Tobold's Blog
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
 
Trying to understand the EVE skill system

I really have a hard time to wrap my head around the design of "progress" in EVE Online, especially with the skill system. A classic MMORPG works by pitting you against obstacles, lets say monsters you have to fight for a quest, and showing you at the same time how to progress to overcome those monsters easier: You find gear, you gain levels that come with new spells and abilities. So anyone who starts out as a new player in a MMORPG like World of Warcraft will have understood after a short while that gear and levels are the way to go, and that he should play more, do more quests, kill more monsters to progress.

Not so in EVE Online. For example I started out with a frigate that came equipped with a small laser for combat and a small mining laser. Then I find an abandoned container with a small laser. Great, I think, if I install two small lasers and put the mining laser in the hold when not mining, I should do better in combat. But when trying to equip the second laser, the game tells me that I don't have enough power for two lasers. I'd need just a tiny bit more, which I could get by equipping a cheap module that increases power or by learning a skill that decreases power requirements. Only that installing the module also requires learning a skill. And if I wanted for example to fly a ship bigger than a frigate, I'd need quite a lot of new skills. Plus the skills I need for the modules to equip the ship with. And then everybody advises me to first learn the "learning" skills, which make learning the other skills faster. So what my first days in EVE taught me is that the way to progress is by learning skills. Which are learned in real time, while offline. Actually playing EVE doesn't help all that much with skill progression, except for earning you the ISK you need to buy skill books (if I don't RMT those).

As Zubon from Kill Ten Rats once remarked, the net effect of that is that it feels like you'd be better of playing EVE Offline. The most efficient way to play EVE for me would be to buy a PLEX, exchange it legally for ISK, buy all the skill books I need plus possibly some implants, and then use an addon or website to make a list of the optimum skill sequence to get to a given point. Then for several weeks I would just log on once a day for 5 minutes to queue up the next skills. I would never have to actually play, or leave the docking station. Of course some people pointed out that while I could get to a Battlecruiser that way, I would lack the understanding of the game to use it effectively, and would just get shot down in PvP. But as I'm not very interested in PvP anyway, and even learning about EVE is faster *outside* the game by reading various websites than by playing, that "EVE Offline" strategy would work perfectly well for starting an economic career in EVE. And even for a military PvE career it would obviously be an advantage if I spent the first month offline and did missions after getting a fully fitted better ship.

I'm not into conspiracy theory, but when discussing Free2Play games many of my readers frequently mention their concern that game companies could design game features not to maximize the fun of the players, but to maximize their income. Seen in that light, the game design of EVE is suspicious. Playing in the more efficient "EVE Offline" way, I'd pay for a subscription, plus pay for a PLEX to finance the skill books and implants, but I'd not be online very much, so I cause very little cost to CCP Games.

Now I'm not planning to play EVE that way. I matured well past the point in my MMORPG career where I think that progress is actually important. Having fun with gameplay is. So what I will be doing is running missions, explore the universe, learn the various complex game mechanics of the different careers, and be hellishly inefficient in accumulating a completely unfocused set of skills, based solely on what I want to do next, without a larger plan or long-term goal. I am pretty certain that A) this is how most newbies would play EVE (as opposed to a second character of an EVE veteran) and B) this is more fun than first spending a month offline accumulating learning skills.

But I must say the design principle behind this EVE progress system bugs me. The game constantly reminds you that you'd be better off waiting for better skills than actually playing. For example I already found out one thing that one of my readers also advised me in the comment section: If you want to refine ore as a new player, you do *not* use the ore processing button like the tutorial tells you. You sell the raw ore, and use the money to buy the refined metal, as that will net you more metal than your low skill in refining gets you. I fully expect a new MMORPG to frequently point a finger at me and say "ha, ha, you n00b, get better before you try this". But when the only way to get better is to wait, that gets somewhat annoying.
Comments:
Within two days now you exactly reproduced my criticism about EVE. And the reasons I am not playing it.

