Expanded Probe Launcher for null sec navigation/exploration

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Noh Luciola

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Post 2019.11.11 22:52

Expanded Probe Launcher for null sec navigation/exploration

I'm back to Eve after a long hiatus (not my first) and wanted to get into more null sec trade/exploration content. For reference the majority of my time in Eve has been spent shooting at rats in a Tempest.

I've been looking at fits for transport and exploration ships, specifically for the former a Mammoth, Prowler, Mastadon, and for the latter I've been looking at the Stratios (although some limited wormhole navigation might be useful for the Prowler as well). For the Prowler and Stratios I would also be fitting a cov-ops cloak.

What value does fitting an expanded probe launcher provide (over D-scan and regular core probes) when attempting to safely navigate null sec?

Particularly the tank/weapon compromises I need make to fit combat probes are significant...

Another option (for exploration) would be to carry a mobile depot and/or off/online modules in space in order to provide the CPU necessary to fit combat probes, however, doing the latter for more than a single module would likely cause significant delay (time spent waiting for my cap to hit 95%).

How feasible is it to swap/online modules in space?
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Anidien Dallacort

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Post 2019.11.12 00:22

Re: Expanded Probe Launcher for null sec navigation/exploration

Expanded launchers let you fit combat probes. This will allow you to scan down the location of other players, if you have a bit of a PvP fit and want to hunt others while exploring.

Combat probes also allow for scanning down abandoned drones and deployables, like mobile depots and MTU’s, if you are in the hunt for picking those up to sell. Drones especially can be lucrative, if you find the right drone and have the cargo space to carry them.


If you are just looking to scan signatures down and run relic/Data sites, a core scan launcher is not only all you need, you will benefit from the bonuses on the launcher for those activities, AND they are much easier to fit.

Mobile depots can be handy in exploration, for example allowing you to fit only one Analyzer (relic or data) and fit the other as needed, freeing up a mid slot for something else. Changing fits when using one is no different than when in a station. However, note that:

- The depot takes 60 seconds to spool up. While it is out, it can be combat probe scanned, possibly burning a safe spot if someone is looking for you.

- You cannot refit while cloaked.
Anidien Dallacort - Teacher, Sophomore

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Noh Luciola

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Post 2019.11.12 00:41

Re: Expanded Probe Launcher for null sec navigation/exploration

Thanks for your response.

Anidien Dallacort wrote:Expanded launchers let you fit combat probes. This will allow you to scan down the location of other players, if you have a bit of a PvP fit and want to hunt others while exploring.

Combat probes also allow for scanning down abandoned drones and deployables, like mobile depots and MTU’s, if you are in the hunt for picking those up to sell. Drones especially can be lucrative, if you find the right drone and have the cargo space to carry them.



Would this be helpful if, say, I'm attempting to navigate null and want to spot gate camps/bubbles in advance - or is it not worth the sacrifice in terms of my fit it would require?

Anidien Dallacort wrote:If you are just looking to scan signatures down and run relic/Data sites, a core scan launcher is not only all you need, you will benefit from the bonuses on the launcher for those activities, AND they are much easier to fit.

Mobile depots can be handy in exploration, for example allowing you to fit only one Analyzer (relic or data) and fit the other as needed, freeing up a mid slot for something else. Changing fits when using one is no different than when in a station. However, note that:

- The depot takes 60 seconds to spool up. While it is out, it can be combat probe scanned, possibly burning a safe spot if someone is looking for you.

- You cannot refit while cloaked.


Same vein as my previous question - would combat probes help if I'm trying to avoid getting gank'd while exploring?
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Anidien Dallacort

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Post 2019.11.12 01:36

Re: Expanded Probe Launcher for null sec navigation/exploration

This might be opinion - but I’m not sure combat probes are worth it if you don’t plan on using them offensively. (Noting that this could mean searching for abandoned drones - offensively here means actively looking for things you can warp to).

D-scan can handle finding the things you are looking for defensively, and the d-scan pings dont appear on other players’ d-scan like probes do.

A good set of safe and scanning bookmarks in frequently visited systems can help with scanning where you need to. Bubbles, for example, are more likely in some areas than others - people probably won’t bubble somewhere players aren’t likely to go.

