Clone Soldier Tags

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This page should be updated due to game changes. Reason: Double check on sec status for each type of clone. Placid does not follow the chat below for type vs System Sec Status. Also, articles seems to indicate that they clones only appear in the designated system sec status, but it appears they only "mostly" appear there. They do spawn (rarely) in neighboring sec status systems.


Hunting clone soldier rats is useful to raise your security status using security tags or can be used to get ISK by selling the tags on the market. While it is not among the most profitable of endeavors in EVE, it combines well with flying small inexpensive ships including PvP-capable ship fittings. Thus it is a nice ISK-making option for either low-skillpoint pilots including alpha clones or also typical lowsec-dwellers living a PvP lifestyle.

These are solo techniques and tips for hunting the most valuable of the Clone Soldier tags, without getting killed in the process.  ;-)

Your moderate familiarity and comfort with Safety Tips for Operating in Low Sec is assumed. Low sec can be dangerous, but you will quickly adjust if you try it out.

NOTE: Since the June 2014 "Kronos" release, hunting tags with light kiting ships has been nerfed. Disregard all references that recommend stealth bombers to kill the Clone Tag rats.

Contents

Reference Material

Clone Soldier tags were introduced in the 2013 Eve Odessey release, and are used as an in-game mechanic for raising a pilot's security status. Tags are dropped by special asteroid belt NPC rats in low sec. See the CCP Dev blog from Odessey explaining the concept.

The tags can be bought and sold in regular Eve markets, with values from roughly 1.5 to 30 M ISK.

The value of each tag is based on which type of tag it is. And, each 'type' of tag is mostly found in rats in a specific Security Status low sec system. For example, Negotiator tags are mostly found in Security Status 0.2 low sec systems, and are dropped only by rats which have '...Negotiator' in their name.

NPC type System Security Status Approximate Tag Value
Clone Soldier Trainer 0.4 1.5 M ISK
Clone Soldier Recruiter 0.3 2 M ISK
Clone Soldier Transporter 0.2 18 M ISK
Clone Soldier Negotiator 0.1 20 M ISK

The prices fluctuate of course. Current market values can be seen at Eve-Central or your in-game market detail display, searching on 'Clone Soldier'. It will probably be more profitable to sell the tags not in a market hub, but at a CONCORD station with a security office in or close to lowsec, where they can be used to gain security status. All Clone Soldier rats also have bounties of slightly over 1 M ISK.

NPC rat names show what kind of tag that rat will drop. The specific names vary depending on what region of Eve you are in, for example Serpentis rats in the Placid region, or Blood rats in the Aridia region. The names show on your overview, like Guristas Clone Soldier Negotiator or Sansha Clone Soldier Recruiter. Those two examples drop a Negotiator and a Recruiter tag respectively.

Regardless of the NPC faction name like Serpentis or Blood, a '... Transporter' rat will always drop a generic Transporter tag, and so on.

Choosing a Low Sec Region

An ideal location provides multiple systems of lower system security with many asteroid belts for Clone Soldier rats and a relatively low risk of being caught by unfriendly capsuleers.

Transporter and Negotiator NPCs, and thus the high-value tags, are found mostly in 0.2 and 0.1 low sec systems. Dotlan.org or similar region maps can be used to identify possible locations. You will be going from system to system hunting for the tags, so a number of systems close together will speed things along.

If you do not want to do your ratting as a side-activity to PvP in a fully PvP-fitted ship but rather in a specialized ratting ship it is also recommended to chose a quiet lowsec region. Faction warfare and hisec or nullsec border-systems are often the most busy, so avoid those. Note that otherwise perfect-looking groups of systems may still be occupied or roamed by pirates, so it is best to scout around or simply try to live in a region for a while to understand its inhabitants and their typical patterns.

Preparing the Low Sec Location

If you have decided to regularly do ratting in a region, it is recommended to prepare some bookmarks.

  • Gate bookmarks at >100km distance allow you to avoid PvP gangs or smartbombers.
  • Additionally belt bookmarks at >100km allow you to scout out the belts for actually having valuable rats before committing and making you more prone to ganks.
  • Also consider docking and undocking bookmarks for stations you want to use. Definitely make them for your ratting base, where you store your ships and valuables.
  • Finally safe spots will help to wait out or avoid being ganked.

