Day 405: Jumping on the heavy assault bandwagon

Somehow with all the level 4 and 5 skills Aeon has been training for the last months, I completely lost track of what he could do. He trained up all base support and gunnery skills, and sometime lately I fired up EVEMon, and realized Aeon was only four days away from Heavy Assault Ships. He only needed to train Assault Ships to level IV and Spaceship Command to level V, so I started on that path directly. Currently using Chawagga (my Amarr cruiser, Maller) to run complexes and do some ratting, the prospect of using a Zealot for that task was just too appealing. It seemed to me that I had gotten to Heavy Assault Ships all of a sudden, but after a little bit of research, I saw it was just an illusion. Getting a new character to Heavy Assault ships takes a lot of time, a I had just forgotten about how far Aeon has come. You can see how hard it is to get to Heavy Assault Ships by looking at the sole requirements to fly one:

(Race) Frigate IV
(Race) Cruiser V
Engineering V
Mechanic V
Assault Ships IV
Weapon Upgrades V
Spaceship Command V
Heavy Assault Ships I

For one of my throwaway newbie characters, that comes out at about 113 days without training anything else… Meaning you will be able to fly one, but not outfit it correctly. You will still be missing skills for gun turrets, defense systems, power systems and co. It’s a massive undertaking to get there, but then you usually have way too much other stuff to do in the game to really notice 🙂

The question of “was it worth it?” is one you may ask, but it is difficult to give that a straight answer. I did not train specifically for Heavy Assault Ships, but I trained the prerequisites because they are needed for a lot of other ships and make me better at the ships I already use. In that sense, the skills invested will never be lost – especially Engineering, Mechanic, Weapon Upgrades and Spaceship Command. The question should rather be “are heavy assault ships good?”. Well on that matter, I have a few clues already. Being specialized in Amarr ships, I decided to get a Zealot: it has bonuses to armor resistances as well as for medium laser turrets. The alternative, the Sacrilege, is a pure missile gunboat, and Aeon only has 65K skillpoints in missiles… It has a sweet tank, however.

The skill Heavy Assault Ships itself cost 35 Mil ISK, and the Zealot was at 92 million ISK in Rens. With only 32 million in the Syrkos Corporation’s wallet and 10 in Aeon’s pockets I moved my operations back to my mining system to grind some rocks. When it was finally time, I had enough funds to afford both the ship and the skill itself. To avoid paying the horrendously overpriced Rens prices on Amarr ships, I sent Aeon to the Amarr system in the Domain region. There I paid “only” 80 mil for the ship, still effectively emptying my corp’s wallet again 🙂

I had already flown an Omen, the Zealot’s tech 1 cousin, but what strikes you first is that this ship looks a lot more polished. That, and one look at the fitting screen tells you it is indeed a powerhouse. Eager to outfit it, I let Aeon take the 26-jumps route back to my main offices. Once there, I put on a passive armor hardener, some capacitor support modules, four tech 2 medium lasers, undocked, and scanned my home system for complexes. Luckily, there were two, one Angel Cartel base and one drone hive. Great to compare this setup with that of Chawagga, which I usually use for running complexes. Needless to say, it’s like swatting flies with a sledgehammer – it was like pop-pop-pop-wammo 😉

Getting more confident with the use of the ship, I started using it for a few of the easier level 3 missions – and was surprised by the ease with which it cut through everything, from cruisers to tech 2 frigates. That medium lasers bonus really makes a difference. I use a passive armor tank setup, and have fitted a first Capacitor Control Circuit to free one additional low slot previously taken by a Capacitor Power Relay II. Only missions where you get a lot aggression from enemy ships are any trouble, because the tank cannot take it. I mean, I only have one Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II fitted, so it is not a real tank either. I prefer having additional support modules in for more DPS and better frigate handling than stretching things out with a better tank, as least as long as I can afford it. If the mission is too intensive for Dark Horizons, I simply revert to Pax Nemesis III.

I even get the impression that Dark Horizons performs better than the Aeonizer (Amarr Battlecruiser, Harbinger), but I may be wrong. I have not used that ship in quite a while now, and I think I should try it again sometime just to make sure. With only four turret slots, running missions with Dark Horizons is a bit slower than with Pax Nemesis III, but it is more fun 🙂

I’ll post a detailed fitting later on.

Aeon's Status:
Skillpoints: 16.100.000
Level V skills: 27
Level IV skills: 29
Known skills: 111
ISK Balance: 42.000.000
Training: Kinetic Armor Compensation III

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