Just set d-scan to full range and 360 degrees for defensive purposes. If you are constantly pinging while others are in the system, this range should be enough time to cloak if someone appears in that range you don’t want to see.

If you can fit the expanded without giving up too much - go for it, having options isn’t bad. Just note the scanning bonuses on the core launcher are some of what you give up, possibly making the best sites hard to scan down (opportunity cost of the expanded).

But just like the concepts of fitting Shield OR Armor tanks, not mixing optimism ranges on weapons, etc - don’t be kind of good at a many things, be really good at the few things your ship does.
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Alleycat Meza

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Post 2019.11.12 17:25

Re: Expanded Probe Launcher for null sec navigation/exploration

I am going to end up reinforcing what Anidien has already said. I fly Astero and Prowler through null sec for exploration and transport. I carry absolutely zero offensive capability. My approach is to not get caught and if caught be able to get away: fast align times, EMC drones, bookmarks.

The first thing I do on entering a null sec or WH system is make an aligned bookmark(BM). Then make the unaligned BM. Then from the unaligned BM warp at distance to the next gate, dropping a BM at 1000 to 3000 (on grid) from the gate. Back to the unaligned BM and warp at distance to the entrance gate, drop another BM on grid.

Fly into a null sec system with no one else there, fly straight up or down and make a BM at warpable distance from the gate. I have a number of systems I fly through on a regular basis with on average 10 BM's.

Bookmarking is time consuming, a pain in the butt and zero fun but at least you will not hate yourself in the morning. Covert ops cloak and BM's have served me well.
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Noh Luciola

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Post 2019.11.13 03:54

Re: Expanded Probe Launcher for null sec navigation/exploration

Thanks again to both of you for the advice.

Alleycat Meza wrote:I am going to end up reinforcing what Anidien has already said. I fly Astero and Prowler through null sec for exploration and transport. I carry absolutely zero offensive capability. My approach is to not get caught and if caught be able to get away: fast align times, EMC drones, bookmarks.

The first thing I do on entering a null sec or WH system is make an aligned bookmark(BM). Then make the unaligned BM. Then from the unaligned BM warp at distance to the next gate, dropping a BM at 1000 to 3000 (on grid) from the gate. Back to the unaligned BM and warp at distance to the entrance gate, drop another BM on grid.

Fly into a null sec system with no one else there, fly straight up or down and make a BM at warpable distance from the gate. I have a number of systems I fly through on a regular basis with on average 10 BM's.


For a Prowler then, is it useful to have any kind of probe launcher at all - what else would the second high slot be used for?

The main sacrifice (for me) fitting combat probes on a Prowler would be ~1.6k less tank (in slightly lowered shield resistances), less cap for MWD (3mins vs 6mins) - well, that and the combat probe fit being $40m more expensive. Important to note, however, the combat probe fit does not sacrifice any agility compared to the core probe fit.

Here are the fits of which I speak:

[Prowler, Cloak/SExpProbe/WStab/CPU]

'Halcyon' Core Equalizer I
Nanofiber Internal Structure II
IFFA Compact Damage Control

Supplemental Kinetic Deflection Amplifier
Supplemental Explosive Deflection Amplifier
50MN Y-T8 Compact Microwarpdrive *active for stats

Covert Ops Cloaking Device II
Sisters Expanded Probe Launcher

Medium Processor Overclocking Unit II
Medium Polycarbon Engine Housing I

EHP: 13.7k (Em: 32.4k, Th: 15.3k, Kin: 11.5k, Exp: 12.1k)
Shield: 5.87k (Em: 78%, Th: 64%, Kin: 62%, Exp: 68%)
Armor: 3.88k (Em: 91%, Th: 72%, Kin: 34%, Exp: 21%)
Hull: 3.9k (Em: 56%, Th: 56%, Kin: 56%, Exp: 56%)

Speed: 2700 m/s
Signature: 630 m
Capacitor: 1.12k GJ (Lasts 3m50s)
Targeting range: 21.8 km
Scan resolution: 178 mm
Sensor strength: 14.4

Scan resolution: 178 mm
Sensor strength: 14.4

vs...

