To a lot of you who might read this article it's all stuff that should make a lot of sense. I'm not writing this for the guys and gals with 70mil sp+, this is written with the newer players in mind - so remember that if you choose to read on.
In previous Eve-related entries I have made mention of the stumbling blocks my RL friends have been taking as they get into the game. Two of them are making strides towards the humble battleship; loyal friend of many a pilot within New Eden whether they be carebear, vicious bastard pirate killing machine, or any shade of career inbetween. Even industrialists have a fond place in their hearts for the battleship(even if it's just to make a profit off of one) and they're easily the class of ship most newer players aspire to when they begin playing; more often than not short-cutting training just to sit in one and make semi-erotic noises.
Lucky for my two padawans, they've refused to take the short cuts others have. Rizolver in particular is pissing me off as he'd rather get Amarr Frigate 5 instead of Gunnery 5 to get large guns on his Apocalypse; I believe he's ready to move up but he'd rather mess about with a Retribution. I appreciate it's his game and he can play it how he wants, but I'd rather he got into a position where he can make decent ISK and become ever-more independent in Eve before faffing about with assault frigs, but that's me watching the errors I made in my past I suppose.
We're getting off-subject. A couple of days ago I received a mail off my good friend Castus, the other of my two trainees. I often get mail like this from Castus and Riz, but this is probably the first one I've felt like blogging about in any depth.
Without further ado, here's the mail I received.
From: Castus Drake
Sent: 2012.05.29 23:12
To: Versuvius Marii,
Hi bud, After training my Orca it will be a short hop into a BS.. BUT I have no idea on what to use. I was thinking of missions to start with. But PvP is good too
I have T2 tank on both armour and shield.
My gunnery skills are slightly better than my missiles skills. (but not by much)
I was wondering in your opinion what should I be getting into and what to fit it with..... I was thinking of lvl 4 missions. And PvP.
Any help(with explanations) would be brilliant...... :)
Race don't matter cuz I've trained up Caldari, Amarr and Gallente....... and Minmatar wont take long to train up either.
Yes, using a BS on missions first is the best way to go, as opposed to player combat. It gives you a good amount of time to familiarise yourself with their bulk, tank and potential damage output. They can be brilliant in PVP, but only as part of a fleet. Solo, they're too slow and there's too many ships out there that can either out-move your guns/missiles, or call in help. Even the guys who do "solo" in a BS have a number of fleet boosting alts in-system and have such a high level of SP - combined with a high level of PVP experience - that your chances of getting one over them are pretty low.
With that in mind I'll list the twelve battleships and what I think are their strengths and weaknesses both for missioning and PVP. I will not go into Faction/Pirate types, as they're too expensive and are incredibly skill intensive. I recommend that you get used to T1 ships first before even considering them. Also bear in mind these are just my personal opinions on these ships, everyone's got their own way of flying and fitting the various ships in Eve and battleships are certainly no exception.
Armageddon(lasers, armour buffer) - Good damage dealer, solid POS basher. Is average in the cap department for a laser-using ship and so isn't too good for missioning where you need an active tank, but can buffer up with the best of them. It CAN mission, but it's not the best choice. You'll more often than not see this in PVP fleets, and as they have a weaker tank than other ships compared to their output, you'll find these get primaried after e-war is removed - the threat posed by these is that high.
Apocalypse(lasers, active armour) - not as good as dishing out damage as the 'Geddon but can use Pulse lasers and get similar ranges/dps figures to Beams, without the drawbacks associated with them. Pulses can also track better and have better cap usage. The Apoc is best as a dual-repping mission runner(it'll go slowly as it doesn't have much DPS) or as a beam-fitted sniper. Apocalypses are often the best choice for sniping fleets in PVP but you don't see those fleets too often outside of structure bashing.
Abaddon(lasers, armour buffer) - think of this as a more exaggerated version of the Geddon. No cap bonus so is incredibly tricky to make work in a mission, but high resists and damage output help out with this. It's also pretty good as a buffer fit PVP ship, and there are many stories of Abaddons hitting 250k EHP(although I suspect this might be with T2 trimarks...). In the right hands, this is a bloody nasty ship but the cap is very fragile compared to the others so bear that in mind.
Scorpion(missiles, ECM) - I've seen these bad boys be crudely armour tanked(hell, I've done it myself sometimes) so the mids can be purely dedicated to jamming modules. More often than not you'll be primaried in PVP so that shitty armour tank won't do much other than buy you enough time to GTFO. They can be used with a degree of success as a solo PVPer, but unless you pick your targets carefully you'll be an easy kill.
As a mission runner, it's barely worth bothering discussing it.
Raven(missiles, active shields) - the mission runner of choice for many people due to its flexible damage output(whatever missiles you pick, it gets a RoF bonus. most Caldari missile ships get bonuses to Kinetic meaning they can't pick other missile types without sacrificing DPS) and can tank reasonably well with a repper and boost amp. They're not exactly what you'd call newb friendly though and their cap isn't brilliant, even when you factor in the lack of cap usage from the missiles.
