And this time, it's serious.
See, this game is like Runescape in progression. It's not that hard until about halfway through.
For instance, in my 2 weeks of playing, I worked my way past the Frigate class, the Destroyer class and the Cruiser class. My corporation delivered to me my first Battlecruiser, the Drake. At this point, the only practical ship a player can expect to fly is Battleship or one of the Strategic Cruisers/Advanced Mining Vessels. Up from that are Capitals, which are mostly pipe dreams.
The Drake is a ship type which kinda has a love/hate following. Like Torag's armour. It's dirt cheap, all the new kids run for it as soon as possible, it's freakishly tough. I have minimum skills (yes, even EVE Online has skills) and I was able to use the Drake to take on over a dozen other Battlecruisers at the same time and win on my own. It's that kind of vessel.
The ship's main strength is its shield. The Drake can fit an obscenely powerful passive shield tank, which basically means your shields are so outrageously tough that they can shrug off most damage and recharge so quickly on their own that you never have to worry about that particular bar. The Runescape equivalent would be your character's health naturally regenerating so quickly that multiple enemies constantly damaging you can't keep up. The Drake has more defensive bonuses than many battleships and can still mount a good amount of damage alongside that.
So yesterday (or today, it's the 25th here already), I learned two things;
1. Fighting a powerful passive shield tank is hard. I would like to take this opportunity to apologise to every unfortunate NPC crewman, pilot or captain and their next of kin/families. Today, I went one-on-one with my first battleship. I'm in a shield-tanked Drake, so I'm pretty much unstoppable one-on-one. Thing is, I learned how obnoxious it was to fight someone just like me.
I was putting 7 Heavy Missiles into that stupid thing per salvo. One salvo every 13 seconds. That's over 28 gigantic missiles per minute into a single target. The bastard's shields kept recharging. Every time I pulled a piece off the shield bar, it recharged in the time I took to launch another salvo. I even dropped 8 million (the ship itself cost me 26 million) on upgrading the missile launchers and a control system and this bastard still didn't go down.
In the end, I gave up and lost the launchers, equipped salvagers and looted the battlefield. The battleship had lots of escorts, but I murdered them all before moving and failing against it, so I looted everyone whilst waiting for a corpmate to bail me out.
2. Losing a ship sucks. It's EVE Online, you expect death wherever you are, but somehow, my death was one of the most humiliating ever. Thing about the Drake is, I have 11k effective HP on me. That's 11k damage someone has to do to me to kill me in a single blow (excluding recharge/repairs). Approximately 5k of that was armour and hull, which were the second and third layers of defence. If I lost my shield, I still had enough of a window to run away.
So the only way to effectively kill me was to prevent my escape. Now, the most common way of escape is a Warp. When you go into Warp, it's over. They've lost, they can't possibly catch you. Problem is, warp requires that you be aligned to a destination AND be at 75% of your top speed. This can be troublesome for a slow ship with low acceleration, but they can usually take damage long enough to survive. Warp Scramblers prevent warp at all, thus preventing escape. Simple.
Problem is, I never got warp scrambled. The bastards who got me did so because when I aligned to my destination and started accelerating, I accelerated into a piece of the environment (a small station array and a floating warehouse). So I couldn't get speed and I was trapped between these two, while taking a pounding. The crappy AI tried to keep lining up but it's crappy, so my ship spun around on the spot hopelessly for several seconds before exploding. I lost most of my equipped modules and cargo contents (including the expensive upgrades).
Howsabout some perspective;
When I got my Drake, I had 60 million. I dropped 26 million into it (saved 2 million because the corp made it for me and didn't need much profit). I drained another 16 million to buy the fittings and kit it out for battle.
So I'm down to 28 million in my wallet. I dropped half of my entire cash pool one one vessel. Thankfully, I made a fair portion of it back. It was yesterday that I hit 32 million odd again, even after many, many expensive spare parts and upgrades. I was left at 26 million after selling some stuff and buying ship upgrades against that bastard Battleship.
Then it exploded. The stuff I salvaged was worth all of 5 million.
However, I insured the ship and the insurance payout was a solid 22 million and after corpmates killed everything at the mission, I looted the wrecks and made some cash. The corp leader generously handed everyone 10 million (Christmas gift <3).
In the end, I was left with 65 million.
Short version? These last 2 days of work have been worth exactly nothing. I'm back to the Cruiser I abandoned in my hangar. I'm back to leeching offa my corp mates in missions for income (missions are divided into levels. Higher levels = more payment and more difficulty. My Drake could perform most level 3's without much trouble. Level 4 is the highest). So for the first time ever, I was effectively independent and could make a steady, reasonable income without asking the corp for help every 10 minutes.
Then it blew up. Really. EVE Online is generous to the dedicated, strong player but it sucks ass when you lose.
There's my Christmas Eve (when typing that, I nearly typed 'Christmas EVE'. Signs I need a break). I wonder what joys Christmas day will bring me.