All The Pretty Ships in New Eden – What Should I Fly Next?

So far my adventures in null sec have allowed me to experience a bunch of things quite new, at least to me, in EVE Online.  Fleet battles and capital ships and player owned stations and sovereignty and war on an epic scale relative to anything I had seen before.

On the other hand, for the most part, I have been flying a Drake.

Not that the Drake is a bad ship.  It has been a very good ship for me and I have invested heavily in the skills to get the most out of it as a platform.  Aside from a couple of drone related skills, I have been able to fly any Drake fit that the CFC has thrown out there.

But the Drake has been my primary ship for more than four years now.  I have owned more Drakes… and lost more Drakes… than any other ship.

Earliest Drake pic on the blog

While I love this flying doorstop, this heavily shielded wedge of missile spewing doom, I do wonder if I should try out something else.

Yes, I did move on to running missions in a Raven, though I used to throw my other account in with a passive tanked Drake to be bait at times.  That Drake passive tank is mighty thing.

In fleet ops I have flown a Maelstrom and a Hurricane.

And the Tengu has become my ratting/anomaly ship of choice.

But in all of those cases, while the ship and even the weapons might be different, the role feels very much the same.  And, all things equal, I might as well put myself in the ship that takes the best advantage of my skills.  I join the Drake Fleet for coalition fleet ops, because that is where I am strongest and the result is about the same. (Actually, I think we have more fun in Drake Fleet than in Alpha Fleet, but my experience in that regard is somewhat limited.)

So I have started looking around for another ship and another role that might both be a different experience to me as well as adding value to my presence in the corp, the alliance, and the coalition.

But what to choose?  I mull over the options after the break.

I have not stopped to count all of the different ships available in EVE Online, and my Google-fu was not up to answering the question the way we do here in the 21st century.  But just looking at the broken out list of ship classes, I would guess that the number exceeds 200.

Ships are divided into some basic classes based on size.   There are frigates, cruisers, battleships, and capital ships, with destroyers being “super frigates,” battlecruisers like the Drake being “super cruisers,” and super capitals being… well… super capitals.  And those are further divided up into different types of ships based on each platform.

Ships are also allocated amongst four major and a couple of minor factions.  Each of the main factions of EVE, Caldari, Amarr, Minmatar, and Gallente have their own ship design, weapons, and defense philosophy.

So there is a matrix of ship choices, with a couple dozen types and sub-types on one axis and at least four variations, one for each major faction, on the other.

All of which might make you say, “So what, just pick one!”  But there is the skills issue and the skill issue.

The skills issue, related to skill points, the way you enable your character to do things in EVE Online, is complicated by the fact that there are a lot of faction specific skills.  I can fly the Caldari freighter, for example, but if I needed to fly the Gallente freighter, there is a set of faction related skills I would need to train.  This matters because while there are always at least four variations on any particular ship type, there is generally one right choice among the four, and sometimes an okay second choice.

Caldari ships are often not the right choice, which means a lot of extra skill training.

And then there is the skill issue, by which I mean it takes some to actually use some of these given ship types effectively.  For example, flying in Drake fleet means following the anchor ship at 500m, turning on my microwarp drive and shield hardeners, targeting what the FC tells me, and shooting what I have targeted.  That is five things you need to do to be a success, and I can generally manage four.  At any given moment I will be doing one of those things wrong, targeting the wrong bad guy, forgetting to turn on my MWD, shooting, or some variation.

There is a theory about short-term memory and that people can keep 3-8 things in their immediate memory before the buffer overflows and something gets pushed off the stack.  My number is apparently four.

Sometimes, by sheer luck, I will manage all five things correctly while in Drake fleet, and then Zarks or Boat will say, “Align planet seven,” and my brain will have to hold that datum long enough to right click for the menu in space, select planets, convert “7” to “VII” in my brain, select planet VII, and select “align to” under that, at which point I won’t be able to tell you what the hell we were doing… assuming I knew in the first place.

Worse still is the order, “align to the sun,” which generally sets my mind to thinking about the fact that the window in my office faces south and that at the given time of day during the current season, the sun ought to be about yonder, lining up the bookcase on the left and the knob on the closet door, by which time fleet warp has pulled everybody but me away.  Fortunately, fleet warp will eventually align and warp me as well, and since I have all those navigation skills, I am only a little late to the party, if facing some direction other than my monitor.

Anyway, the upshot of this is that some of these other ships require skills that include knowing how to do more than four things in a short duration.

So when thinking about new ships to fly, I have to take this all into account, along with what might be interesting and financially viable.

With all that in mind, here are some ship types I have thought about so far.

