Blog # 2
The way I look at it there are two different ways to develop a Character in EvE: by 'progressing fast' or by 'progressing well'. To begin with, I chose the fast route.
What I mean by 'progressing fast' is training the minimum skills required to use ships and bigger components, without learning other skills to help use them effectively. In other words, pilots may applaud themselves by flying battlecruisers after only a short time of play, but it doesn't mean that they can fly them well.
When I started out in my first Corporation I wanted to fly the big ships, not little frigates. So I trained only the skills that would advance my Character onto larger vessels. I remember celebrating as I picked up a Caracal for the first time. I felt unstoppable. So much so, that I decided to go and explore Low-Sec. I was somehow under the delusion that a T1-fitted Caracal would be able to handle itself. Needless to say, my ship popped. Two Drakes were gate-camped the other side, demolishing anything that jumped through. I could do nothing as my new ship got stripped of it's shields, armour and structure in seconds. The moment I was a pod, I warped off to an asteroid field.
However, my pod wasn't alone. A Crow had followed me. Straight away, I was scrambled and webbed. But what happened next was completely unexpected. A chat box sprung up and the Crow pilot asked what I was doing in a Caracal for the age of my character. I had no real answer, other than I thought it looked awesome. But the advice I was given has stuck with me ever since, and I'm still following it to this day.
It is as follows:
"Frigates are very good ships, and there is no need to advance from them until late in the 'beginning part' of the game. They can run Level 1 and 2 missions, and are ideal ships for training PvP combat. During this 'work-up' time of learning the basics of EvE in frigates, base supporting skills should be trained."
And that is the main emphasis of this post - train up supporting skills.
I am sure that most experienced pilots out there would agree with me on this. And it doesn't matter if your character is jack-of-all-trades or role-typed. Relevant key supporting skills trained up to level 4 and 5 are of significant benefit. What was the point in me flying a Caracal when I barely had the other skills to operate it's weapons and shields effectively? It was like trying to drive a lorry on a moped licence. After the encounter I returned to Kino and re-planned my approach to EvE. I went back to a Merlin and bought skills that made the weapons fire faster, gave projectiles more damage, allowed ships to manoeuvre quicker, make the shields and capacitor recharge faster, freed up more CPU and power-grid, etc, etc. Once my supporting skills were at a satisfactory level, I concentrated on turning my T1 components to T2. In the end, I didn't even bother with Destroyers or Cruisers and went from a Merlin to a Drake.
After eight months, I've just finished. Now when I flick through my index, everything is at level 4 or 5, save a handful where a level-up wouldn't really benefit me. Even if they offer only a 2% boost at each level, I can honestly say I see the benefits. The rewards of this are worth the long time of seemingly non-progression. This is what I mean by 'progressing well'.
I will share an example that only happened the other day. One of our new Corp members convo'd me after becoming extremely fed up of not being able to tank Level-2 missions. I asked if any supporting skills had been trained, and they hadn't. I reeled off a list of key shield-improvement skills, which the pilot then bought and trained to at least level-three. And now Level-2 missions are no longer a problem.
My advice to rookie pilots is simple - make sure that you are fully walking before you can run. I'm not saying that one should spend three-quarters of a year training all these up in one go, but at least get the basics done. This is just my experience.
So, to the Crow pilot wherever he/she may be - thank you!