The test server mirrors you every so often. Right now, there, I'm about 1.5mil SP behind myself. For an older toon that might not be a lot. For me, I no longer can use my hurricane. So, I remade my trusty Jag that I fly everywhere and went out to learn some shit.
I'm putting an afterburner on the next one.
Once I fit my ship I danced around fretting and then finally committed and randomly warped to a combat zone. About two minutes in I was targeted by another assault frig and we started going at it. I learned a lot.
In PvP I am normally in someones face beating at them. However, this time I realized that the other ship had short beam lasers and I had barrage ammo that gave me range they didn't have. So, I kept getting out of their range and chewing away at them. I zoomed further out and started double clicking all over to try to keep range and manually orbit. They'd MWD in towards me every time we got apart and chew at me again. However, I'd regain shields and they'd miss me as I went out of range. The entire time I'm successfully landing a steady stream of hits.
Then, another assault frig appeared and targeted me. Then I was webed down, trying to escape two people, already in 1/8th shields and 75% armor. I popped pretty quickly after that. However, we fought for a good 4 or 5 minutes before the other guy came in.
I'm really enthused. This going out and dying had a lot of value. However, I feel like I can understand the value more. It is not just a matter of 'he is better then me so I died' but I feel that I learned something, I noticed stuff in combat. I, did a better job then I have done.
Two of my corp mates logged on and we ran around in a little fleet of two Machariel's and a Jaguar. The funniest thing was how much attention was devoted to my poor Jag. At one point, the Machs are blapping the shit out of everything and my jag is webed, scramed, jamed, neuted with 15 drones trying to kill me and a Loki chasing me down.
I really enjoyed stretching my Jag's legs out and seeing how much damage it could take and deal.