Sniping

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Contents

Overview

Your role as sniper is to deliver damage to a target at the longest possible range. The longer the range you can be at, the less the enemy fleet can shoot back at you. The role of sniper is not the only fleet role of a battleship, there are others such as remote repair battleship, or a heavy tackler. Generally, when a Fleet Commander asks for "Fleet Fit" battleships, he is looking for long range battleships with less hit points (snipers), and when he asks for "Remote Repair" he is looking for battleships with more of hitpoints and less range.

Optimal

Optimal isn't just the maximum range your guns can hit to before losing damage, it is the ideal distance to be at when shooting a target. This is because your guns will track a moving ship more easily at range since it will move across your field of view more slowly. This is especially important when using T2 long range ammo because of the huge tracking penalty - you only have one quarter the tracking when using spike, aurora or tremor. Even at your optimal, you can miss battleship-sized targets if both ships are aligned in opposite directions.

Image:Dps.gif

The scenario is an average sniper in a reimbursement Rokh shooting a reimbursement Apocalypse. Each ship is aligned at full speed such that their mutual transversal is maximised (i.e. worst case scenario); neither ship is using its MWD. The Rokh's base dps is 270, but even at its optimal it only reaches 240dps because of misses due to tracking. FCs will try to get warp ins slightly within typical sniper range (130-150km) so that the battleships don't align out of optimal range too soon. At 130km, shots miss 20% of the time. To reduce your dps lost to transversal, only align at 75% speed. Never MWD unnecessarily, you will miss nearly every shot if you do (it doesn't matter if they do).

Reimbursement

Current Goonswarm policy (Spring 2008) is to give partial reimbursements to certain battleships that meet specific criteria. See Reimbursement for information on that program. The requirements are steep for the sniper setups and will require significant training time to qualify.

The preferred ship for you to be in if you are just starting out flying battleships in fleets will be the Scorpion as it is a reimbursable setup with the least amount of training time involved. It is also highly effective at the Electronic Warfare role.

Battleship Snipers

Each race has its own sniping battleship(s), each with their own advantages and limitations.

Amarr

  • Apocalypse - The Tier-2 Amarr battleship, designed for pure sniping with its 8 turrets and 7.5% optimal range bonus. Puts out nice DPS, has a nice amount of armor and great range. Also works well with close-range Pulse lasers for anti-support work, putting up to 600 dps on cruiser-sized targets up to 120km away.
  • Abaddon - The Tier-3 Amarr battleship, designed mostly for close-range work but does work well as a high-DPS sniper with a very nice well-resisted armor buffer.

Corp-Approved Reimbursement Fittings

Caldari

  • Rokh - The king of battleship range, it can hit to T2 sniping ranges using T1 guns. Can fit an excellent passive shield tank as well, even when fit for sniping, because of the convenient bonuses to both gun range and shield resists. This combination makes it arguably the best longrange sniping battleship in the game; the only possible competitor would be the Apocalypse. Recommended for everyone who flies Caldari, next to the Scorpion.

Corp-Approved Reimbursement Fittings

Gallente

  • Megathron - The most versatile battleship sniper out of them all, as it can function well as a T2 sniper, a close-range blaster boat, or a remote rep battleship. If there's a job that needs to be done with battleships, the Megathron can do it. Not as good for pure sniping as the Apocalypse or the Rokh, it makes up for this by having next to no fitting issues, excellent tracking and solid DPS.

Corp-Approved Reimbursement Fittings

Minmatar

  • Tempest - The Tempest used to be the king of T2 sniping, but since the scripts nerf and the overall ship HP buff in Revelations, it has been beaten down pretty badly. None the less it can still engage at standard T2 sniping ranges and has a hell of an alpha strike, which is good in large fleets where you'll mostly only get one or two salvos off on a target before it dies. Can't fit much of an HP tank either, unfortunately.
  • Maelstrom - The Maelstrom is pretty comparable to the Tempest as a sniper, doing more alpha strike and more DPS (particularly with lower levels of Minmatar Battleship skill), but the hull cost and fittings are somewhat more expensive, and it is significantly less agile than the Tempest. The consensus opinion is that the advantages do not outway the costs, and it is not considered reimbursable, despite being a viable sniper. It also is slightly easier to fit with locus coordinator rigs for those desiring a 'glass cannon' sniper.

Corp-Approved Reimbursement Fittings

Skills

Below are the skills you should have before stepping into a T2 or even T1 sniper. If you enjoy sniping then you should bring most of these skills up to level V, as a lot of them are 5% increases and few even stack.

