The Complex Survival Guide
Welcome to my complex survival guide. I'll be working on this regularly and keeping it up to date. Hope it helps out a bit. The introduction section details the history and general information about complexes. The combat section gives tips, load outs, and tactics.
The History of Complexes
Complexes were added to the EVE universe under the general title "multi-level scenarios" in the Exodus content patch. They have since come to be known as just complexes or even plexes. The goal of a complex from a developmental standpoint is to offer a similar alternative to the intense combat experience found in PvP fleet battles. Complexes realize this goal by offering an area for a pilot to fight large scale battles against NPCs. Complexes offer more than just thrills though. There is much within a complex that gives a player's bank account much to consider. Reports of rare drops including Tech II BPCs and faction BPCs as well as faction items have surfaced. If true, these items are very useful and command a high market price.
Several different types of complexes were introduced in the Cold War expansion.
High Orbit Complexes
Found close to moons, planets and stars, these complexes are usually civilian or rogue in nature, handling planetary tasks, distributing commodities and serving as trade hubs for outer systems that don't have full fledged stations. These are also found just outside empire space where certain corporations are colonizing new territory to ensla... incorporate new systems for their empires. They usually contain various goods and commodities needed for colonies to survive.
Industrial Complexes can be found everywhere in EVE, where ore is to be gathered. Outlaws and factions alike use these installations to quickly gather massive amounts of ore to be processed before moved to manufacturing or selling. Accordingly, they contain high numbers of ore and some processed minerals.
Like the old Minmatar saying "A faction without a military Complex is like a fish without a Tempest. A fish needs water but both need massive firepower in space to stay alive". What it really means, nobody knows, but a military Complex only means one thing. A factions intent to dominate that space, with or without the help of the fish.
If you are looking for defensive or offensive capabilities to sharpen your teeth, this is the place to go. Some installations have also been known to have limited blueprints of their faction’s ships and specialized weaponry. However, these are heavily guarded and building these ships is a mission all in itself.
Here is an example schematic of an Guristas War Installation (click for bigger version), pilots start in the outer defense perimeter, that has light resistance followed by two defense corridors moving you to the headquarters. If you then want to take on Admin sector, you could reap the rewards hosted in the supply sectors.
However, you need to be able to escape with the loot, so bring along an industrial. and protect him well, because warp disruption fields surround complexes, so you can't warp straight in to the back sectors.
Deep Space Complexes
If you manage to find these. you know you found something you weren't supposed to. Why? Well, the enormous firepower you encounter should give you a hint, the second hint would be that you are in the middle of nowhere with enormous firepower aiming at you.
I'd tell you the third hint but you would be already dead, so I'll give you a reminder to renew your insurance for your next ship instead. And the enormous firepower is there for a reason. Only way to find out what, is to bring insane amounts of firepower yourself. But it should be worth it.
Complexes range in difficulty from one to ten. The ratings are often abbreviated as fractions, i.e. 1/10, or 5/10 etc. with 10 always in the denominator. Additionally, the complex difficulty limits what ships can participate. For example, battleships cannot enter 4/10 plexes. Tech 1 industrial ships, capital ships and mining barges cannot enter any complex.
Before a pilot plans on spending any significant amount of time in a complex, they must consider their skills. A miner or researcher would be hard-pressed to succeed in the complex to the extent of their primary activities, namely mining or researching. Nevertheless, it is still a great way to beat the grind of popping roids or slinging out your ten thousandth shuttle. This dynamic is slowly changing as the developers roll out complex focused content. The industrial sub-professions like archaeology or hacking depend upon locations within the COSMOS systems' complexes.
The goals of a pilot often dictate their preparation. If a pilot is looking for some quick combat, any ship will do - provided that it's fit for combat and a suitably difficult complex is chosen. Serious money and fun can be had in complexes as well. If a pilot is looking to lay siege to a 10/10 complex, more than a can-do attitude is necessary. Simplifying the task greatly, the basic goals of any activity in the complex are the following:
- Staying alive
- Killing the enemy
Combat and Tactics
That said here are a few tactics and simple rules of thumb that will help you accomplish your task in complexes.
The enemy can't hit you if you are too far away, but if you fit for sniping effectively you can rain death from outside their range. Sniping is an effective tactic when you know your enemies (1)max range, (2)max targeting range and (3)when you are able to hit effectively from outside (1) and (2).
An effective sniper needs to fit only damage and range mods. If they need armor repairers or shield boosters because they are getting hit, they are not being effective snipers. The downside to this setup is that if you are using projectile- or laser- based weapons you are totally screwed if the enemy gets between you and your Optimal Range. So use drones if possible.