:(
 
Final Fantasy IX had an interesting mechanic to address the problem of having to wait before you were able to use a skill "properly": Training wheels. Certain items came with a skill attached, and equipping that item allowed you to use the skill at full power.. but only with that item. If you wanted to use the skill with any other items, you had to use the training wheels item until your character had learnt the skill.

By contrast, Eve tends to use the diminishing returns model. Acquiring a skill for a new module might take only a few minutes, but reaching the optimal efficiency will take days. Still, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Most of the time, you get more bang for the proverbial buck if you train a skill to level II or III and use meta 1-4 modules instead of going directly for T2 items.

Most of the advice you've been hearing was by veterans for veterans. It's like telling someone to read an Elitist Jerks spell rotation guide or referring to a Best-In-Slot twink item list at level 10. It's technically correct information that will help without fostering understanding on why it'll help.
 
EVE's learning skills are the poorest design decision in the game - and, of course, one which is vehemently defended against any criticism by people who think it adds "depth" to the game.

Basically, the "correct" course of action for a new player is to skill up learning skills before any actual skills that let you DO anything. The result being, either you're completely ineffectual and unable to do anything or enjoy yourself for the first month of your subscription; or, you're consciously gimping your progression by skipping the learning skills and actually learning how to fly ships and use weapons.

You're approaching it in the correct way, imho, by refusing to play along with this broken mechanic, and instead playing for enjoyment rather than optimization. It really doesn't matter how efficiently your skills progress if you ditch the game before your second month of subscription because you can't do anything.
 
I think now is an appropriate time to link to the infamous EVE learning curve cartoon: http://www.eve-pirate.com/uploads/LearningCurve.jpg

I am hesitant to give too much advice because EVE is really a game where you need to find your own way and set your own goals. There is no linear progression. The good news is that the game is fractal in nature. It is richly complex at all levels and it can be enjoyable at any level. You need to pick your own goals and work towards them.

This is what worked for me:

Complete the tutorial missions, this gives you a couple of nice ships and about a million ISK to start off with.

Find a combat focussed agent and learn how to do level 1 combat missions in a Frigate. Combat missions are challenging PVE play and are very interesting starting off. The do get repetitive and boring later on but they are a great way of learning the basics and in particular of learning about ship fit-outs.

I recommend using EVE fitting tool for designing your ship fitout - it allows you to design for the skills you have and it will also tell you the skills you need to equip items you cannot use. Evemon is a great complement to EFT as it will allow you plan your skill training. Buy skill books from schools an straining institutes by the way for the cheapest price.

Level 3 missions are an achievable goal within a few weeks of play, easiest for Caldari but doable for all races. If you want to make a career out of mission running then learn to salvage - it is awfully boring but it will net you a regular ISK stream from missions.

I can offer less advice on the commercial side of things but every race has a main trading Hub where everything is bought and sold. I am not saying you will get the best prices there but you will certainly get volume sales. Jita (Caldari) is the most famous but Rens (Minmatar) is pretty good too.

First commandment of EVE - never fly what you cannot afford to lose. Insurance and clones minimise the risk as does keeping to high security space but the principle is always valid.

You are only going to be playing for a week or two so don't get too hung up on skill training. Nowadays every EVE starting character comes with quite a lot of useful skills. The real time nature of EVE skills means that you pretty much have to make the best of whatever skills you have at any given time. That in turn puts more emphasis on your own abilities to figure stuff out and work out ways of doing things with he tools at hand.
 
Is the problem the offline advancement, or the PLEX? I actually liked offline advancement because it frees you up to do whatever you enjoy the most, rather than the specific activity that gives experience points (like questing in WOW). It's also much less tedious than advancement through repetitive skill use, which is the main alternative in skill-based systems.

I agree that PLEX are a problem though. I think in theory players are intended to spend time earning money while their skills level up. Particularly for those interested in the economic aspect of the game, it's far more efficient for a newbie to sell PLEX than to play the game as intended.
 