Capital Ships of Any Flavor

Let’s get this one out of the way first.  Capital ships… and there are all sorts… are the big, jump-drive enabled ships that get used mostly out in null sec.  They come in various flavors, from dreadnoughts to carriers to jump freighters.

A Phoenix Dreadnought Undocking

Time to Train: Ship alone, 4 hours (Phoenix dreadnought) to 66 days (Leviathan or Avatar), fittings extra

The Good: As long as I stick to Caldari, I can be flying any number of capital ships within a day or three.  I just have to go get the right skill.  And, while I haven’t looked as deeply into this as I have for other ship types, Caldari does not appear to be the blatantly wrong choice.

The Bad: Capital ships cost money.  More money than I have just for the hull, more for the skills to use them, and then even more for the fittings and the skills to use those fittings.  And nobody wants to talk to you until you have jump drive calibration V trained, so while I could fly one today, if I had the ISK, I couldn’t join cap fleet or do anything effective for a couple of months.

Conclusion: I am unlikely to go the capital ship route for the foreseeable future.  Jump freighter might be a possibility, but it is still a long, expensive training cycle to get there.

Stealth Bomber

A frigate with stealth capability and the ability to mount battleship class weapons.  And then there are the bombs!

A Manticore Stealth Bomber

The Good: I can fly the Caldari version today with fittings, including the bomb launcher and covert ops cloaking device.  The Caldari stealth bomber, the Manticore, is the acceptable alternative in the stealth bomber class.  Stealth bombers are relatively cheap.  And having read the list of things you can do to annoy the enemy with a stealth bomber on the Goon Wiki, I am totally smitten with the idea of skulking around in red space being a pest.  I want to plink enemy stations just to generate the alert email.

The Bad: A stealth bomber isn’t even a glass cannon.  It is a Kleenex brand facial tissue cannon.  And I have a long history with the Drake, the paladin of ships in EVE Online, tough to kill but not exactly the hardest hitting hombre in the fleet.  Skill is clearly going a premium using a stealth bomber, and a different skill set than I am used to.  And probably more than four skills at any given moment of time.

Time to Train: I’m there already

Conclusion: The only reason I do not own one yet is that our alliance doesn’t have any pre-fitted ones up on contract.  They are cheaper than a Drake.  Getting the right mindset and skills could be a challenge.  I am a long way from being Mister Vee, but it remains a possibility, if only for comedic value.

Logistics Cruiser

Space priest!  These cruiser class vessels are the fleet healers who often stand between victory and destruction.

Scimitar Logistics Cruiser in Action

The Good: Gets you into any fleet.  Never once have I heard an FC complain about having too many logistics ships.  Healing has been my specialization in other games.  I think I already understand the basics. (Somebody broadcasts “Need shields!” and apply remote shield boost to them, right?)  And I am not too far away from flying the Caldari version of this type.

The Bad: The ship to fly is the Scimitar, the Minmatar version of the type.  I have to get Minmatar Cruiser V trained to catch up with where I stand on the Caldari side, and that is a 20 day skill right there.  Add in the other skills I need and I am over a month away from being able to manage the fleet doctrine prescribed fit.  Oh, and I become a priority 1 target and I never get any kills.  That last one isn’t critical, but it is nice to have a tangible demonstration of your participation in fleets.

Time to Train: 38 Days

Thoughts: This is still my medium-to-long term goal.  I am training up one of the skills I will need, signature analysis V, even now.  I think I can put up with half the people on the ops channel pronouncing the ship name as “skimitar.”

Heavy Interdictor

Hictors!  A heavy assault cruiser with the ability to generate a warp disruption bubble that moves along with the ship.

Onyx Heavy Interdictor

The Good: Everybody loves bubbles, right?  This would be pretty cool, plus the Caldari version, the Onyx, is a good ship, so I have a lot of the training already under my belt.

The Bad: Well, it looks like a Moa for openers, one of the classic ugly asymmetrical Caldari ship designs. This is one of those ships in a fleet that when you screw up… and I always screw up at least once a night… that everybody will notice.  That giant warp disruption bubble is a dead giveaway.  And fleet commanders get pretty testy when you bubble your own fleet at the wrong moment.  Plus, I am not as close to flying a fitted one as I thought.

Time to Train: 24 days

Thoughts: The Onyx, armed with missiles and a heavy shield tank, is probably the closest match to my current skills and skill.  I think I will have to finish up the training for this ship some day because of that.  But should it be my next ship?  I am not sure.  Heck, I am not sure where I would use it, though my imagination is somewhat stunted in that regard.

