Around this time a year ago my initial foray into the world of EVE Online ended, and at the risk of using an already over-used phrase, not with a bang but with a whimper (you can check out my glorious progress here – Part 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, Interlude 1, 06). Well actually to be accurate it ended with dis-interest. But a spare code for a months worth of game time and the lure of my characters name on a statue lured me back in. I initially wasnt planning to play at all, I didnt even have the game installed but I figured I might as well give it a go, even casually. So now I’ve 30 days to re-visit the world of, quite possibly, the most notorious MMO out there. How will I get on?
I finally decided that I wanted my name on that statue and trawled through my email accounts until I found the code for a month of gametime that I knew I’d purchased. Then all I had to do was remember both my username and my password. Which I eventually did. If I was thinking straight I wouldnt have gone ahead and redeemed the code at eleven in the evening. Thus basically denying myself a day of gametime. Not that it mattered in the long run. I knew I’d moved EVE off my internal game drive. I thought I’d moved it onto an external drive but as it turns out I’d simply deleted it. Which meant I’d need to re-install the game, which meant I would once more get to “enjoy” the frankly embarassingly bad EVE installation client. The lack of basic resume functionality in it seems purposefully backwards in 2014. So I left it downloading and went to bed.
I got distracted with Phantasy Star Online 2 and wastig my life away so didnt get to EVE until late in the day. After logging in I marveled at my collection of ships, I wondered was the 2 million ISK in my account a lot or a little (pro-tip: calling it a little is a gross exaggeration). But most importantly I realised that I had no fucking clue how to play this game. I also realised that I was once more staring into the directionless abyss that is deciding what to do in EVE Online. As I had when I initially started playing the game I figured that picking a ship I thought looked cool would be as good a goal as any. So after I reinstalled EVEmon I took a quick look at the skills I needed, found where the skillbook I needed was being sold cheapest and after a lot of titting around managed to undock my ship and take flight. While in transit to collect my purchase I perused the market for the price of the ship I wanted. Oh, 60 million and about another 10 million for the skillbooks to learn how to fly out, then however many million to outfit it. Guess that answers my question about the value of 2 million.
When I got to my destination and tried to use the skillbook I just bought I discovered that it needed a dependent skill at a higher level than I had. A dependent skill that would take 17 hours to train. I also got around to properly looking through my possesions, where I spied that I already owned the fucking skillbook I’d just spent 100K on. When I realised that I also couldnt replay the games tutorial I’d had enough, I set my skills to train and logged out. I needed a more conrete plan and I needed to start re-learning how to play the game again, from the most basic levels on up.
A bit of random reading on EVE forums later and I decided that my goal for the next month was to level up my skills and earn enough money to outfit myself to run L4 missions. I was tempted to try switching to another factions ships but it would take about fifty days to do so so I decided to stick with the Amarr ships. My immediate goal is to level up my skills to outfit and fly a Maller, before moving on to the Harbinger and then finally the Abaddon or Apocalypse.
Today was largely spent re-familiarising myself with the game. As you cant seem to re-do the starter tutorial on your main account I created an alt account, , and ran her through the basic tutorial. Once you complete the basic tutorial you are given the option of moving on to “Career paths” which are ten missions relating to the various things you might get up to in Eve. Luckily you can replay these with your main character so I switched back to my main and started running through some of them. I actually probably spent as much, if not more, time reading up on various aspects of the game across a range of forums and wikis. No actually theres no question, I definitely spent more time reading about it then playing. Really apart from doing some tutorial missions the only thing I did was to try and get back into mining. However the system where I had my mining ship sitting was crawling with other players in mining barges that literally dwarfed mine. Which was a bit off-putting so I logged out. Later that night, well technically later in the early morning of Day 4 I used Evemon to put together a full skill plan for my planned upgrade path as well as playing around with a few fittings for various ships in my possession. Ultimately I want to be able to fly a Paladin, which is an Amarr Empire Apocalypse Class Marauder Battleship (sounds fancy eh?). And to train the requisite skills to pilot and outfit the ship will take only…179 days. Balls. Oh well, long term goals should be long term. I also put together a basic fitting for my Maller and costing it (and purchasing the ship itself) would set me back about 14 million. As I currently had 1 million to my name I was going to need to earn some cash
Played for a bit longer today (though again I inevitably ran into situations where I had to read articles to re-learn stuff I’d forgotten). I started by finishing off the combat career tutorials but wasnt really feeling re-playing the rest of them. I did remember how fun combat in Eve could be though. However I really want to get my Maller up and running so I can make missioning more of a focus. To that end I spent most of my playtime today mining. With mixed results. It went well at first but I was again plagued by other players strip-mining all the decent asteroids. As my ship cant hold a huge amount of ore I sort of rely on getting the high profit ores to makes things lucrative. I also kept putting out my drones and then warping away without pulling them back in, which meant a lot of warping back and forth to pick them up. I dont really mind mining, I used to enjoy it more but its sort of lazily enjoyable, like fishing or what have you. The only small annoyance is that even in high-sec with drones out you cant afford to go entirely AFK. Luckily I’d been ithcing to get back to Danganronpa after getting pulled away from it last weekend. So while my brave ship, The Ecstasy of Ore, mined away in the background I sat in my chair playing my Vita. Only glancing up when the shrill blare of incoming enemies drew my attention. Its just after five in the morning (which is more testament to my terrible sleep pattern than any MMO addiction) and I figure with another few runs I should have the 14 Million I need to buy and outfit my Maller. So tomorrow I’m hoping to get stuck into missioning.
