Tuesday, November 27, 2012

On Waiting: My Battle with Battleships

Today I quote Diz some. We were talking about skill training the other night. I'm now almost done with Gallente Cruiser V. I've been waiting to undock my Cynabal until it was learned after long discussions on skills for the ship before undocking the ship. I've had some conversations from people who do not feel that the wait was needed for Gallente Cruiser V.

Waiting isn't the easiest thing to do. It often seems counter intuitive in a video game. Yet, when discussing Eve with a new player one must often counsel them to patience. What Diz said was that I was taught to wait to skill fully into a ship. That I embraced that teaching and learned the reward of being maxed skilled into things. It may have made me a bit of a skill snob. I'm not sure. I don't think that every skill must be trained to level five. But sometimes they should be.

It was a very true discussion. From that view point of reward in waiting I give my advice and opinion on ships and fitting. Also, because of that embracement (and a some stubbornness) I don't yet fly battleships. I don't feel that I am ready to fly battleships. One is because I am not yet skilled into them. In this, skilled means T2 guns because I am fully T2 equipped in my tank and support modules. And ready itmeans to take into battle. Part of my life in low sec is knowing that all of my ships must be ready to fight or flee at any moment. My Noctis is meant to flee but any battleship that I settle my pod into in low sec better be the effective killing machine that it is meant to be.

Many people wind up in Battleships pretty early on in the game. It is a natural progression with mission running which is a primary source of income for many new characters.

I went that route as well. With Chella, not Sugar. I had a Dominix by the end of my first month and I was excited. I was so excited. I was going to make ISK and run level 4 missions. This amazing ship would help me because I sucked in my Myrmadon. But the Myrm was only a battlecruiser and the Domi was a battleship. It would be better. It would be a thousand times better. I'd be able to tank damage and deal DPS and my T2 drones would devastate the hoards of NPC pirates that stood between me and my ISK filled future.

I was so proud. However, the first time I took it out I realized that I wasn't ready for it. I couldn't finish a mission and my fit was terrible. I had drone mods and small guns to kill frigates and cruisers. I had no gun skills to speak of so my damage was minimal and pathetic. I had been told to do things and fit things but I had not had skills explained to me and the importance of support skills emphasized.

It was terrible. I sold it a few weeks later after flying it twice, talking to some different people, finding out that my fit was so terrible that it was painful, and deciding to stick to doing what I was enjoying doing and not rush into doing things because everyone else can. It was a very big eye opener for me about the difference between sitting in a ship and flying a ship.

Not everyone has a negative experience with their first battleship. While battleships are skillpoint intensive they are also very forgiving because they are so powerful. The forgiving nature of the ship filling in some of the lack of the player causes the player to feel that they are better fit for the ship then they are. It is situational. A poorly skilled battleship may struggle through a mission faster then a battlecruiser

It gives a sense of accomplishment. I spent a lot of the start of this year bemoaning what felt like my utter lack of ability due to my skill plan. I was still being productive and making ISK but I was not doing it on the common path of missions running levels 1 to 2 to 3 to 4 flying frigs to cruisers to battlecruisers to battleships.

At the start, when Eve is a constant battle of hurdles and the player still has a taste for immediate rewards this is understandable. It takes a while for the difference in support skills and secondary skills to be felt. What the person is doing in game matters. Someone who is running missions and someone who is PvPing regularly will have two different experience and thought process because of the differences in game play.

And ready is one of the key phrases here. While the motto may be, "Don't fly what you can't afford to lose," I think it should also cover "Don't fly what you can't fit properly" and "Don't fly what you can't fly properly."

But those are hard choices to make. They can be game breaking choices as well. Because of it, I have a filter for high sec mission running battleships. I try to find that balance between 'good idea' and 'fun game play'. Not everyone moves or wants to move to low sec or null with a corp to nurture and teach them and give them the support that they need. Because we want players to play and feel successful enough to stick with the game concessions need to be made somewhere. It is such a touchy point in Eve. Where does 'proper' and 'fun' meet at a crossroad? Many people will find more satisfaction in getting the ship that they want right now over waiting what may be several months to get into the ship later but better.

It is when they bring those ships out of high sec or when they do not understand game mechanics and lose them or when they bling them out that they lose them. It is easy for me to say "Don't do it!" It is a lot harder to give people a reason to do so before they meet the reason itself.

This is why I think that people should not push anyone into battleships before they are ready. Eve supports social interactions where players can focus on their properly skilled ship and contribute. In Player vs Environmental and in Player vs Player. My personal feeling is that it is a detriment to encourage someone to fly a ship that they are currently poorly suited for in an effort to mold them into a stop gap. Eve has so many options and niches that instead of sending everyone down the path of Missions for Isk expanding their options. Although I could not do missions I had more ISK and more assets then many of my age peers doing missions because Eve is full of lucrative opportunies.

It is very easy to forget that an effective mission battleship is well skilled ship that can blitz missions. A well skilled battleship is an amazing thing. The T2 vs T1 fit discussion rolls around to the fact that the support skills that it takes to get into a T2 fit ship.

