Ratting 101

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Class Information

This is a syllabus for a class provided by EVE University. This section contains information about this class and its contents. General Information includes materials to create a proper class listing on the EVE University forum. Additional resources and teaching tips are listed under Notes for the Teacher.

General Information

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Ratting 101

New Eden is full of (non-player) pirates - more generally known as "rats" to capsuleers. Hunting rats is a popular activity for pilots who want more fun and profit, especially in low-sec and null-sec space, where the rats tend to grow to unusual size (and therefore, are more challenging and lucrative to destroy).

In this class, we'll explore techniques and practices for hunting rats effectively.

  • Course title: Ratting 101: Hunting NPC Pirates Effectively
  • Duration: About 60 minutes, depending on Q&A duration
  • Location: Docked up safely in a station anywhere

Student requirements:

  • Mumble registration and access - make sure you have Mumble sorted out and operational well before the class begins. Use this guide for set-up: http://wiki.eveuniversity.org/Mumble
  • Access to the Class.E-UNI in-game chat channel

Questions? Ask in this thread.

Notes for the Teacher

Required materials:

Class Contents


Welcome to this introductory class on hunting non-player character (NPC) pirates, also generally known as "ratting"!

Many EVE players enjoy earning ISK in the game through combat with non-player enemies. This is typically done through missions, which are provided by agents found in stations throughout New Eden. You have to develop higher levels of standings with different non-player factions and corporations in order to gain access to harder and more lucrative missions, however.

An alternative way to make ISK in EVE through PvE (i.e., Player vs. Environment) combat is by hunting NPC pirates, or "ratting". You do not need to develop any standings with factions or corporations to gain access to rats, as they appear spontaneously, also known as "spawning", in asteroid belts and anomalies found in systems.

Over the next hour, we shall cover some of the basics in ratting effectively, and provide some tips for doing it profitably.

(Instructor should then introduce himself or herself - covering relevant experience level and background.)

We have a few ground rules for this class:

  • Please put your Mumble settings on "Push to Talk" if you have not already done so.
  • Feel free to type any questions in the Class.E-UNI chat channel as we proceed - I will try to answer your questions as they come during the class.
  • You should be docked up safely for this class. Please don't get distracted and get blown up out there!

Everyone ready? OK, then - let's begin....

What is ratting?

