|Ships by size|
|Ships by faction|
Frigates are the smallest and fastest ships in Eve. New pilots begin by flying frigates, and the Tech 1 frigates only cost a few hundred thousand ISK. Don't be fooled by the low cost of frigates and the fact that they're used by novice pilots, though: frigates can play an important role in battle, and in numbers or with skilled pilots even Tech 1 frigates can be deadly.
There are a number of classes of Tech 2 frigates, which have advanced abilities and are also much more focused on a particular role: tackling interceptors, cloaking and scanning covert ops frigates, surprise-attack stealth bombers, electronic attack frigates for electronic warfare, and assault frigates, which are designed purely to deal and survive damage.
Tech 1 Frigates
Besides shuttles and rookie ships, each race has around six frigates which can be sorted by their roles. One is a logistics frigate, which has bonuses to tools that help repair other ships, but is very weak in combat. Then there are two combat frigates, which have a great variety of specializations and differences, though all races have at least one frigate which focuses on turrets. One further frigate uses electronic warfare. Each race's frigate lineup is completed by an unusually fast and nimble scouting/tackle frigate, and an exploration frigate with a scanning bonus which helps it to use probes to locate PvE exploration sites or PvP enemies.
In fleet PvP Tech 1 frigates are generally used for tackling or electronic warfare, two roles in which they can have a significant impact. Tech 1 frigates are also flown for solo PvP: their speed and small size helps solo pilots to pick their targets, and their low cost makes them comfortably expendable.
In PvE the more combat-focused frigates are used to complete Level 1 missions, though once new pilots are a little wealthier and better-trained they often begin to use destroyers instead.
Finally, there is the ORE mining frigate, the Venture, dedicated to collecting minerals and gas.
Electronic warfare frigates all have bonuses to EW modules, such as the Target Painter, ECM modules, Remote Sensor Damper and Tracking Disruptor. These ships operate at much longer ranges than other frigates, and rely on positioning and speed to survive. In a small pack, and with some support ships to deal damage, they can be formidable.
- Crucifier: Tracking Disruption, nice EWAR support. Little to no tank/damage so dies fast.
- Griffin: ECM. Nasty, high-priority target. Little to no tank/damage so dies fast if you can lock and hit it.
- Maulus: Damps, decent EWAR support. Little to no tank/damage so dies fast.
- Vigil: Target Painter. Offensive EWAR. Good support against small targets, but next to useless against BC/BS sized hulls. Due to the offensive nature of target painting and the stacking penalties related to it, generally only one is needed in a fleet.
Geared toward exploration and scanning, the 'Exploration' class of T1 Frigates all have bonuses to aid in scanning and hacking. Fitted with a Core Probe launcher, they can make a good cheap alternative to the Tech 2 Covert Ops variants. All can field a few drones, but are by no means combat worthy.
- Magnate: Having only 3 mids, can't mount everything an explorer might want, but has the most tank and most cargo space of all the exploration frigates.
- Heron: Five mid slots means it can use several scan boosting modules, giving it the highest potential scanning strength.
- Imicus: An extra 5 bandwidth gives this ship the most firepower of the exploration ships. However, it is also the slowest.
- Probe: The fastest of the T1 exploration ships.
Fast frigates, sometimes referred to as 'tackler frigates' (and by CCP as 'Attack Frigates'), are built to align and reach their top speed quickly. Although their base speed, agility, and scan resolution would seem to make them good all-round PvP ships, their lack of slots and low fittings make them worse for that role compared to some other frigates. These ships have received significant buffs in Inferno 1.2, with the stated aim of making them into T1 versions of Interceptors. They are still somewhat fragile compared to the 'standard' tackle frigates, but they are capable of higher speeds and many of the slot issues have been addressed.
Damage dealer frigates (or 'combat frigates') are split into two sub-categories, with each race getting one ship of each type: ones with defensive bonuses, and ones with purely offensive bonuses. In general, they tend to have the ability to take a little more damage than their counterparts and deal out a little more damage in return, but they are not much of a match for a larger ship when alone.
Defensively bonused ships
- Punisher: Heavily tanked, decent dps (for a frigate). Pulses give it a nice range variation. 2 mid slots make it a poor tackler.
- Merlin: Four midslots. Can mount big tank, or full tackle plus a sensor booster for fast lock-ons.
- Incursus: Nice DPS when close up with blasters but short range. Can mount a strong active armor tank.
