Thursday, September 28, 2017

Times Have Changed

The first time I went into null sec, I decided to buy a destroyer.

Being a Caldari pilot I went looking for a Cormorant on the market. But I wasn't in a big null sec alliance, I was in a small corp tucked into a couple systems of a constellation in a quiet part of Syndicate region, 9GYL-O to be precise. And the only Cormorant on the market was in the opposite end of the region, in a pocket that was controlled at the time by Goonswarm.

It did not end well.

It is amazing to me how much I didn't know back then. I spent many years in and out of null sec in corporations and alliances of different sizes and capabilities before deciding that low sec was more my speed for my casual playstyle. I got better, learned how not to buy things in hostile territory, how to move assets into null without getting ganked at the first jump, and eventually mastered using carriers and jump freighters to move things around. Null sec because comfortable to me and I did not leave it because it was hard or frustrating.

Last Sunday night, back in a fleet in null sec as we defended some timers in our constellation in Cloud Ring, I was scouting and tackling in a Taranis. Pandemic Horde dropped by to give us a fight and I scored some kills on a Griffin and Taranis and a few pods. Nothing special.

But afterwards as I mused on the evening's activities and reviewed my performance, I was struck by a difference: I was calm. Excited for the battle, pleased at the outcome, but calm. Last time I lived in null sec every engagement was fraught with nerves and adrenaline, but years of constant fighting and killing and losing in low sec have steadied my nerves and given clarity to my piloting.

I flew towards jamming Griffins, dodging missiles slung from Caracals, dogfighting a Taranis, bobbing and weaving in and out of the battle, and while I felt alive I did not feel panic. Hands were steady, heartbeat even.

It is been a long road from frightened newbie to hardened veteran and it is hard to see the difference week over week, month to month. But the stark contrast from the last time I was in null to fight and to this time allowed me to see the change easily. I'm not saying I'm a better pilot, but definitely more ready for the challenge.

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