The following guide is derived from a syllabus of a class that I teach at EVE University. I wrote the original version of this syllabus in March 2010, and it has since been improved and updated by my fellow teachers and professors at E-UNI – my heartfelt thanks to all of them. This is the first section of a four-part guide.
This guide was last updated on December 6, 2014.
There are a myriad of weapon systems available to capsuleers in EVE Online, but the most misunderstood and misused is drones. This guide provides a general introduction to drones, and their effective use.
What are drones?
Drones are robotic vehicles launched from spacecraft, designed to augment the launching ship's capabilities. Drones are stored in and launched from the drone bay of a ship, and require bandwidth from the ship to control. Drones are most often used as damage-dealing combat weapons, but they can also be used for other functions: mining, salvaging, ship repair, and electronic warfare.
Drones can be instructed to commit to specific targets, but they are also able to take action on their own. For example, combat drones that destroy a target ship can be set to move autonomously onto a new target. This provides the pilot with the option to let his or her drones "do their thing" while concentrating on other tasks. However, drones are not very smart, and if left on their own, they can do some very dumb things. A good pilot knows when and how to exert control over his or her drones.
The number and types of drones that a pilot can deploy are constrained by several factors:
- Skill levels: You can deploy one drone per skill level trained for the Drones skill, up to a maximum of five, and up to the limits of your drone bay capacity and bandwidth of your ship. Also, different types of drones require additional drone skills - heavy drones require training in Heavy Drone Operation, for example. Getting the Drones skill to V is extremely worthwhile if you are flying ships with a drone bay of at least 25m³ (cubic meters) and bandwidth of 25Mbit/sec (megabits per second) or higher, which is what you need to carry and field five scout combat drones. (Note: it is possible to exceed the five drone limit on certain ships. For example, the limited-issue Guardian-Vexor is a cruiser that can launch up to ten drones. However, for most pilots flying drone-carrying sub-capital ships, five drones is the maximum that can be deployed.)
- Bandwidth: A ship attribute which affects the number and types of active drones you are capable of launching in space at a given time. Think of bandwidth as radio strength of your ship dedicated to controlling your drones in space.
- Drone bay size: Another ship attribute that dictates the number of drones you can carry. Note that drones can not be deployed from the cargo hold, although they can be stored there like any other item. You cannot transfer drones between your cargo bay and drone bay while in space. If you want to launch drones, you need to put them in the drone bay when docked (or when near to a ship or POS module with fitting services).
Drones are capable of serving many different roles, and they come in a mix of four racial flavors, three sizes and two tech levels - with a couple of hybrid variants.
By far, combat drones are the most used by pilots. The damage they inflict are determined by their race of origin, their size, and tech level.
Combat drones are available in three sizes:
- Light Scout (5m³)
- Medium Scout (10m³)
- Heavy (25m³) - also, Sentry drones are the same size as Heavy drones (25m³)
The drones for each of the four major factions in EVE deliver one specific kind of damage:
- Electromagnetic (EM) dealt by Amarr drones
- Thermal dealt by Gallente drones
- Kinetic dealt by Caldari drones
- Explosive dealt by Minmatar drones
The three sizes of combat drones are roughly equivalent to small, medium and large sizes of turrets, with similar statistics for tracking speed and damage.
Tech I combat drones are the most plentiful, cheap and easy-to-use drones in the game. Tech II drones, produced by players through the invention process, are more expensive to manufacture than Tech I drones, and have the highest skill requirements. As a result, Tech II combat drones gain a 20% advantage in hitpoints, speed, tracking and damage compared to the basic Tech I versions. They can also gain an extra 2% damage for each level of their racial Drone Specialization skill that is trained, for a potential of 30% more damage than Tech I drones with maximum skills.
