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 are highly feared and respected for the high cost and complexity in producing them, and over the past few years have become the backbone of all major alliances.

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 green as such.

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

All capital ship hulls have a built in navigation tool called a Jump Drive. This allows them to instantly jump to any Cynosural Fields and Beacons 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, you can right click your ship's capacitor, hover over the "Jump To" option, and select a cynosural field to jump to, or (recommended) right click the name of the cyno pilot. The "Jump To" dropdown menu includes all ship mounted cynosural fields and Mobile Cynosural Beacons in your fleet, as well as all Cynosural Beacons in range that you have access 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. Whenever possible, avoid using your capacitor menu to jump to a cyno, and use the name of the cyno pilot on your watchlist instead. This will avoid several types of tragic accidents.

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


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 Cyno Type Base Range (JDC 0) Max Range (JDC 5)
Jump Freighters Standard
5.00 LY 10.00 LY
Rorquals Standard 5.00 LY 10.00 LY
BlackOps Battleships Standard
4.00 LY 8.00 LY
Carriers, Force Auxiliaries, and Dreadnoughts Standard 3.50 LY 7.00 LY
Supercarriers and Titans Standard 3.00 LY 6.00 LY
Ansiblex Jump Gates N/A 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:

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.


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.


Activating a Jump Drive on any ship creates two timers, a Jump Fatigue Timer, and a Jump Reactivation Timer. These timers influence each other, 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.

Cynosural Fields (Also called Cynos) are specially created beacons which capital ships can lock on and jump to. You CANNOT jump to a cyno that is in the same system as you.

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.

Lighting Cynosural Fields

Ship Mounted Cynosural Fields are restricted to only a few classes of ships (See the section below), and last between 30 seconds and 10 minutes depending on their class. 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. If the owner of a ship mounted cyno leaves fleet, their cyno will be completely unusable for the remainder of its cycle.

Mobile Cynosural Beacons are personal deployables that anyone can drop into space. They were added in the Fleet Formations Update and give some new versatility to cynos, though due to their low health are unsuitable for deployment in combat. They are 400 m3 in volume, have a 2 minute activation period, and last for a maximum of 1 hour or until they've been destroyed. These beacons are bound to the fleet the owner was in when they were launched, and will remain accessible even if the owner drops fleet or logs off.

Cynosural Beacons are anchored in space, usually off of a citadel. These were added in the Onslaught Update and replace the old POS Mounted Cynosural Generator Arrays. Access to them is controlled by citadel ACLs, and not linked to a fleet. These structures can be anchored within visual range but not tether range of a citadel, so make sure to be cautious when jumping to them.

 Cynosural Field Generator I   Mobile Cynosural Beacon   Pharolux Cynosural Beacon

Classes of Cynosural Field

There are 3 classes of cynosural fields, each of which can be jumped to by a subset of ships and come with different requirements for lighting:

Standard Cynosural Fields can be jumped to by any ship with a jump drive, and are the only type of cyno that Capitals and Supercapitals can jump to. Their ship mounted generators can only be lit by Force Recons and BlackOps Battleships, last 5 minutes, and cost between 50 and 500 Liquid Ozone to light.

Covert Cynosural Fields can be jumped and bridged to by BlackOps Battleships. Their ship mounted generators can be lit by most ships capable of using a Covert Ops Cloak, last between 30 and 60 seconds, and cost between 10 and 50 Liquid Ozone to light.

Industrial Cynosural Fields can be jumped to by Jump Freighters and BlackOps Battleships. Their ship mounted generators can be lit by Ventures as well as all T1 and T2 Industrial Ships, last 10 minutes, and cost between 400 and 800 Liquid Ozone to light.

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

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/Athanor Azbel Tatara Fortizar Station Sotiyo Keepstar
Dreadnoughts/Carriers/Force Auxiliaries TETHER UNDOCK TETHER DOCK DOCK DOCK DOCK

Note: Ships noted as "UNDOCK" are produced in said structure or are retrieved from asset safety, and can undock once. After which, they cannot dock again there.

For example, a dreadnought produced in an Azbel will be able to undock once, and be denied docking access if it attempts to dock again. A titan in an asset-safety NPC Station can undock once, but will denied docking access if it attempts to dock again.

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 warp, dock, tether, or 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.

Lancer Modules

Lancer dreadnoughts can fit a Disruptive Lance, in addition to the normal dreadnought modules. This is a highslot module, and each race's Lancer dreadnought has a racially-specific Lance. A Lancer must be sieged in order to fire the Lance, which consumes a lot of capacitor as well as racial isotopes, and also emits a 10km pulse of energy neutralization from the Lancer dreadnought itself. The Lance takes 15 seconds to spool up, and then hits everything in a straight line that is up to 100km long and 5km wide, dealing up to a total of 382,500 single-type damage over 15 seconds in 1-second intervals. The Lance applies several debuffs to any ship that takes damage from it, including a 50% debuff to incoming remote repair, and also acts as a super-HIC-scram that prevents the afflicted ship from tethering, docking, warping, jumping, and using a stargate - except that unlike a HIC scram, all of these also apply to subcapitals. These debuffs last for 1 minute after application.

