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Apollo and Artemis Tyrannos, artwork of Drifters released with the expansion highlights

The Drifters are a mysterious new faction that appeared in New Eden in early YC117 (2015). So far all attempts at communication with them have failed. They are seen by most as invaders and after attacking the Amarr empire and killing empress Jamyl I, the Amarr empire declared war on them. The behavior, fighting tactics and capabilities of the Drifters have been changing continuously since their appearance, so be wary of any changes to the status described here.

By all appearances and indications the Drifters are members of the Jove race, albeit far removed and with a strangely altered physiology. The high degree of cybernetic modification that Drifters exhibit seems to go hand in hand with an implacable single-mindedness and utter ruthlessness while pursuing their mysterious goals. Whatever their ends may be, the technology at their command unquestionably rivals and perhaps even surpasses that which other Jove have been seen to use.

Drifters Faction

The Drifters faction is similar to that of other NPC organizations such as the empire and pirate factions. By default, no capsuleer has standings with them. As soon as you kill Drifter ships, you will quickly gain negative standings (12% per battleship kill). Negative standings don't seem to have any effect currently.

Evidence points to various connections of the Drifters to New Eden's factions:

  • Jove observatories have been decloaking in k-space and Jove corpses are floating in the Drifter wormhole systems.
  • Sleeper ships and installations also appear together with the Drifters in wormholes.
  • Fleets of Sisters of EVE ships can be seen as well in those wormholes and the alpha clone technology pioneered by the SoE may be connected to the Drifters as well.
Drifters Drifters

Emerging from the ruins of the Sleeper civilization spread throughout Anoikis – otherwise known as 'W-space' – the Drifters represent a tremendous challenge and perhaps a dire threat to the empires and capsuleers alike. Seemingly the inheritors of a legacy left behind by some of the most ancient Jove, the Drifters are unafraid to wield tremendous power in response to any who get in their way. In this regard, the Drifters are a very different conundrum than the relatively benign presence that was the Jove Empire.

Vigilant Tyrannos (Corp)

The Drifters faction has one member corp, the Vigilant Tyrannos corporation. Their CEO is Tyrannos Strategos and so far fourteen other pilot names (fifteen total) have been encountered:

  • Agreus Tyrannos
  • Apate Tyrannos
  • Apollo Tyrannos
  • Arithmos Tyrannos
  • Artemis Tyrannos
  • Cassandra Tyrannos
  • Cephisso Tyrannos
  • Hikanta Tyrannos
  • Hypnos Tyrannos
  • Metis Tyrannos
  • Orion Tyrannos
  • Orpheus Tyrannos
  • Tyrannos Navarkos
  • Tyrannos Polemos (CEO)

Hikanta is only found in Drifter wormholes, Arithmos only in C5 and C6 wormhole escalations. Cassandra has only been recorded in a Drifter Cruiser. As the Drifters have been found to harvest capsuleer, Jove and sleeper corpses, one speculation is that all identically named Drifters are clones of each other. The name Tyrannos points to the long lost 2nd Jove Empire, which was erected by the so called 1st Tyrant Miko Bour and later reigned by so-called Tyrants, powerful but not really tyrannical leaders.

Vigilant Tyrannos Vigilant Tyrannos

CONCORD intelligence reports indicate that Drifter military formations are operating under a single command structure represented by an enclave level organization with the designation 'Vigilant Tyrannos'. Despite monitoring the movements of ships broadcasting the identifier of this organization, no further information as to the motivation or goals of this force has been gleaned.


Little is known about the Drifters' ships, but so far capsuleers have encountered the following ships:

Drifter Battleship

Drifter Battleship CONCORD's analysis of this battleship has been hampered by its advanced hull and shielding. The propulsion system is unfamiliar but tentative theories have suggested that the vessel somehow directly interacts with the fabric of space-time while moving. The standard weapon systems of this ship appear to be semi-autonomous and effective against a range of targets.

DED contact briefings suggest the free floating turrets are a secondary weapon, with an extremely dangerous primary weapon held in reserve against those this ship's commander considers a significant threat.
Threat level: Critical

Drifter Cruiser

Drifter Cruiser CONCORD's analysis of this cruiser has been hampered by its advanced hull and shielding. The propulsion system is unfamiliar but tentative theories have suggested that the vessel somehow directly interacts with the fabric of space-time while moving. The standard weapon systems of this ship appear to be semi-autonomous and effective against a range of targets.

