Caldari Cruiser IV trained, the chance of jamming increases to 38%, or 15% against a punisher.
Activating concurrent ECM jammers on an enemy that has been successfully jammed has no additional effect, each activated module attempts to jam and either succeeds or fails. You can tell the enemy is jammed because a timer bar appears beneath the shield/armor/hull bars in the targeting icon. In small gang settings right click each ECM module and set them to manual activation as this gives you greater control, saving activation cycles and cap. Activate a module, if the timer does not appear activate another until you succeed, then move to the next target and repeat.
In large fleet battles such micromanagement is completely impossible. Instead set your ECM modules to autorepeat, lock as many targets as you can and spread your modules out among them and just let them roll. Being able to lock several targets is very important when you're doing electronic warfare, train targeting.
Optimal Range and Falloff
Due to the recent ECM nerf, falloff now has a much greater impact than before. Below optimal the jamming probability works as shown above. At optimal+falloff that probability is reduced to half, while at optimal+falloff*2 the probability drops to approximately 0. Between these two values it scales in a non-linear fashion. For reference, consult the following table, where the first value is %distance into falloff and the second value is the chance to hit.
5% 0.998 105% 0.466 10% 0.993 110% 0.432 15% 0.985 115% 0.400 20% 0.973 120% 0.369 25% 0.958 125% 0.339 30% 0.940 130% 0.310 35% 0.919 135% 0.283 40% 0.895 140% 0.257 45% 0.869 145% 0.233 50% 0.841 150% 0.210 55% 0.811 155% 0.189 60% 0.779 160% 0.170 65% 0.746 165% 0.152 70% 0.712 170% 0.135 75% 0.677 175% 0.120 80% 0.642 180% 0.106 85% 0.606 185% 0.093 90% 0.570 190% 0.082 95% 0.535 195% 0.072 100% 0.500 200% 0.063
Improving Sensor Strength
- Electronic Warfare - 5% less capacitor need for ECM systems per skill level. Requires Electronics I.
- Frequency Modulation - 10% bonus to all EW falloff per level. Requires Electronics III and Electronic Warfare (skill) II.
- Long Distance Jamming - 10% bonus to all EW optimal range per level. Requires Electronics IV and Electronic Warfare (skill) III.
- Signal Dispersion - 5% bonus to scan strength of all ECM jammers per level. Requires Electronics V and Electronic Warfare (skill) IV.
How ECM Works In Combat
The Necessity of Specialized Overview Settings
Whenever you're involved in large scale fleet combat you need to have an overview setting that show ONLY things you will be shooting, or in this case, jamming. Battleships is top priority here since they do the most DPS and incapacitating them gives the highest reward. Heavy assault cruisers can do almost as much damage as a battleship albeit at shorter range, but they also have much lower sensor strength making them more vulnerable to ECM. Set up an overview that shows only hostile Battleships, Heavy Assault Ships, and Logistics and load it whenever you are using ECM in a fleet battle. If you do not know how to do this, you will not be able to use ECM effectively, so please read the Overview article. If necessary, ask other goons for help.
Whom to Shoot?
Once you are in a fleet battle, your fleet commander is going to be calling primary targets. As an ECM user, your job is to ignore him entirely. The primary target is going to be melting quickly, and your ECM is better used neutralizing other members of the enemy fleet. What you should do is use the ECM Overview described above to target and jam ships of the appropriate race, that are flown by pilots with names similar to your own.
For example, because my name is Vio Geraci, I use ECM on targets whose names start with the letter V, or another letter near that part of the alphabet. Because all ECM users will be doing this, your jams will be spread out and not needlessly focus fire on one target. This is so important that it needs repeating: In large fleet battles, do not just fire all your ECMs at the primary.
Lock up as many appropriate targets as your targeting skills allow, activate an ECM module on each and let them roll until they or you die/warp out.
As a newbie in GoonSwarm, you should use ECM if you fly Caldari ships and are capable of using cruisers or battleships. If you are still in a frigate, you will probably do more good as a tackler than futzing around with the moderately skill-intensive ECM process. Once you are able to use cruisers, an ECM-packing Blackbird is amazingly effective. Our fleet commanders absolutely love Blackbirds, and you will find yourself amazingly effective despite your relatively few skill points. As soon as you break through to battleships, you may prefer to fly an ECM-specialized Scorpion over the more expensive Raven, especially if you lack good missile skills. Additionally, Scorpions are a lot cheaper than Ravens to the point that if you buy them in Jita and fit them with poor named modules you only lose a little more after insurance than buying a Blackbird in Goonspace. Also, Scorpions are eligible for reimbursement unlike Ravens. If you do so be sure to check out this page for helpful tips on surviving your attempt to run the pipe. Better yet, have someone like Smatchimo haul it for you.
