My trial period for EVE Online has ended. I didn't get to be a space cadet this week, although the nature of the game still allows for quick resource gathering via mining, or a slightly longer but still manageably short single mission to be run, which I managed a couple of times of an evening. For all its complexity, the game still seems to allow for you to get as involved as you want to. There are certainly areas that you can't get around, like needing to train skills to gain access to specific avenues within the game, but it doesn't seem like whole evenings at a time need to be dedicated to be able to enjoy the game on every sitting.
My further involvement in the game had me training the 'Trade' skill so that I could have more than five open orders on the market at once. Instead of being able to dump all your unwanted goods on to the 'auction house' for sale and making a bundle you need to have experience of the market, hence needing to train the skill. For every rank in 'Trade' you can have an additional four open orders, which helps. Note that a stack of items counts as a single order, and I also discovered that an upgrade that has been fitted effectively 'unpackages' itself and cannot be stacked with identical items until it has been repackaged, which I didn't find to be immediately obvious.
I got my targeting skill trained so that I can now lock-on to up to four targets simultaneously, which helps with keeping track of targets. I imagine it will help even more when I get involved in the use of ECM systems and other electronics, rather than simply trying to shoot everything in range with missiles.
I'm getting more used to using the tactical overlay, which lets me get a more accurate representation of relative positions of objects in space relative to my own ship, letting me plot manual courses heading directly away from or tangental to enemies, or a course that gets one group in range whilst keeping another at bay for the moment.
I have adjusted the overview settings so that I can warp to stargates easily, the asteroids are taken out of the standard view so that it doesn't fill up with useless information whilst on missions, and I found how to remove empty wrecks from the overview thus speeding up looting times after killing rats.
My second ISK million was made! Considering that I spent about a quarter of a million buying the skill book to learn how to fly cruisers I think it mostly shows that a million ISK is not that much money overall, particularly when two million ISK is not enough cash to buy a cruiser. It's progress though.
As for progress, I feel like I am making some in most aspects of the game. My skills are getting trained and I can, for the most part, see some consequence of training. I have more money. I am getting better at handling my ship and all the systems and controls of the game itself. The agents I am currently dealing with are warming up to my charms and piloting skills, and giving me some different missions, including a minor storyline mission recently. I should probably find a new agent to deal with soon, as my reputation is growing. This will bring up new issues of moving my few ships and all my equipment to another base, or deal with having everything split and having to remember where it all is. I will need to learn how this is normally dealt with.
There is a lot still to learn, and so much more to explore. The sense of scale in the game is immense. Even with warp drives that can take you from one side of a solar system to another in seconds, and stargates that throw you to another solar system also in seconds, there is so much empty space and so many stars that the game looks huge. The way everything is represented helps perfectly, with space stations and ships zooming in to the distance first when warp drives are engaged, quickly followed by the planets themselves, showing the relative scale of the objects, and then followed by zooming past the star on the way to the other side of the solar system. There are ways to cover vast distances, but the distances don't seem any less vast because of this.
Everything is designed beautifully too. The planets look like planets, the spaceships like spaceships, the stations like stations; everything looks believable, including the stunning backgrounds. As a whole, without introducing (or perhaps removing) g-forces I don't know how else I could be made to believe I am piloting a ship in space.
I'm not sure how repetitious, or how much of a grind, the focus of the game will get, how long I will endure running missions to destroy pirate spaceships, but every time I put myself in to the pilot's seat I just want to enjoy being a space cadet. I am pulled in by my desire to want to pilot something bigger and more powerful, to see what systems I can fit to my ship to change the field of combat, whether I can produce my own systems and equipment from raw materials. EVE Online makes me want to experience the world more than other games where the focus is in getting to the next easily defined character level.
I haven't subscribed to the game yet, and although I may be able to resist doing so this weekend, with City of Villains, World of Warcraft, and Real Life to keep me busy, I am soon likely again to be Penny Ibramovic, space cadet.