This new solo content is intended for players of all skill levels, with the lowest tier sites being easy enough to complete in a well-designed tech 1 cruiser and higher tiers requiring considerably more expensive gear. Each site contains 3 randomly generated pockets of deadspace to defeat within 20 minutes, after which time the pocket will implode and destroy your ship. The prizes for risking it all in these dungeons include blueprints to build player-controlled Triglavian ships, plans for Entropic Disintegrators, and Mutaplasmids that can randomly mutate the stats on existing items.
In this edition of EVE Evolved, I follow up on last month’s article on preparing for the Into the Abyss expansion with some last-minute guidelines on preparing your ships, how to use drones effectively in Abyssal Deadspace, and useful tips and strategies for tackling the sites.
When the expansion goes live on May 29th, some Abyssal Filaments will be added to the loot tables of Data Sites (and possibly Relic Sites) all throughout EVE, and CCP has confirmed that the only other way to get filaments is from the loot container inside an Abyssal Deadspace pocket. Unless you plan to just buy the filaments from the market for whatever insane price people initially sell them for, you’ll need to fit up an exploration ship and find a quiet patch of space to search for data sites in. Fit a Cargo Scanner to your exploration ship and scan the containers before hacking them, then prioritise any with filaments inside.
As I mentioned in last month’s article on the topic, each of the five different abyssal filament types leads to pockets of space with different properties. It’s highly recommended that you design a tailor-made ship setup for each type of filament, even if it means you can only run one or two of the filament types and have to sell the others you find. A ship designed to tackle an Electrical filament will look very different to one designed for a Gamma filament, and a ship designed as an all-rounder that can do all filament types won’t be specialised enough to tackle the higher tier sites.
Four out of the five filament types give a penalty to one specific resistance, but remember that this applies both to your ship and the NPCs you fight, so you can use it to your advantage. The Firestorm filaments reduce thermal resistance but increase armour hitpoints, for example, so the ideal ship is something like a Deimos or an Ishtar that has high base thermal resistance, deals high thermal damage, and makes a good armour tank. Similarly, the Gamma filament effect gives a bonus to shield hitpoints and a penalty to explosive resistance, so a shield tanked ship with explosive missiles and an extra explosive hardener will be ideal.
Some Abyssal Deadspace pockets will contain Deviant Automata Suppressor structures that slowly deal damage to all nearby drones over time, making it hard to use drones effectively. While it’s possible to destroy these structures, you’ll waste several minutes doing so and risk the site timer expiring before you finish. If you’re in a ship such as the Ishtar or Arbitrator that uses drones as its primary damage source, pay attention to these structures and don’t let your drones stray within range. Fly into a safe area of the map away from the structures and let the enemies come to you instead.
I suggest using Navy drones rather than the more expensive Augmented variety, the augmented drones will have slightly more damage and speed but navy drones have significantly more shield and armour hit points and better tracking speed. The increased hitpoints will let you more reliably recall the drones before they’re destroyed and keep them out longer while nearby Automata suppressors are damaging them. Losing your drones in the middle of a site means you don’t have them for the remaining pockets, and that could turn out to be a fatal mistake. It’s also advisable to set up shortcut keys for quickly issuing orders to your drones by hitting escape to open the options window and going to the Shortcuts tab, then the Drones tab.
Before entering abyssal deadspace or going through a gate from one pocket to another, switch to your longest range ammo and swap any tracking computer scripts to optimal range. Enemies always start about 50km from the point you drop in at and will start to approach you, so this will give you some extra DPS time while they approach.
On landing in an Abyssal pocket, the first thing you need to do is figure out what local effects are in the area that you can use to your advantage. Notice the blue gas clouds that will increase the signature radius of anything inside by 300%, the Automata suppressors that attack drones, and the MultiBody Tracking Pylons that boost all turret tracking of nearby ships by 60%. If any of those bonuses will be useful to you, head straight for it at full speed to make sure you get there before any enemy ships get close enough to web you and slow you down.
