The following offering is the fourth 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 am without skill injectors, plex, and the massive mound of SP which I am generally used to.
As we follow our vet in noob’s clothing, we’ve started simple and gotten a taste of PVP early on. The first hours of life in New Eden roll forward into days and we discuss selecting an exciting career as a citizen soldier on the front lines of Factional Warfare. There we begin to see indicators of the struggle for new players to reach equilibrium between ISK and losses, and the merit of NPSI public fleet institutions.
It Can’t Buy Happiness, But It Can Buy a New Ship
When last we left our intrepid alt-character, I was riding ups and downs of PVP. While fortunate, I had only scraped by at the mercy of a few kind players reimbursing my losses, and I had not yet delved into the true nuts and bolts of why so many new players run away from the game after a short period of time. I needed to discover a viable method of ISK generation which would match up with my chosen profession. I was a member of the NPC Militia corporation, and while I had been quite friendly with many folks, I couldn’t say that I’d made any significant connections. Today I would remedy these grave shortcomings.
Cash flow would be my first and foremost problem. In faction warfare, the best method for a new player to make ISK is to overtake and capture enemy complexes, AKA ‘Plexes’. Finding the sites is easy, but killing the NPC ship within actually proves a little tougher challenge than most realize.
Unlike the NPC enemies one finds in highsec asteroid belts or missions, these rats actually have a bit of tank to them. I’ve discovered that my railgun-fit Merlin could only destroy the frigate rat in Novice sites, and it was impossible to break the tank of the Small site destroyer rat with that setup. I needed to upgrade my damage output, so I swapped over to blasters. Blasters mean more DPS but closer range…extremely close, with the skills a new player can bring to bear. If I wasn’t 1200-600m off of a target, I may very well be sneezing on an enemy for all the good firing my weapons would do me.
My second problem is that a Merlin is very engageable in a 1v1 environment. While I was making some money doing sites, I was losing far more fights in the warzone than I could keep up with due to my aggressive PVPing. Because I was a soft target, I would more frequently get run off by more capable ships. While I will be a devotee of the Merlin my entire career, what I really needed was something that people might think twice about coming after.
I began to look for a new ship, but I want to note that you definitely can make ISK doing offensive Plexes in less expensive setups. The problem is finding a balance between taking fights and doing PVE initially; I was leaning far more heavily on PVP. More cautious players, and indeed typical new pilots who are less driven for dank frags may well be able to make due with the ISK generation capabilities of the base frigates. Consider that, at Faction Warfare Tier 1 (which is what Caldari is currently at) running two Novice Plex sites in enemy territory will earn you enough LP to purchase one blueprint for either a Hookbill, Slicer, Comet, or Firetail depending on which militia you are flying for.
The base cost to build one of these ships is roughly two million ISK (if you purchase the minerals rather than mining), and you can sell your fresh off the line faction frigate for roughly nineteen million ISK, netting you a cool seventeen million ISK profit for your troubles.
Now that might not sound great, but if you do a minimal amount of training, you can build three or four ships at once after running a few complexes and make 51-68m each time you sell off your ships. That’s more than enough to keep you running while you build up ISK in the wallet for bigger ships down the line as you train your skills, and should you be intelligent enough to start off working for a militia that has a higher Tier level (*cough* Gallente *cough*) the rewards spool up on a percentage up to 32500 LP per site, making it possible to purchase 3 ship blueprints per site run.
Despite the option to fly for a militia with better earning potential, I chose to fly with Caldari Militia to increase the availability of targets. I’m out to prove what is possible with that “go for broke” attitude and a very aggressive drive for combat. While slightly more difficult, it is what I found to be personally more rewarding in enjoyment than in ISK per hour. It’s certainly not for everyone.
How to Blow Your Wad: Shopping in New Eden
I’m going to take a short break from the play-by-play to actually teach a bit about fitting theory and how to select a ship for purpose. Many bitter-vets may wish to gloss over this section, but they might gain some insight on how to better explain this topic to the new players they run across in their section of internet space.
