Tag Archives: Raven

A Feast for Ravens

Down in Queirious, we seemed to be starting off weekend on the back foot.  As I mentioned in a previous post, the Reavers had been driven back to our one staging system by Darkness and their allies, our gains made during the Delve conquest retaken.

Foothold in Querious

Foothold in Querious

And as I logged in for the op the other night, things looked somewhat grim.  Darkness had our staging system SBU’d, our main POS was reinforced, and we were there to try and hold them off as the timer ticked down.

Timer on Education

Timer on Education Friday night

That we were not able to hold the region was no real surprise.  Reavers are not a large group.  Operations are often just 20-30 pilots flying away from where the enemy is to hit them where they are not, shooting their SBUs, dropping our own, reinforcing towers, dropping siphons, and generally being pests that fade away when confronted.

But we are in a time of transition.  Alliances and coalitions in null sec are shifting about, often hunkering down, in anticipation of the sovereignty changes coming this summer.  The Imperium is inwardly focused, setting up the Seven Regions to be defensible under the coming new reality.  As such, there isn’t a lot of combat ops going on, and there certainly isn’t any large deployment of campaign of conquest to take part in.

In this situation, the Reavers were still hanging out down south.  Our leader, Asher Elias, said that if we could get better numbers, we could start getting into fights with Darkness, as their numbers were not all that huge.  So a new round of Reavers recruiting went out, this time with the promise of doing something more that just shooting structures.  Even The Mittani was out pinging on Jabber about Reavers getting fights that were big enough to be interesting, but small enough to not bring on time dilation.

We also end up getting some support down south thanks to convenient wormholes allowing fleets from Deklein to pop in for an evening.  And so it was that even as we seemed to be on the brink, with our system vulnerable, we were able to take the fight to the enemy.  Basically, that first evening, we got numbers early and were able to go camp the undock of their station in I1Y-IU.

Reavers on the move

Reavers on the move

On their undock we were able to hold our own and convince them to give up after a couple of brief exchanges. (Battle report, which I got from today’s null sec update) I even got my recently reactivated alt out and into an Ishtar, where he got a few kills thanks to the ongoing magic of drone assist.  I assigned his drones to assist Asher, anchored him up, and then went back to flying Wilhelm in his Basilisk.  Suddenly my alt, who I had trained up for combat at one point, had some kills.

We were then able to head back to ED-L9T and rep out POS, shoot the hostile SBU, and then cover the dropping of our own to secure the system.

Fun times.  But Asher had a further treat in store for us.  He announced a new Reavers doctrine.  In addition to Ishtars and Vexors and Crucifiers, we would also be flying Ravens.

This was the fleet doctrine I had been waiting for.  I had all those Raven and cruise missile skills trained up way back in 2008.  Now I would get to use them.  I even had a couple of Raven hulls sitting around in Amarr space, left over from level 4 missions way back in the day, ready to be re-purposed.  I got the fit, loaded them up, and set out for our staging system Wilhelm and my alt each flying one.

Ravens arriving in ED-L9T

Ravens arriving in ED-L9T

And while demand for Ravens was high… contracts for them kept selling out almost immediately… our logistical team was able to keep importing them so that we were able to form up our first Raven fleet.  The operation was a moment of opportunity, as Darkness was away.  Pizza had baited them to another system some jumps away and then put up bubbles on every gate on the route back home, so Darkness was mired for some time.

This allowed us to SBU their staging system and reinforce their station, setting the shield timer.

That was great fun, but I think most of the time was spent being great big nerds and talking about our new toys.  Watching the smoke trails of missiles hitting the station or the simply unfamiliar shape of and old school battleship was the highlight of the evening.

Missile exhaust trails

Missile exhaust trails. That big white ship is a Nestor.

The only opposition we faced was a bomber pilot who tried to hit us a couple of times.  That let us try out the smart bombs we all had fit, as used correctly those can kill incoming bombs.

Smart bombs active

Smart bombs activated

We missed the first bomb, but intercepted the second one.  Unfortunately, we also managed to kill a couple of our own frigates that were standing in close to the battleships, which was hilarious at the time.

