Trees in space

I argued a little bit in the Bringing Solo Back channel today. Someone was asking specifically for a frigate fit for a newbie, and I piped up with the dual-rep Incursus, much to the distaste of a few people in the channel.

Typical dual armour repairer Incursus frigate fit.

Their reason, of course, were sound. Range control with an afterburner and warp scrambler was simply too limited. A single web on the enemy ship in a 1v1 would mean you will be held easily at arm’s length, and when blasters’ optimal ranges are as long as a finger in this analogy, the Incursus will be rendered useless.

I have rarely talked about the nitty-gritties of what I have learnt about PvP but range control was one of the most important lessons. If you have started a fight in a position where the enemy’s range is dictated by yourself or your fleet, the fight becomes that much easier. Whether it be through applying EWAR like targeting range-scripted dampeners to close the distance between fleets, using webifiers to stop them from getting into brawling range, or stop them from getting out, if you manage to choose where your enemies are at any point in a fight, you’ve got a significant advantage.

Of course, this is a complex skill to master, even in the most simple yet wondrous form of PvP in EVE: the 1v1.

Now, these guys in the BSB channel were telling me letting the newbies use dual-rep Incursi would not only mean the newbie cannot acquire any kills, but they would develop bad habits by flying ships without range control.

I didn’t really follow that, but who knows, perhaps they have a point. Anyway, I do not believe it is detrimental for newbies to fly ships like that. What I do believe, however, is that simply dying is not achieving anything. Frigate warfare is extremely fast-paced, and you learn next to nothing from going pop. Telling a newb that this kiting missile Kestrel or scram-kiting rocket Breacher or that railgun Incursus or this falloff Atron will get them more success than a dual-rep Incursus means NOTHING to them.

I don’t blame the BSBians for arguing with me though. Most of them have played longer, much longer, than I. They can fly ships I can only salivate over right now, and have died and killed thousands of ships more than I have. But for every step they take forward the lose sight of the steps that they’ve taken previously. This is a fear of my own, too, that I will one day forget what it was like to be under a year old in EVE, and my advice to new players will be based on my position of power in the game, sitting on a throne of SP and eating the best fried Rockjaw and chips ISK can buy, rather than of being a fellow newbie who has had a little more experience.

You see, you need to make them ask the questions themselves. Inception. The task of teachers (I am so, so grateful to all my old secondary school teachers for showing me this, and every day I feel guilt for not coming back and thanking you again) is to plant the seed in the mind of the student, not dig up the delicate soil and replant a whole tree.

“The task of teachers is to plant the seed

in the mind of the student”

You have seen this quote,or perhaps a variant or manipulation, everywhere. I won’t pretend I can come up with new ideas, but I sure as hell can keep reinforcing the old ones, because if history has taught me anything, it’s that we never learn from our mistakes.

So, back to EVE. What does this mean for the newbie in a dual-rep Incursus? Imagine the following scenario:

He’s not so great at PvP, but he’s done it before. He at least has his drone hitting the enemy Breacher, which is comfortably sitting at 7.5kms with the Incursus webbed and scrambled, smashing it with rockets. He is managing his repairers heroically, turning them off when he knows the Breacher is reloading, but this is taking most of his concentration, and he is not thinking of ways to escape, to close the gap so that his blasters (cycling ineffectively with Caldari Navy Antimatter) can get to work.

A few minutes later, he runs out of capacitor charges and the Breacher hasn’t run out of ammunition. Incursus down.

This is progress, THIS is why all the veterans say “good” when you lose a ship. Not because you simply lost a ship, but because hopefully a fight like this played out.

Because hopefully that newbie is asking him/herself questions like “Why couldn’t I get into range?” and “Why were my blasters not hitting the Breacher?” and coming up with the conclusion that “Wow the Incursus is tanky but I still couldn’t do anything.”

Then they’ll come back and ask for a better fit, THEN you take the next step and give them the fit for a single-ancillaryrep Incursus, allowing the newbie to utilise more fitting space to get more powerful guns, drop the capacitor booster for an MWD and webifier in the midslots, and maybe stronger guns if their fitting skills are good.

Perhaps they don’t succeed. At this point it is up to them to pursue that path; to continue the cycle of Lose-Analyse-Fight-Repeat. But you’ve got them as far as a teacher can possibly get them after the very basics, which most players can easily teach. (fittings, tanking, damage types, resistances, ship movement, etc.)

The long-time players do this every fight they get into, so much they’ve assumed everyone else does. This is why I don’t blame the older players who overlook something like this. It’s a small thing… but one worth taking note of. If you go out and give a newbie the best fit for the current meta, with the highest % kill rate on zKillboard, optimised for their skills, they will take it out, lose it, but it will take them longer to get to the LAFR cycle. Why? Because when they come back asking for help, there are no obvious things to point out, no radical leaps or changes in the fitting to keep things new. Giving a new player 10 of these optimal ships where they copy a fitting to lose over and over again does not help them as much as losing 10 different ships. This is just one way to do it for a teacher to do it; you can also try a single ship hull but alternate the fittings. The key is to maintain some tiered approach, where the next fit addresses the weaknesses of the old fit. Don’t mention that the next fit has weaknesses of its own.

Let them think about why each fitting is different. Let them find the weaknesses and strengths in each. Let these different fits slowly develop their piloting skills. Yes, newbies do think too, surprisingly enough. Whilst you have to spell some things out, PvP is not one of the shallow aspects of EVE (not much of EVE is shallow in the first place), and it doesn’t do to treat it as such.

Stop trying to throw trees at the heads of new players, try planting that seed instead. I’m kinda liking this analogy, so I’ll finish off by extending it a little: even if you pick the seed from the fruit of your own tree, another player’s soil is pretty damn magical, and you’ll watch it grow into something potentially different, and god forbid, greater, than yours.

Sheesh, I need to cut down on these ridiculously long posts. I’m looking back over the past few days… what has come over me…


2 thoughts on “Trees in space”

  1. Losing your view is something that you can control. Rarely do people wish to remember the times when they were weak and confused. With knowledge comes the ability to forget the times when we were ignorant. It is normal to cast them off. It is your choice to hold those memories close enough to touch upon what they meant.

    1. I don’t know if its something we can control so much as controlling whether we breathe or not. Our control is short term at best. It’s frustrating but one day your past experiences will be viewed through the perspective of your present situation, like it or not.

      The only way you can make yourself truly see through the eyes of your past is probably to consider your old self a different person, and that takes quite an empathetic character.

I'm just a poor boy, but I'd like some commentary~

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