In this article, I take a look at the drug trade in EVE and the different kinds of performance-enhancing combat boosters that are available.
Performance enhancing drugs:
As the name suggests, combat boosters give you a short boost to various combat abilities. A wide variety of combat boosters exist, improving everything from armour repair amount to turret optimal range. Boosters give a temporary bonus for 30 minutes, which is increased by 20% per level by the prerequisite "Biology" skill. With the skill at level 5, boosters last a total of one hour per dose. Regular users of boosters will find themselves being hit with some nasty side-effects. Each booster has four possible side-effects, each of which has a chance of occurring and reduces some other ability of your ship.
Each drug comes in three different strengths: Standard, improved and strong. The strength determines how large a bonus the drug gives but the stronger the drug, the higher the chance and strength of unwanted side-effects. Chances and strength of side-effects can be reduced through the use of the rare skills Neurotoxin Recovery and Nanite Control. In addition, the Eifyr and Co. "Alchemist" hardwiring implant line provide bonuses to duration of boosters, chance of side effects and severity of side-effects. For those with a weaker stomach, safer synthetic boosters exist which carry no side-effects and are perfectly legal but provide only a minor benefit.
Where there's a demand for illegal goods, there will always be criminals smuggling them in. Even Jita, the trade hub of the universe with its 0.9 security rating is not immune. Boosters are sold on the market there, though you'll need a fast ship to run them past customs officials and get them to where you need them. In a dramatic fight against customs officials, EVE player Masu'di pulled off the biggest drug smuggling operation to date, moving almost 20 billion isk's worth of the drugs to Jita.
This is my personal favourite booster. The standard version provides a 20% bonus to armour repair amount, which increases to 25% with the improved version and 30% with the expensive strong booster. The synthetic version provides only 3% but with no side-effects or legal issues it's always worthwhile to keep some on-hand. Side effects may include reduced armour hitpoints, turret tracking and capacitor capacity, increased missile explosion radius and the fervent belief that you can tank anything! It's interesting to note that this booster works on capital armour repairers, making it ideal for capital ship gangs.
Blue pill is essentially the shield equivalent to the Exile booster. The standard version provides a 20% bonus to shield boost amount, which increases to 25% with the improved version and 30% with the strong booster. Like with Exile, the synthetic version provides only 3%. Side effects may include reduced shield hitpoints, turret optimal range, missile explosion velocity and capacitor capacity. Like Exile, this booster also works on capital modules, making it an ideal combat booster for capital ship gangs.