The State of Navy Battleships: Gallente EditionApothne
For the first in this four part series, Apothne is joined by the near-legendary solo PvPer, video producer and streamer, Mr Hyde113.
Some time ago I wrote a piece on the State of Navy Cruisers. Navy Battleships are the least flown class of combat ship in the game (excluding uniques such as Alliance Tournament prizes), so here I’d like to compare them to their vanilla counterparts and, where appropriate, pirate faction variants. Mr Hyde113 has joined me to go over them in this four-part series – you can see his expert commentary on these hulls in italics. Let’s dig in, starting with my favourite:
Megathron Navy Issue
Okay, so the first things I look at when considering a hull are the bonuses and the slot layout. The Megathron Navy Issue has exactly the same hull bonuses as the Megathron; a 7.5% large hybrid tracking bonus and 5% large hybrid rate of fire bonus per level.
For slot layout, the Navy Mega gets an extra high slot (which technically you have a launcher hardpoint for) and base 30 TF of CPU and 775 MW of PG to fill it up. After skills, that’s just under an extra 1000 MW. Broadly speaking Navy ships get little boosts to core stats, the Navy Mega getting a significant boost across the board. Here’s the rundown:
- 25 m3 less cargo bay; loss of an extra Navy Cap Booster 800.
- 100 m3 extra drone bay, 175 m3 up from 75 m3, with a full 125 mbit/s bandwidth rather than 75 mbit/s, so you can field a full fight of heavies with a flight of mediums or two flights of smalls in your back pocket.
The extra flights of medium or light drones is a HUGE deal. It allows you to have drones to deal with a wide variety of targets, or have backup flights in extended fights.
- 10 m/s extra base speed, which means an increase from 1135 m/s to 1210 m/s when using a T2 microwarpdrive. Base align time goes down from 10.5s to 9.7s.
- 5m extra sig, largely unnoticeable until we look at how capitals will apply, and even then negligible.
- The extra buffer tank is insane, as you can see on the EFT pic you go from 37k to 53k EHP before you even consider rigs. We can mock up a fit that extrapolates to 120k EHP vs 150k EHP before links.
5.6k of this EHP increase occurs in hull HP, which makes the Navy Mega (along with other Navy Gallente hulls) ideal candidates for solo hull tanking, freeing up valuable powergrid for larger guns over an equivalent EHP armor tank.
Some navifications (yes that’s a word now) completely change the nature of the ship (think Scorpion to Navy Scorp) but the Navy Mega is just a regular Megathron with some bells and whistles. It’s a gorgeous ship to be sure, but is it really worth more than double the price? In my opinion, yes, but the Navy Mega has a larger problem. And that is the Vindicator.
The Vindi’s skin is black, which is way better than space camo.
First, the Vindicator’s bonuses are insane. 90% WEBS. NINETY. PER CENT. WEBS. It carries over the 7.5% tracking bonus from the regular Mega, but instead of the RoF it gets a flat 37.5% damage bonus to large hybrids, so you’re looking at 9.33 effective turrets on a Navy Mega against 11 on the Vindictor, an extra 17.8% damage in real terms. The extra turret vs RoF bonus evens out the cap usage, though obviously the lack of a utility high is a blow for the Vindi. If you run seven guns on the Vindi so you can maintain the utility high, you have 9.625 effective turrets so you are still doing more DPS, with better alpha, which is important in a variety of uses. Moving on, the Vindicator has an extra mid. Mid slots tend to be the most valuable in the whole game on any ship almost without exception.
For solo blaster brawling, I would generally recommend people go for the Hyperion or Vindicator over the Mega or Navy Mega because the slot/bonus layouts are better suited for that role.
Let’s do the stat rundown.
- The Vindicator gets an extra 15 m3 cargo bay over the Navy Mega, also known as half a Navy Cap Booster 800, by squeezing the ammo you carry around you can probably make that a whole one. However this is still 10 m3 less than the vanilla Megathron.
- Both can field a full flight of heavies at 125 mbit/s of bandwidth, but the Vindicator only has 125 m3 of drone bay, compared to the extra flight of mediums the Navy Mega can fit at 175.
- The Vindi goes a whole 2 m/s faster than the Navy Mega, and a whopping 15m is added to the sig radius (that’s a sarcastic whopping).
- Pirate ships lose rig calibration, so that’s down from 400 to 350 calibration, i.e. you can’t double T2 rig it with space to fill the third with a T1 rig.