The system in eve for advancement plus Plex and the near requirement for players to also have a second (or third account) is clearly designed by CCP to increase profits.

My complaint, not even taking into account of the above, is that the "Eve Offline" method detaches the new player completely from the game removing the awe, mystery, and fun of what should be a new player experience.

It certainly sucks to also have to give every new player the speech on how to optimize their gameplay by training core training skills for their first month, during which time they won't be able to train any "fun" skills to actually feel like they're getting anywhere or able to try new ships/weapons.

Really, what game developer's master plan says, "I know, lets make the first month of every new players advancement so mind numbing, boring, and feel utterly worthless that they'll only login to change skills!"

Keep in mind I've played eve (online and offline) for years since no MMO has matched it yet, but that still hasn't affected my criticism for their design and business decisions.
 
Is the problem the offline advancement, or the PLEX?

Within two days now you exactly reproduced my criticism about EVE. And the reasons I am not playing it.

Both the offline advancement and the PLEX RMT have in common that they advance your character without you playing. On the one side that is unusual, with most other MMORPGs have a closer link between advancement and actually playing. On the other side I can see the advantage of it: As your activities in game have little influence on your advancement, you can do whatever you want. If there is no gameplay which advances players faster than other modes of gameplay, you avoid the "players maximize the fun out of gaming" problem of people doing whatever activity gives the best rewards instead of doing what is most fun to them.

Thus while it bugs me that the most efficient path to character advancement is to pay real money and then wait, I think this is something I can get over. It is a culture change, but once you got the "I need to this in game to achieve that" habit out of your system, then maybe you find the serenity to just enjoy whatever gameplay tickles your fancy. I'm still trying to find out what gameplay that could be.
 
Haha Nils, I immediately thought about your criticism too when reading this. :)
It's the same reason why I quit playing Eve as well.
 
...you avoid the "players maximize the fun out of gaming" problem of people doing whatever activity gives the best rewards instead of doing what is most fun to them.
I don't think this is true for Eve. All I heard was run missions, run missions, run missions, run missions.
 
I take your point about the EVE skill system. Personally, I quite like it because it means that I can advance without needing to grind hundreds of meanginless tasks. Of course, this is in a situation where the money for a subscription fee isn't an fee.

Likewise, you could play EVE Offline but it misses one fundamental concept: what's your goal in the game? If you're goal is to acquire skills then yes, you don't need to play it a lot. But if your goal is to take over the universe or become the wealthiest player or PvP or simply socialize then you have to be online for those activities.

EVE is simply taking the burden of grind away and removing the shackles of a controlled system. The game is about doing what you want, not what you have to.
 
Actually this "EVE Offline" is extremely friendly to "casual" players. He simply can't mess up his character. Just by having an account he becomes stronger. During this time he can play for fun, exploring the game without even having a chance to mess it up. Imagine that you grinded 10 hours "refining" just to be called an "idiot" for not grinding "learing".

If someone started skilling up refining instead of learning, he lost no grinding (no-fun) time. Skills in EVE are not earned, just got as presents from the developers.
 
I have a slightly different perspective to the time-based, rather than activity based, skill training in EVE and PLEX trading: I see it as evening out the experience between people who are time-rich with limited cash, and people who are time-poor but cashed up.

In EVE, someone who wants to log on once a week and fly on a corporation PvP roam for a few hours doesn't have to worry that his character will get too weak for his corp-mates, since he doesn't have hours to spend grinding, and doesn't have to try to find time to make ISK in his limited playtime to buy ships and mods.

Meanwhile, the kid on school holidays who can spent fourteen hours a day mission farming can make enough ISK to buy the PLEXes the first player sells, and effectively play the game for free (or the price of an internet connection).

Yes, it can be frustrating when you want to use a new module or fly a new ship and you can't speed up the process by spending extra hours shooting rates; on the other hand, I find it liberating to know I can go off on a three week sight-seeing tour around New Eden and not see my skills advancement languishing because I'm not 'doing the right activities.'