Once we set the shield timer, killed the repair and fitting services, and discovered that there was no infrastructure hub in the system to shoot, Asher sent the small ships off to the gate for home, then had the battleships align to the gate.  We were going to land 100km off the gate, at which point Asher told us to activate our micro jump drives. (Lore behind MJDs) This would lets us experience another aspect of the doctrine.  As we landed, we activated the drives.

MJDs lighting up

MJDs lighting up

However, as we landed, some ships started bumping each other, changing their alignment.  This cascaded until the moment the drives were about to engage.

All that jump energy distorting space

All that jump energy distorting space

Micro jump drives jump you through space in the direction you are pointed when they go off.  So rather than all of us jumping straight to the gate, we all went off in a variety of directions in something of a MJD star burst pattern.  About three of us actually landed on the gate.  My alt was one of those who hit the gate, primarily because his skill level was so low, so his activated later than most.  I realized he couldn’t use MJDs just as we were about to undock, so bought the skill and started training it as we headed out.  I don’t think he had the skill up to 2 by the time we did the test.

We collected ourselves back on the gate and jumped through, headed for home. op success, as we certainly had a good time.

Getting the Ravens into combat though, that is going to be a more difficult nut to crack.  Occasionally we run into people who just don’t know what to think of us, like this Imperial Navy Slicer that we locked up at about 80km range and who thought he would just burn away from us.  With my skills, I can lock out to 150km and my missiles keep going to 220km.  He wasn’t pointed or webbed and a few volleys of cruise missiles caught him before he could out range them.  Again, hilarious.

Our fight with a Darkness T3 fleet however did not go so well.  They came to hit us while we were reinforcing a tower they had set up in our staging system.  When they arrived there was a period of warping around trying to gain advantage, but in the end when we got into engagement range, we had trouble breaking their tanks while they were able to whittle down a couple of our ships with every clash, often because somebody was slow aligning and didn’t get out when the rest of our fleet warped.

We eventually reshipped to Ishtars, at which point I jumped into a Basilisk and joined the logi force trying to keep people alive.  Then there was a report of a Darkness triage carrier in the system and we swapped back to Ravens again to hit that, though I stuck in with the Basi as we seemed to need as much logi as we could get.

I had some problems in the logi role when it came to the Ravens though.  At one point the Ravens lit their MJDs to jump into range of the enemy, which sort of left the Basilisks hanging in space by themselves, well out of rep range.  We were told to light our microwarp drives and overheat them to catch up.

Here is where I ran into problems, where I always seem to run into to problems.  I don’t know if it is me or the UI, but I cannot seem to reliably turn off the overheat option.  I clicked on the UI element to overheat my mid-slots, boosting my speed considerably, and I got the glowy green outlines on the modules indicating they were overheating, and I saw them taking damage.  But then I couldn’t seem to turn off the overheat options.  I clicked on the UI element again, and it seemed to take.  But then the modules were all glowing green again.  So I clicked it again.  And again. And then, soon enough, all of my mid-slot modules were burned out and I was a slow, easy target, my hardeners having all gone with the MWD.

This is not the first time this has happened happened to me.

And I felt all the more stupid because Arrendis, the logi anchor, said on coms not 30 seconds before this happened, “Don’t burn out your prop mods!”  So when he was asking why I was lagging behind I had to say that I burned out my prop mod because I am just that bad at EVE Online.  Oh the ignominy!

So I fell out of range as I tried to keep up my part of the cap chain and rep people as I went.  I just go lucky nobody targeted me.  As I fell too far back, I dropped out of the cap chain and warped to the station for a quick repair, but by the time I was able to undock again the fight was over and we were headed back to the station.  The battle clearly did not go our way, with us losing about seven times as much shipping when measured in ISK, with us losing a little over 8 billion ISK to their 1.5 billion ISK loss. (battle report, also a write up over at TMC)

Of course, over 40% of our loss value was tied up in three stupid-expensive ships; Arrendis’ Nestor, christmascaveman’s Barghest, and WhiteHalo117’s Raven Navy Issue were the high value targets of the evening.  (And, thanks to smart bombs, I got on the Raven Navy Issue kill.)

Still, we clearly need to work on that.  But even with the loss people were still excited about Ravens.  After ages with Ishtars, flying an old school battleship and using missiles is new and different.

Some more screen shots from the weekend.

