An Introduction to Capital Ships

Welcome! If you're reading this article, it probably means you have an interest in flying some of the largest ships in Eve Online; Capital Ships. These vessels were once highly feared and respected for the high cost and complexity in producing them, but over the past few years have become the backbone of all major alliances, and the beginning of the mid-game for most players.

NOTE: Due to some conflicting in-game mechanics, there's no standard definition as to what a capital ship is. For the purposes of this article, a capital ship is defined as the following: Any ship hull for which the "Capital Ships" skill is required to pilot it.

Important topics will be bolded and colored light blue as such.

Capitals differ greatly from subcapitals due to a few unique mechanics which requires an inherent change in the approach to piloting them.

The Jump Drive

All capital ship hulls have a built in navigation tool called a Jump Drive. This allows the ships to instantly jump to any Cynosural Fields and Field Generators within a certain range which is unique to each class of ship. The jump uses up the majority of your ship's capacitor, along with an amount of fuel isotopes that is unique to each ship. You also accrue a Jump Fatigue Timer and Jump Reactivation Timer which changes based on the class of ship and distance jumped.

To activate your jump drive, right click your ship's capacitor, hover over the "Jump To" option, and select a cynosural field to jump to. Bear in mind that while this menu does list the target system, it does NOT list the location of the cyno within the system.

Your Jump Drive is your primary method of navigation. Warping in a capital is relatively uncommon, and using normal gates is extremely rare.

Cynosural Fields and Beacons

Cynosural Fields (Also called Cynos) are specially created beacons which capital ships can lock on to. They can be lit by almost any ship, cost between 250 and 450 liquid ozone, and last for 10 minutes per cycle. Anyone in the same fleet as the pilot who lit the cyno can jump to it, provided they are in range and have the required fuel. You CANNOT jump to a cyno that is in the same system as you.

Cynosural Beacons are Cynosural Fields mounted off of a citadel. These were just added in the Onslaught Update and replace the old POS Mounted Cynosural Generator Arrays. These structures are mounted within warp range but not tether range of a citadel, so make sure to be cautious when jumping to them.

Because of the importance of Jump Drives, most capital pilots have a second account with at least one dedicated character to lighting cynos for moving their capitals.

The Normal (left) and Covert (right) Cynosural Field Beacons.

Range

Every capital ship has a base jump range, which can be extended by training the "Jump Drive Calibration" (JDC) skill. The maximum possible jump ranges for each capital ship class are:

Ship Class Base Range (JDC 0) Max Range (JDC 5)
Jump Freighters and Rorquals 5.00 LY 10.00 LY
Blackops Battleships 4.00 LY 8.00 LY
Carriers, Force Auxiliaries, and Dreadnoughts 3.50 LY 7.00 LY
Supercarriers and Titans 3.00 LY 6.00 LY
Jump Bridges 5.00 LY 5.00 LY

There is no in-game mechanic for calculating the most efficient possible jump routes. Because of this, third party tools such DOTLAN's Jump Planner and the Goonswarm Federation's GARPA Topographical Survey are the most commonly used tools when planning capital travel. You can access DOTLAN's Jump Planner Here: http://evemaps.dotlan.net/jump

In all major alliances, you are required to train the "Jump Drive Calibration" skill to level 5 before participating in fleets. This is to allow FCs to use the least possible jumps when calculating a route.

Fuel

Each capital ship belongs to a specific faction, and each faction is keyed to a specific kind of fuel. WHATEVER YOU DO, DO NOT mix up the different fuel types, or you will find yourself unable to use your jump drive.

Factions Fuel Type
Caldari / Guristas Nitrogen Isotopes
Minmatar Hydrogen Isotopes
Amarr / Blood Raider / Sansha's Nation Helium Isotopes
Gallente / Serpentis / ORE Oxygen Isotopes

Fuel usage is unique to each ship, but scales with how many Lightyears your jump is. It can also be reduced by training the "Jump Fuel Conservation" (JFC) skill.

Timers

Activating a Jump Drive on any ship creates two timers, a Jump Fatigue Timer, and a Jump Reactivation Timer. These timers influence eachother, and will both increase exponentially if not waited out. Jump Drive related timers are linked to your character, not ship.

The Jump Fatigue Timer is blue, and serves only to determine how long your next Jump Reactivation Timer will be. It has a maximum time of 5:00:00 hours, and can be ignored when at less than 10:00 minutes.

