Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Eve Master Class - Caldari PvE Ships

A good friend emailed the other day and asked "whats another good PvE ship? Any recommendations that I should shoot for?"

I know he is a Caldari pilot and I'm a Caldari pilot and the topic is one I am very familiar with, so I figured a post on the subject would be called for.

There are several types of PvE in Eve:
- missions that require you to tank a lot of damage over a long period of time
- exploration complexes that vary in size and difficulty
- belt ratting that has less demands on tanking (usually)
- high sec NPC pirating (yes, its true! I've done it myself. The rewards suck though... hmmm, another blog post?).
- Sleepers

For the purposes of this post (i.e. keep it from becoming too long) I'm going to cover the experienced pilot's goals: Level 4 or 5 missioning, tough exploration encounters, Sleepers, and null sec belt ratting.

Drake Battlecruiser
The Drake is often the first bigger-than-cruiser ship Caldari pilots get into and it serves them well. With proper training the Drake can tank a lot of damage with little effort and its DPS is not too bad with its 7 heavy launchers. I've heard it can tank the DPS from some level 4 missions but I've not tried it.

The Drake's success lies in the fact that it can passive tank so much damage that you just sit there and let the enemy fire roll off you, and since it requires next to no capacitor you can take your time to thin the herds of enemies. And takes time it does; in order to have that super awesome passive tank, you pretty much have to abandon damage mods and accept the lower DPS.

In belt ratting the Drake performs adequately if slowly. Against Sleepers passive tanking is not ideal, but the eighth high slot can try and fit some sort of remote repping to work in the confines of a gang. Not an ideal solution.

Pros: Cheap, easy to train for, tanks very well for little capacitor.
Cons: Low DPS, sort of slow, can't handle large damage situations.
Good for: some level 4s / complexes, belt ratting

Cerberus Heavy Assault Cruiser
The Tech II Caracal is the smallest ship we will visit today. As befits a cruiser hull, it is fast and agile compared to the rest and has the ability to shoot very far with Heavy Missiles, or hit decently hard with Heavy Assault. It tanks very well due to its high base resistances  and can alleviate some incoming damage with a speed mod and small signature.

The "Cerb" is not the best choice for missioning but makes excellent work of belt rats and lower end Sleeper and exploration complexes. With heavy assault missiles and an afterburner it can rip through belts in 0.0 while still be agile enough for a quick warp out if local spikes. Downside is that its got the Tech II price tag and lack of good insurance.

Pros: Fast, agile.
Cons: DPS like the Drake, expensive with no insurance
Good for: belt ratting and low end complexes / sleepers

Raven Battleship
The ubiquitous Raven is the ultimate mission running ship. Relatively cheap and insurable, great DPS, solid tank... it defines the perfect ship for running lots of level four missions.

Equipped most often with cruise missiles and an active boosting shield tank, there are few level four missions that will force it to warp out before its done its assigned task. Its drone bay allows it flexibility in dealing with frigates or cruisers, and the long range of the cruise missiles ensures all rats are within range.

But the big Raven is not so ideal for other PvE scenarios. Exploration complexes are similar to level four missions for the most part, but Sleeper complexes can prove disasterous since most players prefer remote repping armour and not shield transporters. Belt rats pose no threat but the lumbering battleship might get caught by a quick enemy pilot interceptor.

Pros: Cheap and insurable, good DPS and tank.
Cons: Slow, lumbering, tank requires lots of cap
Good For: Solo running level 4 missions, exploration complexes

Raven Navy Issue
With an extra launcher and more hitpoints, there is no reason to not like the Caldari Navy Raven, aka CNR. Well, except the fact that it can only be gotten from the Loyalty Point Store and thus is very expensive with no covering insurance. Everything that applies to the Raven in terms of capabilities applies to the CNR only a bit more so.

Pros: Great DPS and tank
Cons: slow, lumbering, tank requires lots of cap, expensive with no good insurance
Good For: Solo running level 4 missions, exploration complexes

Rokh Battleship
The only non-missile ship on the list, I would be remiss in not including it as it is the ship I used to run level four missions for many months.

The Rokh is a tanking battleship getting bonuses to its shield resistances. As such, it boasts a better shield tank option than a Raven. In addition, when equipped with large Railguns it can use different ammo to reach incredible distances to smash even approaching Frigates instantly as their direct path can lower the transversal to near zero.

In belt ratting, the rail guns can be exchanged for short ranged but hard hitting blasters that make quick work of rats.

Furthermore, in Sleeper complexes the Rokh can make a decent armour buffer tank and fit a remote repper to work with pilots from other lineages. Not ideal, but it works.

The downside is the hybrids themselves are cap intensive putting even more pressure on your capacitor (along with shield boosting) and they are limited to Kinetic/Thermal damage types meaning some rats will take forever (Angels for example were always a pain, Serpentis soooo easy).

