Space Jaunting: The diary of a complete and total beginner attempting to make his way in EVE Online
Welcome. My name’s Ant. I have never played EVE Online before. Despite being an avid PC gamer since I was old enough to reach the spacebar I’ve always avoided the advances of this massively multiplayer online space faring adventure, even though it covers my favourite areas of interest: Games, exploration and Sci-Fi.
The issue has largely been the cost, with a monthly subscription required to continue playing the game, but also the steep learning curve other players talk about; the difficulty, trickery and frustration with dealing with an online community that not only allows sneaky tactics, scamming and general mischievousness, but actively encourages this behaviour; and the boredom that a number people say sets in after a while. But finally, having had my interest once again peaked after reading this article: http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2011/04/07/eve-online-audience-with-the-king-of-space/. I’ve decided to take the plunge.
After reading around the subject, looking up some beginner’s guides and general info about this incredibly complex sounding game it seems the key to enjoying it is you get out of it what you put in. With this in mind I’ve decided to create this blog to set myself some goals to aim for, record how I get on and chuckle at my inevitable failures and blunders at the end!
So, what is EVE? EVE Online is a Massively-Multiplayer Online game, set in the deep future in deep space. What I know is as a player you start off with a space ship and are set loose to make as much money as you like anyway you like, from mining asteroids, to trading goods across star systems, running combat missions for corporations, or pirating and stealing other players stuff. The money then allows you to buy more ships, bigger ships (from tiny frigates up to fleet destroying capital ships), start up companies, recruit other players as staff, build up these corporations and join alliances with other corporations to wage war against other alliances, to try and rule the galaxy and just when you thought you’d made it then another player comes and steals it all from under you because you trusted him with some vital piece of knowledge about where you stashed all your…space gold or something like that.
That’s, at least, is what EVE is to someone who hasn’t actually played it! This is how it’s been sold to me and this is what appeals. I want to get involved in the faction wars talked about in the ‘king of space’ interview, I want to make a name for myself in this pretend universe, but I don’t yet know what side I want to be on, or how I want to make my name.
One step at a time though. EVE is apparently a very hostile universe. I’ve read not to worry about avoiding losing my ship and my earnings, just to work out how I’m going to deal with it when I inevitably do.
To help with this the star systems in EVE are categorised into safe and unsafe regions, with safety based on the size of the police force present. The categories run from 0.0 to 1.0, with the higher rating (from 0.5-1.0) meaning if I’m attacked by another player a police force will warp in and defend me. The fact this is even a requirement suggests just how hostile this universe will be! The lower numbers have some security around certain points like space stations and warp gates, and 0.0, or null-sec space, has no security presence at all.
Therefore that’s where I want to be able to cut it if I’m going to achieve my long term goals, so that’s going to be my first goal:
1. Survive in Null-Sec space
I’m going to add a couple more that will help me achieve that, and stop me from crying if I turn up and get obliterated immediately:
2. Build up a small fortune: 10,000,000ISK
I don’t know the exchange rate so this might need amending if it’s completely off the scale or not nearly enough, but 500,000 ISK will apparently buy you a small craft so 20 times that seems more than enough to be starting on.
3. Join a human corporation
The corporations in EVE are the equivalent of guilds in other MMOs, except they’re called corporations which sounds 100 times cooler. So it’s group of players who can work together to achieve the same tasks and receive extra bonuses for doing it as a group. Apparently the best way to progress in terms of building up your character’s stats is by doing work for a corporation, and that is ultimately what I’m after.
At the moment my character is a lone wolf, spat in to this universe with, to quote Alfred Bester, EDUCATION: none, SKILLS: none, MERITS: none, RECOMMENDATIONS: none. I don’t have any friends playing at the moment, and the couple of corps I’ve read about so far either sound too boring or too scary to join, so I will have to see what’s on offer in the game. What I’d love is to be invited in to a corp by strangers I meet in the game, but if no one’s being that generous apparently there’s a recruitment board you can look up who needs people and apply like that. Again, I really don’t know how it’s going to work! Exciting.
So, 3 goals set for the first part of my adventures in deep space. My name was Ant, but you will now know me as Maxi Foyle, Space Lunatic, as I am about to finally actually play EVE Online. I’ll let you know how I get on with my first day later. Also (hopefully) pictures!