Combat Boosters are really powerful and are incredibly under-utilized by most players in the game, they give very significant boosts to either Local Tank, Capacitor, Sig Radius, Turret and Missile Application for a 30-60 minute period, although have the possibility of having side effects. Boosters use a ‘slot’ system which is very similar to how implants work. Boosters come in 4 different tiers, Standard, Improved, Strong and Synth. Synth gives the lowest boost but it also has no drawbacks at all, and then Standard through to Strong give more powerful bonuses but also bigger drawbacks which happen more frequently. Lets take a look at what boosters are available and which slots they belong to.
Slot 1 – This slot encompasses almost everything to do with helping you ship defensively.
|Booster Name||Attribute||Boost||Penalty 1||Penalty 2||Penalty 3||Penalty 4|
|Blue Pill||Shield Boost Amount||3% / 20% / 25% / 30%||Shield Hitpoints||Turret Optimal||Explosion Velocity||Max Capacitor|
|Exile||Armor Repair Amount||3% / 20% / 25% / 30%||Armor Hitpoints||Turret tracking||Explosion Radius||Max Capacitor|
|Mindflood||Max Capacitor||3% / 10% / 15% / 20%||Shield Boost||Turret Optimal||Explosion Radius||Armor Repair|
|X-Instinct||Signature Radius||2.25% / 7.5% / 11.25% / 15%||Armor Hitpoints||Shield Hitpoints||Turret Falloff||Missile Velocity|
|Quafe Zero||Speed + Scan Res||5%||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
There is also a 9th special-edition Booster called Quafe Zero which gives 5% to base speed and 5% to scan resolution, which has no drawbacks and lasts twice as long, it also occupies slot 1. The price of this has risen steadily over the years as it was given out as a six-pack to subscribed accounts for eves 8th year anniversary in 2011, they have not been given out since, and are also unlikely to be given out again so the price will likely steadily increase. They are currently priced around 22mil which is similar to the strong variation of other boosters.
There is also a named synth blue pill booster which gives 5% shield boost amount instead of 3% awarded from the Caldari Epic Arc.
Slots 2 & 3, these are all of the boosters to help with Gun or Missile Application. Crash is the only booster which belongs to slot 3, the turret boosters all belong in slot 2. This is presumably because of ‘split weapon systems’ in the past, not that having to take 2 sets of penalties on top of the drawbacks of split weapons is a good thing.
|Booster Name||Attribute||Boost||Penalty 1||Penalty 2||Penalty 3||Penalty 4|
|Crash||Missile Explosion Radius||3% / 20% / 25% / 30%||Shield Boost||Armor Hitpoints||Missile Velocity||Velocity|
|Drop||Tracking Speed||3% / 25% / 31.25% / 37.5%||Armor Repair||Shield Hitpoints||Turret Falloff||Velocity|
|Frentix||Turret Optimal||3% / 10% / 15% / 20%||Shield Boost||Armor Hitpoints||Turret Tracking||Velocity|
|Sooth Sayer||Turret Falloff||3% / 10% / 15% / 20%||Armor Repair||Shield Hitpoints||Turret Optimal||Velocity|
All Boosters share the same chance and severity of their penalties between the tiers
|Tier Name||Side Effect Chance||Side Effect Penalty %|
All Boosters base duration is 30 minutes, aside from Quafe Zero which has a base duration of 1 hour. Penalties share the same duration of the effect.
It is possible to get multiple drawbacks from boosters and sometimes if you’re lucky, none, the side effect chance rolls against every drawback, and any that are unfortunate enough to get is applied to your character for the duration of the booster. Because booster drawbacks are tailored to be harmful to a wide variety of ships, a lot of the time there is usually only 1 or 2 drawbacks that are actually serious for your ship, and the other drawbacks don’t matter. For example, lets say we are using boosters IRL so are flying a passive drake and are taking Crash to improve our missile application. Armor Hitpoints and Shield Boost amount aren’t really that troublesome if we do end up rolling them, missile velocity can be annoying but on a brawling Ham fit it won’t matter because you’ll be in scram/web range anyway, and for HMLs you’ll have plenty of range left over unless you’re not in disruptor range. and Velocity is universally the worst penalty and the only one we probably care about getting.
It is possible to “rage-roll” boosters too, when you are podded you lose all your current boosters and side-effects. So if you are taking boosters before undocking and going roaming, you can set that station to your home station, Consume booster, if you get a penalty you don’t like, just use the medical facility to kill yourself, or undock and self destruct, providing you don’t have any expensive implants and can incur the cost of another booster.
Note: Jump Cloning will also remove any of your current booster effects too, so it is not possible to get 0 penalties and then jump into a snake clone for example.
Combat Boosters function exactly the same as implants and are not stacking penalized with any modules, which makes a lot of the boosters very powerful. Like Strong Frentix giving you a non-stacking penalized range scripted officer tracking computer.
Skills: There are 3 skills in the game related to Boosters
Biology: This skill increases booster duration by 20% per level, it also is the skill you need to train to be able to use boosters and train the other skills. Level 1 allows access to synth/standard boosters and train the other booster related skills, level 2 allows for improved boosters, and level 3 is required for strong boosters. This is only a rank 1 skill.
Neurotoxin Control: This skill is notable in that it’s a rare exploration drop that costs around 200 million isk on the market, it’s also a prerequisite for the more useful Neurotoxin Recovery Skill. This skill itself reduces the side effect drawbacks by 5% per level. At level 4 for example a penalty from a standard booster would be -16% instead of -20%. (20 x 0.8). This is a rank 2 skill, it’s required at level 1 to train Neurotoxin Recovery, and the price of this skill sometimes serves as a bottleneck for players getting the booster related skills trained.
Neurotoxin Recovery: Despite it’s name sounding like something which helps you recover after drawbacks, this skill actually reduces the chance of you getting side effects in the first place by 5% per level, i.e. a standard booster at level 4 will have a 16% chance of giving you a drawback instead of 20% . This is probably the most useful booster related skill, but it’s also rank 5 which is a bummer. Fortunately it’s no where near as expensive as Neurotoxin control.
The skills aren’t really needed to use boosters and plenty of people consume boosters without having the Neurotoxin skills trained at all, they are mostly just nice benefits that can save you a bit of isk from rage-rolling.
Travelling with Boosters
All non-Synth and Quafe Zero boosters are ‘illegal’ in highsec and will result in you losing standards and a small amount of isk while travelling with them. It’s not possible to be caught by the customs officers and die unless you get dc’d or select the wrong option if you warp gate to gate until you reach lowsec/0.0. When you land on a gate with customs officers there will a pop-up message which will prevent you from loading the next system asking you to hand over your boosters or they will kill you, always hit no, as soon as you hit no, your ship will then immediately jump into the next system. They seem to scan you almost immediately upon landing on a gate with them, but when you spawn in a system with them already on the gate they won’t be able to scan you and you can just warp direct to the next gate. I’ve moved boosters in a Hyperion through high sec so I doubt they can catch non-freighters/orcas if they even do at all. If you’re worried you can easily just move boosters in a Frigate to your lowsec/0.0 home, or just consume them before roaming if you’re someone who lives in empire but roams to lowsec/0.0. The customs do about 400 DPS but they have 100% webs on multiple ships, so be wary of them. You’ll need help getting your ship bumped back to the gate if they do manage to catch you off the gate for any reason, which only happens if you wait around for a long time, usually the only reason this happens is when you DC and then relog, land 12km off the gate where you spawned and they scan/lock you immediately.