Welcome to Jester's Trek.
I'm your host, Jester. I've been an EVE Online player for about six years. One of my four mains is Ripard Teg, pictured at left. Sadly, I've succumbed to "bittervet" disease, but I'm wandering the New Eden landscape (and from time to time, the MMO landscape) in search of a cure.
You can follow along, if you want...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Fit of the Week: Mission Raven

[Raven, L4 Missioner]
Ballistic Control System II
Ballistic Control System II
Ballistic Control System II
Ballistic Control System II
Power Diagnostic System II

X-Large C5-L Emergency Shield Overload I
Invulnerability Field II
Photon Scattering Field II
Heat Dissipation Field II
Phased Weapon Navigation Array Generation Extron
Caldari Navy Shield Boost Amplifier

'Arbalest' Cruise Launcher I, Paradise Cruise Missile
'Arbalest' Cruise Launcher I, Paradise Cruise Missile
'Arbalest' Cruise Launcher I, Paradise Cruise Missile
'Arbalest' Cruise Launcher I, Paradise Cruise Missile
'Arbalest' Cruise Launcher I, Paradise Cruise Missile
'Arbalest' Cruise Launcher I, Paradise Cruise Missile
Drone Link Augmentor I
Small 'Arup' I Remote Bulwark Reconstruction

Large Semiconductor Memory Cell I
Large Semiconductor Memory Cell I
Large Semiconductor Memory Cell I

Hammerhead II x5
Hobgoblin II x5

I'm going to stay on the PvE trend with the FOTW for another week.  In fact, watch for a number of PvE posts over the rest of the week and probably into next week (depending on the results of the election).  My last main passed 42 million skill points last week, which is an important threshold: it's the highest minimum number of skill points required by the truly elite PvP corps in EVE such as Pandemic Legion.  So, I think it's important to document what got me here.  ;-)

So let's start with the basic missioning Raven.  If you do missions for ISK, as you develop your mission character and get him or her closer and closer to the end-game PvE Drake I posted a few weeks back, you're going to slam into the wall of the Drake's relatively anemic DPS.  The Drake's tank is outstanding, and fit properly, is more than capable of handling any L4 mission there is and virtually any type of 0.0 rats as well.  But while it can take a punch, it can't really throw one.  Minus its drones, the best Drake in New Eden can't do much more than 360 DPS.  For L4 missions, you're going to need more.

In my next post, I'll talk about some basic rules of thumb for L4 missioning, but the first one is this: your tank plus your gank need to add up to 1000 DPS or more to successfully solo L4 missions.  The Drake's tank plus gank peaks at about 700 without its drones at the very high end, and 775-800 with.  It's not enough.  So you'll start to eyeball the Raven or be pointed toward one by your corp-mates.

Initially, DPS-wise, the Raven is probably going to feel like a step down.  While it can launch medium drones, out of the gate, its DPS without drones is about equal to the Drake's... and its tank is initially going to be much thinner than your Drake.  But think of it like shifting gears in a car: you've maxed out the possible speed at the gear below.  At this new gear, you're just getting started.

First things first: don't consider getting into the Raven until you can use Tech 2 light and medium drones.  These are going to comprise a good portion of your DPS now, and Tech 1 drones aren't going to cut it any more.  You've also got what is probably going to be your first painful-feeling skill train in front of you: Shield Management V.  It's more than 600,000 skill points to go from IV to V, and at the end of it, your reward is a paltry 5% bonus to shields.  However, it's probably the most important skill there is for a new Raven pilot.  You're also going to need Shield Operation V, Energy Systems Operations V, and -- if you can bear the pain -- Energy Management V as well.  At the very least, train that to IV.  You'll also need Shield Compensation III at least (IV is better), and Tactical Shield Manipulation IV.

Welcome to the wonderful world of active tanking and capacitor management.  If you don't train these skills, you're going to be spending a lot of time listening to Aura say "The capacitor... is empty." and feeling your stomach shrivel every time she does.  In virtually any battleship, capacitor is king.  The good news is that all of these skills (with the exception of Shield Compensation) will be very useful in any PvP ship you sit down in.

Once you have these skills in place and have your Cruise Missiles skill to at least III, you're ready for a Raven.  This is also probably the first ship that you're going to buy, fit... and then steadily upgrade as your wallet balance grows.  But start with the fitting above.

The Arbalest launchers are relatively cheap, and since your drones are so important, the Drone Link Augmentor will ensure you can bring them into battle.  The small armor repper is also for your drones.  Upgrade it to a medium as soon as your fitting skills allow.  Your low slots are all about increasing DPS, though the single Power Diagnostic System boosts both capacitor and shields and recharge for both... quite a boon for the Raven.

