A fortnight in EVE Online

27th June 2008 – 10.10 am

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.

  1. 7 Responses to “A fortnight in EVE Online”

  2. I know exactly how you feel! I have completed several Trial Subscriptions. Hope to meet you "out there" sometime - on friendly terms!

    By Ed WarKitten on Jun 27, 2008

  3. Well said! A lot of people complain about how difficult it is to make progress in EVE, from the many skills needed to be trained to the massive expense of purchasing a large ship, but the truth of the matter is that none of this matters if you just enjoy "being a space cadet.' I suspect that if I played this game for the rest of my life, I would never progress far beyond where I am now. But so what? EVE is like life: you may not become a millionaire power-broker, but that should not prevent you from having a good time anyway!

    By Master Rook on Jun 28, 2008

  4. I disagree with Ed above. You can easily progress beyond space cadet stage, what is needed is focus. Find out what you want to do (hard part) or a ship you want to fly, look at the skills you need to fly the ship and the modules you'll fit. And form a training plan in evemon.

    Also join a corp, empire corps especially take newer players and teach them, and it usually not so long since those teachers have been in the same position themselves.

    The corp I'm in took in a few new players during a recruitment drive a couple of months ago, when the best thing they could fly was destroyers. Those players now have battleships, are soloing level 4 missions, have just "won" a war (the guy who decced us saw us together and stayed away from us till the dec run out, or hid when we came looking for him).

    Most corps will have pvp/pve/industrial/trade specialists who will help you choose a path, and help you with the skills. Corps also often supply ships and fittings.

    Before you know it, you could be the specialist teaching new players who join the corp. Its a great feeling when you've helped a guy through his first Eve steps and now he a great asset to the corp, and helping new people himself

    By Ally on Jul 15, 2008

  5. You can easily keep track of where all your stuff is with the Assets icon on the left side of your screen. It even has a handy search tool included.

    Unless you are a singularly strong-willed individual who can make their own way in this behemoth of a MMORPG, you would do well to join a corporation of like minded individuals to fully enjoy everything this game has to offer. I highly recommend the corp I joined upon deciding I wanted to, Eve University. http://www.eve-ivy.com/ Their mission goal is to accept each and every noobie that applies and teach them everything possible about the game with no strings attached.

    By Winged Nazgul on Jul 15, 2008

  6. I am interested in joining a Corporation, so thanks for the suggestions from both Ally and Winged Nazgul. It would help if I weren't so shy, but I imagine I'll find my way one way or another. I'll check out the link to EVE University at some point.

    And thanks for pointing me towards the Assets tab. I found it by accident a few days after I posted this, and it is indeed a useful tool.

    By pjharvey on Jul 15, 2008

  7. Sometimes take a while to read all the way back to find the beginning of a journey, but I can consume enough content on my accelerated learning programs doing just that even on very old posts :)

    You have come a long way from being a shy Space Cadet. To being a specialist with sharp killer instink in the deep cold pockets of space. Much wisdom gained reading your old blog entries as well as the new.

    By Ardent Defender on Aug 11, 2010

  8. Thanks, AD. I certainly have come a long way, the biggest step of my journey being the push out to w-space to discover the real game of EVE Online, that of making your own adventure. Living in a full PvP environment helps make that possible.

    By pjharvey on Aug 14, 2010

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