I joined right after the last wipe. I got to go up against many of these guys as they were working their way back through the ranks. In Recruit, I got stomped on. Then I got to experience being pulled into Veterans with a Recruit fleet to be stomped on again. When I got to Veterans, I got to be stomped on again, with them in their tier 4s and me in relatively new tier 3s.
But, I also got to play on the same team as these guys from time to time. I got to watch how they played. Sometimes got to actually cooperate and be supported by them.
Over the course of my about 90 hours of play time, I am on the winning side about one game of every three. Some days it's better. Some days it's worse. I found ways to help my team. Sometimes it was avoiding being killed. Sometimes it was playing healer. Sometimes it was the third ship type that let me be less a seal and a little bit of a clubber.
Grinding for a particular ship type let's you be less of a team player as you feel compelled to fly that ship, even though you would be a better team mate in a different ship. I'm grateful to be essentially done with the climb to tier 4. However I shudder to think of the grind to level up the ships I now have, because these same guys are still here in Veterans.
Mostly I wish the maintenance fee didn't nearly double with tier 4 ships in you fleet. Still trying to steel myself for that grind if I keep my win rate about the same. That and waiting for the return of Onslaught, where I can score some points.