Friday, June 1, 2012

The First Six Months - Part 1 - Inital Impressions

I had decided to try Eve Online about a year before I tried it. In an earlier post I linked the article that first brought it to my attention. It was this article at about acts of assholeish nature in video games. I was enthralled. At the time, I did not have the internet connection to play Eve and I did not. If I knew then what I knew now, my old connection would have supported the game. But that is what it is.

When I moved and was gifted with 150/50 FiOS I downloaded Eve and started it up. The intital cinematic movie made me gasp a bit. I had done a lot of reading the previous few weeks. I’d read about the scamming, the PvP, the single shard, the industry, mining, ISK, the huge null sec alliances, the raw harsh gameplay that did not cuddle you and I was eager to step into it.

I think I spent an hour crafting my character. I read everything about the races. I picked the stuff that fit me and what I wanted to do. I wanted to be an industrialist like no other. I crafted her face detail by detail. I worked on her figure. It probably took me another two hours. I then fucked up her name. I deleted her and went to work for the night. The next day, I remade her, corrected her name and managed to typo it anyway. I wanted it to be Rainer not Ranier. Oh well. The look was the same. I didn't know you could play with expressions in the portrait creator. I figured that out a few weeks later. I loaded her up and found myself in the captains quarters and introduced to Aura.

Fantastic. I followed the walk through. I loved Aura's voice. I felt so cool. I looked at the commands. I undocked for the first time. My pod soared forth into the system. The gold edged, green tinted nebula that dominates Gallnete space filled my 27 inch monitor in exquisite detail. It was beautiful. I spun and spun the camera. The station, the other ships coming and going, amazing. I was here.

Aura was explaining stuff in the tutorial. I carefully and slowly followed the directions I was given. I found my rookie ship. I boarded it. I went and got my certificate from the container. I think I shot something. I went and redocked. I was almost shaking from the rush. The game was 3 dimensional.

Let me take a moment to explain my obsession with 3D space games. I’m obsessed with them. I played City of Heroes and every single character I made could fly for their movement skill because I was obsessed with flying. I love water games because they have a three dimensional field. When the latest Spyro game let you fly on demand, I was hooked. That early PS3 game with the dragons upset me terribly because it was so horrible and I waited forever for it because I wanted to fly.

Now I was flying.

I also expected to be blown up. I was surprised I made it back to the station alive. That is what I had been led to believe from reading before I started to play. Ecstatic and bold from the fact that I was still alive, I undocked again. I felt rebellious. I wanted to fly around some. I drifted from the stations undock and watched the other noob ships coming and going. I stared at my Velator. It was hideous. I didn’t care. I understood it was not forever. I tried to move my ship and I couldn’t figure out how. I remembered the instructions to dock and redocked my ship and went back figuring out how to fly. It took me a bit of internet searches to learn that double clicking in space moved me around. After a few failed undock and redock attempts, I tried again and double clicked. My ship MOVED .

Oh. My. God. I. Was. In. Love.

I flew around the rookie system for a few hours I think. I made it back to the station and had to stop again for the day. The next day, however, I was going to start the tutorial missions and get into the game.

I think it was a day off next. I got up, got some hot chocolate and a blanket, settled into my compute chair and booted up Eve. I was excited. The training missions had me go to another system. Boldly, I went to that system and redocked. Here, I started learning the basics of Eve. I also started reading rookie chat. I had no clue what anyone was saying. However, I liked the fast, active room. My background in IRC probably causes that. I loved rookie chat and I deeply miss it. In fact, I wondered about becoming an ISD. Maybe, someday.

Sometimes, people asked questions that I had as well. That was nice. I think the first question I asked was what did I do with the small piles of ore I had left over from the missions. I was told to drag them onto each other and they would stack. Really? Holy hell that was nice. I thought it was just random waste I couldn't do anything with. Sometimes we just talked. This was to prove invaluable later.

Skills did not bother me. The first few took eight minutes to learn. Then later they took an hour or two. Little did I know that I'd chomp through 30 day skills later on in the game. Early on, I thought it was a cute way to learn and didn't mind spending a few hours working on learning new things.

