Updated Thu, Jun 16, 2011 by Space Junkie
A step by step guide to building an Archon carrier in EVE Online.
Under normal circumstances, I try to orient our guides as much toward newbies as possible. Despite these intentions, I sometimes find myself making comprehensive spreadsheets for more advanced projects that just beg to have articles written about them.
In this case, I was doing the maths involved with making an archon, the Amarr carrier, and realized that there are plenty of EVE players out there that have no idea about how capital ships are built. Even if building capitals is a distant dream for you, it may be useful to understand how the process works.
Why Make An Archon?
The archon looks like some kind of satanic insect.
Like most capital ships, carriers cannot use normal gates, cannot enter high-security space, and must use cynosural fields to travel. The archon is one of the most popular varieties of carrier because it is so tough. Note that unlike supercapital-class vessels, carriers are capable of docking inside stations.
My need for an archon is acute because of the moon mining that I do. A carrier is a much more efficient way to refuel and empty silos, at least compared to the heavy transport ships that I have been using. Since I am a very "do it yourself" kind of person, the idea of building the carrier and writing about it appealed to me. In this case, I was very impressed at the profit margins for building a capital ship: even without the great deals I got on minerals and blueprints, the archon would be made at well below cost.
Building capital ships differs from building normal ships in several key ways. First of all, they cannot be built in high-security space. This means that you need to be able to bring everything needed together outside of high-security space. That right there is a big deal-breaker for many people, but it is something that needs to be gotten over if you want to do some of the Big Things in EVE Online.
Most capitals are probably built in low-security space due to the proximity to the minerals sold in high-security space, though there is no reason not to make them in null-security or wormhole space if a sufficient supply of minerals can be made available. The Frerstorn solar system is supposed to be sort of a low-sec capital ship hub, if you are interested in going that route.
In null-sec, minerals can often be obtained via buy orders or dedicated mining. There are parts where minerals with absurdly low buy orders will be filled to significantly reduce your costs, though they often take much longer to be filled than fair prices. I was lucky enough to find such a station and, given a couple weeks of minding buy orders, got myself a sufficiently large stack of cut-rate minerals to put together a capital ship.
No matter where you are making the ship, it can be a good idea to import chunks of minerals (compressed or otherwise) from high-security space. The best way to compress minerals is usually to build "Tachyon Beam Laser I" modules and then refine them at a station with low or no taxes and a perfect refining character. If this is an NPC station, high standings with the owner of the station will be necessary.
A Note About Wormholes
Note that capital vessels can be built in wormhole space by erecting a POS with a capital ship construction array, though the minerals will likely be painful to assemble. It is possible to bypass this by using a wormhole connection to high-security space and hauling the already-assembled capital construction components through.
The higher cost of the already-produced components will likely eat up a big chunk of your savings, and it is entirely possible to build a capital inside of a wormhole that it cannot escape and that other capitals cannot enter, resulting in a hilariously entrenched defensive advantage. Since wormholes often exchange hand through sale, the trapped carrier is not necessarily a financial liability.