EVE Evolved: Fitting the Confessor for PvE and PvP

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December was a great month for EVE Online players, with the Rhea update opening new wormhole systems for the first time since 2009, updating the star map and all ships with amazing new visuals, and advancing the Sleeper storyline with mysterious cloaked structures appearing all over EVE and Sleeper NPCs making incursions into normal space. The update also brought us a ship-carrying freighter called the Bowhead and the first of a new line of tech 3 tactical destroyers called the Confessor. While every race will eventually get its own tech 3 destroyer, the Amarr Confessor was the first to be released due to the Amarr winning a research race player event.

Tactical Destroyers are a completely new class of ship in EVE with the ability to transform between three different combat modes in the middle of a fight to adapt to changing circumstances. Defense Mode boosts armour resistances and reduces the ship's signature radius, Propulsion Mode increases the ship's speed and agility, and Sharpshooter Mode increases turret optimal range and boosts the ship's sensors. With Confessor prices having now dropped below the 100 million ISK mark and more pilots finishing the skill training required, people have started figuring out some interesting ship setups for it.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I check out a few of the Confessor setups players have devised so far and look at what makes this transforming terror tick.

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It's safe to say that the Confessor has been designed with wormhole exploration in mind. Its bonues just happen to synergise perfectly with the powerful class 6 Wolf Rayett wormhole anomaly effects in the 25 small-ship-only shattered wormhole systems introduced in Rhea. If that wasn't a big enough hint to get out there and start exploring wormholes with the Confessor, it also has a 95% CPU reduction bonus for scan probe launchers and a spare high slot to fit one in. The setup above is a reasonably cost-effective exploration fitting designed for tackling Sleeper anomalies, data sites, and archaeology sites.

The data analyzer and tracking computer can be switched for any other combination of utility modules, and the Confessor has enough cargo space to bring a Mobile Depot and various modules along to let you refit in space. The Coreli nano plating will cost you about 40 million ISK apiece, but if you're on a budget, you can use tech 2 nano plating for a small resistance decrease. When in defense mode, this setup can tank 116 DPS indefinitely and has a tiny frigate-sized signature radius of just 40m, which will reduce damage from cruisers and above.

This setup gets 16.7k effective hitpoints in defensive mode and can snipe at 30km range for about 142 DPS with Aurora S or switch to navy multifrequency crystals to deal 245 DPS at close range. Switching to sharpshooter mode boosts the sniping range up to 50km at the cost of reduced tank. Being in one of the new small ship shattered wormhole systems with a class 6 wolf rayett anomaly will boost the ship's effective hitpoints to 29.5k and reduce its signature radius to an interceptor-sized 20m, and boost damage to a colossal 427 DPS with Aurora S crystals or 736 DPS with navy multifrequency crystals.

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Despite its high price tag for a relatively small ship, the Confessor can punch well above its weight in the right hands. I'm not sure whether it's small enough to enter small faction warfare complexes, but the Confessor has turned out to be brilliant at taking down tech 2 frigates solo, so it's no surprise that skilled pilots who specialise in solo PvP in small ships have figured out some killer setups that make the most of the Confessor's transforming ability. My favourite PvP setup so far has to be nnezu's 10mn kiting Confessor from Battleclinic, which uses an oversized 10mn Afterburner to dictate range. The Federation Navy 10MN Afterburner will set you back around 27 million ISK, but it's a significant upgrade over tech 2 and makes this whole fit viable.

The idea of this setup is to tackle a single opponent and use the afterburner to stay within your optimal range, dealing around 360 DPS with Gleam S or navy multifrequency. If someone tries to get in close and under your gun's tracking speed, you can switch to propulsion mode and overheat the afterburner for improved acceleration and a top speed of around 4.3km/sec. You can tank only up to 82 DPS in defensive mode but can snipe out to a range of 43km using Aurora S in sharpshooter mode if necessary, dealing around 209 DPS. The main drawback of this fitting is that it's a little weak on defenses and the tracking speed of beam lasers is pretty terrible. The navy warp scrambler and centii armour repairer aren't completely essential and are a bit expensive, but they'll provide a nice boost to tank and warp scrambling range.

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I love the idea of using an oversized 10mn afterburner on the Confessor both to tackle large targets and as a kind of escape mechanism for when things go belly-up in combat. The afterburner gives the same top speed as a 1mn microwarpdrive would but can't be shut off by a warp scrambler, and it doesn't make your signature radius bloom out to a huge 240-360m like a microwarpdrive would. The only downside is sluggish acceleration due to the afterburner temporarily adding an extra five million kg of mass to your ship while it's active, but that problem can be partially corrected by swapping to propulsion mode when you need to burn out of combat. With that in mind, the above setup is a close-range brawler designed to tackle cruisers and get out safely if something goes wrong.

This setup deals 356 DPS with navy multifrequency crystals with an optimal range of 3.5km or 284 DPS with Scorch crystals out to 10km. Switching to sharpshooter mode extends that optimal range to 17km at the cost of some tank. It has only a 7k effective hitpoint buffer but can repair over 200 effective hitpoints per second in defensive mode and has a 40m signature radius that will help protect it against cruiser sized weapons. There's no web on this brawler setup, but the warp scrambler will disable the target's microwarpdrive, and the afterburner should let you dictate range against most targets. It has a natural top speed of 1.6km/sec, but when tackling or trying to burn out of warp scrambler range to escape a fight that's going wrong, you can swap to propulsion mode and overload the afterburner to hit 3.7km/sec.

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The Confessor hasn't been out in the wild for very long, but it's already looking like a fairly capable brawler, a decent tackler, and a powerful anti-frigate platform. Its unique ability to switch between three different roles mid-fight makes some unconventional ship setups work, but switching between roles in the heat of battle will probably take players a while to get used to.

The setups above are a few of the early fitting ideas that are showing promise, but players may find more effective fits as the pricetag of the Confessor falls and it sees more use in PvP. If you've come across a different Confessor setup that you think may be more effective, please drop a link for readers in the comments below!

Brendan "Nyphur" Drain is an early veteran of EVE Online and writer of the bi-weekly EVE Evolved column here at Massively. The column covers anything and everything relating to EVE Online, from in-depth guides to speculative opinion pieces. If you have an idea for a column or guide, or you just want to message him, send an email to