Many potential EVE players find themselves enraptured by the number of outrageous and exciting stories that regularly make headlines. But the high learning curve, mixed with a game designed around what is basically fundamental freedom, usually scares most people off within the space of a few weeks.
It’s not exciting to wait three days for Gunnery IV to tick over, grinding boring missions for pittance while you avoid the plethora of scammers, pirates, dodgy corporations and other undesirables. But there’s a point to the tedium, the careful learning, and the gradual ascent to power. EVE allows for such a large breadth of opportunity because it relies exclusively on players knowing exactly what they are doing.
In security level zero space, also known as Null, the players control everything in one of the most complex sandboxes ever devised — from fighting over entire star systems with Titan class behemoths, to building their own secure stations and mobile hangars.
It’s in null space where you realize that everything you had been doing — the missions, the mining, the trading — was just training. While EVE relies on players for nearly everything, security is guaranteed in most parts of safe space (also known as Empire) thus creating an almost Utopian environment. NPCs patrol the areas, warping in at the first sign of trouble, running down players who have breached the sacred rule of unjust PVP.
Miners, largely, are safe to sit in belts for hours at a time, brushing off mobs with automated drones, sifting heaping loads of low value ore for processing. The plethora of easily available resources means that almost everything is available for purchase, which makes Empire space comparable to somewhere like Adelaide or Canberra – safe and plentiful, but also a little boring and ordinary (sorry, friends).
It’s in these areas that the large majority of new players will play out their 30 days, usually alone, bored or confused due a lack of direction or motivation. There are a number of myths that perpetuate around new players, and the first one is that it takes a long time to do anything. This is untrue – most players can be in a surprisingly decent ship within three days, and if they are game enough, could even be out in null space, roaming around with more experienced pilots within the space of their first week.
What is essential — more than anything else in the entire game — is finding purpose. Unlike other MMOs, EVE won’t allow you to simply choose a class, join a queue, and complete easy objectives for glory. Glory is sought out and earned, and the game has been designed to make this feat almost impossible to complete on your own.
Finding and joining a good corporation of regular players is the most important move you will make in EVE, and it should be done as early as possible. It’s not that hard. If you have crashed and burned in EVE before, it’s likely that you didn’t get this far. A well run group is a positively addictive experience, namely due to the fact that they instantly build a culture of the things the game organically, and intentionally, doesn’t provide – that direction. They will get you on track, help you accomplish your goals, help with equipment, ships and money, and allow you to form a persona within the overall universe. That gigantic space suddenly feels a lot cosier, and you now have a side to bat for.
So began the concept for my experiment.
I have been playing EVE, on and off, since 2007. I have had four separate accounts, peaking at three active subscriptions at one point, where all three would be run across three monitors. I have been in all sorts of corporations, from noob-ganking pirates, openly considered the bottom dwellers of the cosmos, to logistics experts, contracted to move equipment across dangerous space efficiently. But I found that every time I attempted to explain EVE to another gamer, it was impossible for them to understand the sheer scope of a single experience in such an enormous game.
Every single person says the same thing; “I would love to play EVE, but it just sounds too unobtainable”.
EVE requires a lot of things from a prospective player, and most of them are generally incompatible with not only each other, but real life. Unlike most MMOs that seek to reward players with a plethora of useless garbage and arbitrary levels in the shortest time possible, most of the pleasure that can be derived from the title takes place over not just days or weeks, but months and years. The time-based, rather than action based, configuration of the skills system rewards longevity, self learning and intelligence.
You can’t login to the game and fight those extraordinarily epic battles or contrive some intricate meta-game hustle in minutes == much of the build up for these climatic events requires significant planning, building of trust and relationships, and going above and beyond. In one word? Patience.
Waiting 28 days (yes, real life, 24hr cycle days) for a high level skill tends to skim out most of the people least likely to enjoy a game like EVE, and thus building a steady player base of similar minded people. I haven’t met players in any other game like those in EVE – most of them polite, smart and dedicated, not only to the game but to their families and friends. They appreciate that your real life is first, and thus every minute you offer to them is precious and respected — especially when you’re doing something important.
Many of these people, these experiences, and these concepts are rarely effectively communicated to the majority of players who are interested, intrigued or downright mystified by the incredible ecosystem that CCP have developed. As such, over the next four entries I will talk about the various aspects of the game, from combat to trading, politics to sovereignty, roles to professions, from the standpoint of my own personal experiences with the game. This is not a trick or a ruse, I have joined a brand new corporation that operates out of the aforementioned NullSec, my intentions will be noble and truthful, and I will hopefully continue to play beyond these series of articles.
My plan is to clear up the myths that prevent people from taking the plunge into this incredible place, and to highlight what makes traversing through Tranquility so incredibly addictive and exciting. I hope you’ll join me.
Click here for the next instalment in this series.