The Drake is a Tier-2 battlecruiser specializing in missile deployment. With strong primary missile batteries and powerful shields, it is often considered to be one of the best PvE ships in the game.
Role in PvE
The Drake changed this: With 7 missile hardpoints and bonuses greared towards missile deployment, it packs significantly better damage projection compared to the Ferox, whilst still retaining excellent defensive stats. It has since surpassed the Ferox in popularity.
Role in PvP
The Drake's bonuses and fitting statistics make in an ideal entry-level ship for battlecruiser-sized capsuleer combat. It can be fit with a solid tank, and high-damage, short-range heavy assault missiles, or set up with heavy missiles for improved damage projection.
Drakes are often used as bait due to their inherently high EHP and shield regeneration stats, and are able to sustain heavy fire whilst waiting for support to jump in.
The relatively low skillpoint requirement for a competent Drake pilot means that the battlecruiser shines in fleet PvP. Pulling together large fleets of moderately well skilled drake pilots is not particularly difficult. Their high EHP and good damage projection also makes them resistant to harassment tactics. Large fleets also allow the drake to utilize midslots that would usually be reserved for tackle, allowing Drake pilots in mixed fleets to further improve their tank.
Recent QEN reports have cited the Drake as one of the most popular ships in EVE.
See also: Drake (Fitting)
See Also: Weapons Guide
Standard Drake fittings almost always feature 7 heavy missile or heavy assault missile launchers. The Drake does not have a range bonus to its armament, and its low speed usually steers pilots towards long range weapons. PvP pilots may prefer heavy assault missiles, as many current PvP tactics focus on close-range, high-damage setups. It should be noted that the Drake receives a damage bonus to both Heavy Missiles and Heavy Assault Missiles.
With 8 high slots, the Drake is comparable to some battleships in its damage potential. While there are no hard points for turret weapons, a multitude of nosferatu, neutralizer, smartbombs, and other weapons can be carried, though this flexibility is somewhat mired by a lack of power grid for extra modules.
Often overlooked are warfare links. Whilst all battlecruiser-class ships can fit these, not all have the utility highslot to spare. Drake pilots with good skills working in groups should consider fitting one in the absence of a dedicated command ship.
See Also: Defense Guide
With 6 mid-slots and a built-in bonus to shield resistances, the Drake is a shield tanker. Most defensive setups will opt for a passive tank in order to fully utilize the Drake's built in resistances. A combination of passive shield hardeners and large shield extenders can increase the shield strength significantly. Some pilots with good skills might use some of these in combination with a shield recharger and/or shield flux coil in order to boost the passive regeneration rate to the same level as some booster configurations. A high passive regen combine with high damage mitigation from the shield resistances can shrug off all but the most concentrated fire.
With the right selection of Tech II equipment and high level skills the Drake is fully capable of tanking the damage received in level 4 missions. Some fits are able to have unbreakable shields against large groups of NPC Battleships and a host of smaller support craft whilst still retaining enough offensive firepower to successfully take down a Battleship without drone support.
Most PvE Drakes are fitted to utilize all 6 mid-slots to augment tank, with the low-slots being used for further shield augmentation or damage output.
Pilots will undoubtedly want to find something to put in the 8th high slot. For PvE pilots, this can take the form of a salvager or tractor beam to assist in clean-up. A sensible option for PvE mission runners is the Drone Link Augmentor, which allows for the pilot to start hitting targets with their drones much earlier in a fight. PvP pilots may go for a nosferatu, energy neutralizer, or smart bomb.
The Drake has a 25m/3 drone bay, allowing it to carry one full batch of light drones. For PvE, 5 light combat drones are usually the order of the day in order to help fend off frigates too small for the Drake's heavy missiles. Groups may benefit from a support wing such as logistics or ECM drones.
With high resistances and the traditional Caldari bonus to kinetic missile damage, it is a powerful force against Guristas and Serpentis. It has already proven to be incredibly popular, with E-ON magazine reporting tens of thousands in service, more than any other battlecruiser.
The Drake is heavily armed, well-tanked, and can feel like a pocket battleship at times. Howevber, the Drake is particularly slow, and whilst its defenses can match those of a battleship with ease, it utilizes a high proportion of its slots to do so. This makes most conventionally fit Drakes inflexible for solo PvP.
