So you’ve bought yourself a shiny new battleship and have this ‘Frigate Escape Bay’. What do you put in it? While I’m not about to give you every single frigate fit in my library, I should have a fit for every occasion. And that’s the way I’d like people to think about their escape bay. What ship are you flying? What do you want your backup ship to do? Are you going to hold grid longer, is this a combat scanner, an emergency cyno, or do you just want to get those HG Crystals out?
Regardless of what you pick, you need to know the options. According to CCP’s dev blog, you have the following options:
- Any T1 Frigate (including faction ships & the Astero)
- Assault Frigates
- Electronic Assault Frigates
- T2 Logistics Frigates
Technically this also means you could fit a Cambion in there, that’s a bit like going Super Saiyan right before you lose 100b+ ISK. Anyway, it’s probably also worth outlining some of the frequently asked questions, courtesy of my boy CCP Deadlift:
- A player is able to place one of a selected list of assembled frigates (Frigate/Assault Frigate/Ewar Frigate/Logistics Frigate) into the Escape Bay.
- The frigate’s cargo hold may only have the following items: Boosters, Charges, Nanite Paste, Ozone, Strontium, Subsystems
- All Battleships, Marauders, and Black Ops have the Escape Bay.
- Only 1, assembled frigate can be placed into the Escape Bay at any time.
- Only frigates that you have the skills to fly can be placed into the Escape Bay.
- When the battleship is destroyed if the player has a frigate in the Escape Bay, the player will appear in space in the frigate instead of in a pod.
- Attempting to board an unpiloted Battleship with an empty Escape Bay in space while in a frigate, will board the battleship and place the frigate in the Escape Bay
- If the Escape Bay of the battleship is full, the player will board the battleship and leave his/her frigate in space.
- The same will occur when attempting to board an empty battleship in space while having non-allowed cargo in the frigate.
- The fit of the frigate in the Escape Bay doesn’t show up on Killmails, but the frigate itself does.
- You cannot place a Battleship with a Frigate in the Escape Bay into a Ship Maintenance Array/Bay.
And something of my own, you cannot board a ship which is targeted by someone else (or with a weapons timer). Beware that nobody locks up your battleship while you’re ghost riding in a utility ship.
Literal Escape Frigates
So the first and most obvious choice for an escape bay ship is one to actually escape in. Of course, you can’t fly anything immune to bubbles, and cloaks are hard to come by. The Astero is your only real option for trying to sneak away and cloak up. That doesn’t mean there aren’t other, cheaper options.
The key things to aim for here are:
Low align to reach top speed quickly or attempt an instawarp
Tools to stop locking such as an ECM Burst or a cloak (before they lock)
Enough tank to survive until you get out of the bubble
Low signature to increase locking time against you
So there are quite a few ways of doing all of the above. I’ll try and provide three different price point options below. The first of those is the humble T1 Atron, making good use of that high base capacitor and a semiconductor rig. You see, something I didn’t realise on my first fitting pass was that the ECM Burst II chews up 288GJ capacitor to activate as a base value! This means that you’ll need to have about 60% of your cap in reserve in order to pulse it with decent skills. Worth having, though. Throwing off that lock to burn out of range is the difference between you and a dead pod.
Before I talk about the other fits, I want to briefly discuss which prop mod you should be using. Some people have suggested a 50MN MWD or indeed a 10MN AB for your escape bay frigate. I cannot recommend doing that at all unless you have a dual prop setup where that serves as your backup to continue pulling distance. The problem is that the most vital point of your attempt at escape will be the time it takes to pull past 10km scrams.
Past that first burst of speed where the 5MN wins, you can start to consider other options. 50MN, for example, only picks up at about the 17 second mark where you have already travelled 105km. 10MN works decently well with only a minor falloff compared to 1MN. If you’re going to use one of those, then I recommend using a Succubus to really get the most out of the top end of that speed.
All of this said, my next fit is a dual prop Jaguar. It’s simple enough to pick up any old ramjag and use that instead, feel free to, but this one is designed with a specific purpose in mind. Your entire escape plan is to use the ADC and 5MN to get as far as possible while tanking up to about 23k EHP (Small shield extenders, eh ;)). The 10MN AB is there as a backup for if you get scrammed just kilometres from freedom. It’s my least favourite of the four fits, but it’s a tankier option at least.
We then have two more slight expensive variants which are relatively self-explanatory. The Astero is your only Covert Ops Cloak option, allowing you to pulse the MWD+ECM Burst then cloak before anyone else locks you and coast to safety. The Succubus is 10MN purely because of the 7km/s top speed. Agility suffers as a result, but your plan here is to just keep on going and to pull range from webs and points. Lokis and Rapiers are the enemy of this frigate.
