It’s been my goal for the last 8 months to become the best captain I could possibly be in flying small hulled ships, namely Frigates, which falls into line with our corp. specialisation, to that end I’ve trained hard and gained licenses to fly (of various races) Covert-ops, Stealth Bombers, Interceptors, Assault Frigates and more recently Interdictors (which are actually Destroyer size, but hey). I love small ships, they are fast, manoeuvrable and with a good crew and fleet can wreak havoc on the battlefield.
Today I was chatting over the corporation comms channel to a fellow corp. member about Tech 3 ships, Strategic Cruisers, which are relatively new to New Eden and were borne from the need for a hull that can enter Wormhole Space and deal with any Sleeper threat encountered and are partly built from Sleeper technology themselves.
While we were chatting he opened my eyes on how to gain a license to fly these ships and that the training program isn’t as long as I first thought; in-fact, gaining a Strategic Cruiser license would also open up a whole new set of hulls that I’ve been longing to pilot for some time. The basis of Strategic Cruisers is obviously mastering the ability to pilot Cruiser hulls, in my case this would be Caldari Cruisers.
Cruisers are generally seen as the next (meaningful) step up from Frigates, I pondered this for a bit and did some research, it looks like it would take me just over 28 days of solid training and theory to gain both the license and the higher expertise needed to fly a Tengu, which is the Caldari hull for a Strategic Cruiser.
As I said before, this is a Cruiser hull, so the longest part of the training will be mastering Caldari Cruisers, and will take me 23 days just to complete this part, but the beauty of mastering Cruisers is that it allows me to look at other hulls such as Heavy Assault Ships (HAC), Recon Ships, Logistics, Command Ships and even Heavy Interdictors (HIC).
All these have crucial roles on the battlefield and just gaining expertise in Cruisers would be worth the 23 days of constant study.
First things first, my weapons officer has been hassling me for some time for better missile launchers, specifically Tech 2 Heavy Missile Launchers, so I’m currently on an eleven day training course to become fully proficient in the operation of these weapons, I had been dipping in out of the training manuals for sometime so reduced the overall time, but still; eleven days is a long time just for better launchers.
Not only have I just finished an equally long course to enable me to fly Interdictors, but now I’m again back in the books, data pads and tech manuals to master Heavy Launchers, will this ever end? I chide myself; a captain has to do her best by her crew so whatever it takes!
Going back to the corp. comms channel I continued to discuss Strategic Cruisers with my corp. colleague who explained to me that a Strategic Cruiser use something called Sub-systems. These actually reconfigure the ship both physically and operationally. Each subsystem alters the ship in such a way that the entire vessel is reconfigured and so it can then perform a multitude of roles.
The vessel is very versatile and my corp. colleague even discussed how he was able to battle through and entire Sansha Sanctum without any support from other ships. I didn’t take this as bravado as this corp. member is a respected pilot and his crew is well trained and disciplined, I just took a gulp at such an endeavour and wondered if myself and my crew were up for such a task!
Both the training and the hull wont be good for my bank account so I better rally both my Empire and null sec teams into full ISK generation mode, that means plenty of production and trading in Empire as well as cleansing of asteroid belts and complexes in zero security space. I essentially have 39 days to both train and generate wealth to enable me to fulfil my goal of flying a Tengu.
I did read some worrying intel that a loss of a Strategic Cruiser will cause neural damage resulting in loss of proficiency in a certain subsystem discipline, to quote the intel:
Due to the sudden rift in the symbiotic ship relationship that exists between a pilot and a Tech 3 ship, losing a Tech 3 ship will result in random neural damage and therefore knowledge from one of the racial subsystem skills. The penalty is one training level off the top. Observe that whether that is a downgrade from, say, level 2 to 1 on your underdeveloped electronics or a painful fall from level 5 to 4 on the spit-polished offensive subsystem, is entirely dependent upon lady luck. Ejecting or self-destructing does prevent the penalty, giving captains an incentive to abandon ship from time to time.
Suffice to say, losing a ship is not only costly but physically damaging, something I’m not willing to chance so the crew better get their act together!