The mid-slots are the important ones for the Raven.  They're also going to be where you make your first expensive purchase: the Caldari Navy Shield Boost Amplifier.  Meta SBAs almost never drop as loot and are quite expensive.  It honestly isn't that much of a increase in spending to get the faction SBA instead, and it makes a world of difference.  You can use the Tech 1 SBA until you can afford the faction version, but make sure that's your first upgrade!  The Target Painter is vital for making sure the large cruise missiles do the maximum damage to cruiser-size rats.  One Invulnerability Field and two rat-specific hardeners round out your mids.  The hardeners and missiles I've chosen are specific to Sansha rats.  Remember to trade out your hardeners and missiles for the next mission's rats when you dock up!  Unlike your Drake, the Raven does equal damage with any type of missile, so you'll want to carry the proper missiles for each type of rat you're going to fight.  It's probably a good idea to just load up 1500 or so of each type.

Finally, the rigs are going to be somewhat skill-dependent.  If you've taken my advice about training cap management skills, then the Semiconductor Memory Cells are your best choice.  They will boost your maximum cap and allow you to run your shield booster much longer.  However, they are skill-dependent and expensive.  Initially, you can consider three Capacitor Control Circuits instead and slowly upgrade to the SMCs.

Missioning in a Raven is all about cap management.  Light attacks can be ignored -- your Raven's base shield recharge will handle them fine.  More serious attacks will start to drain the Raven's shields.  Let them.  As your shield approaches 40% or so, start pulsing your shield booster.  The natural recharge of your shields is maximized at about 33% shields, so take advantage of this by letting your shields naturally drop to this level before using your booster.  This is going to feel scary and alien after so many missions in a Drake, where your shields might not have ever dropped below 80%.  You'll get used to it.

You're probably also going to have to warp away from your first few L4 missions as you learn the tactics of using a Raven properly.  Don't let it bother you.  Just make sure you use your drones to clear off any potentially warp-scrambling frigates, just in case.  You're also going to have to learn about aggro management.  More on that in my next post.

Once you're sitting in your Raven and have done a L4 mission or two, the next thing you're going to want to think about are the upgrades.  In rough order of importance, the upgrades you're going to need:
  1. First, as I said above, get the Caldari Navy Shield Boost Amplifier.  This one is critical.
  2. Second, start trading out your Ballistic Control Systems for Caldari Navy Ballistic Control Systems.  These will cost you about 80-85 million each.  You want three of them.  The fourth BCS can remain Tech 2.
  3. Finally, upgrade your Cruise Missile Launchers to the Caldari Navy version.  Buy seven of these.
  4. You can also start thinking about the Caldari Navy X-Large Shield Booster as well.
As you do steps 2 and 3, your DPS will steadily rise from about 360 to about 440 without drones.  Add your Hammerheads and you'll approach 600 DPS total.  Not bad at all!  Don't bother training up to T2 CMLs.  The Caldari Navy launchers are superior, less skill-intensive, and you're almost certainly not going to be using cruise missiles in PvP often enough to justify the long train.

Why did I say to buy seven Caldari Navy CMLs when the Raven can only carry six?  Ah.  Well, if you're going to be serious about soloing L4 missions, you're going to need one more upgrade before long: a Raven Navy Issue.  This might be your first truly expensive purchase in EVE Online.  And it's very much worth every ISK!  The Navy Raven is superior in almost every respect to its non-faction counterpart... and it can carry seven launchers.  Happily, you'll be able to carry all your other Raven fittings except for the rigs straight over.

The Navy Raven can not only easily solo virtually any L4 mission in the game, it's also a lovely wormhole ship.  But that will be another FOTW...


  1. I don't quite understand why Caldari Navy Shield Boost Amplifier is necessary. It's an expensive purchase but only offers 1.5% more shield boost amount when compared to Shield Boost Amplifier II.
    (Shield Boost Amplifier II's requirement is Shield Management 5, which you have listed as necessary for this fitting anyway.)

  2. You'll find that with four BCSs, the CPU is really tight. You can get away without it if you optimize somewhere, such as living without the Drone Link Augmentor.

  3. But the CPU usage is the same on the Caldari Navy Shield Boost Amplifier and Shield Boost Amplifier II - 55 tf.

  4. Duh, sorry, yeah. Thinking of another fit vis a vis a XLSB2 versus the CN one. The CN SBA is used here because a TON of guys put off training Shield Management V even though they really really should train it. Meta SBAs are expensive because they don't drop as loot in Empire, and the cost of the CN version isn't very much more than the Copasetic.

    If you've already got Shield Management V, yeah, go ahead and use the SBA2.

  5. The only Raven fitting that is needed: Raven a la Liang - http://wiki.eveonline.com/en/wiki/Raven_Navy_Issue_%28Fitting%29#Navy_Raven_a_la_Liang (okay, so I swap the Cap Booster for a Cap recharger). I've run every L4 mission in that style of CNR and survived due to careful target selection rather than simply brute forcing my way through.

    Don't (literally) waste your time with capacitor rigs and cap stability. Learn to fly your ship, dammit! Cap stable is for scimitars and solo basilisks. Pulse that shield booster. Pick the right targets. Learn about triggers and group aggro.

  6. I agree, Liang's RNI is a great fit. But it's also hugely expensive to build (and to a lesser extent, to operate). You can get into this Raven a lot more inexpensively. ;-)


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