Atron – 7m ISK
[Atron, Escapetron] Nanofiber Internal Structure II Nanofiber Internal Structure II Damage Control II 5MN Quad LiF Restrained Microwarpdrive Burst Jammer II Medium Azeotropic Restrained Shield Extender Prototype Cloaking Device I Core Probe Launcher I, Core Scanner Probe I [Empty High slot] Light Electron Blaster I, Federation Navy Antimatter Charge S Small Polycarbon Engine Housing I Small Low Friction Nozzle Joints I Small Semiconductor Memory Cell I
Jaguar – 50m ISK
[Jaguar, Escape Jag] Nanofiber Internal Structure II Vigor Compact Micro Auxiliary Power Core Assault Damage Control II 10MN Y-S8 Compact Afterburner Republic Fleet Small Shield Extender Burst Jammer II Small Compact Pb-Acid Cap Battery 5MN Quad LiF Restrained Microwarpdrive Improved Cloaking Device II 125mm Gatling AutoCannon II, Hail S [Empty High slot] Core Probe Launcher I, Core Scanner Probe I /OFFLINE Small Polycarbon Engine Housing II Small Ancillary Current Router II Hornet EC-300 x2 Warrior II x2
Astero – 90m ISK
[Astero, Escape Astero] Damage Control II Nanofiber Internal Structure II Overdrive Injector System II Overdrive Injector System II 5MN Quad LiF Restrained Microwarpdrive Republic Fleet Medium Shield Extender Adaptive Invulnerability Shield Hardener II Burst Jammer II Covert Ops Cloaking Device II Core Probe Launcher I, Sisters Core Scanner Probe Small Semiconductor Memory Cell II Small Polycarbon Engine Housing I Small Polycarbon Engine Housing I Hornet EC-300 x5 Hornet EC-300 x5 Warrior II x5
Succubus – 115m ISK
[Succubus, 10MN Escape Succubus] Vigor Compact Micro Auxiliary Power Core Nanofiber Internal Structure II Damage Control II Federation Navy 10MN Afterburner Burst Jammer II Republic Fleet Medium Shield Extender Compact Adaptive Invulnerability Shield Hardener Prototype Cloaking Device I Core Probe Launcher I, Core Scanner Probe I [Empty High slot] Small Polycarbon Engine Housing II Small Low Friction Nozzle Joints II Small Ancillary Current Router I
Keep on Fighting – Getting Revenge
There are several different ways to go about getting revenge with the escape bay. You can either go all-in with a combat ship, or you can hold your target down and wait for the cavalry to arrive. Naturally, there are dozens of fits and you could pick up some simple ideas from my Needlejack article and the wolfpack fleet over there.
So again, we’re going to have a few different options with a few different styles. First up is the Punisher. It suffers on cap if you get neuted and it doesn’t have a web, but being able to tank about 19k EHP should keep your opponents around on grid long enough. Sometimes help can be just one jump away and you can’t do much better than this for 12m ISK.
On the complete opposite side, we have options for purging your target with pure DPS. If you can stomach the 160m ISK cost then one of the
best weirdest ways to do this could actually be a polarised Daredevil. I confess that I’ve not tested this out, but I have played with a less tanky MWD version and had some success. The idea is that you use the web bonus alongside a shield tank and pour on the damage. Most people don’t realise that they can actually warp out and will stay on grid to fight you. I’ve also traded the prop mod for more tank to avoid the issue of zooming out of weapon range. You need to be orbiting your webbed target at 500m, or you’re dead. Note that this will not work if you die to kitey ships! At that point you’re just another blingy little killmail.
The more sensible way to do this would be to instead use something like a 500 DPS Enyo. Dropping a small amount of DPS in exchange for the Assault Damage Control is safer and cheaper. Having an MWD would also mean that it still works as an escape boat. A fit for one of these is in the Needlejack article, although you might want to modify it to add a web.
Realistically this is the most “open” category of escape bay frigate. Picking a 1MN Worm is fair game, as is going for a Garmur and trying to pull range. It depends what you enjoy flying as long as you accept that being ganked is the most likely scenario.
