I jumped back in to a pod to blow up more spaceships in EVE Online. I knew I wanted to and that I would have a good time, but another factor that became apparent after a little more thought influenced my decision. Having joined a corporation in a different faction's space than my own I had to abandon my good quality level three agents for mission running to start again with poor quality level one agents. This isn't terrible, because I still get to blow up lots of spaceships and as my skills are suitably more advanced the level one missions have become feasts of explosions, but it is still a demotion. The ships I am fighting can often be destroyed with a single missile, I am limited to flying frigate-class ships, and the mission rewards and bounty payments are pitiful compared to what I was getting.
To be fair, destroyers are frigate-class ships and any one of those available could make me even more potent an adversary in deadspace, but I don't think there are any destroyers that employ missile bays extensively, which is where my limited expertise lies. This is one area that I am hoping to expand upon once my learning skills are complete, moving in to training how to use cannons more effectively. Even so, running level one missions is straightforward and not much more of a challenge than running my Death Knight through the Deadmines. PvP operations are more interesting but also more time-consuming. I realised my balance in New Eden was compromised in that I either had to dedicate a lot of time or accept a lack of challenge.
When I bought my new Drake and headed out on a level three mission with my corporation they were running the missions to increase their security standing, offsetting the losses incurred from their PvP operations. The mission ops were interesting, in that the missions were accepted, ships were blown up, and missions were handed in, to be repeated as quickly as possible. 'As quickly as possible' meant that the wrecks were left floating in space without being scavenged or salvaged. I was encouraged to take what I could in the time it took to hand in the mission and pick up a new one. Still languishing with my level one agent it occurred to me that this is the approach I should be taking currently.
There is no doubt that salvaging has been my primary income for most of my time as a capsuleer. The big level three missions offer high rewards and higher bounties, but even then the number of salvaged modules pulled from the many wrecks could end up netting me even more ISK from the market than the rewards received. There is also no doubt that salvaging earns me far more money when running level one missions, by at least an order of magnitude per mission. However, the amount of time it takes to clear a deadspace mission area of wrecks also takes a great deal longer than the time it takes to create the wrecks in the first place. When I was struggling to make money when I first started in New Eden this time-reward ratio was a worthwhile venture, enabling me to buy better equipment, more suitable ships and not to worry should my own ship get destroyed, as well as paying for expensive skill training books.
Now that I am back to level one agents my aim is, or at least should be, to raise my standings with the new faction quickly so that I can get back to the more worthwhile mission running. To achieve this I am going to learn once more from my corporation and leave the loot behind. It is not that I couldn't use the money, as it will come in handy in the future if nothing else, it is more that there is no point in being able to afford a battleship if I am still running missions that won't allow cruisers through the acceleration gates. My primary focus should be gaining faction standing and I can best achieve that through faster mission running, which means leaving possibly lucrative salvage behind.
I head in to New Eden with my new plan of more efficient mission running and find that the first mission fits quite nicely with this plan, in that it is a simple courier task. Whilst I am warping my way to the pick-up system I am invited to join a corporation member on level four mission, after I mention that I am only on for a short while to blast through some missions. The level four mission will probably gain me much more in the way of standings and money than the few level one missions that I could run in the same time, so I head off to swap my frigate for the Drake battlecruiser and get ready for some heavy fire. After getting two systems confused again I finally find my Drake, Lightness of Being, in the station where I left it and make sure all the systems are on-line and suitable for the mission, before undocking and making the jump to the destination system.
With my far more capable corporation colleague piloting an armour tank and designating targets my heavy missiles and his drones make light work of most of the cruisers and battleships in the deadspace region. Even when a new wave warps in and starts picking on me the shields on my passive tanking Drake are coping without a problem. My colleague suggests aligning to a station ready to warp out just in case, but not normally using the 'align to' button I instead accidentally warp to the station immediately. This isn't a problem, as the aggro switches back to him and my shields get to recharge even more whilst I'm gone. The only issue is that I abandon my drones by warping out unexpectedly, so I have to fly out to retrieve them.
Getting closer to the enemies draws more fire and there are some really neat explosions going on! I check my combat log and find out that the huge, ring-like explosions are caused by torpedoes. They look really cool, even if they happen to be bouncing off my shields at the time, and it makes me want to learn how to use them in anger. My colleague mentions that they are generally ineffective without a target painter, which I counter by saying 'but look at the explosions!' As luck would have it, our own bombardment of the enemy doesn't destroy all their systems and I am able to pluck some siege launchers and torpedo ammuntion from the burning wrecks once the battle is over, perhaps giving me a cheap opportunity to give them a trial.
I hop in to EVE Online to blast through some quick level one missions and end up getting involved in a huge scrap and seeing even more cool explosions than before, picking up over five million ISK in rewards and bounties as well. I definitely want to be doing this more often.