I lost two more Asteros over the weekend, both in the name of pushing the envelope.
One was a match-up that I've been avoiding for a long time: a T3 destroyer. They have high dps, a great tank, and apply damage well. But I also thought T1 destroyers would be suicide, but I've actually killed a fair few of them now. You can theorize all you want, you don't know until you try.
Well, it turns out that it was even worse than I thought it would be. Despite my attempt to scram kite the Hecate - forcing him to chose between sharpshooter mode to get range, and defensive mode to tank my drones - it was a very short fight.
The other matchup was against a couple of Gnosi. I found two of them, apparently afk. One was just sitting there, next to a wreck, and the other was drifting off into space with it's afterburner running. I decided to try and take out the one by the wreck to see if I could kill it before the pilots returned from whatever it is they were doing.
I got him to half armor before he got back to the keyboard and counter-tackled me. I was tanking his damage and wearing him down, but then his friend returned, and that was that.
Still, these losses were probably more valuable than a string of small victories, because they've really forced me to look at the cost of losing. It's not so much the ISK - I can support this level of loss - but in terms of efficiency. My fit has ballooned in price, but not effectiveness.
My earliest fits were roughly 70 million ISK, most of that the hull cost, but now my fits cost over 130 million ISK. Most of that extra cost is from the faction cap battery, the T2 rigs, and deadspace repairer (mostly the repairer). But am I getting value from this? In easy fights, whether ganking Ventures or fighting cruisers who's damage I can evade, the extra expenditure is unnecessary. In tough fights, the extra expenditure mostly doesn't seem like it's enough. But I need to win far more fights in order to remain 'ISK positive'.
In fact, looking at my killboard, I don't think I've used an Astero to kill anything as expensive as the Astero I'm currently flying. While my killboard is mostly green, I don't think I'm getting value for ISK with this approach.
So, despite having some more fitting posts already written, I think I'm likely to scale back my fit, at least for the time being. I've gone back to the GLPII, which brings me down to 145 dps, but lets me fit the T2 cap battery again. Next time I'm in high sec, I'll pick up a T2 armor repairer to replace the deadspace repairer, and I'll drop down to T1 rigs.
Total cost: 72 million ISK.