Have I reached the plateau?

You are probably familiar with the somewhat infamous "Learning Curve" graph that depicts Eve Online's process as one horribly long, death-defying, almost impossible climb to a flat plateau.  We've all seen it and delight in posting it in corp chat for new players to be scared by.  So when exactly do you ascend the cliff of despair and reach the top and the light?  When is that exactly?

I don't have the answer to that question.  My supposition is that it is different for every player, for every pilot.  It depends on your situation, what you are doing in-game, what your goals are, etc., blah blah blah.  All I can tell you is that something is different for me as a player.  Over the last few weeks, around the time of the CDM, something has been different.  It is hard to quantify exactly what I mean, but things have changed.  Yet again - Eve is nothing if not a series of lulls interrupted by drastic changes.

Unless I am weird (cough) and not like any of you at all, I do look for proof in the day-to-day of that plateau.  Some sign that it might be getting closer.  And while it is true that I've thought before that I've finally made it, in retrospect those moments (while certainly important), might not have been the actual plateau.  More like false-plateau.  Which makes you kind of angry.  Or at least it does me, in an internal "grrrr" kind of anger - not the pound the desk and emo-rage kind.  Thank goodness.

So yesterday I'm flying my newly acquired Hurricane up the pipe and jump into a Vagabond sitting on the gate.  While I will be flying my own Vaga in a few short weeks, me and that nasty little bastard have a long and storied history together.  The story usually ending with my tiny Interceptor in wittle tiny bits, or the Vaga in wittle tiny bits if I had enough back-up.  I've only been flying the Cane for a short time and I don't really have a feel for the ship yet.  From what I've seen I like it... ALOT!  And so I sat there and waited to see if he would aggress or run away.  I figured I'd leave this engagement up to the Red this time.  Did he want to play?

He did.  Blinky yellow and away we go.  I'm sure Mr. Vaga didn't fully realize the hero fit your friendly neighborhood blogger was running as he swooped in for the kill.  Nor did I.  Untested as it was, I was relying solely on my own instincts and lots of help from my Corp m8s.  (Unknown to me at the time was the fact that this same Vaga had already kilt three other pilots shortly before attacking me.)  Just so you know, my Cane is dual nano fitted and fully shield tanked, with 425s and a nasty neut in the high slots, and as many damage mods as I can cram in the lows.  Our drones came out and I burned into range.  He had the advantage at first, mostly due to his speed, and he started making serious dents in my shields.  But I was encouraged by the dmg I was doing.  When my shields started to get scary I called for help in corp chat.

Remember my post from yesterday?  Two things happened then that sealed the fate of this nasty Vaga.  My young corp buddy Ged warped in on us in his Incursus, almost at the same exact moment I finally got range and neuted the Vaga.  The Incursus managed to get a web on the Vaga and heroically held it until he exploded from the drones.  But it didn't matter because the damn Vaga popped almost immediately.  Did Ged save the day?  No, the Vaga was doomed once I got range on him - the neut and the damage would've popped his tank anyway.  But he did come to my aid, even knowing that he might be killed in doing so.  And that is exactly the kind of pilot I like to fly with.  It reminded me of myself.  So good job Ged and keep up the good work m8.

Is that a sign of the plateau, or yet another false -plateau?  I don't know.  I really don't even care one way or the other.  But something is clicking, something is changing and whatever it might be... I welcome it.  All I really know is I haven't been podded in over two months and for me... well for me that is a plateau all its own.  So I'll take it as a good sign.