I had one major goal coming out of my last review - to destroy more ships than I lost in the last quarter of the Punisher Plan.
I acheived that goal, destroying 12 other ships on my own, and another two as part of a team. Critically, three of my solo victories were above class kills. This allowed me to acheive another of my major goals - to join the Tuskers before their recruitement drive ended.
It's been a very good five Punishers.
Was it worth it?
With 20 Punishers behind me, I am now able to take a look at the Punisher Plan as a whole and ask myself if the process was worth it.
And, in my view, it exceeded all my expectations.
The Punisher Plan:
- encouraged me to look critically at what I wanted from my ship, and come up with a fit that balanced those (often conflicting) criteria.
- pushed me to develop the character skills that are most important in pvp - fitting, dps and tanking skills.
- pushed me to develop the player skills I needed to find and win fights.
- helped me learn the roaming skills that let me travel and hunt comfortably in low sec.
- earned me a place in an awesome pvp corp.
- gave me the confidence and self sufficiency to know that I don't need a corp to pvp.
All that aside, however, I am also a far different player than the one that started down this road, and I'm not referring to skill points. My whole attitude towards pvp has changed; it is no longer something I am trying to do, but something that I'm trying to do better. I see New Eden differently; I play the game differently.
And I mean that in a good way.
I would very strongly recommend a similar approach to any other new pilot trying to learn pvp - providing their motivation is high enough. They would not have to use Punishers, of course. They could do something similar with most T1 frigates - or even T1 crusiers. At the end of the day, the "Punisher Plan" is more about the plan than it is about the Punisher. It's about having a goal and working towards it.
So, what would I do differently, if I were to do it all over again?
As happy as I am with the results, I now know enough about pvp to recognise that I have a particular way that like to fly and that I probably started with the wrong ship.
I love tank, especially active or regenerative tank, but I also like having a level of control over the range and speed of the fight. DPS is a secondary concern for me, and I dislike having to pay too much attention to my weapon system once the fight starts - I'm focusing more on cap and tank.
While the Punisher definitely offers tank, it is slow, and has no room for a web. I simplified my weapons as much as possible with the Gatling Pulse Laser (great tracking, zero falloff), but I have missed more than one smooth change over from Multifrequency to Scorch. I suspect that I will love missiles when I get there.
My Punisher fit was a series of compromises. I lacked the tank of other Punisher fits, but could hit over 1000km/s with overheat, and my lasers required less attention than autocannons would have. I would certainly not recommend my Punisher fittings as a general build, and if/when I return to Punishers I will probably re-evaluate my fit.
Taken together, I probably should have started with something Caldari. I may still end up flying Caldari at some point, but right now I lack the skills to do so, and the Amarr T2 ships are beckoning.
Flying only one ship for several months has taught me a great deal about pvp, but it has left me with a pretty narrow skill set. I now want to mess about with a number of T2 frigates, each building on the new skills needed by the previous ship, to get an idea of what I want to be flying full time. I'll post more on that tomorrow, however.