Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Changing Course...

...in more ways than one.

As regular readers of this blog know, I haven't had a whole lot of time for EVE over the last several weeks because of RL demands on my time. Now, all of a sudden, I've got nothing but time, and I've been playing a lot more EVE over the last week or so.

The reasons are practical, though not especially pleasant. First, the new RL position I've talked a little bit about here, a new media venture I'm a part of which was due to launch at the end of last month, has now been delayed indefinitely, probably at minimum until summer. In other words, the new job I expected to be working at by now doesn't exist yet. Of course, normally I'd be doing some pretty intense short-term job hunting right now, except for one little thing:

I've got a pretty damn painful dental abscess right now. After a visit to the dentist last week, I'm scheduled for oral surgery Friday, and in the meantime, I'm on some fairly heavy antibiotics and pain meds. What this means in the practical sense is that I'm stranded at home because I can't drive, I can't do any radio because while I can certainly talk, keeping my voice at the clarity and intensity it needs to be for a two-hour radio talk show just ain't happening right now, and, to top it all off, the Oxycodone I'm taking makes me dopey...not plastered or anything, but slow. To put it in perspective, to compare it to my two-fisted drinking days, it's not like getting rip-roaring drunk, but it is like having a few...not enough to get sloppy and stupid, but definitely more than enough to stay out from the behind the wheel of my car.

Of course, since I can't go anywhere and I can't do any radio-related stuff...yep, you guessed it...I've been playing a hell of a lot of EVE. While certainly not dangerous in the actual physical sense as driving would be, running combat missions in EVE are at least as concentration-intensive as driving a car, especially since I have far less experience in this game than my 28 years of driving motor vehicles. Surprisingly, it really hadn't been all that much of an issue, until last night.

It was really my own fault. I was doing a Level 3 mission (I forget which one right now...one of the Mordus ones), and doing pretty well until I tried to push my Brutix just a little too far. Normally, I'd usually escape by the seat of my pants when I allow myself to stay in the killzone this long, but this time the Lag-Monster paid a sudden, ill-timed visit. The game suddenly became so slow I watched my armor disappear in two frame changes, followed by my structure in three or four. What really annoyed me this time was that I'd apparently just made it out in time when I got a weird message saying I couldn't do that right now because of what I'm doing or some incomprehensible thing like that. Then, just as my ship was accelerating to warp, it exploded. It seemed that if I'd had literally a half-second more I'd have survived...fuck.

So, of course, back to the staging station in my pod. At this point, the standard thing for me to do would be to call up the market screen and begin the process of putting my BC back together, but I hesitated. With the insurance payoff from the Brutix, I'm suddenly sitting on about 40 million ISK and I remembered that there's something else I need to finance and deal with first.

After recent events I'm not going to go into again (read recent previous postings for that), I've signed up for Agony Unleashed's Basic PvP course. This may surprise some as I'm a member of Eve University, but there are what I see as some good reasons for doing so.

First, the practical: E-Uni gets wardecced and attacked so often these days that the corp, understandably, seems to spend more time defending itself than actually teaching its students. I've seen some classes offered, but the ones I've seen are for those who have at least had some basic PvP experience. I mean, I'd love to take a tackling class, but it doesn't really make much sense to me to do so until I have a good understanding of basic PvP. E-Uni hasn't, as far as I'm aware, offered a basic PvP course during the two months or so I've been a member, and I've decided that just continuing to wait for it to happen just isn't productive if I want to keep making progress in this game.

Second, AU's rep as a PvP University is, from all accounts, absolutely stellar. Every single person I've spoken to about this, without exception, has said pretty much exactly the same thing: Not only will I learn a hell of a lot, but I'll never have more fun in this game than I will taking this class. It sounds like exactly what I need, so yesterday I signed up and paid my tuition.

The actual class tuition, however, is only one part of it, though. I've also got to buy and appropriately fit two or three frigates to be used during the class and get them to the area where the class will be held. These frigs will basically be cannon fodder, set up with the express purpose of going into low-sec PvP combat to learn and practice the techniques taught in this class with a pretty high likelihood of being blown to bits.

