"Go Lose Some Ships"

Many young capsuleers are eager for a life of combat, but rarely know how, where or when to get started. Some might join EVE University or take classes held by Agony Unleashed. Plenty seem to get discouraged before even their first trek to low sec, what with the hordes of seasoned pirates roaming New Eden's outback.

A few however are drawn to the outlaw lifestyle and are determined to set out on their own, mere weeks after acquiring their pilot license. Still, it's not a bad idea to ask for some guidance, which many experienced pilots gladly provide.

Besides recommendations for reading material, ships and fittings or good hunting grounds, their advice often revolves around one principle: "Go lose some ships and learn from your mistakes."

This just doesn't sit right with me.

It surely isn't the part about learning from mistakes. It's that you may not learn how to pick your fights from the start and how to engage on your own terms. "Go lose ships" sounds like you don't need to bother much about gathering intel, keeping an eye on your surroundings or to be brief: staying alive.

A rookie of two months flying a Rifter won't learn much from engaging my own Rifter. He can do everything right and will lose his ship regardless. It's likely that he does make a few mistakes, but none of them will ultimately affect the outcome.

The one mistake that cost him his ship may completely elude him. "Well, I guess I should've loaded Barrage instead." - no, you could've run from the guy with 30 times your experience, had you monitored local and bothered to check his combat record or even security status and corporation (besides, choice of ammo is not rarely a gamble in Rifter duels).

Pilots who go into combat without weighing the odds sufficiently lack survival skill. I don't see the benefit in neglecting that skill from your first day in low sec. Sure, losing a Rifter isn't a big deal; but when you move up to bigger and more expensive ships, you'll either keep dying needlessly or will have a hard time improving your chances of survival.

And instead of working on a whole set of stunted skills later on, more than a few pilots might instead start relying on a second source of income, dedicated scouts and/or other supporting ships. Or, like, Dramiels; those are pretty good and can always run away, right? Riiight.

So my advice boils down to this: Go kill some ships and stay alive. Avoid that veteran's frigate and move on. A few jumps ahead you might find a badly flown destroyer and get to score a kill. Fair chance you'll make mistakes doing so. Oh hey, you avoided dying, killed something and still got to identify some flaws - win, win, win.

Losing is a bad strategy, son. I hope this was helpful.



"Hm, I wonder if my Puni can take a Taranis."

Talk about famous last words.

Said Taranis was sitting at a planet, to which it had warped right before my nose in a rather provocative manner. The guy didn't even bother to ask formally for a duel - probably because he was sure I wouldn't bother myself and just jump out of the system.

Then again I knew this bloke, who goes by the name of Jonas Christifori. Not uncommon to see him around these parts looking for some 1v1. Given that I had fought him before, I couldn't hope for some dual propulsion Taranis or any sort of imbecilic piloting. Actually, this could turn out to become yet another pretty good fight against him.

At least I knew he had blasters fitted (and I made sure to check properly, unlike last time). I therefore assumed that he'd want to get close. Good. As counter-intuitive as it is (much like fighting a Taranis with a Punisher in the first place), my autocannons had to apply as much pressure as possible up close. My only advantage was being able to absorb much more damage than the Taranis over a short period of time.

Aligning to the planet, I went through the fight in my head once more: overheat everything, start the fight from a distance, get that repair unit running too soon rather than too late, squirm around for every inch that lowers our angular velocity and pray he doesn't have Null loaded.

So much for the plan to go down a bit less embarrassingly than otherwise. "Warp drive active."

I landed 10km off Jonas and immediately turned around while locking him, afterburner cranked up to 11. Some valuable hits neutralized his shields before the drones and shortly thereafter the interceptor caught up. Time for the tough part.

Poof went my own shields. Luckily, I was on the ball, activating my repair module before the first volley tore out a chunk of my armor. So some of the gaping holes got patched up again immediately. Jonas' armor didn't take it quite as well, which was to be expected and didn't matter as much. Digging through the hull itself would prove to be much more trouble.

Speaking of trouble: a webbed Punisher is painfully slow and has no webifier of its own. Nevertheless, I managed to escape the blasters' optimal range for some vital seconds every now and then. A simple orbiting course didn't do here. Good old manual flight was the name of the game - straight lines, tight angles without losing much more speed in the process.

While I was working on my opponent's structural integrity, my main layer of defense went through a constant decline itself. At least I didn't have to manage capacitor energy while making this brick house dance. Giving the nanobots a rest was out of the question anyway, no matter how much heat they were building up.

At some point I was wondering how I was still in this. We're talking about a Taranis fighting a Punisher here; unimpeded range control, much harder hitting, faster tracking turrets. Still, somehow things were as close as they could pretty much get.

My Punisher's hull was taking heavy blows now, softened by merely small patches of tungsten steel creeping back up here and there; only to be violently torn off yet again. The Taranis didn't fare much better, so I had no way of telling whose ship would remain in a few seconds.

A faint explosion notified me of my repair unit finally going bust - shortly followed by a considerably more prominent explosion. Good fight.

I'm thinking about retiring this Punisher. Then again, why should I keep a hero boat like this from tearing it up some more out there? That would just be criminal.