Although I have many characters in many places in Eve, Nullsec has always been where my heart lies. Pretty much all of my other characters, are in some way or another designed to support my main in Null. As a Null player I think that it’s important to always encourage new players to venture out into Nullsec, to ensure we don’t get too bitter. To this end, this series of posts aims to aid new Nullsec pilots in their training, by specifying ships which are used in multiple doctrines; past, present and future, in Nullsec. Divided up into three posts (Quick Trains, Medium trains and the Long Term), pilots who follow this advice will find themselves quickly able to be useful within an Alliance. They will also be well poised to train more specialist ships to further flesh out their arsenal.
I think it’s worth prefacing this with some text about how Nullsec fleets work (at least in respect to ensuring you are always able to fly in them). This is where the concept of the Doctrine comes in. Doctrines are almost like recipes for fleets, supplied by the leadership of your group, which specify what ships are needed, in what quantities and how they should be fitted. Fleets generally consist of Ships of the Line (A main damage dealing ship like a battleship), Logistics, and a smattering of support ships (Electronic warfare, tackling and other utility ships). If you, as a new pilot, want to break into Nullsec, you won’t be able to simply rock up in your favourite PvE ship (with a point) and just get stuck in. You will need to fly ships which will be accepted into the doctrines of your group, and which will work within your fleets makeup.
This may sound simple. You look at the Ship of the line in your Alliances Doctrines, train for it, and get going. However, you need to understand that the metagame in Nullsec is constantly changing. Everything CCP does to balance, or modify the game, tends to have massive ripples in Nullsec. Some doctrines do hang around for long periods, but within most Alliances of note, they change on a monthly basis. As a new pilot, with lower skills you will find that constant rate of change hard to keep up with. In my early Nullsec days, I was constantly trying to catch up with the curve, training into a new ship just as it went out of fashion. But this guide is all about avoiding that race by training for ships which are accepted in multiple fleets; ships which are always useful for an FC to have no matter the fleet composition. The golden example of this of course is logistics, almost every fleet in the game, for a good few years now, have required a good backbone of Logistics ships. If you can fly a Guardian/Onieros and a Basilisk/Scimmitar you will be accepted into pretty much any fleet currently in the meta (The only exceptions to this I can think of are: Bombers, Black-ops hot drops, and Capital fleets). However to fly a Logistics properly takes a very long time (Logistics V and Remote Reps V are requirements, not niceties), so this set of guides will discuss other, similarly flexible ships which will help you become useful in Nullsec in a far shorted amount of time.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t train for the Battleships, if you have them trained already, you might only need to mop-up some skills here and there (T2 guns etc), and you’ll be all set. However you should consider just how long it’s going to take before you rush towards the Rokh/Apoc etc. If you need to train Ship, Tank and support skills, it will likely take at least 4-5 months. On paper it looks like you can get into a battleship just a few weeks, but the reality is that flying one properly, will take a lot longer, and trying to shorten the training time is going to cripple your usefulness. This post looks at the true fastest ways into Nullsec combat, in 50 days you will be accepted into almost any Nullsec fleet, in 100 days you will be welcomed into fleets and in 6 months you will be begged to join fleets. While the foolhardy pilot spent a month training the basic requirements for a battleship, then another 5 months perfecting it, just in time for the next expansion to come out, and the composition to change completely. You will have 12 ships which you can pilot excellently, most likely unaffected by the changes in meta. These ships, have never gone out of fashion (and not because they were never in fashion).
You should also note that this guide assumes that you will be training all four races at once for the ships we discuss. This is advised because it maximises the likelihood of you having at least a ship which works with the fleet. It will also stand you in good stead for future training, bringing you closer to having all the ships. If you desperately need to trim the training times, you could consider only training two races, one shield and one Armor (I would advise minmattar and Gallentte). But it’s a big risk, so don’t blame me if your caught with the wrong ships!
Sales pitch over, let’s get on with the first group, Quick Trains; for the brave new pilots brought in by B-R this one is for you:
I said it was quick didn’t I? If you have completed the tutorial you’ll already have one race’s T1 ships trained. Furthermore to train the other three races (to level IV) will take you around 6 days in total. There are of course plenty of support skills which are going to be important to you, but we will discuss them in a moment. First let’s look at specifically which ships you should be looking to use, and how you are going to be expected to use them.
The role you are aiming to fill here is that of poor man’s interceptor. Cheap T1 hulls designed for nothing more than getting into the enemy fleet, and tackling (preventing warp) enemy ships. As such it’s the faster, agile ships in each races selection which you’ll be flying. Specifically the Executioner, Condor, Atron and Slasher hulls. These ships are fasted in class, and receive a bonus to their Propulsion jamming systems. Perfect.