Faction Navy drones are advanced combat drones that are only available from each Empire’s Factional Warfare loyalty point stores. They are notable for their excellent hitpoints and tracking, as well as low skill requirements (same as Tech I drones). Their speed and damage are similar to Tech Two drones, but the Navy Drones do not gain the extra 2% bonus per level from any racial Drone Specialization skills.
“Integrated” and “Augmented” combat drones are both built from components and blueprints looted from the remains of deadly rogue drones in the drone regions of nullsec space. "Integrated" drones have low skill requirements (same as Tech I drones), deliver 15% more damage, and have 10% more hitpoints, tracking and speed than Tech I drones. “Augmented” drones also have similar bonuses to hitpoints, tracking and speed, but also have a damage bonus of 32% above Tech I drones, putting their damage on par with a fully-skilled Tech Two drone. In addition, "Augmented" drones deliver a mix of two damage types, instead of just one.
With the right skills, any pilot can deploy any kind of combat drone, no matter what faction type that they or their ship may be. And because each race's drones deal out a specific damage type, this gives pilots flexibility in matching the optimum combat drones against the weaknesses of expected targets.
Light Scout Drones
Light scouts are the smallest and fastest combat drones, taking up only 5m³ drone bay space, and requiring 5Mbit/sec bandwidth each. With their high tracking speeds and velocity, they are the drones of choice versus frigates, destroyers and other drones. When they engage with a target, they operate at very close ranges.
Tech II light scout drones are about 20% faster and more powerful than Tech I varieties, before any additional skill-related enhancements. Warrior IIs, for example, are fast enough to catch all but the fastest of interceptors. If you are going to be a drone boat pilot, you need to make Tech II drones a priority in your skill development plan.
- For Tech I Light Scout drones: Drones I, Light Drone Operation I
- For Tech II Light Scout drones: Drones V, Light Drone Operation V, at least one of the four Drone Specialization I skills for whichever race's drones you wish to fly - Amarr, Gallente, Caldari, Minmatar
All Light Scout drones have a falloff range of 2 km, and a standard rate of fire of 4 seconds. (In the table below, Dam = Damage Modifier.)
|Amarr||Acolyte I||2400 m||2.49 rad/sec||3,850 m/sec||20 HP||0 HP||0 HP||0 HP||1.4 x|
|Amarr||Acolyte II||2400 m||2.988 rad/sec||4,620 m/sec||20 HP||0 HP||0 HP||0 HP||1.68 x|
|Amarr||'Integrated' Acolyte||2400 m||2.739 rad/sec||4,235 m/sec||13 HP||0 HP||0 HP||7 HP||1.61 x|
|Amarr||Imperial Navy Acolyte||2400 m||3.2868 rad/sec||4,620 m/sec||20 HP||0 HP||0 HP||0 HP||1.68 x|
|Amarr||'Augmented' Acolyte||2400 m||2.988 rad/sec||5,082 m/sec||13 HP||0 HP||0 HP||7 HP||1.848 x|
|Gallente||Hobgoblin I||2100 m||1.815 rad/sec||2,800 m/sec||0 HP||0 HP||0 HP||20 HP||1.6 x|