One of a Drake's primary strengths lie in its potential immunity to nosferatu and energy neutralizer systems. As missile launchers do not require any capacitor energy to fire, a passively tanked Drake will not suffer any degradation in offense or defense at the hands of energy draining weapons. Drake pilots fielding invulnerability fields as opposed to passive hardeners may run into issues against ships that employ heavy neuting.
Sourced from the Templar One 'eveinfo' competition website
Know Your Enemy by Azual Skoll, The Altruist
If you're an experienced mission runner, it's likely you're already familiar with the drake. This ship is so ubiqutous as a mission boat that it still has a reputation among many groups as a purely PVE vessel - an opinion which couldn't be further from the truth.
With an 8/6/4 slot layout and a 5% per level bonus to shield resists, the drake is tough. To put this in perspective, a drake using only 3 of its 6 mid slots for tank already has as much EHP as a dual 1600mm plated maller. While an armour tanked drake is possible (and potentially incredibly effective due to the number of EWAR slots it provides), the vast majority are fit with a fairly standard shield buffer tank, and that's what we'll focus on here. PVE drakes tend to be fit slightly differently, and we'll cover that later.
The drake is a missile boat through and through. It is the only battlecruiser to use them as a primary weapon system, and With 7 damage bonused launchers, it does so very proficiently! Most PVP drakes and almost all PVE drakes fit heavy missiles as their weapon system of choice - as with most long range missile fits this offers slightly lower maximum dps output than some of the other ships in its class, however its damage is both consistent and very flexible - able to hit out to over 80km with just as much firepower as it wields up close (roughly equivalent to the damage output of a close-range rupture, for comparison). HAM drakes offer rather more offensive power - more in line with the other battlecruisers - although their maximum range it limited to around 20km (or 30km with javelins). Drakes also receive 25m3 of drone bay and bandwidth - enough for a flight of light drones, and a blessing considering up until this point most caldari ships have been rather lacking when it comes to drone capability.
Engaging a drake can be a challenging fight, although aside from the previously mentioned armour/EWAR fit you're unlikely to encounter any huge surprises. In terms of EWAR, most PVP drakes will fit a point and potentially a web (more likely on a HAM drake), although in gang you may find them fitting tracks or damps. A small neut is fairly likely, but a medium tends to be prohibitively difficult to fit. The drake's drone bay allows it some additional defence against light ships, but most combat frigs can deal with a flight of un-bonused light drones before they succumb to them. ECM drones are a possibility, and it's usually worth clearing them out quickly if they get launched (don't worry, they're very fragile). The biggest threat to your success (as odd as it sounds) is the drake's tank - while its damage output isn't all that impressive, its strong tank means that in terms of combined tank & gank, it will wear down most opponents long before they can break it. Even if the drake can't kill you itself, the likelihood of backup arriving before the fight is done is fairly high, not to mention the fact that drakes are one of the most common baiting ships in the game.
One interesting phenomenon of strong shield tanks like the drake's is that even with a pure buffer tank, the peak shield recharge can be strong enough to make a difference in some fights. At peak recharge, your average buffer drake has a passive tank of around 150 dps - enough to make killing one in a solo frigate a real challenge. PVE drakes will actually fit specifically to maximise this recharge at the expense of EHP, and can easily have a peak regen of 500 dps or more against every damage type. These can be really difficult to kill solo in a light ship, despite being relatively little threat to you in return. Remember that the peak recharge of a shield tank is just that - it's peak recharge, experienced when the shield has around 30% remaining. If there was ever a good time to overheat those guns, the moment the drake you're shooting hits 40% shield is the time to do it. The drake has fairly high resists across the boat, but given the choice thermal and EM should be your preferences in that order (either an EM rig or an EM hardener is fairly common on a buffer drake, but any thermal resist mod is relatively rare). It should go without saying, but drakes also generally make a very poor choice of primary targets unless there is nothing else viable in range.
Finally, a word of warning. Drakes are really popular for baiting. If a drake engages you in a scenario that seems a little too good to be true, it's almost always a trap. Of course that doesn't mean you can't just spring the trap and kill it anyway, but be prepared for backup to come swooping in and don't say I didn't warn you!
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