DED contact briefings suggest the free floating turrets are a secondary weapon, with a primary strike weapon held in reserve against those this ship's commander considers a significant threat.
Threat level: Critical

Encounters with these ships have revealed several unique mechanics related to them alone. One such mechanic is that of an "overshield" - an additional layer of shielding colored blue on the targeting display. When this blue shield has been depleted, target locks on the Drifter break, in the manner of ECM. Many have also reported that the Drifters' weapons deal massive amounts of damage, difficult for any sub-capital ship to tank without a specialised fit. Even capital ships are not immune, with many carriers being lost to Drifters, many by players attempting to test their capabilities. Drifters drop blue loot and Antikythera Elements.

There are 3 different types of Drifter battleships:

  • The type flown by Apollo and Artemis features an overshield and a doomsday weapon, but has a relatively poor tank. It can be found in known space and in Drifter wormholes.
  • The Hikanta type is similar but more dangerous. It is only found inside the Drifter hive sites in Drifter wormholes.
  • Finally the Arithmos type has no overshield or doomsday, but has a very strong tank, neuts with an impressive 200GJ/s and is warp core stabilized with 5 points. It can only be found in C5 and C6 wormholes, where it spawns in site escalations. It holds high-value loot, but does not despawn and will roam the system until destroyed. Spawning multiple Arithmos in a system affords interesting challenges and opportunities.

Drifter battleships can reach up to 3500m/s and do about 1300dps of omni damage with their standard Lux Kontos suspended weapon system. Their additional doomsday-like weapon that does about 750000 damage.

Note that both the stats and the engagement tactics of Drifter ships have changed several times and can not be relied upon. Detailed - but possibly outdated - stats can be found at Drifter Battleship (chruker).

Autothysian Lancer

Circadian Seeker The Autothysian Lancer is a Drifter-allied drone with a similar base design to the Circadian Seekers but is much more dangerous, sporting an upgraded array of defenses and weapons. Though highly militarized in response to capsuleer resistance, the drone still explores New Eden with the mechanical indifference seen in previous, weaker variants.

These appear to be cruiser sized scout drones that operate in groups of four or five and scan all installations and ships in New Eden. They appear in all systems that have Jove Observatories in them and are generally not hostile unless attacked. There are exceptions to this: if you're near a Jove Observatory or a Drifter Wormhole and Autothysian Lancers or Drifter Battleships show up, they are likely to aggress you if you don't leave quickly. Once this happens, the drifters in that system can aggress you anywhere.[1]

When engaged they usually warp in another wave of Autothysian Lancers but there is also a chance a drifter battleship will warp in. Note that they - unlike other NPCs - will pod players. If killed they each drop 2 Sleeper Data Libraries and have a chance to drop an Antikythera Element - which is used in the production of entosis links. They do about 76dps (EM/Thermal) at ranges up to 100km, have about 10kHP with high resists (73%-85% shield resists, weakest is EM). Their max speed is 1240m/s and they try to orbit at 10km. Because of their sturdy tank but relatively moderate dps, they can e.g. be hunted in active tanked cruisers with short range weapons equipped with a web and a prop mod.

  • Tip- Preliminary investigations show the Autothysian Lancers will continue to aggress you until they destroy a ship your character owns. If you accidentally engage them and survive the initial encounter board a cheap frigate and let them destroy it. Authothysian lancers cannot be scanned down but they can be attracted to your position if you enter within 50km of a Jove Observatory (only do this to sacrifice a ship). Once they destroy your ship that character will be cleared from aggressor status and you will no longer be targeted by roaming patrols. A frigate or larger ship is suggested as a corvette is not typically engaged by Autothysian lancers, even if your character is on their aggro table.

Detailed statistics can be found at Autothysian Lancer (Chruker)

Circadian Sleeper

Circadian Seeker The design of this Sleeper drone is unlike anything that has been seen to date. The drone explores with a mechanical indifference to the monotony of its task, executing each new maneuver with a flawless, unthinking precision.

Since the Ascension expansion, Circadian Seekers only appear during the initial tutorial storyline for new players. They have only 20 HP and do minimal damage, so they can be defeated in a Corvette.

Detailed statistics can be found at Circadian Sleeper (Chruker)

Fighting Drifters

Drifter battleship under attack by capsuleer fleet

There are currently 3 tactics to take down Apollo, Artemis, and Hikanta Drifter battleships including their possible Autothysian Lancer and sleeper support:

  • Capitals and a few subcapitals (e.g. Paladin, Abaddon) are able to tank the doomsday at full health. This requires a very blingy tank on the primary and a support fleet with dps and logi.
  • A swarm of cheap high burst dps ships (with webs) will take a Drifter down easily, but lose at least one ship in the process.
  • Since the doomsday weapon has tracking and signature limits it is possible to survive the doomsday in a fast close orbit with a small signature radius. Often logistics ships with Halo implants are used. A fleet of 20-30 ships (dps cruisers with logistics, tracking disruption and webbing support) can take down a drifter in seconds with careful piloting and timing and (mostly) without losses.