[Prowler, Cloak/CoreProbe2/WStab/Cargo]

'Halcyon' Core Equalizer I
Type-D Restrained Nanofiber Structure
Damage Control II

Kinetic Deflection Amplifier II
Explosive Deflection Amplifier II
50MN Cold-Gas Enduring Microwarpdrive *active for stats

Covert Ops Cloaking Device II
Core Probe Launcher II

Medium Cargohold Optimization II
Medium Polycarbon Engine Housing II

EHP: 15.3k (Em: 32.8k, Th: 16.1k, Kin: 13.8k, Exp: 14.7k)
Shield: 6.83k (Em: 78%, Th: 65%, Kin: 71%, Exp: 76%)
Armor: 3.76k (Em: 92%, Th: 72%, Kin: 36%, Exp: 24%)
Hull: 4.76k (Em: 60%, Th: 60%, Kin: 60%, Exp: 60%)

Speed: 2699 m/s
Signature: 630 m
Capacitor: 1.12k GJ (Lasts 6m40s)
Targeting range: 21.8 km
Scan resolution: 178 mm
Sensor strength: 14.4


I'm actually currently running this latter fit for my lowsec Prowler runs. Worth noting that the former combat probe fit (for me) has the exact same align time (due to the rounding up boundaries for align secs) and almost the same max velocity as the former core probe fit. The major difference in my mind is really the added cost.

Would combat probes be useful defensively at all (beyond what you can get with just Dscan)?

Alleycat Meza wrote:Bookmarking is time consuming, a pain in the butt and zero fun but at least you will not hate yourself in the morning. Covert ops cloak and BM's have served me well.


Can combat probes be used to speed up the bookmarking process - i.e. by just grabbing approximate locations of ships/wrecks as your getaway BMs?
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Anidien Dallacort

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Post 2019.11.13 05:57

Re: Expanded Probe Launcher for null sec navigation/exploration

The most credit I can give to combat probes in a defensive stance, is they might scare some people away, thinking that you are hunting them.

But that will more generally work on those that aren't already a threat, than those looking for a fight.

Combat probes can be moved around to get a picture of different areas of the system, but that can also be accomplished by having a few good bookmarks and moving yourself to different vantage points for D-scan - ESPECIALLY with a covops cloak.

The main drawback with combat probes from a defensive standpoint, to me, is as previously stated - they can be seen by other players, on their d-scans. It is an active scanning method, D-scan is passive. The less you give away about what you are doing when you are trying to stay hidden, the better.

D-scan may be limited to 14.3 AU - but probes are limited in their max effective radius too, and you have to guess where to put them. You'll also be spending time managing them for active searching, rather than doing what you want to be doing.

As far as what you are giving up:

EHP is on the low end as far as the point - if you get caught and pointed/scrammed, you are in trouble. Sacrificing the 1.3k EHP isn't the worst thing in the world, when your survivability is based on not fighting in the first place.

To me, it's the bonuses on the core scanner that are the biggest loss, if straight PVE exploration is your goal. Personally, I don't see how giving that up to have a moving defensive D-scan that requires more than the press of a button to ping, helps.

Especially when, in addition to that, the combat probes themselves are not strong scanners for signatures - meaning you'll have to put them away to core scan sites - "blinding" you from the info they give, if you are relying on them for intel.

If you have a desire to have the capability to scan down other players for non-defensive purposes - expanded launchers may be worth the tradeoff.

But from a pure defensive standpoint - D-scan should be MORE than sufficient.
Anidien Dallacort - Teacher, Sophomore

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Noh Luciola

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Post 2019.11.13 07:26

Re: Expanded Probe Launcher for null sec navigation/exploration

Cool, I think I get the picture. I'm still interested to try combat probes out on my Prowler since it's goal will be avoidance, not exploration, and picking up additional abandoned loot en route might be an added bonus.

Are combat probes useful when scanning for wormholes?

At the point where I move up to a Stratios I think I will stick with core probes as you've advised; it will have a more significant defensive fit and will hopefully be able to survive a scrap or two.

Thanks much for all the advice!!!
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Anidien Dallacort

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Post 2019.11.13 13:16

Re: Expanded Probe Launcher for null sec navigation/exploration

Wormholes you definitely want to avoid combat probes for defensive purposes. You don’t show up in local in wormholes unless you talk in it, so while cloaked, unless you give your presence away - I.e. probes that can be seen on dscan - other players don’t even know you are there.
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Alleycat Meza

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Post 2019.11.14 16:11

Re: Expanded Probe Launcher for null sec navigation/exploration

I think Anidien has really answered your questions so I will not duplicate. Although one thing you said:

Can combat probes be used to speed up the bookmarking process - i.e. by just grabbing approximate locations of ships/wrecks as your getaway BMs?