I guess, like all games, it comes down to personal preferences.
 
I strongly recommend against grinding the learning skills before you learn anything useful. Certainly train them up the first few levels that can be done in minutes but after that go off an train the skills you need to enjoy yourself. It takes months before the high level learning skills pay for themselves and you are only likely to be playing for a few weeks.

If you want to get more scientific about it later then start using EVEmon (a skill training planner) and a training plan. Evemon will tell you what learning skills you need to optimise your training plan. It quickly shows which ones are worth it and which are not.
 
"The game is about doing what you want, not what you have to."

But methinks the issue is that in order to do what you want you have to have the skills (from not playing) in order to make it efficient or even worthwhile.
 
EVE had to come up with a skill system that leaves players freedom to do what they want.

They achieved this.

But they also achieved that players sometimes stay subscribed just to train their skills. You can also never catch up the time you did not stay subscribed just to train skills, not even if you are playing a lot.

That is the drawback of the system. True, basic skills can be trained fairly quickly and you don't really need to train everything.

I know the last thing I did before unsubscribing was to set up the training queue for rank 5 T2 Heavy Attack Cruiser, which would take weeks. At this time I think it still kept counting even if you were unsubscribed, do not know if this still works.

P.S.: Really cool article!
 
actually, the eve skill system is the same as your average mmo-skill system.
the only difference is you can learn it in time without using them.
It's like getting a lvl80 wow-toon without having played the game.
 
I have always thought it was bad advice to tell new Eve players to do learning skills first. They just are not fun. My last romp into the Eve universe I skilled up a wide variety of skills to level 3 (low time investment) to increase the number of ship/module options available to me first, then started learning skills.

I also paid for my subscription for one extra month when I decided to take a break, to finish off the learning skills while occupied with another game.
 
In EVE, someone who wants to log on once a week and fly on a corporation PvP roam for a few hours doesn't have to worry that his character will get too weak for his corp-mates, since he doesn't have hours to spend grinding, and doesn't have to try to find time to make ISK in his limited playtime to buy ships and mods.

Yes, you don't need to worry that you fall behind, but the flip side of the same coin is that you also never can catch up.
 
"Yes, you don't need to worry that you fall behind, but the flip side of the same coin is that you also never can catch up."

That's true but there is an upper limit on skills that affect particular ships, modules and styles of fighting. So no, you won't catch up with someone who has been training skills continuously since day one of the game in total skill points, but you can have your character flying any particular ship as well as anyone in the game.

Players with older characters will have more options and be able to fly a wider range, but they won't be 'better' than you in your chosen ship.
 
I would really not follow the advise to train learning skills first. Yes, they do allow you to train everything faster, but you'll be stuck with no visible character improvement for a few weeks. I would advice you to train you frigate skills, gunnery skills, tanking skills and so on. This will allow you to fit better mods on your ship and make it easier and faster to do those first missions. Maybe try your hand at a little PvP. That's where the real game is at in EVE.

If you are still playing in 3-6 months I would start thinking about learning skills more seriously.

And for the love of god, join a player corp :)
 
I'll add the goons ten hour hero to this discussion.

This is a training plan used by new goons to get right into the action after ten hours of skill training.

You can solo pvp or suicide gank small undefended ships with this.

"Here's the Gallente version (from memory so might be a little off):

* Make Gallente character
* Remap attributes for maximum intelligence, rest of points in memory.
* Train the following to I: Learning, Iron Will, Spatial Awareness, Hull Upgrades,
* Energy Systems Operation, Propulsion Jamming, Afterburner. Takes about an hour.
* Remap attributes for maximum Perception, rest of points in Willpower.
* Train Gallente Frigate to III.
* Train to I: Destroyers, Drones, Weapon Upgrades, Scout Drone Operation.

If you don't time the remaps right, it just becomes a ~16-hour hero instead of 10.


