Ever since EVE Online has gone Free To Play and a surge of new players started playing, there's one question I have been getting more than any other... "How do I know which ships to fight?"
It's something that I've always wanted to talk more about but have never directly addressed outside of my paid guides.
The traditional answer to this question is "you learn from experience," which means you learn by dying to every ship and flying as many of them as possible.
That is true, however the process doesn't have to be as slow or painful as it has always been. There are some tricks we can use to accelerate your learning and give you a shortcut so you can fly at a higher level while you learn.
What is this Secret?
I can see you mouse moving to back button already. You've always heard EVE Online was about spreadsheets and now this Abbadon21 dude just suggested a spreadsheet. But give me a few more paragraphs.
I'm not talking about any math or data analysis here, we only use the spreadsheet for a quick reference Cheat Sheet.
That is my Cheat Sheet that I include with the Free Tristan Guide you see at the top right of this page and it is our solution to speed up your learning process while allowing you to fly at a higher level in the mean time. You print this out and put it on your desk in front of you so that you can quickly decide which targets you should fight and how you should fight them.
The idea is to categorize ships by difficulty and then when possible list the best tactic to use against those ships.
This however does mean that we are making assumptions. For example, it's safe to assume that most the Breachers you run into will be ASB fit with really good, but temporary shield tanks and rockets. That doesn't mean all of them will be, but most (70-80%) will be.
But what if you don't know what a Breacher does, or Garmur, or a Daredevil?
You're probably not going to limit your self to flying just the FW Scram Kite Tristan that I teach you how to fly and the tactics for every ship you fly are a little different. So you need a way to use this no matter what you fly.
To do that you need to do a little research using ZKillboard and Pyfa (or EFT if they ever update it).
Let's say you just died to an Atron. First you should go to ZKillboard and type in the the pilot who killed you's name and find a Atron he has lost recently. Pull that fit into Pyfa. Next, type Atron into the search bar on ZKillboard, then click Losses to see all the lost Atrons. If you died in low sec focus on losses there. If you died in Null then look at Null Losses. Look through about 5-10 different losses and get a general feel for how people fit the ship. If you see a different fitting than the one you already imported to Pyfa, then import that one too.
Now, in Pyfa examine the fittings. Look at weakest resist, gun/missile range, tracking, ship bonuses, speed, agility, etc. Where are the weaknesses? Can you out range your opponent? Can you out run his tracking? Does he have a resist hole you can exploit? How would his ship work with no capacitor if you neuted him?
Run through these questions and find a Hypothesis to what the best way to fight him is. Plug this into your Cheat Sheet and next time you get the chance to test it, you can refine it or maybe even change it completely. But either way you learn more from each fight and improve your tactics as you go.
By using a Cheat Sheet you will speed up your learning, speed up your reaction time, and improve your results as a Solo PVP Pilot... Guaranteed!
When I was an aspiring Solo PVPer flying a Dual Prop Firetail in Fountain Null Sec many years ago I had very mixed results. I never knew which targets I could kill or how to fight them for optimum results.
My answer to that was to create a Cheat Sheet. I started with the Targets I know I could kill easily like Ares, Stiletto, Malediction, Raptor, Covert Ops, etc. Then as I died to other ships not on my list I went and researched that pilot who killed me's fitting AND the most common fittings for that ship.
Doing this research allowed me to slowly build a large cheat sheet that allowed me to react faster in fights. BUT it also did something else... It forced me to learn very quickly so I could translate my lessons to other ships and situations.
To demonstrate this idea I have created a Video Guide for you.
Watch Full Screen
In the Cheatsheet you mention that a catalyst is an easy kill if you stay at 7 km from him. how much tank does your tristan have? according to pyfa a catalyst does about 300 dps at 7km with null and has about 8k EHP.
If your tristan is doing 200 dps (i bet it does less dps at 7km) then you need to have a minimum of 12k EHP in your tristan to kill the catalyst before it kills you. i can not believe that.
I haven’t looked at this in a while, but from memory the idea was that the Catalyst is most likely using Faction Antimatter and you will be in his Falloff which means he will be doing reduced damage. If he is smart and switches to Null, he will lose 10 seconds of DPS which may be enough for you to still win. However, because you are faster than he is, you can always disengage if you see you are starting to lose.