I've been having a lot of fun the past two weeks or so flying a weird dual web Incursus. I got the idea for the ship from Tikkst Alleile in Average Pilots and the ship is a blast to fly. When it works it works really well and when it doesn't? You go boom. But, y'know, it is an Incursus and it barely costs 10m isk to fly it. Often people will just run away, without a scram there isn't anything I can do to stop them. But honestly, most of the time they don't. Having said that, I don't recommend you fly one. Target selection is a chore and figuring out when is a good time to engage is tricky in the best of times. It does tend to explode a lot.
Which brings me to the main point here today - the unpredictable nature of combat in Eve. Over the years the arsenal of available options has grown exponentially in New Eden. More ships. More options for fitting those ships. Not that long ago the idea of a hull-tanked ship was mostly a joke. Not that long ago polarized weapons didn't exist. Reliably predicting what the other ship is doing has gotten exponentially more challenging over the past few years. Add to this the increasingly challenging landscape and increasingly complex drivers that other players are operating under - and the sheer amount of information, options, and motivations you need to account for can be staggering. It is, in so many ways, a mad house. Which is why so many of us tend to find something reliable we can depend on and just go with it. It is a way to lower the odds in your favor.
Some pilots go further in this direction than others. Yesterday I was locked into a fight with a Comet and a Rifter when suddenly a Pilgrim showed up. That pilot obviously made the decision that he wasn't going to lose when he decided to fly that ship into a frigate fight. That is just one example of a largely lopsided attempt at mitigating danger to the point where it becomes a manageable enterprise. There are plenty of those examples. And if you fly around long enough you'll bump into others. I'm not judging here, to each his own. I often find myself undocking in something for the express reason of overwhelming an enemy and ensuring victory. It is, after all, the goal of combat. To win. I don't undock cheap Incursus' to lose fights on purpose. And I don't undock expensive ships to lose them. And what do I know? It is possible that Pilgrim was doing something else when he saw the fight on d-scan and decided to investigate. It happens. I do it. Sometimes.
It is yet another way in which combat in Eve has become even more unpredictable. You just never know. For me this is the reason I keep doing what I do every single day. It is insanely challenging. And then sometimes the armor rep on your ship just refuses to work at all. Which happened to me yesterday in a fight I should have won. But I lost. No idea why but it wouldn't do anything. And then sometimes two ships turn into four ships. Sometimes the target runs away only for more targets to arrive unexpectedly and point you. Or you lose concentration and someone tries to probe your ship down, but luckily you wake up in time to warp away before they catch you. Whew.
And then sometimes there is a Nereus sitting at zero on a planet for no reason. Or a mobile cyno generator in space. Or some dude's pod just floating alone in space. Weird things happen that often defy easy explanations. And you only find those if you are out in space looking for them.
Long ago a friend of mine had a sign on his office wall that said, "Adapt. Modify. Improve." And, in so many ways, I think this is the core message that any combat pilot in Eve should remember. Yes the game is insanely complicated and deep, the options continue to expand, contract, and change regularly. This is what keeps Eve vital and alive. It is a living organism that isn't stuck in the past, but slowly and often strangely constantly moving forward. It is up to us to figure it out. To adapt to the environment, modify the odds, and improve or die.
Anyway. This is just what I was thinking about.
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