For more details on (slightly outdated) ships and tactics see Drifter Hive Doctrines : History and Evolution (pdf)

There are groups organizing public fleets to run sites in wormholes:

  • Arataka Research Consortium (ingame channel "Consortium Operations") runs intermittent open fleets in Drifter wormholes, with a doctrine of T3 Destroyers (Confessors) with various support cruisers. These fleets are PvE focused and newbie-friendly. ARC's lead corporation, IKAME, are also responsible for much of the research on Drifter activity and structures. ARC are also highly active in the roleplay community, and work out of the channel "Arataka Communications Router".
  • Vulfpeck runs public fleets into specific C5/C6 wormholes, to run Sleeper combat sites. These sites end in an escalation by Arithmos Tyrannos, a much larger and more dangerous Drifter battleship (although not equipped with a doomsday weapon). Vulfpeck also use T3 Destroyer doctrines (mainly Confessors), supported by Guardians. Most Vulfpeck fleets focus on ISK making, as hunting Arithmos Tyrannos can be very profitable.

Drifters in Known Space

Jove Observatory

In a large number of k-space systems huge Jove Observatories can be found. They are visible on the Overview as a beacon. These Observatories seem to have fallen into disrepair. k-space entries to Drifter Wormhole systems seem to only appear in systems with a Jove Observatory. Systems with a Jove Observatory are the only systems where Autothysian Lancers are seen, and when Drifter Wormholes appear, the systems are are also roamed by Apollo Tyrannos and Artemis Tyrannos battleships. The battleships and seekers seem to roam the system and guard the Jove Observatories and the Unidentified Wormhole sites, attacking any ships that get too close.

Drifters in Pochven

Main article: Triglavian Invasion special NPCs

Drifters in Pochven differ in many ways to their K-Space counterparts. There are currently six types of Drifters that have been encountered in Pochven.

  • Agreus Tyrannos (Drifter Scout Cruiser)
  • Metis Tyrannos (Drifter Assault Cruiser)
  • Tyrannos Navarkos (Drifter Navarkos Cruiser)
  • Orpheus Tyrannos (Drifter Raider Battleship)
  • Cephisso Tyrannos (Drifter Strike Battleship)
  • Tyrannos Polemos (Drifter Polemarkos Battleship)

Agreus and Orpheus Tyrannos lack superweapons, while all other Drifters retain superweapons that fire on their currently aggressed target when the overshield is depleted.

All Drifters warp scramble at 7-14 km range, web at around 20 km, and neut at long ranges.

These Drifters all deal very high damage and should be avoided with extreme caution unless the pilot has a support fleet to back them up and are adequately prepared to take on Drifters. Inexperienced pilots will find taking on these Drifters to be extremely dangerous; engaging these ships often costs many players their own ships.

Drifters in Sov Space

Reports have started arriving that Drifters are now roaming 0.0 security systems and are reinforcing and destroying Upwell structures.
Drfiters reinforcing a station: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KfFoLs9dlg0
Drifters destroying an Upwell jump gate: https://zkillboard.com/kill/77498342/

Drifters Wormhole Systems

There are 5 known Drifters wormhole systems that are similar to shattered C2 wormholes with certain system effects. Although they are named by the typical J-type designations, they are often informally named after their predominant structure: Vidette, Redoubt, Sentinel, Barbican and Conflux. Note that the first four names suggest an advanced military fortification. In each system, both the main hive site and a Sisters of EVE Flotilla appear as beacons on the overview. All Drifter wormhole systems seem to have an unusually large number of connections (between 50-70) to known space (k-space) plus 6 static wormholes to C1-6 space. K-space connections always appear in system with a Jove Observatory. Their k-space connections are quite different from all other wormholes however:

  • On the K-space side the wormhole is marked by a beacon called "Unidentified Wormhole" and is thus visible on the default overview.
  • On the wormhole side the connections carry the usual K162 designation after being opened, but are deadspaced, so you will land at an 80km distance. Warping at range, will land you that distance from the 80km warp in point. This can land you closer or farther away from the Drifter wormhole if the wormhole is aligned with or agaisnt the warp in direction.
  • Drifter battleships regularly visit the k-space side of these connections and will attack anybody trying to approach or travel them. A cloak and/or MWD is highly recommended. The k-space beacon will decloak anyone warping at 0.
  • The k-space side connections carry unique signatures that are related to the type of wormhole:
Drifter System Name K-space signature J-Type System Effect
Vidette V928 J164710 Magnetar
Redoubt R259 J174618 Wolf-Rayet
Sentinel S877 J055520 Red Giant
Barbican B735 J110145 Cataclysmic Variable
Conflux C414 J200727 Pulsar

Drifter Statics

All five Drifter wormholes have 6 static wormhole connections to each of the C1-6 types of J-space. These wormholes are: Z647, D382, O477, Y683, N062, and R474. Unlike the Drifter wormholes, these holes are not deadspaced and function identically to similarly named wormholes in other parts of J-space. No Drifters spawn or visit these holes (The high class wormhole roaming Drifter will be able to warp to the incoming connection on the other side).

