Monthly Archives: May 2011
Welcome to the overview of Electronic Counter Measures, otherwise known as ECM
Just a brief note that there are many and varied forms of Electronic Warfare. I specialise in ECM, and the blog will focus primarily on this aspect. However I will touch in future posts on other forms of Electronic Warfare).
So back to ECM. What is ECM? Well according to a little bit of the magic of Google, this is what it means:
- ECM – Electronic Counter Measures – military action involving the use of electromagnetic energy to determine or exploit or reduce or prevent hostile use of the electromagnetic spectrum
- Electronic jamming – deliberate radiation or reflection of electromagnetic energy for the purpose of disrupting enemy use of electronic devices or systems
The same holds true in Eve, although perhaps sometimes the form of energy may be different. So more specifically from the Eve Wiki:
- Electronic Counter Meaures (usually referred to as ECMs) are modules used in Electronic Warfare to deny target lock to an enemy ship
So ECM in Eve focuses on denying the enemy target the ability to lock a ship. This prevents any targetted interaction, so any weapon or module which requires a lock (i.e. guns, warp jammers, and also other Electronic Warfare). A quick note here that some weapons do not require a lock (i.e. smart bombs and FOF missiles), and also if a target manages to get a lock and order it’s drones to attack, they will continue to attack without the lock being present.
Types of ECM
Each race has it’s own sensor type and I have a couple of ways of remembering these that work for me. One is fairly basic color coding that Eve tends to stick to throughout. The others are a bit more roleplay and ship based.
- Gravimetric: Caldari [Color: Blue] [RP: Structured, corporate, state] [Ships: Angular, 'heavy']
- Magnometric: Gallente [Color: Aqua] [RP: Integrationist, diplomatic, French] [Ships: Organic, rounded]
- RADAR: Amarr [Color: Gold] [RP: Empirical, religious, old] [Ships: Stylised, adorned]
- LADAR: Minmatar [Color: Red] [RP: Free spirited, rebellious, emancipated] [Ships: Fast, 'scrappy' designs]
So using these cues allows me to remember the sensor types based on the color if I’m looking at a piece of equipment, or by the name if I read the type. Gravimetric reminds me of the corporate, ordered way of the Caldari, and similarly their more angular and ‘heavy’ ship based designs. RADAR is an older form of technology, naturally it will be used by the older of the four races. Magnometric always reminds me of a french word and I believe the origins of the Gallente are based on the French. And of course LADAR being ‘different’ to RADAR is appropriate for the Minmatar, being diametrically opposed to the Amarr in every way
It works for me, and if you can find little hooks that help you remember it just makes it that much easier when discussing, evaluating and fitting.
How does it work?
Well, the joys of ECM are that it is (now) totally chance based. Once upon a time it used to be a certainty, but that understandably was a little overpowered. Now the formula for this is:
Jammer strength ÷ Targets Ship Sensor strength = % chance of jamming
e.g. 3 / 12 = 1 / 3 (33%)
Fairly straightforward yes? Obviously each element has a number of factors that come into play and those are what we will look at in more detail. Base strength is obtained from the jammer itself, with bonuses available from a number of sources:
- Jammer – provides the base jamming strength dependant upon the type of jammer
- Bonus Equipment – various rigs and low slot items can improve sensor strength;
- Implants – if you have the appropriate cybernetics skill, some implants will provide EW related bonuses; and,
- EW Ships – some ships have bonuses to electronic warfare. For ECM a number of Caldari ships have bonuses to ECM strength.
- Electronics Skills – the primary source, in particular signal dispersion;
The first and most important piece of kit is the jammer itself. They come in 2 varieties, racial and multispectral. Multispectrals have an equal strength against all enemy sensor types, racial are higher strength against a specific sensor type and lower against all others.
Various ship fittings are available in low slot, rig and gang items for the ship to provide bonuses.
Particle Dispersion Augmentor: I = +10% ECM Strength, II = +15% ECM Strength
Particle Dispersion Projector: I = +20% ECM Optimal Range, II = +25% ECM Optimal Range
Signal Disruption Amplifier: I = -20% ECM Capacitor Use, II = -25% ECM Capacitor Use
The two ‘Particle Dispersion’ rigs are ‘Electronics Superiority’ rigs and have a penalty to maximum shield strength. The ‘Signal Disruption Amplifier’ is an ‘Electronics’ rig and has no penalty.
Another rig worth noting that does not directly effect jamming is:
Ionic Field Projector: I = +25% Targeting Range, II = +30% Targeting Range
Targeting range can be critical and a balancing act with some ECM ships, in particular the Kitsune (which will be the subject of a future article, no doubt).
Information Warfare Link – Recon Operation: base +2% EWAR range (modified by relevant skills and ship bonuses)
Information Warfare Link – Electronic Superiority: base +2% ECM strength (modified by relevant skills and ship bonuses)
There are no implants to increase sensor strength, although there are implants that decrease capacitor use for jammers. Also there are a set of ‘pirate implants’ called “Centurion” which effect the EW optimal range. A full high grade Centurion set will increase EW optimal range by +33.83%. This is huge however I have never found a set on the market (so either they are not in game yet, or just incredibly rare). Implants that do exist are:
Zainou ‘Gypsy’ KOB-XX where XX = 20 (-1% capacitor need), 50 (-3% capacitor need), 75 (-5% capacitor need)
Various ships exist with bonuses to electronic warfare and generally these are by far the largest bonuses a pilot can obtain. Each race has an electronic warfare speciality, with the tendencies being Minmatar for target painting (and webifiers if you include those in EW), Gallente for Remote Sensor Dampening, Amarr for Tracking Disruptors (and Energy Neutralizers again if included as EW) and finally Caldari for ECM.
