Wednesday, 2 October 2013

EVE Meta Evolution - The siege bomber

Since the fountain war, I've seen many people putting the siege bomber (a bombless bomber, designed to shoot structures) in a bad light.  To most, the use of a siege bomber is a sign of poverty and is bad for morale.  I don't believe that to be true.  I think the siege bomber is a remarkable meta evolution, and should be considered a staple of any structure grinding alliance.  Aside from their benefits below, they look pretty amazing when you see a full fleet in action.

But what about dreadnoughts?
It's true, that for sieging structures, the dreadnought s the ideal ship. A good dreadnought can put out around 14,000 dps, while a siege bomber puts out around 700 DPS.   This means a dreadnought is the equivalent of at least 20 bombers.  But dreadnoughts do have some drawbacks.

Firstly, to reach their DPS, a dreadnought must use a siege module.  This locks the dreadnought in place for 5 minutes, making it unable to move, warp or jump.  This puts the fleet at risk.  A group of sieged dreadnoughts is a pretty juicy target for groups like PL or BL who can drop capital fleets on them with ease.  A fleet of dreadnoughts alone would not survive that encounter so they would require a subpcap fleet and a capital fleet on standby in case they run into trouble.  It's likely you wouldn't get a chance to form up mid battle, so this means gathering a subcap fleet, sitting them on a titan, just in case.  You want to talk morale?  Try dumping a fleet itching for PvP on a titan, then packing it up if nobody attacks the dreadnought fleet after hours of sitting around while the dreadnoughts are grinding structures lightyears away.

There is of course the subject of cost which falls into the same category.  10 dreads is going to set you back at least 20b, while a fleet of 200 bombers is only 8b.  Combined with the fact that bombers can scatter at the first sign of trouble and cloak up, it makes a fleet of dreadnoughts a lot more appealing to aggressors than a fleet of siege bombers.

A dreadnought fleet also requires a good FC, who can take responsibility for leading capitals and react appropriately to incoming enemies and intel.  Throwing a new FC into leading a dreadnought fleet is a sure-fire way to get them dunked.
Conversely, nearly anyone can lead a bomber fleet, and it's a good way to train your FCs in a real scenario rather than a training ground.  All of the normal procedures need to be followed and the group is large, but since a siege fleet is not capable of combat, scattering and cloaking is all that is required should the fleet come under attack.

Finally, a siege bomber takes nearly no skills.  Anyone can train into a siege bomber in fairly short time, and all you need to do is lock the given target and cycle your launchers, then scatter if told to.

Are siege bombers all that good?
They can be, and I'm of the strong opinion that they should be used wherever possible.  The downside to them is that they are not always possible.  Towers must be declawed (have all guns and ECM taken out) prior to a siege fleet engaging, since a siege bomber is unable to tank the guns even for a short time.  They also can't be used if you are going to have opposition, as they are unable to fight and would need to flee when engaged.

They do also need their own support fleet, however it's considerably smaller.  You need a black ops battleship and a covert cyno pilot to bridge you to your destination (you can take gates if you want, but you MUST scout well, as a pipebomb will vaporise your siege bombers) as well as a couple of covert ops haulers: one to bring fuel for the battleship and another to bring torpedos (you will use a LOT of them).

Hopefully this post goes some way to explaining the rationale behind the siege bomber fleet and highlights the benefits of it over capital fleets.

If you want to try in out for yourself, you just need a bomber, with a cloak, torpedo launchers, ballistic control systems and damage rigs.  Yep, it's that simple.  Here's a basic fit you can tweak to your hearts content.



[Hound, Siege Bomber Blank]
Ballistic Control System II
Ballistic Control System II
Nanofiber Internal Structure II

Limited 1MN Microwarpdrive I
[empty med slot]
[empty med slot]

Torpedo Launcher II, Nova Rage Torpedo
Torpedo Launcher II, Nova Rage Torpedo
Torpedo Launcher II, Nova Rage Torpedo
Covert Ops Cloaking Device II
[empty high slot]

Small Warhead Calefaction Catalyst I
Small Warhead Calefaction Catalyst I

Enjoy the sieging!

9 comments:

  1. I have also seem them used in larger groups in iHub shoots in Factional Warfare, for pretty much the same reasons. In addition, since Torpedo Bombers (as I call them) are essentially self-evacuating, you don't even necessarily need an organized fleet to use them, nor Black Ops (though both certainly help).

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  3. Let's try again with less autocorrect. I do t think that *most* people define wealth through innovative uses of hulls.

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    1. :D That is much easier to read.

      I should hope that is the case, but at least to more vocal parts of the playerbase see choosing anything that costs a little as a bomber as a sign that that is the most you can afford. To those not strategically minded, bigger and pricier is obviously better.

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  4. Nice post. They should also start getting use against highsec POCOs in November. That should be interesting. No bombs in highsec, so no fear on that score. You can probably afford to have a few reds in local. Maybe tweak the fit to have a moderate PVP capability.

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    1. They might do at that. It all depends though. If you are shooting an uncontested POCO, there are other ships that can rack up considerably more DPS. They couldn't get used in null as they'd get blapped during travel (not really a worry in high sec).
      Amarr battleships tend to be favoured as they can be made cap stable, pointed at a POCO, then you can just leave them and come back when it destroyed.

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  5. "a siege fleet is not capable of combat"

    I dunno about that... While I'd agree you don't want to just sit there and exchange fire, 200 bombers is a lot of firepower. That's 140k combined dps and over 1.1 million combined volley damage. Add a covert cloak to that and it's perfect for guerrilla warfare style hit and run tactics.

    Warp out, warp back in, fire one volley with all dps on the same target, then warp back out.

    Sure you'd be bound to lose some ships but you should be able kill enough far bigger ships to more than make up for it.

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  6. As before, a wonderful read. Got me finally working towards a Nemesis.

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  7. I've been in torp bomber fleets against POSes with the guns and ecm operating. Worked fine. We were even able to attack lightly defended targets while suffering minimal losses. We used active ECCM mods to help mitigate jamming and whatnot.

    Might not be as sexy as dreads, but they work :)

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