Spaceship Command

  • Racial Battleship IV - This is a big one. Always have this before even considering flying a battleship.
  • Spaceship Command IV - Increases ship agility by 2% per level. Useful for faster aligns. Needed to fly everything worthwhile

Gunnery

  • Gunnery V - Required for any large guns. This skill adds 2% rate-of-fire per level. (10% at V)
  • Weapon Upgrades V & Advanced Weapon Upgrades IV - WU decreases CPU use of guns by 5% (not bad). AWU decreases powergrid use by 2% per level (very helpful in fitting a battleship, especially if t2 guns). WU 5 is needed for AWU. You will not be able to effectively fit a sniper without at least AWU III, if not IV in most cases.
  • Sharpshooter V - Increases optimal range by 5% per level. Level V required for T2 variant. Very important skill for any sniper.
  • Motion Prediction IV - Increases gun tracking by 5% per level. Highly recommended that you train this to V.
  • Large Racial Turret IV - Increases damage 5% per level. Level V required for T2 variant. (25% at V)
  • Rapid Firing IV - Increases 4% rate-of-fire per level. Effectively gives a 25% DPS boost at V.
  • Surgical Strike IV - Further increases all turret damage by 3%.
  • Trajectory Analysis IV - Increases turret falloff by 5% per level. Not so useful for Amarr, great for Minmatar due to their large falloffs. Level IV is needed for T2 Tracking Computers.
  • Controlled Bursts IV - Cap use of guns reduced by 5%. Useless for Minmatar, but a godsend for everybody else, especially Amarr.

Navigation

  • Evasive Maneuvering IV - Increases ship agility by 5% per level. Useful for faster aligns.

Electronics

  • Targeting IV - Increases number of ships you can target by +1 per level, so 6 targets at level IV.
  • Long Range Targeting IV - Increases targeting range by 5%. Needed for Sensor Booster IIs. Getting this to V is recommended for Rokh pilots.
  • Signature Analysis IV - Increases scan resolution by 5%. You'll be using Targeting Range scripts a lot of the time in a sniper, and every little bit of lock speed is good to have.

Engineering

  • Energy Systems Operation IV - Decreases cap recharge time by 5% per level, taking this to V is recommended as it applies to ALL of the ships you fly, regardless of size.
  • Energy Management IV - Increases cap capacity by 5% per level. Not terribly necessary for Minmatar, but still highly recommended that you take this to V eventually as, again, it applies to every ship that you fly.
  • Thermodynamics III - This is an amazing skill that comes along with Energy Management V. Sometimes you'll be stuck in a shitty situation, i.e: trapped by a shitload of bubbles, and the only way to get out is to burn out of them with your MWD. Thermodynamics can increase your MWD speed by 50% for a limited amount of time, which could mean the difference between getting out alive and waking up in a station. You can overload several other useful modules to gain significant performance improvements such as hardeners and ECCM or even your guns, though this last option is not recommended in fleet fights.
  • Shield Management III - 5% bonus to shield capacity. Mostly useful as an additional 15% buffer on your shields. Level IV is also very useful for tanking doomsdays in the Rokh.
  • Energy Grid Upgrades IV-V - 5% decrease in CPU needs of Energy Grid Upgrades. Really the reason you need this so high is for module pre-reqs. IV for PDS IIs and V for RCU IIs. Many T2 Sniper setups require RCU IIs, or at least PDS IIs.

Overview Settings

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Ammo

Generic Ammo Information

Each turret type has ammo types of varying damage and range. The general progression is Low Range/High Damage -> High Range/Low Damage. Obviously, T2 sniping ammo has the highest range to damage ratio out of all the ammo, being T2.

T2 sniping ammo -- best range

  • Spike for Railguns
  • Tremor for Artillery
  • Aurora for Beam Lasers

T1 sniping ammo -- next best range

  • Iron for Railguns
  • Carbonized Lead for Artillery
  • Radio for Beam Lasers

Know this! All T2 sniping ammo comes with a built-in 75% tracking penalty.

Guns loaded with T2 sniping ammo will be vulnerable to anything from 5km to 110km away. (With the possible exception of the Megathron due to its tracking bonus, allowing it to engage at 80-90 with Spike, but no closer.)

So therefore, if you are using T2 ammo (or long range T1) you must bring medium/short range T1 ammo. Medium range ammos are lead for rails, depleted uranium for projectiles and standard for lasers. Short range are antimatter, EMP and multifrequency respectively.

Specific Ammo Examples

Megathron/Rokh

  • 1500x Caldari/Federation Navy Antimatter Charge L - For jumping into a gatecamp. Highest damage ammo, but costly, so only use it for PvP.
  • 6000x Antimatter Charge L - For when you run out of FN AM or when you have to shoot station services/control towers. Engagement range for both of the Antimatters is point blank to 45-50km.
  • 2000x Lead Charge L - The mid-range ammo type, allows you to engage targets in the "blind spot" between Spike and Antimatter ranges. Engagement ranges are 80-120km. Upgrade to Caldari Navy or Federation Navy if you want.
  • 3000x Spike L - The T2 ammo variant. Engagement range is 130-180km. Useless against close-range targets.