Now that my enrollment has been approved and my access to the class materials granted, I have a full and exhaustive list of what I'll need. While I don't expect it to cost me anywhere near the ISK I have on hand, I do fully expect that it will take me a while to put it all together and get it to where it needs to be. So, I've decided to put everything else, including mission running, on hold until I get this done.

Right now, I have plenty of time before the class, but I also know I have plenty of stuff to buy and probably plenty of flying around from place to place collecting it all, so I've decided to make this the priority until I'm 100% prepared for the class. If, by the time I've gotten it all done, I've still got a reasonable amount of time and ISK left, maybe then I'll go buy myself another ship for mission running and try to recoup some of the ISK I'm laying out for this venture while I wait for class day.

Funny how this all works out. It's become my standard pattern that when I lose a ship in combat I usually avoid combat missions for about a day or so, even if I've got a replacement ship all fitted and ready to go. In all honesty, I don't really know why I do this. There's no real game-relevant reason for doing so...it's just what I do. So, in light of that, getting my Brutix blown up on me, if it had to happen, couldn't have come at a more convenient time.

I'm also thinking that maybe this is exactly what I personally need right now, a refocusing of my in-game priorities on (presumably) non-life-threatening pursuits for at least a little while. I do suspect that the Oxycodone did at least play a part in the death of my Brutix, but as much as I'd like to, I can't really completely blame it on the drugs. I knew I was pushing it at the time, but I had to try to take out just one more Mordus ship, didn't I? No excuses, no complaints...I fucked up and I paid for it. Such is life in EVE.

I've also been giving some thought to the bigger picture, to what happens afterward. Since I started playing this game, I've been following a pretty consistent pattern: Make some headway, upgrade my ship and the missions I'm running, get my shit blown up, spend whatever nestegg I've amassed getting back to where I was (assuming I still have one), make some headway and recoup my nestegg, get my shit blown up...you get the idea. It's now gotten to the point where it's been getting monotonous, and I seem to be hovering in terms of actual forward progress in this game, not really losing any ground, but not gaining any, either. Unless I want to keep doing Level 3 missions forever, I need to break out of the pattern, change course, and reassess what I'm doing and how I'm doing it...hence, the PvP class and the break from mission running.

One thing I can already say about AU's class: In just the day since I've signed up, I've learned a lot just from the course reading materials, and I haven't even finished going through them yet. I've got a good feeling about this, and I think I've made exactly the right decision here. Time will tell the tale, I suppose, I finally feel like I'm beginning to get a handle on this game...parts of it, anyway.

I also ran across a Event Agent in Trossere a couple of days ago who gave me a ten-part mission that didn't offer much in the way of ISK, but taught me the basics of Invention and Manufacturing. This mission was clearly intended for Level 1 or 2 mission runners, as I had to leave my Brutix behind and take my dessie in order to get through the necessary gates, and I wondered why I hadn't run across it previously, but I really didn't care. Not only did I learn the basics of Manufacturing and Invention, but got a decent implant as a reward for completing the final leg. Not too bad for a mission that took a little while timewise, but I didn't really work up a sweat on at all.

Damn, this turned out to be an especially long post...that it was written during an especially long EVE downtime is not at all a coincidence. ;)


Lucas said...

you should read the latest CCP devblog. among other things, it sounds the death knell for the Privateers alliance.

Bekka Jae said...

Having now read it, I dunno about death for the Privateers, but certainly death for their current methods of griefing noobs, and that's just fine with me.

One person in the E-O forums made an excellent point: If CCP really intended the wardec system to be used in the way the Griefateers have been, they wouldn't have set up high-sec with CONCORD protection the way they have. Basically, the Griefateers have been using wardecs as a way of getting around CONCORD and taking security status hits, and obviously, CCP isn't happy.

What this will hopefully do is allow high-sec to be a place where noobs can safely get their feet wet and learn the basics of the game before they have to deal with intense PvP, and that can't help but be a good thing for the game, in my opinion.