Some random thoughts on implants and hardwires.
Since the advent of killmails for the destruction of capsules, the whole feeling of smoke and mystery surrounding pirate implants and hardwires has been somewhat lifted. I can't even recall when this change was, as it all seems so normal now to generate a pod killmail. When there was no real way of knowing it was just that, a mystery and one word of trust against another. Now, with killmails and the implants you are using open to public viewing there has been opened a new world, a Game of Clones. There is no better feeling than opening up that killmail report and revealing a juicy pod. Clone fitting has taken on a whole new level. DNA theory crafting at its finest.
How important and widespread are pirate implants, learning implants and hardwires in the combat arena? I think the answer is different depending on who you are asking. I would personally say very important. I will admit to feeling somewhat naked in a clean clone. Null sec or low sec, gang or solo, I always tend to fly a clone with some basic hardwires in at the very least. In some corporations that I have been involved with, ship fittings were recommended with specific implants in mind. In fact, if you asked for a corp doctrine ship you were given the implants and wires with the ship and you were expected to use them. At first I found this a little alien but now is as normal as anything else.
The same goes with the thought process that flying with implants in null sec space is a bad thing. I don't really buy into that way of thinking I must admit. It doesn't matter where you are, you can just as easily lose a pod, whether it be a quick-on-the-draw intie pilot or a bubble in null or even an insta-locking gate camper, you're gonna lose a pod either way. It is also just as easy to save your pod. When living exclusively in null sec in the past I found that I lost very few pods. Wherever you are and whatever the circumstance, you learn to adapt.
Speaking of adapting, it is now possible to spam warp your pod out and then have fast warping ships waiting for you on your landing zone after they watched your flight path and overtook you mid-warp. In the past I would always spam warp my pod out to the sun (usually, say 90% of the time it was the sun) and it was always at zero. Now, it is a good idea to change the warp to number to something that is not zero. Simply land, say 50 or 70 off the waiting would-be capsule killers and wave as you warp off somewhere more appropriate like to a safe spot or a green exit gate.
What's in your head?
As far as the 1-5 slots and implants go I have only recently started to plug in the Genolution implants for that extra bit of room, as the CA-1 and CA-2 variants are relatively cheap now and I don't feel burdened by any fear of losing them. The extra avenues opened up in the fitting shop is a real bonus too. Learning implants I have never really bothered with. Am I cheap? Perhaps. Will the extra lack of skillpoints hurt? Hell no.
What exactly is cheap when we talk about implants and hardwires? What is this fear surrounding losing them?
On a personal level I like to think of 25 million ISK per hardwire as a reasonable amount. For that price I think some 3% wires in various fields offer a good investment. For the most part you will get a good amount of service out of your wires and hopefully they will reward you with an extra edge in combat.
Slot 6 usually consists of a 3% damage wire or a navigation wire. Although I don't like the feeling of flying with say a hybrid implant and jumping in an autocannon boat. I feel like I am wasting a slot, although in reality it is not that bad, it just doesn't sit well and for that I will usually plug some other navigation wire in. 3% to barrel rolling or something.
Slot 7 I like to go with a tracking speed implant for no reason that I can think of other than my brain telling me that I have better tracking. Yeah, that's it.
My one luxury implant, if you can call it that is the number 8 slot navigation implant, the Zor's Custom Navigation Hyper-Link which gives a 5% bonus to afterburner and micro-warpdrive speed-boost. Always nice for a frigate pilot. These tend to sell for around the 40 million ISK mark and that's when I start getting a little twitchy about purchasing costs.
Slot 9 is usually a choice of another damage wire like an all damage types surgical strike or rate of fire wire. Sometimes I will plump for the 3% armor repair amount wire, depending on mood.
Slot 10 is usually always filled with an armor implant. 3% to armor hitpoints is nice.
Now that as an above implant and wire set is what I would class as a throwaway set. I wouldn't be bothered if I lost that to an insta-locking camper on the first stargate I jump through. So with this in mind I don't have a fear of losing a 200-300 million ISK set. Once plugged in, the set is already dead and I have to think of them as combat consumables, just like my ammo and my cap boosters.
This method of thinking is probably why I don't fit any expensive 'learning' implants or pirate implants such as snakes or slaves or the like. I have them, have used them in the past but now they collect dust. I don't feel comfortable using them in the way I do my throwaway sets. Is this a strange way of contradicting myself? I dunno. I like to think this makes sense.
Is there a cut-off point for when a pod killmail is considered juicy? When you open up that in-game killmail at what point does it make your eyes open a little wider? I am going to guess that again it is a different answer for each person. In this game of numbers, what is the price that you are willing to pay for that extra number, no matter how small or large? That extra edge in the combat arena and that extra price on your head. No, in your head, even.
What's in your head?