- Breacher: Missile ship with a bonus for active shield tank.
Purely offensively bonused ships
- Tormentor: Strong DPS with 3.75 effective laser turrets and two drones. Balanced 3/3/4 slot layout.
- Kestrel: Powerful missile ship. Good level 1 mission runner, kites well.
- Tristan: The only T1 frigate that can field a full flight of five light drones. An excellent PvP ship with a wide variety of possible fits.
- Rifter: High DPS, fast and effective frigate. Primary role as tackle or frigate DPS. Buffer tanked usually.
The logistics frigates have bonuses to small logistics modules, and can support small ship fleets. These hulls were originally meant for mining, but were repurposed with the release of the Venture.
- Inquisitor: Bonus to Remote Armor Repair Systems
- Bantam: Bonus to Shield Transporter boosters
- Navitas: Bonus to Remote Armor Repair Systems
- Burst: Bonus to Shield Transporter boosters
There is a single T1 mining frigate, the Venture. It possess a large ore hold of 5000m3 and strong bonuses to mining and gas yield while staying surprisingly cheap and easy to acquire for new players. The drone bay of 10m3 isn't huge, but can hold 2 mining drones of choice. It's built in warp stabilizers make it somewhat safe against unprepared attackers, though it won't survive long against concentrated firepower.
Empire Faction Frigates
Each empire has two faction frigates: a combat faction frigate and an EWAR faction frigate. Empire faction frigates can be obtained through LP stores.
Combat Faction Frigate
The combat faction frigates don't have a T1 counterpart and have bonuses to the factions main weapon system.
Ewar Faction Frigate
The EWAR faction frigates are based on the empire's T1 EWAR frigate. They have an EWAR bonus corresponding to their empire paired with weapon bonus. Paired with changes base stats this makes them more viable as solo PvP ships compared to the T1 EWAR frigates.
Pirate Faction Frigates
Pirate faction frigates cover a wide range of specialisations. They all gain bonuses from two empire frigate skills. Their blueprint copies can drop from certain NPCs or be obtained through the factions LP.
- Astero: A Sisters of Eve exploration frigate and the lowest skill requirement for any ship able to use a Covert Ops Cloaking Device.
- Cruor: Long range webs and powerful energy neuts
- Daredevil: Potentially very high DPS.
- Dramiel: High DPS and fantastic speed and agility help the Dramiel kill things and then get out of trouble; good solo or as a (very expensive) small-gang tackler.
- Garmur: Very long range and high damage missiles while holding targets in place with long range warp disruptors
- Worm: Very like an Ishkur (see above) with an extra midslot and a potentially very large shield buffer tank.
Tech 2 Frigates
Tech 2 ships are in general specialised versions of T1 ships. Tech 2 frigates are no exception in this regard. You need the frigate skill of the corresponding faction at five to fly a T2 frigate and of course its specialisation skill. This makes them significantly more skill intensive than T1 ships but if you choose only one hull you can still train into it reasonably fast. So, if you enjoy flying a certain T1 hull very much you might consider to train into the corresponding T2 hull.
Electronic Attack Ships
These are basically frigate-sized version of the combat recon ships, but their proportion of usefulness to cost varies from ship to ship. Each race's electronic attack frigate is based on the hull of that race's Tech 1 electronic warfare frigate.
- Sentinel: Bonuses for energy neutralizers and tracking disruptors, and a good dronebay (for a frigate). Can be used for solo pvp.
- Kitsune: Long range, powerful ECM jamming.
- Keres: Bonuses for sensor dampening and for the range of warp scramblers and warp disruptors.
- Hyena: Bonuses for target painting and for the range of stasis webifiers.
- Main article: Interceptors
Interceptors ("'ceptors", "inties") are used as scouts and initial tackle. For this reason they have a very high warp speed, high general speed, high agility, and high scan resolution (to lock fast). Their combat capabilities are very limited though. Besides the scout and tackle role they are often also used for pure traveling and then called travel ceptor.
Fleet interceptors have a bonus to Warp Scrambler and Warp Disruptor range. Additionally they are interdiction nullified, which means they ignore the effects of warp disruption bubbles.
Combat interceptors are more combat oriented. But they can't compete with assault frigates. So they are barely used since they lost their interdiction nullification,
The Covert Ops class is split into two sub classes with significantly different roles, both of which have the ability to warp while cloaked.
