Although there have been many insights and strategies written about the CE, I still consistently see people running around throwing out random Do's and Don'ts in zone chat. Rather than re-inventing the wheel here, I thought I'd address as many of these as I can in a short and simple format:
Assertion 1: CE cannot be pugged.
Reality: Theoretically it can be, but anyone who has been around the MMO block knows that strategy based encounters in any format usually can't be pugged until the average overall (firepower, in this case) far exceeds the amount of healing the CE will obtain from mistakes. When that point will come is up for anyone's guess. Until it does, I would not recommend trying to pug the CE at all.
Assertion 2: Don't use torpedos or mines, they heal the CE!
Reality: Mines and torpedos do NOT heal the CE. The CE has a base amount of healing over time that cannot be surpressed. During the low 30% of its health, the CE will release LARGE fragments that when destroyed by weapons fire or ship impact will spawn three SMALL fragments. These small frags are what travel back to the CE and heal it for a percentage of its health.
So in other words, torpedos and mines can be used all day, if used properly. You run the risk of premature collisions with any type of fragment when using mines, so unless you are professional with your team's strategy, I would advise against it when large/small fragments appear.
Assertion 3: Less people is more.
Reality: This assertion that less ships in combat are better off than a larger fleet is situational. The factors to consider is how many pugs (who you have to assume do not know what they are doing) you have vs the maximum amount of firepower your fleet can dish out. Keep in mind that the CE does have a base amount of healing that needs substantially more than 5 ships, assuming an average of commander level rank to punch through. Also keep in mind that the less people you have, the more shards you'll likely have chasing each person.
Assertion 4: Kite all the fragments.
Reality: Generally speaking, this is a good idea but is dependent on what everyone else is doing. For slower ships (cruisers mainly), often times you'll have to devote more power to your engines at the cost of your other systems, namely weapons. Keep in mind shields are largely useless except during the top third percentile of his health in which you could be targeted by the CE's energy beam. After that phase, if you want to cut most power to your shields, it shouldn't be a problem.
Given that you'll likely have pugs in your group at some point, I'd recommend assigning at least a few people that you can control to specifically focus on small fragments during the bottom 3rd of his health, assuming of course people will be making some mistakes with large/small frags.
That last line will probably make or break your attempt at the CE if you have pugs flying around in the same instance. You must assume they will be making mistakes and plan accordingly.
Assertion 5: Keep at least 5km away from the CE at all times.
Reality: This is also a good idea. If you plan on firing torpedo volleys, I'd fly out to at least 8-9km away so you have a little room to turn, fire and run away before immediately running into a wall of fragments.
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