The raven is one of the most ideal mission-running and PvE battleships in EVE Online. This is because of a combination of factors that include accessibility to newer players, the popularity of Caldari ships, an amazing shield tank, and the flexibility of missiles when used in PvE.
Though sometimes out-classed by tech two or faction ships, the raven remains the most popular go-to ship for killing NPCs, whether it takes place at a mission in high-security space, or a cosmic anomaly in null-sec.
This guide discusses fitting and flying a raven for PvE, as well as survivability tips and some advice about avoiding suicide gankers.
Why Fly The Raven
The Raven is one of the best ships for running missions in EVE Online.
It's also a piece of cake to fly. In most situations you can fire your missiles, release your drones, and spend the bulk of your time micro-managing your tractor beam and salvager.
- x6 'Arbalest' Cruise Launcher (see below for ammo)
- x1 Salvager I
- x1 Small Tractor Beam I
Cruise missiles are superior to torpedoes for most pilots, since the short range of torpedoes is generally considered to be mortal flaw. Compensating for this short range requires fitting rigs that add missile flight time, as well as a propulsion module to get within range. Both of these will compromise your tank more than most players will find acceptable. The 'Arbalest' launchers are the best-named version of the cruise missile launcher. Tech two missile launchers may be appealing, depending on your skills and ability to cram them on, despite their higher fitting requirements.
The salvager and tractor beam combination allow you to make additional ISK but are not recommended in dangerous areas of space. If there is any risk at all, you will likely want to skip the salvager and instead fit a Prototype Cloaking Device I or Improved Cloaking Device II. The raven is a big, slow galooka of a ship, and cannot always be relied on to quickly warp out, especially in missions that require travel between acceleration gates. For a ship like this, you can't beat hitting the cloak button and turning invisible. Also handy for bathroom breaks and snack runs, too. The slower locking speed drawback of fitting cloaks make them undesirable if you are in a safe area, like high-sec sans wars.
The missile varieties that you use will change depending on what NPCs you are fighting. The most commonly fought NPCs and the most effective damage type to use against them is presented here, followed by the appropriate variety of cruise missile:
- Angel Cartel: Explosive (Devastator Cruise Missile).
- Blood Raiders: EM (Paradise Cruise Missile).
- Guristas: Kinetic (Wrath Cruise Missile).
- Rogue Drones: EM (Paradise Cruise Missile).
- Sansha's Nation: EM (Paradise Cruise Missile).
- Serpentis: Thermal (Cataclysm).
- x1 X-Large Shield Booster II
x1 Shield Boost Amplifier II
x4 Active Shield Hardener Modules (see below)
The shield hardeners that you should be fitting should change from mission to mission, so that you will be optimally prepared against them. Level four combat missions are no joke, they can kill your raven if you aren't careful. Before each mission, check on a mission guide site and make sure that you are using the correct hardeners and for that matter, the correct ammunition. Always fit the active version of the shield hardeners. The passive shield hardeners (like Explosion Dampening Amplifier I, for example) are only used on ships that have fitting problems.
The four shield hardener modules that you should be fitting for the most common NPC factions are as follows (determined by that NPC race's damage type spread):
- Angel Cartel: x1 Ballistic Deflection Field, x2 Explosion Dampening Field, x1 Heat Dissipation Field
- Blood Raiders: x2 Heat Dissipation Field, x2 Photon Scattering Field
- Guristas: x2 Ballistic Deflection Field, x1 Heat Dissipation Field, x1 Invulnerability Field
- Rogue Drones: x1 Ballistic Deflection Field, x1 Explosion Dampening Field, x1 Heat Dissipation Field, x1 Photon Scattering Field
- Sansha's Nation: x2 Heat Dissipation Field, x2 Photon Scattering Field
- Serpentis: x2 Ballistic Deflection Field, x2 Heat Dissipation Field
It should be every raven pilot's absolute priority to train to use the tech two versions of these modules as soon as possible. For newer players, using the "named" versions of these modules is fine. New raven pilots may also find themselves suffering from capacitor problems if they need to boost their shields too much, usually due to having poor resistances from non-tech two shield hardeners. This may be off-set by fitting a Cap Recharger in lieu of a hardener, or extra Power Diagnostic Systems in the low-slots.
- x1 Damage Control II
- x3 Ballistic Control Systems II
- x1 Power Diagnostic Systems II
Unlike most other modules that gives identical bonuses, the damage control module is not subject to diminishing returns. This means that the bonus to your shield resistances will be the same, no matter what shield hardeners you fit. This is counter-balanced by the fact that a ship may only fit a single damage control. In any case, shield resistances directly translate to a raven's effectiveness, and so a "DC" module is essential.
Though subject to the diminishing returns mentioned above, the ballistic control systems are still worthwhile. If a pilot finds himself suffering capacitor problems, however, swapping out one or two of them for additional power diagnostic systems is a good idea. The "PDS" is basically made for the raven, because it improves both shields and capacitor.