Let’s just say I’m a new player and I find my skills and current ship a little less than robust. I think I’d like to upgrade my ship because I’ve managed to pick up enough ISK that if I lost the new ship, I could still fall back on what I’ve been doing and be fine.
It’s time to fire up a few windows in the client. Our first stop is going to be our Training menu. For the moment we just want to be able to take a look at our weapon, tank, and spaceship command skills. Pulling up my own, I can see pretty plainly that my main weapons are hybrid weapons, my main tank is shield, and my main ships I can fly are Caldari frigates, with a handful of other non-combat options (such as the mining frigate, and industrial for hauling). What this does is give me a basic idea of what kind of options I need to look for.
The second window in the client I bring up is the Ship Tree viewing tool. What this basically allows me to do is see a progression chart of size and role for every ship in the game. I select Caldari for the type and scroll over to the frigate section. If we click the Merlin, which is what I am primarily flying at the moment it brings up the item window for the ship.
The first tab reveals much information about the ship’s general role, weapons, tank, and bonuses. Our example of the Merlin shows that it is a combat frigate that uses hybrid weapons (Railguns and Blasters) and sports a hefty shield tank. It’s bonuses show that it gets hybrid weapon Range, and Shield Strength perks the more I train up Caldari Frigate. I begin scrolling up through the various frigates on the Ship Tree screen, clicking each as I look for a ship that might help do better damage. I also take the time to search the other race’s as many folks have mentioned me trying Gallente frigates for their general effectiveness in Lowsec FW PVP.
After a few minutes I set down a game plan for my particular needs. While looking at the T1 Caldari Frigates, I notice really only the Merlin is a solid railgun boat, however it doesn’t have a damage modifier and I’m suffering from DPS woes. Though many people have recommended that I try to use a Tristan, my weak drone skills and not having Galente frigates trained leads me to believe this isn’t the right move. The Incursus looks great, but again: I’d have to train up the Gallente frigate skill and some armor skills to best take advantage of the ship. I do decide to add those skills to my training to-do list.
The Faction Frigates are a bit more expensive, sitting at the 10-12m ISK range at the time of writing, with the second variations being slightly more expensive. The Caldari Navy Hookbill is tanky, but I don’t have any missile skills to speak of yet, so it’s damage would be anemic. This doesn’t seem right for me, but the Griffin Navy Issue piques my interest. It has Damage multiplier for Hybrid damage, and it’s an ECM ship, making it a deterrent for people who want an easy kill, not to mention making it easier for me to escape from a bad situation. It’s relatively tanky in comparison to the T1 variant, and it’s got a lot of fitting room to play around with. Add in a drone for additional damage, and it looks like a solid choice for my first serious upgrade.
That New Ship Smell
Using the ISK I’d managed to get together thanks to Spectre Fleet, and after a quick chat with some of the members in Militia chat to help come up with a low-skill fit, I purchase one for the purpose of being my primary FW Plex running ship. The fit I decided on was a little on the spendy side, but I wanted this to be survivable:[Griffin Navy Issue, Poltergeist]
IFFA Compact Damage Control
Vortex Compact Magnetic Field Stabilizer
1MN Monopropellant Enduring Afterburner
Faint Epsilon Scoped Warp Scrambler
Fleeting Compact Stasis Webifier
Hypnos Scoped Magnetometric ECM
Republic Fleet Medium Shield Extender
Modal Light Neutron Particle Accelerator I,Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge S
Modal Light Neutron Particle Accelerator I,Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge S
Small Ancillary Current Router II
Small Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer II
Small Core Defense Field Extender II
Federation Navy Hobgoblin x1
In addition to the base fit, I purchased a Mobile Depot and all three other racial (plus one multispectral) ECM in order to swap on the fly. In theory, I could find a relatively empty enemy system, set up a Mobile depot at a safe spot, and use that safe spot to escape to in the event that something I couldn’t handle warped to my site. I would also be able to swap my jams if I felt like a fight was something I could handle. While capturing the Plex I would continually use the Directional Scanner at 360 degrees with 5 AU and 1 AU ranges to determine if anyone was actually trying to pay me a visit. The new DPS thanks to the bonus and the extra drone meant I could engage and take out the destroyer in small sites, so that rather than making 5000 Loyalty points a site, I could make 8750 per excursion. Even more if we ever raise that Tier to 2.
