Recon Ships (recons) are the T2 versions of the electronic warfare cruisers. From those, they inherit bonuses towards the primary electronic warfare (EWAR) type of the corresponding faction, but also usually gain further bonuses towards the secondary EWAR type; the exceptions are the Caldari recons, as the Caldari have no secondary type of EWAR.
Recon Ships are divided into two types, with similar EWAR abilities but different role bonuses:
- Force Recon Ships can fit Covert Ops Cloaking Devices, and thus warp while cloaked. Furthermore, Force Recon Ships are also capable of fitting both standard and covert Cynsural Field Generators, allowing them to bring in either a black ops hit squad, or a fleet of capital ships to reinforce a battle. This makes them a high-priority target in many battles.
- Combat Recon Ships have superior weapons, electronics, and defenses. While they cannot fit a covert ops cloak, they cannot be detected by directional scan, a unique ability in the game that makes them an unpleasant surprise for opponents.
Despite their name, recons are not really used for reconnaissance. EVE players do much of their reconnaissance using third-party tools which draw on the ESI API, such as DOTLAN EveMaps (to check on ratting numbers) or ZKillboard (to find out ship fits). Reconnaissance inside the game could be scouting structures and checking for their fittings and timers. This is usually done in interceptors or covert ops.
Force Recon Ships
Force Recon Ships (force recons) were designed around cloaky gameplay with the ability to fit a Covert Ops Cloaking Device. This also includes the ability to take Black Ops bridges. This allows them to act as force multipliers for cloaky fleets. But in this role, they compete with Strategic Cruisers fitted with the Covert Reconfiguration subsystem.
Nowadays, force recons also have the ability to light both covert and hard cynos. This makes them a popular choice for hard cynos as the other option (Black Ops) are significantly more expensive. They are also used a lot for hunting to then provide a fleet to jump in. As you can often expect a force recon to have a cyno fitted, people often expect to be baited into an engagement when they know that a force recon is around.
The five force recons are:
Combat Recon Ships
Combat Recon Ships (combat recons) are fairly straight up T2 upgrades of their T1 counterparts. They have more tank, more speed, T2 resists, far bigger targeting range, and more EWAR bonuses. This makes them popular force multipliers in fleets.
They are also popular hunters as they do not show up on dscan. This makes them particular good to hunt people who might otherwise feel secure because their sites are gated and they monitor dscan.
The four combat recons are:
Force Recons got a major implicit buff on 2019-09-10 when hard cynos got restricted to Force Recons and Black Ops.