Capitals are the big, expensive ships called Dreadnoughts, Carriers and Titans. There are two types of Carriers - normal ones, and supercapitals, or perhaps Tier 1 and Tier 2.
Capitals do not use the jump gates that you're familiar with. They move between player-created cynosaural fields. This allows them to move across great distances. Jumping consumes fuel. Cyno fields are placed where required by a ship with a cyno generator fitted. If curious, you can see them listed in the Star Map, under 'Color stars by... Cynosaural fields'. Capitals can dock in stations and some POSes.
Capitals can go into 0.4 at most, no more. The ship section of my guide talks a little more about them. They're very expensive to buy (2B at least) and take at least a years' training to be able to pilot. They look awesome, though, and are absolutely huge. It's hard to imagine their size until you are alongside one.
Motherships are large Carriers, but are vastly different in a few ways. They are built differently, requiring a POS with a Capital Construction Yard (or something similar) and have the same electronic warfare immunity abilities as Titans. Not to mention the exorbitant cost of around 30bn ISK. Generally, if a new player sees one of those, they shouldn't stick around to marvel at it's beauty and grandeur. (Thanks to Asestorian for this info).
How is a POS built?
You buy Control Tower from NPCs in empire along with other components and POS fuel. The tower consumes some fuel each day. POS typically have a ship array to store ships and refit them, a hangar array that only your corp has accesss to, some guns and e-war modules for self-defense. You can also refine ore and build things at a POS.
One POS can be anchored against each moon of a solar system.
- Outposts are essentially NPC stations without agents, many of their functions can be set by the alliance who claims sovreignty over the system.
- A few stations in 0.0 are NPC-owned (example: Stain region is controlled by Sansha).
- Conquerable outposts (non-NPC ones) are owned by player alliances. A conquerable outpost belongs to whoever holds sovereignty of the system. These stations are built by players.
What is "reinforced"?
When a POS is sieged by an attacking fleet it goes into reinforced mode when its shields reach 30%. The POS can keep shooting at you when reinforced. It also becomes invulnerable but the length of this invulnerability is determined by the amount of strontium it has loaded up. This can be from 1 hour to a week. After reinforced it becomes vunerable again and can be then recharged, or destroyed by the attacking force.
How do capital ships warp between systems?
Another ship mounts a cyno generator as a module and creates a cyno field. When activated the capital ship can jump a number of light years to it.
What is the role of carriers and motherships?
Massive tank, best drones, huge cargo bays. Fighters (uniquely for drones) can warp after their targets. Fighters can also be assigned to other ships and can be commanded by those ships.
What are Dreadnoughts for?
Dreadnoughts can basically only hit stationery objects when in siege mode, and so are really designed for killing POS towers. Siege mode enormously increases damage done by the dreadnought.
How are covert ships used in large fleet ops?
They find the enemy ships and provide a warp in point.
How are command ships used in large fleet ops?
Tech 2 Battlecruisers. Incredible tanks, and good all round. They also are able to fit very powerful modules for gang bonuses. However the fleet system is largely believed to cause lag so it is a trade off.
How are war-decs handled and what are the victory conditions?
War decs allow you to fight in hi-sec without interference.