Tag Archives: Archon

Fighters and Faxes and Capital Plans

I have had a carrier for a while now.  I picked up the hull back in September 2013 and managed to jump it home successfully on the first try.

First successful jump

First successful jump was to 0P-F3K

That was back in the then CFC when the big push to get everybody into carriers… specifically the Archon… was a thing.  That was also when an Archon pilot with Jump Drive Calibration V could hop 14 ly at a go and didn’t have to worry about jump fatigue.

I don’t think I ever got the Archon fully fit and I was still short a couple of skills so I couldn’t apply to CapSwarm until that was complete.  But I could get into CrapSwarm, the group for people who own capitals so they can get in on move ops but aren’t there yet for actual combat ops.

CrapSwarm!

CrapSwarm!

Back then I “only” had 110 million skill points and there were still subcap skills I needed, so I put carrier skills on the back burner for a bit while I worked on those.  I had been in the coalition for nearly two years and there wasn’t really a war going on for us at the time, the Fountain War having wrapped up.  The Halloween war was brewing, but I had put my all into the last war and skated through that, though I managed to show up at B-R5RB.  Not in a carrier, just a neuting Dominix.

Then there was Reavers, which meant focusing on subcaps ever more so and then the Casino War, where the Archon helped me stay ahead of our crumbling northern empire as I jumped out of Tribute then Pure Blind just ahead of trouble.  That all culminated in the retreat to Delve, most of which I covered on my own, and the Archon carried a lot of my stuff with it.

Exotic stations under strange stars

Exotic stations under strange stars

Once in the south, there was the conquest of Delve and settling in to our new region before capitals and, more importantly, capital production became a priority again.  Then the call was for force auxiliaries, the capital log ships.  Only two of the four fax machines were recommended, the Minokawa and the Apostle, but since I had trained up for the Archon already, I was well on my way to the Apostle as well.  I put in an order for one after The Mittani pushed us to have a couple on hand, they being the apparent key to any supercap battle, and started back on the capital ship training plan.

About a month after I ordered it, I had an Apostle.  However, I wanted to wrap up training to be able to fit a tech II triage module to it, so it took a bit longer until I was ready to apply to CapSwarm.

Medical White Apostle

Medical White Apostle, with a Minokawa in the background

Eventually I was trained up, had a fully fitted Apostle (I stole a lot of the modules from the Archon and its list of “required to have” items) that I really had no idea how to use.  I mean, I guess it is just a big logi ship, so that part is simple enough; put reps on big things that ask.  But capitals are also serious business, and I’ve seen a few “if you don’t know what you’re doing, don’t go on capital ops” notes over the years.  I was also set back a bit by the “read this first” guides for CapSwarm, which seemed out of date and assumed you were in GSF.  Meanwhile, asking questions on Jabber got me “just jump in with the fleet and die quietly” level responses.  I don’t even mind losing the ship, I just don’t want to do so because I am clueless and I really don’t want to do something that screws up an op.  I’ve already had, “Oh my God” level responses for asking simple questions while on the move op to Rakapas.  So I opted to stick with supcaps ops, leaving my Apostle back in staging, hoping for a an updated guide or training op or something.

Now, however, there is a new call to train for capitals.  This time we’re back to carriers, which have been deemed especially effective against sub caps.  Somewhere along the line I had trained up fighters, because having a carrier and not being able to use its primary weapon system just seemed wrong.  I might have just ignored this new call to caps, but there was a statement about training… like the coalition is going to provide some so people actually feel good about using their capitals.

For just the suggestion that there might be training I got my Archon out and jumped it back to our staging system.

Archon, also in Purity White, hanging off a Fortizar

Archon, also in Purity White, hanging off a Fortizar

And then I checked it fitting and backup modules and found that I was well out of date on the basic fit and that I had, in fact, pulled a lot of the modules for the Apostle.  Also, while I have the skills to use fighters, I haven’t actually bought any fighters.  So I now have more than a billion ISK in modules and fighters being shipped out.

But that is fine.  I’ll be up to date again.  And I am willing to spend that on the off chance I will actually get to use my carrier in combat, or at least feel confident enough to answer the call and get into fleet should the situation arise.  Maybe I will even figure out the Apostle as well.

Archon Acquired

I finally got around to shopping for a carrier this weekend in New Eden.

I had the basic skills for the Amarr carrier, the Archon, along with decent jump drive skills, having gotten Jump Drive Operation and Jump Drive Calibration up to level V, along with Jump Fuel Conservation at level IV.  That meant I could jump the carrier to its maximum range.  I am still shy of skills for being part of Capswarm, the capital ship subgroup, but I was good as far as just flying one goes.  So I felt it was time to take the plunge.

El Supremo and CEO for Life Gaff had been pinging the ship-building types in our alliance to see if I could get one fully fit and delivered, but everybody seemed to be down in Curse and entranced by that German FC who sounded just like Jeremy Irons/Simon Gruber in Die Hard with a Vengeance.  Seriously, Gaff made me get on coms just to listen to him on Sunday, even though I wasn’t in the fleet.  I could have listened to him all day myself, except that wasn’t getting me a carrier.

