EVE’s biggest draw to me has always been its flexibility for fitting decisions, it’s one of the main pillars that facilitates the kind of gameplay so many of us know and love, and one of its strongest mechanics compared to other games/MMO’s. There is a huge amount of freedom allowed to you for every ship. This freedom is a double-edged sword, as it can be a deep well of exploration, or a confusing, time consuming and tedious process that others don’t have the patience or knowledge for.

Some may spend hours theorycrafting different ships/fittings just to find the one that fits their goal. Others may skim zkill and find a popular fit and roll with it. Then you have the lost and confused that leave mid and/or low slots open, forget rigs or mix tanks, or even try to active rep with hull reppers.

In this article, I’m going to explain my thought processes and share some knowledge on potentially lesser known modules and nuances to fitting that might help you become more creative in fitting, or help save you from needing that Ancillary Current Router (ACR) rig or CPU mod.

What exactly do you want your ship to do?

When making a fitting for a ship, this is the first thing you need to keep in mind. Do you want to brawl, kite or skirmish?

Brawling
Brawling is normally done through fitting either a strong active tank or a heavy passive tank. You’re normally not the fastest ship, but you can pick a MWD or MJD (or both depending on fitting/mids) to give some mobility. You’re at the mercy of your opponents when brawling, as its very easy to get “blobbed”, meaning, because of your lack of mobility, everyone can just pile on top of you and overwhelm your tank. It’s good to be patient when brawling and not go “all-in” on the first ship that pops up, always be suspicious. If possible, lure your opponents into sites that prevent warping to fleet members, such as Faction Warfare complexes or Event sites. This can help you isolate targets and prevent them from all landing on top of you at once.

Kiting
Kiting is utilizing speed and high range weapons to prevent being held down and dying to a blob. It’s the best tactic when fighting against larger numbers. Typically you’ll have at least 1 nano and/or poly carb rig to increase speed/agility. Often you’ll go with your longer range weapons available, such as light missiles/heavy missiles/cruise missiles, artillery, pulse lasers (Scorch OP) or beams (depending on ship) and railguns. Speed and control are crucial, combined with damage/range where possible.

Scram Kiting
Scram kiting is a sub-role to kiting, that you mainly find in frigate and destroyer pvp. As most short range frigate weapons can only shoot out to 5-10km. Scram kiting is when you have a control advantage over your opponent (webs, dual prop, speed) and can move to 8-10 km to avoid a lot of their damage, while you yourself are in a ship that can easily apply up to or past scram range. An example of this is a kestrel vs blaster incursus, where the kestrel can just sit at 8-9 km and reduce a lot of incoming damage from the incursus, but still apply all its damage to the incursus.

Skirmishing
Skirmishing is my own term, you’re free to call it something else, but it’s just the term I’ve been using to describe my solo playstyle. Which is a mixture of brawling/kiting, but generally more brawly, but fit with max utility. Skirmishing is meant as a viable way to brawl, but be extremely hard to hold down. Your goal is not to “kill the entire blob”, its to kill whatever you can and then get out. Normally, your fit is focused around killing things as fast as possible and having all available options to escape. This includes things like micro jump drives, neuts, EC drones, a high number of application modules and damage. You are normally sacrificing tank in a skirmishing role. Once you have your role defined, then you can begin making your fit.

What do you want to fight?

Do you want to fight everything and not have to choose targets? Do you want to focus on killing things smaller than your ship? Do you want to focus on targets the same size or larger?

This is also something you need to take into consideration, and something I’d say that is more important with missile ships than turret ships. As the missile damage formula is built around sig radius and speed. Turret ships can use transversal to still apply, even if they have poor tracking.

If focusing on smaller targets, you’ll want web(s) and application mods like rigor, Missile/Tracking Computers, target painters and crash or drop booster.

If focusing on things at the same size or larger, a web and maybe a single rigor or missile computer will be fine for a missile ship.

Keep in mind, a rapid light missile ship does not follow this same sort of thinking, as lights missiles are a frigate sized weapon and will apply well to nearly everything. A single rigor wouldn’t hurt if you really want to shoot down frigates with extreme prejudice but is not necessary.

Signal Cartel 4th Birthday

Choosing Your Tank

This is pretty straight forward, obviously, ships who’s base stats are shield focused are normally shield tanked and armor bonused ships are armor focused. Then you have the wildcard hull tanks, which no ship is specifically bonused for (except the Hecate). That being said, Gallente hulls do provide more base hull HP than other ships. However, there are some ships that you can break out of their mold, that can function quite well and even be a big surprise to people when you go against their “primary” tanking role.

