Tobold's Blog
Monday, April 12, 2010
The EVE experiment

Following suggestions from mbp and other readers, I started playing EVE. They have a special offer until Wednesday where if you *didn't* play the trial version, you can get the full game plus the first month for 14.95, instead of 19.95, to compensate for the free trial days. As I last played EVE during the beta and the first two weeks after release, my knowledge of that game could use some update. Specifically I want to find out how EVE Online plays for the "average guy", as opposed to the small elite at the head of mighty corporations planning great wars and betrayals, which usually make the headlines in the MMO blogosphere. I doubt I'll play EVE for a very long time, but you never know, I'm certainly attracted by the economic part of the gameplay.

Opening an account was easy, and EVE Online accepts Paypal as payment method. Downloading and installing the game was likewise very smooth. The first real difficulty was creating a character, as you are given various choices for race and origin, with no clue how or whether these choices make any difference to gameplay. I so hope my random choice didn't gimp me in any way. After that you get right into your first epic battle - with the user interface. The default font for everything in EVE online is set to 10 point size, which probably was the right size back in 2003 when people were playing on 800 x 600 resolution, but which is unreadably small on the 1680 x 1080 resolution of a now more typical 22" screen. It took me a while and a Google search to find how to increase font size in EVE Online, but the sad news is that the biggest font on offer is 12 point plus wide mode, which makes text at least marginally readable, but is still rather small.

While some people compare part of EVE Online's gameplay to playing with an Excel spreadsheet, that sort of complexity doesn't turn me off, although I admit I'm still very much lost and will have to learn a lot to play this half way intelligently. I saw that on the market data display there is actually an option to export them as file, so apparently some people *do* play EVE on Excel. As "new player" I certainly found that this isn't a jump in and play game. But fortunately there are a lot of tutorials, and by default you are in a chat channel for "rookies", where I could ask stupid question like "where do I see how much ISK I have", and got a polite and correct answer. You try asking something basic in WoW city chat and compare the results.

I didn't play much yet, only did the "crash course" tutorial with two agent missions and looked around a bit. Combat feels weird, with your ship on auto-orbit and your laser on auto-fire, with you doing nothing. And the third person view isn't great for combat, I need to find out whether there is a cockpit view, or maybe just try to zoom in so far that I get into first person view. The tutorial is helpful, but not perfect. At one point for example I got a skill book as reward, for "refining", but to learn "refining" you need "industry 1" as prerequisite, and the tutorial hadn't explained how you got skill books. I managed to buy one on the market for 18k, but have no idea whether I was supposed to do that or paid far too much.

While looking at the market data I saw the buy offers for PLEX, which is the officially sanctioned RMT of EVE Online. I could buy a PLEX, which is a virtual one month time card, and sell it for 275 million ISK. I don't even have 275 thousand ISK yet, so for just 15 bucks I could become incredibly rich, from the point of view of a new player. But as in EVE there are no xp or levels, and skills are gained in real time, gathering ISK is basically the only progress indicator I have. Buying those 275 million ISK would completely destroy the feeling of progress I hope to get from actually playing the game and earning the virtual money the hard way.

The current plan is to play a bit more during the week, and then more intensively next weekend. I should also go and look for EVE newbie tips somewhere on the net, anyone have an idea where to find such a thing, or give me some advice on things I should absolutely do or not do?
EVE Online is quite the enigma to me. The whole game and everything it involves interests me a lot, but I have no friends there and it is rather difficult to get into. I have held a subscription for a couple months at a time at various point in the last few years, but never REALLY got into it.

I often think of trying it out again, but never get around to that, either. ;)

I'll give you the same advice I give any Eve Online newbie: Get thee hence to Eve University.
Also when you feel you want to move on to a PC corp look up Agent-Orange. They are a good group of people and have members in both Europe and US. I ended up joining because I was looking for a larger corp the the small 6-10 player corp my one irl friend and a few people he knew set up. AO is part of an alliance and has PoSs in varying security status systems.