This task is a little safer with missile based weapons, but also presents a unique difficulty. Laser and projectile weapons are instantaneous damage dealers- the moment they fire, the enemy will know. Missiles on the other hand require time to travel at sub-infinite velocities to hit their target. This time lag is considerable and only increased by the large distances involved in sniping. Oftentimes I've caught myself cursing because I've underestimated the damage my already fired missiles will cause after they hit the target or the enemy's armor repairer kicked in at the wrong time. Meanwhile I've targeted another enemy and start firing away. Not a good situation. Why try to precisely estimate the damage of the missiles in flight? Missiles are more expensive than projectiles or hybrid weapons, and also take up more cargo space. The more efficient you are with your missile use, the less money you waste and the more enemies you can kill.
Electronics and Sensor Upgrades
Ammunition and Charges
Remember to load longer range ammo if your ship by itself don't have the necessary range. However, there is no reason to have longer range than necessary because you sacrifice damage potential with the long-range stuff. A general rule of thumb is to load the most damaging ammo you can but still get good range.
- Afterburner (optional)
Snipers are very effective at "kiting" groups of enemies, an especially useful tactic when working in a gang.
Afterburners can sometimes be a crucial piece of harware. This is especially true if you are A.) using a gunship layout, and B.) if you are not sniping. The reason for this is because it will you help you maintain the optimal distances needed by your guns to effectively damage your target.
In some complexes the intial firepower can also become overwhelming. The problem is that your jump in points will always be the same. Thus the need to move away quickly from the intial point of entrance can be crucial to your survival.
Lastly, afterburners can also help you to cut down on the time invested to complete the complex. Some complex gates are spread out between 40-60km and flying such distances in a battleship could take lengthy amounts of time.
The basic idea behind tanking is to be able to be a miraculous damage sponge. The ideal setup will allow a pilot to soak up very high amounts of damage indefinitely, but practically ships are limited to the max amount of damage they can tank by fitting restrictions.
A good tanker will know who they will be fighting and fit for it accordingly. If one is fighting against multiple damage types as in PvP or against factions such as the Serpentis, try to fit hardeners to boost your weakest shield or armor resists.
A shield tanker will fit the best shield boosters, shield boost amplifiers and active shield hardeners they can. General setups require one shield booster, x hardeners and y shield boost amplifiers, where x and y are determined by fitting constraints. In most situations, a pilot will tend to have more hardeners because they take less fitting and require less capacitor usage, but when a pilot can fit three hardeners, further advantage is not by adding another hardener, but by making the shield booster more efficient with the shield boost amplifier.
Armor tankers will fit similarly, minus the equivalent repairer amplifier. They will instead fit an additional armor repairer.
sheild boost amps do not require cap to use
An EW role is very uncommon in PvE combat, but in the opinion of the author, it is highly overlooked - especially as complexes difficulty increases.
The EW role can range from defensive to offensive. Defensive EW is mainly the use of multiple racial ECM and sensor dampeners to break locks and keep them broken, while offensive EW includes target painters and webifiers to increase fleet accuracy and damage. Other aspects of EW includes propulsion jamming and the use of Nosferatu and energy destroyers to drain the capacitors of certain energy-greedy ships.
EW can often be hard to justify when adding another tank or damage dealing ship would give the same effect, but can be very useful when the difficulty of the complex exceeds the capabilites of a single ship.
A logistics-oriented pilot is very useful. A logistics support ship can help recharge cap, boost sensor strength for faster locking and longer sensor range, or work as a mobile repair station helping out the tank. A leadership support ship pilot will often act as a leader of the operation, tagging primary and secondary targets as well as boosting ship and pilot stats through their leadership skills and mods.
Damage dealers really only come into their own when in a gang. The pseudo-damage dealer sniper is a viable load out for solo work, but it's capabilities are far outpaced by it's brethren in gangs. The reason? They can specialize solely on damage - not range, not tanking, not anything else but damage.
- Fitting Suggestions:
Industrial characters as well as industrial ships play a large role in group operations. Don't even try to use indys solo or without backup. Due to the nature of complexes, only Tech II industrial ships can enter a complex. If you need the role of an indy but can't fly the t2 variant, a frigate/cruiser/bs with expanders on should be sufficient for a limited industrial role. Freighters are unable to manipulate their cargo in space, whether to jettison or scoop items (with the exception of Station eggs), and as such are useless in complexes (85m/s going 100km would suck anyways).
