Drone Ships

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A Guide to Drone Boats in EVE


The Gallente race are the race most associated with drones in EVE. One of the biggest NPC research corps, Creodron, is touted as the main drone development corporation in game. There are a handful of non-Gallente ships that make good drone carriers, but it is fair to say that the very best drone ships are Gallente.

Ship Bonuses

As you already know, ships receive bonuses for various things, e.g. Gallente Battleships all receive a 5% bonus to Large Hybrid Turret damage, however each of the three tiers receives a different secondary bonus per level.

The thing that makes a great drone carrier is a relevant bonus, the best of which (and thankfully most common) is without doubt the "10% bonus to drone hitpoints and damage per level". Other bonuses are:

  • 10% bonus to drone hitpoints, damage and mining yield
  • 50% bonus to drone damage and hitpoints (Moros only)
  • +5km to Scout and Heavy Drone Operation range (Ishtar only)
  • +5m³ drone bay capacity per level (Ishkur only)
  • +15m³ drone bay capacity per level (Eos only)
  • +50m³ drone bay capacity per level (Ishtar only)
  • +1 extra drone carried per level (Guardian Vexor only)
  • 10% bonus to Scout Drone thermal damage (Helios only)
  • 5% bonus to drone range per level (Imicus only)

In order to avoid covering too much here, the guide will now only discuss (with a couple of exceptions!) those ships that receive a damage bonus.



Gallente Frigate Skill Bonus: 5% bonus to Small Hybrid Turret damage

Assault Ships Skill Bonus: 10% bonus to Small Hybrid Turret optimal range and +5 Drone Bay capacity per level

Drone bay = 25 m³ (increasing to 50 maximum with Assault Frigate V) Bandwidth = 25Mbit/s

One of the best all round assault frigs? Or a waste of time?

The only drawback is the bandwidth to control any more that 5 light drones, but considering 5 medium drones would allow the Ishkur to eat cruisers and HACs for breakfast, we can't complain too much. It is light and manouvreable, especially so with the "buff" the AF class seemed to receive indirectly through the Quantum rise patch. Typical fits include, I fit a T2 point, web, T2 AB and 125mm rails. This ship can get up close and personal with blasters, but I prefer to orbit at 20km and allow my drones and rails to chew up targets. With regard to tanking, with the small sig radius and decent speed, you will do well against larger ships as long as you plug the explosive resistance hole and fit a small T2 rep and EANM, just watch out for enemy drones!


Special Ability: 5% bonus to Medium Hybrid Turret damage per level and 10% bonus to drone hitpoints, damage and mining yield per skill level.

Drone bay = 100 m³ Bandwidth = 75Mbit/s

If you are looking for DPS from a cruiser, you need not go much further than the Vexor. 500 DPS with intermediate skills is relatively easy to achieve, but takes the fit to an extreme. You need to fit a couple of T2 mag field stabs, a rack of Heavy Electron Blasters, and mix your drone size for optimum DPS (2 heavy, 2 medium and 1 light). Midslots will probably be a 10MN MWD, Scram and Web. The remaining lows can be some tank, it is common to go passive with an 800mm plate and a T2 EANM, and rely on fleetmates for repair after killing a target.

With respect to drone choice, it's often best to have a full flight of mediums, with a couple of flights of lights to give you flexibility. Warriors, Valkyries and Berserkers tend do dominate damage type, complementing the Kinetic/Thermal of the blasters well.

Vexor Navy Issue

Special Ability: 5% bonus to Medium Hybrid Turret damage per level and 10% bonus to drone hitpoints, damage and mining yield per skill level.

Drone bay = 100 m³ Bandwidth = 100Mbit/s

As above, and then some! The Navy Vexor is basically "Vexor + 30%". It does everything the Vexor does, only it does them 30% better. The only downside is price, they go for around 80mill on contract in trade hubs, and for that money you could buy 20 Vexors! However, if you are rich, then 700DPS is yours for the taking. With the extra low slot, these guys can also do some nice tanking. Fit a T2 medium rep, a pair of EANMs, and an energized reactive plate to plug the explosive hole and you are looking at 86DPS omni tank with a 135 sig radius for as long as your cap booster charges last!

Guardian Vexor

Special Ability: 5% bonus to Medium Hybrid Turret damage per level and +1 extra Drone controlled per level.

Drone bay = 125 m³ Bandwidth = 125Mbit/s

If you see one of these, you are one of a small percentage of the EVE population. Release in limited numbers a few years ago as faction prizes, there is only a handful left in the game, with the last known sale going for around 4billion ISK.

So - not a ship to PVP in then. However, if you were to, you would have the unique prospect of being able to control 10 drones, assuming you have Gallente Cruiser V. However, the Guardian Vexor does not receive any damage bonus, but does have the 125Mbit bandwidth needed to control 5 heavy drones. At the end of the day though, it is outperformed by the Navy Issue.


