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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Rokh On

EVE Online here, I got my first battleship!

The usual progression of an average Caldari player...

Rookie Ship, which sucks. Go to something better soon.

The Condor comes in within an hour of play and is a useful stand-in for a combat frigate until a nicer frigate

Kestrel/Merlin. The Kestrel is a good missioning missile boat, the Merlin is tougher and sports turrets as well as launchers for versatility. Merlin is more popular as a PvP ship.

To Cormorant, the basic destroyer. Destroyers do well in level 1 and 2 missions, but are not often used in PvP.

That's the easy part, it happens overnight, with the Kestrel/Merlin and Cormorant both staying useful.

Then, the first cruiser, a Caracal. The Caracal is another missile slinging boat often used as cheap DPS in a fleet. It can sport battlecruiser sized launchers at ranged or be used with smaller launchers to deal with obnoxious little frigates.

Follow that up with the Drake, one of the best battlecruiser ingame. This thing has more defence than a battleship and enough firepower to stay alive, to boot. The Caldari don't have a very good battleship lineup compared to most, so most Caldari fleets consist of Drake spam. The Drake cannot usually stand 1 on 1 against a battleship, but costs at least 2 times less and doesn't require very high skills to field effectively, so we compensate with numbers of what may or may not be the most loved/hated ship in the entire game.

Going up here, most players start with a Raven. The Raven is one of the best missioning ships in the game and is a good way to settle into a battleship, as players can adjust to the new ship against NPCs, first. The Raven is not seen as often in PvP, due to the disadvantages of missiles, but is still the cheapest Caldari battleship and a very good start.

Thing is, starting with the Raven means flying a poorly tanked ship with plenty of damage that launches missiles. I like defence, I like steady advances over a rush and I hate missiles, so the Raven's description is a real turnoff for me.

Also, the Raven is ugly. It's not a dignified battleship. What kind of battleship has two wings and a cockpit?

So that leaves the Scorpion and the Rokh.

The Scorpion is not a real combat ship. It's an Electronic Warfare ship for fleet combat. This thing jams the enemy and takes a bit of heat off of your fleet. As a result, it is almost always shot first. Scorpions don't usually leave a battle alive. It also has poor armament and rather average defences.

So it's the Rokh or Raven. Which is great, because the Rokh is great.

The Rokh can fit a very good tank and still maintain a decent DPS. It also looks like a killing machine. It's basically a box with engines on one end and a dip in the structure where the engines are. It's blunt enough to be a true battleship.

The main issue with hybrid turrets (the Rokh's weapon of choice) is that they have trouble outside of their optimal ranges. If it's too close, your turrets have trouble and lose accuracy. If it's too far, your turrets have trouble aiming and lose accuracy. The only way to adjust for ranges is to switch out for a completely new type of ammunition. The shortest ranged ammunition for a Rokh with my fitting still equates to a 60km Optimal range, when most missions take place within the 40km bracket.

So the advantage of missiles is that they do the same damage regardless of range, whilst most PvP battles involve largely static fleets at a good range apart from side to side. Therefore, the Rokh is a good fleet support sniping battleship, rather than a line vessel.

I took the Rokh.

Maybe I just hate the Raven that much.

I love my Rokh and the corpmate who bought it very, very much. I got into a deal with the other player; He'd buy and fit out a mining Rokh and iff I could mine 800 000 m3 of ore in a Rokh, I could keep the Rokh. It's a rather tedious feat, considering the limited cargohold of the Rokh and thus, the need for constant warping to stations, but I took it on. The first week of ore mining goes to the corporation, with all further ore being sold for profit, to make up for the time I waste mining when I could be running missions for real cash.

The Rokh was delivered to the hangar last week and I finally got hold of it today. It's a lovely ship and absolutely wonderful, even when mining. I changed the fit slightly and added some mining drones to supplement my mining yield and got to work, cleaning out the asteroids in my home system.

The journey begins here. The goal is 800 000 m3, which is just over 2.3 million units of ore. I've already racked up 170k and can see at 220k before the day ends.

I got some real nice screenshots of the ship while I was at it. EVE's got real beautiful graphics once you get rid of the clunky UI and appreciate the pretty for a bit.

The other nice thing about mining is that it's an opportunity to get my skills up. See, EVE Online skill training is a whole different ballgame. You set up a queue with skills and levels you want and hit 'Apply', then it's just a matter of waiting until they're done. The wait can easily take anywhere from 10 minutes to months. Training is done in real time and happens even when you're idle, offline, client switched off, computer turned off, unplugged and buried beneath the Earth, your skills will continue rising.

Which is great, but it's balanced by the fact that you have almost no ways of interfering to make skill training faster or less obnoxious. Implants can be plugged into boost your attributes and decrease training times by a percentage. That's it. The rest of the time, you're stuck waiting for the countdown to finish.

To while I waited weeks for the ability to sit inside my battleship and warp around a bit, I still have to wait...weeks, maybe? Before I can actually put guns on the battleship and fire them at stuff. So for now, I mine. In a battleship. There's a story to tell. Everybody else uses Mining Barges, Exhumers or Mining Cruisers, but everybody else is weak. I mine in a battleship and I welcome the occasional NPC pirate with open drone bays.

When my skills are up and I can fly this thing properly (you know, with actual guns), I'll use it in place of a Raven. I ain't doing no stupid ship.

Regards, IVIilitarus

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