I’ve flown a Golem for about 9 years. I’ve run thousands of LVL4’s in it. I’ve tried lots of fits and styles. So, I think I’m fairly qualified to speak to its strengths and weaknesses. I’ve also flown the Rattlesnake, Machariel, Nightmare, Vindi, Barghest, and a few other T1 battleships, so I’ve got some comparison shopping under my belt.
The big difference between the two of us that I will apologize for up front is the skill point differential - it looks like you are just getting started out. I’ve had the luxury of time to dump a lot of SP into areas that really allow the Golem to shine. So I will try to tailor my advice, but may end up describing things that while, you can look forward to them, you might not be able to accomplish just yet.
If you are serious about long-term mission running in a Golem, you can’t forget about implants. As you can afford them, ramp up to the more expensive ones. I don’t recommend the 6% implants, however, as the risk / cost far outweighs the reward. I’ve had the +5’s for as long as I’ve had the Golem and haven’t regretted it a bit. (When you see ‘x’ in the implant names, sub a number 1 through 5.)
Slot 6: I recommend either the Zainou Snapshot CM-60x or TD-60x series to boost Cruise Missile or Torpedo damage. (I highly recommend torpedoes, more on that later.)
Slot 7: Zainou MP-70x series for Missile Projection. (Missiles fly faster, hence further)
Slot 8: GP-80x for tighter explosion radius on all missiles. Quintessential for large missile types.
Slot 9: TN-90x - explosion velocity bonus. Do more damage against faster moving targets.
Slot 10: RL-100x - rapid launch / increased rate of fire. Mandatory if you’re going into a career of killing things with missiles / launchers.
Marauders, including the Golem, were designed to do two things in the following order:
- Park itself in one place for a little while
- Annihilate the crap out of everything around it.
Therefore, you are right on with the bastion module.
I’m honestly not a fan of the drone link augmentor. If your drones draw aggro, and are far enough away that you actually need the agumentor, they are probably going to die by the time you can recall them. Training Drone Avionics to V and Advanced Drone Avionics to III (as I have done) gets you 54km range on drones, which should be plenty for LVL4 missions.
Instead of the DLA, I recommend a second salvager. Between your tractor beam and the help from a Mobile Tractor Unit (which I ALWAYS have in my Golem), you’ll have a lot of wrecks coming in that you’ll want to “keep up with”. As able, upgrade both the tractors and salvagers to T2. Being able to pull from 48km out instead of 40km out is huge if you use loot and wrecks as part of your income stream.
Ok, so we’ve got Bastion, Tractor, and two salvagers.
Cruise missiles I think will give you safety and range while you’re getting a feel for the Golem, its range, tactics, etc. But… once you have the skills…
Now comes the controversial part, but I need you to trust me:
You. Want. Torpedoes. On. A. Golem.
I truly believe, at the bottom of my heart, that anyone that says “Torpedoes suck - use cruise missiles”, is experiencing one of the following:
- They haven’t sunk enough SP into the right areas
- They haven’t spent the time to train into T2 torpedo ammunition and launchers
- Haven’t gotten set up with the +5 implants I describe above
- They are academics that have never witnessed first hand what the right skills + the target painter bonus can do
- They are only paying attention to the slowness of torpedoes, and assume (incorrectly) that a large portion of their DPS is wasted due to various forms of inefficiency.
Let me hit you with some stats that you can look forward to:
I can take out any non-elite frigate, destroyer, cruiser, or battlecruiser in one volley out to 65km, or 95+km if I switch to Javelin Torps.
I can take out Gist Commander and Mercenary Overlord Battleships in two volleys out to 45km, 3 volleys out to 65km.
I can take out virtually any other BS in a level 4 mission (except the couple that block e-war) in 3 volleys out to 45km, and 4 volleys out to 65km. This includes ships like Gist Cherubims, Pith Massacrer’s, Core Grand Admiral’s, etc.
It really is like clockwork.
For launchers, meta (Arbalest?) for now, T2 when you have the skills down the road. Don’t bling your launchers; no need to and the price tag starts to move you closer to gank-bait.
Let’s move on to …
A shield booster is a must, given the nature of a Golem’s bonuses and how it fights. Find what works for you based on skills. Personally, I use a Pith C-Type 95% of the time. A Gist variant might be fine - it’s all about how much rep you need and how much cap usage you can afford.
