So a Carrier sounds like a good idea?

As mentioned the other day, I purchased an Amarr Carrier (an Archon) for my main Character.  It is now fully fitted and parked safely in my low sec staging system.

I am mindful of how simple that statement appears – but it is the culmination of a long and sometimes complicated chain of decisions, effort and planning.  This is EVE after all.  So what are some of the basics that go into getting to the point of having a carrier in your hanger?

 

Which one?

In reality this is probably decided within the first couple months of playing.  I suspect a person’s first carrier will often be decided by the initial racial frigates they enjoy flying.  That in turn leads to flying the same cruisers (because you already have half the pre-requisites for the hull and fittings), and then the equivalent racial Battleships for the same reasons.

Alt 1’s decision was easy –up until recently he only flew Gallente hulls, so the choice was somewhat pre-ordained by a quirk of roleplaying.  It was helped that I liked the look of the Thanatos.  My main is able to fly all carriers – so I reviewed standard fittings, and settled on the Archon as it seemed to complement the Thanatos the best.

 

What purpose?

Carriers are rather versatile and can fill many roles.  They get used for transportation, ratting in anomalies, bases to live out of, logistic platforms (from small mobile roaming groups to huge super capital fleets), structure repairing, and to a lesser extent as a purely offensive platform.

When I first took the steps to get Alt 1 into a carrier, it was with the view of using it as a base to allow me to do Ninja ratting in the Great Wildlands (NPC 0.0 space with few stations).  While that never eventuated, it, and this Archon are primarily being used for transportation, and on rare occasion in medium sized fleet engagements.

Living in 0.0 is substantially easier when you fly a carrier.

What skills to train?

The carrier skill appears daunting at first – but the reality is it makes up only a fraction of the training required.

The base stats of the carrier are much higher than the Battleship you step up from – so having all the ship support skills to rank V makes a worthwhile difference.  One trick is to view your carrier fit in EFT, right click somewhere in the white space, and select “Change Affecting Skill”.  You want rank V in everything but the Carrier, Capital Ship and Electronic Warfare Drone Interfacing.

You will also want to be able to use Fighters, all available T2 combat drones, and field at least the T1 variants of all the other utility and support drones.

You will want Jump Drive Calibration and Jump Fuel Conservation to at least rank IV.

You will want to be able to use T2 Smartbombs and T2 Heavy Neutralisers.  Being able to use a cloak is also useful.

You will want to be able to fit a full T2 tank – preferably having the Shield or Armor Compensation skills to rank V when you get the chance.  If your carrier Shield tanks – you also want to be able to use a T2 Shield Boost Amplifier.

You must be able to fit the local Capital repair module (to rank IV), and you really should also have the Capital Remote Shield, Energy and Armor transfer skills to rank IV.  Being able to fit the Triage module also makes a considerable difference to your options.

I think that covers the basics – although you can also consider having the Capital Hull Repair skills down the track, if you end up doing lots of structure repairs.  Alt 1 has all of the above covered off.  My main Toon is mostly there, but just has a month or two to get the last few skills for the Archon from rank III to IV.

 

Where will it live?

You actually need to understand where it will be stored before you buy one.  In my case the Corporation has a couple low sec systems which they commonly operate out of, that are within 1 jump of the Null Sec Constellation the Alliance calls home.   There are a whole heap of things you are looking for – a station with a large docking radius, to allow you to safely Cyno in without bouncing off it, a station that doesn’t kick you outside of its docking radius when you undock, a quiet system which generally isn’t the home patch of active pirates or your main enemies, that is within one or two gate jumps from empire space, preferably with more than one entrance gate, not be on a travel pipe, somewhat close to a major trading hub, quiet and not heavily populated.  It also helps if your friends use the same systems  – for shared cyno’s, intel and support.  You should also keep an eye on the kill history for the systems – do Cyno Alts commonly get popped, do capital pilots regularly get hot dropped?  That isn’t even a full list.

Even if you manage to find all of the above (which the last couple systems I have stored my carriers have had) – you also need to be prepared to move.  PL might decide it is staging out of your system for 3 months, which might well change it from perfect to downright deadly overnight.

 

Do you need a second account if you have a carrier?

The short answer – yes.  Carriers cannot use gates or jump bridges.  To move to different systems they need to jump to a Cyno field, either on a Generator Array on a POS, or a Ship mounted Generator.  If you live in player owned 0.0 space, and your alliance has a good network of POS Cyno Arrays and you only use your carrier in fleet combat, you could get around without having access to a Cyno alt.  However – if you want to regularly jump into and out of null / low sec – and do not want to beg, borrow or steal cyno’s every time you undock – then you will want a second account.  (I actually use 3 accounts – so I can undock, jump to a cyno, load up quickly, undock, and jump back to a second cyno at the original location.)

 

Buying a carrier

Assuming you can afford it – this process is also not quite as simple as it first appears.

Carriers can be purchased off the market, via contract, ordered via the forums, or often through your corporation or alliance.  (If it is large enough and based outside of Empire.)  The final option can be the most convenient and sometimes the cheapest, but wasn’t an option with my Corp.  (Although it does offer somewhat cheaper blueprint copy sets, and you can contract out the mining if you are the type who likes to build everything for yourself.)