But yes if you want a good introduction I have heard good things about Eve University, I have never been a part myself so can't speak from personal experience.
I hate it when you think you write something well and hit publish. Then upon reading the published version all of your grammatical mistakes become apparent to you.
This comment has been removed by the author.
Your experience the first day mirrors mine on the first day. I'm very interested in how this experiment continues. I quit EVE after about one month of 30 hours/week play.

But I still love the core concept. quit for a very few, but very critical reasons:

- I felt about the RMT exactly the feeling you described. 200mio is a hell of a lot for a new player and 15€ a joke.

- The user interface and the font make it impossible to relax while playing.

- The skill system doesn't allow me to actually do something to evolve my character.
Quick EVE help:

1) That orbiting thing becomes more important once you understand the interplay between orbit speed and gun tracking speed (small fast ships can get "under the guns" of bigger slower ships) not something you need to worry about before you get into cruisers. It's one of the reasons that frigates have a role even when you graduate to larger vessels.

2) If you get into industry, yes having a 2 screen setup with a spreadsheet program in the 2nd one is a useful way to play. If you want to you can use the in game browser to connect up to google docs and work on your spreadsheet from withing the game so you're not breaking immersion if you want (I can't conceive of an advanced civilization not having tools like spreadsheets available to their starship captains so it's not like it's breaking immersion)

3) Most skill books are available from NPC vendors. How do you tell if an item is sold by an NPC you ask? Simple: the longest period a player can put something up for sale is 3 months (90 days). Any item that's up for sale for 364.xx days is being sold by an NPC.

General comments for newbies dealing with the market: You can sort the market info by price. Arbitrage is important in this game. You'll usually find what your looking for cheaper but it'll be some ways away (this is why market hubs form - most stuff is reasonably priced and you can "one stop shop"). Also pay attention when you try to sell something. If you sell something immediately you're effectively filling some other player's buy order. Pay attention to the "buy" section of the market screen, in a lot of cases some players but region wide low ball "buy orders" hoping that newbies like you don't know how the market works and will simply sell stuff immediately where you currently are even if the raw mineral worth of the item you're selling is much higher. One reason for the spreadsheet is to calculate how much the minerals are worth if you melted some item you got as loot. Since average mineral value changes over time what a module is "worth" changes over time - which is why market dudes play with spreasheets open.
Check this out

It's an EVE blog geared towards Warcraft players. Also, join the EVE University.
Agreed, Eve University is probably the best known corp for n00b players. They are very mature and helpful. I think one of EVE's best assets is its player base. Most are helpful and won't berate you for not being born with preordained knowledge of the game. I like EVE a lot but it's not for everyone because of the learning curve. That said it's probably one of the most interesting MMO's I've ever played in my personal opinion and one of the few I've stuck with. I like all the economic aspects (manufacturing, mining, trade, science), exploration is fun sometimes but a hit or miss when it comes to profitability. Combat gets tougher and more complex once you start doing lvl 1 missions, the tutorial stuff was pretty simple from what I remember... If your into PVP then maybe join a corporation that specializes in that, there are pretty much player corps for any interest. Expansions are put out pretty consistently and players seem to be in love with the EVE Devs. Again not for everyone but very rewarding if it's your type of MMO.
The eve wiki is also full of info -
When I played Eve, this site: was very helpful for me.
Good luck, I'm very curious if you'll be able to enjoy the game.
Three random tips from a noob:
- join a corp asap
- do NOT leave high security space, you WILL be killed
- check out the certificates feature, it helps a lot to get an idea about what skills to focus on
I played on and off for a few months but didn't get much actual game time in. I might have continued playing if I could afford it but at the time I was paying for four online games. I soon cut back to two at a time then just Warcraft.

Honestly, I never figured out what I was doing. I did a lot of mining and lost my ship once or twice to low-level pirates and did some exploring.

