Battleships are a class of spaceship, and are some of the oldest types of space-faring vessel to be used today. As the largest sub-capital vessel, they are the backbone of any modern fleet, with battleships capable of filling a myriad of different roles outside of direct ship-to-ship combat. They are tremendously armored and carry a great deal in raw firepower, though can be vulnerable to smaller vessels. Battleships currently have two advanced variants: Black Ops and Marauders.
The earliest use of battleships was by the Amarr Empire during their stellar expansion over a thousand years ago. As warp and jump drives had yet to be invented, these vessels had to traverse the immense distance between stars, carrying thousands of colonists and hundreds of troops, while still possessing some limited combat capabilities. Having to fill in all these roles at once meant that these first battleships were huge in scope.
The Gallente used battleships during the early days of the Gallente-Caldari War. These cumbersome vessels were purely military in nature, being designed for orbital bombardment, troop transport and logistical support of smaller vessels, such as combat cruisers. As a result, they were ineffective against the single-man fighters used by the Caldari, the Gallente battleships equipped with inadequate point defenses to counter them. The invention of drones (particularly ship-launched ones) proved an effective countermeasure, the Federation battleships now being able to retain their role as military supply platforms with sufficient offensive and defensive capabilities against smaller vessels.
After Gallente-Amarr first contact and fear of war with one another grew, battleships were developed with the specific goal of engaging other vessels of similar size. Point defenses were stripped down in favor of combat drones, and additional large weapons were fitted instead, with the overall size of battleships being scaled down somewhat. Today, battleships have been widely available to the civilian market, operated by empire and pirate faction alike, though it is rare to see minor corporations operate them, due to the immense personnel requirements of the vessels.
Battleships are large vessels that are designed for maximum firepower and survivability, with little concern for speed. As a result, they have huge energy and crew requirements, with power and propulsion systems taking up a large portion of the hull’s volume. However, battleships retain their legacy of long-term deployments, as well as not being able to dock at most places outside of stations, which means that an equally large segment of these ships are dedicated to living and accommodation. Combining these two factors with a battleship’s capacity for logistical support has made this class of vessel rather large overall.
Battleships have concourses as their main thoroughfares, with a network of interconnected corridors that weave through the hull. Multiple life support systems exist independent of one another, each covering separate areas of the vessel. In the event of hull breach, such areas can be isolated. Similarly, each weapon hardpoint or spaceship engine has its own dedicated engineering section, which is connected to the primary capacitor core in the heart of the vessel. There is usually one or more decks completely dedicated to accommodation or recreation, in addition to crew quarters in specific areas (such as in engineering, where rapid response is required to an emergency).
Large cargo bays are prevalent on battleships, necessary for carrying ammunition and logistical supplies, or sometimes troops and supplies on certain variants. Some battleships can be outfitted to be little more than armored transports, or support platforms for larger fleets. Drone bays are prevalent on most battleship classes, and are the primary defense against smaller vessels. These drone bays can sometimes be retrofitted to berth dropships of varying sizes, which is useful in fleets with planetary invasion in mind.
Battleship personnel requirements number in the thousands, with some capsule-fitted variants reducing this figure to the upper hundreds. On non-frontline battleships, the families of crew members are often present, which runs up the total number of bodies on a battleship to nine thousand in some instances. They are practically self-contained towns, with a significant amount of bodies dedicated to logistics, services and other duties not dedicated to the physical operation of the ship. There are fitness centers, bars, eateries and so forth on battleships, and numerous personnel employed to each. Battleships also require a significant security contingent, as security threats often emerge from the many bodies on board.
Captains and other senior officers on battleships need extensive experience in managing large volumes of personnel. While it is perfectly possible to defer duties and responsibilities down the very large chain-of-command, only few commanders can survive under the pressure of the survival of several thousand people. In empire navies, command of a battleship is almost compulsory for ascension to flag rank. Recruits assigned to battleships, whether junior officers or rank-and-file, often find it extremely difficult to ascend up the ladder, as there are hundreds of other crew members to compete with.
For this reason, as far as rookie crew members go, the gamble as to whether one will be assigned to a cruiser or a battleship for their first tour has become quite common amongst spacer culture.