ECM bursts are a special ECM module that functions like an electronic warfare smartbomb. They send an electronic pulse in a 5-6 km radius from your ship, disrupting the targeting systems of all ships within said radius. The problem with this, like smartbombs, is that they do not distinguish friend from foe. ECM burst module jamming strengths are significantly stronger than racial and multispectral ECM modules. However, they fire much slower and have significantly greater capacitor needs. These drawbacks make them generally unsuitable for most tactical situations, the exceptions being:
- If you are flying a Pilgrim - and the enemy is targeting your drones. Breaking his lock forces him to re target, and if you're using NOS, it's not like you'll run out of cap.
- Travelling in a battleship, or perhaps crashing a gate by yourself with little regard for your own safety.
ECM Probability Chart
eWar ECM Guide for probability of jamming each ship. Spreadsheet requires data output from EFT on your jammers. <dead link removed> - eWar ECM Jammer Guide Excel Spreadsheet. Use the showinfo on your jamming modules to find high and low jammer strengths.
ECCM are anti-ECM mid-slot modules that decrease your chance of getting jammed by ECM. They come in two flavors - ECCM (T2 = +96% sensor strength) and Projected ECCM (T2 = +120% sensor strength). Basically, each module you add makes it twice as hard to jam you. Some rough numbers (assuming all skills at IV, hull skills at V, T2 modules:)
Rough chances to jam from a Falcon (12.2 strength):
|Ship||Base %||1 ECCM||2 ECCM||3 ECCM|
|22 Strength Battleship||55%||28%||15%||10%|
|20 Strength Battleship||61%||31%||17%||11%|
Rough chances to jam from a Scorpion or Blackbird (10.6 strength):
|Ship||Base %||1 ECCM||2 ECCM||3 ECCM|
|22 Strength Battleship||48%||25%||13%||9%|
|20 Strength Battleship||53%||27%||15%||10%|
Projected ECCM only gives slightly better results than ECCM, with the added difficulty of staying within 25km of your target.
For example, Falcon (12.2 strength) on a 22 sensor strength battleship:
|Number of ECCM||ECCM II||Projected ECCM II||Difference|
As you can see, fitting at least one ECCM if you are expected to be jammed is not a bad idea. Of particular note is that internal (not projected) ECCM can be overheated for a massive 30% bonus, which brings it up to ~125%. The modules produce very little heat damage and can be run for minutes at a time without breaking. There is no reason not to overheat your ECCM if you can. The ships that should fit ECCM include RRBS and Logistics ships.
Remote Sensor Dampeners
Remote Sensor Dampeners do one of two things, depending on the script you load into it: Reduce your target's effective lock range, or increase his lock time. The first effect is generally more significant as a dampened ship will lose its lock on anything that is outside its new max lock range. For instance, if a battleship is sniping at 170km, but you damp his max lock range down to 90km, he loses his lock on everything beyond 90km and can no longer fulfill his role as a sniper in that fleet battle. The second effect is very powerful when used in concert with the ECM modules described above: Rather than reducing your target's lock range, you reduce your target's scan resolution. This results in anything within his existing range taking longer to lock on to. A battleship or recon ship dampened several times in this way will take significantly longer to lock on to smaller ships, with lock times on a typical tackling frigates increasing up to a full minute. This gives members of your fleet who are using ECM modules more time to achieve a successful first jam, and more time to attempt jamming in the event of a failed jamming attempt.
Unlike ECM modules, Remote Sensor Dampeners always have a 100% chance of affecting the target if they are within optimal range. The RSD-specialized Celestis cruiser also has a superior slot layout as compared to the ECM-specialized Blackbird. Previously, most ships could be dampened down to the point where they could not defend themselves. Unfortunately, recent changes have been reduced in effectiveness, and are now only useful for nullifying snipers.
Changes to ECM have put RSD back in a somewhat competitive position, making them more likely to work on battleships out to about 170km if you use range rigs. The main tradeoff is that ECM is universally effective and tends to have a higher chance of working on smaller ships with weak sensor strength at long ranges.
Optimal Range and Falloff
Optimal ranges and falloff play a big role in sensor dampener effectiveness. Beyond optimal range, sensor dampeners become a probability game in a manner similar to ECM. A sensor dampener has a 100% chance of functioning at optimal range, 50% chance of functioning at optimal range + falloff range, and 0% chance of functioning at optimal range + 2 x falloff range.
Effectiveness is NOT reduced in falloff, only the chance of successfully affecting your target.
Effectiveness falloff can be countered by double, triple, or even quadruple dampening the target, but there is a stacking penalty so it is usually not efficient to put more than 3 dampeners on a single target. For instance, with Gallente Cruiser III and Signal Suppression IV, one Remote Sensor Dampener II will damp by 47%, two will dampen by 69%, and three will dampen by 77%, but you'll only get to 80% with a fourth dampener.
Improving Dampener Strength
Several rigs can improve your strength or optimal range, too. Unlike ECM, there is no module that assists with Sensor Dampening. However, several skills improve usage of Remote Sensor Dampeners, including:
- Gallente Cruiser increases dampener effectiveness on the Celestis, so take to III or better. Level V also opens up the Lachesis and Arazu for later training options.
