So I’m pretty sure i know what it is but I want to make sure. So from what it looks like reaching higher ship mastery levels doesn’t necessary give you a boost when you reach tier 2/3/4/5 but its just a way to suggest the best skills for said ship yes? So if thats the case would the best way to lvl your character up is to pick your favourite ship and work on those mastery levels?
Yes and No.
You are correct in the way that indeed Mastery levels are just a set of skills that are “good” to have for a certain ship to utilize it properly.
A lot of the mastery listed skills are completely bonkers in what they suggest. So don’t take the mastery suggestions as a proof that you MUST have that skilled. It is a rough guideline at best if you are completely unknown on what skills will be useful.
The best way to skill up, is really depending on what you want to do with a ship, how you want to fit it.
A good thing to prioritize is The Magic 14 as they are so called core skills that will benefit every single ship you take out for a spin in space in EVE.
Then after that, obviously you want to skill for both offensive (so the weapon of choice for a ship) and defence (the tank of choice for a ship).
Personally, I always prioritized the tank over the weapons (you can’t kill ■■■■ with T2 guns if you are dead). So I would train relevant weapon skill to 4, then pick up the tanks all the way and then finish with weapon skill to 5 and T2 skill needed to refit the meta level guns to their T2 variant.
This way, you can quite quickly start to use the ship (meta guns with meta tank > meta guns + T2 tank > full T2 fit). Obviously if you are lacking in the core skills, you might need to put some of them in first to make a fit work CPU/PG/(Capacitor) wise.
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