Not quoting because it’ll become a horribly long post if I do.
However, I’m feeling smug so I’ll make that one quote. Thank-you - that’s experience for you. Skills, yes they are important, but knowledge and experience is something that will also come to you with time.
Yes, I think Navy Crystals are generally worth it - always for combat against another player, sometimes in missions. You’ll get several thousand shots out a crystal before it breaks - there is a “percentage damage” figure that tells you how the crystal is degrading in use. It’s a 15% uplift in damage.
Of course, my opinion is coloured by my relative wealth - 300k per crystal (so 1.5m ISK for a set of five) isn’t a consideration to me, but to a new player that’s a fair wedge of ISK - it may not be worth the investment. A personal decision.
Yes, MF are the “high damage” crystals - though the pulse specialist Conflagration crystals are even more damage (another reason for pulse lasers). Standard are a middling damage, but the lowest capacitor usage - sometimes that is important in a mission to keep you in and killing while needing a lot of other services running.
There’s a phrase around Amarr: Scorch OP. the long range Pulse Laser specialist crystal is exceptionally good for damage at range.
As has been said: Pulse lasers apply damage to smaller faster targets better than Beam lasers do. It’s not all about damage, you have to actually be hitting the target to do damage. This is why ships with big guns have drone bays: they carry light drones to kill frigates that the large weapons struggle against - your drone skills aren’t wasted.
The following compares the “what you see in the fitting window DPS” with the “reality of trying to hit a small ship spiralling in” - same Omen fitting as I’ve already shared, only one is pulse fitted with the comparable pulse lasers. Both are using T1 MF crystals. As you can see - the pulse lasers are hitting the smaller fast moving ship much better.
PYFA is a very useful application for designing and exploring ship fittings.
The “Autocannon Punisher” is a thing. I’m using it as a stand-in for an NPC mission rat to make a point.
Yes, Tracking enhancers - and more effectively, tracking computers - do help significantly. The computer can be scripted for tracking or range or left as a balance of the two.
Oracle and fighting at range: yes, it can be done but remember you are trading range for damage.
A battlecruiser can fit a Medium MJD.
If you are flying Amarrian ships then you’ll not suffer much from poor shield skills - concentrate on armour skills they will give you the best benefit. Shield fitted Amarr hulls are a niche thing that is used when needs must - when that need is comes with experience, but it’s a rare thing. If you are flying an Arbitrator in a fleet it’s because you are doing an e-war role and you’ll want the mid-slots for performing your magic so you’ll be armour fitted and part of an armour fleet (such as a golden fleet doctrine). Doing that support role is huge fun - you’ll know you are getting it right when everyone starts trying to kill you, then things get exciting.
Yes, you can use remote repairers on drones. You aren’t optimised for it and they take a high slot that could be fitted with a weapon. Remember: killing the target also reduces the damage you are taking from that target!
Drones are repaired along with the rest of your ship if you tether to a citadel (free repairs!!).
Yes, as you know, you can run a level 2 mission in a low skill Dragoon but it’ll be slow. An Omen with good skills will be a lot quicker. You need to train skills that increase the damage (and tracking for application) to be able to blat small ships off the field in one or two shots. Ideally before they close range and become a problem - but that’s why that fitting has five light drones.
Good luck and happy hunting.