Someday would play again.
I don't want to overload you on your first day but here are some links I found very useful (none of them are required immediately):

EVEMON is a great skill training planner:

EVE fitting tool is a great way to play around with ship load outs:

Eve Survival: Useful guides to combat missions. Link can be slow:

EVE central is an offline market database for EVE. The closest thing EVE has to WoW auctioneer add on. Not particularly up to date but can still be useful:

EVE Agents: If you get seriously about mission running you need this:

I also found a useful list of important skills to train early on but I cannot find the link. I may be able to find it when I get home later.
FWIW -- there is no cockpit view nor 1st person view. You can scroll in far enough to take pretty pictures of your ship, but that's it. And yeah, you can scroll out far enough you can't even see your ship or the ones you're fighting. I've actually seen some people say that Star Trek fans should appreciate the combat style since in a lot of ways it's like you see on the show "Shields up! Evasive Maneuvers! Fire Volley 1!" rather than the space-sim types or using WASD movement, etc.

Combat, especially in the tutorials can seem a little boring, especially since the tutorial more or less simply tells you "hit orbit, turn on the guns. and wait." A lot of PvE combat can be like that, which is why the PvE part of the game can be boring. But, if you're trying a mission with a lot of ships to kill and you get swarmed you do need to change tactics. Kiting is a good one, and if you're faster than the others you can also try the "drive-by" method.

And that's just the pve. PvP is a whole 'nother ball of wax. I'm actually completely with you in not really liking the idea of pvp anytime anywhere, but I will admit that in the few times I've done it (corp roams in to lowsec, being caught in a plex in lowsec, stuff like that) that it was a real rush. The biggest thing is learning to manage when and where you'll be doing the pvp thing. As was mentioned by someone else -- stay in hi sec and you're relatively safe. For all the horror stories of suicide ganking and all that, I've never seen it happen and only know 2 people it's happened to, and even they admit they behaved rather stupidly for it to have been possible.

I play EQ2 as my "main game", and EVE is more my "casual game" but feel free to add Boaz Netopalis to your addressbook, and if we're ever both online at the same time I'm always happy to answer questions, help with missioning, and even do some small gang work in lowsec if that trips your trigger.
I disagree that ISK is an indicator of progress. As you mentioned you can "buy" 250mil ISK for $15. That can help buy real progress:
- Buy implants to boost learning speed
- Get the best ship your skills allow you to fly and outfit
- Buy the skill books you need to start doing research missions (which is expensive)

The real indicators of progress:
- Skill Points. Buying implants and learning skills can speed this up.
- Standing. Like rep. Improved by doing missions. The better your mission ship(s), the faster you gain standings.
- Your actual knowledge of the game.
- Your income/hour. Better skills,ships and game knowledge beget better income.

That last one seems the same as buying ISK. But at some point your income is so great that you spend less time gathering money, and have extra money to buy a time card. So either you play for free or you fund an alt.

So why make money, if you can just buy ISK? Fun. Challenge. It gets too expensive. I think every EVE newbie should consider buying ISK at least once.

However, you need knowledge to use that ISK. So you may want to get that first. Research every way to speed up your skill learning. What implants to buy. What the best newbie ship is for you to accomplish your short term goals. Think about what you want to do longer term. Find a good corp. Protect your implants (hellooo jump clones).

PLEX is the only way to use money to give you a boost in EVE. Its a legitimate part of the game.

So why doesn't everyone do it all the time?
- If everyone bought it, and no one made ISK to buy it, the economy wouldn't support it.
- If no one was mining or salvaging wrecks, there would be no materials to build ships or mods. Its not just about the money, but about the raw materials.
Welcome Tobold.

Adding my voice to the join Eve Uni choir.

One other thing - take a few risks. Better to do something newbish and have to grind some cash to replace your ship than to do nothing and be bored.

Also if you lose a ship and have no money I think the Uni will give out free frigates.
There is really no need to go the selling plex route. You don't need that kinda isk at the moment anyway. Have fun in the game and see how much isk you can accumulate ;).