So I took the headphones off and started sorting through contracts, which you can at least search game-wide, as opposed to the market, which is limited to your current region.  Though at the time, that wasn’t my reasoning.  I was more interested to see if I could find one that was fit and fueled, something you can only sell via contracts.  On the market you can only buy a packaged hull.

Unfortunately, the contract market wasn’t looking out for me.  Archons that were fit, and badly fit at that, were all deep inside of hostile territory, and somewhat expensive to boot.  Eventually I set myself on an unfit Archon for sale in Serprentis Prime out in Fountain.  The price was 1.1 billion ISK.  Using the navigation tool over at DOTLAN, I saw that I could jump from there to our Fountain staging system at 4-EP12, then to our old home at B-DBYQ, then another mid-point with a station, then finally to home in 0P-F3K, a route that looked like this.

Then as I was trying to work out how I would get out there, get the ship fueled up, and manage cynos with my alt to fly the whole route, somebody in alliance chat asked about buying an Archon and somebody said there were some on the market in QPO-WI, which is just five systems over from home.  I checked the market and saw that there were six available at 1.2 billion ISK each.  So before pulling the trigger, I started looking for fuel and a cyno ship for my alt.  Once I got that lined up, I went back to the market and all six had been purchased.

Well crap.

There were a couple for a little bit more up in 85-B52, a few more jumps out.  I clicked the “buy” button and got one of those before they too disappeared from the market.  Archons were in demand.

So now I had a 1.2 billion ISK unfit carrier sitting in a system I had never visited before.  And while the route to that system was just 10 jumps, space has its own shape.  Stars are not uniformly spaced.  Some hops between stars are no big deal, others span quite a few light years.  And with the Archon I am limited to a little over 14 light years in jump range and am unable to use jump gates.  So it was back to the navigation tool to check the route.

85-B52 to 0P-F3K Jump

85-B52 to 0P-F3K Jump

The distance was was only seven and a half light years, so I was good.  I just had to bring some supplies out to it and jump it back.  I got out my Crane blockade runner and began shuffling some supplies, including a full load of fuel for the Archon, which hold 20,000 units of helium isotopes for the jump drive.  I also picked up some of the Capswarm fittings in VFK, the shield hardeners and the cap rechargers, just to beef up the defenses a little bit.  Then it was off to pick up the new ship.

I flew out, docked up, and jumped in the Archon for my first look at my new baby.

Archon in 85-B52 station

Archon in 85-B52 station

I dumped everything out of the Crane and began fitting the Archon.

That complete, I began figuring out how I was going to get back to pick up the Crane and fly it back.  It took a minute for me to realize that I have a carrier, I can just stick other ships in the hangar bay and bring them along for the ride.  That was pretty much the point of choosing a carrier as my first jump drive capable capital ship.

So I was fit and fueled, now to get it home.

El Supremo told me that our home system has a cyno beacon in the system, which will jump me to a POS, from which I could then warp to the station.  But he mentioned the inherent dangers of jumping blindly to such beacons, and there was the thought of my shiny new ship sitting half fit and exposed that made me decide to just pop a regular cyno.  So I undocked my alt with a Kestrel fit with a cyno and just enough liquid ozone for one five minute cycle.  While the cyno module is running, your ship is stuck, unable to move, until the cycle finishes, so I wanted to make sure I spent a little time swinging in the breeze as I could.  The Kestrel actually won’t hold two cycles worth of fuel, but I checked all that before undocking.

El Supremo said the cyno ship should undock, turn on the tactical overlay, and move so that the station was outside of the 5 ring.

Tactical overview on

Tactical overview on

I moved too far out, then back again, until I got my alt lined up at about what looked right.  I made sure that both main and alt were in a fleet together, then I lit the cyno at one end and undocked on the other.

My first carrier undock

My first carrier undock

And then… I didn’t know what the hell to do.

I don’t know what I was expecting.  Maybe some new controls or options no the overview or something?  Eventually, hanging there on the undock, I right-clicked on my alt in the fleet window and found the option to jump to fleet member.  I selected that and things started to happen.  I swapped to the alt’s game client and watched myself land in 0P-F3K.

First successful jump

First successful jump

I was in and ready to dock up.  I was a little bit off of the station, not too far, but enough to experience how slow a carrier moves.  With my skill, it caps out at 87 meters per second, about stock mining barge speed, though it takes a while to get there.  But I was soon docked up and safe.

Archon in 0P-F3K

Archon in 0P-F3K

Now I just have to go shopping for the remaining Capswarm fittings and finish up another 50 days of training and I will be set… for something.

But for right now I have a ship hauling carrier with 1,000,000 m3 of space in the ship bay, so I can move my ships around New Eden without having to bring them one at a time through gates and jump bridges.