CCP recently made the first set of changes to the Black Ops system as part of their balancing initiative. Kcolor went over the specific changes here for those who missed it. Instead of re-hashing those however: I’ll be taking a look at how these changes have been received, and how you can get in on the action.
There has been a great amount of market activity since the changes were announced, which is reflected in our two available metrics for determining the popularity of Black Ops Battleships and their use. Those metrics are sales of the Black Ops Battleships in major trade hubs, which is indicative of new Black Ops pilots, and sales of covert cynos, which is indicative of how often covert cyno ships have been destroyed recently and - by extension - how often covert drops are occurring. Unsurprisingly, both metrics have shown an increase in the last several weeks, representing an increased number of players finding the class viable.
This article is geared toward the players on the sidelines - those considering purchasing a Black Ops ship but who are unsure of some of the specifics of this niche-class - as existing Black Ops players already know all about the changes. So here are answers to the questions you were too afraid to ask.
Requirements and skills
Make no mistake, deciding to pilot a BLOPS is a skill- and ISK-intensive decision. The jump skill pre-requisites are steep, and Racial Battleship V is no joke either. A hidden requirement also lies in Astrometrics V, which is required for the covert jump portal generator. This addition skill clocks in around 15-20 days. Don’t make the same mistake I did, however, and train “Jump Portal Generation” past level one. The skill only affects how much fuel is consumed to open the portal, and not how much fuel ships consume actually jumping through. Since the covert portal takes zero fuel to open, having the skill higher than level one only helps you if you also happen to be a titan pilot.
Aspiring pilots will be glad to know that skill requirements have loosened in a rather indirect manner, though. Previously, the hideously short jump range made ‘Jump Drive Calibration V’ nearly compulsory. Thankfully, a recent increase in range has made this skill less of a requirement, and more of a ‘would be nice.’
As far as ISK is concerned, pilots in the market for a Black Ops should be willing to spend somewhere around the 1 billion ISK mark. Not only is the hull itself expensive, but one still has to shell out ISK for fuel, implants, and most of the fittings.