Three Generations of the Caldari Navy Issue Raven

With the Crucible Expansion, nebulae were not the only things to get graphic updates.  The trusty Raven, and its navy issue counterpart, both got cosmetic makeovers.

EVE Online history goes back to 2003.

This will be the third “look” for the Raven since I started playing the game.

Way back before the Trinity expansion, when premium graphics were introduced, the Caldari Raven Navy Issue looked like this.

Raven Navy Issue - Classic Graphics

Then with the Trinity expansion Premium graphics became an option, with classic graphics going away completely with the Apocrypha expansion.  At that point the Caldari Raven Navy Issue looked like this.

Raven Navy Issue - Premium Graphics

Now with the Crucible expansion, there is again a new look for the Caldari Raven Navy Issue.

Raven Navy Issue - Crucible Graphics

I think all three of those pictures were taken in the same station, though probably on different computers with different graphic settings.  But they are all the same ship, since I have had only one Raven Navy Issue.

Now the question is, which one looks best?

The original looks a bit awkward to me.  But a lot of the classic graphics models… especially the early ones… have that awkward feel to them.

I like the middle version, though I am not sure how practical what looks to be a jungle camo pattern really is in space.

And then there is the new, Crucible version.  The camo pattern is certainly more space themed, but it doesn’t seem to do the ship many favors when it comes to beauty.

Which do you like?

Farewell Classic Graphics

Just fifteen month back, according to Kirith Kodachi’s EVE Tribune article “Growing and Growing,” the Trinity expansion to EVE Online introduced the premium graphics option to the game.

At the time I was not impressed.

Of course I was flying some ships that were newer in the game than most, so their forms did not change much in the jump from classic to premium, and others that looked pretty good as they were designed.  Drakes, Cormorants, Merlins, mining barges, Mammoths, and even Badgers did not change dramatically in the jump to premium, so it seemed like a big yawn to me.

Then I built a Raven.

Now there was a ship that was seriously improved by the premium graphics option.

As a reminder of how much of an improvement there was, I set my machine to classic graphics mode and took one last picture in the old art style for comparison.  The subject: My Raven Navy Issue.

Raven Navy Issue safe in its hanger

Raven Navy Issue - Premium Graphics

Raven Navy Issue - Classic Graphics

Raven Navy Issue - Classic Graphics

With Apocrypha the classic graphics are gone.  Now, if you want to boost performance, you can alter your settings to show lower resolution versions of the premium models.

But it is always good to remind ourselves once in a while where things once stood.

Raven Upgrade

Potshot, Gaff, and I got to spend some time running level IV missions over the weekend.

Not that they were a huge challenge.  All three of us have second accounts so when we bring all our resources to bear, we have three Drakes, two Ravens, and a Rokh, which adds up to some firepower.  We’ll have to bring that to bear on Worlds Collide some time.

As we finished up the mission, we were chatting about fittings and upgrades when Gaff asked what a Navy Issue Raven would cost, both in skills and price.

Skills are not a problem, but the price can be.  Or used to be.

Some months back I went through the exercise of comparing the Raven, the Raven Navy Issue (CNR), and the Caldari Marauder class battleship, the Golem, to see if it was worth upgrading.

The Golem turned out to be very expensive, both in price and in skills required.

The Raven Navy Issue was easy when it came to skills, but was still too much for me, running in the 400-500 million ISK range.

That was all back in July of last year though, so I decided to check prices on Raven Navy Issue contracts.  It seems that prices have come down.

There were half a dozen Raven Navy Issue battleships available via contract in Jita for 263 million ISK.  You could probably trade a PLEX for one pretty easily.

Since July my fortunes have risen.  263 million ISK still seems pricey, though after the Charon I could handle it.

So, with cash in my pocket, I hopped in a shuttle and headed to traffic control central, Jita, to buy me a new ship.  And after a moment or two of confusion and panic (263 million gone, no ship in hanger, have I been scammed?) I figured out how to claim an item from a contract and flew my new toy back home.

Raven Navy Issue safe in its hanger

Raven Navy Issue safe in its hanger

I stripped my old raven for fittings, added one more cruise missile launcher I had sitting around, gathered together salvage for three capacitor control circuit rigs, and I was set.

I will go back and refit my old raven over time to keep as a backup.  I hate to think of losing my new ship, but this is EVE.