The Jump Reactivation Timer is orange, and will prevent you from using the jump drive of any ship while active. It has a maximum time of 30:00 minutes, and is calculated as 10% of your Jump Fatigue Timer before you jump.

Docking

Due to their size, capital ships can only dock in certain structures, though even if unable to dock they can still tether to any Upwell structure the pilot would normally have docking access to.

Ship Class Astrahus/Raitaru Azbel Tatara Fortizar/Station Sotiyo Keepstar
Freighters/Jump Freighters DOCK DOCK DOCK DOCK DOCK DOCK
Rorquals TETHER UNDOCK ONLY DOCK DOCK DOCK DOCK
Dreadnoughts/Carriers/Force Auxiliaries TETHER UNDOCK ONLY TETHER DOCK DOCK DOCK
Supercarriers/Titans TETHER TETHER TETHER TETHER UNDOCK ONLY DOCK

Specialized Modules

Siege Modules

Dreadnoughts, Force Auxiliaries, and Rorquals all share a special type of module which is technically different for each ship, but serves the same general purpose. These modules while activated consume fuel to grant the ships in question extraordinarily powerful tanking abilities, an immunity to most EWAR, and a massive bonus to the ship's main role. For dreadnoughts (Siege) that's weapon damage, range, and tracking; Force Auxiliaries (Triage) remote repair along with drone repair strength; and Rorquals (Industrial Core) mining drone yield along with the ability to compress ore. The downside to this module is that the ship is stuck in place for its full 5 minute cycle, cannot receive remote assistance of any kind, and cannot jump, dock, or warp until the module is finished its cycle.

Carrier/Supercarrier Modules

Carriers and supercarriers as a standard always run a module called the Networked Sensor Array (NSA). This module massively increases the ship's and its fighters' sensor strength, allows locking of targets much faster, and provides immunity to some forms of EWAR. The downside is that the ship cannot dock or tether while the module's active, and cannot use EWAR modules of any kind while its active.

Supercarriers also have a unique module type to them, called Burst Projectors. These can be thought of as EWAR Superweapons, projecting a number of possible effects in a small localized area out to up to 500km.

Titan Modules

Titans receive a number of unique modules, giving them tons of potential utility depending on the situation.

Doomsdays are usually what are thought of when looking at titan combat. They come in 5 variations; a targeted one dealing 1,500,000 single-type damage instantly, a lance which hits everything in a straight line for a total of 1,125,000 single-type damage over 15 seconds, a reaper which swipes in an arc and is absolutely useless, the Bosonic Field Generator which deals 1,200,000 omni-damage in a cone over 20 seconds, and the Gravitational Transpiration Field Oscillator which scatters anything caught in its bubble across the entire system.

The Jump Portal Generator effectively lends the titan's jump drive ability to any subcapitals near it. Once activated, subcapitals can activate it the same way they would a jump bridge and land on a cyno of the titan's choosing. This is one of the most useful functions of a titan and can give an alliance near-instantaneous response times over a wide area.

Phenomena Generators are newer modules which can be thought of as battlefield-wide boosts. They affect an entire grid regardless of what fleet the pilot's in, and give a set of significant buffs and debuffs which can strengthen or completely invalidate certain fleet strategies.

Staying Alive

Tanking

Subcapitals have a variety of options for determining how to stay alive in a fight, but capitals don't have that luxury. You either tank with a buffer tank or active tank. Your signature radius is the size of a small city, and even going at 600 m/s with a 50,000 MN is barely doing anything to mitigate damage.

Buffer tanks take advantage of capital modules to give you an absolutely obscene amount of EHP, usually at least 2,000,000 - 3,000,000 for non-supercapitals. While standard for carriers and supercapitals, other capitals may use this configuration when entering a large fight to stay alive as long as possible. Many buffer fits are also equipped with an Emergency Hull Energizer; a one time module which makes your ship nearly invincible for a couple dozen seconds.

Active tanks also take advantage of capital modules, but this time the variant of shield boosters or armor repairers. The power of this tank varies from around 10,000 EHP/s to over 50,000 EHP/s depending on the ship, and can be used to effectively tank entire subcapital fleets. This style of tanking is standard on Force Auxiliaries, Dreadnoughts, and Rorquals because of the bonuses given by their Triage, Siege, and Industrial Core modules.

