Eve Online Beginner’s Guide – Part 3 (Choosing a Focus)

In Episode 2: Agent Missions, we walked through and concluded the tutorial phase in Eve Online, covering the 4 core elements of progression: Industry, Exploration, Military and Business. We left off with the concept of ‘The Cliff’ – the moment where the tutorial ends and the sandbox begins – and how easily overwhelmed a new player can become at this point in the game.

In a traditional MMORPG, players begin their experience by choosing a role – or class template – that defines the majority of their gameplay to follow. EVE offers a different approach: a player role is defined by the choices they make, and moreover, the actions those choices represent.

And that all well and good. In theory. Making the right choice for you, and completing tasks that benefit it, is another matter entirely. In this episode, we’re going to help you make that choice, by offering a glimpse at what each path offers.

If you’ve made it to The Cliff yourself and haven’t decided what you want to do, start by taking the EVE Personality Analysis.

This series of questions will attempt to match your preferences to one of 12 pre-defined career paths available in EVE. It important to note that these aren’t the only paths on offer; in fact, players create genuinely new paths  in EVE everyday, such as buying and selling information between warring corporations, but that another story for another day. Today, let take a brief look at the ‘core’ careers available, and what you can do to get started in each:

Mining is the backbone of the Eve Online economy, as the ore mined is refined into the minerals that are used to manufacture the vast majority of ships and fittings in the game. As such, ore and minerals are always in high demand, and any new player looking to make some quick cash can begin mining and banking ISK immediately. 

Ain’t nothin’ like a good sunset.

If you’re looking to make mining a career you should begin by training toward the use of mining barges, such as the Retriever and the Hulk, as these will greatly increase the amount of ore you’re able to mine, and training in the use of Drones, either for protection or additional mining yield. 

Further advancement in mining includes venturing into LowSec and NullSec space to pursue rarer ores, training to allow better refinement of particular ore varieties, and the use of specific mining crystals that increase mining yield.

In essence, the Trader career path refers to those who wish to spend the majority of their playing time transporting goods across the galaxy, so that they can be sold at the best possible price. This is mostly a simple process of buying low and selling high, but can take many different forms once you’ve established a trade network within New Eden. 

This is a small Industrial vessel.

If you’re looking to make Trading a career, you should begin by training in the use of Industrial Ships, such as the Badger, and fitting it with Expanded Cargo Hold units. This will allow you to transport more items at a time, effectively allowing you to make more money with each ‘trade route’ you establish. 

Next, you should switch your training focus toward skills that will decrease the amount of sales tax you need to pay when using the market, allow you to alter buy and sell orders from a distance and generally increase the amount of income you receive when playing the market. These skills include Retail, Marketing, Procurement, Accounting and Trade. 

If you’ve managed to make it through the Exploration Agent Tutorial and have decided that scouring the galaxy in search of lost artifacts, NPC encampments, rare gases and wormholes is the life for you, then your first goal should be to get yourself a ship specialised for Scanning Probe use, and preferably, one that can fit a Cloaking Module. 

Wormholes. You never know what you’re getting into… but that’s half the fun.

Unfortunately, ships of this caliber are often expensive and require a significant amount of training to be able to fly. That said, if your goal is exploration, you should begin training for such a ship as soon as you’ve finished perfecting the core exploration skills, such as Astrometric Pinpointing, and the use of modules like the Analyzer and Codebreaker.  

Until then, you should get yourself a ship that light, fast, but also has enough combat efficiency to keep any NPC enemies you find at bay. One of the most challenging aspects of exploration in the early stages is fighting off the enemies guarding your precious lootz, and in LowSec, NullSec and Wormhole Space, other players too. 

Manufacturing is the process of taking reprocessed ore (minerals), such as Tritanium and Isogen, or salvageable materials like the Tripped Power Circuit, and turning them into ships, fittings, drones, rigs and subsystems. If you’re looking to begin a career in manufacturing, begin by establishing a method for procuring these materials.

Make anything – and everything – you want. 

Having friends to help you get these materials is by far the easiest way to maintain a solid production cycle; however, it less than difficult in the beginning of your career to mine, salvage or purchase these items yourself. Almost all of the blueprints needed to manufacture items are sold by NPC traders through the market.

If you’re just starting out, begin by learning skills like Mass Production, Industry and Production Efficiency, as these will allow you to create more items more regularly at lower material costs. From there, it a good idea to begin training in Research, Metallurgy and Laboratory Operation, as these will allow you to research blueprints to further decrease the amount of minerals required for production. 

Salvaging is one of the less intensive career paths, in terms of time, training, funding and learning commitment. In essence, it mimics the life of a desert vulture, in that the core gameplay is comprised mostly of following larger, stronger ships into battle, and cleaning up the mess they leave behind.

Cleaning up the galaxy, one dead pirate at a time.

That said, it a very lucrative endeavour if you’re following the right people. Personally, I find that this career is best used in combination with another, or as a role you ‘sometimes’ play when it required. 

Begin by training in the use of Salvager modules, as these will allow you to remove the scraps from wreckages in space. Also consider fitting a Tractor Beam, as this will allow you to pull the wreckages closer to your ship, thereby decreasing the time you’ll need to spend salvaging. 

Elsewise: your goal should be to get your hands on a Destroyer grade ship as soon as possible. The 8 high slots will allow you to fit 4 Salvager I and 4 Tractor Beam I modules, and will redefine how you salvage. Then, set your sights on the Noctis, and begin training in the ORE Industrial skill. 