Other Options

While I dismissed capital ships for ISK reasons alone, I have listed out three different classes that I wouldn’t mind exploring at some point.  I picked ships where I think I know at least a bit about how they are used.  On the other hand there are a lot of other choices out there.  For example I could fly a Scorpion with the Alpha Fleet ECM fit today, if I had a clue how to run it in a fleet op.

What other ships ought I to consider?

Caldari is best, just because of my investment in skill points so far, but I am pretty far along with Amarr and Minmatar at this time.

And, as always, I’ll invest the training time for something that is interesting or useful.

22 thoughts on “All The Pretty Ships in New Eden – What Should I Fly Next?

  1. HarbingerZero

    My first dip into fleet training long, long ago, was Interceptors. If I came back, that would be my first interest again. Scouting is fun, and the primary skill work is VOIP communications as you let people know what you see and where, rather than click work on the overview.

    The other thing I like is that there seems to be less down time. You don’t have to wait on the fleet because you are the one doing the work while the fleet is sitting around twiddling thumbs.

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  2. Ixliam

    With capital ships, consider training into flying a carrier rather than a jump freighter. Carriers are great for transporting your rigged ships (with cargo holds full of ammo) around in low/null. The downside is you need a cyno alt. To be effective with any ship with a jump drive, you not only need Jump Drive Operation V, but Jump Drive Calibration/Jump Fuel Conservation. Training both to 4 will let you jump a pretty good click. If you look at a carrier more as a cheap jump freighter, rather than something you would use in combat, you don’t need too much to fly it. Just travel fit it and away you go. You can buy/fit several of them compared to the cost of a jump freighter.

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  3. SynCaine

    While I don’t know how often ECM is used in fleet-Ops, in small gangs its critical, so that would be my vote. It’s also very satisfying to know you are blocking a bunch of targets from doing anything useful in a fight.

    An ECM Scorp is devastating if used correctly, and even a Blackbird is noticeable in the right situation. Plus since Caldari are the only ones who use it, that aligns well with your skill-set.

    Cost is also fairly low compared to some other options.

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  4. Dsj

    Bear in mind with the Onyx that the ship is useless without the bubble module — which means propulsion jamming 5, graviton physics 3/4 as well (graviton 5 for the T2 bubble).

    You stated you are 4 days from the pheonix? So you have caldari battleship 5 already? Why not look at black ops BS or recons if you are interested in the stealth?

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  5. Rothmog

    Recons and then black-ops battleships. Recons require good support skills for fitting. Black-ops are the next step after recons and they will make you train the jumpdrive skills that will help whenever you make the jump to capitals.

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  6. Latrodanes

    Rather than focusing on the hull, I think you should look around and decide what role you’d like to play. That will, at a minimum, narrow your choices and, if you choose a skill-intensive path, keep you focused. Good luck, they are all so very, very shiny.

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  7. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Ixliam – That is a good point. A carrier is how I got my rigged ships out to null sec. Still, ISK is the biggest barrier between me and a carrier.

    @SynCaine – I have to read up on ECM to figure it out. Like I said, I can fit all the tech II ECM units for the recommended Alpha Fleet fit. I am not sure when I trained those skills.

    @Dsj – The 24 days for an Onyx includes getting all the skills for the recommended fleet fit. I have it all in EVE Mon.

    @Dsj & Rothmog – Yes, I have Caldari BS V. I had not considered black ops battleships. Getting in the jump drive training would be a nice head start.

    @Luk – Well, yes, technically an Orca is a capital ship. But it has no jump drive. And I can fly one already.

    @Latrodanes – In a way, the hulls define the role, and I picked some roles/hulls that sounded interesting. My goals, generally speaking, are to be useful to the corp/alliance/coalition, not screw up too badly, and to try something new. We’ll see.

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  8. Darraxus

    I signed up for the 14 day trial yesterday, but only had enought time to create my character and do the first tutorial mission. Will probably get around to doing a bit more today. I chose the Amarr faction.

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  9. Gaff

    You will become a space priest, and you can get kills. Carry light drones and assign one each fight to a dps guy–whoring was never easier.

    I will be skimitarring it for the foreseeable future–I also took the goon class on “logical logistics” so can pass on some notes.

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  10. pkudude99

    @bluelinebacher — Tech 3 cruisers have taken over for command ships as fleet boosters. They do the same or better boosts and don’t stick out on the overview, lost in the sea of all the other T3 cruisers as well.

    That said, back before they were well known as such, I joined a fleet and our FC just about wet himself when a Vulture joined up.

    @TAGN — does the CFC no longer have a Basilisk doctrine and it’s all Scimmies now? I flew Basilisk with the Goons a few times in fleets.