Pros: Great solid shield tanking, long range instant damage or high powered short range damage, can armour tank for Remote repping in a pinch. Insurable.
Cons: Single damage type, battleship-slow, small drone bay.
Good for: Solo running level 4 missions, exploration complexes

Nighthawk Command Ship
If you took the Cerberus and mashed it up with a Drake, what you might get would look a lot like a Nighthawk. Based on the old Ferox hull but bonused for missiles, it boasts Tech II resistances and six launcher hardpoints that can fit a passive shield tank superior to a Drake's.

A Nighthawk is perfectly capable of going through level four missions like a battleship, and belt ratting in a 'hawk is a joke. The downside to this ship is that its very expensive and not worth insuring, making the worry of taking it out of high sec to low sec or null sec an expensive proposition.

Pros: Good DPS, great passive tank, faster and more agile than battleships
Cons: Very very expensive and crap for insurance
Good For: Solo running level 4 missions, exploration complexes, belt ratting if you can afford it. Low to mid end Sleeper complexes.

Golem Marauder Battleship
The final word in mission running, the Marauder is a Tech II Raven that boasts the equivalent firepower of 8 launcher hardpoints while still having high slots for utility items like tractor beam and salvager. It also has a bonus to shield boosting and another for a target painter along with a low slot changed to mid slot to fit it without sacrifcing tank. It also has some improved resistances to add to its tanking abilities along with an improved cap recharge rate.

The idea is that the Golem can kill the NPCs while tractoring in the wrecks and Salvaging them on the spot into its large cargo bay. The target painter adds to its ability to take on smaller ships by making their signatures bigger. Any incoming damge is easily negated by the powerful active shield tank.

For all of this, it carries the heaviest of price tags, beating out the Navy Raven for base cost and having no worthy insurance options. It might be capable of handling belt rats, but would you want to risk the better part of 700 million ISK or more doing it?

Pros: Awesome shield tank, awesome DPS, ultility slots and cargo bay
Cons: Damn hell expensive, uninsurable, terrible at PvP due to low sensor strength
Good For: Solo running level 4 missions, exploration complexes. 


  1. Don't see the Drake too short on level 4s. It can pretty much handle all of them, though the toughest can be a bit slow. A Drake that is correctly fit and rigged can survive not only the long, extended damage from a large aggro group in level fours, but can also survive the massive alpha-strikes that some missions throw at you.

    I've been missioning with a Drake [even though "Bigger and Better" ships have been available] for quite some time. It has a lot of flexibility that is often left unexplored in favor of maxing out its massive tank. As your skills progress, you can move from a full-on tank fit to something more utilitarian with damage and speed modules as well.

    Finally, I'm surprised you didn't mention the Ferox, though to do so paints a large target on anyone who dares to call it 'suitable' for much of anything. It's a solid ship that performs well when used by an experienced gun pilot.

  2. @Kename Fin: I would say that experienced gun pilots do not fly Ferox in 99% cases.

  3. @X1376: Actually, considering the other tier 1 BC's, the Ferox is quite capable as a blaster platform.

    If I were to train for it (caldari cruiser... meh :( ), the fit would go something like:

    [Ferox, Blasterz]
    Magnetic Field Stabilizer II
    Magnetic Field Stabilizer II
    Magnetic Field Stabilizer II
    Damage Control II

    10MN MicroWarpdrive II
    Invulnerability Field II
    Large Shield Extender II
    Invulnerability Field II
    Warp Disruptor II

    Heavy Ion Blaster II, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge M
    Heavy Ion Blaster II, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge M
    Heavy Ion Blaster II, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge M
    Heavy Ion Blaster II, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge M
    Heavy Ion Blaster II, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge M
    Heavy Ion Blaster II, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge M
    Heavy Assault Missile Launcher II, Caldari Navy Hellfire Assault Missile

    Medium Core Defence Field Extender I
    Medium Core Defence Field Extender I
    Medium Core Defence Field Extender I

    Warrior II x5

    80k EHP, over 500dps (navy antimatter; navy missiles); MWD: check; disruptor/scram: check.

    Range is better than that of the Brutix (which is nice with Null ammo).

    By switching 2 extender rigs to current routers you can fit Neutron blasters; dps jumps to around 600 (navy antimatter), EHP drops to a bit over 60k.

    Oh, and in both cases there's enough grid/cpu to swap the HAM launcher with a medium neut.

    Still think it's a bad boat to fly? I don't fly the thing, but I fly the Brutix, and let me tell you, it looks quite well in comparison...

  4. I'll just pipe in to say that the Drake is perfectly fine for level 4s. If you refit hardeners and have sufficient passive tanking skills, it can handle all level 4s (that I've encountered that is, but that includes AE, blockade and WC).

