21 Days of Eve Online
21 Days of EVE
Space… the Final Frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Space Biscuit. Its continuing mission: to explore strange new star systems, to seek out new spaceships and new pew-pew opportunities, to boldly go where this pilot has never gone before.
Welcome aboard Space Biscuit, an Amarr Cruiser, Omen class. Please, take some time to enjoy the view, why if you look to the left right now you will see a wonderful view of the sun rising over this random planet. Don’t take any notice of the small scotch marks and scratches on the hull. She has been through a few scraps, even almost lost her once.
So everyone comfortable? Good for drinks and nibbles? Ok then, lets begin with how I got here.
Firstly, let me begin with saying that this journey isn’t one I myself expected to find myself on. A friend has been playing EVE on and off for years and I even tried it once a while ago but never lasted more than a couple of weeks. He got tricked with one of those free five day reactivation deals and found himself hooked again. So I decided to give it another try. CCP (the makers of EVE) offer fourteen day free trials for anyone that decides to fill in a few bits of information, but I was given a twenty one day free trial by the friend in a sort of buddy deal.
So this is my experiences of the first twenty one days of EVE.
When you first sign up and after the long copying over (or downloading) of folders (just under 12 gigs of them…), you find yourself with the big choice of four races. As far as I’ve been told, the races themselves don’t really matter because in the end you can train to fly anything. So when picking a race I thought of their history, their lore and their design. This race will dictate your starting ship so it’s a bit of a choice, even if it’s not a final one.
So here was how the races were defined to me in terms of their ship types:
Amarr – Lasers and Armour
Caldari – Missiles and Shields
Gallente – Drones and Armour
Minmatar – Loud booming guns and Speed
I ended up picking Amarr because, well, they are called the Amarr and well, fricken lasers. That being said though, I find drones interesting so I’ve been training up on them as they sound cool and some Amarr ships do have drone capability.
For my blood-line, I ended up going Khanid. No real reason why, I almost went for the Amarr true blood-line but it seemed a little to much and being a slave trader was an interesting switch for me as it was without going for snooty as well.
The Character creation process is long and in depth, but don’t let it put you off. Some of the ways they do things like the mouse movement to change your face is a little frustration but then, in EVE, a lot of things are done by mouse instead of keyboard. While there are things that are hot-keyed or you can assign to a key yourself, there are things like a menu if you right click that I haven’t seen in an MMO before. This was a little different for me, coming from someone that has a special keyboard with extra buttons on the left, but I got used to it fairly quickly.
One of the things I enjoyed the most about the Character Creation was that it was so in depth but in the end, means so little. You get to make a full character down to what you are wearing but you will never see it. You take a picture of yourself and that’s it. I have heard rumours that eventually you will be able to walk around as your character but for now, you are just a photo displayed for all the universe to see (hopefully a good looking one).
Another observation I would like to make about the Character Creation is from my history as a long time MMO player. When you start a new MMO, you go through the character creation, to however the game is designed. It’s normally fun, however, you are often forced to make a choice that will forever be with you. This makes little sense since normally when you first start a game, you know so little about these choices. You often have to pick faction, race and/or classes that you can never change without starting again. Sure, some publishers now let you pay some money to change, but realistically, you are stuck with it. EVE is different, you can change what you want to do and where you want to go at any time without starting all over again (in a sense).
That being said though, EVE will cure you if you are an altaholic. They give you three character slots for good measure, but you can only train skills on one character at one time. So you will need to focus on just your one character but you have the flexibility to do whatever you want. Doesn’t that sound great?
Ok! Now the easy part is done and you will find yourself in a small ship known as a Frigate. These things are kinda cute and will depend on your race. I have to say that I love how the ships appearance reflect the race that makes them and is probably the best way of describing each race.
Amarr – Brown/neutral in colour. They look neat and well designed, some pretty designs around the outside. Reminds me of ships from Firefly.
Caldari – Green/Grey in colour. They look more like something you would expect when thinking of future ships. Lots of pretty glowing lights.
Gallente – Grey in colour with green lighting. They look cool, but they also look big and bulky. Lots of rounded bubble and the such.
Minmatar – Brown in colour. These things look like something from Starwars, back when we thought that futurist meant having antennas and such-like.
So now you are in your little frigate, and I hope you enjoy it’s appearance, it’s now actually time to play. A little Help person will pop up and give you advise on what to do and where to go.
This is where I have to say…. EVE is not newbie friendly!
While many MMOs you can buy off the shelf, install and start playing, EVE is not. The tutorial will take you through the basics of the game but it’s really hard to get the hang of. So listen to the Help Lady and make sure you read it all carefully, have tried it out and are comfortable before clicking on Done.