Tanky Punisher – 12m ISK
[Punisher, Escape bay] Damage Control II 400mm Steel Plates II 400mm Rolled Tungsten Compact Plates Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II Adaptive Nano Plating II 1MN Afterburner II Warp Scrambler II 125mm Gatling AutoCannon II, Hail S 125mm Gatling AutoCannon II, Hail S 125mm Gatling AutoCannon II, Hail S 125mm Gatling AutoCannon II, Hail S Small Trimark Armor Pump I Small Trimark Armor Pump I Small Trimark Armor Pump I
Polarised Daredevil – 160m ISK
[Daredevil, Escape Bay Polarised] Magnetic Field Stabilizer II Magnetic Field Stabilizer II Vigor Compact Micro Auxiliary Power Core Overdrive Injector System II Republic Fleet Medium Shield Extender Stasis Webifier II Republic Fleet Medium Shield Extender Polarized Light Neutron Blaster, Void S [Empty High slot] Polarized Light Neutron Blaster, Void S Small Core Defense Field Extender II Small Core Defense Field Extender II Small Core Defense Field Extender II
Utility Escape Frigates
There’s more to an escape bay that purely acting as a vessel to fight or flee with. A third option is to use your frigate before the battleship dies for some additional utility. Take, for example, the common cap booster issue that battleships can have. An XLASB tank doesn’t last forever, and those six Navy Cap Booster 3200s won’t be useful for long. Why not use your frigate as a second cargo bay for topping up that count? There are lots of ways to use that bay, here are some you might no have thought of:
- Cargo bay for ammo or cap boosters.
- Emergency (industrial) cyno.
- Combat prober or emergency scanner in case of wormhole collapse.
- Armour (or hull) reps to get your buffer battleship back in-order.
- Fleet-appropriate frig logi to help prevent anyone else from dying.
- Jams or damps to act as a force multiplier and help keep your fleet going.
- Travel’ceptor’ for when you’re done with the BS roam.
- Tristan, Ishkur, or Astero to abandon drones then scoop to battleship bay.
Of course, many of these ideas are quite self-explanatory, but it doesn’t hurt to have some premade fits that do one, or multiple, of the above. To start with, there’s a simple T1 armour repper with enough cargo for eight full XLASB reloads (72) or nine 3200’s. I don’t necessarily recommend using a hull version of this ship since it actually takes about 30 minutes to repair.
There’s also the cargobay Magnate which takes things to the extreme. It’s quite possible to reach 1.75k m³, but if you’re going to use this ship then you might as well get the scanning potential out of it too. An expanded launcher opens up options for combat scanning other ships as well as wormholing your way out of incoming danger deep in null.
Finally, I’m including a standard cyno Venture fit. Some people don’t realise just how much it needs to be cargo rigged before the Ozone fits inside. There isn’t much wiggle room with regards to what you fit on this. I’ve gone with 1MN, assuming that people will want to pick their positions on stations more quickly. A power core + second shield extender will give you more tank instead, or you could drop the cloak and take a scram if you’re actually trying to bait and trap someone. Whichever way you do it, you need 80m³ of space to place the required 200 Liquid Ozone inside at Cyno 5. This can also be done at Cyno 4 with an Expanded Cargohold low slot.
That’s about all I can think of for escape fits. As with any other fitting, you can specialise or generalise in whichever way you like, but the more things you try and do, the worse you will be at any one particular job. If all else fails, go with an Atron in case you accidentally fly out in the Virtue pod, again.
Armour Rep + Cargo
[Inquisitor, escape] Expanded Cargohold II Expanded Cargohold II Expanded Cargohold II Expanded Cargohold II Cap Recharger II Cap Recharger II Small Remote Armor Repairer II Small Remote Armor Repairer II Small Remote Armor Repairer II Small Remote Repair Augmentor I Small Cargohold Optimization I Small Cargohold Optimization I Light Armor Maintenance Bot I x1
Scanning + Cargo
[Magnate, Cargobay] Expanded Cargohold II Expanded Cargohold II Expanded Cargohold II Co-Processor II Scan Rangefinding Array I Scan Pinpointing Array I 5MN Quad LiF Restrained Microwarpdrive Prototype Cloaking Device I Expanded Probe Launcher I [Empty High slot] Small Processor Overclocking Unit I Small Cargohold Optimization II Small Cargohold Optimization I Sisters Combat Scanner Probe x8 Sisters Core Scanner Probe x8
[Venture, Cyno Bay] Damage Control II 1MN Y-S8 Compact Afterburner Medium Shield Extender II Adaptive Invulnerability Shield Hardener II Industrial Cynosural Field Generator Core Probe Launcher I Prototype Cloaking Device I Small Cargohold Optimization II Small Cargohold Optimization II Small Cargohold Optimization I Hornet EC-300 x2 Core Scanner Probe I x8 Liquid Ozone x200