  • Ratting is the hunting and killing of NPC pirates, which can appear in asteroid belts and cosmic anomalies, and also near to gates in nullsec space. Players receive bounty payments for killing rats. The amount of the bounty is based on the difficulty of killing the rat. Battleship rats pay more than cruiser rats, for instance.
  • Where do you find rats?
    • The likelihood that rats appear in a system is chance based, and is dependent upon two factors: the security level, and the number of available spawning locations. The value of the rats is dependent (mostly) on the true security level of a system.
    • Rats are easiest to find in asteroid belts. Just warp to a belt, and see if any rats have spawned there.
    • Any player can also use the on-board scanner to search for cosmic anomalies. To do this, fly to a planet, open the scanner window, select the System Scanner tab. In the bottom half of the window, under "Scan Results", make sure your Scan Result Filter is set to "Show all". Click the Analyze button, and any results will be displayed in the results window. The range of the on-board scanner is 4 AU, and anomalies can spawn anywhere within 4 AU of a planet. (Note that you can also use scanner probes to find cosmic anomalies, if you have the equipment and skills to use them.)
      • Cosmic anomalies http://wiki.eveuniversity.org/Cosmic_Anomalies are rated by difficulty from 1 to 10, and are always named as follows:
        • 1. (Faction) Burrow / Drone Collection (easiest)
        • 2. (Faction) Hideaway / Drone Cluster
        • 3. (Faction) Refuge / Drone Assembly
        • 4. (Faction) Den / Drone Gathering
        • 5. (Faction) Yard / Drone Surveillance
        • 6. (Faction) Rally Point / Drone Menagerie
        • 7. (Faction) Port / Drone Herd
        • 8. (Faction) Hub / Drone Squad
        • 9. (Faction) Haven / Drone Patrol
        • 10. (Faction) Sanctum / Drone Horde (hardest)
    • In nullsec and lowsec space, you will sometimes find rats lurking around gates and stations. Also, rat spawns can occur on player grids in random space (e.g. a capsuleer at a random safespot), given enough time AND if the grid is occupied by a player.
  • High sec ratting
    • 1.0 and 0.9 security levels are too high for rats - you won't find any there. So, don't rat in Jita (0.9) because you'll never find targets there. You need to go to 0.8 space or below in order to find rats. The lower the security rating of the system, the more likely you will find rats spawning there.
    • In high sec, you will rarely, if ever, see any rats in anything bigger than a frigate. Therefore, the best ship to rat in is a fast frigate, or in a destroyer. Light scout drones are also useful for ratting in high sec, so a drone cruiser like an Arbitrator or Vexor can work well if you have good drone skills. Ratting in high sec space in a battlecruiser or battleship is not recommended, as the larger guns won't be able to track any speedy frigate-sized rats that get in close to you.
    • To maximize your income from high sec ratting, remember that more asteroid belts mean more chances for rat spawns. Also, more planets spread over a larger system means more opportunities for cosmic anomalies. So a large 0.5 system with 15-20 belts and a dozen planets or more would be your best bet in high sec for ratting, though you won't make much more ISK per hour than what you'd make running level 2 missions repeatedly.
  • Low sec ratting
    • Once you get into 0.4 space and below, bounties for rats go up substantially. In 0.1 space they are about 235K ISK each, and you will see mostly cruiser and battlecruiser size targets as well as some battleships, in addition to frigates.
    • Your biggest danger in low-sec and null-sec space does not come from rats, but from other players who may shoot you there, without fear of the CONCORD police force. Therefore, it is good to rat in low-sec space only if you have some experience in PvP (player-versus-player) combat, with suitable skills and a PvP-fitted ship. Watch Local for potential enemies entering your system, and conduct directional scans frequently. A few friends with you to provide more firepower and cover, and perhaps some covert ops scouting, also helps keep the risks of attack from player pirates more reasonable.
    • In low sec, you are better off scanning for anomalies and searching for rats there, as that will be at least slightly harder to find by player pirates, as they will need to conduct the same scans to find you.
    • With the right precautions, you can make as much ISK per hour ratting in low sec space as from running level 3 missions. However, if you do this as a team, you will likely split the proceeds, reducing your individual incomes.
    • A specialty of low sec is that you will find clone soldier rats in the belts. These are tough rats that have higher bounties and are guaranteed to drop one of four different Clone Soldier Tags aka Security tags. They are worth between about 1M and 17M ISK on the market as they can be used to increase security status. Again the most valuable tags will drop in lower sec systems.
