Drifter Update: IncursionsGeneral Stargazer
Drifter incursions are coming! (…soon tm, read the statement by CCP -ed)
It’s now confirmed that Drifter incursions are definitely a “thing” that will be introduced with the Galatea Patch.
Testing on SiSi this time ‘round hasn’t been successful; hopefully, this article will give you a bit more information so you don’t waste time doing things we’ve already tried!
Firstly: How do I find them?
While Drifter Incursions are technically dubbed “Defence of the Throne Worlds”, they aren’t exclusive to the Amarr Throne Worlds, per se. As with previous incursions, if you open up the Journal, instead of seeing the Faction/Alliance icon for the area the Drifters are invading, you now see a “Sansha’s Nation” or “Drifters” symbol (which looks like the three “s” for those not paying attention). An example:
For now, they’ve only been seen in Amarr space on SiSi, but they aren’t exclusive to highsec. They’ve also been spotted in low security space (as seen in the picture above).
In addition, the staging systems are also three systems wide now.
I know where they are, what else should I know?
Let’s be honest here. The current “blinged out” fittings aren’t worth the risk. While people have been coming up with fits that can survive the Doomsday, what’s not taken into account is:
- Drifter behaviour has adapted again. Drifters encountered a titan, they give the titan a big “screw this” and fire their doomsday without any warning. I fear that if the Drifters now encounter a target that’s capable of resisting them successfully (i.e. a blinged out ship), they will immediately doomsday it straight off the grid.
- Surviving the doomsday with bling is great, but the alpha from just five Drifters attacking the same target is enough to give you a bit of a shock. In these incursions, five Drifters are the minimum you will encounter at any one time; so your tank calculations have to take into account both surviving the doomsday and the alpha of at least five Drifters as well. Raw stat/unmitigated damage of the Lux Kontos/conventional weapon-wise works out to just shy of 1280 DPS of omni damage and attack once every five seconds. That’s 6400 damage per Drifter per salvo. With five Drifters all shooting you simultaneously, we now have 32,000 damage before resistances. Even with 80% omni resistances that’s still 6400 damage per salvo. These are turreted weapons—they do track, and they dont always land perfect shots.
- System Effects. Like normal incursions, when the Drifters are attacking a system, there are penalties in effect in the system. These are, shield and armor resistances lowered by 20%, a speed reduction of 10%, and “Turret, Launcher, Drone and Smartbomb damage reduction”—with the latter reduction I didn’t notice any penalties to DPS on SiSi, it may just have been yet to be implemented.
- Keep calm and carry on! For now, in the incursion systems, Drifters do gate camp, as do the Amarr Navy NPCs in all security of space. Invariably, if the “Roaming Amarr Navy” NPC ships are on a gate with the Drifters, they will fight each other. Neither of which will (currently) engage you unless you engage first.In all honesty, I would ignore these gate camping Drifters altogether, as i’ve noticed killing them doesn’t appear to contribute to repelling the incursion from the system.
So what did you use in the sites?
The only thing really that we’ve noticed recently that the Drifters do behavioural-wise is they do focus fire. (Whereas during one of the previous Sarum Prime attacks, they targeted independently.) If you’re in the largest Drifter site—13 battleships—all 13 battleships will try and scramble the same target, they will all focus fire on that target. One of the strategies we had limited success with was—don’t laugh—with a fleet of eight spider tanking Nestors. With a full rack of cap rechargers and remote reps, we were able to move as a unit inside one of the sites—more on this later. Take note: We observed the Drifter targeting behaviour. They’d focus a single target and if they couldn’t kill it within say 30 seconds, they’d then switch the scram to a new target and open fire.
As they do focus fire, that means in a fleet of small ships, while it was likely they would be volleyed off the field every five seconds, it would take them 150 seconds to kill 30. By this time, we would have killed at least one and reduced the shield down on a second. In my opinion, the most effective option is just throwing lots of cheap high DPS ships at them (such as destroyers). The largest sites have 13 Drifters in them and the Journal recommends about 30 people for these. Completing these sites awards a total of 900m (plus some Amarr LP) for a fleet of 30—so 30m’ish per pilot. The only condition for completing these successfully, would be killing the Drifters while taking losses less than 30m per person. The average price for a high DPS destroyer is around 2m—that’s 15 ships per person. Even if you lost 13 ships against 13 Drifters you’d end up making a whopping 4m and 30,000 Amarr LP.
In the interest of completeness I’ll include one of the fits i haven’t personally tested but i’ve seen it function before . It’s possible to kite the Drifters around. If you can out microwarpdrive the Drifters (3500m/s) and get over 200km away, their guns have a very hard time tracking you, and if you can get 500km away, they will drop their scram. (Yes I know it’s further than the 250km locking rule that we are restricted to.) Some of the sites have destructible objectives in them; you can essentially pull the Drifters away from the site, then fly back towards the site and kill them. The ship used in this strat was a Cerberus fit up as follows: Reactor controls fill the lows, damage rigs, 2x sensor boosters, cap rechargers and a 500mn MWD, then heavy launchers top. Credit to the pilot Ciniel for this fit/idea.
If you’ve found something that works for you, I’d love to hear about it.
What’s in the sites?
At the time of writing, there are three stages of difficulty across two different varieties of sites. One site is assisting the Amarr Navy forces engaging the Drifters—I will refer to these as Defensive sites.The other is unassisted straight up attacks on Drifter incoming wormholes and rifts—referred to as Offensive sites.
In order of difficulty they go:
Defensive sites—Enter these via a Large Acceleration gate.
Amarr Outpost—(Approx) five Drifters (I suspect this was six).
Amarr Encampment—(Approx) six Drifters (I suspect this was eight).
Amarr Battalion—(Approx) 11 Drifters (I suspect this was 13).
Offensive Sites—Enter these via a spacial rift (Same as the ones seen in the unidentified wormholes).
Moderate Influx—Contains six Drifter battleships
Severe Inlux—Contains eight Drifter battleships (2x Unstable Signal Disruptors)
Critical Influx—Contains 13 Drifter battleships (4x Unstable Signal Disruptors)
The number of Drifters in the Defensive sites I list as approximate: If you leave the Drifters to just decimate the Amarr Navy numbers, the remaining number of Drifters left is what’s listed.
From what I’ve experienced, in the Defensive sites and the Moderate Influx, the only thing required to win the site is to kill all the Drifters.
In the Severe and Critical Influx, you must destroy the Unstable Signal Disruptors to deactivate the rifts in the site—which we believe are reinforcing the Drifter numbers—and kill the Drifters in the site.
In the Amarr defensive sites, the Navy does reinforce its numbers during combat as well, but it does eventually just die out.
Why should i do these Incursions?
To help the Amarrians fight back after the loss of their Empress!
No, really, RP reasons aside. Reward for the sites’ completion are varying amounts of ISK and Amarr LP.
Be forewarned: If you decide to ignore them and they are in your space, unlike normal incursions, these will grow and continue to grow until you start completing them. What do I mean by “grow”? They spread from one system to the next until someone opposes them!
On the picture linked at the beginning, you can see they’ve already spread from the three staging systems to one other system after only one day. (We think that’s the standard growth—one system per day.)
Minor note: No Caps—ship restrictions in lowsec
I wish you all the best of luck, and would really appreciate hearing how you get on with the sites. Leave a comment below, drop me a mail in-game, or hit me up on Slack or Twitter.