Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Knowledge is Power

Some people are saying I've been quiet lately. They're saying, "Ka Jolo, what's going on? Why aren't you writing about your latest ship?" Well, what's going on is I'm polishing my competencies with the ships and modules I'm already flying, morphing from a dangerous interceptor pilot into a deadly interceptor pilot.

Early on in my career, I achieved competency at flying Incursus-class frigates, then took some time to upgrade my skills to be able to use high-tech guns and drones. I qualified for cruisers, battlecruisers, and battleships, then brushed up on my learning skills themselves. After that, I turned my attention to interceptors, first getting signed off to pilot Taranis-class interceptors, then Crow-class interceptors built by industrialists who are Caldari like me. Before I start spending my hard-won ISK on the next ship class that's tugging at me--the Ishtar-class heavy assault ship--I want to maximize my skills at all the systems required to effectively fly such a killing machine.

Over the past couple of months, then, I've been studying deeper and broader in all subjects that affect gunnery, drone operation, and (to a lesser extent) missiles. Each new level of understanding I've gained has delivered immediate benefits in the ships I'm flying now: accuracy, range, and rate of fire, drones that are faster, harder-hitting, and more durable; missiles that fly farther, faster, and that hit with more effect. During the next few months, I'll upgrade my skills further to be able to operate high-tech missiles and larger drones and turrets, but not before delving into the mechanical, engineering, and electronic aspects of space ships themselves. I'll be able to do more with less energy when all is said and done--fit more modules, bigger guns, fly farther and faster, repair more damage, and the like.

In fact, I don't expect to qualify for heavy assault ships until November, and I'm not sure I'll be comfortable enough with my HAC proficiency to spend my ISK on one until sometime in December. Obviously, I'm not the "I just can't wait...!" type of pilot. I take great satisfaction in my achievements as an interceptor pilot. I like my life as it is now, and am content to be very good at what I do; I choose to focus on what I can do now rather than what I may do with some other skillset sometime in the future.

It may be appropriate at this time to mention the role my corp and alliance play in my job satisfaction, especially in light of my previous post which focused on the elements that made me feel dissatisfied. One of the skills I'm developing right now is small gang warfare; my corp leaders are providing opportunities for me not only to participate in small gangs but also to command such gangs. As a result, I've taken part in encounters I would never contemplate solo--not even if all I knew about was the bait (during our last fleet action, we attacked a battleship that had a slew of battleships and HAC's waiting in backup), and I've flown battlecruisers and battleships in anti-POS actions and territorial patrols in nullsec (almost embarrassed at my dps and defensive capabilities). All of this adds up to valuable combat experience. In the meantime, my corp leadership is content to allow me to cruise the belts of low-security space as long as I continue my good record of answering calls-to-arms in nullsec; alliance command can hardly begrudge me my lowsec kills when I'm also making a respectable showing on the nullsec killboards.

Don't expect much to change for me in the month or three ahead. I may fly cruisers more, especially once I figure out how to power larger-sized turrets on my Thorax, and then I may explore the limitations of the Brutix and Myrmidon-class battlecruisers. I may take some time out to grapple with the dynamics of electronic warfare. But the clock is ticking . . . I expect to be an Ishtar pilot to be feared by Christmas. See you then!

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