Ratting

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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. A rat's bounty is tied to its ship class, and closely tracks with its expected difficulty.

Since combat sites can be found by probing, ratting shares a small overlap with exploration, and ratters can benefit greatly by having a ship capable of scanning down signatures.

Belt ratting

Belt ratting is the act of going from asteroid belt to asteroid belt, killing the pirate NPC ships that are found there, and then going on to the next asteroid belt and doing the same there. This is done to collect the bounty and loot, as well as to get rare faction or capital NPC spawns.

Picking a system

There are several factors to bear in mind when selecting a system for belt ratting.

Security Level

Ratting in asteroid belts is greatly affected by the "true-sec" of the system. Both the size of the bounties and the chance of rare spawns are affected by this, with lower true-sec giving better bounties and higher chance of rare spawns. One factor in choosing a system to rat in is therefore the system's true-sec.

A complicating factor, however, is the game's dynamic bounty mechanic (see below).

Number of asteroid belts

Rats in asteroid belts respawn after about 20 minutes, so you also want a system with enough belts.

Belt ratting strategies

Short guide to chaining belts.

There are two main strategies for belt-ratting, clearing and chaining. Each has its own positives and drawbacks.

Clearing

Clearing is just what it sounds like: kill (or clear) all rats in a belt, and move on. Clearing is best if you can only play for a short amount of time, but may disrupt other players in the area who may be chaining belts.

Chaining

Chaining refers to killing battleships but not the other rats in the same spawn, prompting more battleships to appear. Chaining the belts gives more ISK over time, though it might not generate as much ISK in a short ratting session.

When you partly destroy a group of NPC rats and then leave the belt, the whole group will respawn. This means that you can keep killing battleships over and over for their high bounty. Kill only the rat battleships and leave the smaller ships. If there is a spawn without battleships, kill all of the rats to "re-roll" that particular spawn to hope for a new spawn including battleships. The aim of chaining is to have all spawns in the asteroid belts contain the battleship rat groups and thus significantly increasing both bounty and loot.

Security status grinding
Main article: Repairing security status

A subset of chaining is grinding for security status. Here your goal is to kill the highest value (by bounty) in the system, and then move to another system and repeat. After 5 minutes, you can return to the original system and start the process over.

Rare spawns

Hauler spawns

NPC hauler ships can occasionally spawn in belts. They can carry up to 100M ISK worth of ores. Note that these can be easily confused with mining fleet haulers (see below), which do not carry any ore. Because of the large amount of ore dropped, be prepared to bring your own hauler in to handle the loot, as well as bookmark the loot can for easy return.

Mining fleet

Main article: NPC Mining Operations

Local NPC rats will occasionally send out mining fleets to support their economy. These fleets can be identified from normal rats with "♦" in front of their name. They can be attacked and killed, primarily for the loot. If attacked, a response fleet will warp in, designed to tackle you, dampen your sensors, heal the damage you deal, and kill you, while the mining fleet warps off to a deadspace safe (which can be scanned down with combat probes). Killing the initial mining fleet can reward Faction Module BPCs, Faction Drone BPCs, and certain Faction skins. The response fleet rewards no loot.

Officer spawns

Officer spawns are some of the rarest spawns in the game (colloquially cited as 'one in a million'), and some of the toughest to solo. It is highly recommended to bring a capital ship to kill them. When killed, the officer will always drop a dog tag named for the officer killed, some faction ammo, and a large number of faction officer modules (anywhere from 4 to 8). The wreck also has a chance to drop a faction implant and anywhere from zero to more than 3 officer modules.

Commander spawns

Main article: NPC naming conventions

Commander ships inflict more damage and have better range than other rats of a similar class. Commanders tend to be rare spawns, and can also carry Faction Items as loot.

Commander ships are always prefixed with the following titles:

  • Domination Angel Cartel
  • Dark Blood Raider
  • Dread Guristas
  • True Sansha's Nation
  • Shadow Serpentis
  • Sentient Rogue Drone

Capital spawns

Rarely, a capital ship will spawn. They will be named one of three ways, and carry the following bounties:

  • <Faction> Dreadnought/Carrier - 60,000,000 ISK
  • <Commander title> <Faction> Dreadnought/Carrier - 120,000,000 ISK
  • <Commander title> <Faction> Titan/Supercarrier - 240,000,000 ISK

If you encounter a capital spawn, you should warp out immediately! These ships are very powerful and quickly dispose of a regular ratting ship. Grab some friends to go kill it instead.