Now I just have to try it out on a mission to see how much of a difference the extra shields and additional launcher make.

Battlecruiser Alt

Suddenly my mining alt became a combat stud.

After I had max’d out all the mining related skills on my alt, I wasn’t sure what else to do with him.

I started him on shield skills, figuring that those are always useful for a Caldari, while I considered where else to go.

I thought for a while about letting him go up the assault ship path to a heavy interdictor just to try something new.  I thought it would be an interesting change.  But then I decided that was probably more ISK than I wanted to spend on an alt.

At that point my main, Wilhelm, was driving for battleship skills, which meant that I would have a perfectly good Drake sitting around, fully fitted and ready for action.  So I set my alt on the path to fly that thinking that the extra firepower against smaller ships would be helpful on level IV missions.

Eventually Wilhelm was flying a Raven and my alt was about ready for the Drake.

The extra firepower certainly helped, especially for swatting annoying little frigates that were hardly worth wasting a cruise missile on.

I kept his skills rolling, with missile and shield skills being the priority.

Then on one mission I accidentally sent my alt through a gate first.  This was on a mission which had proven challenging to tank in the past with my Raven.  Ooops.

Well, I figured he would grab the aggro and take the heat for a while, then I could warp him out and let the Raven, the battleship, the big guy, take up his role as the main target.  I didn’t expect much.

But my alt and the mighty Drake tank ended up surviving through the entire mission.  It seemed that his skills, which included all of the shield compensation skills up to at least level 4, and level 5 for EM and thermal, had been a good investment.  Furthermore, being a passive setup, I did not have to baby sit the shield booster and capacitor.

I got a little nervous when the Drake’s shields dipped down to close to 20% remaining.  I aligned him for the nearest station and got ready to send him off.  But by that point I had whittled down the incoming fire enough that the shields only went up from there.  By the end of the battle they were above 90%.

altdrake

I knew the Drake had great shields, but this was beyond my expectations.

Not that the shields are better than the Raven.  I know with a careful eye on the capacitor and shield booster, along with some luck with the nosfaratu, that my Raven can deal with a lot more damage for a lot longer.

My alt is now working on the skill Battlecruisers V, which will give his shield resistances another little boost.  And after that I have some missile skills he can train up to level V.  Then I have to decide what else he should work on.  Perhaps I should put him on the path to research agents?

How Much is That in ISK?

You may have seen the ad at the EVE Online logon for the new EVE Battleship models.

You can get realistic (whatever that means when we’re talking about a virtual universe) scale models of the mainstay battleships of each of the four EVE Online factions.  They are:

They sound like they are quality items from the description at the EVE Online store:

The EVE Online Battleship Models are constructed from a solid resin foundation and are mounted, ready for display, on a base emblazoned with the associated faction logo. The meticulous reproduction of EVE Online’s ships is achieved through a combination of plastic detailing, cast metal components, and hand painted accents. The end result is a striking replica of the very ships soaring through space in New Eden.

The catch is, of course, that they are $124.99 each. (Or all four for only $499.96!  If I have that much to spend on toys, I’m buying this instead.)

And while I like the game a lot, and the models look good, with shipping the cost is more than subscribing to EVE for a year.

Which lead Gaff to ask the logical question, “How much is that in ISK?”

I’m sure somebody could do that calculation give the current time card rate of exchange.

Worlds Collide… With Me

The EVE Online mission “Worlds Collide” and I have a history.

Almost two years ago, when I first started playing EVE Online, I was given “Worlds Collide” as a mission.

After running the old tutorial I was sent to my first agent, Purkkoken Honuken, located at the Caldari Navy Assembly Plant orbiting moon 4 of Jita IV. The very first mission Purkkoken gave me to run in my Ibis was the level 1 version of “Worlds Collide.”

That did not go well.

I ran at it more than a few times, but it just wasn’t going to happen. That was about enough to make me quit EVE, being faced with a mission that is pretty much impossible in an Ibis. The mission expired eventually. I buckled down and worked on getting a better ship by mining. Eventually I felt ready for another mission. I drew the first of many, many runs through “Avenge a Fallen Comrade.”

I ran across “Worlds Collide” a few more times. By the time I saw it again though, I was flying a destroyer and, while it still was not easy, it was manageable.