This post is somewhat older, but still contains valuable info:
I'm in two minds about buying ISK as a new player.
On the one hand I agree with Bill: raw money isn't a very good indicator of progress and selling a PLEX or two (you can only buy them in pairs on my preferred billing method :S ) will let you get a set of attribute implants and the books for all the learning skills, which is a big shortcut to wherever you're going.
On the other hand, it's a game: if you want to earn ISK yourself, that's great. It's very rewarding to make your own progress through the early stuff (and the rest).

One thing I would say, is that the game has a crazy learning curve, and although I know you shouldn't have to I thoroughly recommend doing some research, finding some guides, maybe joining the university (I've heard good things but not really encountered them) and generally getting a plan together. You'd be hard pressed to make any mistakes you can't undo, it's easy to be so suboptimal that it would take the fun out of the game.

Other simple advice: some third-party apps are excellent. Look for EVEMon and EFT.

You do sound like the kind of person who'd really enjoy it once you found a niche and some folks to work with.

Speaking of which, just like everyone else who commented I expect, I'm part of a really nice player corp in which I'm sure you'd be welcome. We're mainly a mining and industrial corp in a quiet corner of Minmatar high-sec, although I'm a mission-runner mainly and I stay for the atmosphere.
If earning isk rather than flying spaceships is what makes you tick, get into trade. Buy low, sell high. You can quickly become richer than most players.
I found that list of basic skills for all ships:
If there were a carebear version of EVE where I couldn't be knocked down and have my lunch money stolen, I'd crawl inside that game and never come out.
I really, really wish I loved Eve. I've started several times, and played most angles of the game, from mining to manufacturing to corp-based PvP.

On paper, it's everything I want in a game. But the downtime to play ratio (and over all, the time required to play) is just way out of line with my ability to sustain interest.
I found that if you do all the starter missions for your race that they work as a tutorial for most parts of the game. It's by no means comprehensive, but I had a good grasp of everything after I finished those missions.
If you want to try out PvP with a lot of other newbies lead by very experienced fleet commander and pilots then I urge you to check this site out:

They offer PvP courses that is divided into 2 parts, one theoretical part and one practical (roam) part. That 12m you spend on the first basic course is well worth it and you can always retake the course as alumni and best part is, it doesn't cost anything to retake a course. They do have some minor requirement though, you need some basic frigate skills before you can join though, but that is easily attainable in a week or so.

* Propulsion Jamming 1+
* Afterburner 1+
* Caldari, Amarr, Gallente or Minmatar Frigate 1+
* Sensor Linking 1+
* Warp Drive Operation 3+ (yes, we really mean it, not having it can delay the movement of the fleet)
* Weapon Disruption 1+
* Electronic Warfare 1+

When you enroll for a course you will get course material and basic information on what to train and ship setup etc.

If you decide to try this, then wait with plugging in implants unless you can get a clone somehow (ivy can provide these if you join them).
One thing that is VERY important to do from as near the beginning as possible is to make sure you learn the "learning" skills first.

Basically, what you would consider your attributes (i.e. Perception) are actually only used really (as far as I remember anyway) to determine the speed that you learn skills at.

So all skills under the Perception attribute are learned at the rate dictated by how high that attribute is.

Needless to say, it is thus extremely important to learn these skills first. However, you do of course want to integrate either combat, mining, or manufacturing skills in your build order. So you can do basic things reasonably well.

You really want to get the full learning set of skills (the first set anyway) up to level 3-4 as quick as possible. At the very least you will need the ones that include your intended career path's skills up to 4 asap.

Once the length of training gets to days I usually start switching off and going for the ships and equipment that are my current goals.

The two most important tools for an EvE player outside the game are:

2)EvE Fitting Tool

These apps are amazingly powerful and make planning out your character vastly simpler. And even ping you out of game when a skill finishes and you need to put more in your order.

In the initial stages of your career if you get your learning skills all to 4-5, THEN progress on to weapons/tools/etc, you will advance MUCH faster.

Also, while doing this, it is also more efficient to work on getting one "set" of skills at a time. Say I wanted to get the Cruiser skill, along with equivalent weaponry and other things. It is only a waste of time to also skill towards a mining vessel (that might be a 1/10th as long to get to even).