|Gallente||Hobgoblin II||2100 m||2.178 rad/sec||3,360 m/sec||0 HP||0 HP||0 HP||20 HP||1.92 x|
|Gallente||'Integrated' Hobgoblin||2100 m||1.9965 rad/sec||3,080 m/sec||0 HP||0 HP||7 HP||13 HP||1.84 x|
|Gallente||Federation Navy Hobgoblin||2100 m||2.3958 rad/sec||3,360 m/sec||0 HP||0 HP||0 HP||20 HP||1.92 x|
|Gallente||'Augmented' Hobgoblin||2100 m||2.178 rad/sec||3,696 m/sec||0 HP||0 HP||7 HP||13 HP||2.112 x|
|Caldari||Hornet I||2400 m||2.04 rad/sec||3,150 m/sec||0 HP||0 HP||20 HP||0 HP||1.5 x|
|Caldari||Hornet II||2400 m||2.448 rad/sec||3,780 m/sec||0 HP||0 HP||20 HP||0 HP||1.8 x|
|Caldari||'Integrated' Hornet||2400 m||2.244 rad/sec||3,465 m/sec||0 HP||0 HP||13 HP||7 HP||1.725 x|
|Caldari||Caldari Navy Hornet||2400 m||2.6928 rad/sec||3,780 m/sec||0 HP||0 HP||20 HP||0 HP||1.8 x|
|Caldari||'Augmented' Hornet||2400 m||2.448 rad/sec||4,158 m/sec||0 HP||0 HP||13 HP||7 HP||1.98 x|
|Minmatar||Warrior I||2100 m||2.7 rad/sec||4,200 m/sec||0 HP||20 HP||0 HP||0 HP||1.3 x|
|Minmatar||Warrior II||2100 m||3.24 rad/sec||5,040 m/sec||0 HP||20 HP||0 HP||0 HP||1.56 x|
|Minmatar||'Integrated' Warrior||2100 m||2.97 rad/sec||4,620 m/sec||0 HP||13 HP||7 HP||0 HP||1.495 x|
|Minmatar||Republic Fleet Warrior||2100 m||3.564 rad/sec||5,040 m/sec||0 HP||20 HP||0 HP||0 HP||1.56 x|
|Minmatar||'Augmented' Warrior||2100 m||3.24 rad/sec||5,544 m/sec||0 HP||13 HP||7 HP||0 HP||1.716 x|
Hobgoblins and Warriors are the most commonly seen light scout drones in space - Hobgoblins for doing the most damage, whilst Warriors are the fastest and can keep up with the speediest of targets. However, in some situations, damage type can outweigh other considerations, especially when you know the resistance profile of your targets in advance (e.g., missions).
Medium Scout Drones
Medium scouts are the next step up from light scout drones. They take up 10m³ drone bay space, and require 10Mbit/sec bandwidth each. These do more damage-per-second (DPS), but with slower tracking speeds, making them the best drones to use against mid-sized targets like cruisers and battlecruisers.
- Tech I medium scout drones: Drones I, Medium Drone Operation I
- Tech II medium scout drones: Drones V, Medium Drone Operation V, Drone Specialization II (one for each race)
All Medium Scout drones have a falloff range of 3 km, and a standard rate of fire of 4 seconds. (In the table below, Dam = Damage Modifier.)
|Gallente||Hammerhead I||4200 m||0.58 rad/sec||1,680 m/sec||0 HP||0 HP||0 HP||32 HP||1.6 x|
|Gallente||Hammerhead II||4200 m||0.696 rad/sec||2,016 m/sec||0 HP||0 HP||0 HP||32 HP||1.92 x|
|Gallente||'Integrated' Hammerhead||4200 m||0.638 rad/sec||1,848 m/sec||0 HP||0 HP||13 HP||19 HP||1.84 x|
|Gallente||Federation Navy Hammerhead||4200 m||0.7656 rad/sec||2,016 m/sec||0 HP||0 HP||0 HP||32 HP||1.92 x|
|Gallente||'Augmented' Hammerhead||4200 m||0.696 rad/sec||2,218 m/sec||0 HP||0 HP||13 HP||19 HP||2.112 x|
|Amarr||Infiltrator I||4800 m||0.8 rad/sec||2,300 m/sec||32 HP||0 HP||0 HP||0 HP||1.4 x|
