Starting out as a Caldari Pilot
The Caldari State
In the world of EVE, the Caldari are a group of corporate capitalists who live in a totalitarian state run by their largest corporations like in the movie Rollerball, but seriously, who cares? (If you actually care you can check this out: http://www.eve-online.com/races/Caldari.asp )
Caldari ships give bonuses to missiles, railguns, ECM electronic warfare, and shield tanking. Their ships tend to excel in a support role. Caldari pilots also have the easiest time ratting/missioning with some excellent pve ships.
Caldari Ship Archetype
The Caldari shield tank exclusively and use missiles almost exclusively. Their secondary weapons are hybrid weapons, the same weapons the Gallente use. Shield tankers can fit the best short-term tanks in the game. They arent effective in solo PvP due to the fact that shield tanking mods use the same slots as tackling mods do, with the exception of the Crow . Their bonuses tend to emphasize range, so typically Caldari ships will be away from the actual fight, providing dps or jamming for their friends. Like mentioned before, Caldari ships shine in a support role. The Caldari also have the best PvE (money-making) ships in the game, with the Raven being the undisputed master of hunting NPCs and mission running (the other missiles ships are also very good in their classes for PvE).
The Caldari have 3 distinct ship lines, as has been mentioned. There's the gunner. Caldari railgun boats emphasize range, and since the buffs to the Moa, Eagle and Ferox in Trinity 1.1 are quite acceptable in gangs. Their DPS is still low compared to what other races' offer in the anti-support sniper field, but they compensate with the best range. The Eagle HAC the farthest hitting cruiser in the game, capable of killing interceptors and interdictors at ranges up to 249 km. The Rokh can engage at sniper ranges with the low-tier Battleship guns, allowing for more flexible fittings due to the lesser fitting requirements while enjoying greater tracking. You can put your gunnery skills to use in the Merlin, Cormorant, Moa, Ferox, Eagle, Vulture, and Rokh.
There's also the missile ship line: The Kestrel, Manticore, Caracal, Cerberus, Onyx, Drake, Nighthawk, and Raven. The Caldari missile family offers flexibility with control over your damage type and efficiency over your full range of engagement, but suffer from some inability to cope with significant range or significant speed in the PvP enviroment. Among these ships, the Drake and the Nighthawk are famous for incredible passive shield tanks and the Raven as the king of ratting.
Then there's the E-war line: Griffin, Kitsune, Blackbird, Falcon, Rook, and Scorpion. The ECM niche is arguably the most important facet of the Caldari lineup in a gang or fleet setting, due to the force multiplier aspect of ECM, where a single ship can nullify the damage output of several HACs or Battleships. ECM's great strength lies both in it's force multiplying aspect, but also in the ranges at which an ECM ship can operate. Highly skilled ECM pilots can expect to push their electronics beyond the range of any other ship. Falcons, Rooks and Scorpions will push their abilities out to the maximum locking range of 249km. For comparison, a Rokh in a reimbursment fit will have an optimal of 156km.
Hopefully you've ditched your Ibis by now. If you haven't, you should as soon as you possibly can. Even by newbie ship standards, the Ibis is distinctly sub-par. If you're with the fleet or in Goonspace, ask for a Merlin in GFFrigates, if you're in Empire, ask in your squad channel for money to buy a Merlin.
The Ibis aside, the Caldari have a pretty good selection of frigates and you should be able to fly all of them:
- Condor - The Caldari space taxi. Paper airplane.
- Bantam - Mining frigate, but if you're at all serious about mining get into an Osprey.
- Heron - This is the T1 Covert_Ops frigate. Flying it may give you cancer. Seriously.
- Merlin - Heavy combat/tackling frigate. This is your go-to frigate
- Kestrel - Missile boat. Good damage but can be hard to fit.
- Griffin - Electronic warfare.
Basically, for 90 percent of all situations where you fly a frigate, you'll want a Merlin. The Merlin is versatile, and tough enough to be pretty forgiving in most PVE situations. The Kestrel is also good, but generally harder to fit. In addition to that, its capacitor is distinctly lacking, and you'll probably double jump all the time until you get some ranks in Warp Drive Operation. Showing up to an op in a double-jumping kestrel is a decent way to get left behind or podded.
So, now that you've decided to get a Merlin, you're probably wondering how to fit it. You can look over the wiki for great fitting suggestions, however at this point your skills are probably lacking. Don't worry if you can't fill every slot at first, training up all the little prerequisite skills to 1 or 2 so that you can use the neat modules usually takes a few days. The frigates provided by GFFrigates are already fit by a mentor but they usually only have enough ammo for one clip per gun.
Another alternative for early ships is using destroyers. The Caldari destroyer is the Cormorant which is kind of like 4 merlins welded together (minus the missile launchers). They excel at anti-frigate work, and thus are nice for level 1 missions. There's usually two camps of people when it comes to Destroyers: people who think that they're fun little ships and people who think they suck. Here's the Pros and Cons of Destroyers:
- Take all the same skills as frigates (minus the skill for the hull)
- Have more firepower than a frigate
- They're pretty cheap
- Having 8 highslots, they're excellent for salvaging.
- They're fragile
- They're specialized ships, and don't tend to excel in general purpose work the same way as a cruiser does.
I advise finding out for yourself which camp you're in. Training Destroyers I doesn't take very long. Just remember that they are in no way a substitute for training cruisers.
Training your first skills
Train, train, train. I advise going wide instead of deep. This will open up your fitting options by letting you use a wider variety of modules. It will also increase your overall effectiveness, because you'll have 5-10 percent bonuses in a wide array of areas instead of a 25 percent bonus in one. Browsing through the skillbooks section of the market can be a bit intimidating, so here are the skills I suggest grabbing as a Caldari player. I know that you start with some of these, and its a lot of skills. However, bear in mind that you'll only be training them to 1 or 2 at first, and it really shouldn't take too long.
Electronics - Get to 5 at some point, raise whenever you want to cram more stuff on your ship.
- Electronics Upgrades - Get to 2, this will let you use Co-proccessors.
- Long Range Targeting - Lets you target further out and use Sensor Boosters.
- Signature Analysis - This will help you target things faster.
- Targeting - This will let you lock more targets simultaneously.
- Propulsion Jamming - Essen.
- Electronic Warfare. This is for ECM ships like the Griffin. See the Electronic Warfare article for more information on this.
Engineering - Get to 5 at some point, raise whenever you want to cram more stuff on your ship.
- Shield Operation - Since Caldari are shield tankers, pretty much anything with the word 'shield' in it is going to help you out.
- Shield Management
- Shield Upgrades
- Energy Grid Upgrades - This will let you use Power Diagnostic Systems, which are awesome.
- Energy Management - These two will make your capacitor work better, always handy.
- Energy Systems Operation
Gunnery - Raise to at least 2. Why you want to raise this should be pretty intuitive.
- Motion Prediction
- Rapid Firing
- Weapon Upgrades - This will let you use Damage Mods in your low slots, which are very handy.
Learning - Get all the basic skills (Learning, Instant Recall, Analytical mind, Iron Will, and Spatial Awareness) up to 4 as fast you can stand it. Then get the advanced skills when you can afford them. See the Recommended Skill Training Guide for some more information on advanced learning.
Missile Launcher Operation - Remember that missile skills are for the Ammo and not the launcher.
Navigation - Going faster is good for everyone
- Evasive Maneuvering
- Warp Drive Operation
- Fuel Conservation - Will help you use that Afterburner longer.
- High Speed Maneuvering - For Microwarpdrives (MWD), which will increase your usefulness as a tackler and is a generally required fit on ships in 0.0 space.
Science - You'll want to get this to at least 3 but probably 4 at some point. Is a prerequisite for a lot of strange things for some reason.
This isn't an exhaustive list, but it should be a good start if you're not sure what you should be doing.
Weaponry in general
The big thing you have to remember to do when training up for guns or missiles is to train the support skills! They'll drastically increase your effectiveness.
Also, all weapons have Damage Mods. They fill your medium and lowslots and will give you a percentage increase to things like rate of fire, damage, and tracking. As a Caldari, you'll primarily be after Ballistic Control Systems (boost missile damage/RoF) and Magnetic Field Stabilizers (increases damage/RoF on hybrid turrets). You'll also want Tracking Computers if you're doing any kind of sniping.
One thing you should know by this point is that there are two different types of hybrid weapons. Blasters are generally short range weapons, with high rates of fire, fast tracking, and generally high damage per shot. For each of the size classes of blasters (small, for frigates, medium, for cruisers, and large, for battleships) there are three different sized blasters. Each size of gun has several options with regard to blasters, varying in damage and rate of fire. As size increases the rate of fire decreases, but the damage increases, as do the fitting requirements for your ship (that is, they require more power grid and CPU to operate).
Using blasters will require you to get close to your target, so many people use them on ships equipped with afterburners or microwarp drives to enable them to move faster; this is a good idea.
The other type of hybrid weapon is the railgun. In contrast to blasters, railguns fires at a slower rate with slower tracking. The overall damage is worse than that obtained with blasters, but the range is significantly better. Each size of gun has several options with regard to railguns, varying in damage and rate of fire.
Generally, you will want to place railguns on slower ships where you would prefer to engage from range, and blasters on faster ships that you wish to bring in close to the enemy.
You may have noticed that theres a bunch of different kinds of Hybrid ammo as well. The primary difference between the different ammo types is range. Each type has a range modifier. The rule is that the shorter the range the higher damage, so Anti-Matter does the most damage and has the shortest range, while Iron has the longest range but does the least damage. You'll pretty much always want to stick anti-matter in blasters. With railguns, pack a few different kinds of ammo so that you can switch out as your engagement range changes.
- Blasters - Short range, good tracking, high damage per shot. Can track small and fast targets. Think "shotgun."
- Railguns - Long range, bad tracking, moderate damage per shot but low damage over time. Can "alpha strike" (Do a lot of damage/kill in one volley). Think "rifle."
As a Caldari pilot, the majority of your weaponry will be in the form of missiles. Missiles have certain advantages and disadvantages compared to guns. They have a set range (found by multiplying missile velocity by flight time), within which they will always hit. They do all of their damage in one type, allowing you to customize your loadout for your enemies weaknesses. Large missiles (heavy missiles and up) are very sensitive to ship size when attacking - a battleship sized missile hitting a frigate will do very little damage, for example. Lastly, their flight time makes them very difficult to use in large scale PVP, as the target will often be dead or have warped off by the time the missiles arrive.
At each level of ship, there are two launcher types available. For frigates, these are rocket launchers and standard launchers; for cruisers, assault launchers and heavy launchers, and for battleships, siege launchers (torpedoes) and cruise launchers.
One important thing to note with missiles, which often confuses new players, is that the skill requirements for missiles are on the ammo, not on the launcher. Missile Launcher Operation 1 is the skill requirement needed to fit any launcher, up to and including the battleship-sized modules. However, to put the relevant ammo into them (without which they are, naturally, useless) requires further skills. This is an artifact of the old days of Eve where any launcher could fit any kind of missile. The cruise missile Kestrel was king in those days.
Missiles on Frigates
Rocket Launchers fire rockets, of which there are four types: Thorn (Kinetic), Gremlin (EM), Foxfire (Thermal), and Phalanx (Explosive). Rockets have as their skill requirements Missile Launcher Operation 1 and Rockets 1. Starting with absolutely no skills in the missile tree, this is around 50 minutes of training. Rockets have an extremely short range, high rate of fire, and high DPS. These are most useful on a tackling frigate to provide a small damage output, as the launchers take up very little grid. Beware, however, that getting within rocket range will also put you within smartbomb range.
Standard Missile Launchers fire light missiles, which, like rockets, are available in each damage type: Bloodclaw (Kinetic), Sabertooth (EM), Flameburst (Thermal), Piranha (Explosive). Light missiles have as their skill requirements Missile Launcher Operation 2 and Standard Missiles 1 - less than 3 hours of training from zero relevant skills. Standard missile launchers take up more grid than rocket launchers, so they are harder to fit - with basic skills, you will likely need a PDS or RCU to fit three launchers on a Kestrel, and very high skills to fit 4. Light missiles do good damage and with basic skills have the best range of anything that can be put on a T1 frigate. This makes them ideal for PVE, as a Kestrel with light missiles and an afterburner can engage mission rats from outside of their ranges, picking them off while hardly taking any damage.
Missiles on Cruisers
There are three kinds of cruiser sized missile launchers. Assault launchers launch standard missiles, but they have a higher rate of fire than their frigate sized companions. They're intended to make cruisers have a good anti-frigate weapon; a Caracal with 5 Assault Launchers is a pretty mean anti-frigate platform. Heavy Missile Launchers are the second cruiser module. Heavy Missiles are just big standard missiles: instead of being effective against frigates they're effective against cruisers. The third kind is Heavy Assault Missiles (abbreviated as HAMs). These are cruiser-sized rockets. Though there's nothing stopping you from using them on Caldari ships, they seemed to have been intended more for Minmatar, whose maneuverability allows them to close to the necessary range, and Amarr, who has a line of T2 ships specialized in close range missiles.
Missiles on Battleships
Battleships have two kind of missiles: Torpedoes and Cruise Missiles. Torpedoes is the close-range, high-damage missile with a low velocity, high rate of fire and large explosion radius, which limits their effectiveness to ships of battleship size and above. They are also very effective for POS module shooting, although their low range makes hitting the tower itself difficult without high skills and a Raven. Cruise Missiles are larger Heavy Missiles. Their damage isn't as high as torpedoes, but they can be used effectively against cruiser sized targets. The standard PvE fitting for Ravens, called the Volksraven uses cruise missiles. See the Raven page for details.
Other modules you want to know about
Power Diagnostic Systems are very good for Caldari. Not only do they raise the amount of grid on your ship, but they increase your shield recharge rate. Also, you'll want to get familiar with Shield Extenders, Shield Boosters and Shield Hardeners.(See Shield Tanking for more info.)
Drones aren't a huge thing for Caldari but they do use them. You'll probably want to start training up Drones after you start getting comfortable in cruisers. See Drones, BEES for more info on this.
I'm going to put it this way. You want to get into cruisers as soon as you can afford to. The reason is that you can get a lot more money coming in with a cruiser than with a frigate, especially if you're mining for a living. In no particular order the cruisers are:
- Osprey - Up for best mining cruiser in the game, it also makes a good bait ship.
- Blackbird - The Caldari Electronic Warfare Cruiser
- Caracal - Missile Boat. Good for ratting, and a very common sight on ops.
- Moa - Up for the ugliest ship in EVE, it's also extremely under-rated.
Your first cruiser should be either an Osprey(if you're mining) or a Caracal (if you're going to rat or run missions). It'll be a pretty good feeling when you undock in your first cruiser, and you'll generate a lot more ISK than you did with a frigate. Remember not to fight in the ship that makes your ISK!
After you're comfortable in cruisers and hauling in ISK, you'll want to make the jump into battlecruisers or Battleships. Battlecruisers are substantially cheaper than Battleships, though they are smaller and pack less firepower. If you want to find out more about these ships, read on, but from here on out I'm organizing the ships by family instead of size.
The Missile Boat Family
The Caldari are famous for their missile boats, and with good cause! They definetely make the best use of missiles of any race in the game. For flying these ships, you'll want as many missile skills as you can stand. The Kestrel and Caracal don't tank very well, but the Drake and Raven are shield tanking machines, so make sure to train up those shield skills before you hop into them. I'd recommend that anyone who can fly Caldari take the time to skill up for a Raven. They're great ISK generators.
The Railgun Family
These ships are all about the two R's: range and resists. To fly these things you'll primarily want gunnery. These ships are tankable, however range is really these ships' primary defense. The Rokh has the best range of any sniper in the game, and as a result of that is probably the best T1 sniper in the game.