That being said, I found it helpful to (after joining a corp preferably) first go after a nice big mining ship, and perhaps even a cargo hauler. Having your own reliable and highly profitable form of income opens up your game quite a bit. With a hauler and some capital from mining, you can actually start making a good amount simply from making trade runs to make a quick profit.

One last thing (sorry for rant dudes), its easy to get the impression that after mining you should refine the ore before selling it. After a few calculations you will realize that its only when you get refining up to a high level that it becomes useful.

Prior to this, your low skill level makes you "lose" ore in the process. So in the early stages of a career, you want to stick to either mining or refining, not both. The skill points needed to make a profit off of both are simply too much to waste at this point. Although unless you are in a corp mining is much more reliable.
My only tip is: don't spend any significant amount of time mining as a new player.

It's not fun, and it's not profitable until you have the skills and the capital to buy and fly a good mining ship.

If you want to make money and don't want to spoil your fun by selling PLEX, get salvaging skill asap, and get a salvager and tractor beam. Put them on a second ship if necessary - after you finish a mission, bookmark the location, switch ships, and come back to salvage the wrecks.
Hi Tobold,

I just got into EVE about a month ago, so I hope some of my noobie experience will help you slightly.

I second what Carson 63000 said, I seriously discourage you from mining, especially at the start. It is incredibly boring, and not even very profitable especially given your interest in the economic game. Many people like it because it is relatively safe, requires absolutely zero thought, and is a very slow but steady income stream. But it is by far the worst means of making ISK due to the sheer boredom factor.

Secondly, I don't think the PLEX issue is anything to be concerned about. As other commenters have said, ISK is not really the best progress indicator. You can have tons of ISK and be able to afford a tech 2 battleship plus all the best modules, but you won't be able to fly it. You're not in a race with anyone, so there's no real reason to splurge on +3/+4 implants to speed up your learning right off the bat. And 275 mil ISK is not really a lot once you get used to prices in EVE :P

For the suggestions on joining EVE Uni, I've also heard good things about them but also some bad. Firstly, they are very often war-decced by bored griefers. This means that you become open targets even in high-sec space where you are normally safe, and CONCORD won't protect you. There also seem to be some restrictions and rules when they are war-decced which may be annoying. Although they provide some free ships/skillbooks, I don't think this should be an issue for you with your economic prowess :) You can always ask questions on the rookie chat (available to you for 30 days) and CCP ISDs are very very helpful. As a blogger, you'll probably be able to find equally useful information online.

Combat may seem boring initially, but that's because you're in a rookie ship without many modules. Once you get deeper into the game, you realise that combat is more tactical rather than about button pressing. You have to manage your capacitor carefully to keep it in the optimal recharge rate, use the right ammo/weapons against the right targets, prioritize which targets to take out first, decide when it's better to fight at range or orbit close.

And lastly, DO ALL THE TUTORIAL MISSIONS. In fact, if you can stomach it, do them TWICE. There should be at least 2 different newbie starting systems per faction. You can also do the tutorials for other factions. This is because they give you a set of skillbooks that you can either use or sell (and some of these books can go for 600k ISK) and also they give you a bunch of ships. The advanced combat tutorial gives you a destroyer at the end, which will give you a great head start. All the tutorial missions are also storyline missions, which means they give you a huge amount of standings (like reputation in WoW).
As you know, some folks ignore the social aspect of the game and thus play it almost as a stand alone. Find a corp, Eve-uni, or some other. Read the blog pack ala Crazy Kinux whose most recent blog banter was on advice for new players.

Open sandbox games confuse a lot of people because those people need the direction and the guided tour.

Play, have fun, explore. You will lose things, isk, ships, clones . . . but it was all but bits and bytes and the plays the thing.

Lots of good advice already been given here, but the most important is this.


Sorry for the caps, but the importance of this to your enjoyment of Eve can not be overstated.

Joining a corp will give you the opportunity to feel valuable from nearly the get go, and you will get advice from fellow players on what to train, and do next. Unlike most MMOs a new player can indeed assist an old player, so never feel you can't join in...