    I'm currently using a Drake together with a low-SP friend in a Harbinger for WH combat sites, and it seems to do really well. (Only doing sites where remote repping is not required)

  5. @Ferox comments:

    The Ferox lacks DPS with rails and is too short ranged for level four missions with blasters. I'm only looking at PvE here. Now that being said, I could have included it and talked about belt ratting which it is capable of, but I feel the number of options more suited to it left it off the list.

    Don't get me wrong: I love the Ferox and its capabilities for PvP situations. Same with Eagle. But for PvE I'll go with something else.

  6. Nice post! I agree on the comments about the Drake with Kename Fin, I used to do all types of lvl 4's on a Drake - in some cases it did them faster than my CNR.

    When it comes down to fighting Sleepers though, don't be too quick to get the Caldari pilots out of the picture. Granted, probably everyone will go for a RR armor tanking fleet, but as we have tried and confirmed, the Raven can indeed be turned into a solid armor tank for a RR fleet, by sacrificing some of it's DPS.

    But if you are a Caldari pilot would you rather switch to train another race or just gimp some of your DPS and get to keep your favorite missile boats? I did the latter and I used the following setup for farming Class 5 sleepers with great results.


    Nowdays I have removed one of the EANM II's and but a BCU II there since we get a Damnation to boost the fleet's resists etc.

  7. Anonymous9:23 am

    hey bro only 1 peeve...the raven is insurable....while you do not get back near the price of the Rokh ...you still can get some insurance back...

    I'll point any PvE'ers I meet to your page!

  8. @ Manasi. He did mention that the Raven was insurable in his Pros and Cons section. It was one of the pros.

    Great post. Helps a lot as I've only been playing for a few weeks.

  9. I think this is an excellent PvE writeup for any inexperienced players, however...

    The Golem.. you mentioned that it's not a very good pvp ship.. I have to take issue with this. Although I have not actually done it on Tranquility, I have pvp'd in one on the test server (SiSi).

    My results are as follows:

    Everything dies, and I live.

    This is in part to the fact that Torps can deal MASSIVE damage in close, You can fit DUAL x-large t2 shield boosters and DUAL heavy cap boosters (making use of a powergrid upgrade and rig, also a cpu upgrade). The effective result, when coupled with High Grade crystal implants and a strong blue pill booster, is a ship capable of dealing massive damage, and tanking close to 3000dps (while only T2 fit). To negate the low sensor strength, a low slot gravimetric backup sensor is used along with a mid-slot gravimetric booster. So really, what I have is a beast that can destroy almost everything it comes accross, tanking like a low-skill carrier, and dealing near the same dps.

    Pro's: It's a real shock when someone gets destroyed by one.

    Con's: It'll cost you a fortune, but if you have the money for it, it's near unstobable.

  10. I use a cerb for lvl 4's, it's fun.
    It works surprisingly well, instead of tanking the damage I avoid most of it with an afterburner.

    [Cerberus, New Setup 2]
    Damage Control II
    Ballistic Control System II
    Ballistic Control System II
    Ballistic Control System II

    Large Shield Extender II
    10MN Afterburner II
    Invulnerability Field II
    Invulnerability Field II
    'Anointed' I EM Ward Reinforcement

    Heavy Missile Launcher II, Scourge Heavy Missile
    Heavy Missile Launcher II, Scourge Heavy Missile
    Heavy Missile Launcher II, Scourge Heavy Missile
    Heavy Missile Launcher II, Scourge Heavy Missile
    Heavy Missile Launcher II, Scourge Heavy Missile
    [empty high slot]

    [empty rig slot]
    [empty rig slot]

    haven't rigged it yet but the plan is to rig it with explosion radius rigs but I need faction BCS for that(or a 5% cpu implant). Hardeners are matched to mission type naturally. tank appears weak but once you're in the mission the 160m signature radius moving about at 500m/s reduces damage a lot

  11. the tengu seems to have missed a spot in this writeup. with a bs size tank and a cruisers sig radius and the ability to permarun its atnk and afterburner(with the correct fit ofc) the tengu only has one enmy in a pve situation a neut tower which you should know is coming if your serious enough about plexing/missioning to be running them in a tengu. biggest problem is the price tag though the tengu and 5 subs is now cheaper than a golem.

  12. Very true Tal, in fact the Tengu is running about 500-600 million if you shop right and the Golem is over a billion.

  13. What about the Tengu?

    Ive done 10/10 null sec complexes alongside them , and they have the most insane tanks, are cruiser hulls, and have dps to boot.

  14. At the time the article was written, Strategic Cruisers were still rare and expensive. This post is in need of an update now that Tengus are far more common for PvE.