During my time perusing ship information, I’ve decided that I plan to train into Gallente frigates in order to eventually use the Federation Navy Comet as my primary PVP small gang ship. After watching gang members, it seemed to me that the armor tank was more robust, and though the cost would be higher than my Merlins, they also appeared to be far more capable. My big goal was to train into a Harpy with T2 blasters. From there I’d pick new goals, but for now the career I wanted was to be a young but promising frigate pilot.
Peer Pressure: Joining a Player Corporation
I had been put into contact with a sizeable Faction Warfare corp, and had been chatting with them for a few days, flying in fleets with a few of their members, learning what I could and making friends. This might not be the way everyone joins their first corp – in fact I believe most people eventually find the recruitment channel or read one of the mobile depot advertisements in space, and decide “why not?”
As a new player, I can’t stress this enough: don’t settle for a corporation that’s not right for you. If you get into a player organization where you don’t feel engaged, no one is talking to you, and you feel like you’re not bringing anything to the table, then make a change. Write the CEO a quick evemail to ensure you don’t burn any bridges, and try another corp. You’re new; you’re allowed to not get it right on your first try, or the second, or the third. The important thing is that the group you wind up with is one you mesh with both socially and in goals.
This particular Faction Warfare Player Corp engages in PVP all the time, with PVE being an afterthought. Based on the style of play I’m after, this is right up my alley. The corp members are encouraging and happy to give advice, glad to lend equipment if I didn’t quite have the right ship for the job, and they quite active in my timezone. Timezones are a giant divider in the game, so being in a corporation that isn’t active in your timezone is equivalent to not being in a corporation at all. This means I have a group of people with whom I could regularly engage in that most treasured of words in EVE online. Content. With a Corporation at my back I had access to fleets which could defend an area, drive off undesirables, and call for backup if I needed it.
The corporation also gave me some folks to get to know and talk with on a regular basis. Chatting on comms in EVE is a great way to make the dull parts much less so. I chatted about my training plan, how I was enjoying the game, learned a few tips about fitting, and sought out stories of my corp mates’ experiences as new players. One of the points of this experiment is to discover a bit more about the new player experience in general and what I have been learning is this: To enjoy EVE, you have to be willing to dive in and own whatever it is you do. Chose something and be dedicated.
Forward, Ever Forward
As a new writer, I try to observe John Lydgate’s adage that, “You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.” It’s been pointed out to me routinely that I’m not really a new pilot and I can’t showcase the true feeling of experiencing this game for the first time. I also realize PVP isn’t the only thing out there, and it’s not the only way to have fun in this massive game, it’s simply the route which I decided to take for this feature.
That said, because one of my goals is to promote EVE Online, rather than any specific organization within it. I’m going to try to take the comments I’ve received as motivation to provide my readers with something closer to their expectations. As many long term players will attest, there’s often periods where nothing new really happens. You fall into a comfortable zone and the story level’s out for a moment, in the case of my intrepid Alt, we have reached that marker. I’m grinding ISK and fighting small gangs, and waiting for some SP to allow me to deliver some new experiences. That is the nature of progression, you can’t be a New Bro at one thing for too long.
So I’m going to segue into a feature within a feature (a Featureception if you wish), involving one of my readers who is a new pilot in New Eden, following a different path. I’ll provide the writing, he’ll provide the material via interview. With a little luck ‘I Newbie, Too’ will spin off quite nicely as we continue exploring the gameplay that either brings players to this game to stay for years, or leaves them broken, shattered and angry as they unsubscribe.
Until then, Fly dangerous.
This article originally appeared on TheMittani.com, written by Roland Cassidy.