Placement of POS Defenses

So I Google, and I read, and I Google some more and I read some more… The topic of POS defense placement seems to be either so well understood that noobs like me just need to L2P or is such a closely guarded strategic secret as to be nearly impossible to find online.

To avoid confusion, POS Defense theory is rampant.  Plenty of suggested builds for different locations and uses (hardeners/no hardeners, dickstar/deathstar, etc.) but scant little information about where to actually place said defenses (and more importantly why).  There are plenty of helpful hints like “gun placement matters” and “spread them out”.  Useful stuff when you’re dealing with a sphere.

Not much to go on really, so I’m interested in feedback on where to locate POS defenses.  Part of the confusion/problem stems from the fact that people tend to use rather imprecise language when discussing the topic (see above).  So let’s go with a few consistent terms based on this handy chart:

For reference to places along a parallel or meridian lets use the old “o’clock” system:

Email me for the joke with the punch line "when the big hand is on the little hand"

After much discussion with a few friends and consultation with various online sources, the discussion seemed to come down to two different issues– (1) how much distance between units is advisable and (2) whether to array longitudinally along meridians or latitudinally (generally along the equator).  All approaches recommended units at the North and South Poles (although differing in views on the distance between units).

North South East West Who Knows Which Way is Best

The three general approaches are represented below with the help of a golf ball (the POS force field boundary) and cartoonish WWII era fighter planes and/or whimsical beatles (representing the placement of generic defenses, regardless of type).

Equatorial Configuration (Not to Scale)
Meridian Configuration (Not to Scale)
Spread out configuration (Not to Scale)

Dubious Truths for Which I need Guidance

I’m told that

  • its necessary to spread out the units all over the sphere because although the units can “see through” the POS force field, they cannot hit units.
  • if you don’t defend your ewar units with guns, they will go down.
  • if you place your defensive units too closely together (<10km), they will be susceptible to bombers.
  • its essential to place your units OFF the equatorial plane or your vulnerable.
  • its essential to place your units ON the equatorial plane since that is where the vast majority of attackers will approach.

A final piece to the puzzle.  POS defenses can only be placed in a band between 5km and 15km outside the force field.  With a large tower, that means between a band between 35km and 45km (Ewar is shown here by whimsical tools while guns are represented by cartoonish WWII fighter planes).

POS Placement Radius

“Conventional wisdom” suggests that ewar units should be near the inner 5km boundary and guns near the outer 15km boundary– which would conveniently give one about 10km between units even if they were located at the same “o’clock” position (whether equatorial, meridinal or otherwise).

Now, wise Eve community, what are the collective merits of these (or other) approaches?  My general idea for a WH POS was to adopt a deathstar approach similar to one of the ones that BoB use(d) to protect its Titans:

The Closest I'll Ever Get to Seeing a Titan

Namely, an equatorial approach (with N and S polar units) but generally concentrated at 8 points along the equatorial plane (12, 1:30, 3, 4:30, 6, etc.).

Is this POS defense set up a POS?

What am I missing?  Am I being too AR?

I’m sympathetic to the “spread out approach” but I’m not so sure that longitudinal gives you much more than equatorial. OTOH, I’m concerned that the spread out approach leaves ewar units more vulnerable than if they were closer together.


10 thoughts on “Placement of POS Defenses”

  1. Excellent write-up on a subject that needs more coverage! Sorry I can’t add anything to the discussion, but definitely going to keep following your research.

  2. ……. my brain just went pop.

    That said it’s an interesting topic, and I will be interested to see what people say, as my empire POS could do with a reconfiguration no doubt.

    In 0.0, the generall tendency is to build multiple “banks” of guns and modules…. above below, primarily.

  3. Your setup entirely depends on the enemy you expect to face. In 0.0 warfare you commonly have poses setup with batteries of gun deployed to together at 6 different cardinal positions. It is usually a mix of lr guns and ecm. The reason for the layout is in response to most 0.0 fleets composed of SR battleship groups that have logistics repairing them or using RR. The ECM breaks up the effort to repair efficiently and the guns are usually manned to focus fire on targets. Hardeners are used for the purpose of forcing the attacking fleet to take as much time as possible to reinforce the tower by increasing the effective hitpoints. A large POS with 8 hardeners can have over 80,000,000 effective against all damage types depending on the tower type. This can make a 100 man BS fleet take up to 3-4 hours to reinforce. Without the proper mix of guns / ecm the fleet can either ignore the incoming damage because of efficient logistics or incap the guns quickly leaving the tower with no damage dealing capability. If setup correctly a large POS in 0.0 will force an attacker to incapacitate (take the module into structure where it will no longer function) every gun and ecm module before they take the tower down. In 0.0 its not a matter of if your tower goes down in war conditions it is a matter of when … so your defenses are setup to extract the maximum cost to the enemy and give you as much time to form up a response fleet to counterattack as possible.

