A few days ago I finally joined the big kids club and purchased a carrier in EVE. The only step up left now would be joining the cool kids club and getting a super carrier or titan.
Flying a capital is an interesting experience. The game does a good job of making you realize you are in a large ship, with it turning slow, flying slow, and generally being a large slow-moving monster. Carriers also have the new fighter mechanic, which is different from the other weapon systems in EVE in that you have multiple options for your fighter drones (normal weapon, utility, and special weapon), and the fighters need to reload the special weapon by being told to fly back to the carrier. It’s a bit more interact, which is always nice in EVE.
The hull itself cost 1.5b ISK off contract in Delve, and then another 1b or so was spent to fit it out (not super bling fit, but not all basic T2 either). I don’t remember exactly how much all of the skill books cost, but I think that was at least 500m or so ISK as well, so the overall investment is a good step up from even the bling-fit Rattlesnake (around 1.5b total cost).
Ratting in the carrier is pretty ridiculous compared to even my bling-fit Rattlesnake though. The tank is so strong that you don’t even think about the damage coming in regardless of what site you are running, and even with tech 1 fighters (tech 2 in a few weeks), if you have all of them on one battleship rat and they use the special attack, the rat almost instantly melts. Perhaps even better, the fighters can also track rats as small and hard to hit as elite frigates, so not only are you not worried about your tank, you also aren’t worried about any specific rat being a problem to kill.
So far my ticks (20min) are between 30-40m ISK, and the carrier clears sites so fast that the MTU and the cleanup Noctis can’t keep up. To solve this, I’m now using a second MTU off the carrier. First site the Noctis will drop its MTU once the carrier mostly clears the first wave, and once the site is cleared of all rats, the Noctis will fly back in for cleanup. The carrier flies to the next site and drops its own MTU there. Once the second site is finished, the carrier picks up its MTU (leaving the site about halfway cleaned up in terms of pulling in wrecks) and flies off to a third site. Once the Noctis finishes the first site, it will warp to the second, drop it’s MTU, and finish looting/salvaging the site. The carrier will finish the third site by the time the Noctis finishes cleaning up the second, so one site out of three is left with wrecks/loot on the field (generally 10m ISK in value assuming no rare Dark Blood rat spawns).
Playing both accounts like this isn’t too bad, but having the larger monitor is a huge help here. In terms of clicks, because most of the time the Noctis is waiting for all of the wrecks to be pulled in anyway, I don’t need to target and salvage wrecks asap to keep up. The carrier account requires more attention, but clicking away for the few seconds needed with the Noctis doesn’t have a big impact.
The faster clear time per site also means more chances to get a rare spawn, or an escalation, which I sell off to our escalation running group for what has so far been an average of 100m ISK per escalation for an extra 10 minutes of work (fly to the escalation site, create bookmark, create contract). Overall, I think casually ratting with the carrier will get me into a super carrier somewhat soon, though from a skills perspective I’ve still got a few months of training just to top off the required carrier skills to join capswarm (Goons capital group), and then the super carrier has its own set of skills for its larger fighters.
Having the skills to join capswarm will also mean I can officially bring my carrier on PvP fleets and qualify for SRP. I’m looking forward to that, but the time between now and that point will be nice to just get a feel for the carrier and its mechanics prior to putting it in a hostile situation. I don’t think I’ll be using my carrier for Incursions unless we get an incursion within jump range of our home base in Delve.
My alt is also currently training to fly a FAX (capital-class ‘healer’ ship), and once he has that, it will be another safety blanked for my carrier pilot (should hostiles tackle my carrier for some reason, my alt would be able to cyno in with his FAX and keep the carrier alive for a bit, giving allies more time to come and save me). FAXs are also used when we run Incursions, so that’s another nice bonus and income stream.
My only regret here is that prior to my last break, I trained up Caldari carrier to V, which kinda pushed me into the Caldari carrier (Chimera), which is not an ideal ratting carrier compared to either the Thanatos (Gallente) or the Nidhoggur (Minmittar) based on hull bonuses (the Chimera gets a bonus to shield resists, which is overkill for ratting. A boost to fighter dps would be much better, which is what both the Thanny and Nid provide). On the bright side, the Caldari super carrier, the Wyvern, has solid bonuses that makes training Caldari carrier to V more justified eventually.
Progress is being made, and new long-term goals (the Wyvern) are set. Life is good.