So as mentioned I’ve actually started playing EVE Online, a game which I’ve always wanted to try since I heard about it but admittedly was a bit scared off by the stories of no-holds-barred PVP and the notoriously steep learning curve.
As referenced by the last post title, this is actually my second attempt at EVE. My first was shortly after I quit my previous job and was first looking for something to play together with my wife. Since EVE’s other name is “spreadsheets in space” I figured that it could be something my wife likes, since she’s the type who has spreadsheets tracking everything plus she puts Scrooge McDuck to shame with her money-making ways. There was a 21-day trial for EVE at the time so we both downloaded and installed.
Seriously, I don’t know how people even managed to start playing EVE when it was first introduced. The character creation process has already been massively streamlined and there are actually very good tutorials now, but we still both felt completely lost. We were flying around in our noobie ships and taking forever to kill enemies because we had no idea what in the world we were doing. We fit lasers to our ships, because “lasers don’t use ammo” even though our ships didn’t have bonuses to lasers. We had no idea about the ranges of our weapons and what modules were good for our ships. It didn’t help that I’d picked Gallente as my race since Gallente had bonuses to drones and I’ve always liked pet classes. But it was cumbersome controlling those little buzzing piranhas and more than one set of drones was left abandoned in deep space, cyring themselves to sleep before eventually shutting down, because I warped off before remembering to recall them into my ship 😦 We had no idea how to make ISK (the standard game currency) beyond running missions and mining asteroids for ore, and we quickly found that mining asteroids for ore was… underwhelming. Seriously it makes ore mining in WoW seem fun. Even before the changes that let you mine everything in a click.
After playing for about a week, during which we basically flopped around clueless, EVE was starting to get boring. My wife asked me what there was available to do at end-game, to which I replied that I didn’t know. Maybe running missions… which wasn’t a very enticing response so she didn’t particularly feel like playing anymore. I followed suit shortly after that and moved on to try other games.
However, I still loved reading about the adventures people had in EVE, such as Tipa and Wilhelm the Ancient Gaming Noob. Most of the time I had no frigging clue what the hell they were talking about, but it still seemed fun. Slowly, however, I began to partially understand things and read a few other EVE blogs. Most of them were far above my head, being about massive fleet battles and coalitions fighting for territory out in 0.0 space (sort of like contested PVP free-for-all territory), but it was clear that there was a lot more to EVE than just mission running and… mining (shudder).
What really finally got me interested to give it a go again though were some EVE newbie guides such as Hammer’s Eve which finally drilled it into my head that THERE IS NO ENDGAME in EVE, but not in the way I answered my wife previously. Because you can do whatever you want. I can run missions, or make ISK trading in markets, or go into invention and manufacturing, or even go out and be a pirate killing other players. With a better understanding of combat mechanics, I even realised that from a very early stage we could have easily afforded much better ships and equipped them to be much more powerful than our noobie little mosquitoes, thus making combat less boring. I guess another contributing factor was that I actually had too much time then since I was in between jobs, and spending all day watching myself jump from system to system was actually pretty boring. Now that I’m actually employed again and with a Baby Bear to take care of, my playtime was much more scarce and EVE’s offline skill training system and professions seemed like a fair shot.
So… a 2 gigabyte download later… I prepared to give EVE another go. Better prepared now, I chose Caldari as my race since according to their quarterly economic report (yes, EVE has an economist giving an economic report, that’s the epitome of Spreadsheets in Space) by far the largest proportion of players were Caldari. The Caldari racial bonus is also in missiles, which are supposed to be good for PVE missions. Goodie. I like blowing things up from long range, and PVP is probably a bit far ahead for this little nooblet. Plus, as the saying goes, “when you’re a noob, do as noobs do!”
So far I’ve played about a week of the trial and I’m loving it. Now that I actually understand more about the game, I didn’t feel lost at the start and quickly started training the skills I would need to move on to a better ship. I checked out some popular ship loadouts for the destroyer-class ship I had in mind, the Cormorant, and managed to get one pretty quickly for about 600K ISK. The additional guns and modules cost me maybe another 600K but the end result manages to 1-shot almost every NPC frigate at about 16 km range, a vast improvement over my previous endless circling and pinging away. In fact, locking on to them and salvaging their wrecks afterwards usually takes more time than actually killing them.
I’m currently training a couple more skills that are needed before I can progress to the next class of ship, the cruiser. These are widely regarded to be better for missions than destroyers, since destroyers basically have the defensive abilities of a frigate but just have many more guns stapled to their hulls. There was a mission which was pretty tough and had me spending almost half of the mission reward money on repairs and got me the cold shoulder from my wife for spending so much time on it, so I think an upgrade may be necessary for Noork pretty soon. On the bright side I actually managed to complete it after realising what I was doing wrong, so that means I’ve starting to get the hang of it. I’ve already got the money for the Caldari cruiser-class Caracal, just need to see if I can get a discount anywhere and finish training up skills and buying modules.