Friday, 1 July 2011

Back at the beginning

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 Stabber
A 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.


  1. What Vengeance fit do you use? I have some that I will donate for you to continue your blog.

  2. As a fellow explorer, a heads up: there was an unannounced nerf to exploration in the last patch. Scan probes now all count towards scan strength but have had their power cut by half, making exploration notably slower and more skill-intensive.

    On the plus side, the price of exploration loot seems to have gone up a bit in response, so there's a small silver lining.

  3. fecking foksieloy, all over the blogs. + one for hooking you up with some ships or modules to help a fellow blogger out. PM me in game, aznwithbeard

  4. Wow. Thanks, guys, that's very generous of you.

    I'm currently flying a Vengeance with:

    Rocket Launcher II (x4)
    1MN Afterburner II
    J5b Phased Prototype Warp Scrambler
    X5 Prototype Engine Enervator
    Small Armor Repairer II
    Damage Control II
    Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II
    Adaptive Nano Plating II
    Small Anti-Thermic Armor Pump
    Small Capacitor Control Circuit

  5. Check your contracts. Now you have no excuse. :)

  6. lol

    I'll get straight to work, then!

    Many thanks.

  7. Yeah I have the same fit got three in Rens for you where is best for the contract?

  8. As I'm back in Hev now, Raneilles is probably easiest, but I can collect from anywhere in high sec; no need for you to go any further out of your way than you already are.

  9. A question WRT "unbreakable safes":

    Do you mean this because the exploration sites are so far away from celestial objects (and/or not in line between them)?

    Oh, I thought of another question:

    Can you scan down a cloaked ship?

  10. "Unbreakable" safes are safe spots that are not between two celestials, which means that you can only be found if someone uses combat probes.

    Safes between celestials can be broken without probes by pilots with a little time on their hands. I've done it a few times; see for an example.

    And no, you can't probe down cloaked ships.