Big boy now

So I finally stopped being a wussy and decided to try out a level 4 mission. I’ve been doing missions for the Ministry of Internal Order in Amarr space, and finally have enough standings to start doing level 4s. Previously I hadn’t been confident enough in my tanking ability, and also my lack of sentry drones would probably have made level 4s quite tough. However, I’m now fresh out of excuses since my capacitor skills are all maxed out at 5 (I think…) and I can use tech 2 Large Armor Repairers. I could train 8 days for Hull Upgrades V, which would give me tech 2 armor hardeners, but what the heck.

So, level 4s here I come! I gingerly initiated a conversation with the agent in Nahyeen, and she gave me some mission involving killing rogue drones. Woot!

Drones and Donuts

I must say that level 4s definitely look more epic. There was a huge half-constructed (or half-eaten?) hive with swarms of rogue drones hovering around. Enemies ranged from frigates to cruisers to battleships. I deployed sentries and started targeting the frigates at long range. Quite a relief to see them getting totally blown away by the sentries as I had feared that my dps would be insufficient.

I always like missions against rogue drones. Firstly, I don’t lose any standings which is something I always have to watch out for (I refuse all missions against the 4 main factions). They also drop a ton of drone poo which can refine into minerals, although I think in terms of actual value they may actually lose out compared to getting modules. But most of all I just like the way the rogue drones are designed. They look so creepy and crawly, and enemy rogue drone battleships are infested Dominixs!

No match for my own Dominix though, despite my drones being outnumbered more than 10 to 1 my trusty Hammerhead IIs popped those Space Shrimp for a light snack. Guess they should have upgraded themselves to Tech 2 instead of running around harassing Amarr ships. Here’s a picture of a squidy-looking drone futilely orbiting my Dominix.

The final room had an even bigger swarm of rogue drones and a humongous hive that I had to destroy.

No surprises here, they slowly wore themselves out on my unbreakable tank and got converted one by one into stacks of drone poo and salvage in my cargo hold. When all was said and done I got about 2 million ISK in bounties and mission rewards, plus 2 Dominix-holds of salvage and loot for about an hour. Not bad.

I tried another level 4 and drew Gone Berserk, which I had previously used as a shooting gallery. The level 4 version, however, features battleship-class enemies and wasn’t quite so easy. In fact, it took me something like 1.5 hours to clear the whole thing. One big problem was my dps against the battleships. For some reason, I seem to have picked up defective Ogre Is. EFT lists their dps as being much better than Hammerhead IIs (240+ compared to 160+) but they couldn’t even bring the battleship’s shields below 50%. And EoM ships are supposed to be weak against thermal too. However, for some reason when I used Hammerhead IIs instead they were able to slowly but steadily grind the battleships into oblivion. It can’t be some tracking issue for heavy drones, because they’re already shooting at battleships, there aren’t any bigger targets short of capitals and titans.

Fortunately, my tanking setup seems to be holding up really well. I can permanently run 2 LARs and tank 392 dps until I kill off all the cruisers, which do the most damage. When it’s only battleships left, I run my afterburner plus 1 LAR and that easily lets me speed tank most of the battleship fire with the repairer handling anything that gets through. However, I need to start training up for battleship weapons so that I can pack an alternative high DPS fit instead of my salvagers and tractor beams for when I run into those tough elite battleship enemies.

As a reward for sitting around reading comics for 1.5 hours, I got 2 million ISK in mission rewards, 11 million ISK in bounties alone (wow) and more than 2000 m3 worth of loot and salvage. Nice stuff!

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2 thoughts on “Big boy now

  1. Congratulations on your level 4 mission! Sounds like it was a good experience.

    I do have to strongly recommend the tech 2 hardeners, though. You’ll be able to do your missions with just 1 repairer, which will allow you to deal a lot more damage.

    Also, when you get large weapons on your ship instead of salvagers, you’ll be able to clear missions faster, and having a second salvaging ship more efficient. My rails don’t add much to my speed, but every bit helps! I know you’ll enjoy running level 4 missions as they get shorter and shorter. After I got my tech 2 sentries running my missions became a lot shorter, and they don’t drag on much anymore.

    One other suggestion I’ll make is to try to use sentries instead of heavy drones for as much as possible. This will allow you to focus your skill training better (and thus deal more damage, sooner). I haven’t had a heavy drone in my hold for a long time, now. With three Omnidirectional Tracking Links, Garde IIs are actually effective against even cruiser-sized targets inside of 10km. In addition, the extra range and tracking they give means that I almost never need two repairers, and thus I don’t miss the Cap Rechargers that are being replaced by the OTLs.

    I like your screenshots – if I had a better computer, I might post more of those myself. The drone structures sure look frightening!

  2. Ahh too many decisions to make… I’m skilling up Gunnery V now, which will take 4 days. After that I can finally train Large Hybrid Turrets, though I’m actually considering whether to mount medium guns instead so that I can hit cruiser-sized targets as well. Although that will waste the Dominix’s ship bonus… hrm.

    So after that, should I go for tech 2 sentries first (which will take a looooong time) or the 8 days for the hardeners?

    If the hardeners let me run only 1 LAR then I guess I should go for that first… The reduction in cap will let me mount OTLs like you suggested and I can get rid of those defective Ogre Is.

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