It is not going to sped it up. That said, the locations you mention are items other people can warp to so you want to stay away from them. A BM you create can only be warped to by you (never share BM's) which would be much more secure.
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Noh Luciola

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Post 2019.11.15 05:21

Re: Expanded Probe Launcher for null sec navigation/exploration

Sorry to keep beating on this topic... last questions promise.

According to the fitting app I use (PYFA) an expanded launcher can fit core probes and (based on module stats) doing so give you the scan strength/stats as for a core launcher (according to the app).

Can an expanded launcher fit combat and core probes equally (I read a couple posts saying that an expanded launcher can actually field more probes but I'm not convinced this is feasible)?

Anidien Dallacort wrote:Wormholes you definitely want to avoid combat probes for defensive purposes. You don’t show up in local in wormholes unless you talk in it, so while cloaked, unless you give your presence away - I.e. probes that can be seen on dscan - other players don’t even know you are there.


Assuming I end up in W-space and don't want to go back the way I came (or if the entrance I used collapses or gets camped) then I will need to bust out probes to find a new wormhole, correct?

(Apologies more of an exploration than fitting question)
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Anidien Dallacort

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Post 2019.11.15 06:10

Re: Expanded Probe Launcher for null sec navigation/exploration

Expanded launchers can launch core probes, yes. And where I was mistaken during this convo - the expanded launchers do appear to have scan bonuses on the tech 2 and sister’s variants (I thought that was a feature of a core launcher alone), so putting an expanded launcher on, doesn’t give up that bonus after all.

But you can only use one set of probes at a time - so as noted previously, if your plan is to rely on combat probes for defensive scanning, you do have to put those away (and therefore “blind” yourself from what you are relying on defensively), to launch cores and scan down signatures.

Yes, to scan down wormhole chains, or sites in wormholes, you need to launch core probes. However, the topic at hand is using combat probes to detect possible enemies. either way, you have your probes out to do signature scanning. The combat probes are additional time your presence is exposed. Also, if It’s assumed one would try to assume reasonable safety of the system prior to launching cores to scan down and run sites - relying on combat probes exposes you to dscan during this initial safety check - cloak and your own dscan does not.

Back to the first point - yes, expanded launchers can launch core probes. So back to an earlier point - if you can fit an expanded without giving up anything or much of anything, go for it.

But evaluate carefully what you are in fact giving up.

And I’ll still argue that dscan can cover the purposes you are trying to solve for.
Anidien Dallacort - Teacher, Sophomore

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Noh Luciola

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Post 2019.11.15 06:36

Re: Expanded Probe Launcher for null sec navigation/exploration

Anidien Dallacort wrote:
Back to the first point - yes, expanded launchers can launch core probes. So back to an earlier point - if you can fit an expanded without giving up anything or much of anything, go for it.

But evaluate carefully what you are in fact giving up.

And I’ll still argue that dscan can cover the purposes you are trying to solve for.


Can expanded launchers load/field more (8+) probes than core launchers - if so, is there any advantage to fielding additional probes?
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Ky Hanomaa

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Post 2019.11.15 09:50

Re: Expanded Probe Launcher for null sec navigation/exploration

Noh Luciola wrote:Can expanded launchers load/field more (8+) probes than core launchers - if so, is there any advantage to fielding additional probes?


No, they cannot. You can only deploy 8 scanner probes at any given time, launching more would result in the previous set disconnecting. For your other question: Technically, the more probes you have out scanning, the greater the area you can scan, thus helping you scan down objects in space.
Former Assistant FCC Manager


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Ernesto Guevarti

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Post 2019.11.15 10:39

Re: Expanded Probe Launcher for null sec navigation/exploration

You carry extra probes (either in cargo or the launcher) in case you lose a set due to disconnecting / forgetfulness / etc.
Daniel Wittaker wrote:You could have a bright career ahead of you in Goonforums. That's some upvote-quality Helldump posting. Well done, sir.
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