|Amarr||Infiltrator II||4800 m||0.96 rad/sec||2,760 m/sec||32 HP||0 HP||0 HP||0 HP||1.68 x|
|Amarr||'Integrated' Infiltrator||4800 m||0.88 rad/sec||2,530 m/sec||19 HP||0 HP||0 HP||13 HP||1.61 x|
|Amarr||Imperial Navy Infiltrator||4800 m||1.056 rad/sec||2,760 m/sec||32 HP||0 HP||0 HP||0 HP||1.68 x|
|Amarr||'Augmented' Infiltrator||4800 m||0.96 rad/sec||3,036 m/sec||19 HP||0 HP||0 HP||13 HP||1.848 x|
|Caldari||Vespa I||4800 m||0.65 rad/sec||1,890 m/sec||0 HP||0 HP||32 HP||0 HP||1.5 x|
|Caldari||Vespa II||4800 m||0.78 rad/sec||2,268 m/sec||0 HP||0 HP||32 HP||0 HP||1.8 x|
|Caldari||'Integrated' Vespa||4800 m||0.715 rad/sec||2,079 m/sec||0 HP||0 HP||19 HP||13 HP||1.725 x|
|Caldari||Caldari Navy Vespa||4800 m||0.858 rad/sec||2,268 m/sec||0 HP||0 HP||32 HP||0 HP||1.8 x|
|Caldari||'Augmented' Vespa||4800 m||0.78 rad/sec||2,495 m/sec||0 HP||0 HP||19 HP||13 HP||1.98 x|
|Minmatar||Valkyrie I||4200 m||0.87 rad/sec||2,500 m/sec||0 HP||32 HP||0 HP||0 HP||1.3 x|
|Minmatar||Valkyrie II||4200 m||1.044 rad/sec||3,000 m/sec||0 HP||32 HP||0 HP||0 HP||1.56 x|
|Minmatar||'Integrated' Valkyrie||4200 m||0.957 rad/sec||2,750 m/sec||0 HP||19 HP||13 HP||0 HP||1.495 x|
|Minmatar||Republic Fleet Valkyrie||4200 m||1.1484 rad/sec||3,000 m/sec||0 HP||32 HP||0 HP||0 HP||1.56 x|
|Minmatar||'Augmented' Valkyrie||4200 m||1.044 rad/sec||3,300 m/sec||0 HP||19 HP||13 HP||0 HP||1.716 x|
The Gallente medium scout drone - Hammerheads - have again the highest damage output, and the Minmatar verison - the Valkyrie - is again the fastest. Most people prefer Hammerheads in PvP for their higher DPS.
Heavy Attack Drones
The largest standard combat drones, Heavy Attack drones take up 25m3 drone bay space, and require 25Mbit/sec bandwidth each. Their high DPS but low tracking speeds make them ideal for use against large, slower targets like battleships and stationary targets.
- Tech I heavy attack drones: Drones V, Heavy Drone Operation I
- Tech II heavy attack drones: Drones V, Heavy Drone Operation V, Drone Specialization IV (for each race)
All Heavy Attack drones have a falloff range of 5 km, and a standard rate of fire of 4 seconds. (In the table below, Dam = Damage Modifier.)
|Minmatar||Berserker I||4200 m||0.71 rad/sec||1,500 m/sec||0 HP||64 HP||0 HP||0 HP||1.3 x|
|Minmatar||Berserker II||4200 m||0.852 rad/sec||1,800 m/sec||0 HP||64 HP||0 HP||0 HP||1.56 x|
|Minmatar||'Integrated' Berserker||4200 m||0.781 rad/sec||1,650 m/sec||0 HP||35 HP||29 HP||0 HP||1.495 x|
|Minmatar||Republic Fleet Berserker||4200 m||0.9372 rad/sec||1,800 m/sec||0 HP||64 HP||0 HP||0 HP||1.56 x|
|Minmatar||'Augmented' Berserker||4200 m||0.852 rad/sec||1,980 m/sec||0 HP||35 HP||29 HP||0 HP||1.716 x|
|Gallente||Ogre I||4200 m||0.45 rad/sec||1,000 m/sec||0 HP||0 HP||0 HP||64 HP||1.6 x|
|Gallente||Ogre II||4200 m||0.54 rad/sec||1,200 m/sec||0 HP||0 HP||0 HP||64 HP||1.92 x|
|Gallente||'Integrated' Ogre||4200 m||0.495 rad/sec||1,100 m/sec||0 HP||0 HP||29 HP||35 HP||1.84 x|
|Gallente||Federation Navy Ogre||4200 m||0.594 rad/sec||1,200 m/sec||0 HP||0 HP||0 HP||64 HP||1.92 x|
