Black ops tactics
The following is a general overview of the concept of black ops as applicable to EVE Online. This document is not specifically about the Black Ops battleship class, although that class of vessels does factor into this discussion.
Of the Topic of Sovereignty and its Consequences
Sovereignty in EVE is a mechanism whereby an alliance can achieve control over a system, constellation, and ultimately, region of space for the purpose of exploiting it for their own gain/entertainment/etc. The benefits of taking and holding space are numerous and chief among them is the capacity to erect Cynosural Field Jammer structures, which make it impossible for an aggressor force to deploy capital ships in an alliance's territory. This has the effect of forcing an attacking fleet to advance through the gate system, and ultimately translates into a substantial defensive advantage. Whenever possible, alliance wars have tended to revolve around getting Titans (with their jump bridges) into pockets of NPC space surrounded by hostile territory, so as to establish a beachhead from which attacks can be made.
Recent changes in mechanics have created one critical vulnerability in alliance defenses. The recently introduced Covert Cynosural Field Generator and Covert Jump Portal Generator modules... ignore them.
Black Ops Fleets
A black ops fleet is so named chiefly because of what it does, as well as the hardware it must be centered around in order to function. Covert CFGs and JPGs are highly specialized devices and only a very few ships can use them.
- Ships that can Carry a Covert CFG and Jump to a Covert JPG
- Covert Ops Frigates
- Stealth Bombers
- Force Recon Cruisers
- Ships that can Carry a Covert JPG and Jump to a Covert CFG
- Black Ops Battleships
As should be plainly apparent, this creates a circular relationship that naturally lends itself to creating fleets composed exclusively of ships that can use covert ops cloaks and teaming them up with black ops battleships, creating a stealth strike force that can appear anywhere with little warning. However, such fleets have some substantial limitations. Covert Ops Frigates and Force Recon Cruisers are not particularly renowned as combat vessels, and Stealth Bombers are highly specialized to serve one purpose.
Pros and Cons
As with all things in EVE, the black ops fleet has a number of strengths and weaknesses that govern when and how they should and should not be employed.
A black ops fleet can appear anywhere almost instantly. A single pilot in a covert ops ship is all that is necessary to deploy a black ops battleship to a system. A deployed formation can also withdraw just as quickly.
Consisting mostly of stealth bombers, a black ops fleet can potentially inflict enormous amounts of damage if they are able to surprise an enemy.
Aside from the black ops battleship itself (which only needs to be present in order to deploy a force, at which point it can withdraw), every ship in a black ops fleet can use covert cloaks.
A black ops fleet cannot go toe to toe with a T1 battlefleet. They are simply outgunned.
Weakness: Tech 2
Every ship capable of cooperating with a black ops battleship is a T2 vessel, and thus both expensive and skill intensive to use. It requires a substantial group effort to assemble a force build around the black ops battleship, which itself is quite expensive.