Evaccing

When in a capital engagement, the difference between the entire fleet surviving and dying can be made in just a few seconds. One of the most important things you can do is ensuring you stay at Jump Cap (71.25% capacitor, or the minimum capacitor level to activate your jump drive). This allows you to jump out the second it's called for, so that you don't get caught by whatever threat prompted the call to jump.

Refitting

Besides with T3Cs, up until the capital level keeping refits in your ship isn't a very common thing to do. That all changes with capital ships. Since they need to be used in a variety of situations, all doctrine capitals have a mandatory set of refits which allows them to perform different sets of roles. These usually include a GTFO pack, along with things like max tank, max application, max damage, and certain utilities. These refits are essential to being able to properly utilize your capitals, so don't forget to pick them up.

Carriers

Carriers are the most common class of capital ship that players will first be introduced to. They are relatively cheap, extremely hard to kill in a fleet environment since they can receive reps during combat, and can project a significant amount of damage to any potential target over thousands of kilometers. They can also be used for a significant amount of utility.

The carrier has two major disadvantages; the first being that its only source of DPS (fighters) are highly susceptible to jamming, enemy space superiority fighters, and subcapital guns, and the second being that in large fights the lag caused by fighters can be so severe that the disadvantages of fielding them sometimes outweigh the benefits.

Roles

  • Anti-Subcapital DPS - A carrier can deal as much as 3,000 DPS, with high application to ship sizes of cruiser and up.
  • Space Superiority - Carriers have a dedicated type of fighters by the same name which are extremely effective against drones, other fighters, and even frigates.
  • Anti-Structure DPS - Because of their high range, carriers can safely engage citadels from well outside of their powerful weapon systems' ranges.
  • Anti-Capital Utility - While not possessing enough damage to easily threaten other capital ships, carriers do have a significant amount of utility high slots, allowing them to fit anti-capital neuts when required to.

Dreadnoughts

Dreadnoughts up until very recently used to make up the damage backbone of most major capital fleets. These ships can deal a high amount of damage to both capitals and subcapitals (though each requires their own dedicated weapon system), and at the same posses extremely powerful active or buffer tanks themselves. They also insure quite nicely, meaning that with platinum insurance and SRP, a dreadnought pilot may only require a couple hundred million isk to fully fit up a replacement.

Dreadnoughts have two major disadvantages in that they can not receive any kind of assistance while in Siege (See Specialized Modules above), and that extracting them can be extremely difficult. Because of this the ships are usually considered disposable while in an anti-capital fleet environment, though the generous insurance/SRP mix greatly softens the costs associated with this.

Roles

  • Anti-Subcapital (HAW) DPS - HAWs are now the most commonly used configuration for dreadnoughts, allowing them to deal similar DPS to a carrier over a shorter range, but with a much more powerful active tank.
  • Anti-Capital DPS - Because of their disposable nature, dreadnoughts make great rapid-response anti-capital ships where titans and supercarriers aren't viable, or where time is of the essence.
  • Anti-POS DPS - While ineffective against citadels in most situations, dreadnoughts are still very powerful when used against POSes.

Force Auxiliaries

Force Auxiliaries (Also known as FAXes or Fax Machines) are logistics on steroids; a single one of these ships can keep both itself and a medium sized subcapital fleet alive, and in large groups make up the logistics backbone of all capital and supercapital forces. This versatility makes them the most commonly used fleet capital ship available. Like dreadnoughts they can field either a buffer or active tank depending on the situation, and through insurance/SRP are usually very cheap to replace.

While less disposable than dreadnoughts, FAXes suffer the same disadvantages, relying on only their own tank while in Triage to stay alive and being difficult to extract from a hot situation. Along with this their capacitor heavy role makes them more susceptible to neuting than dreadnoughts, requiring them to have a constant supply of capacitor boosters to stay alive.

Roles

  • Sub-Capital Logistics - Though they're unable to move while in Triage, having 1-3 FAXes on field allows a sub-capital fleet to receive extremely powerful reps while in their range. This role is best combined with slower moving ships that don't rely on signature or speed tanking like battlecruisers and battleships.
  • Capital Logistics - In larger groups there are no better ships than FAXes to keep carriers, supers, and titans alive.
  • POS Repair - Because POS Mods sometimes have several million EHP, a small group of Armor FAXes is the best option for repping them up if they've been incapacitated.
  • Other Utility - Because of their impressive tank and bonuses, FAXes are commonly used as both hard cynos and command burst platforms.

