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EVE Online theorycrafting and history

Fixing the Nestor

The Nestor has been a problematic ship practically since its creation; it’s the least used of all the faction battleships.  Even the Barghest, despite being added mere months ago, has more kills and more losses on zKillboard than the Nestor.  CCP recently announced a small change to the Nestor, adding refit capabilities to it; however, I don’t think that this will solve the Nestor’s issues.  Its popularity stems from two problems with it — a smattering of mismatched bonuses, and horrible fitting problems.  Let’s break them down.

First, the Nestor’s bonuses imply that it should be useful at pretty much everything, when most Eve players learn at a very early age to favor specialized ships over jacks of all trades.  Running down them:

  • 4% bonus to all armor resistances per level of Amarr Battleship
  • 10% bonus to drone hit points and damage per level of Gallente Battleship
  • 50% bonus to Large Energy Turret optimal range
  • 50% bonus to Remote Armor Repairer strength
  • 200% bonus to Remote Armor Repairer range
  • 50% bonus to exploration probe strength
  • +10 bonus to Relic and Data Analyzer strength
  • Finally, the Nestor has an absurdly low mass, allowing it to go through wormholes with low impact.

This hull tries to do everything.  It can be a dedicated logistics boat, a split logistics/drones RRBS platform, a laser gank boat, a drone boat; it can even be an exploration platform.  (The last of these is the most laughable — nobody sane is going to use a battleship in data/relic sites.  In lowsec/nullsec, you’re risking an easily-probed billion-isk hull in that site; in high-sec, someone else is going to finish off the site while you’re slowly motoring between cans.)

The few successful fits for an Nestor rely on ignoring almost all its bonuses in favor of one or two — either it’s a brick-tank brawler that ignores the remote rep bonuses, or it’s a plus-sized brother of the Oneiros, for use in high-alpha-strike environments (incursions and C3/C4 wormholes).

However, even once you’ve picked a role to focus on, the Nestor’s anemic fitting stats and relatively sub-par bonuses bite you:

  • The short remote-rep range bonus is risky, as is the capacitor needs.  A 25km range is a bit short for logistics use, and the Nestor’s comparatively slow speed (just under 1km/sec with MWD on) and long lock times means that you’ll need to pulse your MWD often to stay in range of the ships that you’re repping, if you don’t have them orbiting you.  And with no capacitor bonus for either MWD or reps, cap stability becomes an issue.  (Most of the logistics-oriented Nestor fits out there invest in an deadspace X-type MWD to stay stable, or are reliant on a full set of cap rechargers or multiple injectors.)
  • Drone damage output is questionable due to having only six lows, on a ship with an armor tank.  If you keep to a relatively small 4-slot tank (suitcase, two EANMs, 1600mm plate; a risky gamble for a 1B+ faction battleship) then you only have room for two Drone Damage Amplifiers.  Furthermore, while it may have the same damage bonus as an Ishtar or Dominix, it doesn’t have the tracking/optimal bonuses of those hulls.  The combination of short range and low mobility means that you’re forced to use heavy drones, or must stick to low-damage long-range sentries such as Curators.  You can compensate for some of this with using your ample six mids on ODTLs — and you’ll have no choice but to do so, really, due to the fitting issues:
  • The Nestor has absolutely abysmal grid, which particularly impacts laser builds.  With a hair over 14k grid at Engineering V, you can’t fit a MWD, a 1600mm plate, and a full set of Mega Pulse Lasers on it.  You’re a whopping 27% over, even with Advanced Weapon Upgrades V.  And that’s before you even consider putting on an injector, option highs (neuts, smartbombs, remote reps), or a second plate!  Due to this grid crunch, all laser fits for a Nestor either spend multiple rig slots on ACRs, or downgrade to Dual Heavy Pulse Lasers (terrible damage output) or use faction lasers (expensive, and no Scorch).  On top of that, you can fit a maximum of two Heat Sinks due to the same problems as DDAs.  For all these reasons, combat Nestors usually focus on drones, and fit 2-3 ODTLs in their mid slots because they have nothing else viable to stick in there — there’s not enough grid for a MJD or a second injector.  And in general, what do you do with six mids, when the ship is generally armor tanked?  It’s too slow to tackle something, it has no ewar bonuses, and it struggles to fit multiple prop mods.
  • The ship’s low base shield HP, high sig radius, and low mobility makes shield fits questionable.  T2 CDFEs and two invulns are needed to push a shield fit above 100k EHP, and two nanofibers barely get you to 1400m/s under MWD.  In comparison, a single 1600mm plate gets you above 100k EHP even before Trimarks are added.  Also, it has a gigantic signature radius; most shield tanked ships are 425m or less.  A shield-tanked Nestor with CDFEs would have a sig radius of 520m when slowboating and over 3000m when MWDing — that’s bigger than a carrier!

A jack of all trades is a master of none.  The Nestor isn’t particularly good at any of its roles, and hilariously bad once it starts to multitask.  I’ve seen effective uses of it as a logistics platform in C4 Cataclysmic Variable wormholes, but it also required a fairly expensive fit to be useful there: A-type hardeners and an X-type MWD.

Where to go from here?  Given the opportunity, I’d change three things:

  • Remove one of its mid slots, and add a low slot.  This gives two benefits: it allows it to have competitive drone damage with an Ishtar when using a small tank, or competitive tank with smaller damage.  It eliminates “fill all your mids with cap rechargers / ODTLs” for all roles, forcing players to make meaningful choices about their mid slots.
  • Increase its base power grid to 13000.  This bumps its final grid to around 16300 — enough that you can fit a a MWD, a heavy injector, a single 1600mm plate, and a full rack of MPL turrets, but with almost no grid left for option highs/mids.  It allows you a basic ship, but you will have to make sacrifices (in the form of downgrading to DHPLs, using ACRs, or using deadspace/cosmos modules) in order to fit meaningful additions such as extra plates, MJDs, or neuts.  Again, the goal is to make the ship viable at a few roles, but to not give the players everything they want; you want to force the player to make choices about how they fit this ship.
  • Abandon the exploration role bonuses, replacing them with a new role bonus: a 50% reduction in capacitor usage for remote armor reps.  There’s very little reason to run data/relic sites in a Nestor, when the same LP could be used to purchase a Stratios or Asteros instead.  The player base has responded well to using the Nestor as an RRBS or plus-sized logistics platform; let’s allow this to be done without filling your mids with capacitor rechargers and dropping hundreds of millions on deadspace MWDs.  Right now, running more than two reps demands use of an injector or a full rack of cap rechargers, even before you factor in armor hardeners, MWD pulses, and other users of cap.

A final option has occured to me, but I’m not sure if it’d be too powerful: Don’t give the Nestor a covert ops cloak, but do allow it to take Black Ops bridges — or even give it a jump drive that only locks onto covert cynos.  Right now, there is only one remote rep platform that can take a Black Ops bridge, and it’s a shield logistics that’s only available in tiny numbers (the Etana).  Adding an armor option would give extra reason to use Black Ops ships as combat platforms rather than as miniature titans.

If you’re intent on making a jack-of-all-trades ship, it might as well be good at a few of them.  Until then, nobody’s spending 1B+ on the hull, and giving it yet another trade (in-space refits) isn’t going to improve matters.

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