And that opens its own war. The fight over Tech 2 guns vs Meta 4 guns vs Faction Guns. That Meta 4 guns are okay or Faction guns do as much damage as T2 guns. I will point out that each person makes their own choice. If guns are going to be used then high meta is better. Eve is a game about multipliers. It is not just the module being at the level of T2 it is the skills that it takes to fit the T2 weapon, to paraphrase Ender. Those skills are what force multiply the module into its predestined level of badassery.

Battleships are very romantic. They are big. They are powerful. They are battleships. Most of them look amazing. The Mega may show the fact that a rifter broke into the lab and spread its seed all over the design plans (my opinion) but its still awesome looking. The urge to fly a battleship hits very early. Eve doesn't punish the player for ignoring, avoiding or just not being interested in liner power progression. Battleships worst enemies are frigates.

Part of a PvP discussion I had with someone today pointed out the fact that solo PvP is a challenge because Eve's ship progression is not linear. It is not a matter of skilling into the biggest spaceship to kill everyone and only worrying about those who may have a bigger spaceship then you have. While some may be obsessed with the biggest spaceship the entire game is engineered around the fact that all of the ships matter and a fleet is a balanced organism.

And then there is my stubbornness. I have a terrible habit of getting angry and digging my heels in when people try to push me into situations I am uncomfortable in. Then, once fully entrenched I can become unreasonable and just start saying "No" because I turn into a two year old. Such has become a personal struggle with battleships. I now have to get over my own stubbornness and wander back into the reasonable land of ready vs not ready.

But it will be a while yet. If anything lures me into giving in and shipping up it will be some of the fleets that have been put together that I can not join. Nor the normal corp roam fleets but the more specialized fleets where there is a fleet doctrine and an actual purpose to the fleets activities beyond the enjoyment of pewpew.

I was also posed with a question about the value learning Battleship V. Chella learned in preparation for her carrier only to find out that CCP will be reducing the requirement down to Battleship IV. I am still sulking over that and whining that I have no use for Battleship V. I was asked:


"What about Marauders?"
"What about them?" was my response.
"Don't you want to fly them?"
"No. Why would I? I don't want to fly battleships."

But I was given deep, sage wisdom a bit later while bitching about it.

"You should fly them so that you can steal them from wormhole corps." That... well that is an incredibly valid reason.

6 comments:

  1. I'm a wee bit biased about the Navy Meg. A beautiful ship too, that gets close to the raw DPS a Kronos can pump out once your skills get up there. You need good skills across two platforms though to do it (drone/guns).

    But considering the time it takes to get all the prereqs for the Kronos... yeesh.

    The biggest difference between the two is how I treat them. The Kronos is generally a full active tank, whereas the Meg is more a great buffer plus some active on the side (if not PvPing).

    So. I guess it depends on your play style... or if you're going to yoink some ;)

    The biggest single thing (and I made that mistake when I first got into a battleship) was not having good enough support skills, either for the tank or gunnery.

    Your sig is such you take pretty much all of the damage, and you're generally too slow to mitigate much if any of it, so support skills are even more important.

    Just wish I'd figured that out before I lost two Domis and ended up slinking back to battlecruisers for a while :)

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  2. I never really 'got' into battleships - I can use them, but I usually try to avoid doing so unless they are really the only feasible method of getting something done. They are just too clunky for my taste. For that reason they're going to be among the last ships I'll train up to V.

    At the same time, I can drive a decent variety of hulls for precisely the reasons given in the last paragraph: you never know when you might need to ferry a ship to new happy owner (we once found a number of T2 ships deliberately left behind in a WH). Plus it allows me to join ops where I just need to take a pre-fit ship and then follow instructions.

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  3. Jus tstopped by to give u some snuggles sugar-pie! Your swede has not abandoned you.. just no time for eve atm :(

    Huggles and mucho love!

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  4. Definitely something that has come into view for myself recently. After a week into my first Corp I was told to skill up for shield BS incursions. Shortly thereafter I first managed to unlock my first lvl 4 missions and found how woefully unprepared I was. Then I was told to skill up for a move to a WH. After a good deal of reading how I would need scanning skills and updating my training queue to match those requirements the majority of my Corp went inactive.

    A couple months into the game now and I finally feel like I have an idea of what I should be doing myself and don't plan on making many changes without solid advice/evidence. After all that, I read about the changes to Destroyers / Battlecruisers, and just laughed to myself about how spread out my skills are. At least the cross training lead me to a ship that actually fits my current playstyle and skillset.

    I'm still going to fly one of those damned Battleships eventually though!

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  5. The other reason for Battleship V is Black Ops Battleships. I can fly a Panther but just don't own one.

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  6. "The Mega may show the fact that a rifter broke into the lab and spread its seed all over the design plans (my opinion) but its still awesome looking."

    Actually the Mega looks like CCP said, "What if HR Giger got ahold of the plans for a Super-Dimensional Fortress? Let's make that! Only, minus the bad-ass doomsday 'Reflex Cannon'..."
    (see animes: "Super-Dimensional Fortress Macross", and/or "Robotech")

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