Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Finding a better carebear ship

For the purpose of making isk I run plexes with two characters, one in a scout/scan/tank tengu and the second in a maelstrom to do damage. I've been using this setup for a while and have made a pretty decent amount of isk off it, but have now finished pvp training on the alt on my damage dealer's account and have some time to invest in my carebear. I have long suspected that the damage dealer was the weak part of my pve setup, since the maelstrom was selected purely on the basis of what my damage dealer, a repurposed pvp character, could fly. My purpose with this post is to find a better pve ship, which I will then train for. No amarr ships can be evaluated because of their damage types, which is unfortunate.

When it comes to carebearing, two things are important: Income per unit of time, and effort. Finding a balance is important; the maze is the most profitable guristas plex, but with my ships and skills it takes a lot of effort. For this reason I don't run it. An example of low profit, low effort would be running plexes or anomalies in an ishtar, which requires practically no interaction with the game but takes forever. Belt mining is an example of low profit, high effort as you have to watch local every second, move to new roids, haul ore, etc. Personally I'm in a higher profit bracket with a somewhat low effort, running every guristas plex except the maze quickly (mostly) and easily.

In evaluating ships I have arrived at four values which will be most useful in evaluating a ship:

Some guristas battleships orbit at 52 km. The DPS the ship is calculated to do to one of these is the first field.

Some battleships orbit at 32 km. The second field is the DPS done to these ships.

Elite cruisers orbit at 17.5 km. The third field will only shows the EFT damage. For turrets this is very low because of tracking, though in practice there are tricks to reduce their angular velocity so that turrets can hit for near full damage. With a little luck, a maelstrom can kill an elite cruiser in 2 volleys.

Finally, there is price. This is a rough estimate of how much it would cost to buy and fit the ship.

Artillery maelstrom:
DPS at to battleship at 52 KM: 630
DPS at to battleship at 32 KM: 620
DPS to elite cruiser: 117
Price: 150 million

This is the ship I'm using right now. It's pretty nice and I like the volley damage, but I'm hoping there is something better out there.

Similar ships which I have considered and rejected include: Arty+cruise tempest, arty+cruise typhoon, rokh, megathron and hyperion.

DPS to battleship at 52 KM: 673
DPS to battleship at 32 KM: 697
DPS to elite cruiser: 165
Price: 150m

The dominix is interesting. With railguns in addition to sentry drones it does slightly more damage at range than the maelstrom. Using light drones instead of sentries it still does 551 dps, and it has slightly higher tracking as well. Unfortunately it has to be stationary to use sentry drones, and this adds a level of complexity above the maelstrom. In terms of hitting elite cruisers, the same tricks can be used.

Verdict: I'll pass. Does not represent a meaningful improvement over the maelstrom.

Autocannon machariel:
DPS to battleship at 52 KM: 728
DPS to battleship at 32 KM: 877
DPS to elite cruiser: 707
Price: 1000 million

The autocannon machariel does great damage at long range, and with autocannon tracking it will eat elite cruisers alive. There are two problems though, which are the price -- way too high for a ship without a real pve tank -- and ammo consumption. With a rate of fire around 4 times faster than an artillery fit ship, finding ammo (in tenal, where the market is dead) and having to go back to station to restock would become annoying. There's also the killboard issue if something unfortunate were to happen: People expect failfit ravens, but machariels are a whole different level of horrible.

Verdict: A major improvement over the maelstrom, but too exotic for pve use.

Artillery machariel:
DPS to battleship at 52 KM: 787
DPS to battleship at 32 KM: 760
DPS to elite cruiser: 114
Price: 1000m

Improved peak dps but with the same tracking issues as the maelstrom plus the fail issues of the autocannon mach.

Verdict: No.

The vindicator is a similar ship which I considered and rejected.

Javelin torp raven:
DPS to battleship at 52 KM (javelin): 569
DPS to battleship at 32 KM (T1): 892
DPS to elite cruiser (T1): 392
Price: 150m

Torpedo ravens do a whole lot of damage, but have very short range. I'm lazy and so absolutely will not chase pve targets around, but using javelin torpedoes combined with missile range rigs and good skills it is possibly to get the maximum torpedo range up above 52 km. Because target painters fall off at 45 km the damage at that range is actually slightly lower than the maelstrom, but relatively few guristas battleships actually orbit that far out. At close ranges the raven does significantly more damage than the maelstrom, as well as decent and much more consistent damage to elite cruisers.

In addition to the damage bonus missiles mean never having to worry about falloff or tracking, which represents a very significant decrease in the amount of effort involved in plexing. The downside is that smaller ships will be hit for less than maximum damage, though based on the DPS to elite cruiser EFT doesn't think this will be a major issue.

