Mar 20 2012

Futuristic Fascists and Internet Space Ships: A Very Short Introduction to Eve Online – Part 2

The Minmatar Rifter

The Minmatar Rifter: Probably the most iconic ship in Eve Online

Welcome to the second instalment of my introduction to Eve Online.

I know I ended my first instalment In this series by briefly talking about PvP in Eve Online, but before I can really get into any detail about it, I definitely need to spend a little time on the races and the huge variety of ships in this game. These range from Frigates, which are about the size of a 747 jet, to the absolutely monstrous Titans which are between 13 and 18 kilometers in length.

More after the jump…

[Edited to add links to the other instalments]
Other Instalments:

Part 1: A Very Short Introduction to Eve Online

Part 2: Futuristic Fascists and Internet Space Ships

Part 3: Exploding Internet Space Ships

Part 4: Sociopathic Corporations, Roaming Gangs & Gate Camps

The Basics: How Ships are Outfitted

To start I’ll talk about ships in eve in generalities before getting into the main factions and the different design ethos behind their ships. To start with, all ships in Eve have a certain base amount of HP for shield, armour and hull, as well as a base speed and a base amount of capacitor (basically batteries, though they recharge themselves at a certain rate depending on the ship). Each ship also has a certain number of what are known as module slots. Modules are systems like weapons, speed boosters, shield extenders, etc. that determine what your ship can actually do.

Ships in Eve are also divided by size classes. I won’t get into the subtypes of the various hull classes (yet) but in the broadest terms the hull classes in Eve are (note I only talk about ship classes used in PvP here):

Drones: Not a ship type but sets of sub-Frigate sized drones that can attack (or do a variety of electronic warfare tasks, though mostly only attack drones and drones that have a chance to jam an opponents ability to lock targets tend to get used).

Frigates: Small agile ships most often used for a role (described below) known as “tackling”

Destroyers: Bigger than frigates and designed primarily for an anti-frigate role.

Cruisers: Intermediate ship size that can put out some decent firepower. Significantly slower than frigates and destroyers, but with not a huge amount of HP compared to larger ships. Not that expensive either. Advanced cruiser variants have a wide array of roles and abilities.

Battlecruisers: Larger than cruisers with significantly more tank and more DPS. These are generally the largest ships commonly used in small gangs as ships larger than this tend to lack the agility to avoid fights they don’t want to take.

Battleships: Once the absolutely predominant mainstay of large fleet combat, still used frequently in that role, but battlecruisers get used quite a bit in large fleets as well these days. Battleships are much bigger than battlecruisers, have far more HP, DPS and longer engagement ranges but are very slow compared to sub-BS ships.

Carriers: Smallest of the PvP Capital ships, carriers are able to launch special types of drones that cannot be used by smaller ships, as well as excelling at repairing the armour (or shields) of friendly ships in combat. All capital and super capital class ships are so large they cannot use the stargates that smaller ships use to jump between solar systems in Eve. Instead they must rely on inbuilt jump drives and friendly pilots setting up beacons within their jump range that they can then jump to.

Dreadnoughts: A capital ship designed for attacking fixed installations and enemy capital ships, dreadnoughts fit special capital-call weapons systems meant to only be able to hit targets battleship sized and above.

Super Carriers: A super capital ship that gives up the Carrier’s role of repairing other ships in return for maximizing damage output against larger targets with special drones.

Titans: Truly monstrous ships with special doomsday weapons able to do incredible amounts of damage to a single target. They also can fit similar weapons to Dreadnoughts while having much more HP. Finally, they can act as a bridge and jump friendly fleets to those jump beacons (called Cynosural fields or “cynos” for short) I mentioned above, even without having to actually jump themselves.


Amarr Ships: From Frigates to a Titan

To give you a better sense of the size differences between ship classes here’s a Youtube video made by Kabukky comparing the size of various Amarr ships:

For reference: The Magnate & Crucifier are Frigates, the Omen is a Cruiser, the Prophecy a Battlecruiser, the Sigil is an Industrial ship, the Armageddon is a Battleship, the Providence is a Freighter, the Revelation is a Dreadnought and the Avatar is a Titan.

Like I said, Titan’s are enormous.


Module Types: Where the Fuck do I put the Guns on this Thing!?

High-power slots: This is where the weapons go. Besides that, there are also utility modules that can repair the armour/shields of friendly ships, modules that can drain enemy ships capacitors (a.k.a cap) and for stealth ships, cloaking modules.

Mid-power slots: This is where propulsion mods (they give large speed boosts) like afterburners or micro-warp drives go, as well as electronic warfare modules and modules that increase a ships shield tank.

Low-power slots: used (in PvP) mostly for modules that increase a ship’s armour tank, increase the firepower of its guns (either in raw DPS or increasing their range/tracking) and damage control modules which increase a ship’s resistance to all damage types.

Finally, Rig-slots allow certain types of enhancements that make ships better at some things but with certain penalties, such as increasing a ship’s armour hp but making it somewhat slower as a penalty.

Ships are not just limited in what modules they can fit by the number of each type of slot they have but also because each modules uses a certain amount of CPU and powergrid and each ship only has a finite amount of each. In addition, each ship will have certain bonuses based on its intended role that scale with a pilot’s skill level in that ship type. For example, the Minmatar Rifter pictured above gives a 5% bonus to small-turret damage and a 7.5% bonus to small-turret tracking for each level (up to 5) you have of the Minmatar frigate skill.


The Most Important Modules in Eve for PvP

While I won’t get into too much detail about particular modules here, I do absolutely have to mention two module types that are ultimately more central to PvP in Eve Online than even weapons: Warp Disruptors/Warp Scramblers and Stasis Webifiers.

