Blockade runners a closer look

crane blockade runner changes EVE online

Following on from the previous article on deep space transports we’re taking a look at the new revamped blockade runners. The highlights of the Blockade runner changes are:

  1. Two high slots – All of the  blockade runners now have two high slots which allows for the covert ops cloak to be used alongside another module. The popular choices here will be either a probe launcher for moon scanning or a covert cyno when being used as a mobile refuelling depot for blackops and bomber gangs.
  2. Increased cargo capacity – When maxing for cargo you should now be able to hit 10,000m3 using only tech one rigs. This is still significantly less than a maxed out T1 hauler which is intentional but it does make them much more useful for example you should now be able to fill your hold with enough survey probes to cover a fair few systems.
  3. New warp speed bonus – The old tanking bonus which was never used has been replaced with a 5% per level warp speed bonus. With transport ships level 5 you will be able to reach 7.5au/s and faster still using implants and modules.
  4. T2 resists – Just a common sense rather than something amazing chances are if you’re being shot at in a blockade runner you’re dead but T2 ships deserve T2 resists and blockade runners are getting them come Kronos.

Overall it’s a good set of changes especially as previously only the Prowler was the only blockade runner fortunate enough to have two high slots. This really restricted the ship class to hauling fuel for black ops gangs and low sec hauling with this change however we really start to get some choices about how we use these ships.

My personal preference is towards the Viator simply due to it only have 334m3 less cargo space than the Prorator whilst having slightly better agility. Here are the most important details of all of the ships:

Ship Crane Prorator Prowler Viator
Cargo 11,556 12,669 11,992 12,335
Align time 7.6 7.7 7.4 7.6
Speed with AB 530 521 683 537

The least important of these factors will be speed with most players ignoring this completely. Some players do prefer having a bit of speed for situations where you actively need to approach something, one potential example would be to approach a black ops ready to bridge. However, as approaching things at max speed normally just results in bumping and annoyance I highly doubt this will be important to the average player.

Align time however is much more important as it determines a fair amount of travel time, the Prowler is best positioned here especially with its three low slots (+1 on current 2) as it can significantly improve on its already strong align time by selecting the right modules and rigs.

Another important factor will be warp speed which is the lion’s share of travel time with them all having the same base max of 7.5au/s there’s no clear winner all we can say is that the Crane loses out as it only has two low slots meaning that it can’t fit its full quota of 3 hyperspatial accelerators for a maximum loss of 0.3au/s.

With the fits as they are right now I can see the majority of new players flying the Viator due to the fact that to fly the ship you had train the most versatile line of T1 industrial ships first. As Blockade runners are highly situational in their usage even an experienced player will spend more time in their T1 counterparts or Deep Space Transports so it’s highly likely that choices will be made based upon shortest skill training time rather than the pros and cons of the ships themselves.