A new feature they have added since I last tried EVE are career agents. These are agents that will help teach you the basics depending on what you want to do while in EVE. I spend the time to do all the careers (Military, Industry, Exploration, Advanced and Business). I would recommend this to any new player that has little to no experience of EVE. This is also a good way to get a feel for what you might want to be doing while playing EVE.
I came into EVE thinking more of running missions as it’s called. This is pretty much pew-pew style quests. However after completing each of these career tutorials, I found that I actually did enjoy some of the Industrial style activities. I guess the easiest way to explain it is it’s EVE version of crafting. So you might find something interesting that takes your fancy and can help you get started.
Note: When running missions (or quests), a great website is: http://eve-survival.org/ This is kinda like your quest guide sites in other games. EVE won’t tell you what you are up against, they will wait for you to fly in and hope you don’t die. Although, EVE does give you a great ability to simply warp out instead of running while yelling ‘Run away, Run away’ to your monitor in great Monty Python fashion. As someone that hated the idea of flying in blind and still scared of being podded (your ship blowing up, leaving you in just a pod that you must fly back to the station with your tail between your legs), this site gave me more confidence in myself and what I was doing.
Speaking of podding… EVE has a death penalty, a great one. You are in a ship, your ship can be blown up. You lose the ship and find yourself in a tiny pod (it really is tiny and kinda cute). You can’t get the ship back, it’s gone forever. There are ways to make the experience a little less horrible, for example you can insure your ship and so when it gets blown up you can get a big pay out to buy another. However, you will find yourself without a ship in the mean-time if you don’t have any spares (so I recommend having one!). There is a saying in EVE, never fly anything you can’t afford to lose and this is very very true. It is good thing to note that on a mission, your pod will never be hurt by NPCs. Y0u will always be able to get away. In PvP though, this isn’t the case. Your pod can be held for ransom or even blown up. If your pod gets blown up, you die. Thankfully in EVE, they have perfected cloning so you can be ‘rezzed’ as a clone and continue on your way.
One of the things I was kinda interested in was exploration. My brother and friend used to play EVE and would go out finding wormholes and exploring them. It sounds fun on paper, go out, scan around you and maybe you will find a wormhole or something. This was extremely far from the case and I ended up having to get my friend to actually take over the wheel and see how it was done because I was getting frustrated. The Help Lady explained it very well, but it was just one of those things I had to be shown to understand. Words were simply not enough.
This is the part you may struggle with the most if you don’t have anyone to help you out. Words can explain a lot but there may be some thing you just need to be shown and EVE doesn’t have a youtube style videos to show you how things are done. This is why, like all MMOs, it’s good to join a Corp (guild, legion, whatever you want to call them)..
Corporations or Corps for short, are EVE answer to guilds. They are how you can get a group of people together, help each other and play together. When you start, you join the default Corp, this is the Corp you will always be in when you are not in a Corp. It’s pretty basic and while there are a lot of people in it, you probably won’t find any connections or play time together here and it’s best to find a proper Corp as soon as possible.
I won’t go into finding a Corp. That’s pretty basic and common across all MMOs. However, you won’t find in game advertising here. Well you will, but it won’t come through spamming chat channels. In fact EVE seems to embody the concept that space is indeed huge. So forums and web searches will probably be your friend here. Myself personally, I joined TOG Empire. The Corp itself is small but it belongs to a big alliance full of Toggers and there is the TOG Power channel as well as Team Speak which any TOG can get access to join. Like TOG in all it’s forms, you will never be flying alone in EVE.
The biggest issue I found after joining a Corp, is actually working out how to ask questions if you need help. Even some of the requirements they set out can be confusing for someone new to the game. EVE will bring you to a huge new language barrier that may seem overwhelming. Even when people were asking me the most basic of questions, I constantly found I couldn’t answer them because I didn’t know. So if you have trouble finding the way to ask a question, you can hopefully try your best and answer any follow up questions your Corp may ask because they simply might not know what you are talking about at first.
Skills to me are like leveling up. The more skills you have the bigger things you can fly and the better you can fly them. Kinda like gaining skills or talents in other games, skills will allow you to specialise in a certain play style or become a Jack of All trades. It was one of the features I like about EVE, your progression is only limited to what you want to do. You can train up fast and be flying bigger ships quicker or you can take it slow and train up multiple paths. I would recommend though that you find one or two things you want to focus on, or you may find yourself being good at a lot of things but not good enough in anything. If you get bored of what you are doing, you can always go back and train up say mining and give that a go.
When it comes to learning skills, the one thing you will need to know is that skills take time. That’s it, just time. Once you start learning a skill it will take a certain amount of time for it to be completed. It doesn’t matter what you do in this time, be is get blown up or log out of the game and go and make cupcakes, the skill will continue to train.
One feature they have added that is great for new players is a queue system (they didn’t have this when I tried EVE before). This queue system allows you to queue 24 hours or more of training. When you first start training skills, your skills will mostly only take a few minutes to train so this is a great way of getting those skills going.
