The first capital ship I bought in EVE Online was a Thanatos class carrier, a bit over ten years ago. I still own it today.
This is remarkable because, rare exceptions aside, you buy or build every ship in EVE fully expecting to lose it sooner rather than later. Don’t undock what you can’t afford to lose isn’t the most important advice given to new players for nothing.
I did undock my carrier all right, but until very recently I didn’t actually utilize it the way I had intended when I bought it – namely combat. Instead I mostly used it to haul my assets whenever I needed ship replacements or my respective corporation moved their base of operations. I basically had what the community refers to as a suitcase carrier.
This limited and, frankly, quite lame usage of the ship wasn’t by choice though. My dream and main reason for buying it had been to send swarms of fighters to blot out the sun and bring destruction to my enemies.
Unfortunately carriers were in a pretty bad place in that regard for a long time. They just weren’t that effective, mainly because you couldn’t control your fighters very well. Also, since carriers had additional bonuses for remote repair modules and the ability to fit a Triage module, carrier pilots were basically always relegated to the logistics role. I hate flying logi (I’ll save my reasons for that for another post), so I didn’t use the carrier at all most of the time.
In 2016 capital ships were finally reworked quite heavily, and two results of that were the creation of Force Auxiliaries, aka FAXes, which inherited the carriers’ remote repairing capabilities and thus assumed the role of capital sized logistics ships, and a complete revamp of how fighters work.
The consequence of those changes is that carriers are now purely offensive ships, and fighters got a whole new control scheme and even some new abilities.
Alas, the ship class is still not used in PvP very often compared to all other capitals. I think this is mainly because everyone and their mother seems to own a supercarrier these days (incidentally known as mothership back in the day), which pretty much does everything a carrier does, just better. When we take out caps in NC. there’s usually a fleet of titans, supers and FAXes, and a second one for dreadnoughts and a couple more FAXes. Poor old carrier.
But! Alliance leadership is adamant that we all krab a lot whenever there are no fleets going on, which in EVE terms means earning lots of ISK by engaging in PvE activities. To give us more ‘incentive’ to do so our SRP (ship replacement program) doesn’t cover pure DPS ships anymore, so if you lose your Eagle or Muninn in a fleet fight you need to earn the 400+ mil to replace it yourself.
So after all this time I finally started to use my carrier for combat. It’s only against NPCs, but it makes me pretty happy nonetheless.
It’s also freaking profitable.
For a very long time my main means to earn ISK in EVE has been running level 4 missions in high sec. Hence I have a lot of experience with it, and I know pretty well how much I can earn by doing it. Spoiler: it’s not all that much.
The measuring stick for how effective you are when shooting NPCs is ticks. The game pays out accumulated NPC bounties every 20 minutes, which is called a tick. When mission running I was lucky to break the 10 million mark every now and then, 15 when I got one of the really good missions.
The other day, after running a couple anomalies in my carrier, I got this:
Now, this doesn’t quite tell the whole story. While doing missions I also looted and salvaged most of the wrecks, which a Marauder class battleship can do pretty much without slowing down mission progress itself. In null, since we’re living in a drone region and most drones don’t drop any loot, the ISK is all you get. Technically I could salvage those wrecks, but the time investment isn’t worth it. Nevertheless, the bottom line is that I now earn much, much more per hour.
And it’s quite fun too, believe it or not, because wih the new fighter controls it actually feels a bit like I’d hoped when I bought the carrier all those years ago.
The irony is of course that of all points in time I could have chosen to start doing PvE content in null sec I’m doing it now, mere weeks after CCP has decided to make such things more dangerous by giving us delayed local chat in null. Some timing, eh?
I’m pretty confident that it’ll work out all right though. We always have a response-fleet up, intel channels are used religiously and I have my own cloaky scout to give me some additional intel too. To be honest, I don’t quite get why so many folks have managed to lose their ratting ships in null sec before the blackout at all. You just need to be aligned and the moment you see someone you don’t know appear in local you warp off. Doing that cuts into your ticks though, and we can’t have that, can we?
Anyway, I’m really happy that I finally use the carrier to actually blast stuff to bits. If all goes well I might even have the ISK to buy its big brother and use that for PvP someday. It’s always good to have goals, isn’t it?