PVP-wise Ravens have on paper some of the highest damage outputs in the game when torp fit, but torpedos are limited in range(luckily the Raven gets a bonus to increase missile range). Missiles take time to reach their target; by the time your fired salvo is halfway to the target it could well have been popped. As the buffer tank is the king in PVP and shield buffer isn't quite as good as armour, you'll be made primary quite quickly - remove biggest threats first.
Rokh(hybrids, shields) - since the hybrid buff these bad boys are almost useful for something other than looking cool once again. Blaster Rokhs can hit out to decent ranges compared to their Gallente counterparts and can tank better too, but as they don't have a damage bonus they won't hurt anything quite as much. You should be able to hit over 1000 dps easily with overheating and T2 guns, so it'll still hurt. Just bear in mind that once that Megathron gets into range he'll hurt you more than you'll hurt him. A Rokh can also make an excellent sniper but is lacking in damage compared to the Apoc, and has to keep reloading with ammo making it a pain in an extended fight.
Missioning, can be okay thanks to those resists and okay cap. The biggest problem is the lack of damage bonus, yes you can hit that rat 60km away but will you break his tank if you have low gunnery skills? It's unlikely.
Dominix(hybrid/drones, armour) - excellent mission runner, especially if you plan on going AFK. Simply turn on dual reppers, grab aggro, deploy drones once aggro is acquired. Check back every now and again, rinse/repeat. If you plan on paying more attention to the mission then it'll go by even quicker. Highly recommended whether newb or experienced player.
For PVP, this can be a nasty lil sumbitch. Shield gank fit, massive buffer, solo repping beast, cap-stealing heavy tackler, and so on. An incredibly flexible ship that, while not being a single need-to-kill item, will most definitely be a thorn in your side owing to just how much it can do.
Hyperion(hybrid, active armour) - Think of this like you would the Abaddon - high damage output, big tank. But as the bonuses lend themselves to both hybrids and active tanking, this can be vulnerable to neuting. In the right hands is a bit of a tough sod to get rid of, and will make your life a misery if you ignore it for too long. Assuming it can keep its cap alive for long enough.
Megathron(hybrid, buffer armour) - See the Geddon and Raven here - high DPS, decent buffer but will be an instant primary owing to its threat potential.
Can make a decent mission runner but is a bit low on resists, so watch out for that. But damage bonuses mean your rails should hit reasonably hard if you fit up correctly, and you don't need to tank dead ships.
Maelstrom(projectiles, active shield) - mission runner of choice for many carebears. Good damage output whether you use artillery or autocannons, and that tank is an absolute beast with Min BS trained up a few levels. Just don't go AFK in that ship, whatever you do.
A number of 0.0 alliances use Maelstroms in massive numbers(we call this blobbing) so there's clearly demand for them out there. The only other time you'll see one on the battlefield is station camping in low sec, picking off stragglers and others stupid enough to undock in its presence.
Tempest(projectiles, shield or armour) - I'm not too sure about this one for missioning if I'm honest. Its slot layout would tend to make it more of a shield tanker with the lows dedicated to gyros and range-enhancing mods. Six turret slots and two damage-related bonuses help it get some solid dps figures, but it's nothing you'd shout out about.
Theoretically the Tempest can make a good sniper. And a good neuter. And a good bait ship. There's not a lot the good ol' Tempy can't do. It's a bit like the Dominix in that regard, only not as good. However if I saw a Tempest I'd make it a low priority target so perhaps you could take advantage of that and go for a max gank, minimal tank fit. Unless you're the only BS on the field in which case you're humped.
Typhoon(projectiles/missiles, armour) - I've heard of these being used in missions but I personally wouldn't recommend it, there are far better ships out there for the job. Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.
The Typhoon is probably my favourite battleship for PVP, it can put out an insane buffer tank and insane dps thanks to being able to fit all eight high slots with weapons. To get maximum dps out of it you should fit it with torps(I recommend the maximum of five), and I usually fit three neuts instead of autocannons. High damage output combined with solid tank, enough space for a full flight of heavy drones and its speed when fitted with a MWD make this a pretty excellent ship to fight with. And as you're using torps you're probably going to fit a TP which will only help your fleet out that little bit more. A word of caution with the Typhoon though, out of all the ships here it's one of the least newb friendly to train for. Using it is easy enough if you fit for close range - pick a target, put a brick on your accelerator. It suits my style of fighting perfectly.
That last sentence is something I'd like to highlight, because I think I've done a crap job of summarising the Typhoon for PVP(it's difficult not to be biased with it, but at least I'm honest about this fact). After reading this, get onto the test server. Find a ship that suits your style of gameplay. Don't simply take my word for it that the Typhoon is a PVP god(which it is), go get some ships blown up. Ask in local for some 1v1's. Get your friends on there. Learn for yourselves what makes each ship tick. And the best bit about the test server is not only is everything pretty cheap over there(100 isk p/item) but also you can train for whatever you want and it won't affect TQ. Join in a mass test or two and you'll get given free SP to spend on skills as you see fit, meaning you can get those tier 3 BS even quicker.
How to fight with a battleship - either in missions or pew-pew - can wait til another time, I think I've given y'all something to think about there.