I go with two mission-specific active shield hardeners, but as someone pointed out, you can be lazy and go with 2 invuls if you really want to. (I don’t recommend this against Sansha or Blood Raiders - the EM hole is still too large on the Golem with nothing but invuls.)
I don’t think you need to go faction on your shield hardeners - meta 1, then T2 when you can fit them. (Although who knows - maybe the faction ones are cheap these days?)
Next is another point of controversy. I use 3 Republic Fleet Target painters. TPs on a Golem is one area where you want to bling. Each TP increases my target’s sig radius by * 62% *. And that’s for EACH target painter. You don’t need to start with faction target painters, but you’ll want to work your way up. This will allow you to take out even elite frigates with just a couple of volleys, in case your drones get chewed up from aggro.
In rare scenarios, you may decide to drop one of your 3 TPs in favor of adding a third mission-specific hardener. This will tend to be, in my experience, in scenarios where you take a lot of EM damage.
The 7th and final slot I fondly refer to as my “Auxilary” slot. It changes based on the mission I’m running. (I have fits saved for each mission, so I don’t have to think about my loadouts at all.)
By default, I use a missile guidance computer loaded with a precision script, and will swap to a range script if I need it. I’d say 4 out of 5 missions, my aux slot is the MGC. Sometimes I’ll swap to a Microjump drive - say for something like Worlds Collide. Others, like Gone Berzerk, I’ll drop on a MWD. (I can never seem to land where I want with an MJD on that mission.)
No need for any faction mods in the auxilary slot that I can think of.
You’re on the right track. When starting off, the damage control is a great idea, with damage mods for the rest of the lows. In my opinion, the damage mods on a Golem are another area where you’ll want to bling, because, unlike many other types of low-slot damage boosting mods, the ones you’ll use on a Golem (or any launcher-based ship) boost both rate of fire AND raw damage. Personally, I prefer the Caldari Navy Ballistic Control Units. You’ll be fine with the BCU Is for now. I even have some spare Crosslink metas I’d be happy to contract to you for cheap.
And yep, even though there’s a stiff stacking penalty, I load up all four lows with damage mods. It still makes a huge difference.
In general, for the long run, I would recommend a Fuel Cache Partition and Hydraulic Bay Thrusters to get yourself more range. With cruises, it’ll add even more safety margin, and with torps, it’ll get you those delicious stats I mentioned above. (You want the two rigs to be different so that you avoid their stacking penalty. One affects flight time, the other flight velocity.) However, if you need the other bonuses more, like raw damage, or explosion radius / velocity, feel free go with those as your skills dictate.
I generally recommend mostly light combat drones, with maybe 5 salvage drones in missions where they don’t draw aggro. I’ve found that salvage drones really do round out a Marauder’s “full clear” approach to missions. Even once you’ve killed everything, they can help speed up the clearing process by a few minutes.
Personally, I believe the biggest point of transition when flying a Golem is when you hit the skill Torpedoes V, and can start using T2 Rage ammunition. Rage Torpedoes, combined with the TP bonus, your implants, and your mods… is truly staggering. But again, it will take time. Once you can use T2 torps, you’ll use mostly Rage and standard T1 torps, along with the occasional T2 javelin for the pesky stuff that starts 100km away and flies slow. (Or you could use a prop mod to handle that scenario.)
Overall, I’m generally impressed with your fit being that it’s your first attempt. You’ve put some good thought into it and I strongly feel you are on the right track. If you feel that a demonstration of torps vs cruise would help, I’ll try to make the time to put up a youtube video or something. For now, you’ll be fine with cruise; it’ll just take awhile to complete mission.
One final note:
Launcher Rigging V really helps you eek out every drop of CPU on the Golem. Missile rigs generally spike the CPU usage of your launchers, and this can add up. Launcher Rigging IV is fine, but jacking mine up to V, I was able to get an MJD plus a decent faction shield booster.
From one Golem pilot to another, I sincerely wish you the best of luck. If you generally align yourself with my advice, you should be able to keep the fit to below 500 mil ISK, which helps reduce the bling bait factor a bit. Remember: TP and Damage mods are where you want to splurge a bit.
Let me know how it goes. Fly safe!
P.S. Skills not to forget about:
All relevant Missile Skills
Marauders (I took the time to jack mine all the way up to V, because Golem.)
Long Distance Jamming and Freq. Modulation (for your TPs)
And of course, core skills.