Fits to combat capital spawns must contain multiple scams, or they will warp away. Capital spawns also come with number of regular cruisers as a screening fleet, and should be dealt with before the capital spawn proper.

It is recommended to salvage the capital wrecks.

Ratting in combat sites

Main article: Guide to combat sites
Main article: Combat sites
The scanner window, with a combat Anomaly and a combat signature halfway scanned down.

Combat sites are randomly spawned locations inside a system where pilots can fight NPCs. These sites can be divided into anomalies, signatures, escalations and static complexes.

  • Cosmic anomalies:
    • Visible in probe window without scanner
    • The easiest of the bunch
    • Low chance to either spawn Commander rats or Dreadnought capital rats (like in belts)
    • Can escalate into DED sites or Expeditions
  • Cosmic signatures:
    • Can either be gotten as an escalation from clearing an combat anomaly, or be found in system (where it needs to be scanned down with probes)
    • Unrated Complexes have moderate chances for faction spawn and low chance to escalate into a new combat site
    • DED combat sites have guaranteed faction spawns that can drop DED modules and can under some circumstances escalate into a new DED site
  • Expeditions:
    • Escalates from anomalies and unrated signatures
    • And as such cannot be found, but must be gotten from other combat sites
    • They usually consist of many parts, and expeditions can escalation into new expeditions in new systems

The system security (not true-sec) determines the level of the sites that spawn, while the region determines what pirate faction sites spawn.


It is recommended to focus on the following null-sec combat anomalies for the best ISK/h due to high number of battleships or the possibility to escalate to lucrative DED-rated sites:

  • <Faction> Forsaken Rally Point
  • <Faction> Forsaken Hub
  • <Faction> Haven
  • <Faction> Sanctum

Rogue drone combat sites are generally not worth running compared to other combat sites or belt-ratting.

Unrated combat sites, DED combat sites, and Expeditions are generally more challenging and need preparations or to be done in a group, but also offer higher rewards. It is important to know that while higher classes of combat anomalies mean harder combat, the difficulty of Unrated Complexes, DED Complexes or Expeditions does not 100% correlate with their class.

Tips

Combat anomalies consist of one ungated pocket, with the first wave of rats already present and more spawning in waves when previous ships get destroyed. To avoid being overrun, you should look up the wave trigger, and kill the trigger ship last.

Once you enter a combat anomaly, burn away from the warp-in and make sure that you don't fly directly towards the rats, as this makes you far to easy to kill. Once you have gained some distance from the warp-in, drop down a Mobile Tractor Unit (MTU) and orbit it at about 20 km. The reason to get away from the warp-in, is so you aren't too close to it if hostile players warps to it. The MTU is not a must, but it makes looting and potential salvaging far easier. Just remember to bookmark it in case you have to warp off.

Combat signatures and Expeditions are far more varied, and it is therefore harder to provide general advice. They usually consists of multiple gated deadspace pockets. This means that hostile players cannot warp directly to you, but have to scan you down with combat probes and take the gates to reach you. This makes you far harder to catch while running the site.

The higher difficulty of combat sites means that you want better ships than for regular belt ratting. Consider flying more advanced ships such as the Gila or Ishtar.

Building for target NPCs

Main article: NPC damage types

Just like player ships, NPCs have different resistances for different damage types. However, NPCs tend to ignore the native resistance conventions of shields and armor, and instead have damage resistances which are specific to their faction. If you are running missions or ratting, it is helpful to know towards which damage the NPCs are weak and what damage they deal. This way you can can fit your ship accordingly and maximize your effectiveness against your chosen targets. You can see the resistances and damage types dealt in the attribute tab of an NPC if you open its info window.

In general, all NPCs from a certain faction have similar damage profiles, making them much more predictable than player ships. Additionally, each faction only uses particular types of electronic warfare; this is also noted in the table below. Ship fitting tools like PYFA can simulate combat against rats of different factions, giving you even more fine-grained control over your fit. Please note that a few special NPCs don't follow the pattern of their faction.