|Gallente||'Augmented' Ogre||4200 m||0.54 rad/sec||1,320 m/sec||0 HP||0 HP||29 HP||35 HP||2.112 x|
|Amarr||Praetor I||4800 m||0.63 rad/sec||1,380 m/sec||64 HP||0 HP||0 HP||0 HP||1.4 x|
|Amarr||Praetor II||4800 m||0.756 rad/sec||1,656 m/sec||64 HP||0 HP||0 HP||0 HP||1.68 x|
|Amarr||'Integrated' Praetor||4800 m||0.693 rad/sec||1,518 m/sec||35 HP||0 HP||0 HP||29 HP||1.61 x|
|Amarr||Imperial Navy Praetor||4800 m||0.8316 rad/sec||1,656 m/sec||64 HP||0 HP||0 HP||0 HP||1.68 x|
|Amarr||'Augmented' Praetor||4800 m||0.756 rad/sec||1,822 m/sec||35 HP||0 HP||0 HP||29 HP||1.848 x|
|Caldari||Wasp I||4800 m||0.535 rad/sec||1,125 m/sec||0 HP||0 HP||64 HP||0 HP||1.5 x|
|Caldari||Wasp II||4800 m||0.642 rad/sec||1,350 m/sec||0 HP||0 HP||64 HP||0 HP||1.8 x|
|Caldari||'Integrated' Wasp||4800 m||0.5885 rad/sec||1,238 m/sec||29 HP||0 HP||35 HP||0 HP||1.725 x|
|Caldari||Caldari Navy Wasp||4800 m||0.7062 rad/sec||1,350 m/sec||0 HP||0 HP||64 HP||0 HP||1.8 x|
|Caldari||'Augmented' Wasp||4800 m||0.642 rad/sec||1,485 m/sec||29 HP||0 HP||35 HP||0 HP||1.98 x|
Because of their slow tracking speeds, heavy drones will do less damage to small fast-moving targets such as frigates. They also take quite a while to reach targets at longer distances. However, against larger, nearer targets, they are superb weapons.
Racial Differences in Combat Drones
Gallente combat drones deal out the highest damage, but have the slowest velocities and tracking speeds. Minmatar drones have the highest velocities and tracking speeds, but deliver the lowest damage. Caldari drones do more damage than all the other races except Gallente, but are also slower than all the other races except Gallente. Amarr drones do moderate amounts of damage, but are outmatched in velocity and tracking speed only by the Minmatar.
And, of course, each race's drones specialize in one type of damage.
The key point is to know your potential enemy's weaknesses, and then load the drones that emphasize strengths against those enemy vulnerabilities. Use EVE-Survial.org before doing a mission, which will tell you what kind of damage to deal out, and thus, what kind of drones are best to bring along.
For many years, Amarr drones had a "bad rep". This is undeserved - Amarr drones are very helpful against targets that are vulnerable to EM damage, such as Blood Raiders and Sansha Nation. They are also now some of the fastest drones, outmatched in velocity only by the Minmatar.
Many people consider Gallente drones, due to their higher DPS, to be the "general purpose" or "default" drone to use. Certainly, Gallente drones deal out relatively high thermal damage, but remember that they are also the slowest drones. If they can't keep up with fast targets, their value will be reduced. And if a target has high thermal resists, your Gallente drones won't do much damage at all.
In short, don't make broad assumptions about which drone types to use. Do your homework, and select the best mix for the expected combat situation.
