ECM104-07: The Widow
ECM104 is going to be presented in multiple parts and will take a detailed look at the ECM specific ships available to the aspiring specialist including fitting options and tactics. The final ECM dedicated ship in the series is the Caldari black ops battleship, “The Widow”.
The Widow is a ‘Black Ops’ battleship. These ships are designed to operate behind enemy lines using covert cynosural field generators and covert jump portal generators. These, unlike standard cynosural fields, are not visible on the overview and as such can be utilised to launch surprise enemy attacks.
The Widow is also the largest and most powerful of the dedicated Tech 2 ECM ships. Its combat focus is apparent from the +5%/level to rate of fire and +10%/level (Caldari battleship) to velocity of torpedoes and cruise missiles. It shares the same +30%/level (Black Ops) to ECM strength as the Falcon and Rook and also has a 125% bonus per level (Black Ops) to cloaked velocity. In addition it is able to fit a covert cynosural field generator and covert jump portal generator. It also suffers no targeting delay after decloaking.
The skill requirements for a capsuleer to pilot a Widow are…as would be expected…on the high end. Caldari Battleship V and Black Ops I (in turn requiring Cloaking IV, Jump Drive Calibration IV and Spaceship Command V) are the principle pre-requisites. Consideration also needs to be given to skill requirements should covert cynosural utilisation be required.
Widows are an expensive ship and as such tend to be very selectively deployed. In standard modes of operation they tend not to provide ‘bang for buck’ and other ECM specialist ships such as the Falcon or Rook can provide the same electronic warfare capabilities for much less ISK. However the Widow does provide a substantial boost to DPS potential and also the black ops capability.
This capability and the resulting cost impact does tend to limit the utilisation of the Widow. It’s a pity that CCP have seen fit to deliver the only Tech 2 ECM battleship in this sort of role as is not optimal in general fleet or solo work.
Also the inability to fit a covert ops cloak limits its usefulness for scouting or solo hunting purposes. If the ship was able to fit this module, I believe it would be utilised more often for scouting and also solo warfare.
At this stage I should highlight that I do not have a great deal of experience piloting a Widow. This goes against my practises with this blog, where I want to write from real world experiences. However black ops is a fairly niche area and whilst I have done limited solo roaming with the Widow, I am yet to participate a black ops.
Regardless I can provide some limited guidance on a standard “Black Ops” fleet fitting and also my limited experiences with a solo fitting.
An example of a “Black Ops” fleet fitting would be:
As previously mentioned, a solo Widow is hampered by the lack of covert ops cloak. However it can certainly be fit to withstand punishment, lock down the enemy (both physically and electronically) and dish out substantial damage. Keep in mind that it is not the most manoeuvrable of ships, so if the target calls in assistance the ability to disengage can be somewhat restricted. Also the value of the ship will draw attention and see the enemy going out of their way to hunt you down.
Regardless of the risks, here is an example solo fitting:
A propulsion module to maintain range (or close it). Warp scrambler and webifier to hold the target in place. Sufficient tank to withstand drones or stray shots when jams are missed for a period of time. And a decent array of weaponry between the Torpedoes and Drones to deal up to 870 DPS. This ship should be able to destroy a typical T1 battleship and anything lesser given enough time.
The Widow is theoretically the best of the best ECM ships. In practice it is inferior to the Rook and Falcon in effectiveness to ISK ratio in all ways except Black Ops. In comparison to the Scorpion it is a far superior ECM ship.
It is my personal belief that there is a definite ‘niche’ currently missed, that being ‘standard operations’ T2 electronic warfare battleships. Ships that have the same bonuses as the Falcon and Rook (or potentially even superior), with similar improvement to damage absorption and dealing over the Scorpion, however with no cloaking/black ops capabilities. And of course with this would be a lower price tag than the Widow.