Then I started running level 2 then level 3 missions. “Worlds Collide” is only available as level 1 or level 4, so I did not see it again.

And even when I began running level 4 missions, I never seemed to draw it… until the weekend before last, which lead to last week’s “Vacation Cliffhanger” post.

The simple answer to the questions posed last week are:

  • Will I align and warp out in time? No.
  • Did I remember to insure the ship? No.
  • How did I get in this position in the first place? Poor reading comprehension and being in a hurry.

Things went well to start with. I got on, accepted the mission, flew out, and cleaned out the first pocket of both factions. I even flew back to base, got out my salvage Cormorant and cleaned up the first pocket.

All that took more time than I thought it would. Things in MMOs always take more time than you think they will. So I checked the mission outline to see if there were any shortcuts I could take. The entry on EVE-Survival said the following for pocket 2 of the mission:

(Angel Base): Kill or ignore the two Angel Spy frigates & Angel Sentry Guns. Fly directly to the gate and activate gate.

“Cool,” I thought, “I can just scoot right through the second stage!”

And so I flew my Raven back out, took the gate to the Sansha Base, and tried to blaze on through to the warp gate.

The Sansha Base is a little tougher than the Angel Base. That would be my guess.

By the time everything in the pocket was aggro and attacking me, it was a bit too late to get away.

I busily tried to take down the frigates that were webbing and warp scrambling me. The ship went boom and I sat there in my pod feeling really dumb. Somebody commented on the other post about taking the time out for a screen shot. Screen shots only take a second. The agony of that death took a good minute.

2008.08.09 23:44:00

Victim: Wilhelm Arcturus
Corp: Twilight Cadre
Alliance: NONE
Faction: NONE
Destroyed: Raven
Damage Taken: 57651

Involved parties:

Name: Centus Overlord / Unknown (laid the final blow)
Damage Done: 57651

At least you get a booby prize for uninsured ships. I got a 45 million ISK pay out for an uninsured Raven. Who says EVE is hard core?

Now I had to get back there and pull out what fittings I could, salvage the ship, then start in on the painful process of fitting out a new Raven.

Time to compound my problems!

I got my trusty old Drake, fully insured still, out of the hanger and thought, if only I could sneak in there with the tractor beam and pull the Raven wreckage out, I would at least get something back.

This is where I discovered what sets the whole room on aggro. If you get within a certain range of the warp gate to the next pocket, the whole room lights up.

I got into the second pocket, pulled in the Raven, looted and salvaged it without a problem. A pile of my tech II fittings came through intact! All I had to do was warp out and things would be fine. I had actually knocked off a couple of the insta-aggro Sansha ships with the Raven, so things were going smoothly. they were going so smoothly, I thought I might as well salvage and loot the other wrecks as well. I just had to travel a little bit to get them in tractor range…

And then the pocket lit up on me again.

This time I really didn’t have time for a screen shot.

2008.08.10 00:16:00

Victim: Wilhelm Arcturus
Corp: Twilight Cadre
Alliance: NONE
Faction: NONE
Destroyed: Drake
Damage Taken: 41884

Involved parties:

Name: Centus Overlord / Unknown (laid the final blow)
Damage Done: 41884

Well crap. Down two ships.

Time to regroup and refit.

I found a Raven for under market price only a jump away. I found most of the fittings I needed close by as well. I had the salvage parts to make two Capacitor Control rigs. And I had a tractor beam sitting in storage. I put it all together and headed out again.

This time I grabbed the Drake wreckage, hauled it in, looted it, and got out with my missing tech II fittings. That put me back to about 90% of the capability of my old Raven.

Then I went back in and did the mission by the book, carefully peeling off each group, keeping them at maximum range to minimize the damage they could inflict, and generally doing things the way they should be done when you’re not in a rush. It took time, but dying took even more time.

I got to the third pocket, fought the one aggro group, rescued the crew from the damaged Heron, and headed home.

With the mission payout, with time bonus, the bounties, and the insurance payouts, my bank account ended up with about as much ISK in it as when I started out. I was just short a fully fitted Drake.

Later that evening I went back to the agent looking for another mission. And wouldn’t you know it, I drew “Worlds Collide” again.

Upgrading: Golem or Raven Navy Issue?