After firing a Disruptive Lance, a Lancer will also not be able to tether, dock, jump, or cloak for 5 minutes. A ship fitted with a Lance cannot activate cloaking devices even if the Lance is offline, though it is possible to refit. Unlike a Titan lance, Disruptive Lances can be fired in lowsec.

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.


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 significantly increases your hull resistances 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.


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.


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 package, along with module groups designed for 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 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.


  • 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 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 time possess extremely powerful active or buffer tanks themselves.

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 without solid control of the grid.


  • Anti-Subcapital (HAW) DPS - HAWs are a 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 they're less expensive, 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 they're not viable against citadels in most situations, dreadnoughts are still very powerful when used against POSes.

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.

FAXes suffer much of the same disadvantages as dreadnoughts, 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.


  • 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 command burst platforms.

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.

Lancer Dreadnoughts are T2 dreadnoughts introduced in 2023. These dreadnoughts can fit most of the same specialized modules as their T1 counterparts, except that the Amarr Lancer (the Bane) is bonused for missiles instead of lasers. Lancers do less damage than T1 dreadnoughts but with greater tank, which is pushed to an extreme since Lancers are most commonly fit for maximum tank. The real utility of a Lancer lies in its Disruptive Lance, which acts as an AOE super-HIC-scram that works against subcapitals as well as applying a 50% debuff to incoming remote repair (see Specialized Modules above).

Lancers are very niche ships since they have similar disadvantages to T1 Dreadnoughts, while also being considerably more expensive. In general, Lancer Dreadnoughts in fleet engagements are what is referred to as "win-more": they are almost exclusively used by the side of an engagement that is already winning in order to win more. Their other typical use is for ganking, especially against Jump Freighters gating into highsec from lowsec since they can prevent ships from taking gates with a well-timed Lance.

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 squadrons of 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 may cause them to land too far away to quickly recall. Be advised fighters can be pointed to prevent warping like normal ships.

If you disconnect in space 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 being tackled.

All capital ships have a Ship Maintenance Bay, or "SMB", where subcapital ships can be stored. The SMBs of Dreadnoughts, FAXes, and Carriers have a 1,000,000 m3 capacity in which any subcapital that fits can be stored. Rorquals have the same capacity, but can only store industrial ships. Supercarriers and Titans expand this capacity up to 5,000,000 m3. Access to your ship's SMB can be opened to your corp members and/or fleet members, but by default is closed. In addition, any member of your fleet that is within 2,500 meters of your ship can use your SMB's fitting service to refit their ship for free as long as they don't have an active weapon timer, including other capital ships.

Aside from merely carrying ships from one place to another as a "suitcase" or providing access to re-ships for fleet members (such as dictors or links ships), capital ships can also use ships in their SMBs in some clever ways. Industrial ships in the SMB can be used to store extra charges for capacitor boosters, extra strontium for siege and triage modules, and even (although rarely) extra ammo. Often, they are launched and then killed so that charges can be looted from the wreck, in which case it is best to store charges in many small stacks to maximize the amount that drops as loot. If money is no concern, a Deep Space Transport ship's fleet hanger can be accessed without destroying the ship, and then re-scooped into the SMB. Note that the fit of an unpiloted ship does not affect its tank.

It is common for the most expensive capitals (including supercapitals) to store a Nestor in their SMB. Since the Nestor has a small SMB of its own, you can eject an unpiloted Nestor and use it as an instant mobile depot to refit from, and then (ideally) scoop it back into your capital's SMB.

Finally, while capital ships lack the true Frigate Escape Bay of battleship-class ships, the SMB can function similarly after losing a capital (such as in a dreadnought brawl). If more than 27,000 m3 of stored ships would drop in your wreck as loot, they will instead spawn in a sphere outside of the wreck. Therefore, storing at least 12 shuttles (ideally more) in your SMB should jettison those shuttles around your wreck, giving you a decent chance of escaping with your pod as long as you aren't smartbombed first.

For each cap a standard set of GTFO refits are needed for escaping and traveling. Each capital has a specific slot layout. Rather than creating GTFO packages for each one, there is one standard package available for pilots. Please purchase the standard GTFO package listed below for each capital you own, stuff it in your fleet hangar and you'll be all set.

'Wetu' Mobile Depot x1
Mobile Cynosural Beacon x1
Large 'Vehemence' Shockwave Charge x1
Improved Cloaking Device II x1
Inertial Stabilizers II x2
Warp Core Stabilizer II x1
Cap Recharger II x3
Capacitor Power Relay II x3
Capacitor Flux Coil II x3
500MN Microwarpdrive II x1

  • public/dojo/wiki/capital-introduction.txt
  • Last modified: 2024/01/07 21:33
  • by Arian Felou