There is the challenge of getting javelin torps out to tenal, but the number which can be hauled back after taking loot to jita is practically limitless.

Verdict: Definitely worth looking into.

Torp golem:
DPS to battleship at 52 KM (javelin): 697
DPS to battleship at 32 KM (rage): 1138
DPS to elite cruiser (javelin): 543
Price: 650m

With a target painting bonus and 1/3 more base DPS, the golem does more damage at long range than the maelstrom, hilarious damage at close range and hits elite cruisers for nearly as much as the maelstrom's peak damage. It also represents a very significant improvement over the raven.

Verdict: I hate missiles with a burning passion and would never use them in subcapital combat, but principles are less important than money.

So, that's that. The golem is much better then every other ship I had even suspected might be worth checking. My plan was originally to test the torp raven first, but the difference in training time is only a week.

EDIT: Torp Rattlesnake:
DPS to battleship at 52 KM (javelin): 568
DPS to battleship at 32 KM (T1): 738
DPS to elite cruiser (T1): 585
Price: 650m

By popular demand!

You'd think with the number of rattlesnake BPC I find that I would have at least bothered to check it, but I didn't. It looks pretty similar to a dominix that uses missiles, and I was surprised to learn that it has a torpedo range bonus.

Between the 52 and 32 km battleship ranges it averages the same DPS as the dominix. An interesting feature is that it does the most damage to elite cruisers of any ship other than the autocannon machariel, though this number does depend on switching out to heavy drones.

Verdict: Arguably superior to the dominix, but suffers the same issues as a result of reliance on drones. The golem is a superior damage dealer, which is what I am looking for and thus remains my choice.


  1. from you postings.... you have played eve for a long time and can fly dread and supercarrier and minmatar ships.

    my suggestion is a shield tank dominix (yea i know gallente shield tank) but i assume as a minnie cap pilot you must have max or near max drone skills and shield tank domi was quite popular before and you can fit 350mm rail which is better that dual 250 or 425
    Another is a Rattlesnake which is a much better upg to your raven or cnr, passive shield tank

    i'm sure a minnie dread user the skills to use missile is there and drones

  2. The tank isn't a real issue since the tengu alt takes all the aggro. The rattlesnake is... interesting. I'll admit that I hadn't even considered it, since what I hear is that it's a solo mission running boat, but it looks like you can actually get fairly decent DPS out of it. I'll run the numbers and add it to the post, but I anticipate sticking with the golem.

    The reason for this is that even if the rattlesnake or dominix could out-dps the golem, their damage depends on drones, which are fiddly to use. Sentries can only be used while stationary, and many of the plexes I run I have to move a significant distance (30-80 km). Heavy drones do excellent damage and can be used while moving, but are so slow that the target is usually dead by the time they arrive. Medium drones have the same problem, so my usual approach is just to use light drones and have them clear out frigates while killing large targets with guns (soon to be missiles).

  3. can the plex accommodate a carrier? as a amarr char i use laser and you're right that their damages are limited to em/therm but their T2 counterpart rock with T2 crystal and faction ammo. most of my mission fit also uses missile as some of amarr ships prefer to use missiles.
    Anyway my corp use to do L4 together and believe me few BS with a marauder usually can blitz the mission in a few minutes.... take longer to salvage than killin the NPC

  4. Carriers can't use acceleration gates, which all plexes have. They can be used in most escalations though, which is useful. DG fleet staging, for example, you have to deal with more than 6000 incoming EM DPS plus energy neutralizer sentries and 10 battleships. Guristas prov HQ final escalation has 30 battleships and 10 siege sentries, and can be a challenge to tank even with a pve fit carrier.

    The reason lasers aren't usable for me is that guristas have high EM resistance and some targets are already a challenge to take down with my kinetic damage. Inzi kika, for example, takes around 2500 DPS to kill; I can just barely kill him with a 1600 DPS carrier and a damage-fit torp raven, both doing only kinetic damage which he is weakest to.

    Most of my income comes from loot drops. I don't salvage, and avoid killing NPCs wherever possible in favor of finishing the plex and getting to the next more quickly. Guristas give terrible salvage anyway.

  5. once thing to consider about the golem is with only having the 4 launchers you'll use less ammo. both decreasing ammo costs and need for logistics from highsec.

    on a side note have you considered the minmatar marauder? it does have an out standing volley damage and might be a viable ship as well.

  6. I did. With the same lows as the maelstrom it does identical damage, and the tracking and falloff bonuses would make it a slight upgrade, but it's crippled by extremely low power grid. I have to use both rig slots and two lows for power grid mods, which will either negate the tracking bonus and give it shorter range than the mael - my maelstrom fit uses two tracking enhancers - or significantly reduce the DPS.