Geared towards versatility and prolonged deployment in hostile environments, Marauders represent the cutting edge in today’s warship technology. While especially effective at support suppression and wreckage salvaging, they possess comparatively weak sensor strength and may find themselves at increased risk of sensor jamming. Nevertheless, these thick-skinned, hard-hitting monsters are the perfect ships to take on long trips behind enemy lines.

-Lai Dai Corp Sales Brochure

After figuring out what stood between me and flying the Caldari Marauder class ship, the Golem, in EVE Online, I thought I might look into whether it was worth the effort. If it had been just a matter of ISK, I might have just pressed forward.

But all that training and exotic materials… well, this thing had better slice, dice, and make julianne fries out of Gurista capital ships before I start stockpiling Graviton Reactor Units.

And before I get away from the components that you need to build a Golem, like Rieger suggested in a comment on my last post on Marauders, you can build those pieces yourself. But they require additional exotic components to create, which you either have to buy on the market or get into Moon mining to obtain. I am not sure I need another EVE money sink at this time!

So I went and grabbed the base stats for comparable ships build on the Raven platform. The information below is from EVE Mon and the EVE Fitting Tool. Both are excellent utilities. Don’t leave your hanger without them.

Raven

First, there is the lowly Raven. Heh, lowly, as in “the biggest, baddest ship I have ever managed to build and fly.” It serves as the baseline measurement for this comparison.

  • Unfitted Price: 80-90 million ISK, widely available
  • CPU 700 tf
  • Capacitor 5,312 / 1,154 sec recharge
  • Sensor Strength 22
  • High slots 8
  • Medium slots 6
  • Low slots 5
  • Rig slots 3
  • Launcher hardpoints 6
  • Turret hardpoints 4
  • Capacity 665 cu/m
  • Shields 7,500 / 2,500 sec recharge (0 EM 50 Exp 40 Kin 20 Thm)
  • Armor 6,641 (50 EM 10 Exp 25 Kin 45 Thm)
  • Hull 6,641
  • Effective HP 26,824
  • Special: +5% cruise and siege launcher rate of fire and +10% cruise and torpedo velocity per level of Caldari Battleship learned.

Raven Navy Issue (aka CNR)

The upgraded version of the standard Raven. A reasonably common sight in systems with level 4 agents.

  • Unfitted Price: 600,000 Caldari loyalty points plus a Raven and a Caldari AZ-1 Nexus chip, 500,000 loyalty points plus 200 million ISK for a single run blueprint, or 400-500 million ISK via contract. Widely available.
  • CPU 720 tf
  • Capacitor 5,312 / 1,154 sec recharge
  • Sensor Strength 22
  • High slots 8
  • Medium slots 6
  • Low slots 5
  • Rig slots 3
  • Launcher hardpoints 7
  • Turret hardpoints 4
  • Capacity 665 cu/m
  • Shields 11,250 / 2,500 sec recharge (0 EM 50 Exp 40 Kin 20 Thm)
  • Armor 9,961 (50 EM 10 Exp 25 Kin 45 Thm)
  • Hull 9,961
  • Effective HP 40,235
  • Special: +5% cruise and siege launcher rate of fire and +10% cruise and torpedo velocity per level of Caldari Battleship learned.

Raven State Issue

Previously called the Corvus, this is the ultimate extension of the Raven series. Too bad you can’t have one. Still, a pod pilot can dream, can’t he? Put on the list just as a yardstick of awesomeness.

  • Unfitted Price: Infinite. Availability is zero. They were prizes from the Third Alliance Tournament and only four exist.
  • CPU 770 tf
  • Capacitor 5,250 / 924 sec recharge
  • High slots 8
  • Medium slots 6
  • Low slots 6
  • Rig slots 3
  • Launcher hardpoints 8
  • Turret hardpoints 2
  • Capacity 665 cu/m
  • Shields 13,550 / 3,000 sec recharge (0 EM 50 Exp 40 Kin 20 Thm)
  • Armor 11,953 (50 EM 10 Exp 25 Kin 45 Thm)
  • Hull 11,953
  • Effective HP 48,282
  • Special: +5% cruise and siege launcher rate of fire and +10% cruise and torpedo velocity per level of Caldari Battleship learned.