Well as it turns out I ended up getting into Danganronpa, which in turn meant more mining, which in turn meant more money. And as they say, Mo’ Money, Mo’ Maller. Of course I cant afford to insure it (and even max insurance wont recoup the cost of the ship never mind whatever I fit it with), but more worrying I also cant afford to arm it. So I am taking a rather circuitous route through all hi-sec space in order to outfit this bad boy.
I may have crawled into bed after seven this morning, but at least I’d fully outfitted my Maller. Though doing so left me broke so its (more than likely unwisely) still uninsured. It also left me getting out of bed rather late and not exactly in the mood to crawl right back into EVE. However the lure of trying out my new ship proved too strong so I logged in about ten in the evening. The way missions work in Eve is that you do them for a range of NPC factions and corporations, in doing so you build up your standing with them which allows you to do higher level missions. You also earn “Loyalty Points” (LP) which you can trade in to get special ships/ammo/gear etc. As I wanted to focus on combat missioning I needed to pick a corporation that offered security missions, decent LP rewards and (because I wanted to stay in Amarr space) was part of the Amarr Empire. I opted to start building up my standing with the not at all ominously named Ministry of Internal Order. It fit all the criteria I just listed and also later on you need a certain standing with it in order to do the Amarr Empire Epic Story Arc.
So a quick search through EVE Agents suggested that the best place to find Mission Agents as the Penirgman system. So off I flew in search of my Level 1 Mission Agent. While I was travelling I was (as usual it seems) using the in-game browser (which is super handy) to read up on various suggested fittings for my Maller. My current fitting prioritised surviviability over DPS. Which I was fine with as I absolutely loathe losing ships. However some of the other fittings looked interesting so while I was warping to my destination on autopilot I alt-tabbed out and opened up EFT, which is my favourite of the external fitting tools (fits are basically equipment sets for you ships). The UI is a little obtuse but its functionality is pretty good. I imported my Maller fit from the game and then pasted in another decent looking one I found on the web. After a bit of fiddling I had a hybrid of the two that I was happy with, it was more or less as survivable but had ~33% more DPS (at the cost of being more energy hungry). Buying the parts I needed for that caused another little detour but eventually I made it to Penirgman.
I picked up my first Level 1 Security Mission, and after a false start where I warped to the wrong place twice, despite the correct one being highlighted in yellow, I breezed through it. Unsurprising as my equipment was probably well above what was needed. Though I was still sort of panicky. When I got back to the station I thought I’d check out the other two Ministery space stations in the system, so I could load up on L1 missions to speed things up a bit. When I docked at a station with a L2 agent I realise that I could accept missions from him, I forgot I had a skill that artificially raises my standing with people. Which was great, I was a step closer (even if it felt like a small one) to doing L4’s straight away.
So I happily accepted my L2 mission and set off to bring justice, in the form of payed by the hour burning laser death, to the scum of the spaceways. When I warped to the mission location I was met by a literal wave of enemies. Which did again cause very mild panic or at least the worry of imminent financial ruin. But it all turned out ok. The Maller can take some kicking and while a little slow to close range it gets the job done. I also recalled I had three drones loaded and they were a great help flitting around the place blowing the shit out of things. While I’d found the L1 mission a little boring the increased difficulty of the L2 mission made it a bit more enjoyable because I felt like I had more to do.
