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Cruisers are Eve's medium-sized ships, larger than frigates and destroyers but still much smaller, faster and nimbler than battlecruisers and battleships. Cruisers mount medium-sized weapons and modules. Tech 1 cruiser hulls cost around 10 million ISK and tend to be the first major financial step up from frigates for new pilots.
There are four classes of Tech 2 cruisers, which are more powerful, more focused on a particular role and much more expensive than their Tech 1 equivalents: Recons (advanced force-multiplying electronic warfare platforms), Heavy Assault Cruisers (powerful damage-dealers), Heavy Interdiction Cruisers (super-tacklers) and Logistics cruisers (remote repair platforms). Cruisers and destroyers are the only ship classes that currently have a Tech 3 version, the strategic cruisers and tactical destroyers.
In PvP some tech 1 cruisers, such as the Gallente Thorax and the Minmatar Rupture, can bring surprising amounts of DPS to a fight. The electronic warfare cruisers can also be important in PvP, as they are slightly tougher ewar platforms than their frigate equivalents and in some cases can produce better ewar (the Caldari Blackbird, for example, can mount ECM with a longer range than the Griffin ECM frigate). In PvP cruisers can also fit tackle to provide some secondary tackling that's harder to scrape off than Tech 1 tackling frigates.
Tech 1 cruisers are the ships most commonly used to run Level 2 missions.
- Arbitrator: Versatile. Bonuses for tracking disruptors, and drones (for mining and damage-dealing). Can be used in fleet PvP, solo PvP, and PvE combat.
- Blackbird: Bonuses for ECM. Powerful in a fleet, little or no tank. Often called primary. Can jam at much greater ranges than its T2 versions, the Rook and Falcon, but has much lower jam strength, fewer slots and can't warp cloaked like the Falcon can.
- Celestis: Bonuses for sensor dampening and hybrid turrets. Can be useful in a fleet. Rarely primaried.
- Bellicose: Bonuses for target painting and missiles.
- Augoror: Remote armor repair and energy transfer.
- Osprey: Shield transporters and energy transfer.
- Exequror: Remote armor repair and drone repair.
- Scythe: Shield transporter and drone repair.
- Omen: Respectable damage-dealer. The Arbitrator is usually a better PvP choice since it can get equivalent buffer and DPS, while offering more versatility with varying drone types and some ewar.
- Caracal: Missile ship. Good mission-runner. Unspectacular damage-dealer in PvP, but its ability to mount an impressive shield tank, microwarpdrive and rapid light missiles that apply damage well to small targets makes it a popular choice for PvP fleets.
- Thorax: Fast PvP gunboat, usually fits blasters. Very high DPS with good skills and fitting.
- Stabber: Very fast skirmisher. Sees limited use in PvP and PvE.
- Maller: Can mount a massive tank (and is often used as bait in PvP).
- Moa: Tanks well, designed to fight at range with railguns.
- Vexor: Versatile. Bonuses for hybrid turrets and drones. Drone bonuses make it good for PvE and PvP combat. Can match the Thorax for DPS, but it is less commonly used in this role than the Thorax, and is therefore less obvious when the enemy look for a high DPS, low tank ship to primary.
- Rupture: Useful in PvP and PvE. Potentially very high dps, like the Thorax. Can fit a decent PvE armor tank, or a PvP buffer armor tank, or a nimble PvP buffer shield tank.
- Main article: Recon Ships
These come in two varieties, combat recons and force recons. Force recons can fit a covert ops cloak and therefore can warp cloaked, while combat recons are generally better in actual combat, either because they have stronger tanks, because they deal more damage or simply because they have better range for their electronic warfare. Combat recons are also invisible to D-scan at all times.
Their main purpose is EWAR, but their uses vary from race to race.
Drones for DPS, well-bonused neutralizers and nosferatus in the highs, tracking disruptor bonus for reducing incoming damage. The force recon, the Pilgrim, does not get a neut range bonus and is therefore limited to roughly 12km neut range, while the Curse can neut at about 36km with recon 5 and best named/T2 neuts.
Caldari recons only have bonuses to ECM, but consequently can mount the strongest ECM in the game. The Rook can fit 5 missile launchers and a full flight of light drones; the Falcon can cloak, but only gets 3 guns and 2 drones.
Bonuses to sensor dampening, and to warp disruptor/scrambler range. Recon 5 gives the pilot 18km scram range and 48km disruptor range without overheating (for Tech 2 mods). The Lachesis will usually forgo its Ewar in favor of a heavy shield tank, while the Arazu is primarily armor fit.(Arazu has an extra low slot in exchange for 1 less mid and high slot)
Extremely long-ranged webs (normal Tech 2 webs fitted on these ships reach about 40km with Recon level 5 -- before overheating!) and bonuses to target painter strength. The Huginn is the combat recon and has projectile weapon bonuses, while the Rapier is the force recon and has missile bonuses.