Faction Weaknesses Damage types dealt Electronic Warfare
Angel Cartel Explosive / Kinetic Explosive (62%) / Kinetic (22%) Target Painters
Blood Raiders EM / Thermal EM (50%) / Thermal (48%) Energy Neutralizers, Tracking Disruptors
Guristas Pirates Kinetic / Thermal Kinetic (79%) / Thermal (18%) ECM
Mordu's Legion Kinetic / EM [1] Kinetic (70%) / Thermal (30%)
Rogue Drones EM/Thermal (varies) [2]
Sansha's Nation
(missions / anomalies)
EM / Thermal EM (53%) / Thermal (47%) Tracking Disruptors
Serpentis Kinetic / Thermal Thermal (55%) / Kinetic (45%) Sensor Dampeners
CONCORD [3] Kinetic / Thermal (Omni) [4]"
Equilibrium of Mankind Kinetic[5] Kinetic (74%) / Thermal (26%)
Khanid Kingdom EM / Thermal Thermal / EM
Mercenaries Kinetic / Thermal Kinetic / Thermal
Sleepers (Omni) [4] (Omni) [4] Energy Neutralizers
Sansha's Nation
(incursions)
(Omni) [4] (Omni) [4] (all)
Triglavian Collective
(abyss)
Explosive / Thermal [6] Thermal (60%) / Explosive (40%) (all except ECM)
Triglavian Collective
(invasions)
Explosive / Thermal (Omni) [4] (all except ECM)
Amarr Empire EM / Thermal EM (47%) / Thermal (42%) Energy Neutralizers, Tracking Disruptors
Caldari State Kinetic / Thermal Kinetic (51%) / Thermal (48%) ECM
Gallente Federation Kinetic / Thermal Kinetic (60%) / Thermal (39%) Sensor Dampeners
Minmatar Republic Explosive / Kinetic Explosive (50%) / Kinetic (31%) Target Painters
Amarr Empire (EDENCOM) Thermal / EM EM (58%) / Thermal (42%) Energy Neutralizers, Tracking Disruptors
Caldari State (EDENCOM) EM / Explosive EM (51%) / Explosive (44%) ECM
Gallente Federation (EDENCOM) EM / Explosive Kinetic (58%) / Thermal (42%) Sensor Dampeners
Minmatar Republic (EDENCOM) Kinetic / Explosive (Omni) [4] Target Painters
  1. ^ Kinetic damage is best, EM and thermal are both ~75% as effective as kinetic but EM is better against shields and Mordu's ships have active shields so it is better overall. EMP is best projectiles to use.
  2. ^ Rogue Drones have a tendency to vary wildly in what damage type they deal and are vulnerable to. Low-level missions seem to lean towards EM/Thermal while high-level missions lean towards Explosive/Kinetic. Consult mission reports about the specific mission or exploration site before undocking.
  3. ^ This refers to CONCORD enemies found in certain missions (particularly in low- and null-sec). CONCORD ships patrolling high-sec are invincible, so the damage types they do is not relevant.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g "(Omni)" means that the ships do all damage types equally, or are equally vulnerable to all damage types.
  5. ^ Em/Th approx 75% as effective as kinetic. Explosive around 60% compared to kinetic. EMP the best projectile ammo
  6. ^ Unless in an Electrical or Exotic filament, in which case use EM or Kinetic respectively


Bounties

Most rats have an associated bounty tied to them. This value is static, based on the type of ship (as opposed to the class). For example, an Angel Hijaker (a frigate) will always have a bounty of 4,000 ISK, while an Angel Ambusher (also a frigate) will always have a bounty of 10,000 ISK.

Bounty pay-outs in a system are affected by the Dynamic Bounty System. Player deaths in a system increase that system's Bounty Risk Modifier, which acts as a multiplier on the base bounty rate for NPC kills in that system. NPC kills slowly cause that modifier to fall. Over time, the modifier will drift towards a equilibrium rate.

Bounties are not paid out immediately, but are instead paid out every 20 minutes. This timer starts once you kill your first rat of a session. Any rats killed within that 20 minute window will pay out after the 20 minute window has expired. Any rats killed at T+21 to T+40 will pay out in the next window, and so on. If you do not kill any rats in 20 minutes, your timer is reset.

Bounties are split between anyone on grid and in fleet with you. In instances where multiple players not in the same fleet are killing rats, only the player (or fleet) that lands the killing blow is awarded the bounty.

See also

Ratting at NSC