    In low-sec you should have more ECM .. I have setup several POSes in low-sec … and my conclusion was that having more ECM basically meant that you eliminated any griefing corps from causing you issues on your tower … A large POS with a few hardeners and a lot of ECM will require a larger fleet for taking it down into reinforced … because you are in low-sec the likely hood of someone using capitals is low … so if the attacker cannot assemble a stong BS fleet they simply can’t take your tower down. Sufficient ECM eliminates the dps of a small fleet so severely that they will literally take a day to reinforce a large pos. Few corps have that patience for a pos bash that yields little or no profits.. since most assests can be removed if the defender is alert.

    In high-sec you should entirely go with ECM and hardeners … The only people that can attack your POS are required to war dec you first. This means you can entirely remove any valuable modules / assets from the tower before the shooting starts… no one alert to attack should ever lose anything valuable in a high-sec POS given the 24 hour head start. In fact you can entirely take down the POS in safety .. store it away and leave your attackers nothing to do. Assuming you want to defend it .. you should strive for 2 goals … extend the amount of time it takes to bring the tower into reinforced mode and require the attacker to assemble a large force that must be maintained for as long as possible. Remember .. you have no threat from capitals in high-sec so the fleet to remove your POS must be a BS fleet.

    The setups I’ve commented on are defensive in nature … they are designed to give you maximum time to either remove assets or get a counterattack fleet in place. In high-sec and low-sec situations … warfare to simply destroy for the sake of destroying something is fairly rare… people are motivated by the profit … so a defensive setup that forces an attacker trying to either extort money or gain access to your expensive research modules to take forever (and require large numbers w/logistics) is an effective means of deterrence to aggression in the first place … Most of people who lose high-sec and low-sec POSes have setup defenses that are completely too weak to provide deterrence and therefore invite attack.

  4. 1) Even if the caldari tower has a missile launcher bonus – don’t fit missile batteries to ANY POS. We once went up against a medium tower with missile batteries and at one point one of my BS pilots was able to solo the entire damage output of the POS with his local reps… so GUNS! (this may get fixed one day but is the result of missile mechanics changes a while ago so don’t hold your breath)

    2) In wormhole space, unless you’re in a class 4-6, you won’t be seeing attacking dreadnought, so you don’t need to worry about the Large guns (small and mediums are equivalent to cruiser and battleship respectively)

    3) Unless your corp has sufficient POS gunners, it’s more of a deterrent than an active defense. You can get thru a medium tower in reasonable time with a force of around 10-14 BS without any problem if there are no POS gunners. Small towers are just too easy to put into reinforced/kill. The big issue is the logistics of attacking someone in wormhole space.

    4) Make sure there is at least 1 scram. It’ll get killed first if the attacker has any brains but if you’re lucky you may be around with a gunner when the tower is first attacked. If so you want this to make sure that any ship you concentrate fire on can’t get away.

    5) Keep some offlined backups. IF you happen to catch the enemy because they attacked in your time zone you’ll be able to online replacement guns and modules as they take them out and keep firing at their forces. Mind you again you’ll want a POS gunner for this.

    6) If you’re a small corp and you’re being attacked by superior forces that were smart enough to put up their own operating base in your wormhole system, you may be boned regardless. For the rest a large tower is usually sufficient.

    7) The proper defense of a POS is an active fleet. The defenses are just to give you time to get it there and/or help them out if the enemy decides to fight AT the pos when you’ve got both a POS and a fleet.

    8) you know that caveat about “don’t fly what you can’t afford to loose”? Same thing applies to towers – “don’t put out towers you can’t afford to loose”.

  5. Excellent advice dsj and KK which I’ll take into account for my large tower build. Any thoughts about the merits of the BoB approach shown above (units concentrated at various stations) versus a more spread out placement?

    Seems like dsj is suggesting to spread things out to extract the maximum amount of pain to take the units down, but in practice does that leave ewar units more or less vulnerable?

    One setup I’ve seen by a 0.0 corp basically puts guns and ewar spaced out around the equator, a few guns at the poles (spread out around the arctic/antarctic circle) with ewar units and then drapes more ewar units down along meridians so that no unit is within 10km of each other.

    Seems like a decent approach, but I wonder why BoB didn’t use something similar in the picture above?

    1. Ok, that’s really embarrassing. My apologies Letrange. That’s what happens when you blog and are reading 57 other Eve blogger’s sites at the same time…

  6. Just a follow up … in 0.0 speed of deployment and the ability to place ammo in the guns easily are the major reasons for placing the guns in one place … Spread out as much as possible is best in my opinion because most fleets are going to want to warp to a scout on the pos and kill the modules at their optimal range … if you spread them out you force the attacking fleet to constantly re-warp to take down the defenses … nothing is worse than one set of guns that can be kited by small ships or out-ranged by a battleship fleet .. different ranges, different positions, and different ammo types … mix it up …

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