[Editor’s Note: This is the second part of a new article type called Point/Counter-Point. To read the case for kill-boards, check out part one.]
As my corpmate and self-styled A Capella-belting PVP powerhouse, Ignacio, mentioned in his article about the benefits of kill-boards, the stats and information freely available to pilots before a fight can truly be a weapon. Unfortunately, though, kill-boards can also serve as a distraction or even a hindrance to pilots if they are used in the wrong way.
Given how diverse EVE’s gameplay can be even within the realm of PVP, it can be difficult for a player to evaluate just how good they are at EVE. Naturally, people turn towards the kill-boards since it really is the only source of statistics about combat performance. But are kill-boards really the metric of the skill of a pilot? Do they really help corps evaluate the worth of a pilot?
In my experience, the answer to these questions is “Not really.” Killboards do tell us a little bit about our warrior prowess around New Eden, but not nearly as much as you’d think. The next time you decide against undocking that well-fit but slightly shiny ship or sliding into a plex that may be a stretch for you and your fleetmates, consider these arguments:
- Kill-board statistics like ISK efficiency are not a real reflection of skill. I have flown with pilots who make mind-numbingly bad decisions when they fly yet they still manage to pull out 90% efficiency or higher. How? Mostly because they spend a lot of time in fleets with good FCs that get them good fights. Hitting F1 when and where a skilled pilot tells you to does not exactly equate to elite PVP status. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that kill-board statistics are a reflection of playing time and play style. Unless you’re really unlucky, anyone who can fleet up most weekends for any major FW alliance should be able to get a very nice looking kill-board.
- EVE is brutally random and frequently arbitrary, especially in PVP. Just undocked your faction-fit Worm? Well a group of Cockbag Thrashers on their way to a completely different gate just happened upon you by sheer luck. Spamming warp when your ship popped from all that artillery? Well your pod’s pointed anyway! (You didn’t need those High-Grade Snakes, did you?) It’s the best or worst thing about EVE depending on whether you’re the Worm or the Thrashers – but kill-boards are littered with lossmails that are there for no other reason than bad luck, crappy internet connection, or, let’s face it, we’ve all undocked when we were flying “impaired.” Starting off a fresh month of kill-boards with a couple of expensive losses and an implant-filled pod can destroy your statistics even if you have a great rest of the month for PVP. The next time your kill-board is getting you down because some stupid Incursion rats pointed your Ishtar, remind yourself that so much of EVE gameplay is beyond your control, including your kill-board.
- Being worried about kill-board statistics discourages taking fun risks or challenges that would make you a better pilot. Many of the pilots I admire the most actually don’t have the prettiest kill-boards. Most of the time this is because they enjoy solo PVP or love flying shiny. Are you a scrub because you have the occasional 70% efficiency? There are more than a few pilots I would bring along for an Alliance Tournament that don’t have perfect scores on the kill-boards. I believe the reason why these guys are so skilled is because they want to learn and improve, not stroke their digital ego. In my mind, there’s no question that becoming a better pilot is more important than anything else in PVP. Then again, some people may really enjoy having a great efficiency, so I’ll just speak for myself for that last bit.
In my opinion players heavily over-emphasize their killboards, especially given that many capsuleers even let things like ISK efficiency dictate what ship they’ll undock or which fights they’ll take. Don’t fall into that trap! Becoming a better pilot is more important that what percentage is listed next to your name each month. And as unforgiving of a teacher combat experience may be, if you accumulate enough of it your kill-board may thank you in the long run.