- x3 Capacitor Control Circuit I
The tried and true raven fitting uses these, though the Semiconductor Memory Cell I rigs are slightly better because in addition to raising your capacitor recharge rate, they also raise your maximum capacitor amount (for a higher price, of course). A torpedo raven will almost certainly favor missile rigs over capacitor, which has unfortunate effects on your tank.
- x5 Warrior II
- x5 Valkyrie II
Ravens are often the subject of lavish expenditures for faction modules and ammo.
Alternate Fitting Arrangements
Some pilots that fly ravens, especially those that use torpedoes instead of cruise missiles (yuck) prefer to use only three shield hardeners, and install a Target Painter in lieu of the missing shield module. I would only recommend using this if you knew for a fact that you would not be engaging targets that enjoy "kiting" you by flying out of range.
Other pilots prefer to keep an energy neutralizer or two in their high-slots, in lieu of the salvager and tractor beam, in order to fend off any potential attackers. These same ships may choose to fit a warp disruptor or other tackling module in their mid-slots, so that enemy ships cannot escape if the tables are turned on them.
Another possibility is fitting some kind of propulsion module in the mid-slots, so that the tedious flying between acceleration gates is less of a hassle. It all depends on what you are comfortable with, really.
Strategies For Missions
When you are running level four missions, it really pays to at least skim mission guides ahead of time. Just googling the name of your mission will usually turn something up, if you are having trouble finding a particular guide.
If a small ship warps into your mission space while you are running missions in high-security space and begins salvaging your wrecks, you don't have much recourse. If the ship actually removes something from one of your wrecks, however, he will begin blinking on your overview and you may freely attack him. This may not be the best choice, though, because once you do, he is free to return in a more dangerous ship and counter-attack, at any point within fifteen minutes of the last time you shot him. Some players will begin stealing from a player and taunting him with this very goal in mind.
Watch out for gank gangs, even in high security space. If a neutral ship in high-security space uses a ship scanner on your raven while you are on a gate or station, and it discovers that you have several billions of ISK worth of modules fit on your ship, you may be subject to attempts to suicide gank you. These pilots will use locator agents to find what system you spend your time in, and then assemble a suicide squad to take you out. This is more likely to happen to a Golem or Navy Raven pilot though (see below).
While in low-sec or null-sec, whether you are killing NPCs in belts or tanking an exploration complex, always do your best to stay aligned out toward some celestial object or, ideally, a POS that is safe to hide inside. Ships that can warp while cloaked can find and gank you within an amazingly short period of time. If a POS is not available to warp out to, and even if one is, your best bet really is to fit a cloak. Do not stay aligned toward a station if there is only one or two stations in the solar system. This is contra-indicated because lazy gankers will often jump into a system and set up traps on stations, hoping to snare pilots seeking shelter therein.
Most pro raven pilots regard their raven as their most precious treasure. Because it is not flown against other players, and most pilots do not venture out of high-security space, the odds of losing a raven to non-consentual PvP are fairly low. These two factors mean that most players will spring for expensive, faction modules or other rare gear. After all, the raven is a money-maker, and the better it is, the faster ISK will come rolling in.
Faction shield hardeners are probably the best way to spend money on a raven, in my opinion, though the price can be a bit excessive. Others swear by using faction ammunition to speed through missions faster, though that sounds dubiously expensive to me.
Implants are probably the most grounded way to spend extra ISK on your raven. A number of them offer bonuses to capacitor, shields, or missiles, though the last tend to be overpriced because of the great popularity of ravens.
The Caldari Navy Raven is a pricier, slightly more effective version of the normal raven. As of this writing, it costs a litte 500mil but offers an extra missile launcher hardpoint, for an extra 12.5% missie damage output, has an extra 3,750 shield and 3,300 armor hit points, and thus is a more survivable, faster mission running ship than the basic tech one raven. The down side to this is that it marks you as a person of interest to suicide gankers, who may attempt to probe out, scan, and gank your "CNR" if you are using expensive enough gear. This has never caught on quite as well as other kinds of suicide ganking, so it's not a huge concern. The other downside is that it is eclipsed in many ways by the tech two version of the raven, the Golem.
As of this writing, the golem costs about 550mil ISK. It is a member of the marauder class of ships, which specialize in PvE but suffer vulnerabilities against ECM electronic warfare. When compared with the navy raven above, it inflicts less damage and can fit one less rig, but has higher shield resistances, has a much larger cargo bay, and finally has a special tractor beam bonus. It also has a missile velocity and target painting bonus that makes using torpedoes more palatable. Between the higher inherent resistances and large cargo hold, using a Capacitor Booster in the mid-slots is also a nice option for endless capacitor.
Either of these options make good end-game mission running ships, depending on your preference and playstyle. If you run enough missions in a normal raven, you will quickly find yourself making enough ISK to fly either one of these. Good luck!