- Frequency Modulation increases falloff on all EWAR modules, a quick way to increase range early on.
- Long Distance Jamming increases optimal on all EWAR modlues, requires Electronics IV.
- Signal Suppression increases effectiveness on Sensor Damps, requires Electronics V and Sensor Linking IV.
The Maulus and Celestis both have a Remote Sensor Dampener bonus. If you go Gallente, the Maulus can be a useful and refreshing change from tackling. Once you are capable of flying a Celestis, load it up with Remote Sensor Dampeners, and do not look back.
Tracking Disruptors are an often-overlooked member of the electronic warfare family. There wasn't much reason to field a form of ewar only effective against turrets ships when you could just use ECM jammers which are effective against everything at double the range. With RSD nerfed into oblivion and ECM's range reduced heavily, they're starting to compare more favorably.
Tracking disruptors work by reducing the optimal, falloff, and tracking speed of the target. You can load scripts into them, giving them twice the effectiveness against either optimal/falloff or tracking speed, but losing the other effect(s) entirely. A single T1 tracking disruptor can - provided you're using it on a hull that provides bonuses - put an almost -50% penalty on the tracking speed or optimal and falloff ranges of any turret-using ship you point it at. With better skills and named/T2 modules, this penalty can come close to or exceed -60%. While this can cripple virtually any ship using turrets as their primary weapon, it's completely useless against missile and drone ships (like the Raven, Dominix, Myrmidon, Drake, et ceteras).
If you're looking to get into using tracking disruptors, the Crucifier and Arbitrator are obvious starting points due to their effectiveness bonuses, but since tracking disruptors really aren't particularly dependent on bonuses, the list of ships capable of fielding them effectively runs much longer than that. Scripted T2 tracking disruptors knock about 48% of the target's optimal/falloff or tracking speed off without a bonus, which will still cripple the turrets of whatever you point it at. Since they're not affected by Signal Distortion Amplifiers, you can tank out tracking disruptor ships more than you can ECM ships. The Scorpion and Celestis in particular are fairly promising tracking disruptor platforms thanks to their long lock ranges and favorable slot layouts.
Target Painters are the black sheep of the EWar family. Instead of incapacitating their target, they provide bonuses to any ship attacking it. Unfortunately, their bonuses really suck, and they do not amplify damage enough to make them worth using, even in fleet battles. Except for a few rare PvE cases, it is better to fit something else.
How They Work
Target painters work by increasing the signature radius of a target. The two major benefits of this are increased damage and decreased targeting time. The problem with the latter benefit is that targeting times do not change once targeting has begun; in other words, if you are in the process of targeting an opponent and someone then paints it, your targeting time will not decrease.
Missile weapons have an explosion radius; if the target's signature radius is less than the explosion radius, the damage done to the target will be reduced. Target painters allow heavier missiles (such as torpedoes) to do their full damage against smaller targets (like frigates). This isn't really useful in fleet combat because missiles are so unpopular in that setting, and missiles that are not cruise missiles still less (cruise missiles function well against small targets).
For turret weapons, target painters' increase of the target's signature radius makes it easier to hit. This can often translate to higher damage done to that target. But, if the target is already fairly large, an even larger signature radius will have no functional effect. If you target paint a smaller ship that battleships usually have trouble hitting, you need to coordinate with those battleships because it is difficult to tell if a ship is target painted in the heat of battle.
If You Insist On Being Stupid
Target painters lack the power of Tracking Disruptors or ECM, and flexibility of RSDs. If, despite all this, you are intent on using target painters, try to focus on small, fast-moving, high-value targets like interdictors, interceptors, fighters, and HACs. You are going to be disappointed. Caracals and Comorants can comedy fit a target painter easily, but these ships are awful for fleet fights in general. Vigils and Bellicosii would be better fit as tacklers.
The Rare Times a Target Painter is Useful in PVP
Target painters are generally only useful in PVP when you have a weapon type that is shooting at a ship that is much smaller than the weapon types intended target size. In theory this can include BS shooting at frigates/cruisers; but in PVP the higher target speeds mean the target painter just isn't enough since it won't help the missiles/guns hit in the first place.
It may be useful to fit target painters when using capitals or working in tandem with them.
Target painters may be useful when friendly dreadnoughts are engaging enemy battleships, but this almost never happens and you will be called a useless faggot for bringing target painters on any op that doesn't involve intentional suicide, and even on those you'll be called a faggot for fitting a target painter. It might be conceivable that target painters could offer some benefit to a hypothetical close-range torpedo raven, but as these are not popular it is very unlikely.
It's OK to fit a Target Painter in PvE
Many ratting Ravens carry a target painter, as they significantly increase the damage from torpedoes. The DPS increase is typically ~15% when firing at battleships, and up to a massive 30% when firing at battlecruisers and cruisers --this is more than any single lowslot damage module can offer.