While Caldari are primarily shield tanked and their hulls/bonuses favor it, with the bonuses on some hulls, you can utilize a hull or armor tank to get very high application. The Caracal Navy Issue is arguably better armor tanked since you can utilize the mids for double web, missile computer, and scram. Which means you can fit HAMs and apply well to frigates and retain range control to bail from cruisers if they scram, or maintain range to reduce some damage. Same goes for the Raven Navy Issue, if you fit with torpedo’s and a hull tank, you gain all your mids for application and utility, which means your torpedoes apply potentially better than heavy missiles, and you get a 7.2k volley.

Are they the best fits you’re ever going to fly and can kill everything? Certainly not, and are pretty situational. The Navy Caracal fit works mainly in lowsec/faction warfare. Since a lot of frigate pilots will see HAMs and just assume you can’t hit them. I’ve killed linked/boosted frigates with that ship, so it’s fun to play with people’s perceptions and win fights with underutilized ships and fits that are focused on specific goals/tasks.

Getting it All to Fit

Now that the summary of some of the basics/core questions for fitting are covered, let’s talk about getting it all to actually fit. I’m going to be talking about some modules that are either underused or some combinations that can free up a rig and/or be cheaper.

Reactor Control Unit II – This is pretty obvious, but it has the exact same powergrid bonus as a T2 ACR (Ancillary Current Router), and is much cheaper than a medium/large T2 ACR. So in some cases, especially on a nano ship, it might be better to drop a nano for an RCU and then use your rig for a poly carbon, will save some Isk and be comparable in speed. Same could be said for dropping a damage mod and swapping an ACR for a damage rig. Up to you, but for things like artillery ships, sometimes using a low for an RCU is better than a rig. You also have faction RCU’s that give an additional .5% bonus. It sounds pretty worthless, but that .5% can come in handy with very tight fits that you’re already using a PG implant on.

‘Delineative’ Scrambler and ‘Interruptive’ Disruptor – These are storyline modules, that have the same exact range as T2 points/scrams. While they can be somewhat pricey (~55m), they are the lowest CPU points/scrams in the game. The Delineative Scram, which only uses 18 CPU and the Interruptive point which only uses 20 CPU. Compared to the Caldari Navy point which uses 23CPU and the Caldari Navy scram which uses 22 CPU. Having 3-4 extra CPU is pretty big on a frigate. And is sometimes just enough to squeak by on other larger fits. If your goal is to not have fitting mods/implants, then these 2 modules are very useful to help achieve that goal.

On top of this, they also use the same amount of cap as an enduring point or scram but have the range of T2. So they are even better for frigates or cap dependent cruisers.

My hope is that one day, CCP will rebalance material distribution for storyline modules to be easier to obtain. They shouldn’t be competing with faction modules in price. If these modules were 10-15m instead of 55m, they’d be much more useful for fitting issues, instead of falling back on the Caldari navy options and provide a lot more movement for these modules.

Republic Fleet and Caldari Navy Small Shield Extenders – Small shield extenders get made fun of a lot as being worthless. However, they are very effective at opening up frigate/destroyer fittings when you’re fitting the largest weapons possible and still trying to retain a tank without using a bunch of fitting mods or pimping modules. Normally a 1% CPU implant is all you’ll need in some cases to make them work.

For some ships, you’ll see a difference of 1-3k EHP of tank compared to an MSE. However, the SSE’s bonus is that they are cheap. The faction variations are normally 5-10m. A faction MSE is normally 15-20m. They also do not bloom your sig all that much (1-2 points), this is good with assault frigates, which can retain a relatively small sig with them. With the added fitting, you can normally use another slot for more speed or more damage, whereas the MSE loses a slot for a fitting mod.

Compact Weapon Damage Modules – This includes the Cross-Link Ballistic Control Unit, Compact Entropic Radiation Sink, Vortex Magnetic Stabilizer, Counterbalanced Gyrostabilizer, AE-K Drone Damage Amplifier, and Extruded Heat Sink.

While not as low as faction damage modules, the CPU requirements for these modules is a fair bit lower than their T2 counterparts, with a very minimal loss in damage. The difference between a T2 BCU and cross-link is 9 CPU, which is pretty huge. Then between the T2 Gyro, Heatsink and Magstab, is a 5 CPU difference and the Compact Entropic Radiation Sink is only a 3 CPU difference. The difference between the AE-K DDA and T2 is 5 CPU difference.