Gallente Cruiser Skill Bonus: 5% bonus to Medium Hybrid Turret damage and 10% bonus to drone hitpoints and damage per skill level.

Heavy Assault Ship Skill Bonus: +5 km bonus to Scout and Heavy Drone operation range and +50 m3 extra Drone Bay space per level

Drone bay = 125 m³ (increasing to 375 m³ with Heavy Assault Ships V) Bandwidth = 125Mbit/s

Many of you will know the expression "jack of all trades, but master of none". Which basically means that while you may be able to perform many functions adequately , you will not excel in any field. Or conversely, if you are an expert in one area, then you will tend to be an expert only in that area, at expense of many others.

The Ishtar for a long time was a "master of all trades". Typical fits could allow speeds of 3,500m/s or more, all while maintaining a solid shield tank and 500DPS that could be directed at will with no regard for tracking issues (as the damage was coming from drones). This was equalised to some extent in the Quantum Rise patch, which changed the Polycarb rigs from mass reduction to speed and inertia mods, that stack with overdrive injectors and nanofibers.

Despite this, the Ishtar remains a powerful ship and in the hands of a skilled pilot can decimate opponents that may seem more powerful on paper. It is still common to fit a passive shield tank, with a T2 Invul, a couple of T2 extenders, and an MWD. Low slots are filled with Shield Power Relay IIs, and/or speed mods. This provides a very solid passive shield tank, and allows fitting of neuts/nos in hislots, with reliance on drones for DPS.


Battlecruiser Skill Bonus: 10% increase to drone hitpoints and damage dealt by drones, and 7.5% increase to armor repair amount per level

Drone bay = 150 m³ Bandwidth = 75Mbit/s

Many Myrmidon pilots will kit out their lows with dual T2 reppers, Kinetic, Thermic and Explosive Hardeners and either a Damage Control or EANM. This fit produces an impressively resisted HP buffer with good regen, but it means the pilot will be reliant on cap booster charges for energy and vulnerable to neuting. The Myrmidon does not receive a weapon bonus (beyond the drone bonus) and thus you often see small blasters to supplement small ship killing capability, or even autocannons with their benefit of 0 cap usage. The only drawback the Myrmidon has is it's drone bandwidth, which at 75Mbit/s limits you to either mediums, or the mix of 2 heavy, 2 medium and 2 light similar to the Vexor.


Gallente Battleship Skill Bonus: 5% bonus to Large Hybrid Turret damage and 10% bonus to drone hitpoints and damage per skill level.

Drone bay = 375 m³ Bandwidth = 125Mbit/s

Many will say it is pointless, as the Megathron can out damage the Dominix, but that assumes the Megathron can get to it's target to get in blaster range! Plus if you equip a Megathron with 5 Heavy drones you could find yourself in trouble if you meet a couple of smaller ships who can pin you down while they wait from friends.

The Dominix is an incredibly useful all round battleship, with a myriad of low and medium slots allowing it the ability to fit a decent tank, damage mods, some EWAR, support modules and of course it has a few high slots for some guns. To top it off, it has the biggest non-capital drone bay in the game (except a level V skilled Ishtar) and bandwidth to control 5 heavies or sentries. The size of the bay gives you the flexibility to bring some mixed heavies to vary your DPS, as well as a couple of flights each of light and medium drones. All in all one of the most versatile Battleships in the game, which it pays for by also being one of the least glamourous. Typical fits would include 1600mm plates, Armor hardeners, EANM, Damage Control II, 100MN MWD, Scram/Web/Point as required, with perhaps an Omnidirectional Tracking Link or two if you are using sentries. Hislots will determine your final mid and low slot choices, if you fit guns you will fit Mag Field Stabs and possibly a Target Painter, if you fit remote repair, neuts and/or nos you might fit a heavy capacitor booster, and/or capacitor mods.


Gallente Battleship Skill Bonus: 5% bonus to large hybrid turret damage and 10% bonus to drone hit points and damage per skill level

Black Ops Skill Bonus: 5% bonus to agility and multiplies the cloaked velocity by 125% per level

Note: can fit covert cynosural field generators and covert jump portal generators. No targeting delay after decloaking

The reliable Dominix hull gets some useful additions in the form of the ability to bridge covert class ships through to jump beacons, and indeed jump through itself should the situation warrant it. Typical fits will rely on drones for the bulk of the DPS, often using Sentries, and hislots might be filled with utility modules (remote rep, energy transfer) and/or neuts. If fitting weapons, then 700 DPS is easily there for the taking. A useful addition to any small gang, sitting in the home system with backup closeby ready to bridge to a Covert Cyno fitted tackling a target of high value.


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