There was a stretch last night when I worried that I really screwed up.
Every week, I post a "Fit of the Week". They're a regular feature that I started quite literally from blog day one to make sure I kept in the habit of blogging. You regulars can laugh now. Still, they're fun posts to write. I like writing about how I use spaceships and it's fun to examine my own motivations for fitting ships the way that I do. They're also terrific "gateway" posts that introduce people to my blog and my writing style. For example, for a several month stretch early this summer, one of the most common Google searches that led people to my blog was "L4 mission Raven".
Still, they're not what I would call popular posts. They don't get a lot of hits and they don't generate a lot of comments.
...unless I screw up. ;-)
I'm not going to post to the two FOTWs that generated comment storms because frankly, I don't want to relive them. But occasionally I'll say something in a FOTW post that people come out of the woodwork to tell me means I'm a bad person. On one occasion, I had to post a flat-out retraction of something I'd said in a FOTW post the day before. ;-) So, when six or eight comments came in about yesterday's L1 mission Thrasher fit in the first few hours, I was sure I'd screwed something up.
First off, one comment flat out accused me of trolling. So let me answer this one right now: virtually nothing on this blog is intended as a troll. When I write something, I'm serious about it. Sure, I'll occasionally post something controversial to try to stir up discussion and try to get people thinking. The most recent example was my "Call of the wild" post about Clarion Call 3. But even that wasn't intended as a troll, but as a direct critique of that video.
In retrospect, it would have been fun to post a troll on the death day of Cicero, the world's first troll, but alas, I didn't think of it. So, no, it wasn't a troll. In fact, I'll make a promise right now: no FOTW is intended as a troll. Every one of them represents a ship that I've flown sometime in my EVE career and found useful for its purpose. If I don't know how to fly a ship, I don't post a FOTW about it. That Thrasher was no exception.
The next most common complaint is that I'd priced a so-called "beginner" ship out of the reach of beginners. This confused and worried me, because while I didn't have that Thrasher in EFT when I wrote the post, I do have that ship in one of my character's hangars. I rebuilt it in EFT from memory and posted it. When the comments about its cost started coming in, I quickly got into game, found the Thrasher still in one of that character's hangars, and checked its actual fit against what I'd posted. And my memory was mostly accurate. The missile launcher I actually had fit was a TE-2100 instead of an Arbalest, and the AB was a B-Type instead of a C-Type (I've updated the post to reflect this). Otherwise, what I posted yesterday and what I had in my hangar was the same.
As I said in the post, I own one of these ships, fit just that way, used just the way I talked about in the post. I did indeed put my 8-year-old niece in command of it last Christmas. I've had it for a long, long time, since the beginning of that character's EVE career.
So had I priced it out of reach of beginners? Had those arties escalated to 14 million each at some point and I'd missed it? I wasn't looking forward to posting another retraction. I scrambled to check... and found that, no, the prices of those mods wasn't at all out of reach. As of this morning, the entire fit -- minus the AB -- sells for between 18 and 25 million ISK. The arties are the most expensive part, yes, but it's less than 2 million each for them. This isn't at all unreasonable for a dedicated mission ship that isn't expected to die. The dead-space afterburner (if you buy it) adds another 10 million, and while granted, that will seem like a lot of money for one mod early in one's career, I talked a lot of newbies into buying one of these excellent ABs for various purposes when I trained newbies in Sturmgrenadier.(1) The advantages that this AB affords are quickly obvious to even the most noobish EVE player.
Is 18 to 25 million too expensive for a newbie? Again, I'd argue that it's not. I tried the new version of the new player experience not long after it was introduced last year, and you'd be surprised at how good it is. You'd be even more surprised at how lucrative it is. At the end of two hours, I had a large pile of free ships, a large pile of free skill books, and something like 15 or 20 million ISK. For the first month of EVE play, the game now pours ISK at you, and you have literally nothing to spend it on except ship upgrades for your first couple of L1 ships or your first mining ship. It's only starting around the three month mark that EVE tries to financially strangle you in your crib.(2) ;-)
I'd even argue that we're all trained as gamers to apply our initial money quickly to these sorts of upgrades, if they're available. Once Diablo III drops, how many of us will be doing everything in our power to find those last few gold to buy 10% more damage for our main demon-killing weapons? Upgrading one's money-maker is a time-honored gaming tradition, and EVE mission ships are no exception. I'll have more to say about this in a dedicated future post, but doing so is even a good investment, since the ISK spent on these upgrades isn't lost. High-meta gear holds its value quite well and can be easily sold when it's no longer needed.
Finally, I want to make the same comment about this ship that I made about that long-ago missioning Raven. My mission fits are going to be idealized "aim for this" kind of ships. But there's nothing saying you can't downgrade this piece or that piece if you can't afford it or can't use it yet and I often say in FOTW posts that you should. I tag a lot of my PvE ships "end-game" ships for this reason. This ship was intended to be a little bit less end-game, but it's still a worthy goal. If you can't afford Scout artillery, fit Prototype. If you can't afford Prototype, fit Carbine.
But I wouldn't do that, because you lose almost 15% of your DPS by doing so. The Scouts are expensive, and worth it. And I'd make the same argument about the ship as a whole.
(1) They were fantastic for the mission-salvaging destroyers of the time, for instance. This was before the Noctis and before MWDs could be used in mission pockets.
(2) Mostly with skill books. Note to self: write a detailed post about the costs of beginner skill books.