Sunday, March 2, 2014

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the T1

So, during my last post, I mentioned how afterburner fits are essential when hunting faction warfare pilots (ie. about half of low-sec).  The natural starting point of any pilot in applying this thinking is to take your usual fits and adjust them by swapping out for an afterburner.  For me, this usually means T2.

Tiericide really annoyed me.  I personally believe pilots who have shown enough dedication to the game to be able to fly T2 ships well should be rewarded with ships that are better across the board, not simply in one specialized area.  Don’t get me wrong, I understand what CCP was trying to do with the effort… making PvP accessible to the newer players in the game.  But it still takes something away from the game.

What makes combat in Eve exciting?  How does Eve differ from any other game we could play?  Every single loss represents either time, isk, or effort.  Every single loss hurts.  When I’m flying a faction-fit Cynabal, my heart beats faster, my mind is whirling, and – most importantly – the dopamine goes drip, drip, dripping into my bloodstream.

The fact that I’ve put a lot of isk on the table is exhilarating, and that’s what causes me to fume when I lose it – either because of some cheap trick (which actually isn’t) or my own stupid mistake.

Don’t believe that this is how people across the world think?  Try playing poker with free chips you hand out at the beginning of the game, “for fun”.  Then play poker when you’ve actually put money on the table.  The way you play will be completely different.  The thrill is completely different.

You’ll actually care.

And that’s what people are paying for when they subscribe to Eve… satisfaction and engagement.  And when you reduce the r(isk) involved in PvP fight, you’re changing the meta in a way that lowers engagement.  “Oh no, I lost a kestrel… big deal.”

And I refused to fall into that T1 hole until I was traveling back from a fleet fight, saw a Kestrel in a complex, engaged it, and promptly died in a horribly shameful way.  Yes, he kited me.  Yes, I should have known better.

But in that moment, I threw up my hands and gave up the ghost.  I was so impressed by how easily that Kestrel tore up blaster boats that I convo’d the pilot who killed me and got his fit.  Fully fitted, it's only 10 million isk.  I now have fourteen of them in staging, and I’ve already killed a few like this one with it, and he even had friends nearby.  If I can get range on any blaster frigate, they don’t stand a chance.

I won’t say T2 is dead… I can still see plenty of situations where I can and should use them.  But their age has passed.  For all the reasons above, it’s a sad thing.  But it’s still a thing.

So, you can mark up that engagement for killing off another member of the “old guard”.    The rise of T1 is a reality.  I’m flying them when the situation merits it.  But my satisfaction at killing one is minimal, and I simply don’t care when I lose one.  Yes, I still get a surge at watching that explosion, but it’s much smaller than when I’m actually killing something worth killing.

And that’s a very bad thing for Eve.

I just hope CCP doesn’t gauge the success of tiericide by the number of people who convert to T1 ships in consequence.  That’d be a misread of the situation.  It's simply a matter of using the right tool for the job.  As I said before, I don’t usually gloat over T1 frigate kills, unless there’s something very unique about the situation.

I’d rather kill one Vagabond than a hundred T1 frigates.  And that more memorable kill will form the core of an Eve story that I might tell someone else.  And that, my friends, is engagement and content.

Yet, if everyone else is flying T1 and it’s more effective than T2, I have no choice but to join them.  Play the game in front of you, not the one in your head.  I’ll love the T1 because I have to.  But I’ll look forward to the day my enemies all start flying the expensive ships again.


  1. There's still a benefit to flying T2 and there's still a fair amount of people flying them. A Hawk is an excellent solo ship, recons logi and eafs can be great for small gang work. And Inty roams are amazing now.

    The T1 tiericide brought out a lot of targets that we wouldn't have seen in low sec or null sec before. Poor or new players who don't have the isk or skill for a Vaga.

    1. This is true, of course. And I'm certain the overall PvP population has increased dramatically since tiericide. But I find I'm in the category of high-stakes poker players facing opponents who have the option of playing at 1/10th cost... Of course I'm going to do the same, but some of the thrill of a 250 mil ship vs. a 250 mil ship is gone.

      Net gain for CCP, though, at least as far as membership goes short-term.