These are the same size as heavy drones (25m³), and require the same amount of bandwidth (25Mbit/sec). However, instead of orbiting the target ship, they stay where they have been deployed and fire at their enemies from long range. They are, in effect, robotic snipers. They have varying ranges and falloffs that are much longer than their heavy attack cousins. However, they have low tracking speeds and are immobile once deployed.
Sentry drones also require some more skills than other drones. As a result, most pilots train into sentries last. The required sentry drone skills are:
- Tech I sentry drones: Drones V, Drone Interfacing IV, Drone Sharpshooting IV, Sentry Drone Interfacing I
- Tech II sentry drones: Drones V, Drone Interfacing IV, Drone Sharpshooting IV, Sentry Drone Interfacing V
All sentry drones have a velocity of zero (they do not move after deployment), and a standard rate of fire of 4.0 seconds. (In the table below, Dam = Damage Modifier.)
|Minmatar||Bouncer I||35.00 km||40.00 km||0.016 rad/sec||0 HP||64 HP||0 HP||0 HP||1.5 x|
|Minmatar||Bouncer II||42.00 km||48.00 km||0.0192 rad/sec||0 HP||64 HP||0 HP||0 HP||1.5 x|
|Minmatar||Republic Fleet Bouncer||42.00 km||48.00 km||0.02016 rad/sec||0 HP||64 HP||0 HP||0 HP||1.5 x|
|Amarr||Curator I||35.00 km||10.00 km||0.023 rad/sec||64 HP||0 HP||0 HP||0 HP||1.6 x|
|Amarr||Curator II||42.00 km||12.00 km||0.0276 rad/sec||64 HP||0 HP||0 HP||0 HP||1.6 x|
|Amarr||Imperial Navy Curator||42.00 km||12.00 km||0.02898 rad/sec||64 HP||0 HP||0 HP||0 HP||1.6 x|
|Gallente||Garde I||20.00 km||15.00 km||0.03 rad/sec||0 HP||0 HP||0 HP||64 HP||1.7 x|
|Gallente||Garde II||24.00 km||18.00 km||0.036 rad/sec||0 HP||0 HP||0 HP||64 HP||1.7 x|
|Gallente||Federation Navy Garde||24.00 km||18.00 km||0.0378 rad/sec||0 HP||0 HP||0 HP||64 HP||1.7 x|
|Caldari||Warden I||50.00 km||35.00 km||0.01 rad/sec||0 HP||0 HP||64 HP||0 HP||1.4 x|
|Caldari||Warden II||60.00 km||42.00 km||0.012 rad/sec||0 HP||0 HP||64 HP||0 HP||1.4 x|
|Caldari||Caldari Navy Warden||60.00 km||42.00 km||0.0126 rad/sec||0 HP||0 HP||64 HP||0 HP||1.4 x|
As the table shows, the optimal and falloff ranges of the different racial types of sentry drones vary significantly. The Gallente sentry drone (Garde) does the highest damage and tracking, but has the shortest range. The Caldari sentry drone (Warden) has the longest range but lower damage and tracking. Amarr (Curator) and Minmatar (Bouncer) sentries operate at moderate range and damage, relatively.
Aside from combat and support model drones, these drones exist purely to mine ore from asteroids. There are three main mining drone models - actually, there are four if you count the Civilian version that no-one should ever use on purpose (because it is terrible):
|Mining Drones||Size (m3)||Bandwidth||Ore Yield||Speed (m/sec)|
|Civilian Mining Drone||5||5||10||300|
|Mining Drone I||5||5||15||400|
|Mining Drone II||5||5||25||500|
|Harvester Mining Drone||10||10||30||250|
Harvester mining drones yield an extra five cubic meters per cycle over its Tech II cousin, at the expense of going half as fast. However, they are now very rare, and extremely expensive. The only source that existed for the Harvester drone was from killing NPC convoys in an early release of EVE. One of the random drops from these killed freighters would be these drones. However, CCP stopped Harvester drones from being dropped from NPC convoys. Experienced miners know that Harvester mining drones, while able to mine a slightly larger volume, are not worth their exorbitant cost, since they fly at much slower speeds. Tech II mining drones are about one-third more productive than the Tech I variety, because they collect more ore per trip (25 m³ instead of 15 m³) and they fly at higher speeds (100 m/sec faster).
