05 March 2013

Tanking Styles: "Other"



Preface
Right of the bat I'm going to preface this whole post with the fact that a lot of people have a lot of different opinions on these alternate tanking methods.  I am by no means an expert as I prefer straight up tanking or even a little ganking in most of my day-to-day EvE combat.  These tanking methods basically boil down to avoiding damage through various means and I will go ahead and warn you that when they don't work you are left without a tank :o

Why would I use alternative tanking methods?
Well, that's a good question.  For some of these types of tanking it may be the only option your ship has (stealth bombers or interceptors for example) or you might just be crazy and looking for a fun time.  Other times it may be a specific counter to something your enemy is doing but this is advanced stuff best covered in another post.

Types of alternative tanking
To me there a re several types broken out like this:
  • Signature Radius Tanking (referred to sig tanking)*
  • Tracking Disrupting Tanking*
  • Speed Tanking*
  • Range/Locking Disruption or Active Electronic Warfare Tanking
  • Range Dictation Tanking (staying far away or getting really really close  8))
  • Hull Tanking... Please don't   >:(
  • OMG WTF WAS THAT?!? tanking.
     *These are similar and can very successfully work in concert (though not necessarily required).

Time For The Details

Signature Radius Tanking ,or as its more commonly referred to "sig tanking" is a tricky little thing to pull off sometimes.  Generally speaking, sig tanking relies on your ship being naturally "small" and hard to hit.  Ships get this "smallness" through their base attributes, their bonuses, your implants, and even your fleet boosting setup.  Most often sig tanking is used on assault ships or interceptors because they are not only small but some hulls get bonuses that help you perform this little trick (the Taranis for example gets a per level reduction in MWD signature penalty which makes you both fast and small). Without the interceptor MWD penalty, pretty much every sig tanking ship will have to use Afterburners since MWD's make your signature huge when turned on.

Sig tanking relies on this smallness of your ship to make it very hard for enemy guns to hit you (it also makes missiles do a lot less damage on impact).  It relies a bit on the luck of not running across a fleet of destroyers or something else that really threatens frigates.  But if you end up running across a bigger battle cruiser (for example) he will typically have a very tough time hurting you.  In most cases these ships are less than lethal alone so you will be playing scout or tackle.  However, with a bit of practice you can really use sig tanking to free up your tanking slots for damage mods.  That makes you a pretty dangerous little ship.
Practice needed: High
Skill Training needed: Low


Tracking Disrupting Tanking is another technique mostly suited for frigate hulls but on an extreme scale it can be used on faster cruisers or similar ships.  Tracking disruption tanking is an active and offensive form of tanking and is one of the few alternative or "meta" tanking methods I use regularly.  This form of tanking relies on the mid slot module Tracking Disruptor II primarily as well as a little bit of speed tanking which we will cover next.  If you mix in some signature radius tanking it will also boost the effectiveness of this form, so these three can actually be intertwined if you like.  Placing active tracking disruptors withTracking Speed Scripts installed causes your enemy to have significantly reduced tracking.  This means that if you are sufficiently fast you can "out run" the gun tracking of your target and basically avoid all damage.  

There is more than just targeting and engaging the Tracking Disruptor on your enemy involved here though.  It is important to keep your speed up to actually take advantage of your enemy's reduced tracking ability.  You will also need to make sure that you are using your speed to fly in circles around or lines parallel to your enemy.  This is a very rough description of keeping up your Transversal Velocity which is a whole 'nother topic that I could spend days on, so you might just want to go here for a primer: http://wiki.eveuniversity.org/Velocities#Transversal_Velocity

As side note on this form of tanking, the effects are greatly reduced as the size of the enemy fleet grows since you can only really apply your disruption module to one ship (maybe 2 if you have a pair fitted).  So pick and choose when to fight and when to run!
Practice needed: High
Skill Training needed: Medium (Tracking Disruption is a skill you will need to train)

Speed Tanking takes advantage of the speed of your ship to avoid incoming damage in several different ways.  In most cases when you hear someone refer to speed tanking they are talking about using extreme speed to out run the tracking of your enemy's guns or the speed of their drones or missiles.  That means to combining high speed with tracking disruption tanking can improve your survive-ability further.  To me speed tanking can also be used for a lot of other things and actually gives you the ability to use other types of meta tanking such as Range Tanking (because you can easily burn away from ships that are going to hurt you).  

