Today, Taurean Eltanin is 6 months old, and in so many ways I feel like I have come full circle, finding myself back at the beginning.
To begin with, I'm broke.
Molden Heath wiped out my savings. Or rather, getting blown up and podded over and over again in Molden Heath wiped out my savings.
So, just like when I was a complete rookie, I have to turn my attention to grinding some ISK. What worked once may well work twice, so I'm going to be focusing on exploration for the next little while.
At a minimum, I want to have five, fully fit, T2 frigates in the hangar before I jump back into pvp. I also want a cash float for ammo, implants, and other random emergencies. This means that I probably need to raise about 200 million at a bare minimum; while T2 frigates are cheap compared to many ships out there, they are still far more expensive than their T1 counterparts.
Exploration income is erratic at best, so it is difficult to know how long it will take me to raise this kind of money. It could happen in a single awesome but exhausting weekend, or it could take me a couple of weeks of week-night grinding. Either way, expect a few more "opinion" pieces for the next little while; pvp is temporarily off the menu.
I'm also somewhere completely new.
While much of New Eden is now familiar to me, the place I have just moved to, Hevrice, is not. This is being back at the beginning in a very good way, though. I love exploring new areas, and I am really looking forward to getting to know my new home.
New homes involve a great deal of work, however. Bookmarks need to be made, and intel on the locals gathered. In this sense, exploration will be very handy. It's an excellent way of generating unbreakable (sans probes) safe spots, and it will give me a fairly safe tour of the local area.
Even more excitingly, I have a new ship.
I have decided to focus on the Vengeance. Although I have been blown up with alarming regularity in this little ship, there seems to be so much potential here.
It literally does everything I want a ship to do, with the sole exception of being about 400m/s too slow (my ideal cruising speed is 1200m/s). I'm willing to try and learn to live with that, though.
The next step in my "Vengeance Plan" is to start maxing out my relevant skills. I have devised two skill plans - a "core" plan and a "support" plan. Taken together, these plans absolutely max out a Vengeance, and they will take me nearly nine months to finish.
The core plan is the plan that I will focus on first. This includes the most directly useful skills, such as weapons, navigation, cap, and tank skills. Completing this plan will take about four months.
The support plan consists of skills that still technically improve the Vengeance, but do so in a fairly marginal or peripheral way. Shield skills fall into this category, as do some of the core skills at level V - the armor compensation skills at level V, for example, provide a minuscule benefit for the training time involved. The support plan will take another four months or so.
Until I put these skill plans together, I thought I had pretty good support skills. After all, I had been playing the game for six months, focusing exclusively on frigates. Boy, was I wrong. Although I may be flying my Vengeance at 90% efficiency right now, that final 10% is difference between a killmail and a lossmail against other pvp pilots. I have more skills than I need against haulers and industrialists, but those are not the fights I'm really looking for.
But I'm still being silly about my targets.
Although I still haven't posted all my Molden Heath fights, when I look back on my recent battles I see:
A pvp fit Drake
A pvp fit Drake
A pvp fit Stabber
A pvp fit Rupture
A pvp fit Rupture
When I look at my first five fights from the Punisher Plan I see:
A pvp fit Navy StabberA pvp fit Osprey
A pvp fit Osprey
A pvp fit Curor AND a pvp fit Firetail
A pvp fit Stabber
If anything, I have become even more ambitious in my selection of targets. I did not do well then, and I have not done well now.
Pretty much my favourite thing in Eve is soloing above class ships, and I certainly can't give that up for any length of time. But I have to give it up for the time being. I am under skilled and under experienced with the ship I am flying, and I need to be far more realistic about the fights I can actually win.
As my skills improve - both in game and out - I can slowly start to broaden my engagement envelope. But until then, I need to stop hunting obvious pvp cruisers with several years worth of skill points on me. And absolutely NO battle cruisers. I don't know why, but giving up my Drake fixation will be extraordinarily difficult. Some people love to blow up Dramiels, I love to blow up Drakes.
To some extent, this is because I lost my focus.
Coming out of the discipline and restrictiveness of the Punisher Plan, I think I treated the T2 Tour as some kind of giant holiday. I flew recklessly, walked into obvious traps, and in many cases deliberately picked fights that I knew were unwinnable.
While it's important to blow off steam from time to time, the cost (in ISK) has been high. I also don't feel like I have improved as much over the T2 Tour as I did over similar periods of the Punisher Plan.
So, the holiday is over, and it's time to get back to work.