Pilots of industrial ships serve as big vacuum cleaners, hoovering up all the cargo containers and storing the loot within their massive holds. The role of an indy pilot requires a fast ship with a lot of cargo capacity. Indys fit this role perfectly... after a bit of modification. The important thing to remember is that since you are going to be playing pinball between cargo containers, agility is as important as speed.
The addition of an indy pilot is essential for those looking to make the most money in a complex as they guarantee all valuables get picked up for use or sale.
The role of the industrial sub-professions coming in RmR is supposed to provide high-level building components. No further details are available.
Also the new tractor beams (prereq. Science IV) make looting so much easier that some people consider it a must for looting -- and having a turret on your indy will only pull aggro to you.
- Fitting suggestions:
- Overdrive Injectors (provide a higher speed bonus at a cost of agility and cargo space)
- Target Painters (aggro enemies)
- Example setup:
- Ship: Prowler
- High-slots: 2x Tractor beam
- Mid-slots: 10mn Afterburner, 2x Capacitor Rechargers or Shield Booster + Cap Recharger
- Low-slots: 2x Nanofiber Internal Structures or one Nano and an Expanded Cargohold
Again note that only T2 industrials can enter complexes (Viator, Occator, Prowler, Mastodon, Bustard, Crane, Impel, Prorator). These ships can be found under the Transport Ships listing. For non-drone complexes, a Blockade Runner (Viator, Prowler, Prorator, Crane) with cargo expanders and secure containers should be more than enough. With drone complexes, consider bringing a standard transport ship, as they have better defenses and cargo base. Most importantly, know your ship before you bring it along.
Secure Cans (Cargo Containers): While secure cans might not seem worthwhile, note that their cargo is larger than the amount of mass they take up in your cargo hold. Huge and giant secure cans have a ratio of 10:13 and have the best ratio, use them whenever possible, but smaller containers can give you that little bit extra you need -- even larger ships can benefit from one or two containers, but they should keep ammo in their main hold for faster reloading. Containers cannot be put inside other containers (otherwise you could have infinite cargo space -- as long as your wallet holds out), and certain trade goods cannot be placed inside them.
Group combat in the complexes is a great way to ease into group combat in PvP because you learn the basics without too much risk. That said, it's easy for over confident or incompetent groups to meet with disaster. For large groups, teamspeak is recommended; for small groups, gang chat should be sufficient.
Group combat often becomes necessary as complex difficulty increases. 1/10 through 4/10 complexes can be soloed by frigs and cruisers, with some difficulty in taking down the end stage boss. 5/10 and 6/10 complexes can almost be soloed by battleships. The end stage boss often cannot be overcome by a single BS. As I don't fly a dreadnought, carrier or titan, I can't comment on their merits in soloing a complex, but I assume they start at 7/10 and maybe can do 10/10. These last capital ships shouldn't be soloing in the same spirit that geddons should not fit miner II's, it's just wrong.
But if you can't kill the end stage boss, or are taking on a complex slightly out of your ship's or skill's range, a few friends might help the process along. In this case, make sure you bring along people you trust because it's easy to get someone else killed in a complex and splitting loot can be a problem. Additionally make sure (1) everyone knows their role in the group (tanker, damage dealer, support, etc.) and (2) the leader has some basic knowledge of the complex. The reason for (2) is that roles are hindered by ignorance. How can a tanker fit accordingly if they do not know what damage types they will face? How can a sniper kite and hold aggro if he does not know what maximum range is. How can safety be insured when the warp scramblers are not known? If condition (2) cannot be met, caution and common sense should work almost as well.
Concentrate fire on ships that do not instapop. Whether this means pairs of frigates destroying incoming frigates and cruisers or whole gangs cycling through enemy BS's, the same concept holds true: increasing the rate of damage to time will make more efficient use of ammo and time when fighting ships that repair themselves (which are virtually all NPC ships in EVE).
Complex Variations and Themes
When a complex is getting really boring, try mixing it up.
- Speed plexing: Racing another corp to finish a complex under the previous best time, rewards to the winner or shame to the loser only intensify competition.
- Frig swarm: Is your 5/10 or 6/10 complex getting boring? Try it in a group of 10 or 12 frigs (or cruisers if you are wimp).
- Drone commander: One or two serious tankers and the rest are drone users. Not very useful unless hordes of drones are used, but still kinda fun.
The Do's and Don'ts of Complex Farming
Complex farming is a valid part of a pilot's career choice, just like farming asteroids or missions from agents. The amount of boredom of complex farming is comparable to other types of farming, but the benefits are significant. The tensions with other pilots that are often created by farming should be alleviated by the following. Again, if a pilot is being a complete ass when they are farming, they are poddable just like if they were being a complete ass like in any other activity.