Fit this Catalyst or something like it:

[Catalyst, 10 hour hero]
Linear Flux Stabilizer I
Linear Flux Stabilizer I
F85 Peripheral Damage System I

Cold-Gas I Arcjet Thrusters
J5b Phased Prototype Warp Scrambler I

Limited Light Electron Blaster I, Antimatter Charge S
Limited Light Electron Blaster I, Antimatter Charge S
Limited Light Electron Blaster I, Antimatter Charge S
Limited Light Electron Blaster I, Antimatter Charge S
Limited Light Electron Blaster I, Antimatter Charge S
Limited Light Electron Blaster I, Antimatter Charge S
Limited Light Electron Blaster I, Antimatter Charge S
Limited Light Electron Blaster I, Antimatter Charge S

Hobgoblin I x1


Meta 4s for everything is ridiculously expensive, but if you just use T1 you'll run out of CPU, so pop open EFT and play with it properly. You should have 195.5 CPU. Cost me about 5 Million ISK for the learning skills and ship in Oursulaert (Gallente trade hub).

You can blow up hulks if they're not paying much attention and don't use their drones right away (or are miners and have no idea how to fight). You can't kill Orcas by yourself unless they have no combat drones. I bet 3-4 of these could kill an Orca even with drones, though. "

Source: http://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=3049420&userid=0&perpage=40&pagenumber=8#post365222752
 
I actually find the skill system in EvE quite compelling. It allows you to know exactly when you will be able to go on to bigger and better things.
Whether you are actually ready to go on to those bigger and better things is completely up to you.
Those who play EvE Offline can end up being able to fly exactly the same ships or trade just as efficiently, but unless they have actually invested time in game in terms of learning what modules do what, and what strategies work against which npc's, or how to play the market, then those skills are pretty worthless.

It actually makes it easier to go and learn combat at a point in the game where the penalties for getting killed are minimal (cheap ships, low skill points so cheap clones, no implants).

In a way, the skill system protects you from making costly mistakes until you have spent enough time playing.
Mind you, it still doesn't stop you from buying ludicrously overpriced items on the market :)
 
I don't think this is true for Eve. All I heard was run missions, run missions, run missions, run missions.

That's unfortunately true. Once you got over the skill system, the RMT and the terrible GUI you start to think what you should do next. At that point you finished the starting missions, which weren't too bad.


So you run missions and then .. well run missions. Later I asked people in my crop, what I should do and they told me: run missions.

Unfotunetaly many missions consist of flying from A to B to C. Sometimes back.

The only interesting missions are combat missions. They can be fun for a while, but actually 95% of that combat mission consists of flying to the mission. The missions themselves do repeat. There is only a limited number, so after a few daysy you will start to think "Hey, didn't I do this already?".

Since the missions aren't even difficult it turns out to be a grind .. and a boring one.

So you could try to make money with trade, which consists of waiting for your skills and driving around in space in your trade vessel. All the time thinking about the RMT.

The trade vessel is terribly boring if you're in high sec. If you are in low sec it might be more intersting, but as a newbie you're dead there.

So you turn to mining, which at this level is boring to the power of 10.

So you do combat missions. And wait for your skills.

And one day you remember to log in to renew your skill queue. And then you suddensly forgot it for a week.

Finally you forget to renew your subscription.

Eventuall you double click on WoW.
 
But if your goal is to take over the universe or become the wealthiest player or PvP or simply socialize then you have to be online for those activities.


No. You need to wait for your skills. While loggin in (and paying) for about half a year.
Then you can start playing.

The few ISK you gain while you don't have any trading skills and no large trading vessel are neglegible when trying to become become wealthy.
 
In EVE, someone who wants to log on once a week and fly on a corporation PvP roam for a few hours doesn't have to worry that his character will get too weak for his corp-mates, since he doesn't have hours to spend grinding, and doesn't have to try to find time to make ISK in his limited playtime to buy ships and mods.


