Unless you have been living under a rock since 2003, you probably have already heard about EVE Online. If you haven’t, EVE is a subscription based Sci-Fi MMORPG set in an uncharted region of space known as New Eden. The entire game houses over 300,000 players on one server which contains 5000 sectors or ‘zones’. Players are free to choose their own path in the universe, following a sandbox style approach with freeform, skill based levelling. EVE Online has gained a reputation for being insanely complex and having what is considered to be the steepest levelling curve for an MMORPG. I’ll make one thing clear, if you are a sci-fi geek then put aside some money for new pants.
EVE Online: Diary Of A Noob Part 1
So what is the point of this ‘diary’ then? Well that requires a little explanation as well. For anyone who knows me, I am a huge fantasy nut and generally swear by the genre. Apart from Star Wars, it takes more than some flashy graphics and a hero in a green suit to convince me that your Sci-Fi game, movie, heck anything, is worthy of my time. I would like to believe however, that true gamers try everything at least once, even if everyone tells you it is terrible. This is something I take very seriously because even if somebody tells you something is bad, how will you ever truly know unless you try it yourself (let’s keep this remark in context). Writers (I use that term loosely) like myself are for the most part, here to help you avoid the games that don’t suit your tastes. Sometimes however, you have to take a moment to try out a game you never thought you’d like. With this mentality I decided to go outside my comfort zone and visit one of my least favored genres.
So this diary is going to be both a documentation of what can happen when you get adventurous with your game choice and a learning experience for both me and you. My first thought when deciding on which game to use for this diary was, how can a series of articles such as this both entertain and educate a reader? EVE Online became the clear choice, as other people’s misery is entertaining. This is a game with full-loot PvP, pirating as a career choice and potentially permanent loss of ships and equipment. What else is more entertaining than a guy losing all the things he worked hard for while you followed? Then there is the education of the readers and how this article could be of use to potentially anyone. New players are often turned off by EVE due to the steep learning curve and complex nature of the game, you are set free in a world where even players who have been around since launch are learning something new every day. What better way to start your life in New Eden than to have already learnt from someone else’s mistakes? That there is the purpose of this diary.
Now, the information I give might not be 100% correct or even correct at all, but that is the point. You will learn as I learn, we will discover new things together and ultimately reach a point where we stand a fighting chance in this cruel universe. I am not going to make out like I am the perfect player, I will show you my mistakes, what I learnt and how to avoid them in the best way I can. So if you are thinking about playing EVE, are new and still having trouble or are just really interested so far then I think this diary may be perfect for you. So after what was possibly the longest introduction ever, let’s begin the EVE Online: Diary of a Noob.
Due to such a long introduction, today I am just going to cover a bit about the universe and the character creation system. In a future where colonizing space is an achievable feat, man travels far from earth through a natural wormhole to a place they dub ‘New Eden’. Upon discovering this new cluster of stars, the humans raced across the depths of space to begin claiming and colonizing the new region. Unexpectedly, the wormhole collapsed and left the new colonies to fend for themselves. Five (four playable) clans rose up and created vast empires out of the rubble and now today they control power and balance within New Eden. Your choice of ‘faction’ won’t restrict which groups you can interact with, you form your own allegiances. Your choice does however have an impact early game, each faction has something they excel at and making this choice correctly can either make or break your experience. Below is a quick glimpse at what each faction excels in to help you make your decision.
Minmatar: Use cheap ships that can be fitted with loads of weapons to output a great amount of damage quickly. The ships lack good defence but make up for it with fast speeds and long range weaponry.
Gallente: Deploy unmanned drones to attack enemies. The drones are hard to hit and can take down enemies without the pilot firing a single shot. Their downside is that once a pilot runs out of drones they must retreat to safety, unless you spend 2 years of ‘real life’ time training to use Carrier or Titan ships, but never you mind about that.
Caldari: Ships with lots and lots of missiles. Missiles are very expensive though, making this one of the harder classes to begin with.
Amarr: With a focus on strong defense and laser weapons, the Amarr ships are great for outlasting opponents through sheer strength and attacking from great or short distances. While they can be strong, they don’t have much variety in weaponry.
Say hello to Pleasure Winters, my Minmatar pilot. I decided to go with the Minmatar purely because their cheap ships make it easy to hot swap to an entirely new loadout without spending too much of my hard earned ISK (the currency in EVE). This means if I make the wrong decision on fittings for my ships, I can quite easily change to something different. I am in love with the character creation system, it’s in the middle of overly in-depth and streamlined. You can adjust each particular section of the body by grabbing it and pulling on it with your mouse, things such as cheeks, jaw, arms, thighs etc. When mousing over the body it will highlight blue, indicating you can manipulate the highlighted section. Beyond this you can edit your features, add accessories such as piercings, tattoos and make-up if you play a female. Once a character has been customized, players can shoot a portrait (above left) that will be shown in-game to other pilots.
Players might notice that they aren’t selecting a class in the character creation menus, that is because there isn’t any. Similar to life, in EVE Online you have a career. All the inherent choices that go along with choosing a career path are available as well, not everyone will pursue the same career in the same manner. When I mentioned the universe was player driven, I meant it. Players can build corporations, claim sectors of space, build manufacturing plants and assembly lines, become businessmen, pirates, miners and more. Play what you want to play, we’ve all heard this saying, and EVE Online provides just that experience. Coming close to the end of the article today, I will leave you with one thing to consider until next time. We have seen the four empires and their playstyles, think about which suits yours. After this, consider who you want to be in the universe and take a look at your potential career paths below.
Ratting: Outlaws are called Pirates, NPC Pirates are called Rats. Rats are essentially the ‘mobs’ in EVE and players can make a career out of completing missions involved in slaughtering Rats for bounty and loot.
Exploration: Archaeology, hacking, salvaging and running missions through deadspace and wormholes. These are all things an Explorer can do to earn ISK. Do you like discovering what is literally unexplored territory?
Mining: Use ships fitted with mining lasers to extract valuable resources from asteroids, relatively little fighting happens in the missions but mining valuable resources means visiting dangerous sectors full of player pirates. The most popular way to make money.
Industry & Production: After resources have been extracted by miners, take the resources and craft them into something special and valuable. Manage entire warehouses and assembly lines to keep a steady flow of ISK, the middleman between a Miner and a Trader. This is the ‘crafting’ career.
Trading & Hauling: Through a stroke of luck and pure genious, players can earn their riches without ever stepping foot out their quarters. The marketplace in EVE is quite similar to a stock market and provide graphs where adept traders follow trends, play the market and make big bucks. ISK is also earnt by transporting goods to other sectors and supplying sectors with goods they have trouble acquiring.
Piracy: Essentially PvP in EVE Online, becoming a pirate can be one of the most rewarding lifestyles. Take what you want, when you want and enjoy the spoils of everybody else’s hard work. Becoming an outlaw is not easy though, pirates will find themselves locked out of high security sectors and will be forced to survive out in the dangerous ‘wild west’ regions of space where anything goes. While not impossible, this career choice is one of the hardest to take up early game and instead should be worked towards as a secondary, late game goal.
These summaries are just the tip of the iceberg, each career path can become extremely complex and played in radically different manners. So here we are, I have settled for a Minmatar pilot and am now ready to move ahead and decide what career is for me. Once again, have a think about this one yourself and let me know in the comment box below if you come to a decision. Stay tuned for the next installment where we take a closer look at the first steps of a new pilot, the choices I make and the things I learn; so you don’t have to.
PS. If you are a current player or are just starting out, feel free to contact me in-game, remember it’s Pleasure Winters!
Click here to read Part 2.
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