With that in mind the following Caldari ships provide ECM bonuses:
Of course the pilots skills come into play, with the following skills have direct effects on the ECM modules:
- Electronic Warfare - 5% less capacitor need to ECM Target Jammer
- Frequency Modulation - 10% bonus to falloff to ECM Target Jammer
- Long Distance Jamming - 10% bonus to optimal range to ECM Target Jammer
- Signal Dispersion - 5% bonus to strength to ECM Target Jammer
Information Warfare Links as noted above can effect ECM attributes, and the skills related to these modules are therefore relevant in this aspect.
Although not an electronics skill, it is worth noting that the ability to overheat modules can be applied to ECM modules. This provides a uniform 20% increase to ECM strength.
Targets Ship Sensor strength
Of course the other side of the jamming equation is the sensor strength of the target ship. Lets take the popular Minmatar Rupture as an example, it has a base sensor strength (in this case LADAR) of 12. This can also be modified through various means:
- Ship – well, not really but I guess you can change ships to increase sensor strength heheh.
- Equipment – ECCM modules (Electronic Counter Counter Measures) can be fitted to the medium slots of a ship to boost it’s sensor strength. They are active modules and a single ECCM can almost double the sensor strength of a ship.
- Implants – A set of pirate implants exists for each sensor type. Grail = RADAR, Jackal = LADAR, Spur = Magnometric and Talon = Gravimetric.
So if you were to attempt to Jam a Rupture with a T1 LADAR jammer (jam strength of 3) then the base chance would be as per our initial calculation, or 33%.
I am not going to go into range too much within this article, perhaps that will be in ECM102. Suffice to say that a jammer will operate at full strength out to it’s optimal range. Beyond that range it’s effectiveness reduces. At the listed falloff range it is at 50% strength and at double it’s falloff range it is at 0% strength. The ranges in between are obviously a calculation based on this falloff. For the purposes of ECM101 all jamming is occurring within optimal range.
Bringing it all together
So lets take a typical scenario, where a Blackbird is trying to jam a Thorax. The Blackbird pilot is certified “ECM Operator Standard” (Electronic Warfare II, Signal Dispersion III). An ‘ECM – Ion Field Projector I’ (Magnometric) jammer is being utilised, and the pilot has Caldari Cruiser at level III. The Blackbird also has a Signal Distortion Amplifier I in the low slots, and Particle Dispersion Augmentor I in the rig slots. Note that due to stacking penalties, the Signal Distortion Amplifier does not receive the full 5% bonus to ECM strength (the multiplier is 0.8708860).
(Jammer strength 3 x Particle Dispersion Augmentor +10% x Signal Distortion Amplifier +5% x Ship Bonus +45% x Signal Dispersion +15%) ÷ Targets Ship Sensor strength 15 = % chance of jamming
e.g. (3 x 110% x 104.35% x 145% x 115%) / 15
5.74 / 15
38% chance of jamming.
So there you go, that’s the introduction to ECM. I hope that makes sense and by all means if I have screwed up or missed something, please let me know.
Hello to you all, please allow me to take a moment to introduce myself.
Kody Gloval is a pilot in the Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG) that is Eve Online. I have played on and off since March 2004, with visits being intermittent due to finances, interstate moves and forays into other games. But somehow my roots have stayed in Eve and I always seem to be drawn back.
It was during a recent trip back that I realised what had been missing for me from Eve in the past…the massively part! I had previously played with a small group of real life friends that had drifted away from the game, and aside from that I had largely played solo. Of all the MMORPG’s I have played, Eve potentially rewards ‘groups’ (fleets) more than any other game. Whilst solo combat is certainly challenging and fun, the experience of fleet warfare (be it small gangs or massive fleets) provides the flexibility to employ specialist ships and really diversifies the experience.
So when I had this epiphany I also moved from primarily PvE to the world of PvP. It took me a long time to ‘get it’, having never been interested in PvP in any previous MMORPG. Getting used to losing ships and treating the enemy players as “very smart NPC’s” (well mostly!) helped with the transition.
I am also an avid roleplayer. I love the backstory to the game, reading the fiction, listening to the community podcasts and participating in the odd bit of roleplay. I enlisted in with Faction Warfare when it was released, seeing it as the perfect way to combine roleplay with PvP. I have been lucky enough to find a Faction Warfare corporation fighting for the Amarr Empire that also participates in the roleplay aspects of the community, and I look forward to flying more with the Knighthood of the Merciful Crown pilots.
So with all of that aside, lastly I also really enjoy electronic warfare within Eve. For some reason from very early on in Eve, I envisaged the character of Kody Glovel being an electronics expert. EW has changed a lot since the early days of Eve…as so many aspects of the game have. Sometimes it’s been hard to keep up, but the most recent incarnations seem to largely make sense and be balanced.
So with this blog I hope to explore the world of electronic warfare. Explanations of rules and concepts, fittings and experimentation with ships, and generally relaying and discussing experiences. I am also hoping that through interaction and comments from the community that I will learn more myself. I will occasionally post an in character story and see how my foray into creative writing goes!
So with the scene set, onwards we go.