Because all PvP in Eve is ultimately non-consensual (even in an agreed to 1 on 1 fight, someone who is losing will obviously try to run away in preference to getting blown up), it is essential to be able to prevent them from warping away from the fight before you can kill them. This is known as ‘tackling’ in Eve. A warp disruptor is a ~24km range module that prevents other ships from warping away, taking away the easiest method of escape from enemy ships. A warp scrambler (scram) is similar, except that in exchange for shorter range (~8km) it also shuts off an enemy ship’s ability to use the speed boost of a micro-warp drive (MWD) to escape by burning out of your range enough to be able to warp away.


Wait..What the Fuck is the Difference Between Warping and Burning?!

I’m sure you’re now probably confused by warping vs burning. Basically warp is what you use to cross solar systems, or at minimum distances of more than 150km, while burning (usually with an afterburner or MWD) is used for short ranges at a certain meters per second speed. So a warp disruptor prevents an enemy from simply warping to the other side of the solar system, while a scram prevents ships equipped with MWDs from just flying out of your range at say 1500m/s until they’re out of your tackle range and then warping away.

Stasis webifiers are modules that simply reduce the speed of an enemy ship, supporting the goal of tackling them by making them even slower. This has an added bonus in increasing them amount of damage most weapon systems can apply to the target.


Summing Up

To tie all of this together: The Minmatar Rifter I’ve been using as an example is the most popular frigate in Eve Online. It’s primary use in fleets, like most frigates, is that of tackler: To hold enemy ships in place so that other fleet members in larger ships with more DPS can blow them the hell up. To fill this role, tackle frigates are usually outfitted with warp disruptors (or scramblers), and a micro-warp drive for the speed boost to get into tackle range quickly, and on some frigates, also a stasis web to help hold those targets in place.

In a future article I will get more in-depth on the art of fitting ships for PvP, but for now let’s get to the pretty pictures!


Futuristic Fascists, The Space French, Religious Fanatics, and Lovers of Rust & Duct-Tape

Since I give very few fucks about the fictional background of the various races I’ll keep my descriptions extremely brief. If you’re interested in learning more, I suggest you click-through the Eve Wiki links I’ll be sprinkling through as I go.

The Caldari: A society run by mega-corporations literally. These futuristic fascists have ship designs that tend to blue colour schemes, shield tanking, missiles, and pissing everyone in the damn game off with their electronic warfare specialty of jamming enemy ships making them unable to target or fire at anything. While Caldari ships are very popular for PvE, only a few of them see much use in PvP. The Caldari Drake (a Battlecruiser) is probably their most popular ship for PvP use as it can have lots of shield HP and it is an easy ship to get PvE skilled characters into and have them be at least somewhat useful in PvP fleets.


The Drake: Making bad players somewhat useful in large fleets

The Drake: The Battlecruiser of Choice for People who Suck at PvP (I kid, I kid!)


The Gallente: Based largely on the French Revolution and are the only democratic faction in Eve. Their ships are usually greenish and…frankly bulbous in their design. They tend to armour tank and be fitted with hybrid turret weapons (basically, they use energy and projectiles combined, in this case they use railguns for medium to long-range and blasters for short-range very high damage), and their electronic warfare specialty is to sensor dampeners (which reduce and enemy’s target locking range, or how long it takes them to lock targets) along with warp disruptor range. With the most recent game expansion, CCP gave a significant buff to hybrid turrets making blaster-fit Gallente ships truly scary.


The Gallente Brutix

The Gallente Brutix: An Excellent Choice for Raging DPS Whores


The Amarr: Religious fanatics and imperialists with a love of enslaving other races and strong dislike of them rebelling and achieving their freedom. Amarr ships tend to be gold in colour, elegant in their designs, and use lasers as their main weapons system. They also tend to be armour tanked almost exclusively and have a racial electronic warfare specialty in tracking disruption (basically, making it harder for enemy guns to hit) as well as Energy Neutralizers & Energy Vampires (which drain enemy ship’s capacitor/batteries in the first case, and steal that energy for your own capacitor in the second).


The Amarr Avatar: Titan's are Fucking Huge Yo


The Minmatar: They were enslaved by the Amarr but fought their way to independence. If their reddish-brown and haphazard looking ships are any indication, they did it mainly with rust and duct-tape. Minmatar ships tend to be fast, flexible enough to be either shield or armour tanked, they mainly use projectile weapons (auto-cannons for close range and artillery for long-range), and have a mostly useless racial bonus to target painters (in theory TPs are supposed to make enemy ships easier to hit for more damage but the effect is limited) as well as to stasis webifiers (those modules I mentioned before that slow enemy ships down). The flexibility and high damage potential of Minmatar ships makes them a very popular choice for PvP: In fact my character flies Minmatar ships almost exclusively.


The Minmatar Tempest Battleship

The Minmatar Tempest Battleship: You Thought I was Kidding About the Rust and Duct-Tape?


In addition to these 4 races, there are also special ships made by factions within the main empires (such as the Caldari Navy) as well as ships made by pirate factions. I’ll get into those in another post.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this instalment of An Introduction to Eve, stay tuned for next week when I’ll talk a little bit about different types of PvP in Eve Online.

That’s Yo (long winded) Garbage

About the author


Lorenzo tends to utterly emphatic opinions on the things that interest him: Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Video Games, Anime, Tabletop Games, Technology and Internet Spaceships.

1 comment

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  1. Loredo84

    Very noob friendly write-up. I like :)

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