    Heh, I should just give you my old character. It’s already in TNT space and is just shy of 67 million SP. It’s trained for the various CFC fleet doctrines and has Logistics 5, so Scimitar is ready to go. Already has Jump drive ops 5 and the 2 sub skills to 4 and can fly Amarr carrier, though I was still working on the repair skills for carrier when I quit. You could make good use if it, I’d bet. Let me know if you want to look at it.

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  11. flosch

    Hm, I got the quarterly “Hey, sign up again for half price!” mail last on Sunday. So I’m tempted to resub. So far, I disliked PvP in any game I tried, but then I liked PvE in most others, and found it dull in EVE, so it might be the other way round this time.

    I think I’m mostly there, skill-wise, to fly drakes in fleets, but I’m tempted to check how long it’d take me to train a good logistics skill set, if that could get me right into warfare. I doubt showing up as an unknown nobody shouting “Hey, I can fly a drake! Sorta… though I barely have money to replace it more than twice!” would get me into a decent nullsec corp, but “Hey, I’m trained to fly logistics!”… who knows, maybe that’d work?

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  12. Ixliam

    One good thing about a black ops battleship is you can use it to open a covert jump portal to go from high sec to low/null, or jumping directly from high sec to low/null. A prime example of this is skipping going through the EC-P8R/Torrinos gate, and jumping/cynoing straight to LAWN space. Ships that can use covert ops cloaks (but not T3) can use your jump portal. Its a good way to bring friends or alts (or small loads) from high to 0.0 while skipping choke points like EC-P8R.

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  13. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @BLB – The problem, which I forgot to mention, is that you don’t get reimbursed for losing a command ship (or a Tengu) during a fleet op unless you are the FC or a specially designated individual. Reimbursement for losses is another factor I have to take into consideration.

    And I keep getting corp email about using the corp scimitars, so if I train for that I can use a ship with no investment in hardware.

    @pkudude99 – The call is for Scimitars these days. Basilisks have to chain to keep cap up on a good day as I read it, and once they have to go fast to keep up with the MWD Drake Fleet (something the Scimitar can do with an AB, judging from the fit, while Caldari ships are notoriously slow) their usefulness degrades.

    As for your character, I would have to say no. I do not have any problem with people buying and selling characters in EVE, but I am surprisingly attached to my characters with their long and boring histories. Every skill I have trained has a story behind it. They are often boring stories of misguided optimism which generally end up being crushed by the reality that is EVE Online, but they are my boring stories. Playing somebody elses character would just seem weird to me.

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  14. Defaut

    Have you thought about going for a Tengu?

    It is far superior to the Drake for ratting and doing plexes.

    Also, the same skill set can be used for mentioned skulking in red space. A cov-ops Tengu is great for hunting ratting Drakes :)

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  15. pkudude99

    @TAGN — I figured you’d say that, but thought I’d offer to give the toon to you anyway, since it’s not useful to anyone at all right now, and since it’s already in TNT space you wouldn’t even have to ferry it out. It wouldn’t be a sale, per se, since I’d just give it to you ;-) But if you don’t want it, that’s fine. He’ll just keep gathering dust.

    Here’s his skill sheet if you wanna look him over, even just out of curiosity: http://eveboard.com/pilot/Boaz_Netopalis

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  16. pkudude99

    Arg, forgot to say this and no edit:

    So long as you have 2 Basilisks to trade cap, you only need Logi 4 to be cap stable in the typical null fit, so Basilisk were really seen more as a stepping stone to a Scimitar than anything. “Scimmie preferred, Basi still wanted” was how it was phrased. We didn’t have any trouble keeping up with Drake Fleet and just had AB’s fitted ourselves.

    That said, I trained Logi 5 for Triage on the carrier and for the ability to fly Scimmie. Never actually flew a Scimitar in a fleet before I quit, though.

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  17. Corelin

    Logistics requires a high degree of mental flexibility. You have to really be on top of things to do it well in large fleets. Even smaller fleets can give people problems. Hictors are a LOT of fun and very versatile besides.

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  18. Luk

    “Tech 3 cruisers have taken over for command ships as fleet boosters. They do the same or better boosts and don’t stick out on the overview, lost in the sea of all the other T3 cruisers as well.”

    Command ships are much cheaper than T3 and look like a good progression from BCs skill wise. From what i hear Black OPs are kinda useless and have very good chance to be called primary during a fleet engagement. If you want to be a “priest” in EvE, you cannot go wrong with Logi 5. Or if you want to piss peeps off, just max out recon and EWAR skills and fly a Falcon :)

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