Again this tanking method relies heavily on keeping up your Transversal Velocity to avoid incoming fire.  A nice bonus is that unlike tracking disruption tanking the effectiveness of speed tanking does not disappear when the enemy fleet grows.  With that said, it does get a bit harder as you must be careful never to fly straight at an enemy and each additional target makes it a bigger minefield to keep track of.  

As a side note speedy ships are fun :)
Practice needed: Low
Skill Training needed: Low

Range/Locking Disruption or Active Electronic Warfare Tanking.  Here I am using this label to group a variety of different actions which can sometimes be used as tanking or to help your normal tank by reducing or eliminating some incoming damage.  I think everyone is probably familiar with Electronic Counter Measures in Eve, especially if you've ever been "jammed" during a fight.  I won't belabor the ECM topic any more, but suffice it to say it's hard for someone to shoot you if they can't even lock you!

Another action that I feel falls in the same category is Sensor Dampening which I actually use fairly often.  There are two options for scripting the Remote Sensor Dampener Module: Scan Resolution Dampening which makes your target's locking speed slower and Targeting Range Dampening which reduces your target's lock range.  Each one can be useful but if you are in a small ship the Scan Resolution Dampening script can force your enemy into some maddeningly long lock times.  The targeting range script is not always very practical as some ships have more than enough targeting range to still kill you.  However stacking the effect by having several ships in your fleet apply the module can effectively eliminate the targeting range of many ships.  

In personal use I often fit the Scan Resolution Dampening script to my Stealth Bomber when I go out solo or in 2-3 man small groups looking for a juicy target.  This gives me more time to shoot the enemy before they lock me but also gives me a bigger window to decide if I can win or if I should get out of there before they can get me pointed  8)  Here is an example of a ship that should have "insta-popped" me but lost because he never locked me in time:http://edk.evemeatay.info/?a=kill_detail&kll_id=1987

Practice needed: Low
Skill Training needed: Low

Range Dictation Tanking.  I won't spend much time on this.  This basically boils down to being able to shoot further than your enemy and having the speed needed to keep that distance from them.  The new long range tier 3 (attack) battle cruisers very often use this.  In many setups they have no tank at all and just rely on having enough speed to keep distance and being able to shoot from very far away.

I also consider the opposite in this category.  Many people will call this "getting under their guns" but because of maths that I don't feel like explaining guns have to go faster to track you as you get closer and closer to the ship.  This has the effect of making you appear faster to the guns.  At some point you can get so close that the guns can't keep up (assuming are in a relatively fast ship of course).  This works for long range guns, please don't try it when your enemy is using blasters for cryin' out loud.

Practice needed: Medium
Skill Training needed: Low

Hull Tanking.  For "for the lullz" fleets and maybe some very special applications only.  Please don't hull tank, it's embarrassing when you die.  With that said I once heard that in the original dream that was EvE, Gallente ships were actually going to be hull tanking ships.  That would explain a lot about their weird setups sometimes.  But I've gone off topic, don't do it  ???

Practice needed: High
Skill Training needed: Ludicrous

OMG WTF WAS THAT?!? means (to me at least) any form of surprising your enemy with overwhelming firepower, stupidity, numbers, or all of the above.  

Instead of going on about this I'll just link some videos that I think convey the idea: 
Haulers Killing a Vagabond: http://youtu.be/bTn9EASiPMY
Blops: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UF0ShAhEHw8
           http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2eM2Z8xtNeE
Fun:    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ndWUlntJ58U
etc, etc.  You get the idea.

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