    • Another low sec specialty are Mordus Legion rats. These are rare spawns that drop their respective BPCs (Garmur, Orthrus, Barghest) but are very tough. They warp scramble, do high damage and have significant active tanks. They almost seem to be designed as a trap for the typical low sec ratting destroyer. The Barghest requires about 800 dps to break.
  • Null sec ratting
    • In null sec space, you'll normally see Battleship class rats with bounties ranging from 500k to 1.85 million ISK. This means that ratting in some 0.0 systems is as lucrative, if not more, than running level 4 missions.
    • The most effective systems to rat in nullsec space are those with true security ratings between -1.0 and about -0.7, which is also where you see Morphite (the red crystals) in asteroid belts. These systems are where you'll find spawns of two or three battleship sized rats worth 1.85M ISK. These are also the hardest rats to kill - and they can deal a respectable amount of damage. Some will also web you or warp scramble you, which can make you very vulnerable to any player who decides to take advantage of your situation and pop you.
    • All of the advice for ratting in low sec applies here: watch Local, use D-scan, fly with friends to provide more cover and intelligence if you can. However, ratting in claimable nullsec space can be much safer than doing it in low sec space, if you belong to an alliance that has sovereignty in that system. This doesn't eliminate all risk, of course, but it does provide a fair measure of protection.
    • You'll also come across special spawns in nullsec, especially in the -1.0 to -0.7 true security systems. These spawns are commonly called "Hauler" spawns, "Commander" spawns (sometimes referred to as "faction spawns") and "Officer" spawns.
      • Hauler spawns - these spawns are industrial ships (Badger, Iteron, Bestower, Mammoth, etc.) belonging to a pirate faction. The lowest hauler spawns start at 250K ISK bounties and drop tritanium or pyerite (usually about 1 million units). 500K bounty rat haulers contain isogen, 750K bounty rate haulers contain noxium and isogen, and 1m ISK bounty rat haulers contain zydrine.
      • NPC Mining Operations - NPC mining operations are mining fleets formed by NPC corporations in order to mine nearby asteroid fields to support their industry. They can be attacked and killed for their drops. If attacked they will call in a response fleet to destroy the aggressor. The loot are gotten in haulers that are part of the mining fleet, and the rewards are faction BPCs, faction modules and skins.
      • Commander spawns - these are like ordinary rats, but their bounties are much higher. For example, a Dread Guristas Usurper or Domination Saint battleship will have a bounty of about 15 million ISK. Commander spawns can also drop highly valuable loot, like a rare pirate faction item worth many millions in the market. Commander rats are tougher than normal rats, but should pose little problem to a capsuleer flying the same ship size as them. If you encounter one of these spawns, go after the commander ship first. If you kill any escorts (usually just normal rat ships) first, the commander will run away to another belt or a stargate, and you may lose it to another player. Salvaging a commander wreck also gives you more valuable salvage components than normal, too. You will find commander spawns in the "home" region of the pirate faction, as follows:
        • Guristas - Dread Guristas - Venal Region
        • Sansha's Nation - True Sansha - Stain Region
        • Blood Raider - Dark Blood - Delve Region
        • Serpentis - Shadow Serpentis - Fountain Region
        • Angel Cartel - Domination - Curse Region
      • Officer spawns - These are by far the most rare and most valuable of rats. Officers should be handled with care; they have strong tanks and can easily destroy an unprepared capsuleer. The bounties are around 30 million each and the salvage is very lucrative. Most importantly, they drop "officer modules" which are extremely valuable. For example, one of the most prized modules in the game is Estamel's Modified Multispectrum Shield Hardener http://games.chruker.dk/eve_online/item.php?type_id=14767 - which grants 50% shield resists to all damage types, and which can sell for billions of ISK in the market. Officer spawns appear in their home region, or in any region where their faction normally appears, but *only* in systems with -0.8 or below true security rating:
        • Guristas/Pithi/Dread Guristas - Venal - Officers: Estamel, Vepas, Thon, Kaikka
        • Sanshas/Centi/True Sansha - Stain - Officers: Chelm, Vizan, Selynne, Brokara
        • Blood/Corpi/Dark Blood - Delve - Officers: Draclira, Ahremen, Raysere, Tairei
        • Serpentis/Coreli/Shadow - Fountain - Officers: Cormack, Setele, Tuvan, Brynn
        • Angels/Gisti/Domination - Curse - Officers: Tobias, Gotan, Hakim, Mizuro

