The purpose of this post is to make a case for altering the traditional community advice for alphas and newbies to “hop into a T1 frigate and join a fleet” in order to get into the PvP action and switch to advising cruisers instead. Having been a newbie myself, albeit a few years ago, and also watching newbies and listening to them, I find that, in general, most newbies are either not interested in PvP right off the bat or, if they are, they do not understand the mechanics well enough to take full advantage of their ships’ strengths, especially in a frigate.
This leads to situations where they become frustratingly aware that they are not very good at PvP, but it is over so quickly they often have no idea what even happened or what they could do to improve. This, in turn, causes them to lose confidence or avoid PvP entirely, and while there is certainly something to be said for the baptism in flame, it must also be pointed out that even CCP believes it’s necessary for newbies to have some uninterrupted personal time to learn the mechanics of flight without being doused in cold bacon grease by gankers, as the rules about newbie systems proves.
After watching different types of newbies respond to different ships, I feel confident in making this post as an argument in favor of the above advice. Also, I just like thinking in type.
Some Assumptions and Preamble
Firstly, not all players are the same. Some players seem BORN to frig, so advising them to get into a bigger ship will just dampen their enthusiasm. This includes tackle enthusiasts, aggressive hunter types, quality scouts, etc. Further, some of them have their hearts and souls dedicated to getting into battleships, no matter what you tell them, and will do whatever it takes to get there. However, just as in most things, these sorts of specialist personalities are a minority, and my suggestions are for the larger population of newbies.
Secondly, this is not to be considered a statement that they should max out the cruiser/battlecruiser classes first. My reasons for cruisers/battlecruisers are below, but it must be noted that this is intended for introducing players to the game concepts and mechanics, not for where they should all be slotted or what they will eventually do. As they become more comfortable with the game, they will naturally branch into what they enjoy doing.
Thirdly, I understand as well that the primary reason frigates are recommended to newbies is as a low-initial-investment response to the question, “so what can I do in this game right now as a newbie?”, usually part of some elaborate pitch on how they can do anything and go anywhere from Minute 1. I certainly can appreciate that response, but for more long-term involvement with newbies I believe my arguments hold their own in general application far better.
And now, without further ado: An Argument in Favor of Cruisers/Battlecruisers Being the Preferred Ship for Newbies
Reasoning against smaller ships:
Effectiveness and application are low for fresh players, due to an unfamiliarity with the controls and the speed with which frigate combat occurs. Destroyers are marginally better, but are based around the “glass cannon” concept, which can lead to newbie reflexes being frustratingly unequal to the tasks asked of them.
The speedy pace of frigate and destroyer combat is not generally a good match for the reflexes of new pilots, even if it might match their aggressiveness.
A feeling of irrelevance in combat develops in the pilot due to the ease of their defeat, which leads to a reduction in logins by the pilot and therefore a gradual disconnect from the game.
There is a clear lack of tank and therefore survival, which affects their ability to grasp what’s going on and learn from it. As one gets better at anything, the ability to respond to situations will improve over time; there is, however, little more frustrating than consistently being destroyed before realizing what’s happening.
Increase in frustration due to inexperience with combat combined with adrenaline leading to an escalation in negative experience in the game, especially if their mistakes are corrected in the half-sarcastic tones veterans tend to have habitually. Regardless, the rush leads to a charge of emotions that become focused against one’s own allies when corrected after a fight they already know they had no impact in, regardless of the intentions or tone of the correcting vet.
Reasoning against larger ships (battleships):
Training time is immense for what they’d initially get, particularly before subsidiary skills in the chosen weapons systems are trained. (gunnery, trajectory analysis, etc)
Ability to apply damage is nearly non-existent due to not having the right skills to apply damage to large ships and simply not even hitting small ships.
Expense is downright terrifying for fresh pilots, and is in the majority of cases completely impractical to sustain in any way on their own.
Training time needs mentioning again, because the ship hulls and basic skills take long enough without factoring in any of the mid-layer skill trainings. It’s a tall order for fresh players to just login to a game they know little about and then have their skill queues restricted in this way for the next month or so.
Reasoning in favor of cruisers and battlecruisers:
Low training time; approximately 19-22 hours to train from level 0 of frigate until L1 cruiser for non-pirate factions, allowing pilots to train to t1 fits within 24-30 hours from a start of 0, and have all related weapon skills to 3 within a week or so, with time available to train other skills. Further, the training into Battlecruisers is primarily in the actual ship piloting skill, as they tend to use the same weapon size as the cruisers except in the case of the Large weapon hulls.
Ability to apply damage across a broad variety of targets, as each faction has cruisers and battlecruisers that can specialize in applying above or below their weight class, not to mention their own weight class, giving newbies a broader set of options when responding to situations.
More appropriate for primary fleet doctrines across New Eden, creating higher levels of viability for new pilots.
Balanced expense to purchase and train; the ease of replacement compared to larger ships combines with a lower skill training time to make it within simple reach of the newbie without sacrificing potential for damage.
Reduced rapidity of combat due to higher tank and lower movement speed allows the slower reaction speeds of newbies to catch up with the state of combat and, if nothing else, gives them time to begin understanding the flow of what’s going on, even if they still die in a fire in the end.
While not exhaustive in arguments for either side, this should serve to address the primary concerns and show the particulars of why I believe veterans should move away from the rote recommendation that new players “hop in a T1 frigate and begin pew-pew” and shift it to “Get into a T1 cruiser and begin pew-pew”. Further, as mentioned above, since Battlecruiser is a short train period away (I am assuming L3 training for the skills involved), they can also become involved in most of what New Eden has to offer combat-wise relatively quickly, even if that doesn’t mean they’re necessarily the best at it. Then again, that argument also applies to frigates, whose downsides I have already described.
I hereby post this and eagerly await the blistering responses of my fellow capsuleers. If I wake up tomorrow, log in, and don’t immediately begin weeping in shame and self-loathing, I shall assume you were all drunk or upset there’s no TL:DR and therefore weren’t at your A-game. Or didn’t care. Either way!
Also, I get the distinct feeling there may be some repetition in the points, or a muddling of points. As it is midnight and I haven’t had caffeine in 7 hours, however, my proofreading capacity is somewhere between the bottom of the couch and the floor. Good luck!