This is clearly awesome for the game, but these returning players seem to share the same sense of disconnection that I found when I returned. New Eden has changed a lot over the last few years.
This is a slightly modified Evemail that I received from one such player, reproduced with their permission.
I was hoping that you won't mind me eve-mailing you. I've taken great inspiration from your blog before, but failed to turn it into a reality.
The way you play, mostly nothing too expensive, no fear, fun frig size. But I find myself struggling to put myself into those positions.
I could park myself in a low sec belt... wait for something. But all the time my mind saying, I wonder if the one who's just popped into local has 3 mates on the other side of the gate. So I bug back to the station.
I have plenty of isk, it's more a switch in my mind I think. I need to say screw it, even if I lose some ships.
Are low sec belt a good place to start this? Or FW? I don't want to really become pirate/-10 and hte hassle that goes with that. Maybe that means I shuold try FW....
You must do lots of reading/research. As straight away you know what the likely fit is of most things you come across, and situationally what area is the right kind of system in the universe.
I am mostly Gallente with Minmatar, and my skills are very good on paper. I've been flying around in Comets recently. But maybe that's the issue, I need to switch into insurable ships where teh loss is less. I have plenty of kills, but mostly in gang, always reliant on a FC to guide me.
I remember reading your tusker criteria to get in, class above kill etc. I think that'd be a good goal for me, help motivate me. But first I've got to get my first solo kill full stop, hopefully that will get min the groove.
Thanks for reading my mail. If you have any useful advice on this it would be great to hear back.
I think faction warfare is probably a good fit for you. Alternatively, you could look into Red v Blue, but I'm familiar with that only by reputation.
The advantage of faction warfare is that neither you nor your opponent need to worry about security status losses when you engage each other. The (com)plex system is also good at matching up similar ships - if you are in a novice plex, you know that you won't have to face anything that is not a T1 or faction frigate. You also have the opportunity to control the initial range of the engagement, and to see the enemy before he lands. This helps avoid extremely one-sided engagements.
Plus, the loyalty points you gain while plexing will help pay for your losses. All in all, I'd recommend it to anyone looking to learn solo pvp, with the caveat that you want to avoid fighting in the most heavily populated systems if you are flying solo, as plexes don't prevent you from being outnumbered!
The disadvantage of faction warfare is the need for a neutral hauling alt. This does not need a separate account - I have a second character on my single account with less than 100k skill points to haul ships for me so that I don't have to worry about them being blown up in transit (at least, no more worried than anyone else).
Edit: After the 15th I'll probably start a new alpha clone account for even better market & hauling skills.
While I do conduct lots of research, I find I don't really 'learn it' until I've actually gone out and done it a few times. There is just so much difference between 'knowing' something when posting on a forum or a blog, and 'knowing' it during that critical 2 second window when it really matters!
The good news for you is that Gallente T1 ships are quite strong. In fact, the Tristan is probably the best T1 frigate in the game by a fairly wide margin. Part of this is because it can be fit three different ways, so whereas you know what a Tormentor is likely to do as soon as you see it on Dscan, the Tristan is more of a wild card.
Atrons are also good - they are so fast that although I've fought them several times, I've only managed to kill one recently, as they have the speed and range control to disengage when things are going wrong. Like most fast ships, though, they are fairly unforgiving of mistakes.
Edit: For non-Gallente players, the Kestrel and the Tormentor are very strong. Minmatar pilots probably want to look to the Breacher.
Of course, the important thing is that you enjoy what you fly. I'm probably too picky about my ships, but the difference between flying something that I like - such as my Tormentor - and something I don't is massive. I perform better, and I'm more eager to go out and find fights. Sometimes this means not flying the 'best' ships, but this is meant to be fun, after all.
Oh, and one comment in particular stood out - that mental block we all have about losing ships. I don't know if you've read my old blog posts, but when I started Eve, I had 'the Punisher Plan'. The idea was that I would buy, and deliberately lose, 20 Punishers. I recorded every fight, thought about what went wrong, and then tried to do better. I lost my fear of getting blown up, and by the time I was done I had met the qualifying kill requirements for the Tuskers.
While I would no longer recommend the Punisher (and frankly, even back then it was a poor choice), I found the process incredibly helpful, and would strongly suggest it to anyone new to solo pvp.
I hope this helps. Do let me know how you get on. Do you mind if I post a modified version of this convo at some point? I suspect there are other players in a similar situation, who might find this useful.
If you know any new or returning players who are struggling to get into solo pvp, feel free to point them to this post, or this blog generally. Ideally, they will learn from my mistakes, so they can make fewer of their own.