If there are a lot of enemy frigates, head for blue gas cloud so they will be easy to hit with medium guns, missiles, or large drones. If you’re using railguns, artillery cannons, or beam lasers, head for a tracking pylon and you’ll have no problem hitting small targets as they approach. You can never predict which of these structures or gas clouds will appear in a site, if any, but you should design your ship so that you can take advantage of the bonuses to kill things more quickly. Remember that an Abyssal Deadspace site is a race against the clock, and the penalty for being too slow is instant death.
You’ll encounter several different types of enemies in abyssal deadspace pockets: Rogue Drones, Drifters, Sleeper ships controlled by the Drifters, and the Triglavian Collective. The Rogue drones include infested Dominix class battleships controlling either frigates or drones, some of which deal damage and some of which have electronic warfare such as stasis webs and tracking disruptors.
The Drifters have both packs of cruisers and damaged battleships in the sites, sometimes on their own and sometimes mixed with Rogue Drone and Triglavian ships. The Triglavian ships include small Demavik frigates and the cruiser-sized Vedmak, though I suspect tier 4 and 5 sites might also include terrifying Leshak battleships.
The name of each enemy you encounter will give a clue as its role and offensive capabilities. Triglavian ships with the prefix “Starving” will neutralise your capacitor, for example, while those prefixed with “Harrowing” are heavy damage-dealers. Some ships will warp scramble you to shut off your microwarpdrive or web you to slow you down, some will repair their allies’ armour or shield, and some will use weapon disruption and target painting on you. Remember each enemy’s name, capabilities, and behaviour patterns once you’ve fought it, because you really only have a few seconds to assess the tactical situation on entering a new Abyssal Deadspace pocket.
I’ve been spending a lot of time this month throwing ship setups against abyssal deadspace on the test server, and CCP has been collecting feedback and making changes all that time. With the final version now on the test server and the expansion about to drop, here are a few tips that I picked up while trying to tackle Abyssal Deadspace:
- Triglavian ships can sometimes be confused by drones. Launching a flight of light drones against a pack of Starving Vedmaks that are neutralising the hell out of your ship will often cause them switch targets and start neutralising the drones.
- The Deviant Automata Suppressors that kill your drones also work against Rogue Drone enemies. You can just speed toward them and any rogue drone frigates or drones that get in range will be slowly damaged until destroyed.
- Some Triglavian ships launch drones that show up on the overview under a new Abyssal Drones type. Destroying the controlling ships will render the drones inactive just like with drones belonging to player ships, and you don’t need to kill these drones in order to unlock the gate to the next pocket. You can just ignore them if you can tank them, or fly near a deviant suppressor to let it take them out while you focus on taking out the ships.
- The damage dealt by enemy Vedmaks will increase over time if you let them stay in range, but the Entropic Disintegrators they use have limited optimal ranges. Boosting out of range will cause the weapon to disengage and reset its damage back to its base levels, which could seriously save your ship.
- Remember that capacitor batteries give some resistance to the energy neutralisers you’ll sometimes encounter in Abyssal Deadspace. Thanks to their incredibly low power grid requirements, the Thukker Large Capacitor Battery and Republic Fleet Large Capacitor Battery are both ideal in any cruiser fit that doesn’t use capacitor injectors.
- When designing a ship, your on-paper damage per second is not as important as your ability to apply that damage to the wide range of ships inside Abyssal Deadspace. Stasis webs and tracking computers can be highly effective at improving damage application on smaller targets and drastically speed up the site.
- The Tier 4 and 5 filaments are illegal in empire space, so you’ll emerge from them with a suspect flag that allows any player to attack you. If you’re able to run the tier 4 and 5 sites, find a quiet corner of nullsec or wormhole space to run them in. Tiers 1, 2, and 3 are perfectly safe to run in highsec as they don’t give a suspect flag.
- The Gila is probably the only ship that can use drones with impunity inside Abyssal Deadspace. Its role bonus grants a 500% hitpoint bonus to medium drones and the ship can carry five full sets of drones in case any are destroyed.
The rewards from completing these sites are going to be huge on day one of the expansion, so if you want to get involved then there’s not long left to prepare. Get an exploration ship ready to go hunting for Data sites to find Abyssal filaments, and start theory-crafting some tech 1 and tech 2 cruiser setups to tackle each of the five filament types. I also highly recommend logging some time on the test server to test out your setups and get some practice ahead of May 29th, because you’re going to need it!