Smart bombs are one of those items that doesn't get used much in EVE because the uses are pretty limited. Sometimes you will see them on a Carrier as a way of clearing enemy drones, but beyond that the only time you really see them is in specialized conditions like Smartbomb camps or in some Capital Warfare. We'll talk about both of those later, but first let's cover the basic mechanics.
Smart Bombs are AOE or Area Of Effect weapons, meaning they effect everything in a predetermined area.
In the case of smart bombs that Area is:
- 2,000 meters for Micro
- 3,000 meters for Small
- 4,000 meters for Medium
- 5,000 meters for Large
You will very rarely see any of these used except for the large and they have Faction versions that have slightly different stats and ranges also.
Because Large is the most common we will focus on it for now on...
Once you fit a Large Smartbomb into a high slot and activate it, it will create an explosion from your ship every 10 seconds doing 120 damage each time (named smart bomb does 120, regular tech 1 does 100, and tech 2 does 140). The way to increase this damage output is through the skill Energy Pulse Weapons which reduces the cycle time for each level you get. (So the 10 seconds becomes 7.5 seconds at level 5)
This will damage EVERYTHING in the "Area" except for you, so don't use them around friendlies or in High Sec.
Because these are AOE they do not require a locked target, they will activate as long as you have the capacitor to fire them and then they will continue running until turned off or until there isn't enough capacitor left.
The final Mechanic you need to know is that you cannot use these within their AOE Range of a structure like a Gate or Station. Many people have tried to sit on the undock of a station and blow up ships just before they warp off only to find it's only possible on "kick out" stations where the actual undock spot is reachable from over 5km from the station.
So how do you use this to get funny and more seriously tactical kills?
You can use it to camp gates by fitting a Battleship with a full rack of Smartbombs, then sitting just over 5km from the gate in the direction of the warp in point (usually another gate). Now run your directional and watch local.
When you see a pilot enter local from the other gate, then see him show on scan, start watching your overview. The timing here is very important and takes practice, but once you see them coming out of warp and not quite to the gate you turn on all of your smartbombs. Keep in mind you only do a limited about of damage so your only going to kill Frigates and smaller for the most part. No reason to waste it on bigger ships.
Bait in a frigate fleet!
Long ago in faction warfare lowsec, I noticed tons of Frigate Fleets running around all the time. They seemed mostly focused on other factions but they would go for non FW targets when they had the chance.
After some thought I came up with the brilliant idea of using a warp stabbed smartbombing Armageddon against them. So I fit out my ship and then went to sit in a belt, not long after that the fleet landed and once they got close and tackled, I turned on the smart bombs.
That got a few of them, but I saw their fleet had some heavier ships and more than enough points to overcome my warp stabs, so I warped off with only a few kills.
A variation of this is what you see in my Time Bomb video, where I used the knowledge that the same guy would come to our null sec system almost daily and try to bait a fight so he could Black Ops drop a bomber and recon fleet on us. He got my Hurricane with it one night so I decided to fit another warp stabbed Armageddon for him.
This time I warped to station at 100km and waited for him, he came out to tackle me just as expected then dropped his covert cyno.
Due to the mechanics of the Black Ops, all incoming ships drop roughtly 5km or so from the cyno meaning alot of Stealth Bombers were in my AOE. Despite my mismanagement of capacitor which cost me 2 or more kills, I still killed quite a few of them and then warped away safely. You can watch it by checking out my Time Bomb video.
As seen in a video made by Rooks and Kings, a smart bombing battleship can be used to clear drones and fighters off of a capital ship that has been made primary by the enemy fleet. This greatly reduces his incoming DPS and gives your fleet an edge, however it requires preparedness and you must sacrifice one pilot to the role.