It took me about two or three days to do all of the missions. I started mining in between them and selling the ore for more ISK. Sometimes I had to wait on a skill to finish. I think one skill caused me an entire day’s delay. I’m pretty sure it was salvaging. I didn’t realize that I could jump around to other training missions. So I did missions and mined in between their down time as I waited for things to build or skills to train to allow me to accept the mission and finish the tutorial.

I stuck whatever weapons I found in wrecks onto my ship. I had different guns and different ammo in each gun. I stuck whatever mods belonged in slots. I had no clue why one ship was better then another other then ship class bigger seemed better (IE Frigate less powerful Destroyer). I was used to sticking whatever I found on my character and improving it later from other games so I figured that Eve was the same. I flew the ships I seemed to be most successful on in the missions. Sometimes I'd have to change them out. I figured that the game was giving them to me so they were the right ones to use.

I’m glad I did the security missions last. They were the hardest and I kept almost dying. Sometimes I did die because that was the mission. In the end, I wound up with a Catalyst. That would become my go to ship for months. I was also horribly, horribly ugly and unbalanced. Fortunately, undocking one day I saw a Meagatron. I knew that in the future, good things waited for me.

The entire time I read chat. As I logged in each day I grew a bit more bold. I hopped a few systems to look around, worried about getting lost from ‘home’. Finally, I finished all of the training missions. I started doing level one missions at the system that I was in. This is how I met my first Eve Friend. I’ve mentioned him before in this blog.

I was in a catalyst doing some type of mission where I needed to collect some ore for the agent. I strapped some mining lasers to my catalyst and went to a belt. There was a hulk and an orca there. I had become used to the ‘big players’ mining away in the belt as I dropped in my Imicus and mined into a can. I then used my Iteron to pick up after a while.

I sat on a rock with the catalyst and started pulling the ore into my hold. It was going to take two trips. On the second trip I got a fleet invite from the Orca pilot. I rejected it. He sent me a message and said, “You don’t want orca boost?”

I told him that I was new and just collecting enough for a mission. I then asked what an Orca boost was. He offered for me to come mine with him in my Imicus. He’d haul the ore for me. I figured I’d give it a chance. I wouldn’t lose much and I was bored with the mission. We mined for a few hours and chatted. He is from Norway and he has been playing since 2004. That day has sealed a bond that so far continues even if our relationship has changed over the months as it adapts to the changes in my gameplay. Where he once gave me orca boosts and hauled my ore he now builds me ships and buys my bpcs that I pop from plexs.

I digress. What he did for me was he refined my ore. This was the first step to my successful accumulation of ISK. He also taught me a bit about mining. He explained how the rocks could only be mined but so much with a laser and to split my lasers among rocks. He explained about refine rates. He refined my ore and paid me for what I mined at a better rate then I’d have been able to do on my own. What was in it for him was that much more ore for his industry efforts and some company in the belt.

Restless, like many new players, I started trying different things out. I had not cared for combat missions during the tutorial missions. I tried a few security missions and did not like them. However, eventually, lured by the rumors of 10 million ISK I started the sister’s of Eve Epic arc somewhere in my second week.

I would do this for a bit and then my Orca pilot would invite me to mine. I’d go mine with him for a bit, I’d do some missions as well. Once, I accepted a level 1 courier mission into low sec. I didn’t realize it when I accepted it until I went to the gate.

I remember sitting on that gate, reading that message over and over again. My bank account at this time had about 5 or six million isk in it. I knew that I could afford to buy my ship again. I had read and heard over and over that was the most important thing. If I lost this ship, I could get another one. I had not died yet. I felt I was ready.

I clicked okay and was in low sec. No one was on the gate. I had read about the importance of warping directly gate to gate to stay alive. I did this and 3 systems later dropped off my cargo. I noticed that my local window was flashing. Someone had said hello to me by name in low sec! I sent him a chat invite which he accepted. I told him “Hello. I didn’t see you say hi and wanted to say hi back and not seem rude’. This amused him and he asked me what a 2 week old player was doing in low sec. I told him what had happened. He told me to be careful and told me to go and get a nanofiber. He said that he was in some huge null war and that he was taking a break from the massive fleet battles. I told him I was new and learning and that I appreciated the time and help.

I popped back up into high sec and decided to avoid low sec for now.

(Continued in Part 2).

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