My Favorite EVE Online Ship

I have a hoarding problem. I collect ships in EVE Online. I'm not sure why, but it feels very important to have at least one of every ship in the game.

About half of the Nev ship collection - I think I have a problem... 

About half of the Nev ship collection - I think I have a problem... 

Early in my EVE career, I decided that I would train to fly every sub-capital ship in the Gallente fleet, because Gallente rule, as everyone is well aware. Once I reached that goal, I cross-trained into Minmatar and Caldari, and I've nearly exhausted those paths as well. Next shall come the Amarr, and then capitals. I've flown almost every sub-cap ship in the game, either with Nev or on an alt.

I periodically conduct a class in the UNI to introduce the Gallente ship line to new players, where I undock an example of each ship for students to inspect, while I describe the strengths and weaknesses of each in a running monologue. It's a fun class to deliver, as it brings back memories of both exciting and stupid things I've done in each ship type.

In my last Gallente 101-102 class, one of the students asked me, "What's your favorite ship?" 

I had to think about that one. I've really enjoyed flying a lot of different ships. For level 4 mission-running, nothing comes close to my LMJD-fitted Rattlesnake - it's an unbeatable missioning machine. And my trusty Myrmidon was always a joy to fly, when I was working my way up the Gallente line. For tackling, I love the Ares - fast, effective, and easy to fly. For mining, you can't beat a Mackinaw. For UNI fleet ops, I loved my Megathron, though I must admit I never had much luck in it, and now it looks less attractive with the recent Odyssey changes. For hauling in dangerous spaces, both the Viator or the Prorator have given me some interesting times - there's nothing quite like zipping around in lowsec or 0.0 with people trying to hunt you down and kill you.

But as I considered all the ships I've flown, I had to go back to my first real love: my first cruiser, a Celestis. 

"A Celestis?," my inquiring student replied, his grimace audibly detectable on Mumble,  "I wasn't expecting that."

The amazing Celestis

The amazing Celestis

I can understand his confusion. The Celestis is not a very glamorous ship. It's a fleet support ship - a disruption cruiser, specializing in sensor dampening EWAR. It doesn't get final blows on killmails, and it doesn't get much glory. And it looks... weird. Why in the world would I pick this ungainly monstrosity as my favorite EVE ship of all time? 

Me and My Celestis

When I was brand new to EVE, and a freshman in EVE University, I was fascinated by fleet operations. UNI fleets were a great learning experience. In those days, most UNI fleets were blobbing affairs, to be sure, but they were still a lot of fun, and great for novice pilots like me. But all I could fly then were frigates, and the only role I could fill was tackler. And the UNI was awash with eager noob tacklers - too many, in fact, for many fleets. Some of us got left behind every once in a while. That wasn't fun.

I noticed, however, that EWAR was always in demand. UNI fleet commanders loved EWAR - some fleets had enough Blackbirds to blot out the sun, it seemed. EWAR was the Great Equalizer. While Caldari ECM was most favored, a few Maulus or Celestis were very welcome, too.  I didn't want to be left behind again, so I set my training for sensor dampening.

I had picked a bad time to specialize in Gallente EWAR, however. Sensor damps had just been nerfed hard by CCP - so severely, in fact, that some bittervets criticized my tentatively offered Celestis fits as "completely worthless - go learn ECM".  But I persevered, and got my Celestis anyway.

It's an ugly ship, I admit. But it was my first cruiser, and I loved it. It was slower than a Vexor, and had less firepower than a Thorax. No one understood why I had such an affection for my ugly duckling.  

Mostly, it was the flexibility. Usually, I fit a traditional Gallente armor tank, which worked fine. But when I wasn't damping things in fleet, I could use the five midslots to fit a shield tank, and though my shield skills were terrible, I still learned a lot experimenting with extenders and invulnerability fields. I also trained a few missile skills, since the Celestis could fit them, and discovered the advantages and limits of that weapon type. It had a decent drone bay, and could fit blasters or rails. My Celestis may not have been the best at any one thing, but it could do just about anything well enough.

The best thing about my Celestis, though, was flying it in fleet. Back then, no one primaried damping ships - that honor went to all the ECM boats. And I got on a LOT of killmails. I was always at the bottom of the list, but I was always there, amongst the survivors. I never had a better ISK efficiency ratio than when I flew my trusty damping cruiser.  It was a wonderful time for me in EVE.

Eventually, I outgrew my Celestis habit and moved on to more glamorous ships - Myrmidon, Brutix, Megathron, tech II variants and strategic cruisers. My old Celestis sat in the hangar for years, gathering dust, long forgotten. 

Finding My First Love Again

But then CCP decided that ECM was too powerful, and that sensor dampening was not powerful enough. The Retribution expansion injected new life into Gallente EWAR. Suddenly, the Celestis is cool again. And I have the skills and experience to fly it - extremely well.

Over the last few months, we've seen a resurgence of favor for sensor dampening ships in fleet - both Maulus frigates and Celestis cruisers. For example, Shadoo mentioned recently in an EVE University guest lecture that Pandemic Legion is experimenting with fleet doctrines heavily laden with sensor damps. I'm also seeing more buzz about Gallente EWAR ships in EVE blogs, too. PvP expert Azual Skoll updated his briefing on disruption cruisers, stating "I'd actually argue that the Celestis is one of the more powerful ships in this class right now." UNI alumnus Apoth published an excellent overview of Celestis fits on his blog, as well.

I pulled my Celestis out of mothballs recently, and tried it on once again. Remarkably, it still feels very comfortable -  like a broken in glove. But my skills have improved quite a bit since the old days, so it is time to push the limits of my fleet damping ship to the max. Behold, the ultimate anti-logistics/anti-sniping EWAR platform:

[Celestis, Anti-Logi/Anti-Sniper]

Damage Control II
Signal Amplifier II
1600mm Reinforced Rolled Tungsten Plates I
Armor Explosive Hardener II
Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II

Remote Sensor Dampener II, Targeting Range Dampening Script
Remote Sensor Dampener II, Targeting Range Dampening Script
Remote Sensor Dampener II, Targeting Range Dampening Script
Sensor Booster II, Targeting Range Script
Sensor Booster II, Targeting Range Script

Prototype 'Arbalest' Rapid Light Missile Launcher, Nova Light Missile
Prototype 'Arbalest' Rapid Light Missile Launcher, Nova Light Missile
Prototype 'Arbalest' Rapid Light Missile Launcher, Nova Light Missile

Medium Particle Dispersion Projector I
Medium Particle Dispersion Projector I
Medium Particle Dispersion Projector I

Vespa EC-600 x5

This admittedly extreme fit is designed to make logistics ships' lives miserable and to foil snipers, at long range. With my skills, this Celestis can target anything at 250 km, and exert damping effects at 119 km optimal + 126 km falloff.

It lacks a propulsion mod, so it's slow - only 263 meters/second. This is a significant weakness. But it has a good armor tank at just under 37K EHP.  The missile launchers are for fending off any small targets that wander too close. The ECM drones, in combination with the sensor damps, are a particularly nasty combination for closer targets.

I'm eager to try this in fleet, though I expect that I'll actually get targeted now. I'll have to fly it at range to keep it safe, and warp away if anything starts to come my way.

Going back to your first love is wonderful. 

Fly safe! o7