Starting with the Retribution update, salvage drones became available:
- Small: 5 m³ in size, 5 MB/second bandwidth use.
- Speed: 500 m/second - the same as Mining Drone II.
- Base salvage success chance for salvage drones is 3%. This increases by 2% per level for the Salvage Drone Operation skill, up to a maximum of 13% at Salvage Drone Operation V.
- Cycle time is 10 seconds; same as for ship-fitted salvaging modules.
- A salvage drone's base chance for successful salvage does not appear to be affected by ship-mounted rigs or pilot implants.
Required skills to use Salvage Drones:
- Salvage Drone Operation, which requires:
- Drones IV - note that this skill determines the number of drones you can deploy, so you'll start with the ability to field four salvage drones once you learn Salvage Drone Operation I.
- Salvaging II
How to use salvage drones:
- When you first deploy the drones, they go idle, but you can activate them to start to salvage wrecks automatically. In this automated mode, they will only salvage your own and neutral wrecks -- not wrecks belonging to other characters. You can manually order them to salvage wrecks belonging to other players, though.
- Salvage drones never loot, they only salvage.
- Also, there is no difference in the quality of the salvage received. Salvage drones can salvage the same items as the salvage modules, the only difference being that because of lower chance they are much worse at salvaging difficult wrecks (and are incapable of salvaging the most difficult Sleeper wrecks). See this salvage guide for more information on salvaging probabilities.
- Compared to salvaging with either a Noctis or a destroyer, fitted with Salvage Tackle rigs, salvage drones are inferior performers. However, they provide a lot of convenience for the casual mission-runner, or for cleaning up wrecks after PvP engagements.
Advanced drones require higher level skills, and come in several varieties:
- Electronic Warfare Drones - which provide extended tracking disruption, jamming, sensor dampening and target painting capabilities. ECM drones are by far the most commonly used, and are great in solo or small gang PvP.
- Combat Utility Drones - which enable pilots to apply energy neutralizing and stasis webifying effects at range. These are less effective than their ship module versions, but being drones means you can project them at long ranges.
- Logistics Drones - which provide remote shield and armor repair capabilities to fleetmates. You can't use them to repair your own ship, because you cannot target yourself.
- Fighters and Fighter Bombers - powerful attack ships launched from carrier and supercarrier capital ships. They have warp drives and can chase people down that warp off. Carriers and Supercarriers can also field a lot more than just five of them. Fighters and fighter-bombers have almost the same size/damage as frigates. Although they operate like drones, fighters and fighter-bombers shouldn't really be called drones, because lore-wise they are piloted by humans. You can see this if you preview these models.
We'll cover these advanced drones in more detail in Part IV of this guide.
There are also 'drones' that can be encountered in missions or in wormhole space that will oppose pilots in combat: Rogue Drones and Sleepers. In this context, these 'drones' don't fall into the drone category on your overview in space, and are only really referred to as 'drones' in an lore or role-playing sense, which is to say that they are AI-controlled.
- In various missions, you will encounter "rogue drones". These come from self-aware hive-minds, made up of individual stray drones, all operating without a controller. These drones are always hostile. Practically speaking, pilots should consider rogue drones to be roughly equivalent to fast frigates.
- Sleeper drones are usually found in wormholes, also known as W-space. The Sleepers were an extinct human race which lived thousands of years before the playable EVE races. They were far more technologically advanced than the current human races, and their drones, which still guard their former bases and systems, can overcome any unprepared explorer easily. Recently, sleepers have begun to appear in known space, also known as k-space, in some combat site anomalies.
This is the end of Part I of this Drones Guide. Part II can be found here.