Heavy Assault Cruisers
Heavy Assault Cruisers (commonly called "HACs") are extremely versatile and powerful ships. They combine high speed and agility with either high DPS and decent tanks when fitted for close range, or decent DPS and buffer tanks at very long ranges, where only sniper battleships can fire back, when fitted for sniping.
Besides their obvious PvP applications, some HACs are also useful PvE ships because they combine substantial tanks and DPS with unusual mobility. This can be useful in, for example, running exploration sites in lowsec or nullsec, where pilots might need to make a quick getaway.
- Zealot: Versatile. Does well at close or sniping ranges, buffer-tanked or active-tanked. The best sub-BS sniper in the game, much better DPS and tank in a close range fit then most other HACs, at the price of slightly lower speed and agility.
- Sacrilege: Tanks like a beast, decent damage with Heavy Assault Missiles. Active tank.
- Cerberus: Long range missile boat. High theoretical DPS compared to other sniper HACs, but missile travel time delays the damage. Other HACs can pretty much hit everything perfectly at their usual sniping ranges, where the Cerberus's missiles still get a damage penalty when hitting moving targets.
- Eagle: Hybrid turret gunboat, sniping with railguns or unconventionally fit with blasters.
- Ishtar: Great tank, high damage, quite a dangerous HAC. Drone dependent, but can carry multiple flights of heavies or sentries. Passive shield tanking potential and its drones make it popular for PvE too.
- Deimos: Capability for High DPS with very little tank which has earned this ship its nickname, the "Diemost." It's a very expensive ship that has to get very close to its target when close-range fitted. Given that it also usually has very little tank with High DPS(800+), it's an obvious primary, and can't survive for very long. It does alright in sniper gangs, although it's not the best option for them.
- Muninn: Great sniper HAC with artillery. Performs like a better-tanked Rupture at close range. Awesome alpha.
- Vagabond: Nasty damage and good tackle, quick and agile, good in a gang. Will melt quickly if locked down. Stabber hulls, like the Vaga, are the fastest cruisers in the game, with the exception of some pirate faction ones.
Heavy Interdiction Cruisers
- Main article: Heavy Interdiction Cruisers
The role of Heavy Interdiction Cruisers ('HICs' or 'hictors') is the heaviest tackle possible. With the exception of some T3 cruiser setups, they have better tanks than any other cruiser, and match that of most battleships. Their DPS is extremely low, but is generally unnecessary to perform their role.
- Devoter: Armor tank, and a better one than the Phobos, but 1 less midslot, which is significant in Empire where HICs usually fit sensor boosters to help them catch fast targets.
- Onyx: Shield tank. Lower tank and speed than the Broadsword, but a lot more CPU, letting it fit a probe launcher. Additionally, in empire where HICs usually fit sensor boosters, it has a very hard time properly plugging its EM resist hole.
- Phobos: Armor tank. The Devoter tanks better, but the Phobos has an extra midslot, making it better at catching fast targets in Empire with an extra sensor booster.
- Broadsword: Shield tank. Better speed and resists than the Onyx, at the price of CPU for utility mods.
Each race does it a bit differently here, but overall these ships increase the survivability of a fleet in one way or another.
Gallente and Amarr repair armor, Caldari and Minmatar repair shields.
Amarr and Caldari gain 2 high slots compared to Minmatar & Gallente, but lose 2 lows/mids. They also get a cap transfer bonus instead of the tracking link bonus that Gallente and Minmatar have. What this means is that Guardian (Amarr) and Basilisk (Caldari) usually use either one (Logistics V) or two (Logistics IV -- and don't fly a logistics ship with less than that) large energy transfers in their extra highs to create cap from nowhere and some ECCM, tank and speed in the low/mid slots. Their reliance on energy transfer exchanges with their partners mean that these ships are especially vulnerable when jammed by ECM.
The Scimitar (Minmatar) and Oneiros (Gallente) doesn't have this weakness since they rely on rigs, capacitor power relays and cap rechargers to keep themselves running with their extra lows and mids. However, that locally-generated capacitor energy is not enough to run as many reppers as the cap-transferring logistics ships can.
This ship type is probably the one that is affected most by training the ship skill itself up. The reason for this is how the bonus works: you get a very large reduction in cap use, and the lower you get, the more that bonus helps. With logistics 1, you only save 15% of the cap (100 -> 85 cap use), but taking it from 4 to 5 reduce the cap use from 40% to 25%. That means that someone with logistics 5 use 37.5% less cap to run a remote transfer/repper then someone with logistics 4 does.
- Main article: Strategic Cruiser
Strategic cruisers, or T3 cruisers, are advanced and highly versatile ships that can fit different subsystems to achieve a variety of roles.
Certain NPC factions sell special cruisers through their LP stores. These ships can be very powerful and have lower skill requirements than T2 ships, but can be very expensive.
Empire Faction Cruisers
- Augoror Navy Issue
- Omen Navy Issue
- Caracal Navy Issue
- Osprey Navy Issue
- Exequror Navy Issue
- Vexor Navy Issue
- Scythe Fleet Issue
- Stabber Fleet Issue