- Do bring along a dedicated and skilled hauler. You're not going to be maximizing profit if you can't bring back all the good drops. Alt accounts are usually the first choice because that means that profits are not getting split, but even if that can't be arranged, a hauler buddy will more than double profits if enough time is spent farming.
- Do let other people "play through" if you are stockpiling keys.
- Do gang people that want an invite so long as they aren't going to screw you over later.
- Do share the end room. As this is the last room and a player can't just go to the next, you'll have to share by either ganging together or splitting spawns. I've met lots of great ppl this way so there's very little reason not to.
- Don't be a smacktard.
- Don't hoard keys and prevent other players from moving on.
- Don't exclude other people from farming the same room. If you are farming for a rare drop and someone else comes along, work something out.
- Don't be a Leroy Jenkins and train rats into other ppl.
Rare loot info
Gist = Bs Sized Angel Complex Loot Gist-c Drops from the 7/10 Angels Plex Gist-b Drops from the 8/10 Angels Plex Gist-a Doesnt exist no 9/10 Gist-x Drops From the Angel 10/10
Gistum = Cruiser Sized Angel Complex Loot Gistum-c Doesn't Exist no Angel 4/10 Gistum-b should drop from the Angel 5/10 but the loot tables are broken Gistum-a Doesn't Exist no Angel 6/10
Gistii = Frig Sized Angel Complex Loot Gistii-c Doesn't Exist no Angel 1/10 Gistii-b Should drop from the 2/10 but the loot tables are broken Gistii-a Drops from the serpentis 3/10(go figure)
Cent = Sanshas Complex Loot Centus = Sanshas BS Sized Complex Loot Centus-c Doesnt exist no 7/10 Centus-b Doesnt exist no 8/10 Centus-a Doesnt exist no 9/10 Centus-x Drops from Sanshas 10/10
Centum = Sanshas Cruiser Sized Complex Loot Centum-c Should drop from 4/10 but doesnt due to broken loot tables Centum-b Doesnt exist no 5/10 Centum-a Drops from Sanshas 6/10
Centii = Sanshas Frig Sized Complex Loot Centii-c Should drop from 1/10 but dosent due to broken loot table Centii-b Doesnt exist no 2/10 Centii-a Should drop from 3/10 but doesnt due to broken loot table
Corp = Blood Raiders Complex Loot Corpus = Blood Raider BS Sized Complex Loot Corpus loot doesnt exist due to lack of 7/10-10/10 Blood complexes.
Corpum = Blood Raider Cruiser Sized Loot Coupum-c Doesnt exist no 4/10 Corpum-b Doesnt exist no 5/10 Corpum-a Drops from 6/10 Blood Complex
Corpii = Blood Raider Cruiser Sized Loot Corpii loot doesnt exist due to lack of 1/10-3/10 Blood complexes.
Core = Serpentis Complex Loot Core = Serpentis BS Sized Complex Loot Core-c Doesnt exist no 7/10 Core-b Doesnt exist no 8/10 Core-a Doesnt exist no 9/10 Core-x Drops from Serpentis 10/10
Corelum = Serpentis Cruiser Sized Complex Loot Corelum-c Should drop from Serpentis 4/10 but doesnt due to broken loot table. Corelum-b Doesnt exist no 5/10 Corelum-a Doesnt exist no 6/10
Corelli = Serpentis Frig Sized Complex Loot Corelli-c Should drop from Serpentis 1/10 but doesnt due to broken loot table. Corelli-b Doesnt exist no 2/10 Corelli-a Should drop from Serpentis 3/10 but that plex drops gistii-a instead.
Pith = Guristas Complex Loot Pith = Guristas BS Sized Complex Loot Pith-c Doesn exist no 7/10 Pith-b Drops from Guristas 8/10 Pith-a Doesnt Exist no 9/10 Pith-x Doesnt Exist no 10/10
Pithum = Guristas Cruiser Sized Complex Loot Pithum-c Should drop from 4/10 but doesnt due to broken loot tables. Pithum-b Doesnt exist no 5/10 Pithum-a Should drop from 6/10 but doesnt due to broken loot tables.
Pithii = Guristas Frig Sized Loot Pithii-c Should drop from 1/10 but doesnt due to broken loot tables. Pithii-b Should drop from 2/10 but doesnt due to broken loot tables. Pithii-a Doesnt exist no 3/10
Original guide by Ferrer