After I handed in the mission I realised it would be more efficient to fly to both L2 agents and stock up before heading out and clearing the missions. I ran a few of these and was actually planning to take a break but after handing in my last mission I was offered a storyline mission (basically you get offered one every 16 missions and they offer better rewards and harder difficulty). So I decided to give it a go before logging. It turned out to be pretty easy, all I had to do was kill the poor fellow to the left. I did however fail to properly read the mission description and ended up wasting some time blowing up a few neutral targets that had the audacity to shoot at me. However I realised my mistake quickly enough and flew away while giving them the metaphorical finger. Rhe mission which earned me 250K ISK as well as, and more importantly, an increase of 1.1 in my standing.
Bouyed by my success I decided to try anoyther mission, I should have been wary of the fact it offered a reward of 500K. It got a little hairy in parts but once I realised/remembered the importance of prioritising my tarets and focusing fire I emerged victorious. Even if the only evidence my ship is there is that thin line of burning blue death.
I spent a good five minutes slowly blowing the shit out of that space station until I realised my mission objective was actually the communications array sitting beside it. But I was invested by that point so I ended up blowing both of them up. Which took a while I wont lie. Though I spent the time reading up on other ways of making ISK, I’d sort of forgotten about Planetary Interaction which had been one of my goals the last time I played. A decent source of passive ISK generation would be pretty damn useful. Once I’d had my vengenace on the targets for having the audacity to get in the way of my lasers I went and collected my reward.
Didnt play a lot today, logged on for one hour to run L2 missions, just to get a rough idea of how much they could earn my an hour. While I was in the middle of doing that I realised that it would work better if I had a shopping list of sorts to work towards. My current goal is my next ship, the Harbringer. Which will set me back around 47 Million. To give it a basic fitting will set me back around 5.5 million. So lets say 54 million in total. With mining I was making an average of 3 Million an hour. I really dont fancy 18+ hours of mining to buy it, especially as I want to focus on missioning. I may need to look into passive methods of earning ISK. But first an hour of L2 missions.
An hour of fairly enjoyable missioning later. I actually quite enjoyed those missions, it never got super dangerous but one or two of the missions, where you port in to see 25 ships all gunning for you, were fun. Fun, but not that profitable. I made 1.6 million. I didnt salvage or loot, but that would have increased the time for what Ive gathered is not much more reward. I may give it a go the next time I mission. I could do things a little more efficiently but I’m still looking at only another 200-300K. So its about half as profitable at the moment as mining. Which means nearly forty hours of L2 missions before I get the money I need. Now by that point I’ll have moved on to L3 missions as my standing will have increased. But it still looks like I’d be risking some serious burn out. Which leaves me in a bit of a pickle as to what to do.
Busy doing nothing today, I also wanted to get back to Danganronpa and get it out of the way. Handily enough (no pun intended) Danganronpa is on the Vita so I just opened up EVE in the background and did a bit of mining while I explored the mysteries of Hopes Peak Academy. With my currrent ship and loadout it takes me around ten minutes to fill the hull while mining. With my drones out I was also fairly safe from anything other than big groups of pirates. So I could concentrate on Danganronpa and then just fly back and forth to the space station to unload. But eventually real life called, but who would let that get in the way of a game? I filled up my (of my god its slow as fuck) industrial hauler and sent it off to a system offering a higher price for my ore via autopilot. Three round trips later and I’d made around 10 million ISK. So as mentioned above mining, while boring/terminally relaxing is a hell of a lot more lucrative than the L2 missions I’m doing. But less fun. I think intermixing the two is the way to go moving forwards. I eventually need to read up on Planetary Interaction and Exploration. Which are both supposed to be decent money makers for new players.
Well I ended up unable to sleep, as I decided to play more Danganronpa I thought I’d do more mining as well. I’d checked out a website to see which hi-sec ore was selling for the most at the moment and for the last while I’d been mining Kernite, specifically Fiery Kernite. However other people were mining in the wee hours and I eventually ran out in the system I was based in. Warping to and from another system was a pain in the arse so I decided to mine the next best selling ore, scordite. Now ittakes around 4.5K units of Kernite to fill my hold. So when I found a scordite asteroid with 26K in it I figured I’d be good for a few trips. So I was surprised when I got a message saying asteroid depleted. After checking my hold I made a discovery, which is obvious in hindsight, but which I was less than pleased with. Different types of ore’s took up different amounts of space, in this case Kernite took up 1.2m3 per unit and Scordite takes up 0.15m3 per unit. The kernite I was selling was worth around three times as much as the scordite. But considering the scordite takes up one fifth of the space I realised I’d been losing out. Thank god I’d only mined in the background for a few hours while doing other stuff. So now I’ve switched ores. Harbinger here I come!