Learning to Fit Ships – BB57

The latest Blog Banter is up and I am going to participate.

The gist of it is: How can players learn (or be taught) to fit ships correctly – and what exactly does it mean to fit them correctly?

Lots of players and forums and sites get a big kick out of mocking badly fit ships in EVE.  Some corporations will even use this as a reason to boot players (supposedly).

I have flown (and still fly) ships that would probably get me mocked on killboards.  In fact, I tried a fit just a few days ago that was pretty bad.  Not only was it bad, but I even used it on new content at a warpable location in Lowsec.  But I used it because that is all I could cobble together with what I had in the area.

Anyway, I suspect lots of Eve players have used a few suboptimal (or even downright embarrassing) fits over the course of their playing careers.  So the first thing that I want to emphasize is the commonality.

Now I suppose there are different degrees of bad fits.  Some fits are actually fine – if you fly them correctly.  Some fits are correct for certain content, but fail in other content.  And some fits are pretty much bad at everything.

I think that part of the problem is that Eve is very different from other MMO’s when it comes to fitting ships.  For one thing, it is pretty common in other MMO’s to leave slots blank – especially early on.  You might have a sword and breastplate, but you might not be able to use a helmet or perhaps rings or whatever until you reach a certain level.  Or you might not be able to “enchant” your gear until a certain level.  But in Eve, empty slots are pretty much wrong.  You may occasionally leave a high slot open, but mid and low slots should ALWAYS have something.  However, this is not intuitive.  Rigs slots are not intuitive.  Knowing how tanking works and the different types of tanks is not intuitive.  This is further hurt by the fact that the only way to see how a module will perform on your ship is to buy it and equip it.  And if it is an active module, you have to undock and activate it to see how your stats are affected.

Now if you know how/where to find the out of game fitting tools, you can solve some of those problems.  But a new player isn’t going to look for out of game tools so he is automatically at a disadvantage.

And even if you use an out of game fitting tool, you can still get into a bit of trouble.  When I first played Eve, I thought of my weapons as “spells”.  So I thought I wanted to have some long-range “spells” for primary use with a short-range one as back-up.  From the perspective of another MMO, this made sense.  However, in EVE you pretty much never want to mix weapon systems.  You want all of your weapons to be focused on the same range and then fight at that range.

In other MMO’s, choosing talents/abilities/spells occasionally requires some out of game calculator or modeling tool.  But you can rarely make the level of bad choices that you can make in Eve.

None of this is particularly helpful to the new player.  Eve pretty much requires the player to do out of game research and read guides and using fitting tools.  That is fairly common to complex gaming these days and to some degree, that is part of the charm of Eve.  It is a complex game and it rewards those who enjoy learning its complexities.  There are always new things to learn and new ways to apply them.  That is probably what I enjoy most about it and it is one of the things that drew me to the game in the first place.

I also like to read blogs about games.  I like to read guides and learn tips and tricks.  In order for that to happen, the game and the varieties of fitting have to be complex enough to make writing about it worthwhile.  Reading about fits on other blogs – especially the why of the fit is one of my favorite things.  I will definitely miss Jester’s Fit of the Week.

Anyway, to sum of a rambling blog banter:

1.  We all making fitting mistakes.

2.  The game needs a better in-game fitting tool.

3.  Your perception from other games affects how you try to fit ships in Eve.

4.  Fitting ships is one of the most interesting aspects of Eve and is a great way to discuss and promote the game.