For damage comparisons:

T2 Gyrostabilizer, Heat Sink and Magnetic Stabilizer: 1.1x damage modifier and 10.5% Rate of fire bonus (RoF)
Counterbalanced Gyrostabilizer, Extruded Heat Sink, Vortex Magnetic Stabilizer: 1.08x damage modifier and 9.5% RoF Bonus
T2 Ballistic Control Unit: 10% missile damage bonus and 10.5% RoF bonus
Cross-link Ballistic Control unit: 8% missile damage bonus and 9.5% RoF bonus
T2 Entropic Radiation Heat Sink: 1.13x damage modifier and 6% RoF bonus
Compact Entropic Radiation Heat sink: 1.09x damage modifier and 4% RoF bonus
T2 Drone Damage Amplifier: 20.5% drone damage bonus
AE-K Compact Drone Damage Amplifier: 17% drone damage bonus

Normally, swapping from a T2 to a compact damage mod is only a drop of 3-20 dps (depending on the ship), which is pretty insignificant. The only time where you see a large dps drop is if you go from 3 T2 damage mods to 3 compact damage mods, but that is rarely needed.

With abyssal rolling (excluding the DDA’s), you could, in theory, roll these to have the same/lower fitting as faction and possibly with the same/better damage. Probably good if you want to try to get lucky and throw away some decayed mutaplasmids you’ve collected on them.

Resistance Plating – Fitting 2 energized adaptive nano membranes (EANMs) and out of CPU? Drop them (or 1 of them) and replace them with resistance plating. Resistance plating requires no CPU to fit, only 1 PG. While you do take a resistance loss, depending on your wealth, this can be eliminated by using A, B or C type resistance plating, which have the same/better resistances as a T2 EANM. And are generally priced around 70-100m each.

Imperial Navy Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane –Adding on to the EANM topic, imperial navy EANMs offer an increased resistance and lower CPU (6 less than a T2) and are not overly expensive. Normally around 30-40m each. Obviously, not a module for a T1 cruiser or frigate, but not a bad option for things like battleships, T2 ships or other more expensive ships to free up some CPU and get more tank.

Energized Armor Layering Membrane – A niche module, but has the same armor HP bonus as a T1 trimark with no speed penalty. So maybe you want to gain some extra armor without a speed penalty (like a rig would give). For polarized fits, you would want to use these to bonus your armor tank since they provide a flat HP bonus without any drawbacks. For example, a Polarized Navy Augoror with a 1600 plate and x2 of these still gets about 25k HP, while doing 700dps with 0% resists.

Note: If/when CCP ever finishes tiericide, it would be nice to have the T1 versions match or be close to T1 trimark bonus and T2 match T2 trimark bonus. Sprinkled in with some variation of compact’s using less CPU and a heavy version that adds a minor mass/speed penalty (1-3%) with a HP% bonus that sits in between T1 and T2 trimarks.

Faction Launcher/Turrets – Examples of these would be Domination Heavy missile launchers or republic fleet 720mm Artillery, or even sometimes the storyline weapons, like ‘Jolt’ 720mm Artillery.

I think these, in their current state, are very niche. They generally have better RoF bonuses than T2, but can’t use T2 ammo. Depending on your ship/weapon, that’s not a big deal, and other times it makes them utterly useless. For example, faction Heavy Pulse Lasers are pretty pointless since you can’t use scorch.

That being said, for certain fits where you don’t ever intend to use the T2 ammo, such as a 100mn Heavy Missile Tengu or a 720 Artillery Vagabond. The Faction/Storyline turrets can help free up some considerable PG/CPU with only a mild loss in dps.

The bigger drawback is that some of these turrets/launchers can be pretty expensive, so not something you’d want to use on cheap ships unless you are super determined to get things to fit and the cost is of no concern.

Note: Again, if/when CCP ever finishes tiericide, it would be nice if Faction/Officer launchers and turrets can utilize T2 ammo.

The T2 Trap

For most MMO’s, the progression is normally going to the “best” gear/module you can put on. In some cases, T2 modules aren’t always the “best” module you want to put on your ship. May be due to fitting in either CPU/PG (or both) or that the bonus you get from T2 is not worth the cost/fitting.

A good example of this is a T2 Microwarpdrive and is a common thing I see when people share fits. They’ll put a T2 MWD along with T2 everything else. Then they’ll have a 1-2 slots wasted on fitting mods, just to fit all T2 modules.