Rorqual

Rorqual mining is its own beast, and participating in it in Brave requires admission to the Rorqual Group. If you're interested in this ship, please head over to the Introduction to Rorquals page.

How to Control Fighters

Fighter control gives ships that can field them unprecedented versatility, but at the cost of being nigh impossible to multi-box. Here we will go into how to efficiently control your fighters.

For a video demonstration of how to effectively control your fighters, check out this video!

The Fighter Control Panel

First we're going to get your fighter control panel on screen, to do this click the right facing double chevron button as shown in the top picture to the right.

This unfortunately replaces your module view, you can fix this though by clicking and dragging the button to reposition the window wherever you like.

Now you'll be presented with a view similar to the bottom picture on the right. Each fighter squadron slot will show the following information:

  • A picture of the fighter type loaded, along with 3-12 rectangles representing how much health each fighter has left. They are Green while docked, white while undamaged, and turn to yellow, orange, then red as they receive damage. Keep in mind only one fighter can receive damage at a time, making it impossible 'alpha' fighter squadrons in the traditional sense. They must be destroyed one-by-one.
  • The status of the squadron under the picture, along with the fighters' speed and distance from the ship if launched.
  • The fighters' modules while launched; these act just like normal modules in regards to green/red cycling and cooldowns.

Bear in mind depending on what ship you're in you may be able to control between 1 and 5 fighters.

Fighter Movement

ALWAYS make sure you are using the tactical overlay and tactical camera when controlling fighters.

Within the fighter control panel, selecting any fighter or set of fighters will cause most commands which would normally go to your ship to be redirected to your fighters. This includes commands such as orbit, approach (along with approach to point), and keep at range. Excluded commands include warp, align, dock, and jump.

Please also note that while one or more fighters are selected the F1, F2, and F3 keys (or whatever you rebound them to) will control your selected fighters' Primary, Propulsion, and Secondary modules respectively instead of their respective modules on your carrier. Be advised that all fighter propulsion modules have a cooldown.

Fighter Combat

Fighters have a very unique combat system that takes aspects of all the major weapon systems and combines them into one.

When a primary weapon is activated on a valid target, the selected squadrons will immediately cancel any current order, begin firing as long as they're in the minimum engagement range, and begin to orbit the target at its optimal range. After this is done, you can continue to give orders to the fighters and they will continue to fire as long as they remain in range.

Fighter primary weapons (despite being called 'turrets' or 'missiles'), actually use a hybrid of the missile and turret application system. They will first calculate damage based on a falloff and optimal range (registering a 0 if they are too far out of range rather than a miss), and then reduce the damage based on explosion velocity and explosion radius.

Make sure your fighters are always moving while in combat, especially when dealing with NPCs. A delay of only a couple of seconds can mean the loss of tens of millions of isk in fighters.

When using damage fighters, you'll usually want to work with the following engagement profiles:

Fighters Targets
Space Superiority Other Fighters, Drones (Especially useful when they're fielded by Guristas Ships), and Frigates
Light Attack All Ships Destroyer and Larger, Plus Structures
Heavy Long Range Cruisers, Battlecruisers, and Battleships
Heavy Short Range Capitals, Supercapitals, and Structures

Your Connection to Your Fighters

Fighters will stay connected to your ship as long as you remain in system and do not dock. You can warp, and even leave grid and they will retain their most recent command.

If you do leave grid, the only order you will be able to issue is recall, which will cause your fighters to warp to your current position. DO NOT RECALL FIGHTERS WHILE IN WARP; doing so will cause them to land at the edge of the grid, sometimes thousands of KM away from you. Be advised fighters can be pointed to prevent warping like normal ships.

If you disconnect while your fighters are deployed, they will automatically begin recalling to you, and you will not be able to issue any further orders until they have done so.

If you dock, leave system, or abandon a fighter squadron while your they are deployed, they will immediately lose connection, and the only way to get them back will be to scoop them. With each fighter squadron being up to 10,000 m^3, this can cause a host of issues in the middle of combat. The only time you want to abandon a fighter squadron is when you need to tether on a structure as quickly as possible to prevent from being tackled.

  • public/dojo/wiki/capital-introduction.txt
  • Last modified: 2019/11/12 05:20
  • by Quinn Munba