Pilot: Markus Vulpine
Ship Type: Stratios
Ship Name: Urocyon
Hello and welcome to Episode 1 of my new blog series Explorer Ships which highlights the ships and fits of Eve’s diverse community of Explorers. To break the ice I figured that I would go first and highlight my ship, a Stratios operating under the name Urocyon.
I had toyed with the idea of playing Eve for years before finally pulling the trigger and logging-on for the first time in February, 2015. Whatever rationale I had for not getting involved in the Eve Online universe for so long evaporated the moment I un-docked for the first time. The shear vastness of virtual space was breathtaking and dreadful all at the same time. I’ve been fortunate to explore a good deal of frontier around the world here in real life, so I was delighted that such strong and familiar sensations could be produced by something that was supposedly “just a game”. That’s when I knew that I would be an Explorer.
Now, when you say that you’re an Explorer in Eve Online, you’re speaking about an “occupation” that’s a bit hard to pinpoint. As I hinted in my previous post, there are all manner of Explorer out there. Mission runners, site specialists, wormhole denizens…the list goes on. Some Explorers have very specific, easily defined objectives and others do not. I’m more of the latter. My objective is simply to Explore. When I log-on, I really don’t know what I’m going to do and where I’m going to go. Instead, I just undock and head off in search of whatever adventures may come my way. Usually that takes the form of finding an interesting landmark on the map or jumping from system to system until a celestial beacon catches my eye. I also have a penchant for Relic Sites, which provides a nice source of ISK to support my non-specific roams through space.
That type of lifestyle means that I need a ship that is able to move around relatively swiftly and undetected with a decent cargo hold to transport any loot I may come across. At first, that meant flying an Astero and while that sexy little ship had all the speed and covert ability I needed, I couldn’t help but feel a bit exposed due to the lack of armaments. After you fit a covert ops cloak and a core probe launcher, you don’t have any hardpoints left for weapons. Sure, the Astero has a generous drone bay, but I like to have some guns at my disposal to augment my drone fleet. Call me old fashioned, but I just feel more comfortable with a set of turrets bolted to my hull.
Enter the Stratios. Like many players, I spent a lot of time perusing forums, blogs, and wikis in search of information on a good, hardy exploration vessel above the Frigate level. After a while, I realized what many of the folks online were saying: what mattered most was how I felt in my ship and how it’s capabilities complemented my in-game lifestyle. There is no such thing as the best ship and the best fit in Eve Online. You’re going to be vulnerable to something out there regardless of what you fly and what you equip it with. In my opinion, you should pick a craft that calls to you and outfit it to the best of your ability/skills to suit your needs.
Being a player who spends long periods of time in the far and dangerous reaches of Eve space, I wanted a ship that could cruise and warp while cloaked, was able to defend itself with weapons and drones, had a decent cargo bay, had enough tank (in this case armor) to let me fight/flee for a while if necessary, and wnas well-prepared for scanning and hacking. After identifying those desires, the two ships that I narrowed-down to were the Proteus and the Stratios with the Stratios quickly winning me over. It met my needs and on top of that, it was aesthetically pleasing.
So what does a stock, fresh-out-of-the-box Stratios have to offer an explorer? Let’s take a look under the hood, shall we…
- 10% bonus to Drone hitpoints and damage
- 4% bonus to all armor resistances
- 50% bonus to Medium Energy Turret optimal range
- 37.5% bonus to Core and Combat Scanner Probe strength
- 10+ bonus to Relic and Data Analyzer virus strength
- Can fit Covert Ops Cloaking Device
- Cloak reactivation delay reduced to 15 seconds
Even without considering my fit, those bonuses alone made it seem like the Stratios was calling my name. The cloaking reactivation delay reduction and covert ops capability would keep me hidden, the scanning and analyzer bonuses were great for my relic sites, and the emphasis on energy weapons would let me stay out for long periods without worrying about ammunition and reloading. The drone damage bonus also played to my love of drones which I had developed during a period of time flying around in a droneboat (Algos).
Bonuses aside, let’s look at the base attributes (courtesy of Eve University)
I was sold. The ample powergrid, CPU, and Capacitor reservoirs were particularly attractive given the equipment that I was considering fitting. I also liked how the ship seemed well-armored and shielded. In fact, it seemed like it was tanked more like the game’s lighter battlecruisers (aka “attack battlecruisers” – think Talos or Oracle) and I knew that would come in handy when I inevitably encountered a band of pirates/gankers…or a group of Sleepers. As a corollary, it has come in handy. This ship can take a beating and live to tell about it.
