Eve is a game of horizons. You can play for years, skilling towards becoming the perfect pilot for a specific ship. Just when you reach that goal, you find yourself keenly aware of your limitations. So, you need to train for the next one, and the next.
For my part, I wanted to learn to be a good solo and small gang PvPer, so my first priority was to play “catch up” by topping off all the basic fitting and competency skills (shield, armor, etc.), then top off my cruiser/medium-and-below spaceship command and weapon skills. Only after that did I start working on capital skills.
Now, Talvorian is sitting pretty well, able to fly all carriers and dreads, as well as T2 siege. In fact, that’s been the case for about a year now, though I rarely fly capitals.
You see, capital warfare has always been beyond the next horizon for me. I can sit in them, I can follow commands, but I really just don’t “get” them yet. With my schedule of availability, I’m hit or miss for large capital fleets, and there were always other kinds of gameplay I needed to practice more.
Yesterday, I went on a fleet that had several of my corpmates multiboxing capitals, and it made me jealous. I wanted to do that. But, I have enough awareness to know I don’t have the “soft skills” to fly them. I completely missed the boat on the carrier changes; I read the patch notes of course, but I never previously flew carriers in combat situations, so I didn’t really take the time to understand what those changes meant.
Fighter squadrons? Getting them to stay stationary as they attack instead of orbit their target? What does their damage application actually look like in real situations? I hear some pilots talking about carrier ratting having gotten a huge boost; is that true? I’m told that fighters can destroy subcaps now, so they’re much more effective against fleets attempting to tackle and kill them than they used to be. But I haven’t risked trying to tackle one myself yet. What does that actually mean?
Well, the only way to learn is to try. I plan on spending a little time on the Singularity test server, trying a few things to try to challenge myself. How much stronger are dreads than carriers, or vice versa? How well do HAW dread guns track? The only way to know is to take my alliance fits, and have my characters shoot at each other to try it out.
Over the past few months, Eve has been really engaging to play – either solo, small-gang, or with NC. fleets – and I’ve been having a lot of fun. But writing about Eve has been more of a challenge. I was in a bit of a self-inflicted rut. I had lost some of the wonder you feel when exploring something new.
But not now. From learning more about FCing to capital changes to market trading, I’ve been finding new things to dabble with. I credit the market trading with freeing up my time, actually. I’ve been able to earn isk by fulfilling needs, rather than by shooting red crosses, which has really freed up my time to try new things. It’s convenient in light of the apparently huge decline in escalations and loot drops.
But, yes, even five years in, I can still find something to interest me with this game. We don’t remain the same from month to month, not even day-to-day. I find myself actually enjoying making contracts for alliance fits, and managing the supply chain to prevent myself from running out of stock. It’s oddly satisfying.
Flexibility is the key. Find those gaps in your knowledge and fill them, and this game will continue to surprise you.