A quick comparison:

T2 50MN Microwarpdrive:
200 GJ activation cost
165 PG usage
50 CPU
510% speed boost
500% signature radius modifier
-20% capacitor capacity

50MN Quad LiF Restrained Microwarpdrive:
180GJ activation cost
150 PG usage
50CPU
505% Speed boost
450% signature radius modifier
-20% capacitor capacity

50MN Y-T8 Compact Microwarpdrive:
180GJ activation cost
135 PG usage
43 CPU
505% speed boost
500% signature radius modifier
-25% capacitor capacity

Example on a ship (Omen Navy Issue):
T2 MWD speed = 2330m/s @ 3m50s cap
Quad LiF = 2310m/s @ 5m10s cap
Compact = 2310m/s @ 4m20s cap

So, looking at those numbers, is it really worth using a T2 MWD to gain 20m/s and hurt your cap/fitting even more? This is just the hull+MWD, not including guns, you’d see an even more significant drop in cap once you factor those in. The only thing a T2 MWD has that is better than a Quad LiF, is 5% more speed. The Quad LiF gets you a smaller sig, better cap, and better fitting. The compact gives you much better fitting, the same speed as Quad LiF and still better cap than T2. So, if you’re making a fit and put a T2 MWD on it, then add a fitting mod, stop it. Just remove the MWD and compact it or use a Quad LiF and save yourself a slot/rig. If you really want that extra 5% then I’d say go faction/deadspace MWD, or just buy a Zor’s implant or pop an overclocker (speed) booster.

There are other modules like the resistance plating, where the ‘Refuge’ version is identical to T2. So, just pick whichever one is cheapest at the time. Neuts are another one that I see a lot of people try to cram T2 in when most of the time an infectious or gremlin will work just as well. The only time I feel like T2 is worth it is when you have a surplus of PG available, or you have a neut bonus on your ship.

Don’t be afraid or feel like you’re losing out a ton by switching to a meta module, instead of T2, in most cases, it will still be better than wasting a slot on fitting.

Flycatcher

The End Result

Just go tie everything together and show some examples of this fitting process, I’ll give a couple fits that I’ve come up with using this fitting mentality to get things without needing fitting modules.

[Light Missile Kiting, Hawk]

Light Missile Launcher II
Light Missile Launcher II
Light Missile Launcher II
Light Missile Launcher II

Caldari Navy Shield Extender
Medium Ancillary Shield Booster
5MN Y-T8 Compact Microwarpdrive
'Interruptive' Warp Disruptor
Fleeting Compact Stasis Webifier


Cross-link Ballistic Control Unit
Nanofiber Internal Structure II

Small Bay Loading Accelerator II
Small Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer II
[Scram Kiting Rail, Harpy] 

150mm Railgun II
150mm Railgun II
150mm Railgun II
150mm Railgun II

Caldari Navy Small Shield Extender
5MN Y-T8 Compact Microwarpdrive
Fleeting Compact Stasis Webifier
'Delineative' Warp Scrambler

Vortex Compact Magnetic Field Stabilizer
Vortex Compact Magnetic Field Stabilizer
Compact Assault Damage Control 

1% CPU implant

Understandably, 100m assault frigates might not be for everyone, but it’s more of an experiment of how much more you can get out of a fit when you utilize the modules discussed above.

The Hawk wouldn’t be able to really fit anything else in the slot the small shield extender sits in, due to CPU/PG, but because it takes almost no fitting, it makes a nice addition to add some additional buffer to soak damage in between MASB reps while kiting.

The Harpy, if fitted with a Medium shield extender loses a Mag Stab and costs about 40m more, because you need to use a ‘Vigor’ micro auxiliary power core and faction MSE. It does gain about 3k more EHP. However, this goes back to focusing on your role. For scram kiting, you’re utilizing range control/setup to mitigate damage. 3K more EHP and less damage doesn’t really work with your role, 3k EHP is useless when you’re not really getting hit anyway. Doing 180-200+ dps compared to 150-180dps all the way out to scram range is better in this situation since you can kill things faster and get out. Plus with the ADCU you can use it as you’re setting up your range, or getting initial tackle, which can help mitigate the lower HP pool the SSE gives.

Experiment and Explore

EVE has probably the largest customization options available to any MMO I’ve played, at least when it comes to fitting your ship or “gear” if you want to call it that. Don’t get hung up on other people saying “this is how you fit this”. Do your own thing and experiment with what works best for the goal you have in mind.

This is a game, after all, no need to always chase the meta, have fun, make your own meta. Your play style can’t be nerfed when you’re not following the flavor of the month meta. Sometimes experimenting with stupid fits can put you ahead of the meta or at least give you a huge advantage in certain situations. Either due to people underestimating you, or thinking you’ll be fit 1 specific way (such as an armor tank on a shield ship, which causes them to shoot EM damage into your highest resist on armor).

Hope you enjoyed this summary on some tips and tricks on theorycrafting fits and hopefully they help make your fits better and more dangerous.

Featured Image Credit: Razorien