Combat Anomalies

Each Drifter wormhole contains five unique combat anomalies. They are visited and defended by regular Drifter patrols. More detailed information is available via Drifter Hive Systems Anomalies (pdf). All listed wormholes are of the violent type and not passable.

Vidette Ship Graveyard Sleeper Engineering Station Spatial Rift Sleeper Enclave in Coral Rock Crystals and Stone Circle
Redoubt Ship Graveyard Caged Wormhole Spatial Rift Generator Sleeper Enclave Hollow Asteroid
Sentinel Monolith Wormhole in Rock Circle Opposing Spatial Rifts Sleeper Enclave Debris Crystal Resource
Barbican Wrecked Ships Unstable Wormhole Spatial Rift Heavily Guarded Spatial Rift Crystals
Conflux Monolith Caged Wormhole Rock Formation and Wormhole Particle Acceleration Array Guarded Asteroid Station

Hive Sites

Drifter Hive and support installations close to a shattered planet in a Redoubt wormhole.

All Drifter wormholes contain a huge Drifter Hive protected by a sequence of deadspace pockets and connected via acceleration gates and warpable Rifts. The layout of these sites is slightly different in each of the 5 different Drifter wormholes, but the main rooms are the same. The entrance appears as a beacon on the overview under the name of the site, e.g. "Conflux".

Drifter Nexus: hundreds of huge bars with sparks flying between them. Their configuration has changed from a "sea urchin" to an S-shape since their first appearance months ago. An enormous semi-transparent blue sphere encompasses them all.
  1. Entrance: Contains warp-in beacon. Warp at range is possible. The beacon is 50-80km from the acceleration gate.
  2. Lobby or Split: Contains two acceleration gates plus a warpable rift that leads back to the Entrance. Is protected by 5 Emergent Patrollers (sleepers). The acceleration gates lead to a number of Transfer and Access rooms whose layout depends on the specific system.
  3. Antechamber or Antichamber: Contains the gate to the final room, the Hive. Protected by various sleeper ships up to battleship size and webbing sleeper frigates.
  4. Hive: Contains the main hive structure. Protected by Hikanta Tyrannos (at 250-400km and aggros on warp in, moves at ~2km/s) plus sleepers up to battleship size. Contains Vault (access with index in hold to get 10 elements). Nexus Transfer gate leads to Nexus room.
  5. Nexus: A giant cluster made up of hundreds of "bars" engulfed by a huge blue sphere. The shape of the bar cluster is changing over time. It started spherical like a sea urchin and currently has an s-shape.

Additionally there are rooms that depend on the specific site:

  • Access Alpha etc: Contains access units - hackable by data analyzer - named according to the gate: Alpha, Beta, etc; up to Gamma depending on specific system. Protected by sleepers.
  • Transfer Alpha etc: Contains no specific installations. Protected by sleepers.

A detailed Drifter Site Overview (pdf) lists the rooms in their original state. Since then the parallel hacking that was required has been dropped.

Drifter Incursions

For a while there were also Drifter Incursions into high sec systems. Multiple Drifter battleships decimated Amarr navy task forces and some capsuleers engaged the Drifters as well.

Drifters in C5 and C6 wormholes

Arithmos Tyrannos, also known as the Drifter Response Battleship, spawns at end of sleeper site escalations in C5 and C6 wormholes. He needs to be pointed (with at least 4 points of scramble strength) to keep him from warping away and his ship contains most of the value of the escalation. Arithmos Tyrannos does not use a doomsday weapon but has a lot of HP and heavy energy neutralizing. In the past, Arithmos Tyrannos was commonly killed by luring him into attacking an anti-capital fit Astrahus, however as of early 2020 this strategy is no longer viable as his targeting priorities were updated. However, his extremely large signature radius leaves him vulnerable to other anti-capital weaponry.

EVE forum post from CCP Fozzie, announcing Arithmos Tyrannos

Related links

Below are links to related pages about Drifters. The IKAME research reports are highly detailed but note their date as there may have been changes in Drifter behavior and sites since then.


Drifter Battleship concept art.
Unidentified Structure concept art.