The following offering is the second in a series of articles intended to showcase the powerful potential of having an open mind while exploring EVE online as a brand-new player. During the course of this project, I will be assuming the guise of a new Caldari player. I will have no skill injectors, no PLEX, and be without the massive mound of SP I am generally used to.
All I have in my favor is the drive to enjoy myself in this game, a solid understanding of game mechanics (which theoretically could be acquired by any player by watching videos, reading guides, and chatting with other players), and whatever ISK I can scrape together in the game. Throughout the experiment I will be asking the same questions I would think a newbie would need to ask. I will show enthusiasm for genuine growth, and I will do my best to divorce any meta knowledge about space politics and history until these topics are discussed with me by an entity in-game.
The goal is to provide a fair look at how you as a new player with low skill points can actually enjoy EVE, because it is fun, even if it is hard. I ask that my readers refrain from skewing the experiment, and should you run into me in my guise, treat me like a noob.
Join the Army they said, See the Worlds they said…
At the time of writing, our intrepid character has 548,832 Skill Points and is only three days old. I have been quickly lured to the adrenaline-producing excitement of EVE’s PVP. I have finished all of my tutorials, my beginner missions, and I have it in my head that Faction Warfare would be an excellent place for me to learn a bit more about fighting others as a career rather than a hobby. Myriad forum posts and chats with people in the State War Academy channel state this simple fact: you should enlist.
It’s not difficult to enlist in one of the empire’s militias; in fact, I’ve almost done it accidentally while exploring the station services. One simply has to have enough positive standing with the empire of choice in order to be accepted. The good news is that if you do all your starter career agent missions, you’ll have plenty of standings with your empire. What is difficult, however, is discovering what you do with yourself after enlisting.
The game itself does offer a quick and dirty rules of engagement regarding the activities that would assist your side of the conflict, but it doesn’t actually tell you that you have to be x amount of meters away from a beacon in order to capture a site. It also doesn’t tell you how often you will get a beacon down to a minute only to be run off by a gang of frigates. Frustration mounts fast. I have a need to replace equipment I lose, but I’m unable to defend myself from gangs. The only obvious choice I have is to join a group. This sounds simple, but given rules of the experiment, I don’t really know anyone.
EVE is a social game. You increase your likelihood of success in every endeavor by having an ally backing you up. Despite this, making connections is something of a mystery to a lot of folks. You might be introverted, unsure of what you’re asking, or insecure about seeming silly.
There isn’t much I can do as a writer to assuage these feelings; I can only offer you this project. As a newbie, I approach everyone I meet with a bit of enthusiasm and freely admit I don’t know much yet. I would say that any vet that is of the mind to help teach a new player feels instantly rewarded by running across an appreciative and attentive ward. Older, more established players often relish the chance to bring someone into the game they love. Some will shower you with attention, and many will shower you with ISK to ease what they already understand can be a difficult phase in a new player’s ability to earn the income they need to support their goals.
Add on a desire to engage in PVP, and other PVP enthusiasts will gladly take you under their wing and bring you up. There is a perception among new players that PVP is out of their reach. I intend to prove that notion wrong through this series.
Starting with the basics: when you join a Faction Warfare corp, you gain a new Corp Channel and a Militia Channel that is shared by all players on your side of the conflict. I spent a few minutes watching chatter in both. Militia channel was routinely used for posting fleets looking for extra pilots, so I started joining them and asking at first if they minded a new player tagging along. I have yet to be turned down or sent away.
The first group I teamed up with was a group of Russians who were “offensively plexing,” which is a fancy way of saying capturing flags in enemy territory. The were in a sizeable fleet in order to defend their site, secure the stargates that surrounded the system and discourage anyone from coming in without sizeable force. This yielded a few kills and few loyalty points—we split the sites up between everyone, and loyalty point payouts are evenly divided by the number of people around a captured beacon.
One of the English speakers in the fleet mentioned that if I was enjoying myself, I might like open groups like Spectre Fleet, and should look into joining a Faction Warfare corporation run by players rather than staying in the default corp. Benefits to joining a player run organization, I was quickly informed, included having people on hand willing to show me the ropes, and easier access to replacement ships for when I lost equipment. I asked if he recommended any in particular, and he got me in touch with a sizeable group that was very active and PVP focused.
Paying the Piper
While flying with various militia groups I started racking up losses, typically due to things I had no control over. Things like Svipuls with Exequerors gate camping entry points. I took my losses in stride but what I didn’t pay attention to was my quickly dwindling cash reserves. I had started my evening out at roughly 20 million ISK and was down two million: enough to buy one last Merlin.
Earning LP in Faction Warfare was troublesome. Most of the systems I was in were heavily populated, I wasn’t effective as a soloist, and until I made some reliable contacts, I was at the mercy of what a random fleet wanted to do. I definitely began to experience the real problem new players have issues with EVE and PVP in particular. New players can fly effective ships in PVP from day one (trust me, make a new character and notice they give you webs, warp scramble/disruption, 1 solid meta weapon system, and respectable fitting skills). However, EVE does not offer an immediately feasible method with which to replace your gear you will lose (with ISK or drops).
Level 1 and 2 missions are appalling, offering low payouts for the time they take. Market trading is feasible, but for a combat centric player like myself, it doesn’t have the appeal that shooting at something in space offers. I don’t enjoy mining, and while I do enjoy exploration, it was something I wanted to wait to try, not because I couldn’t mind you, I just wasn’t in the mood. I was stuck and as I logged out that night, I felt my first pang of worry.
“Perhaps you really can’t do this… maybe EVE is a little too rough for someone without existing means just coming into the game. Maybe I was wrong.”
I rolled these statements around in my head. I had been having a lot of fun, and honestly, despite the fact that I have been playing for 12+ years, I was completely hooked for hours on end. Only after becoming exhausted and realizing I had real-world responsibilities to finish up with the next day did I finally step away from the comforting glow of the display and log out.
This really is a great game.
When I logged back in, I would continue this grand experiment. I would continue its growing rebellious nature by bucking against the very rule which I have taught to every new player I ever had the pleasure to help.
Tomorrow I was going all in. Tomorrow I would fly something I couldn’t afford to lose.
This article originally appeared on TheMittani.com, written by Roland Cassidy.