Golem

The Raven derivative that represents the Marauder class entry for the Caldari faction. Touted as a mission runner deluxe, is it worth the price?

  • Unfitted Price: 650 million to build it and skill for it, 850+ million to buy one ready made along with the skills.
  • CPU 715 tf
  • Capacitor 5,625 / 924 sec recharge
  • Sensor Strength 14
  • High slots 7
  • Medium slots 7
  • Low slots 4
  • Rig slots 2
  • Launcher hardpoints 4
  • Turret hardpoints 0
  • Capacity 1,225 cu/m
  • Shields 8,200 / 2,272 sec recharge (0 EM 50 Exp 48 Kin 40 Thm)
  • Armor 11,953 (50 EM 10 Exp 34 Kin 59 Thm)
  • Hull 11,953
  • Effective HP 31,623
  • Special:Caldari Battleship Skill Bonus: 10% bonus to cruise missile and torpedo velocity and explosion velocity per level
  • Special: Marauders Skill Bonus: 7.5% bonus to shield boost amount and 7.5% bonus to effectiveness of target painters per level
  • Special: Badass Role Bonus: 100% bonus to cruise missile and torpedo damage, 100% bonus to range and velocity of tractor beams

What To Buy, What To Fly?

There is the data I have at hand. Now which way should I go?

The Marauder Path

Good:

  • Firepower, certainly. It has only 4 launcher hard points, but it doles out double damage for each missile, giving it the same shot potential as the Raven State Issue. You get that AND three remaining high slots for your nosferatu, energy neutralizer, and drone control module.
  • Tractor beam reach and speed! Again, it doubles your tractor beam range (40 km) and the speed that it pulls goodies back to you (1,000 m/s). If you have to loot and salvage every wreck like I do, that has got to look good.
  • Storage capacity is a win too, as you get nearly double the hold to store your loot.
  • Shields have better resistances, along with armor, and there is a boost to shield boosters, which is a good thing with a platform that is built with an active shield tank in mind

Bad:

  • Price. Holy cow!
  • Skill. I am 90 days away from flying one.
  • While the shield tank is better in resistance, and there is the bonus to boosters, the effective hit points of the ship still don’t add up to a Raven Navy Issue.

The Navy Issue Route

Good:

  • Best shield tank of my options.
  • Less expensive and easier to obtain. Plus, if you buy a blueprint, it does not require any exotic tech II materials to build it.
  • Skills required to fly it are essentially the same as a stock Raven.

Bad:

  • Still costs a lot. I could afford one, but I could not afford to lose it.
  • All my loyalty points are with the Amarr Navy, so I’m more likely to get an Apoc Navy Issue going that route.

My Good Old Raven

Good:

  • I already own it.
  • I haven’t failed a mission yet with it… at least not when there wasn’t a lot of system lag.
  • It is cheap relative to the other ships on the list. I can afford to buy 5 more like it at market price, and many more than that if I build.

Bad:

  • Worst shield tank on the list.
  • No prestige. It is the Ford or Chevy of Caldari battleships.
  • If I stick with it, I have to find something new on which to spend my ISK.

Conclusion

As you might have guessed, I will be sticking with the standard Raven for right now.

This exercise started out when I was having trouble adapting from the passive shield tanking strategies of the Drake to the active shield tanking methods of the Raven, with all that capacitor management. I have since gotten something of a grip on flying missions with the Raven.

Still, were I to upgrade, I would probably go with the Raven Navy Issue. The tank-breaking offense of the Golem is tempting, especially when you only need four launchers to do it. But the price! They will probably get a bit more reasonable as time goes along, but right now they are too much for me.

Guns vs. Missiles: The Training Pain

As I mentioned before, I am trying out both the Raven and the Rokh as possible battleships for running level 4 missions in EVE Online.

Being somewhat missile oriented, coming off of flying a Drake, the Raven seems like the right fit. However, the shields on the Rokh are a bit more impressive and, frankly, the Rokh itself just looks much more menacing. Not that looks alone would seal the deal, but the Diesel Locomotive meets Desert Eagle .44 look of the Rokh does bring out more emotion than the Raven, which looks more like a NASA project where some of the engineers used metric measures, while other used English measures.

And I have some investment in gunnery skills that would pay off if I went with the Rokh. But with either ship I am aiming for the tech II weapon systems.