Covert Ops frigates can warp while cloaked, and have bonuses to scanning and hacking. As scouts they can stealthily gather intelligence and use their scanning bonus to probe out enemy targets. They can watch enemy targets while in cloak and provide a warp coordinate for a much larger gang of heavy hitting ships in an organized surprise attack. Explorers can use the same scanning bonus to probe down PvE exploration sites. Due to their extreme fragility, cov-ops frigates should not generally be used in a tackling role, and are typically invisible at all times. In E-Uni Covert Ops are mainly used as a forward scout or rear scout.
- Main article: Stealth Bombers
Stealth bombers are very specialized ships which can warp cloaked and don't have a sensor recalibration delay preventing them from locking targets after decloaking. They can fit torpedo launchers (battleship sized missile launchers) and bomb launchers, which fire area-of-effect weapons that can only be used in nullsec or wormhole space. Stealth bombers put out extraordinary alpha strike damage and die very fast if anyone manages to put some damage on them, so bomber pilots will typically fire a few salvos and/or a single bomb then recloak. They are the bane of large ships, especially in nullsec. In groups and flown well, stealth bombers can take down a capital ship.
Each stealth bomber has a damage bonus for bombs and torpedoes which do its empire's associated damage type.
- Main article: Assault Frigates
Assault frigates have good tanks and usually high DPS. If you get tackled by an assault frigate, you're generally not going anywhere: they're a pain to get rid of when properly fitted. Their disadvantage compared to interceptors is that they're slower, and often sacrifice their MWD and fit an afterburner instead to survive longer after tackling a target. Some assault frigates make decent tacklers, and they can provide decent damage in a fleet of small ships. If the fleet has larger damage-dealing ships assault frigates can lack a role, though they may still be a good defense against other small targets.
In PvE assault frigates can take on missions and combat sites which would normally be too difficult for a frigate-sized ship.
Both assault frigates of each race are based on the hull of that race's primary Tech 1 combat frigate (the Punisher, Merlin, Incursus or Rifter), and again are split into two sub classes, those with damage dealing bonuses, and those with tanking bonuses.
- Vengeance: Uses rockets. Tough ship with three midslots.
- Hawk: Uses missile launchers. Strong solo and small gang PvP ship, helpful in PvE.
- Ishkur: Drone boat. Superb. Potentially 50m3 drone bay.
- Jaguar: Missiles/rockets. Decent DPS, very high speed. Four midslots, usually shield tanked, sometimes successful solo.
Damage Dealer Assault
- Retribution: Uses lasers. High DPS, however (like the Punisher on which it is based) it has only two mid slots, precluding the prop/scram/web trinity.
- Harpy: Uses hybrid turrets. Commonly fit with railguns as a mini-sniper.
- Enyo: Uses hybrid turrets. Commonly fit with blasters for face-melting point-blank DPS.
- Wolf: Uses projectile turrets for high DPS. Fastest assault frigate.
Logistics Frigates have substantial bonuses to logistics module use, and are designed to support small ship fleets where a cruiser's slower warp speed would slow down the roam.
- Deacon: Bonuses to remote armor rep and armor tank.
- Kirin: Bonuses to remote shield rep and armor tank.
- Thalia: Bonuses to remote armor rep and reduced signature radius.
- Scalpel: Bonuses to remote shield rep and reduced signature radius.
Expedition frigates are resource gathering ships designed to operate in more hostile environments than larger mining ships. They have bonuses to fitting cloaking devices, and generally are specialized towards one type of resource gathering.
- Endurance: The Endurance specializes in ice mining on a frigate scale. It has a 15,000 m³ ore bay, 15 MBit/Sec drone bandwidth, and bonuses to cloaking device fitting and usage, although it cannot fit a covert ops cloaking device.
- Prospect: The Prospect is a more or less straight upgrade from the Venture, and can fit a covert ops cloaking device, although it loses the small drone bay that the Venture had. It matches the Venture's gas harvesting yield, but has a 10,000 m³ ore bay, making it the best ship in the game for gas harvesting.
Rare and Unique Frigates
- Cambion: A reward for the winners of the 10th alliance tournament.
- Chremoas: The second place prize of the 11th alliance tournament.
- Freki: The second place prize of the 7th alliance tournament.
- Gold Magnate: Awarded to the victors of the Amarr tournament.
- Imp: Prize for the top four teams of the 8th alliance tournament.
- Silver Magnate
- Utu: A reward for the winners of the 8th alliance tournament.
- Whiptail: Prize for the top four teams of the 7th alliance tournament.