Also, as others mentioned, do not try to mine at this early point, it will truly make your eyes bleed.

Also get in the eve-bloggers channel, as a fellow blogger most of the people in there will give you advice, and hey, you may well find a corp to join.
Here's another endorsement for Eve University. I spent over 5 months there. If you don't like the restrictions that get placed on members during wars, they let you leave for the duration of the war and then you can come back.

Even if you don't join the Uni, you should at least visit the Uni's Audio Class Library ( Yes, Eve University actually offers classes over Teamspeak. It's a big help when you're just starting out.
Played EVE for a few months and still would be if I had time in my life for two MMOs (WoW end game raiding takes precedence for me). Looking forward to your experience with EVE.
Odd comment from me but join the german (Q) help channel. Most people are VERY helpful in there and that swhat makes Eve very good: the community is awesome.

And thats what you will miss when you play it offline: getting known in the social net and increase your "power".

As for your industry skill book: you get one for free when you do the industry tutorial. I suggest doin gall career tuts as the freebies are very helpful.

As for "buying" money or getting donations from other players: it helps making the first experience better as you can fly better ships for your first combats or missions. Helps a lot, thats why I give interested newbies always a million or two.

FYI: I am a trader and after 3 months skilling my trader he makes so much money that I play BOTH of my accounts for free now by buying Plexes with my revenue. Not too bad ;)
Has been mentioned already... but can't hurt to repeat it.

Join a player corporation.

Really important this one. Any player corp is basically better than none. The only way to get into eve is to get into the social aspect of it and learn from the veterans. There's only so much you can absorb from reading guides and doing tutorials.

Did I mention you should join a corp?

EVE University is a good choice for the newer player from what I've heard.
Why does my life always return to EvE?
I have been playing EvE since beta 3 (or 4, I never remeber which).
I have a love/hate relationship with EvE which runs an opposing cycle to my love/hate relationship with WoW, and I'm currently just about to switch to EvE again.

It is a very frustrating game to learn, especially since "charachter level" (or skill points) is a measure of how long you have been playing (paying). Subsequently older charachters are the most powerfull and it is difficult to catch up with them.

The learning skills are not the all important thing that others make them out to be. By all means train them up, but dont go to level 5 unless you intend to play for 2 years or more. Even going to level 4 requires a few months for payback.

Due to the complexity of the skill trees, it is difficult to become a jack of all trades unless you play for years.
Choose a specialisation (E-war, combat, mining, trading, manufacturing) and stick to it about 80%. You will always need some flying and fighting skills even if you don't often use them.
Mining, Trading and Manufacturing are the easiest fields to master in terms of non game specific knowledge, but the downside is that you will not be able to compete in terms of efficiency unless you find some niche markets.
Combat (PvP and PvE) is harder to learn, and can cost a lot in ships, but is an area where it is possible to compete successfully with the older players by seriously specialising. It does however require good, and hard earned, combat knowledge.
One area where you will be able to compete as a new player very soon is in planetary mining and manufacturing. Investigate the prerequirements for the new planetary mining and manufacture skills and start training them now. When the next expansion hits everyone will be in the same boat as regards the new skills.

And if you want to PvP, unless you are an exceptional solo ganker, join a player corporation. Fleet battles are wonderful. But be warned, PvP in EvE often consists of hours of slow or idle activity followed by a short burts of furious combat.
Some of my best memories of EvE are fleet battles from years ago in OS-H1T (some of the planet system codes still make me smile).
I'm a WoW player, and constantly look at Eve wondering if I should try it. I will be closely watching your experiment...I'm genuinely curious to hear what your experience is like.

But be warned, PvP in EvE often consists of hours of slow or idle activity followed by a short burts of furious combat

Pretty much reason I dont play eve. I hate the eve skill system with a passion, dislike their combat system , but ultimate reason is that- the only thing worth doing in eve (pvp) is far few and in between.

I could stomach everything else about eve If i could log in and pvp within 10 minutes of logging in, any day.
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