Monday, August 31, 2009

The Occator

Ok it's time I talk about a hauler ship and fittings for use in Low Sec. As the title implies, I am talking about the occator. A lot of people continuously recommend I fly a Viator instead, however I believe the Viator really is a weak choice for Low Sec hauling. Let me explain why.

Firstly, my first fitting for an Occator was totally invulnerable to attack. I fit it thusly:

Small T2 Smart Bomb (for keeping interceptors and frigates out of blaster range)

2x F59 Shield Extenders (double shield HP, and therefore double shield recharging)

A mix of Cargo Expanders and Warp Core Stabalizers (depending on cargo needs and danger level of the system)

2x T1 Cargo Optimization Rigs

This ship resulted in a hauler that could literally just sit there and take a pounding while waiting to go to warp. Never had any group of PvPers or Pirates broken past 50% of my shield. Until one day, I learned about HICs in Low Sec being able to destabalize your warp core no matter what level of warp strength your ship is fitted for. I began that encounter not worried in the least bit, until I realize that I wasn't warping. It took 12 minutes for that ship to take me out, but between being distrupted and being webbed to something like 12 meters per second, there was nothing I could do to escape. I lost a VERY expensive ship, and my cargo, and therefore a month's worth of income. Ouch.

So a Viator DOES seem like the best option. Well no, I still don't think so. First off, it's cargo hold is WAY too small to have any positive advantage to going out to low sec. One tiny shipload at a time, over and over and over isn't a lot of fun. The risk of low sec is still there, and the more back and forth between two systems in low sec, is just asking for more trouble. The ONLY advantage the viator has is it's covops cloak. That's a big advantage for sure, but honestly, I can mimick most of that advantage with an MWD and an Improved Cloak. You might ask how? Well, all cloaks stop working if you are too close to your station, so you can't cloak until you get outside the 2000 meter circle, so you are vulnerable while trying to get to 2000 meters, and if you get target locked before you cloak, you won't be able to cloak at all. Therefore those of us who fly slower ships should use Instant Warp Undock Bookmarks. Even a Freighter can warp instantly out of a station if you have a good bookmark setup. So make your bookmarks. Use a fast ship like a the faster frigates, interceptors or covops ships to find the spot WAY out in space that you can warp to instantly, and book mark it. Test it, because if it's a little off, your Occator is going to take a moment to align first, and you are going to get Warp Disrupted by a HIC. If the bookmark is "perfect", you will warp within 3 seconds of seeing your ship in space and while still inside the ring of protection of your station. Then you have a few moments to get your bearings, and warp off where you need to go without worrying about that red blinky blinky that was on your screen at the station.

If you work on your timing, you can do something similar to using an instant undock bookmark at the gate. This involves coordinating your use of the MWD, cloak and warp drive. The sequence of events goes like this. After you jump and while gate cloaked, hit "align to" where ever you are going (gate or station), then hit your MWD, and then hit your cloak. You will align quickly, and be accelerating towards your warp point. As your MWD is about 75% complete in it's cycle, turn off your cloak, and hit warp.

You may ask, so what does that do? Ok well, the MWD does two things. It helps you align really quickly, and it builds your speed up, and you'll be at about half speed with your MWD one when you hit the warp controls. However, when your MWD turns off at the end of the cycle, because your MWD isn't on anymore, your speed is now somewhere between 75% and 200% of top speed. Thus....Insta Warp.

If you mess up your timing, either forgetting to shutdown your MWD or missing your high speed window of opportunity, you'll just have to wait to go to warp, hopefully you don't get scrammed before then by a HIC. (slight chance only, but still very real)

So how do we fit this occator?

Improved Cloak (for higher speed and agility)

f59 Shield Extender (trust me you want some tank)

6x Cargo Expanders (the 2+ native warp stabalizers should be enough for the extremely short moments you are vulnerable)

2x Cargo Optimization Rigs

You really need the Shield Extender. I have been caught and shot at before, even with the warp schemes, and this saved my life. An occator "CAN" be brought down in a single Volley by a heavily enough armed ship. One pirate even took the time to ask me how I survived that one shot before going to warp. The answer my friends is that Shield one volley, that pirate brough my shields down to almost 0%. If I hadn't been trained in my Shield Skills, and been Shield Extended, my ship would have popped in one shot like an Iteron.

So let me restate this. You REALLY need to train all your shielding skills.

The occator is a great ship to fly in low sec, so long as you keep your guard up and don't get lazy and keep up on your keyboard and mousing skills, you'll have a wonderful time moving through low sec carrying your merchandise with ease to and from your Low Sec Market hubs, and watching your various pirate nemeses get frustrated with you constant slippery nature.

Remember this is a Low Sec fitting, not a 0.0 fitting, the rules are different, and you'll get caught with your pants down in 0.0 if you try to use this setup out there (think bubbles).

Happy Flying