Which is where the Rokh falls down for me… a bit at least.

There is something of an imbalance in the tech tree between missiles and guns. To be able to mount tech II guns on the Rokh, I have to fill in the missing skills below:

That, but the way, is a good 66 days of training time, spread over six different skills (I finished up Gunnery V since I took the screen shot) to get the all the prerequisites lined up for Large Railgun Specialization, the skill needed for tech II.

Cruise Missile Specialization, which is required for the tech II launcher, has a much lower barrier to entry:

Basically, I need to get my cruise missile skill to V and I am set. That will be a little more than 25 days, so not a gimme, but still a lot less steep than getting the railgun equivalent.

Not that I need to have tech II launchers or railguns to fly the ships, but I was interested to see how many more prerequisites railguns had, and I was surprised to see what a difference there is between the training requirements.

Building Battleships

As I wrote previously, it is time for me to take a step forward in EVE Online, to get past my comfortable and reliable battlecruiser and level 3 missions, and start on something bigger.

The first step was, of course, acquire a battleship.

Since I had mostly trained up the Caldari spaceship command skill tree, the choices for which battleship were pretty clear; either a Raven or a Rokh.

Either represented a chunk of ISK, with Ravens going for around 85 million ISK while Rokhs for close to 130 million ISK.

While the Raven, oriented as it is towards a missile offense, was probably the right choice, I did not want to dismiss the Rokh out of hand. Having flown a Cormorant for early missions, I spent a good deal of time and ISK upgrading my gunnery skills before I joined the cult of the missile launcher.

I wanted to try them both, but I did not necessarily want to buy them both. At least not outright at market prices. That would have drained my bank account.

So I decided to put in some time working for them instead. Working in the form of mining so I could build both of them and still have money left to equip them and, ever so important in EVE, replace them should I have a mishap. And given my track record, that seemed a likely scenario.

I went to the contract interface and found single use blueprint copies for a Raven and a Rokh, both of which had nice high material efficiency ratings (40 and 32 respectively), to ensure I wasn’t wasting too much material in their construction. And then I started sorting out the minerals.

How much material to make a battleship?

The Raven blueprint required the following materials (with estimated market price):

Isogen      118,942 Units  7,136,520.00 ISK
Megacyte      2,262 Units  7,690,800.00 ISK
Mexallon    476,370 Units 16,672,950.00 ISK
Nocxium      29,701 Units  3,267,110.00 ISK
Pyerite   1,901,569 Units  8,557,060.50 ISK
Tritanium 7,604,695 Units 22,814,085.00 ISK
Zydrine       7,085 Units 17,712,500.00 ISK

I probably placed the price of minerals a bit high, but I tend to use the price I could get for those raw materials, since that is the cost to me to use them for construction rather than selling them on the open market. So the total cost of my Raven was:

Materials 83,851,025.50 ISK
Blueprint 900,000.00 ISK
Manufacturing 1,910.48 ISK

Total 84,752,935.98 ISK

Roughly equal to the lowest priced Raven I could find on the market, but without draining my ISK and giving me the additional satisfaction of having built it myself.

So I went to work on the Rokh next. Materials (with price estimates):

Isogen       169,546 Units 10,172,760.00 ISK
Megacyte       3,038 Units 10,329,200.00 ISK
Mexallon     668,504 Units 23,397,640.00 ISK
Nocxium       48,770 Units  5,364,700.00 ISK
Pyerite    3,182,327 Units 14,320,471.50 ISK
Tritanium 10,816,225 Units 32,448,675.00 ISK
Zydrine       12,430 Units 31,075,000.00 ISK

By this point I had used up my stores of Zydrine and Megacyte and had to go purchase some on the market, so the Rokh required some cash out of pocket

Materials 127,108,446.50 ISK
Blueprint 800,000.00 ISK
Manufacturing 1,910.48 ISK

Total 127,910,356.98 ISK

A bit of a discount when compared to the cheapest Rokh I could find on the market!

So I have another 212,663,292.46 ISK worth of ships sitting in my hanger and my bank account remains about the same, sales and a few missions having offset most of my costs.

Now I just have to equip them and figure out how to fight them.

And when I decide which one I like, I’ll just repackage the other one and sell it.