Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Skilling Up for Wormhole Life

Our corporation is not adverse to recruiting players with what most people would consider a low number of skill points - although our recruitment is very selective. As a result we're often in a position where a relatively new player is asking what they should be training next - or first - for wormhole life. And so we've come up with a fairly standard process to identify what new pilots should train for in order to be able to take part in corporation activities - both PvE and PvP.

The Basics

There's a core set of skills that anyone living in a wormhole needs - scanning skills that give you the fundamental ability to find your way around. For a very new player a covert ops scanning frigate is probably not the best thing to immediately train for. The ability to do some basic scouting but take part in other corporate operations or otherwise experience the variety of activities in wormhole space will do more to engage a new player than allowing them to simply find their way around a bit better.

  • Astrometrics IV
  • Astrometric Rangefinding III
  • Astrometric Pinpointing III
  • Astrometric Acquisition III
  • Racial Frigate IV
  • Cloaking I
This set of skills will allow a Tech I probing frigate to be used, cloaked, and scan quickly enough that it isn't an overly painful chore.

The Rest

The next set of skills is determined by what the corporation tends to fly - or is intending to fly, if they are newly moving into wormholes. Corporations that are aiming to be half way competent in PvP should generally have a mainstay fleet that is either armour or shield based. In lower class wormholes a shield-based fleet is often used as that is what is used for site running. Because newer pilots in lower class wormholes  and the skill points per pilot is generally lower. In higher-class wormholes this will tend to be armour based as armour tanking tends to lend itself to the close range brawling engagements that characterize wormhole space fights, as noted in my posts here and here.

Wherever possible players should look to train skills that give the biggest "bang for buck" - enabling more ships and playstyles or improving their abilities in multiple ships and playstyles. To give some concrete examples:

  • If the corporation is based in a Class 2 wormhole system and uses shield fleets for PvP, training towards a Drake is probably a good choice. It will allow the pilot to run the combat sites in the home system, and will give them a platform with a solid tank and good damage projection to use in PvP.
    • Once missile and shield tank skills are trained to a reasonable degree of competence, training into Hybrid Turrets allows the pilot to leverage the existing skills to usefully fly a Ferox.
    • The addition of Gallente Battlecruiser skills will then allow the pilot to fly a reasonable shield Brutix as they already have the weapons systems and tanking skills trained.
    • The addition of Minmatar Battlecruiser allows the pilot to fly the Cyclone, leveraging the existing shield and missile skills
  • If the corporation is based in a Class 2 wormhole system and uses armour fleets for PvP, training towards a Brutix or Harbinger is probably a good choice. Although they cannot run combat sites in a class 2 system as easily or cost effectively as a Drake, they can do so - and skills that improve their effectiveness will help both PvE site running and PvP
    • Training gunnery support skills allows fairly rapid cross training into other race's Battlecruisers as the support skills are (for the most part) shared between all three weapons systems
Another potential option that should probably be looked at is the Gnosis Battlecruiser. Although this limited edition ship is significantly more expensive than other Battlecruisers, it provides a flat bonus to all weapons systems that is equivalent to level V skills for any other race-specific Battlecruiser. It also provides significant bonuses to scanning.

When the pilot wants to start instigating fights in wormholes instead of providing second responder ships, stealth bombers are a good first step - and skills that go towards stealth bombers open up tech II scouting ships, meaning probing is faster and safer.

Getting something a little more durable for instigating fights and providing tackle means looking either at Tech III strategic cruisers or a Stratios. Both are expensive, and the Stratios requires Amarr and Gallente Battlecruiser skills, which may be a significant cross-train if the pilot is currently skilled for flying the Drake. 

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