Apocalypse/Abaddon

  • T1 crystals never degrade, so bring Multifrequency L for POS shooting
  • Bring Standard L because you may be able to perma-run guns while using them.
  • Bring faction Multifrequency, but only carry 1 rack at a time. They degrade, so it is inadvisable to bring extra unless you have isk to burn.

How to Snipe, Step by Step

Sniping Checklist

Always have these things fitted, in mind, nearby, etc:

  1. SAFESPOTS
  2. SAFESPOTS
  3. MWD fitted will help get you out of a bubble in a worst case scenario.
  4. T2 Drones and/or armor rep drones can help you kill interceptors/tacklers and/or rep other people's armor at safe spots.
  5. Lock all but one of your max targets to leave room for a special target called by fleet commander.
  6. ALWAYS listen on TS for primary, secondary, tertiary, quaternary targets!
  7. Bring lots of long range ammo especially in defensive fights.
  8. Make sure you are tanked to take damage. Bring EANMs, Invulnerability Fields, and Damage Controls to tank. N.B- Thanks to the changes to Doomsdays in the Dominion expansion, it is no longer so important to be able to tank as much damage.

Defensive Position

For defending a gate, a pos, a station, a friendly capital, etc, do these things:

  1. Get to your optimal distance from where the targets are going to be and be aligned toward a safespot just in case.
  2. Run any targeting range/speed modules you need (you are in a BS they won't hurt cap).
  3. Pick large targets your guns are going to hit (cruisers, battlecruisers, battleships, capitals, etc).
  4. Target victim, determine their range and compare to your current ammo, switch if needed.
  5. Mash F1 to F8.

Offensive Position

For jumping through a gate, or warping into a gatecamp, or attacking a station/pos, etc, do these things:

  1. Get to your optimal distance from where the targets are going to be and be aligned toward a safespot (more likely to need it offensively)
    1. An interceptor or other fast ship in fleet will probably provide a warp-in for sniping battleships
    2. Worst case, warp to engagement at 100km.
  2. Determine scripts needed at your current range from the engagement and swap out if necessary
  3. Activate targeting range/speed modules
  4. Pick large targets your guns are going to hit (cruisers, battlecruisers, battleships, capitals, etc).
  5. Target victim, determine their range and compare to your current ammo, switch if needed.
  6. Mash F1 to F8.

Tips

Technical and Fitting

  • Aim for corp insured fleet setups. They have been proven to work well and they are reimbursable.

Implants

  • There are a variety of implants that can increase your performance as a sniper. Of particular note is the slot 9 Zainou 'Deadeye' ZGA100, a 3% optimal implant that only costs a couple of million and is commonly available. Adding around 5km optimal for typical sniper set ups, it's a very affordable and effective upgrade.
  • Other much more expensive implants (~20m on average) include slot 7 Eifyr and Co. 'Gunslinger' AX-1 (3% tracking), slot 7 Inherent Implants 'Lancer' G1-Beta (3% turret capacitor use reduction), slot 9 Eifyr and Co. 'Gunslinger' CX-1 (3% damage), slot 9 Inherent Implants 'Lancer' G1-Delta (3% rate of fire bonus), and slot 10 Eifyr and co 'Gunslinger' LX-1, Inherent Implants 'Lancer' G1-Epsilon and Zainou 'Deadeye' ZGL100 (3% large projectile, laser and hybrid damage respectively). The 1% variants are cheap at ~1m isk each but not generally considered worth it, while the 5% versions usually run over 100m each.
  • There are many more implants that can benefit snipers, giving bonuses to targeting range, scan resolution, shield/armor/hull hit points, turret CPU/power grid requirements, and all sorts of other more marginal factors. If you find them cheap and like to boast about having more X than the all Vs character in EFT, go ahead and buy them.
  • See Combat Implants for a decent overview of sniping implants.

During the Fight

  • Always align as soon as you come out of warp, then start targeting and shooting. These few seconds might save you if you just became the first primary/secondary.
  • If you're camping a gate and you have time, set up a warp out spot that is close but offgrid (inline with a suitable celestial object), as well as a grid loading spot out of range from where the fight will be happening. If you need to warp out, you'll only go a few thousand km, which means you'll be able to warp back much quicker. Warping to a grid loading spot first decreases the chance of you getting killed before loading grid.
  • When reloading ammo in high lag, do not use the UI's autoreload and do not reload by right-clicking the gun. Have pre-made stacks of ammo size for your gun, and drag-and-drop from your cargo hold onto each gun that needs to be reloaded. This works better in high lag.

See Also: