Capital ships -- Dreadnoughts, Carriers, Supercarriers ("Motherships"), Titans and Rorquals -- can't use gates, and Supercarriers and Titans can't even dock. Instead they use their own jump drives to travel around. In order to do this, they require fuel (racial isotopes: Helium for Amarr, Oxygen for Gallente and the Rorqual, Nitrogen for Caldari and Hydrogen for Minmatar) and a cynosural field to jump to. Jump Freighters and Black Ops battleships also require a cyno field to use their jump drives, but they can use gates as well, while Black Ops have the unique ability to lock onto a covert cyno field too.
Cynos cannot be lit in highsec, so capitals can't go there. It was, however, once possible to build capitals there, so there are still a few that never jumped out of the system they were built in. If they ever do jump out, they will never be able to return, and while they're in highsec they are not allowed to be used for anything that gives the owner any kind of advantage compared to someone that does not own a high sec capital ship; during wars, they're not even allowed to undock. If the pilot breaks these rules, he or she will receive a temporary ban, and the capital ship will be moved to a station in a nearby low sec system.
Dreadnoughts ("dreads") are DPS machines, only surpassed as damage-dealers by Supercarriers and Titans. Their weapons track very slowly, however, so usually they can only apply their DPS to other capital ships and to POSs and outposts. Only dreads can fit a siege module, which has the following effects when activated:
- -75% scan res
- +625% damage mod
- -60% explosion velocity
- -100% speed
- +100% shield boost/armor rep amount
- -50% shield booster/armor rep cycle time
- Can't recieve remote support
- Immunity to ewar
- Max amount of targets lockable set to 2
The siege module's cycle time is 5 minutes, and it requires 500 - (level of tactical weapon reconfiguration skill)*50 Strontium Clathrates ("stront"). While it's active the dread can't warp or jump or move in any way. With the siege module a dreadnought can reach almost five thousand DPS even in a long range fit.
These are giant logistics platforms. They have the ability to store 1,000,000 m3 of assembled ships in their ship maintenance bay so that pilots who lose their ships can quickly pick up a new one. Other ships from the carrier pilot's corporation (or fleet, depending on the carrier's settings) can also use it to refit in space.
A carrier has a 50% per level range bonus to two of the following, depending on which race's carrier it is: capital energy transferers, capital shield transporters and capital remote armor repairers. The Amarr Archon gets cap transfer and armor rep, the Gallente Thanathos and Minmatar Nidhoggur get shield and armor, and the Caldari Chimera gets cap transfer and shield. In addition to that, the Chimera and Archon get a resistances bonus (5% per level to armor for Archon, shield for Chimera), the Nidhoggur gets a capital remote rep amount bonus (7.5% per level to armor and shield repair amounts) and the Thanatos gets a fighter damage bonus (5% per level). All carriers get the ability to control one extra drone per level in addition to the normal five, and the ability to use fighters (but not fighter bombers). They can't fit any guns or launchers at all, so the high slots are usually used for energy neutralizers, smartbombs (for killing drones or small ships) and remote reps or energy transfer arrays.
Just like dreadnoughts, carriers also get a special module that only they can fit: the triage module. Its effects are:
- -100% speed
- -100% amount of drones controllable
- +900% scan res
- +4 max targets
- +100% shield boost/armor rep amount (both local and remote)
- -50% shield booster/armor repper cycle time (both local and remote)
- +100% remote hull rep/cap transfer amount
- -50% remote hull rep/cap transer cycle time
- +9999900% ewar cap use (all ewar mods will therefore take more cap then the ship could ever get, making them impossible to use)
- Immune to ewar
- Can't recieve remote support
- Can't jump out or warp away
As you can see, going into triage massively boosts a carrier's ability to repair itself and to repair its allies, but also makes it more vulnerable by holding it in place and stopping its allies from repairing it.
The triage module has a 5 minute cycle time and, like the siege module, also uses stront. The amount used per cycle is 250 - 25 * (level of Tactical Logistics Reconfiguration).
- The Archon is currently, as of Inferno 1.3, the top-tier triage carrier by a pretty large margin. This is primarily due to its enormous tank, buffed by its 5% armor resistances per level, its generous capacitor, and the fact that when a carrier is in triage it won't have its fighters out anyway, so any damage bonus to fighter damage is wasted. The Chimera (the Caldari carrier with a similar 5%/level resist bonus) lacks both the capacitor and CPU to get as strong a fit as an Archon. For large shield fleets, however, a Chimera has the best tank/shield repair combo, while for POS-repping duties the Nidhogger excels with its boosted rep amount per cycle. The Nidhogger's tank, unfortunately, is much too small if primaried, and thus it falls behind the others for true triage support duty.
Larger carriers with the ability to use fighter bombers, dramatically increasing their DPS to roughly twice as much as a sieged dreadnought if the supercarrier pilot has a full flight of bombers and max skills. Supercarriers get three extra drones per carrier skill level instead of one, but can't dock and have a shorter jump range (equivalent to a dreadnought or jump freighter). They are no longer able to go into triage mode, but they're always immune to electronic warfare anyway because they're super capitals. They can only be tackled by interdictors and HICs (and anchorable bubbles, but they're not practical due to the anchoring time required before they activate combined with their limited range).
Titans, like supercarriers, are immune to electronic warfare, cannot dock and can only be tackled by interdictors and HICs.
They're able to fit and activate the largest and most lethal gun in the game: a doomsday device ("DD"), which does 2-3 million points of damage depending on the Titan pilot's skills. Doomsday devices can only be fired once every ten minutes, cost 50,000 racial isotopes to activate, prevent the titan from moving at all for 30 seconds and from using its jump drive for 10 minutes. Activating the doomsday device takes 10 seconds, so targets have some time to get out before the damage is applied. The device's range is 250 km (the hard coded maximum locking range).
Titans can also fit a jump bridge module, which works in a similar way to the cov ops jump bridge which black ops battleships use. Titans, however, can bridge any type of ship, have a longer range and can only lock on to normal cynos, not covert ops ones.
Titans have bonuses for their racial capital weapons, and nowadays most titans actually fit them and participate in capital fights. The doomsday device is a very effective counter against people playing docking games with capitals, as the damage it does is enough to kill any capital that is not either tanked specifically for that damage type (which is a stupid thing to do, unless you know that a specific titan is ready to attack you and are trying to bait it) or fitted for the maximum possible effective hit points. It is possible to tank a capital against every type of DD at once, but doing so requires a gimped fit -- losing damage and range modules on a dreadnought, or the vital cap recharge on a carrier -- combined with good leadership bonuses and preferably Slave implants.
Titans also have the ability to give out great leadership bonuses, even if they don't have any warfare links fitted (they are able to fit one for every titan skill level). Depending on the titans gives out a 7.5% bonus per titan skill level to armor amount for Gallente, shield amount for Caldari, cap recharge for Amarr and signature radius (reduction, not increase!) for Minmatar.
Capital Industrial Ship: The Rorqual
This ship is primarily intended for deep space mining support. It has a maintenance bay, corporate hangar, a huge ore hold, and the ability to fit bonused mining leadership links. The Rorqual can fit capital tractor beams and clone vat bays. In addition, the Rorqual has a jump drive and the ability to compress ore. The Rorqual does have a 50%/level range bonus to capital shield transfers, and a 20%/level drone damage bonus, so while it's not intended as a PVP ship, some people have been known to use it for that. The Rorqual has a non-capital little sister, the Orca, that can be seen supporting many highsec mining fleets.