Capital Logistics: the Best of Times, the Worst of TimesDunk Dinkle
The Citadel expansion brought an amazing amount of change to New Eden and the devs worked hard to keep pushing EVE Online forward.
Titan pilots are doomsdaying with abandon.
Carrier pilots are having a fantastic time killing shit and developing new tactics.
Industrialists are building new items and hopefully making big profits during these early days.
Force Auxiliary pilots are docked, staring at Pyfa & EFT, wondering how the fuck to fit their ship.
Sure, you’ll see them on grid, but behind the scenes there is a lot of debate on exactly how to fit and fly these new ships.
After all the hype and drama of the capital rebalance, logi pilots waited patiently for the release to step into new ships and find new tactics to employ in fights. Sisi is good fun, but it’s nowhere close to the real testing ground of Tranquility. No limits on ISK, ships, skills, modules, availability, or risk make Sisi a poor place to test how actual fights and fittings will work in reality.
A Force Auxiliary has two tasks that it must be able to perform in every fight.
1. The ship must be able to sustain reps for the duration of a fight
2. The ship must be able to tank, to some degree, against the force of of the enemy since it cannot receive external help while in Triage mode.
With the removal of spider tanking and forced Triage mode, each Force Aux must be fitted to be able to do both tasks before it undocks. With the removal of combat refitting, the old style Triage module manipulation doesn’t work. Yes, it was super fun to do, but it’s gone now.
For those that aren’t Force Aux pilots, a Force Aux can only repair other ships when it is in Triage mode. Triage mode lasts five minutes, and during that time, the pilot cannot receive external help like capacitor or repair from other ships. They are operating alone for this period.
The issue pilots face is that it’s exceedingly tough to fit a Force Aux to meet these tasks without resorting to faction modules. Finding a working fitting using T1 capital modules that last just one Triage cycle is extremely hard to do. This is a serious issue.
If you run out of capacitor when repping others, they die. If you run out of capacitor when repping yourself, you die.
When a Force Aux is in Triage mode, the focus is on capacitor management. You must have enough capacitor to sustain remote reps on your fleet and/or repair yourself if you are the primary. If you run out of capacitor when repping others, they die. If you run out of capacitor when repping yourself, you die. When the CPU and power grid attributes make it difficult to fit a Force Aux that can maintain capacitor for an entire Triage cycle, the pilot is in a bad situation. With many fights lasting more than one Triage cycle (five minutes), the pilot gets into more and more difficulty as they can’t really refill their capacitor to full, which is where more EFT/Pyfa calculations start.
Sure EFT/Pyfa warriors using All Level V skills and plugging in mainly faction and deadspace items can make some nice fits, but in reality this is not a reasonable solution if the modules are unavailable or priced out of reach for the average pilot just trying to meet basic functionality. As in many scenarios, theorycrafting doesn’t solve cost/availability issues and also ignores practical fight situations.
Cap is life, and maintaining it is the primary aim. The vast majority of EFT warriors aren’t taking into account the neut pressure, which is going to be a major factor in any serious capital fight. Energy neutralizers and nosferatus will be in play in almost every battle. Being unable to rep for a single Triage cycle while under neuting pressure is serious problem for Force Aux pilots. Even if you theorycraft juggling Triage cycles to cap up the Force Aux out of Triage, extended fights are a problem. If you get lucky, the enemy is has a Sieged dreadnaught as primary and there is nothing for you do while you wait and recharge capacitor.
Force Aux pilots are playing with different ways to cap up in these situation by switching who is in Triage, cap boosters, capital nosferatus, and other schemes. But, like the rest of EVE Online, there are no easy answers.
EVE Online is a game of min/maxing, without a doubt. But for almost any other ship, you can fit it with T1 modules and fulfill the basic role of the ship. You won’t be great, but you can meet the minimums. With Force Auxiliary, you don’t get that option.
You should be able to fit a Force Aux without needing modules that are either only available in Jita or simply unavailable due to the drop frequency of items and blueprints.
Some will simply say #nopoors, if you are flying a capital and can’t afford the costs, you shouldn’t be flying a capital. This, as usual, misses the point. You should be able to fit a Force Aux without needing modules that are either only available in Jita or simply unavailable due to the drop frequency of items and blueprints. With Force Aux fittings reaching 2-3 billion ISK, dropping into battle with a ship that will likely be primary of the enemy, pilots can be hesitant to risk their ships, when replacement of even the hulls themselves is difficult and costly.
Adding to the current woes, the market supply is nowhere near caught up with the demand for many of the new modules, making prices astronomical. This will change over time, but ME (material efficiency) is around 5 for most blueprints at this time, with ME 10 versions months and months away from helping to bring down prices. For the modules requiring BPCs that drop off of rats the prices remain in the silly zone, no matter how awesome your fitting is in EFT/Pyfa.
There’s been some discussion of the problems with basic fits with the Dev Team and hopefully they will be looking into the fittings and the issue.
Not to be completely salty, the Force Aux pilots are seeing some amazing tanks possible on the new ships, the envy of other capital pilots. After the era of armor slowcat fleets, the future looks like shield tanking capital fleets. The Force Aux bonuses to capacitor and shield boosting alongside Shield Boost Amplifiers can create huge tanks. Toss in a generous helping of deadspace or faction modules and you have a beastly tank on the new logistics ships.
In a recent fight, this is the Apostle we faced that stood alone against a large fleet, repping like a boss until we brought in a couple extra dreads and waited out its capacitor.
With that expensive fitting, it can repair for over 26,000 HP per second, and that’s not counting overheating or links. Overheated, it can repair over 35,000 HP per second. Quite a tank, if you can afford it.
Of the three non-super capital ships, the carrier, the dreadnaught, and the Force Auxiliary, two of them must be self-sufficient when doing their primary task in Siege or Triage mode. In larger capital fights, no ship can withstand the damage of the enemy unaided and fights become a race to reduce the enemy DPS. Capital vs capital fights are bloody affairs where no one moonwalks out undamaged.
In smaller fights, the tension of waiting out Siege/Triage cycles while attempting to tank damage is huge. If a ship can survive the onslaught for a cycle and come out alive, usually the Force Aux can repair the ship and keep it from explosion. Juggling and timing cycles to regen cap and repair gets complicated and requires communication and skill.
Force Aux pilots are learning how to best fit in the new world of capital logistics now that the previous cap chain paradigms are consigned to history.
Currently, there is no one ‘right’ way to fit out capital ships. Doctrines are being tested and theorycrafted by many groups and each are coming to different answers. Fights are showing that capital fleets are no longer unbeatable blobs of slowcats where a spider tank web prevents groups from losing ships.
Even if you are just screwing around on the undock with a poorly fitted carrier, you can find yourself melted in less than 60 seconds with the reduction of hit points from the Citadel patch. Sure, carriers are now a lot of fun to fly, but they are lot more squishy than they were before and prime target for your local enemies to drop in on and say hello.
In these early days of the Citadel expansion, being a capital pilot is both exhilarating and frustrating, all at the same time. Which, if you think about it, is what draws players into EVE.
In the future, things will settle down a bit, with proven fittings being used widely, needed modules available on the market at slightly more reasonable prices, and the costs of minerals, salvage, and PI products returning toward previous levels. We will see large scale capital battles with big losses on both sides. But for now, it is both the worst and best of times to be a capital pilot, especially for those that fly logistics.