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Ships have a tech level, tech one being normal ships. tech 2 the specialist ships and tech 3 being even more expensive.

but looking on the wiki, certain ships have a tier level.

for example the hyperion is a tech 1 battleship but is called a tier 3. the same for the battlecruiser myrmodon which is tech 1 and tier 2 as opposed to the brutix being tech 1 tier 1.

now, the higher tier ships require more levels in the regarding skill, are often slightly better and are always more expensive.

However, using the term tier in the game itself seems to confuse people, thinking i'm meaning tech and mixing things up. i am new to eve and these people have played for years, so i was thinking, do Tiers really exist or is it something made up by the wiki?

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Tiers does exist, and are used to differentiate Tech1 ships from a same class. While being the same class, they fill diverse roles (mining ships, pew-pew ships), and their tier value allow you to find their exact roles (if you're to lazy to read their bonuses)...

Here is a french related forum thread, illustrating my point. (Translated! Traduction is probably innacurate, due to french being my natural langage. Feel free to edit if you see any mistakes.)

While being weak, frail, limited, frigates offset those points with unbeatable prices (always less than 300,000 isk). Because they are able to fit a few weapons, a propulsion module and / or a scrambler, they are always useful, would the pilote be a vet or a newbie, in PvP or PvE. There are 6 variants that exist in almost any tech 2 more powerful and specialized version:

  • tier 1 frigates : Tormentor (A), Bantam (C), Navitas (G ) & Burst (M) are optimised for mining. They are useful only for miner apprentices before moving on to a bigger ship. They are available on the market at an unbeatable price and you receive one at the beginning of the 10 missions from the early industrialist/trader career These frigates have no tech 2 equivalent.

  • tier 2 frigates : Executioner (A), Condor (C), Atron (G ) & Slasher (M) are light, fast and very affordable. By the way, their price is their only real interest, except maybe to start in PvP. One of them is given at the beginning of the 10 missions fighter career. Tech 2 version of these vessels gives Interceptors.

  • tier 3 frigates : Magnate (A), Heron (C), Imicus (G ) & Probe (M) have small exploration bonuses. Note the Probe (M) which has a great bonus to cargohold which allow him to be a good small transport ship or Cyno alt. Also note the Imicus (G) is a very good offensive frigate with its drones. Tech 2 version of these vessels gives Covert Ops.

  • tier 4 frigates : Crucifier (A), Griffin (C), Maulus (G ) & Vigil (M) have a greater interest, particularly in PvP. Indeed, these vessels are specialized for ewar. They are certainly far from having the power of a Recon but they can get their game on a battlefield. Note the notable exception of Vigil whose interest is not his ability but his ewar speed interceptor role. Tech 2 version of these vessels gives EAS.

  • tier 5 & 6 frigates : Inquisitor & Punisher (A), Kestrel & Merlin (C), Incursus & Tristan (G ), Breacher & Rifter (M) are all fighting frigates. These are generally the best tech frigates 1 in most combat situations. Some of them are particularly good and still used by veterans. A tier 6 frigate is given at the end of the 10 missions of the fighter career. The tier 5 provide the foundation for SB and those of tier 6 those of AS (except for Gallente which are reversed).

The Tier value change the required commandship skills levels requirements.

The Tier value also impacts the manufacturing needs. Higher Tier ships requires more ores. Tier values change manufacture time, BPO copy time, probability of BP invention success, etc...

I believe some more points to be also influenced, like survivability (a Punisher is sturdier than an Executionner, for exemple), or effectiveness, but i wont try to produce the whole differences list, it would take a while, and you already have the main points...

Feel free to edit my post if you think i missed something essential.

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frigates are very versatille. do you have a link to the french resource? does it go into the other ship classes? –  Andy Mar 31 '11 at 12:36
    
The link to the french source is already included in my answer. i'll edit to make the link more evident. For the other ship classes, the roles doesn't work the same way, because they often rely on different weapon systems, and have really different stats. I think it would be possible to sort them, but the roles would be really generic, such as "dps", "tank", "both at the same time"... The point is that frigates roles vary because of their Tier value, and for bigger ships, roles vary due to races background, weapon systems, etc... –  Lysarion Mar 31 '11 at 12:53
    
French thread translated. I changed the answer to a community wiki, anybody who want to add other ship class roles should feel free to help. –  Lysarion Apr 1 '11 at 9:18
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