The EWar family
These ships are all about jamming your opponent. ECM modules give a random chance to making your target unable to lock any targets for the duration of the module's cycle time. The probability of jamming is determined by comparing your ECM module's jamming strength with the target ship's sensor strength. Frigates are easier to jam than battleships and Minmatar ships are easier to jam than Caldari ships. These ships go through cycles of nerfed and un-nerfed depending on which hand CCP has shoved up their collective assholes at any given time. Right now they're un-nerfed, so flying ECM boats PVP is an extremely good idea and will enable you (and the fleet you're in) to punch far above their weight class owing to enemy ships being unable to target your fleet on account of your ewar. There's no telling when the retarded monkeys working at CCP will decide to re-nerf them again, but for now they're a good bet. In terms of skillpoint investment, it takes less time to be effective at e-war than it does Railguns or missiles. Applicable skills are Electronic Warfare, Long Distance Jamming, Signal Dispersion, and Frequency Modulation. The Blackbird and the Scorpion are a bit unusual in that they tend to get plated to increase alpha-strike survivability, due to their tendency to get called as primary targets in fleet fights. If you're going to fly these you'll want to train up for T2 ECM modules, and always use racial ECM. Also, you'll need Signal Distortion Amplifiers in the lowslots, or your jamming strength won't be good enough to overcome the sensor strength of your targets, making your ECM ineffective and useless. When flying ECM ships, an emphasis should be placed on range. ECM specialized ships have excellent range, and the further you are from the enemy gang, the fewer of them that can shoot at you. And they will definitely want to shoot at you, so hang out further than they can shoot and piss in their cheerios.
Caldari Industrial Family
The Osprey is, once again, an awesome miner. With Cruiser V you effectively double your mining lasers. If you're looking for a bigger miner than an Osprey but don't want to invest time in Mining Barges, your best bet would probably be the Rokh.
The Badger is included for purposes of completeness. You don't want to fly one. Seriously. They suck total ass and are hard to find. If you're going to fly Caldari Industrials you need to train Caldari Industrial III and get into a Badger II. End of story. For more info on Industrials see A guide to better hauling.
Caldari Capital Ships
The Phoenix is the Caldari Dreadnaught. It's uniqueness comes from its ability to engage POS's at any range, since it uses Citadel Torpedoes and they do the same damage no matter what range they're fired at. It also has the ability to mitigate damage types like all other missile boats. It's a shield tanker and that can cause problems during high lag capital ship fights. Has the highest tank of every dread using official capswarm® fittings; Tanks 25 percent more than the other three.
The Chimera is the Caldari carrier. It is the only shield tanking carrier but not the only carrier to remote shield rep, this can lead to a weakened spider tank. It is comparable with the Amarr Archon in other aspects. Official capswarm® fittings give this carrier the second highest tank, the Archon tanking around 20 percent more.
The Wyvern is the Caldari Mothership and is able to fit the strongest shield tank in the game, and the Leviathan is the Caldari Titan whose doomsday does kinetic damage and gang bonus is to shield capacity.
Caldari Tech 2 ships
Interceptors: The Crow is generally regarded as the most annoying interceptor in the game due to the difficulty of killing it. It can, with proper skills, implants, and fitting, go 10 km/s and beyond. The Raptor generally appears a little dull next to its big brother, but isn't innately horrible especially for its low price.
Assault Frigates: The Harpy is a decent anti-frigate platform, but the Eagle is significantly better. It's good for defending sniper groups from Interceptors, but as an assault frigate. The Hawk was retooled into a missile boat, and is also decent, especially for complexes.
HACs: The Eagle is basically a bigger Harpy, and is dreaded by frigate pilots everywhere, having the ability to snipe over 175km. The Cerberus is a more maneuverable drake that trades tank/damage for range and target flexibility.
Command Ships: The Nighthawk and the Vulture are both good Command Ships. Both have great tanks, while the Nighthawk does good damage with missiles, the vulture is a bigger Eagle with the ability to fit three gang mods.