Ride Into The Danger Zone

"Revvin' up your engine
Listen to her howlin' roar
Metal under tension
Beggin' you to touch and go
Highway to the Danger Zone
Ride into the Danger Zone"

- Kenny Loggins, Danger Zone

The last few days in-game have been crazy busy managing our recruiting efforts, which have been going gang-busters since last week.  Another week like this and we will have hit our goal and recruiting will be closed for awhile.  So if you're thinking about it, jump on over to DION-PUBLIC and talk to me about your future.

I enjoy recruiting for something that I believe in.  Talking to new guys, hearing about their path in-game and what they would like to accomplish, it's interesting to me.  One of the things that we talk about a lot is our minimum skill-point requirements for consideration into Dion.  While our Corp prides itself on a wide variety of pilots, in both skill-point levels and interests, setting a minimum level of proficiency is important.  The hard part for newer players to understand is "why" it's important.  It isn't because we don't want you, or you won't end up being a great player or Corp member.  It's simply because of Zero.  Null Space will eat you up and spit you out.  You won't make it and you'll get frustrated and leave.  And neither of us wants that.

That makes rational sense right?  But it varies with every player, not everyone's 12m skill-points are the same.  Some are intensely trained and focused and some are less so.  I've even seen a few 8m players that can t2 fit a Battlecruiser already!  Those people are focused.  The result is that our consideration of a minimum is flexible, but solely based on our determination of wether you can survive in zero space or not.  We're trying to look out for you in other words.

Which is all very interesting until I started thinking about myself yesterday.  I took the plunge into the Danger Zone when I probably had maybe 2m skill points, less than a month after I started playing the game I was flying thru zero space to Providence.  I'm not saying that was the best decision, or that it makes me better somehow than anyone else, it's just what happened.  I didn't know any better.  On the positive side I was very lucky in several ways.  For one thing, Providence wasn't really pure zero space in those days.  It was NRDS CVA controlled space and relatively calm and protected - for zero anyway.  Sure there were plenty of reds to kill me, but usually the Intel worked and we had time to hide or dock up or get into a POS.  For another thing, the Corp I was in was especially perfect for what I needed at the time.  We did a lot together, so ratting in my Moa (which would have been impossible alone) wasn't a huge problem with 4 or 5 of us ratting together.

There was a dark side to it however. I died a lot.  I suspect that the vast majority of my deaths occurred in my first six months of playing, I just checked and 25% of my deaths happened in my first 8 months of playing.  That was a very frustrating way to start the game.  In hi-sec or even in low I may have had better luck and not as much frustration, a more normal growing curve.  Instead I almost quit at many many points along the way.  I didn't though, and in the end I believe those experiences have made me a better player.  I learned a lot and I learned it fast.  I had to.

In the end I'm left with this - plunging into the Danger Zone is an individual decision.  If you are determined to do it before you are ready, you will.  You'll find a Corp willing to take you in and use you as a meat shield.  But that Corp won't be Dion.  When are you ready?  That varies player to player and we use our best judgement and experience to help you decide when the time is right.  Zero is a harsh place to grow up.  If Low-sec is the Ghetto, then Zero space is Bagdad.

So when did you take the plunge?  Or are you still waiting to take your ride into the Danger Zone?

For those that might be wondering, here are my own guidelines for "zero ready" players:

• Can you competently fly and fit a Battlecruiser class ship?
(Why? You'll need it to make isk, otherwise you'll run out of money fast)

That's about it, BC is the high water mark for zero.  There are other things of course, but if you've managed to reach that level it means you can 1) make isk to survive 2) fly in gangs and fleets and 3) you can fly smaller ships which hopefully also includes tackle.  The rest is skill training and time.  And having a good corp around you, nestled in an excellent professional Alliance. In cool space.  With a handsome and intelligent Eve Blogger to hang out with.