Over the past few months, I've gotten some questions about wormhole Rorquals. Wether it's worth it to build them, how to build them, how to use them etc etc. I, personally, have built two. So after Darth Normski mentioned I should write one, it seemed like a good topic for this week.
What Is A Rorqual You Ask?
The Rorqual. Ever since it was on the drawing board I've dreamed about owning and flying one. Big Mama Ore. The road to owning one in a wormhole you can't jump it in is very long and hard, frought with extremely hard work and peril. But at the end, is it worth it? Hell yes it is! Straight off the top you will earn 20-25% more for your minerals as opposed to refining them in the Intensive Refining Array.
A couple questions a corp should ask about wether it should decide to build a Rorqual or not. First would be, how long does the corp plan on staying in the wormhole? Building a Rorq can be a billion isk investment into the hole you're living in, and it can't be removed, only self destructed.(unless you live in a C5-6, in which case you're probably not reading blogs like this) You should plan on staying for 3-6 months to completely recoup your Rorq investment. If you're just hole jumping around, doing the nomad lifestyle, then this is not the choice for you.
Second question would be wether your corp can handle the logistics of building something larger than even a Dreadnought. The Rorqual takes MILLIONS upon MILLIONS of high sec minerals like tritanium and pyerite that you will never be able to mine out of your wormhole. It must come from outside. I already made my arguements about the two ways to build carriers, and they both apply here. Wether you bring the minerals inside and produce the components inside, or you build them outside and bring in components only, that's your decision. But is your corp up to it?
Why Should I Own One In A Wormhole?
So what does the Rorqual do to make it so indispensible to some wormhole types? It's foremost job is compressing ore. It does this by using a module called an Industrial Core module. While this core is turned on, the Rorqual can be used to compress ore.
A number of things about the Industrial Core. It's heavy, weighing in at 4k m3. As with all capital ship modules, be prepared for that. Also, make sure you know that it requires it's own skills on top of those required to fly the Rorqual, so just being able to fly the ship will not make you an ore compressing master of minerals. Requiring Mass Production V, Advanced Mass Production IV, this is some serious training in places your Rorqual pilot may not already be proficient, I know mine wasn't because you don't want your best miner flying this ship. He's going to spend all his time sitting at the POS, boosting and compressing. It really is best left to an alt or a professional Orca pilot.
When activated, the Industrial Core puts the Rorqual into "Siege Mode". It transforms the Rorqual into a non-moveable ore compression base for the duration of the cycle. Each cycle lasts five minutes. Notice I said "non-moveable". The Rorqual cannot move, to jump, to warp, to even ignite it's subspace engines, while in deployed mode. This, along with it being a massive slow cap ship, are the reasons to never take the Rorqual into your mining sites.
And when you activate the core, the Rorq "transforms", basically sitting
up in a vertical position, switching it's storage bays and generally
looking like an old toy I used to have from the Mega Force line. Loved those things.
The Industrial Core requires fuel, heavy water in the Rorq's case. You have the capacity to store 25k of heavy water in it's fuel bay. This will get you through 3 hours of boosting or compression time.
Initiating the Industrial Core also applies more mining bonuses for your boosted squad. With the core not engaged, cycle times with just the mining gang links going are 139.5 seconds and 22.593 range. This is on a character with Capital Industrial Command Ships IV. V takes a ridiculous 68 days 20 hours, so that's not on my training schedule.
With the Industrial Core engaged, the cycle time drops to 123.30 seconds and a range of 25.631. So it can save you alot of extra time with the core going, depending on how many mining lasers you are actually boosting.
To actually compress ore, you must have the Compression BPOs. I store mine inside the Rorq. You want four for each type of ore you'll be compressing, since the Rorq has only four production lines available. Ore to be compressed goes into the Rorq cargo bay. The more cargo room you have, the more ore you can compress at once. That is why I cargo rigged it and it has all expander IIs in the lows, giving me 126k of cargo room, which only allows me to do 7k arkonor, or seven "units" of compressed ark at a time. Each ore varies, so you'll have to check the BPOs to find out what the compression size actually is.
So with the core running, you fill your cargo with the ore you want to compress, right click your BPO and act like you're going to manufacture something from the BPO, which you are. Try to get the max amount of runs for the type of ore you have and it then takes five minutes to run the production. Run all four if you can, because you're eating heavy water to do this.
After you're done you can transport all your compressed ore out into k-space to your favorite refining station and refine it for 100%, or as good as you can get it. Generally we aren't picky and just hit the closest for a 5% tax loss. Compressed ore refines just like normal ore.
Doesn't The Rorqual Have Tractor Bonuses And Huge Storage?
Why yes, yes it does. It also aligns like an Endorian moon trying to get out of the Death Star's path.
Hint: it didn't make it.
So what's the proper way to use a Rorqual? It has tractor bonuses and that huge cargo bay, right? It can use mining drones and keep an entire mining fleet going. So should it be in the field? Short answer, hell no.
Long answer, WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING GET BACK INSIDE THE FORCEFIELD NOW OMGWTFBBQ!
This is assuming you're in a wormhole, and you don't have a corp with 20+ members online at all times. If you can guard the miners full time, then sure! Go ahead and put the cap ship in the belt. As long as you are prepared to lose it, do what you wish with it.
If you're like me and mine, you don't have that combat fleet to keep the Rorq safe. So it's safety overrides all bonuses we may have for it being in the field. As such, we treat it like a big Orca. It stays in the POS force field at ALL times. At first, I tried looking up "Battle Rorqual" fits and such, and just found out if the Rorq engages anyone, it's most likely dead. It's not worth building another one to be lazy with this one.
To recap: The Rorqual does not leave the force field!
Logistics: Does Your Corp Have Them?
What does it take to build one of these suckers? To start, it needs everything that carrier I built needs. An X-Large Ship Assembly Array, Component Assembly Array if you're building the cap ship parts inside the wormhole, and TONS of minerals.
Here's what it takes in minerals:
It takes at ME4:
123 mil tritanium
28 mil pyerite
10 mil mexallon
According to Eve Smith, it takes a current price of 1.3 BIL in minerals to make a Rorq. Over 600 mil of that is in high sec minerals that you cannot mine in sufficient quantities inside your wormhole. This entire thought process also applies to dreadnoughts you wish to make.
So, you need to be comfortable with the fact that you may possibly lose a 1.3 bil cap ship if you get invaded. For me, it's more of a question if I can pay for the Rorq in skills and experiences before I may be forcibly removed. So of course my answer was yes.
Everyone is going to come to their own conclusions on this subject, and a Rorq isn't for everyone. I probably wouldn't build one in a C1, but some people have and will do so again. If you've got deep roots in a system, no reason to not make them deeper.