Wrong. He needs to log in once per 24 hours...
 
"Wrong. He needs to log in once per 24 hours..."

Actually, no. If a skill is training, it won't stop training simply because you don't log on. Some skills take ten minutes, which why the skill queue was a long over-due and much appreciated addition. Some take more than a month.
 
Agreed. If you train one skill you don't need to log in before it completed. But a newbie doesn't train such skills. He trains skills that take a few hours, perhaps a day.

For these skills you need to log in once per day.
 
As far as skill training, I've found lvls 1-3 sometimes 4 (initial skills) usually train pretty quickly so I can get in a lot of skills actually as long as I skip 5. Of course not an option if you need to completely train the skill to fly a ship but always something to remember.

I'm a carebear in many ways so paying for my PLEX with my manufacturing sales and still making enough to fund my activities month to month is a goal that keeps me engaged. I've never sold PLEX's to make money in game because I like the challenge. That's my play style and what I like about the game. Of course some say that makes the game more of a job but...
 
My best advice is to start using EVEMon: http://evemon.battleclinic.com/
 
This has been touched on a few times here but I thought I would throw my 2 cents in here.

Many people in comments on this and the previous EvE article have discussed whether you should train the learning skills first and if failing to do this right away will "Gimp" you or that you won't be able to "catch up". The fact is that these concepts don't really apply. To me they seem to stem from the perspective used in most other MMO's where your goal is to decide on a character type then level that character up to max level as fast as possible because thats where the fun stuff starts. This is not the case in EvE. There is no game-defined end goal. You as the player decide on any goals you wish to pursue. Remember this isn't like WoW where just because someone is a higher level they will be able to stroll over you. The only thing that matters is what ship and modules you have fit at the moment. I have been playing for over 4 years and if you and I met in a belt and I'm flying a frigate(I still spend most of my time flying Frigates and Cruisers even after 4 years, they're just fun) just like you then there is pretty even chance of the fight going either way.

As for the learning skills I personally would suggest training them to level 2 or maybe three and thats it for now. The advantages of training them further wont really be worth it until later on and certainly until you decide you wish to stick with the game for a while.

Also don't get too hung up on whether or not what you are doing is the absolutely most efficient way of doing it. There are always going to be more efficient ways to accomplish anything in game. For them time being concentrate on very short term goals. For instance in reference to you issue fitting a second laser to your frigate....I am guessing that this is the frigate that you were issued when your first entered the game. These 'Rookie' ships are almost useless. They have very low capabilities and thus are very limited and tough to fit. Purchase a different frigate as soon as possible and I am willing to bet you will find some of those fitting problems absent.

On a different point. Since you seem to have an interest in industry (Crafting) I would recommend you give salvaging a try. The skills needed are pretty quick to train. Once you have them grab a frigate or destroyer, throw some salvagers on it and find someone who will let you tag along on a mission and salvage. Pick up a blue print for a small rig of some type and use the salvage to build it. Sure you may be able to sell the salvage for a bit more than the completed unit but who cares. You'll make some cash and try something interesting and there's always time to improve later.

Also if you just ask around one of the older players will probably toss you 10 or 20 million Isk to get started. I know I would.

EvE Uni has a good rep and I have even worked with them a bit over the years but I think you may be better off getting into a smaller corp where you will get more personal attention and can lean on corp goals and operations for inspiration on where to go next.

Sorry for the wall of text. I hope some of this is useful.
 
I play EVE pretty casually myself, don't get into PVP at all. What I do is occasionally run missions, but mostly I haul freight in a Charon for a freighter corporation. I pull down a pretty good amount of ISK, I enjoy it and can haul when I feel like it. The main thing with EVE is, as others said, getting out of that level to max/endgame mindset. There really isn't an endgame - or rather, the endgame is what you make it. For me, being a "space trucker" is how I enjoy playing, all the while gaining skills. And if I don't play for a few days, I'm still completing skills. You can't really do that in the typical level based games and still stay current, so to speak.
 