The Loyalist is the ‘cleanest’ of the many military-centered career paths in EVE, consisting of those players who wish to serve their faction to the end. Like most military careers, your core gameplay focus will be completing agent missions as frequently as possible, thereby increasing your standing with your faction, and opening up new avenues for growth and expansion.

Amarr players make the best loyalists, much like Nazis.

Eventually, the Loyalist will lead you to a life of heavy PvP combat, as you’ll be tasked with destroying the members of opposing factions, and/or corporations aligned with said faction.

If serving your faction sounds like the path for you, then begin by grinding standing with your factions’ militia, and training in the use of bigger and better ships as quickly as possible. Getting to the point where you can comfortably run level 4 missions regularly will be key, as this will increase your ISK and LP (Loyalty Points) income drastically. 

Like the Loyalist, the Freedom Fighter is a military-based career that should begin with a steady flow of PvE mission gameplay, slowly building standing with Agents and Corporations that directly benefit your individual goals, that will later lead to heavy PvP conflict, possibly including large-scale wars.

We couldn’t find a good screenshot for the Freedom Fighter. Can you tell?
Begin by training in skills that directly benefit your military preferences, and looking for a corporation with like-minded players.

As the name suggests, the planetary industrialist builds colonies on planets and sets the colonists to work, generating a steady income while you’re off doing other things. This requires you to build the facilities planetside for your colonists to use, then giving them their orders.

Colonies can consist of any combination of structures, including extractors, processors, silo’s and spaceports, which allow you to extract the planets materials, process them into usable goods and launch them off-world.

It looks more complicated than it is. Really. 

These colonies can be as simple or advanced as you want them to be, ranging from a simple mining facility that exports raw materials to sell, to a complex network of processing factories that import large quantities of those raw materials and turn them into starbase parts.

The resources gained through these colonies are required in nearly all of the biggest and most expensive manufacturing jobs, including starbases, capital ships and stations, and are always in demand.

If the SimCity-esque aspect of Planetary Industrialism appeals to you, start by training up Remote Sensing, which allows you to inspect planets directly and consider training in industrial ships to haul your colony’s products. 

Piracy in Eve Online is one of the most popular career paths, but also one of the most difficult. Players who generally enjoy killing other players and holding them for ransom will find this career path appealing; however, as piracy will prohibit you from entering HighSec space, it is immensely difficult to survive until you’re powerful enough to join a pirate corporation, or survive on your own. We strongly recommend that you save this career choice for another character. Ye’ve been warned.

Less QQ, more Pew Pew. Amirite?

If you’re looking to get started as a Pirate, it is important to begin training in Frigate class ships as quickly as possible. These ships are cheap and easily replaceable, and as you’ll likely be losing a lot of them, it important that you have replacements ready and waiting at wherever you’ve chosen to call home. 

Once you’re trained and practiced in frigate-based PvP, move into LowSec space and begin the hunt for players incapable of defending themselves, while avoiding bounty hunters and larger groups of pirates. If possible, join a pirate corporation as soon as you can. 

Where there is darkness, there is light. Similarly, where there are pirates, there are bounty hunters. The bounty hunter career path consists primarily of hunting down pirates, both NPC and player and collecting the bounties on their heads. 

Shhhh. Be veeerwy quiet – I’m hunting PIRATES.

In EVE, players can place a bounty on almost any player they wish, and NPC pirates always have a predetermined bounty on their heads, which increases as you venture deeper into space. Find them. Kill them. Get paid. Boba Fett awesome.

Getting started as a bounty hunter is somewhat similar to getting started as a pirate; frigate-based gameplay is a strong beginning, as frigates are cheap and you’ll be losing them regularly, and training in military skills that benefit your style of play. As always, joining a like-minded corporation is strongly recommended.

Advanced Career Path
The Fleet Commander is a specialised career best left to players with several years of experience, but that doesn’t mean you can’t begin playing EVE from day one with this goal in mind.


“Commander, rally the troops. We’re going to war.”

Broad spectrum, a fleet commander is highly trained in military combat, logistics and Leadership, offering other players in their fleet bonuses in combat and general guidance throughout a battle. 

If you’re thinking of commanding a fleet in the future, begin with a heavy focus on military combat, perhaps as a Loyalist or Freedom Fighter, and then bridge your military efforts into a corporation while developing logistic and leadership skills.

Advanced Career Path
The Empire Builder career path is widely considered as the true path to ‘end game’ in Eve Online. Players following this path will be responsible for managing multiple corporations – alliances – in NullSec space, and as a result, will be well known throughout the galaxy.

“Today we take Viesto. Tomorrow, the galaxy.”

Fame, glory and riches await those able to successfully manage an alliance, as the sovereignty game (capturing and controlling sections of space) is exclusive to this career. 

If you’re looking to become an Empire Builder you should begin by mastering every other career path in Eve Online. Or, at the very least, by developing a competent understanding of every other career path in Eve Online. And practice PvP. A lot. 

Looking to the Future

The objective of this episode is to help you familiarise yourself with the various ‘common’ careers in Eve Online, help you make a choice for yourself, and give you a basic understanding of what you should do in order to get a footing in the career of your choice, and we hope that in that task, we’ve been successful.

Thanks for reading, and be sure to leave your comments below if you’d like to see more Eve Online content from MMOGames.

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