Given these nice stock capabilities and bonuses, here is the fit I settled into and that I am flying today. There is always room for improvement, but this fit has been working-well for me given my current skill levels and needs.
High Power Slots
High Power Slot 1: ‘Smokescreen’ Covert Ops Cloaking Device II – great for moving around undetected, even at warp. Yes, it’s a bit flashy when compared to its cousin, the Covert Ops Cloaking Device II, but it uses half the CPU…leaving more CPU for other gear.
High Power Slot 2 – 4: Focused Medium Pulse Laser II – powerful medium energy weapons that take advantage of the Stratios’ ample capacitor and 50% bonus to medium energy turret optimal range. Also nice because they run on frequency crystals; eliminating the need to carry around a lot of ammo or worry about docking for munitions while on long-term deep space exploration. In this fit, I’m using Conflagration M but I also generally use the Imperial Navy Multifrequency M crystals because of the increase in damage (at the expense of range..which I believe is compensated for the ship’s inherent energy turret range bonus).
High Power Slot 5: Sisters Core Probe Launcher with Sisters Core Scanner Probes – If you’re serious about scanning, the buck stops at the Sisters launchers and probes. I’m almost exclusively scanning for Relic Sites so I don’t have a need for combat probes.
Medium Power Slots
Medium Power Slot 1: 10 MN Microwarpdrive II – I used to travel with a Microwarpdrive, but decided to downgrade to an Afterburner to preserve CPU, Capacitor, and Power Grid. This module provides about half the max velocity of my formerly-fitted Microwarpdrive.
Medium Power Slot 2: Relic Analzyer II – Indispensable tool for running Relic Sites. The 10+ bonus bestowed upon this tool by the Stratios’ helps me make quick work of almost any Relic Site I find. I don’t have a hacking module currently fitted, because I’ve only been running Relic Sites lately. No need to fit something I don’t actively use. Besides, I have one in my cargo bay if needed.
Medium Power Slot 3 – 5: Cap Recharger II – Provides a considerable cap recharge rate. Enough that I can be cap stable in combat (at +1.6% when not using my afterburner)
Low Power Slots
Low Power Slot 1: 1600mm Reinforced Steel Plates II – The Stratios is built for armor tank and these plates serve to augment that foundation by 4,800 HP.
Low Power Slot 2: Drone Damage Amplifier II – Provides a nice 23% boost to the damage dealt by my squad of Hammerhead II’s and Ogre II’s.
Low Power Slot 3: Corelum C-Type Medium Armor Repairer – provides considerable armor repair capabilities at a rate of 407 HP/12 second cycle.
Lower Power Slots 4 and 5: Corelum C-Type Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane – Using energized adaptive plating gives me significantly more resistance than non-energized plating. Though it comes with a CPU cost, I think its worth it. This particular module is also very expensive, but I feel the advantages are worth the price.
Rig Power Slot 1 & 2: Medium Trimark Armor Pump II – Endows an additional 20% armor HP per rig.
Rig Power Slot 3: Medium Energy Collision Accelerator I – Boosts the damage dealing power of my ship’s turrets but at the cost of increased power grid requirements.
Drone Bay: Hammerhead II x10 – I like the Hammerhead II’s a lot. They seem to be a good option for combating the type of NPC’s that I typically come across and I’ve noticed they tend to scare away the less confident PvP pirates I happen to encounter. I keep at least 5 extra Hammerhead II’s in my hold at all times because I like to stay out for long periods and need to be able replace drones that are destroyed or too damaged to effectively deploy. I also carry a grip of Ogre II’s just to be sure I’m ready to handle heavier encounters.
So that’s my Stratios and my approach to the Explorer lifestyle in Eve Online. Stay tuned for ships and fits from other Eve Explorers in the coming days/weeks! Yes, I’m aware that now my fit is out there for all the PvP folks out there but whatever. I’m an Explorer and Signaleer…I play this game differently. It’s all about the PeP and sharing this sort of information only furthers that aim. Besides…in order to destroy me, you have to find me first [activates covert ops cloak].
Are you willing to share you approach/ship/fit? Please get in touch via Twitter @markusvulpine, via EveMail, or by leaving a comment below. Additionally, this is an open forum so if you have questions/suggestions/etc, just leave a comment below. Thanks for reading!