It's not a progression system it's a gate system.

Progression in eve is setting yourself objectives and accomplishing them.
 
EVE will totally let you flounder if you don't set yourself some goals.

I would recommend a hybrid approach to learning the learning skills--which is while you are in an actively missioning learn the fun skills that make piloting more fun--no more than I and IIs in them, mostly--and learn the learning stuff off while you are off line.

While you won't notice the increased learning stuff, I know that my character earns 1800+ SP/h vs the 800 starting out. A Rank 1 I skill takes me about 10 minutes.

Your first goal should be to get into the top frigate of your race (Rifters for the Minmatar).
 
I'm not into conspiracy theory, but when discussing Free2Play games many of my readers frequently mention their concern that game companies could design game features not to maximize the fun of the players, but to maximize their income. Seen in that light, the game design of EVE is suspicious. Playing in the more efficient "EVE Offline" way, I'd pay for a subscription, plus pay for a PLEX to finance the skill books and implants, but I'd not be online very much, so I cause very little cost to CCP Games

I'm with you on the EVE Offline concept, but I don't think you've fully thought out how CCP makes money off of PLEX.

PLEX equals gametime. So what's being bought by players from CCP is gametime, not ISK. It's the other players who are paying ISK to purchase that gametime.

This is important for two reasons. The first because there is no "Net New" ISK being created by CCP.

The second reason is that it's gametime that is being shifted.

So, by selling PLEX, what CCP is basically allowing is for one player to pay for someone else's gametime.

Or in other words, if 100 people were going to pay $15 for a subscription, that's $1500 in CCP's pocket.

If 50 of those people sold PLEX to the other 50 for $300M ISK each, then CCP still only takes in $1500.

The difference is that 50 people paid nothing and the other 50 paid $30 real dollars.

Of course, this doesn't mean that PLEX isn't profitable. But it's profitable in the same way that a company selling a Gift Card is profitable.

It provides the $'s in advance so that they may be re-invested in the company. The more PLEX that is bought that won't get used immediately, the more cash flow they have to invest in other things.
 
If I remember the skill system still allowed you to get to destroyers in a day or two and to cruisers in max. a week. Now of course the market dangles all these tempting skill books in front of you and T2 and T3 tech things, but sometimes you just need to resist the temptation.

And a indie was also not too far away, same goes for the small miners.
 
Missions are a good way to spend time and make isk but they are far from the only one. You can do trading, mining, killing rats in belts, wormhole exploration, known space exploration, industry (T1, T2, T3), hauling, low-sec piracy, high-sec piracy, factional warfare, ninja salvaging, mercenary work, npc 0.0, conquerable 0.0, NRDS 0.0, scamming, character trading, sharing experiences (journalism, blogging), roleplaying, selling your work as a graphic designer to name but a few. The gameplay you end up with is up to you.
 
I'm with you on the EVE Offline concept, but I don't think you've fully thought out how CCP makes money off of PLEX.
Per-month use of gametime does remain constant, but allowing game time trades did provide CCP with an extra influx of cash. CCP is being paid in advance for services that they haven't yet delivered, in the same way that Blizzard is being paid in advance if people pick a 12-month subscription instead of a one-month one.

This is important for two reasons. The first because there is no "Net New" ISK being created by CCP.
Indeed. However, the PLEX market as a whole also functions as an money sink. Before the introduction of PLEX, the trades were done directly via the official site and thus there was no overhead. With PLEX, every trade done removes a few million ISK from the game in the form of broker fees and sales taxes.
 
Per-month use of gametime does remain constant, but allowing game time trades did provide CCP with an extra influx of cash. CCP is being paid in advance for services that they haven't yet delivered, in the same way that Blizzard is being paid in advance if people pick a 12-month subscription instead of a one-month one.

Agreed. And that's the perfect example. It's profitable in that the profit isn't in the sale, but in the interest made on the sale.

