Each of the races in EVE Online have good reasons to fly their ships. Of call of them, the Caldari are by far the most popular. In the past, this was because of certain statistical advantages that no longer apply. In the present, there are still a whole slew of reasons to fly Caldari. Here are ten of them.
10. Shields Rule
Shields regenerate on their own, are generally strong against everything except EM damage, are better active tanks, and their passive tanks do not hinder them as armor plating hinders the ships that use it. Shield tanks are compatible with speed tanks, as well, since the mid-slots are not used for speed tanking and low slots are only rarely used for shield tanking. Many are the ships that use shields, despite theoretically being armor-tankers. Shield remote-repairing is wonderful, as I will discuss in more depth, momentarily.
9. Missiles Rock
Their ships are interesting, their story is compelling, and their space is bustling.
8. Electronic Warfare Specialists
While other races dabble in electronic warfare, Caldari are the undisputed masters of it. For PvP, ECM nearly always trumps tracking disruptors, target painters, or remote sensor dampeners. It is only in fairly niche situations that the others are superior. A Caldari recon ship packing a full rack of ECMs can turn the odds of a battle greatly in your favor, and many fleet commanders value them over any other kind of ship, except perhaps for logistics. And, of course, ECM can be one of the best counters to logistics ships, since it's pretty hard to be a space priest when you can't lock anything.
7. Available Equipment
Because of their popularity, Caldari ships are the most likely to be found in any given station market, and their prices are apt to be lower because of more competition. The modules used by them are also the most likely to be present, as are their ammunition varieties. There is also a greater profundity of information about Caldari-related things, including their COSMOS mission arcs, flying their more popular ships, and so forth.
6. Caldari Are Popular
Everybody knows about Jita being the single most populated market and solar system in EVE Online, of course. The Forge region, and generally the rest of Caldari space, including their low-security space, is the highest-populated swath of empire space in the game. There are more people to fight, befriend, or compete with. Of course, you don't need to be Caldari to live in their empire space, but starting out there as a Caldari will save you the trouble of moving there. I should note that a high population is not universally regarded as good: miners can have an awful hard time finding belts that still have ore there, for example. Also, producers are better off building on the fringes of Caldari space, and then moving their goods inward to Jita, because of the build slot backlog.
5. Well-Designed Ships
Some ships in EVE Online are, well, bad. It might be fitting problems, a paucity of weapon slots, or two ship role bonuses that just won't see use at the same time. The Amarr have this problem, as do the Minmatar. The Caldari almost always avoid this. Their ships are good, be they tech one, tech two, or tech three. Indeed, the Tengu is their tech three cruiser option, and is probably the best NPC-killing ship in the game, and is also likely the most popular. Their early game ships are great, as well, with the Cormorant destroyer standing out as one of the best low-level mission ships, while the Drake, Raven, and Rokh all excel at their roles. There are a few lemons, as with any EVE race, but the ships generally have real uses. I wish I could say the same for the other races.
4. A Good Path Of Progression For Hybrid Turret Users
There are some problems with other races' paths of progressions. For example, Amarr players that want to aim for their tech two recon options, the Pilgrim and Curse, will need to get pretty darn good at using drones. Alas, there is only a single tech one Amarr ship that specializes in drone use: the Arbitrator. And while the Arbitrator is a mighty fine ship, it is not a mighty fine ship that a player with low skills will want to fly. Actually, by the time a pilot is good enough to fly an Arbitrator, he can probably fly a Curse or Pilgrim about as well, so the Arbitrator is relegated to that dusty corner reserved for ships that are only good for high-skillpoint players that need a cheap or unassuming ship. The Caldari, on the other hand, have two really great paths of progression: missile boats and hybrid boats, with the former having rather more options.
If you want to use hybrid turrets, you can go from the Merlin frigate, to the Cormorant destroyer, to the Moa cruiser, to the Ferox battlecruiser, on to the Rokh battleship. That last being the largest hybrid-using Caldari ship. The tech two options for hybrid turret users are a bit more limited, though still useful. They include the Harpy assault frigate, Raptor interceptor, Eagle heavy assault cruiser, and the Vulture command ship. The Vulture has the distinction of being one of the most popular sub-capital "end-game" ships because of an amazing shield tank and a deadly bonus to hybrid turrets.
3. A Good Path Of Progression For Missile Users
If you want to use missiles (and most Caldari pilots probably do), you have a pretty clear path, starting with the Kestrel frigate, moving on to the Caracal cruiser, then the Drake battlecruiser, then to the Raven battleship (or possibly the Scorpion battleship). From there, you can get into "end-game" ships like the Phoenix dreadnought, the Widow black ops battleship, or the Golem marauder. These ships all excel at their roles and make up a selection of the most generally effective NPC-killing ships in the game, with major PvP applications as well. There are a plentitude of specialized tech one and tech two ships that use missiles as well.
2. Best Overall Fleet Ship
The Drake battlecruiser's combination of buffer tank (it has a lot of total hit points) and resistances (it avoids taking the full amount of any incoming damage) make it an ideal candidate for remote repair fleets. Any shield restored by a logistics ship is not subject to the same resistances that damage must be, and so the healing can quickly outpace the damage. Since the Drake is so tough, any Basilisks (the Caldari logistics ship) or Scimitars (the Minmatar logistics ship) will have ample time to repair the damage to the Drake's shields before things get hinky. The volley damage of the Drake's heavy missile launchers plus their great range allow Drakes in fleet battles to pour on huge amounts of damage to a single target, that hit all at once rather than spread out over time. They are thus very difficult to protect against, as is their ability to change damage types. Furthermore, Drakes are popular. They are probably the most popular ship in EVE Online by any serious metric, and so anybody can use them. Lastly, they are cheap as heck, and practically any player or corporation should be able to keep them in good supply. Together, these factors make the Drake the best overall fleet ship in EVE Online.
1. Bustling Faction Warfare
Missiles, capitalism, and shields. Yes, please.
A spare word about joining any of the faction militias: be sure to make or bring friends, so you always have people to work with, since some of the more elitist faction warfare corporations will generally eschew newer players. This is true of all the factions, though, and not especially the Caldari.
0. The Most Well-Rounded Stealth Bomber
Stealth bombers are a ton of fun, especially for newer players that may otherwise have a lot of trouble with ambush PvP. For the purposes of fitting and being able to do everything at once, the Manticore is probably the best stealth bomber. The Amarr Purifier can probably do a little more damage, the Minmatar Hound is a better general bomb-dropper, and the Gallente Nemesis is the best-looking crappy ship, but the Manticore can do it all. It has four mid-slots for fitting things like warp disruptors, target painters, shield extenders, tracking disruptors, or remote sensor dampeners. Unlike the Nemesis, it has 328 base CPU for fitting all of those mid-slots. This is the most of any of the stealth bombers, which is a big deal since all of the missile launchers use CPU. Kinetic damage is fine for most circumstances, and great against most targets. Also important is that the extra fitting space makes the Manticore a bit easier for new players to use, which is important when trying to have as much fun, as soon as possible.
Caldari Are Damn Cool
Call me simple if you will, but I insist that the Caldari are the coolest race. The other races' story archetypes in EVE Online are all variations on stories that are, well, a bit too familiar. Freed slaves? Religious fanatics? Bickering plebeians? Please. But the story of the dark future ruled by ruthless, authoritarian corporations that squabble but let the cream rise to the top? That is something that EVE Online exemplifies very well, indeed. I like the other races' stories and various things that CCP's writers have done with them, but none of them resonate quite so well as the Caldari.