On a trial account you won’t be able to train some skills. I ran into this a couple of times during my first 21 days of EVE, there is even a ship I got from a mission given by a career agent that I couldn’t fly because the skill I needed to learn to fly it, I couldn’t learn because it was paying account only. This is the only handicap I came across being on a trial account for those 21 days.
One thing that will help you pick the skills you need to learn is a program called EVEMon. I swear, this little beast is brilliant! You can use it to make a skill planner and will also give you that ETA before you can fly that awesome ship. All you do is start a new plan, pick the ship you want to fly and it will tell you all the skills you will need to be able to basically fly it (not just the skill to fly it but the basic skills you will need to fly it well). These skill planners work with anything though, not just what ship you may want to fly, so don’t worry.
The ships remind me of armour in a normal fantasy MMO, they are the way you show your uberness to the outside galaxy and your way of expressing yourself, your play-style, what you can do etc. In my 21 days of EVE, I managed to get the Cruiser you are in now. This is pretty much the next ship up from Frigates. Technically two, a Destroyer is in between but you can skip it. I ended up getting a Destroyer anyway from the Advanced career agent for their last mission. This is a ship you will want to keep as Cruisers are poor against Frigates and so far all my missions have been Frigate based, so I fly Space Cookie a lot still.
Please Note: This Cruiser cost me a little, my friend gave me 10 million ISK to get me going, this was pocket change to him, but it’s a huge amount for a newbie. At the moment I have slightly under 9 million ISK so if it wasn’t for that donation, I wouldn’t have my Cruiser now.
We are now approaching the station and your final destination before you get to start. Here are my parting words to you.
EVE is a game that will challenge you, it’s not like any MMO I have ever played (and I have played a lot of them). This is a game for anyone that is bored of clicking 1, 2, 3. You will find something new here. There is no level or gear grind in EVE (mining is the closest I think of if I think grind). It’s a game that really is non-lineal and you pick the path you want to travel.
One of the things with EVE is that it’s Open PvP, but this doesn’t mean that people run around ganking everyone. I am not saying that it doesn’t happen, but it’s not something I ran into in my 21 days and I travelled through everything from 1.0 to 0.5 space (0.4 is where it gets dangerous).
One night I logged in to EVE and a GM actually messaged me. The conversation felt somewhat staged and that they were probably talking to many other people at the same time. Some of the answers did feel copy-pasted but it was something nice. I haven’t spoken to a GM in a game for around ten years! I later found out that these GM are actually veteran players that have been asked and volunteered their time to help newbie people (especially those on trial accounts).
I think EVE is a great game, it’s a little overwhelming to begin with and a lot to learn but I am enjoying actually experiencing something new and different to all the copycat MMOs out there now. The game is cheap, only an extra $5 on top of your first monthly subscription. With 21 days to try it out, I would recommend everyone give it a go and make sure you join up with TOG either through the Empire, TOG Power chat channel and/or Team Speak (because you will need it).
I admit after my 21 days were up, I wasn’t sure if I was going to subscribe and continue playing EVE. The game is brilliant and I have grown tired of the linear progression and only one real choice to grow that MMOs seem to be embodying lately. I wanted a game like I used to play ten years ago where leveling a character was only one aspect and the majority of people never even make it to max level because there are so many other things to do. EVE gives you this, however it comes at a cost. You need to learn, learn a lot and learn quickly otherwise the game becomes overwhelming and caused me to start and lose interest.
Having played so many other MMOs out there that give you a big neon sign to measure your characters progression and growth. EVE won’t, I mean you have your ships and your skill points but in the end they mean little. While I thought this was what I was craving, I guess I had gotten used to having this bright lights above my head that I constantly felt lost and unsure where I was heading. This game is not for those that want to mindlessly press numerous number buttons while prancing around on sparkling ponies. This is a game where you need to think and you need to understand because it’s not going to point you to everything blade of grass along the way.
In the end I signed up for a month, paid my $5 and brought the game. I am having a love/hate relationship with EVE at the moment. One evening I will play for hours and love it, the next day I wonder why I play. All I can say is if you are also feeling this way at the end of your 21 days is give EVE a go. Unless there is another game out there that you really want to play, it doesn’t hurt. Get into a great Corp, join whatever voice communications they use and just have some laughs. If you aren’t hooked after half an hour and laughing at all the veteran tell their stories of past experiences then I doubt EVE will be for you.
Thank you Ladies and Gentleman, I hope you have find my words helpful and can take some of my experiences to help yourself get started. No, please, put your ISK away. The only thing I asked in return is that you give EVE a go. You may need to change your perception on how MMOs work, you may need to think about what you want from EVE. EVE is the sort of game that will give back only as much as you put in, so please give EVE a lot and wait for the enjoyment to flood back to you.
Good luck and I hope to see your shiny new ship somewhere out there in the future.