Solid – noun – a body, or object having three dimensions (length, breath, and thickness)

What does being a solid pilot mean in Eve Online?  Just as a solid object has three aspects, the truly solid pilot also has three predominate aspects.  Those aspects are Reliability, Capability, and Sustainability.  Why is it important to be a solid pilot as versus, say, a really good interceptor pilot, or a really good HAC pilot?  Because a solid pilot is the core of any good combat force.  A solid pilot improves the status quo.  A solid pilot adds to the strength of the group, be that a corporation or an alliance.

How so?

Well, let’s breakdown the three aspects of the solid pilot.

First, a solid pilot is Reliable.  What does that mean?  It means simply that they will bring what is needed, not what they want to bring, to the best of their ability.  It also means they have their ship fitted in a reasonable manner as well as have it appropriately stocked with ammo and charges.  A Reliable pilot is someone you can depend upon to bring the correct ship, the correct ammo, the correct skillset, and the natural maturity not to make major combat mistakes.

Second, a solid pilot is Capable.  What does being Capable mean?  It means that while they may have some strong skills in a particular area, they haven’t neglected others.  While yes, they can fly a bomber, they can also fly a battleship, a HAC, and a Recon, etc and are willing to use them in battle.  They also are aware of what to do, and what NOT to do.  And if they don’t, they ask and listen.

Third, a solid pilot is Sustainable.  How so?  Being sustainable means that they not only don’t overspend themselves, but also are not a drag on the finances or morale of the corporation.  They aren’t the ones causing trouble just for LOLs, but they are also making others aware of what might be serious potential problems with things either at a Corporate or Alliance level.  A sustainable pilot also has a working isk-making operation (be that Plexing, or Ratting, or Trading, whatever) that they can do on their own because without ISK, you can’t PVP very well or effectively.

So, how does this work in the real Eve world?

Let’s take the example of an interceptor pilot.  There is nothing wrong with wanting to be a really good interceptor pilot.  The task is a critical one, and very important to the proper operation of a fleet.  However, a pilot isn’t of much use if he can’t let go of being an interceptor pilot and get into something more meaty like a Recon or Battleship, especially if the fleet needs those ships and the leadership is trying to get other newer pilots to have tackling experience. 

Eventually, if the pilot can’t let go, he will become a detriment.  His “needs” will limit the training of other pilots and will be a drag on the morale of a corporation.  Other pilots will begin to ask reasonably, “Why should I risk a 150 million isk ship, when he can get away with running around in a 15 million isk ship all the time?”  By this time, the offending pilot usually has an undeserved sense of entitlement and will have no end of excuses for what they do.  Usually they won’t even acknowledge the fact that the rest of the corporation/alliance is doing and risking alot more than they are.

Now, I want to re-iterate that there is a difference between someone who is good with a particular ship or class of ships and thus prefers to use those when given the opportunity, and those who are obsessed with who they are that they expect compromises to be made for them specifically.  Usually the first group are willing, though maybe grudgingly, to fly something appropriate in fleet.  The second group will often do whatever it takes, use any justification, demanding special consideration, and even completely ignore direct orders so that they can do what they want.

So, how does being a “Solid” Pilot benefit you personally?  Well, think about what its like to have a reliable friend or co-worker or schoolmate.  When people are able to rely upon you.. you personally make your corporation and alliance stronger as well as contribute greatly to its success.  And don’t worry.. the perks will come too.

Until next time, keep your guns loaded and your enemies running.