With that bonus, and your role in mind, your important modules are going to be as follows:
- Nanofiber Internal Hull T2 -make you faster and more agile
- Damage Control T2 – often your only tank
- Medium Shield extenders T2 – your tank when it’s not just the Damage Control
- Warp Scramblers T2 – stopping warp, Micro Jump and Micro Warp drives
- Warp Disruptors T2 – Stopping warp at a longer distance
- Stasis Webifier T2 – slows things down
- Afterburners T2 – making you fast
- Microwarp Drives T2 – making you really fast.
- Micro Auxiliary power core T1 – Helps fit big things to little ships
If you can use all of the above modules to T2 you should also look into getting the following support skills to level IV (Ordered by importance):
- Acceleration Control
- Evasive Maneuvering
- Shield Management
- Shield Operation
- Fuel Conservation
- Highspeed Maneuvering
- Warpdrive operation
- Astronautic Rigging
- Signature Analysis
- Long Range Targeting
- Weapons Upgrades
- Target Management
- Drones (as needed)
- Small Guns in all Races & Rockets and Light missiles (damage is not that important tbh)
Training all of these plus the frigates themselves will take around 55 days. Ask your fleet mates about exact fittings, to ensure you fly something which works with their fleets. Once completed most fleets will accept you in as light tackle (dependent on how strict they are). Once in combat, simply move into the enemy fleet (consider learning more about Traversal) and pick an enemy to tackle, then lock him down until your friends kill him. Depending on the size of the fleet, and how your FC likes to operate, you may be asked to call out who you have tackled, so that the FC can prioritise targets you have made vulnerable. This is the most basic (yet essential) of Nullsec roles, and it has an immediate next logical step, right into the:
These are the faster cousins of the tackling frigates you have been piloting so far. Harder, faster, more agile than the T1 versions and with a bonus to Microwarpdrives, Propulsion jamming and damage. Of course they also cost (a lot) more than the frigates, so make sure you can fly them well before graduating onto these wonderful little ships. Training these takes an additional 50 days (for all of them) on top of the T1 frigates, but as they share the same important modules and support skills, once you have trained frigates V and Interceptors to IV for each race, you’re ready to go.
If you have learned how to fly the T1 frigate well, you will know how to fly these. However you will find that they will survive where your T1 frigate would have evaporated. This is a clear and simple upgrade to what you were doing, and they are even more acceptable in a fleet because of their specialism.
As a supplemental bonus to their use as fleet ships Interceptors also have a role in making you money in Nullsec. Not only are they fast and agile, but then can also ignore Warp Bubbles, meaning that they can often (with a little skill and practice) effectively run gate camps. If your struggling to make money (or need a bigger buffer to fly interceptors in fleets), consider using the Interceptor as a miniature blockade runner, moving small items into Nullsec for sale. Skillbooks, drugs and small amounts of modules can be bought in Highsec and ferried out for sale in Null for a healthy profit. Doing this will soon fund any habit you get for loosing ships. Just don’t pack them full of your life savings and losses it all to an insta-lock gate camp (they are a thing). The next ship may just require you to have a little more cash.
These ships are the Area of effect tacklers of eve, where the interceptor runs in and stops a single ship, the interdictor runs in, drops an area of effect tackle zone, and races out of dodge. There not entirely different to the Interceptors and T1 frigates you have flown so far, but there is a significant difference in flying them that is going to take a little bit of getting used to. Interdictors will also be your first step up class wise, as they use Destroyer hulls, one above the frigates you have been flying so far. Sadly there is no T1 version of this ship (although Talwars are currently popular in null), so the training time reflects the need to train through all five levels of destroyers, and four levels of interdictors as well. Because of this longer training time, and the fact that the Destroyer, and Interdictor skills are required for nothing more than progressing to Cruisers, some people might be tempted to skip this 30 day train. However I would advise that the humble Interdictor is probably one of the most called for ships in eve, second only to the Logistics ship. If you can fly all of these you will be accepted into nearly any fleet of any size, and you will also be first port of call should a capital, or super capital be caught. Interdictors also have a healthy ability to do both solo and small gang combat, so the 80 days spent will truly give you a lot of versatility. Again they also share supporting skills with Interdictors and Interceptors, so once that 80 days is up, you’re ready to rock and roll.
That’s it, 6 months of training to ensure your future usefulness in Null sec, and you’ll be flying within the first month of training as well. Below you will find an eve mon skill plan, which will guide you thought what to train (note that it’s not prioritised, so use the post above to order the queue!). Happy hunting, and next time I will post a set of ships and training which will improve your acceptance even further, but at the cost of longer skill training, carrying on from these basic three ship classes.
Edit: Missed some skills which were dramatically reducing the total training time (lvl V ships, derp). added them in an updated the training queue.