Price is not actually your most important factor here.  While there are a small number of capitals in empire space, you will only be able to purchase a carrier in low or null sec.  I limited my search to systems within one capital jump of where I would be storing the ship, and which looked as though they would be relatively easy to access and move the initial fittings too.  (I use Dotlan EVEMaps for that purpose.)

This will generally cut down and focus your options.  Do your research on prices though – many of the carriers on contract ended up being substantially more expensive than buying off the market.  Often a carrier with 10M worth of fuel on contract was selling for 50 to 100M more than on market.  A T2 fitted carrier with some fighters was often 100-300M overpriced.  While you shouldn’t underestimate the time and effort to source a full fit for yourself, be careful not to pay too much of a premium for that privilege.

 

Fitting the carrier

Aside being somewhat expensive, capital fittings, fighters, and fuel takes up a lot of space.  My Archon fit and supplies came in at over 90,000m3 in size.  It can take quite an effort to collect and move your fittings – with the most dangerous stage getting it through low sec.  As I mentioned above, the carrier is a versatile platform, so you will likely end up with several variations of your fit.  To get the most out of a carrier some people use Min/Max type configurations.  They work well if in coordinated and skilled fleets – but with my much more relaxed Corp, I just aim for cookie cutter setups for transport, and being able to adjust it to fit a somewhat useful fleet setup at short notice.

Note that no fit will save you from a super capital blob, and that all fits will be ridiculed if you die, no matter how well they suit their purpose.  Here are my two main fittings I am working with – keeping in mind I still have a couple skills to get from rank III to IV, which will improve the stats and might see a change in the final fittings used.

The goal of this fitting..

General fit for solo use moving gear between 0.0 and low sec.

[Archon, Transport]
Capital Armor Repairer I
Capital Armor Repairer I
Imperial Navy Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane
Imperial Navy Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane
True Sansha Capacitor Power Relay
True Sansha Capacitor Power Relay
Damage Control II

Sensor Booster II, Scan Resolution
Cap Recharger II
Cap Recharger II
Cap Recharger II

Triage Module I
Capital Remote Armor Repair System I
Large EMP Smartbomb II
Heavy Unstable Power Fluctuator I
Improved Cloaking Device II

Large Capacitor Control Circuit I
Large Capacitor Control Circuit I
Large Capacitor Control Circuit I

I am not completely convinced with the smartbomb. The idea of the neut is if you find yourself tackled, neut them and then jump before their friends can arrive. The idea of the smartbomb is if you are in combat, you can cut alot of DPS by removing drones. I should probably fit either a pair of smartbombs, or a pair of neuts – to ensure either option is more useful. I’ll think on that one.

 

The goal of this fitting..

Easy swap in from my travel fit – for use in medium sized, somewhat unskilled fleets

 

[Archon, Std v01 – Logistics]
Capital Armor Repairer I
Capital Armor Repairer I
Imperial Navy Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane
Imperial Navy Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane
True Sansha Capacitor Power Relay
True Sansha Capacitor Power Relay
True Sansha Capacitor Power Relay

Cap Recharger II
Cap Recharger II
Cap Recharger II
Cap Recharger II

Capital Remote Armor Repair System I
Capital Remote Armor Repair System I
Capital Remote Armor Repair System I
Triage Module I
Capital Energy Transfer Array I

Large Capacitor Control Circuit I
Large Capacitor Control Circuit I
Large Capacitor Control Circuit I

 

My Archon

This long blog was started with the innocent enough line “It is now fully fitted and parked safely in my low sec staging system.”  What that actually meant was:

. I trained my character for many, many months to be able to fit the ship properly, with quite literally years of previous skill training which support the fitting

. I defined a number of regions I could buy the carrier in

. I watched the markets and contracts for over a month to find a reasonably priced hull in a reasonable location.

. I ended up purchasing the hull for 717M, in the Mya system in Everyshore.

. I flew one of my Orca’s to Jita, purchased a full fit with some spares and options (which came to around 700M in cost, and over 90,000m3 in volume), and moved it to Torvi – one jump from Mya.

. I jumped into +3 clones, bookmarked safes and watch points in Mya, and had my Alt move 80,000m3 of the gear to the carrier in an Occator (Transport Ship) while my main watched cloaked in a Falcon.  (Some 5 trips in the end.)

. I then waited for a quiet time to jump the carrier from Mya to my low sec staging system.

. The actual fitting of the carrier and moving took well over 100 gate jumps, 1.4 Bil ISK, and a good half a day in game.

This is EVE – saying it can be complex is an understatement.

4 thoughts on “So a Carrier sounds like a good idea?

  1. An old post but full of great information. Plus I really thought towards the end that you were going to say you lost your carrier on its maiden flight! few, glad you didnt. Great post. Thanks again.

      • I really enjoyed reading this, thanks for posting. I’ve been in and out of EVE over the last few years, but think that my next goal is to finally get into a Thanatos.

        A couple questions if you wouldn’t mind:
        – What was your main activities, and did you use the two carriers together, or can a person fly their Carrier solo? (cyno alt notwithstanding)

        – Was most of your time spent in low or null?

      • I primarily used my carriers for transporting assets and moving in and out of 0.0 areas. I generally did not fly them together as I needed one of the pilots to remain in 0.0 to open the return Cyno.

        I haven’t used them since returning to a solo style of play in Empire / Low Sec. I might consider using them if I wanted to operate out of a deep low sec pocket, or if I ever joined a Corp/Alliance that moves a lot.

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