Warp Core Stabilizers
What is a Warp Core Stabilizer?
A Warp Core Stabilizer is a low-slot item that can be added to any ship. You don't need to activate it; it passively provides a bonus against warp scramblers. Every ship (except for Deep Space Transports) has a base warp strength of zero, meaning that any warp scramblers or disruptors activated against it will prevent it from warping. In short, a warp scrambler will prevent your ship from warping away - leaving you essentially stuck on the battlefield with no escape possible. Each WCS adds 1 to your warp strength. Calculating whether you can warp or not is easy to figure out: each Warp Disruptor on you counts as 1 "point" and each Warp Scrambler counts as 2 "points." If you have a warp strength greater than or equal to the number of "points" on you you can warp away.
It's important to note that while warp scramblers can be countered by Warp Core Stabilizers, deployable warp bubbles and interdictor spheres prevent anyone from warping out of them.
If you're in a large ship that aligns slowly, you may also be bumped away from your alignment target by enemy ships. If you can't align on your target, you can't warp, even if you're not being scrambled.
Warp Core Stabilizers use 1 MW of power grid and 30 tf of CPU. Fitting them is easy - you need the skills Navigation I and Warp Drive Operation I, both of which are essential skills and both of which train very quickly.
In short, a WCS will very very likely allow you to escape a solo ganker. Multiple WCSes might even let you escape multiple gankers.
They should only be fitted to non PvP ships, as they carry a 50% penalty to both targeting range and scan resolution. Scan resolution determines the amount of time it takes to lock a target.
Warp Core Stablizers in Kali
As of the Revelations Patch (Kali) Warp Core Stabilizers have had a major nerf to offensive use. They now have a huge targeting lock range nerf and huge lock time increase nerf. This was done because CCP did not like the fact WCS were being used so easily by ganking ships to never die, especially shield-tanking ships that had the low slots to spare (Vagabonds, and Caracals for example).
What this means is that currently WCS should ONLY ever be used on ships for pure defense, as it will seriously dampen your abilities to do anything offensively. For example a ratting/mission running Raven that carried a single WCS now has a lock range of something like 40km in post-Kali.
With this in mind, most of the rest of this article is probably outdated, especially when WCS is mentioned for offensive use. They are still recommended for hauling ships (should never have to lock anything anyhow) or for mining ships (as your lock range is less than 10km for mining or such).
When Not To Use A WCS
Don't take warp core stabs into a fleet battle, only keep them on when doing stuff solo: like ninjamining, running missions at a gate, or running the pipe. Taking WCS on a frigate or such into a fleet battle is useless, for if you get targeted by a BS or such you'll usually be dead before you can warp and most hostiles will be sniping from long range out of warp disruptor/scrambler range. The crippling effect of the targeting distance means that you'll have to get even closer than you do already, which puts you more at risk of blowing up. Thanks to the nerf that came out with Revelations 1, WCS are even more useless in battle - each one you fit cuts your current targetting range in half, and kills your targetting time. While this can be partially countered through the use of Sensor Boosters, why waste two slots just so you can leave faster? In fact, if you have slots to burn on a combat or ratting ship, consider fitting a Remote Sensor Dampener instead of a warp core stab and a Sensor Booster. This Ewar module crushes an enemies's targeting abilities, which can break their scrambling lock on you or anyone else.
Don't use warp core stabs on pipe running frigates. You want Nanofiber Internal Structures or Inertia Stabilizers in your lows slots, they make your ship align faster, and a frigate with nanos can align faster than any ship in the game can lock. Should you run into a bubble camp, warp core stabs will not allow you to warp in the radius of the bubble, but nanos will allow you to move away from the bubble faster. The Vigil and the Executioner are the two best frigates for pipe running. The only frigate-sized ship you should even think of moving with WCS (and this is arguable) is an Assault Frigate, which are oftentimes slower to align than their Tech 1 cousins, but this is once again only for moving and using them in combat is dumb and you're dumb for even thinking it.
When To Use A WCS
You MIGHT put Warp Core stabs on a ship in the two following situations:
- You are moving a Cruiser, Battlecruiser, or Battleship with a lot of low slots through dangerous territory, and you are certain that you will only encounter small gangs with no bubbles whatsoever. Multiple WCS will totally cripple your fighting capabilities so your plan is to flee no matter what you encounter.
- You are piloting an Industrial and you are afraid of getting ganked by a lone Recon or Interceptor. You put two Warp Core Stabs in your lows and the rest Nanos/Inertia Stabs.
- You are using a specific comedy setup which uses non-locking modules (like smartbombs, ECM Bursts, and/or FoF Missiles).