"New rule," says Gor. "When one of use loses over a half-billion isk in ships in one go, everyone gets to take the rest of the night off."
"That's a pretty good rule."
It's the day after the Day that Will Live in Infamy, and we are Standing Back Up, each in our own way. Berke is flying the new Orca over to the Sinq Laison region when CB messages me.
"I don't have a PvP ship in the 'hole. What should I get?"
CB's never been one for preambles.
"You have the Marie Celeste," I reply.
"Good ship," he comments. "Really good. But it'll pop if B isn't around. Need something heavier. Brutix? Another Dominix?"
I start running comparisons using his skill set and various PvP builds I've saved.
"Ultimately, the Dominix is probably the best for face melting," I eventually say, "but right at this moment, for you, the Brutix is going to be more effective." I send him a configuration for the Brutix that plays to his strengths as an armor-tanking Gallente. "Something like that."
"It's a Brutix," I say, scanning the battlecruiser's loadout. "Guns are what it does." I frown, and flip open another screen. "Alternately, if you want something that's almost as dangerous, but way cheaper to lose if things go pear-shaped, check out this Thorax." I shoot him the schematic.
"Cruiser?" I can almost hear him peering at the screen. "Like a big tackling ship?"
"Yeah. It won't be as tough as a Brutix, but the whole fit'll cost about half as much as a naked Brutix hull. You could damn near buy those things in six-packs."
"I like six-packs," he murmurs. Then: "Okay, I'm going to go pick one of those up."
Gor has been been quietly hopping in and out of the system, and asks me how much longer I think we've got before the current wormhole collapses of old age.
"Probably about an hour. How much time do you need?"
"That should do. I'm taking my battleships out of here."
"They don't work well against sleepers, and even if they work, they're clearly too slow when we get jumped."
"You taking the Dominix out too?"
"No, that's fit for PvP. It stays."
"Whatever you need, man, it's all good." I know not to press Gor on this move. He's been playing EVE four or five times longer than CB and I combined, and knows what he wants. I met him on another MMO, in which he might be called "reckless" or more charitably (and accurately), "bold", but his approach to EVE is different -- he's more careful, more (some would say "sufficiently") paranoid, and doesn't like to see his time investment (embodied in the ships he owns) wasted for no good reason. The loss of one of his Rattlesnakes stings. The fact that he even undocked in the 'snake is a testament to how comfortable we've grown in our new home. No doubt a bit too comfortable.
I take a different approach to ship loss, trying as hard as I can to see each ship as a tool, more expensive but ultimately just as disposable as the ammunition it uses. I refuse to refer to losing a ship as 'dying', so long as I get my capsuleer pod away, and if a ship will cost me so much that I start acting like Cameron's dad, I don't buy it.
To be fair, I can indulge that kind of attitude because I simply can't fly some of the awesome ships Gor can; a Rattlesnake would be completely safe in my hands, simply because I don't have the skills necessary to undock the thing.
Except for the Orca, of course, which is roughly five times more expensive than any other hull I own. Nice job throwing that one into a fight you'd already gotten away from, moron.
CB is back in the home system, storing his new Thorax cruiser, and wants to know if we're going to hit any Sleepers tonight. Gor opts out of the action, preferring to get a bit of distance from a major ship loss before putting another one at risk.
CB and Ty hop into pointier ships, now that Berke is docked in the official corp offices, and B stays in her covops boat to play watchdog -- a single combat scanning probe covers our small system, and I pulse it regularly, watching for any new signatures on scan. This should tell us immediately if anyone comes in through our preexisting entrances (the way Berke's assailants did), or if a new wormhole opens unexpectedly (which is what happened with Gor).
In short, we do what we should have already been doing. Fiery explosions are the best teacher, I suppose.
The sleeper shooting goes well, and we net a fair profit that pales slightly in the shadow of recent losses, but I'm glad to be back to our normal activities.
Ultimately, I can kick myself over the mistakes we made in losing the Rattlesnake, but I can't hold a grudge against the guys who blew it up. The fact of the matter is we live in a wormhole, which connects randomly to folks able and willing to throw handfuls of violence our direction. To an extent, that's why we're here. Too much hand-wringing over losing a ship is a bit like going on the log ride at the amusement park and then complaining when you get wet.
"Wet" is kind of the point.
I just wish like hell it hadn't been such a pricey ship.
Come to that, I'm not even mad about losing the Orca, especially since it was pretty much entirely my fault -- the only thing that really gets me steamed is the defaulted ransom agreement, which strikes me as really poor business practice on the part of my attackers. You want to capture and ransom people as a way to make money? Fine. You want to capture and offer ransom, and then kill your captive anyway? Long-term, that's just stupid; not a display of any particular skill as much as a demonstration of the Greater Internet Dickwad Theory.
But that, too, is the game, and if New Eden is full of folks like that, then I'll feel that much better when (next time), they don't get the best of us.
We learn by falling down.
Just have to keep standing back up.