My point being that the interest being made here is not so significant as to warrant some elaborate conspiracy to get you to buy PLEX.
 
A few thoughts and hints:

* dont worry to much about skills. Just have fun
* if you dont enjoy upgrading your ships and blowing stuff up with your lazors, then you wont enjoy eve ... thats all there is in PvE
* dont mix the range of your weapons. Find out your optimal range, fly to the enemy and press F1-F8 and watch it go kaboom
* A lot of small gunns are better then a few big ones - try to fit as many weapons (of the same type/size) as you can
* If things look ugly, look around you for the next celestrial object (planets, gates, stations etc.), right click it and choose "alingn to" and increase your speed to the maximum. If things get ugly, just right click it again and choose "warp to". You will instatly warp away.

Oh ... and destroyers are nice ships. They can carry LOTS of guns :)
 
Nils, you seem to have a serious misconception about how EvE works.

The scope of what you can accomplish on social, PvP, and even trade levels is not decided by being at a predetermined "cap" (to compare it to WoW) that you MUST reach before being able to participate in the "end game".

With minimal skilling you can be effective in pretty much EVERY area. Small frigates are used (as another poster describes) as much as battleships in PvP. Anyone can rise to prominence on a social level, and anyone can start a corp with like-minded individuals to accomplish their goals.

Perhaps the only thing you could argue is unavailable to any player (ok, im assuming you play a month or two here, to get decent and get skilled up at least a bit) is guaranteed access to the perfect corp for them.

By this I mean you might have to "wait" to find/get recruited by a corp that is involved in the gameplay you wish to be a part of. Luckily, there are so many corps recruiting non-stop that you would have to really not try at all in order to fail at finding a suitable one.
 
Tobold,

I have also just joined with a mate. I have made the decision to get to a point of being ok in a destroyer with salvager, probing and hacking skills (after really liking that in the tutorials) and we are going to just explore in a fleet of two.

Enjoying it so far.
 
This is why I grow frustrated and bored every time I try to play EVE. I feel like I'm just throwing my money away by subscribing.
 
Eve is much more of a sandbox environment than WoW.

As others have mentioned, there are no definative "endgame" goals.

You need to set your own goals, and then use the tools provided to reach them.

Some of it is boring (mining), some of it is insanely complicated (starbase logistics in null sec), some of it is insanely fun (fleet combat).
 
Unconventional Views:

Some people have a real problem with buying a PLEX. I don't understand this. You can rationalize that a GTC (2 PLEX) for less than a $50 WoW expansion every 18 months. Being able to buy some +3 implants and skill books with 500m ISK is so much easier than making 100k/hour.

Lots of people also advise against training learning skills. I don't understand why you would start a game based upon skills and not take skills seriously. If you have no patience, do a FPS. Otherwise, buy a plex and train skills for 2-5 weeks and then "start" EVE.
 
This is in response to what sid67 said:

"because there is no "Net New" ISK being created by CCP."

I need to disagree with you here, as you are disregarding facts. Missions generate "Net New" ISK all the time. They do so through: mission payouts, bonus pay, and bounty payouts. This ISK is generated from your respective agent into your hands. It is created out of thin air via the result of you clicking on "Complete mission".

Also, whenever ship values coupled with insurance allow you to make a net profit from blowing up your ship, that is also a source of "Net New" ISK.

Third of all, IIRC (as the server is offline at the moment due to maintenance), there are constant NPC buy orders for minerals. If so, any loot from missions that is reprocessed into minerals, any drone loot, and any minerals from mining - any of which are subsequently sold on the market to NPC vendors - creates "Net New" isk.

This is not to say that there are not various ISK sinks in the game. However, these sinks don't necessarily balance out the new isk from missions, insurance, etc. So, depending on how CCP sets things up, at any given time, the total amount of ISK in the game could be going up OR down. It would be pretty rare to have a perfectly static amount of ISK, as you describe.
 
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