Clone Soldier NPCs

Clone soldiers spawn in all lowsec asteroid belts. Multiple NPCs can spawn in one system. Respawn seems to be around 15-20 minutes. Respawn of clone soldiers seems to happen with a certain probability to all empty belt - so clearing belts increases the chance for a clone soldier spawn. After downtime all belt NPCs respawn, so this is the best time to rat. Clone soldiers are not affected by warp disruption and sometimes will warp away - often to a different belt in the same system.

All clone soldier NPCs are in cruiser sized ships with long-range weapons (~70km optimal).
The Transporters (0.2) will web you at 10km.
The Negotiators (0.1) will warp disrupt you at 24km.

You can look up the detailed stats of NPCs via specialized sites such as shown for the example of Serpentis belt rats below:
Serpentis Asteroid NPCs including Clone Soldiers

Ratting Ships

Generally anything from a high-dps T1 frigate and up can be used to kill clone soldier rats. Faction and assault frigates, T1 and T3 destroyers and cruisers are popular options. Smaller ships such as frigates and destroyers excel at fast and relatively safe travel in lowsec - and travel you will do a lot during ratting. Since the clone soldier rats are in long-range cruisers, ratting ships should either try to approach and brawl them with short-range high-dps fits or be able to tank them safely. T1 or T3 destroyers are among the most popular ratting ships as they combine high dps with good mobility.

  • T1 destroyers - such as the Thrasher - have the advantage of being extremely cheap - and thus disposable - while still having excellent short range dps. They are also accessible for very low skillpoint pilots.
  • T3 destroyers are more capable, but also a higher loss if you get hunted successfully. They can also rat while being completely PvP-fit.

For the clone soldier rats themselves, neither a warp disruptor nor scram or web are particularly useful: the NPC rats will warp away even when pointed and the cruiser sized clone soldiers can be effectively hit with most weapon systems. A web may still be useful for the frigate sized normal rats that often spawn in the belts as they can be a nuisance. A point may of course be useful if you want to be prepared for PvP.

If you are using a brawling fit a MWD or at least afterburner is recommended to close in on your target quickly. In a frigate or destroyer your tank will only need to survive this initial approach if you orbit closely (i.e. at 500m).

A ratting ship that can snipe or kite the clone soldier has the big advantage that you can stay out of the belt - where gankers might easily warp-in - and also outside the clone soldiers warp disruption range (24km, only for Clone Soldier Negotiators). Note that the NPC have optimals of ~70km, so you need to be either able to tank them or avoid their damage. Drone boats such as the Algos are one popular choice for this tactic.

Strategy and Tactics

There are two basic strategies that can be used to rat efficiently:

  • roaming around a number of low-security systems checking all belts and killing (only) clone soldier rats
  • clearing all the belts in one or a few systems completely to trigger respawns - which happen after around 15-20 minutes

Other strategies include scouting out clone soldiers with a fast "safe" ship such as a cov-ops frigate or an interceptor first and killing them with a heavier damage dealer.

The more valuable clone soldiers will web (Transporters) or warp disrupt (Negotiators) you. The warp disruption is of course dangerous with respect to being ganked as you will need to kill the NPC before you can get out. The webbing is a minor inconvenience and a good reason to fit an MWD to your ship.

The two basic tactics to kill clone soldier rats are:

  • brawling:
    Use a fast ship with short range weapons and reasonable tank, e.g. an Autocannon Thrasher with a single Medium Shield Extender and MWD.
    Close in fast on the NPC and orbit at 500m.
  • sniping/kiting:
    Stay away from the NPC - at least 24km for Negotiators - and kill from a distance while tanking the damage.

Note that your ship can be asteroid-tackled in a belt, i.e. you may be stuck between the collision boxes/spheres of the often very large asteroids in the lowsec belts. This can be a nuisance when trying to kill NPCs and also dangerous when being hunted by capsuleers.

Faction and Mordus Legion Rats

Hunting Clone Soldiers can of course be combined with general belt ratting. In particular it is very worthwhile to look out for the rare faction rats and Mordus Legion rats as these drop very valuable BPCs and faction modules. Mordus Legion rats are very powerful and may require assistance to fight successfully. Definitely try not to solo their battleship in a frigate or destroyer.
Faction rats are recognizable by their names:

  • Dark Blood *
  • Shadow Serpentis *
  • Domination * (Angels)
  • Dread Guristas *
  • True Sansha’s *
  • Sentient * (Drones)

Also see Ratting 101.

References

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