So after reaching some of my short term goals, such as being able to pilot a battleship and being able to use a jump clone, I found myself at a slight loss of what to do. I still have not tried any level 4 missions, for a few reasons.
First of all my support skills aren’t that great yet, so I have perpetual capacitor problems (unable to run dual Large Armor Repairers unless I don’t fit afterburners). And a battleship with no propulsion mods is slooooooow. Nothing worse than warping into a mission and seeing the acceleration gate to the next room 40 km away. Time to hit approach and take a nap…
Secondly, I can’t use T2 LARs yet so my tanking would be sub-par. I could possibly make do with my current meta 4s, but I have to admit to a certain amount of trepidation which was making me unwilling to risk my shiny brick of doom until I can use those T2s, as well as maybe some T2 hardeners.
Thirdly, most level 4 mission running Dominix fits recommend the use of sentry drones (preferably T2, of course). I had T2 lights and mediums, but still lacked Drone Interfacing IV and a few levels of Drone Sharpshooting before I could even start training Sentry Drones. And I had recently remapped to Per/Int, making my drone skill training times even slower. Doh.
And lastly, having already reached my goal of jump clones with standings of +8 with the Caldari Navy, there wasn’t really a reason for me to run level 4s. Besides ISK of course. But I’m not particularly in urgent need of ISK, having easily 2.5 billion with my trading alt. Hmm.
So, I had to come up with something new to try out. Ahha! I have a shiny Drake battlecruiser in my hangar, never even assembled. Maybe I should give this much-beloved battlecruiser a shake down and see if it’s tank is as awesome as everyone says it is. Besides, I always liked the idea of a passive shield tank more than armor tanking.
So first comes some skill training (of course…) to beef up some of my shield and missile skills, which have naturally been neglected while I was skilling up for my Myrmidon and Dominix. Then, time to go shopping for fittings!
Good lord. Right off the bat it became readily apparent that a Drake is much much more expensive than a Myrmidon. For that matter, it’s probably more expensive than my Dominix. The hull itself only costs about 26 million, but each individual module costs a heck of a lot more than I’m used to. The total bill came to something like this:
Drake hull: 26,000,000
6x XR-3200 Heavy Missile Bays : 24,600,000
1x Salvager I : 25,000
1x Small Tractor Beam : 800,000
2x Large Shield Extender II: 2,000,000
1x Invulnerability Field I: 95,000
EM and Thermal Shield Hardeners: 60,000
10MN Afterburner I : 55,000
2x Beta Reactor Control Shield Power Relay I : 5,000,000
2x Cross-Linked Bolt Array I : 1,600,000
5x Hobgoblin II : 1,500,000
2x Medium Core Defence Field Purger I : 4,000,000
Grand total: 65,735,000 ISK
Holy moly. And I didn’t even use the best meta 4 items, because I realised that for example the meta 4 Ballistic Control Unit costs 20 million ISK. Each. The meta 4 launchers cost 13.2 million ISK each, and I needed 6 of them. I think that alone would have paid for my Dominix plus fittings.
On EFT the fit looked decent, able to tank 216 dps while dealing 193. Better numbers on both than my Myrmidon. Not cap stable, especially with the active hardeners, but going passive would decrease my tank too much and it’s stable without the afterburner and salvager+tractor. Now to give it a spin in a Level 3… but first, a name…
Now, when I think of a Drake the first thing I think of is a small dragon. This sounds suitably impressive. Unfortunately, the word can also mean a male duck. Given the Caldari Navy’s range of ships (Ibis, Heron, Cormorant, Kestrel, Osprey, Raven) it seems to be that the drake they had in mind when they named this battlecruiser was of the feathery rather than the firebreathing persuasion. Hence, the Darkwing Duck (hey it’s better than Donald) undocked from Jita and jumped to Isikesu for a test run.
Unfortunately, after all my preparations, I have to say that I’m not all that impressed. First of all it’s a pretty ugly ship. It looks like a piece of discarded bark from a tree. Secondly, I felt that for a ship mounting 6x launchers and only 1 salvager + tractor, it should be doing significantly more damage than what my Myrmidon can do with 5x Hammerhead IIs, especially since the Drake can field 5x Hobgoblin IIs at the same time. While it is true that the damage IS higher, it wasn’t impressively so. I still needed something like 6 full volleys to kill a cruiser sized target. And heavy missile launchers don’t exactly cycle very quickly. Factor in that I was using Scourge heavy missiles (kinetic to make use of the Drake’s battlecruiser bonus to kinetic damage) vs Guristas which are weak against kinetic, and the results become even more substandard. I was expecting to kill frigates in a single volley and maybe 2 or 3 volleys for cruisers, in order to make up for the slower salvaging time.
And the tank wasn’t that spectacular either. On one level 3 (Break their will), I still had to warp out pretty quickly once the repair station was destroyed and adds spawned. In addition, it’s quite annoying to have a passive tank broken because then I go into armor and have to go repair it, which costs a lot of ISK. I could swap in a couple of armor repairers, but that’s also a bit of a hassle. While true that the same thing applies to armor tanking and taking hull damage once the tank breaks, it’s a bit easier to avoid in the armor case. With passive shield tanking, I won’t know if my tank is broken until it dips below peak recharge at 30%. By then, it takes a while to recall drones and align to warp out, so it’s more likely that I’ll take some armor damage. In comparison, if I turn on all my defensive modules and I still take more armor damage than I can repair, then it means my tank is going to eventually break and I know to get ready to warp out.
So, after doing a couple of missions, Darkwing Duck flapped back to Jita under a cloud of disgrace. Part of the ship’s lacklustre performance could probably be attributed to my low skills and maybe a not so great fit. I could probably increase DPS and tank by spending ISK on better modules, but I was feeling pretty meh about the whole concept, due partly to the pain in salvaging and the smaller cargo bay as well, which was reduced further by the need to carry missiles. Perhaps I shall give it another try later on, once I have better support and missile skills which I would need to give the Raven battleship a try as well.