- The Vindi has marginally less buffer than the Navy Mega, but it works out to have effectively the same tank, nowhere near the difference between the Navy and vanilla versions of the hull. That said, the Navy Mega with its extra low gives you more choice for going max damage versus max tank .
- The Vindi aligns a whole 1.5s faster than the Navy Mega which is actually fairly significant. It also locks a touch more quickly and has 12% better innate sensor strength.
Overall, the Navy Mega is actually quite reasonable compared to both of these ships. I do think it is worth the upgrade over the regular Megathron, and it does have some small advantages over the Vindi. The core problem is the extra mid and the greater DPS output that completely tip the scales in the favour of the Vindicator, especially if it is only 100 mill more than the Navy Mega (at the time of writing the Megathron is at 190m, Navy Mega at 415m and Vindi at 515m).
The Navy Megathron is pretty viable for solo when hull-tanked, especially when coupled with the new Heavy Stasis Grappler. The utility high slot means much more flexible fittings (neut or NOS for example), and the additional flights of smaller drones can be a lifesaver against the frigate menace.
Dominix Navy Issue
The Navy Domi is well known for its mind-bending DPS output in EFT. The application of that damage is an entirely different story. Each year in the Alliance Tournament we see at least one team try a variant of double Navy Domi plus Minmatar recon and watch it die in a fire because they believe SO HARD that they might get that insane DPS down and shred face. Personally, I think that the hull bonuses for the regular Dominix and the Navy Domi should be swapped. Navy hulls tend to focus in on some aspect of the ship and its application, with T1 being more broad. If we look at the Dominix’s cruiser counterpart, the Vexor, it gets the mixed blaster and drone damage bonus; then focusing in on drones with the Vexor Navy Issue. The Navy Domi however reverses this. The only other example is in the Minmatar line with the Typhoon and Scythe Navy variants. The Dominix gets a 10% bonus per level to drone hitpoints and damage, and then a 7.5% bonus per level to drone optimal range and tracking speed. Note that on some hulls, drone bonuses are only to specific sizes, whereas the Domi gets its bonus across the board to every drone. The Navy Dominix gets that same 10% drone hitpoint and damage bonus per level, but swaps out the optimal and tracking bonus for a 5% large hybrid turret damage bonus, which could generously be described as ‘clunky’.
Vanilla Domis also leverage a lot of their power in solo by commonly fitting neuts, smartbombs, or medium blasters, which are often more useful than the raw DPS of large guns, while also opening up fitting room for better tank and maneuverability.
The slot layout is nice and versatile on both ships, the regular Dominix rolling 6/5/7 with six turrets and the Navy Domi gaining an extra mid up to 6/6/7. That extra slot garners it 60 more TF of base CPU and 1000 MW of PG, which after skills turns into an extra 1250 MW (two 1600mm plates worth).
- The Navy Domi gets 75 m3 more cargo space for the extra ammo, but loses roughly 600 GJ from its capacitor pool. Maybe this is because CCP expects the regular Domis to be neut fit or something. Either way, the cap loss hurts.
- Navy Domi goes up from 375 m3 to 400 m3 drone bay, the equivalent of an extra set of lights. Both unsurprisingly have the full 125 mbit bandwidth.
- The Navy Domi races away with two whole extra 2 m/s base speed over the vanilla version, and aligns 0.9s faster.
- Unlike the Navy Mega, the Navy Domi actually loses 10m sig radius, going down from 465 to 455m.
- The Navy Domi gets a huge bonus to raw buffer, not quite as much as the Mega gains but before modules with level 5 skills you go from 43k to 57k EHP.
- The only other small difference is that of sensor strength, gaining 23% resistance to being jammed.
The Navy Dominix slot layout and buffed HP make it a very interesting solo battleship choice, however, given how the Rattlesnake is roughly 70 mil cheaper and generally more powerful, it gets passed over by most. The introduction of the Heavy Stasis Grappler and to a lesser-extent merging ECCMs with Sensor Boosters actually open up a lot of cool fits for the Navy Dominix, especially when hull tanked.
The only pirate faction battleship that you can really compare the Navy Domi to is the Rattlesnake, which is a very powerful, and currently very cheap hull. It’s a loose comparison but it should go without saying that it’s a no-contest win for the Rattler. Broadly speaking, hulls in EVE tend to be good if they have either a damage application bonus or a tank bonus, the Navy Domi has neither, relegating it to the bottom of the Navy Battleship dumpster.