Maximizing profits from ratting

  • Like missioning, ratting takes time. To maximize your earnings, you want to do as much damage as possible in the shortest amount of time possible. And so, like missions, you should fit weapons on your ship that are effective against the rats' native resistances. You can use the Ombey maps mentioned previously to tell you what kind of rats to expect in a region.
  • Here are the damage types that each kind of rat is most vulnerable to:
    • Guristas: Kinetic then Thermal damage
    • Blood Raider: EM then Thermal damage
    • Sanshas Nation: EM then Thermal damage
    • Serpentis: Kinetic then Thermal damage
    • Angel Cartel: Explosive then Kinetic damage
  • These are also the resistances you should be fitting on your ship as well. Note that some of the more difficult rats, especially Angel Cartel ones, will occasionally throw in a different type of damage, but if you stick to the aforementioned formula, your tank should be fine.
  • This means that Amarr ships with lasers will have a hard time damaging Guristas or Serpentis rats because they have relatively high resistances against Thermal and especially EM weapons. The same can be said of Gallente ships using hybrid guns in Blood Raider or Sansha space. However, ships with large drone bays can adjust their damage types more easily, as can missile boats - a definite advantage for most Caldari ships like the Raven, which is popular with nullsec ratters.
  • Chaining rat spawns
    • Chaining refers to finding a higher value rat spawn and killing off the battleships. After 20 minutes, if you've left the smaller support ships alone, some new battleships will appear (note that they may be of different value than the previous battleships - a change as of Crucible 1.5). If you select a system with a dozen asteroid belts and a -1.0 to -0.7 true security rating, you'll likely have between 3 or 4 spawns of rats operating in that system. You can fly between the different spawns, killing the replacement battleships, and maximize your income. If there are others in the system ratting as well, you can tell them in Local what you are doing, and request they leave the support ships alone so that they'll chain properly. Every hour or so, a group of rats will spawn in another belt in the system, so you'll have to locate them again to start the chain anew.
    • The vulnerability in this plan is rats may warp scramble you in nullsec, which puts you in the position of having to kill or ECM jam the scrambling frigate rats. It is safer to simply kill them and then move on to the next spawn in your chain.
  • Getting more commander and officer spawns
    • As an alternative to chaining, you can decide instead to kill off groups of rats completely. There is a good reason to do this: when you kill a lower value spawn of rats, it tends to be replaced with a slightly better spawn, until you reach the maximum value spawn possible in your system due to its security status, and then the cycle begins again with the lowest value rats spawning. Replacement spawns don't appear immediately, taking another 20 minutes each, and they might respawn in a different belt location. However, at the end of the cycle, there's a small chance that you'll get a commander Spawn, a hauler spawn or possibly an officer spawn.
    • Therefore, when ratting seriously in nullsec for ISK, you must decide to either chain multiple spawns and kill battleships, and never see a commander or officer spawn, or kill off entire spawns repeatedly for the small chance that a higher value spawn will appear at the end of each cycle. The more predictable route is to chain spawns and kill battleships, but if you get lucky, you could cash in big if you choose to kill entire escalating cycles of spawns in a system. It's the classic risk vs. reward decision that you find in almost every aspect of EVE.
  • If you intend to loot rat wrecks, you may want to fit your ship with a Small Tractor Beam module. Only loot valuable items, so you don't fill your cargo hold with junk. If you are running large cosmic anomalies, consider running the whole thing with your ratting ship, bookmark a wreck, then return with a dedicated salvager like the Noctis to salvage and loot, to earn ISK faster.

Myths about ratting

  • There are many misconceptions about ratting. All of these are false:
    • Mining in a belt will increase the chance of a rat appearing in that belt. (Mining has no effect on rats spawning.)
    • Leaving jetcans in a belt will increase the spawn rate of rats. (Rats don't care about cans.)
    • Shooting jetcans in a belt will increase the spawn rate of rats. (Rats don't care about cans.)
    • Leaving a rat in half-armor is required to keep the chain continuing. (Damage on support ships has no effect on battleship rats respawning.)
    • Chaining rats will lead to poorer rats in the system. (There seems to be an unlimited supply of high quality rats which are generated out of nothing.)
    • Rats do not take your sensor strength into consideration when jamming you. (They do.)
    • Destroying wrecks increase the chance of a faction spawn occurring. (Rats do not care what is in any location when they spawn.)

Class Wrap-up

  • Thanks for attending this class!
    • I would appreciate any feedback from people on how to improve the class
  • Questions?