Friday, April 29, 2011

A Year Already?!

Happy Birthday to Me!

On May 2nd of this year; I will have held the status of capsuleer for a year.  Wow.  It’s the only word that comes to mind when I think about it.  The thought is a little amazing and a little scary at the same time.  Especially since I personally did not think that I would last this long in the game. 

If you had the opportunity to listen to me guest host on Episode 23 of Eve Commune; you would have head the story of my first (and hopefully only) rage quit… which happened 3 days into my trial.  I know, it’s pretty freaking sad.  In my defense the Exploration Tutorial is the work of Satan.  I doubt my stance on that will ever change.

Still, even after that initial rage quit; I’m here and I’m still kicking ass in my own special way.  My personality really doesn’t allow most things to get the better of me when it comes to the long haul.  I was pissed at the time and a few days after even.  Eventually  the desire to kick this game ass reared up.

So I sit here with my 16 million skill points and… I still find myself with same feeling of n00b-ness that I had during my first few weeks. 

I look at the ships I fly, which are still mostly frigate, cruiser and battlecruiser classes (just fit my first Maelstrom yesterday) and wonder if I should be flying something “better”.  I look at my skill cue and realize how many things I’m -still- missing or just started training like cynofield theory, advanced weapons upgrade and the booster skill set. 

Will this Feeling Ever Go Away?

The EVE Online Universe is so vast.  It’s something that I both love and hate about this game at the same time.  There’s so much to learn, experience and explore in this game that I wonder if I’ll ever get a chance to touch upon it all.  There’s so much to this game, to this world that after a year of intense, nearly daily game play with hardly any skill training lapses that after an entire year… I still feel the same way I did when I first logged on to the game. 

I still get that excited flutter in my gut when a red spike in system.  I still get that flush of excitement when I seen faction or officer spawns.  I continue to be amazed at the site of titans and when I’m sitting 2000m off them I zoom in to remind myself just how big it is when compared to my crow, saber or even drake.  There are even days when I press esc and log out just to watch the open cinematic, squealing with girlish delight when I see the iris of the unknown capsuleer fade on to my screen.

I think that is what makes EVE Online the ultimate Sci-Fi experience.  Those moments in the game where the intensity of your experience is so great that it causes you to react on a level deeper than ‘press button; receive bacon’ are what make EVE Online such a unique and awesome experience.  When I think about in these terms; I don’t think I ever want to stop being a n00b. 

So a toast to the n00bs of New Eden.  May you always fly free and may your joy of gaming be everlasting. 

The Plight of the Newbie

On Saturday night I had the wonderful experience of being a guest host along with Angus McDecoy on the podcast "Eve Commune" hosted by Garheade and Chainer Cygnus.  If any of you have the opportunity to join these three in -any- projects they do... do it.  Don't even thinking about it.  Just say yes and hang on for the ride of your life.

Eve Commune along with Garheade and Chainer Cygnus are associated with Project Halibut.  It's a little project with a crazy name and an awesome mission.  The purpose of Project Halibut it to assist new player's and prepare them for the huge learning curve of EVE Online.  Not only do they assist with skill books, starter ships and mods, but they give new players something they all desperately need... a voice of reason and experience.

If you listened to the podcast, you heard some of my own n00b faux-pas.  I learned the hard way that guns do not go on salvage boats to the tune of -2.something security status.  I also learned that some the best game assistance is not always in-game.  There are also plenty of other amazingly dumb thing I did, but listening them all off would put this post in to the tl;dr category.  Rather then going on and on about stupid mistakes I made; I do want to highlight some things that I believe all new players should know.

Joining a Player Corp is a GOOD Thing
I've noticed that a lot of new players that come in to the game alone are hesitant about joining player owned corporations.  I understand their hesitation as the first rule of EVE Online is; Trust no one.  However, new players being overly paranoid about joining player owned corps is grossly counterproductive to their in-game development.  Don't get me wrong, healthy paranoia is good, but shooting yourself in the foot due to your paranoia is... well... bad.

Player owned corporations boast a huge number of benefits.  They have experienced players who are more inclined to give you "good" advice, they offer boosts and bonuses, they provide inclusion in large scale activities (mining ops, incursions, gang pvp, etc) and there's a nice long laundry list of other great reasons to join player corps.  Give player corps a chance new players.  Just don't give them your isk (joining fees are -always- a scam).

You Tube and Google are Your Friend
The best tutorials for EVE Online are the ones made by players.  You will find these tutorials by searching on You Tube, The EVE-O (EVE Online) forums and just by using Google.  As awesome as CCP is at doing what they do; they're not so great at making road maps that make sense to outsiders.   There have been many times where I felt I had taken a wrong turn at Albuquerque.

Fly What You "CAN" fly and can Afford
Just because you have battleship 3 doesn't mean you're able to fly a battleship.  There's a lot that goes into the training process for ships.  You need to make sure you have the right skills when it comes to capacity, power grid, CPU, armor/shield tanking, gunnery/missile/laser skills, etc, etc, etc.  Simply because you can get in to a ship, doesn't mean you can fly it well.  What's the point of having a Dominix with a 10K tank?

This brings me to my other point of flying what you can afford.  I'll paint you a scene.  Johnny buys a fully fit Dramiel for 100Mil off contract.  However, with ratting, PI and salvaging Johnny's monthly income is only 25Mil.  When (not if) Johnny looses this Dramiel... he's going to be screwed. 

Here's another little tip.  CCP doesn't like it when you muscle in their terf.  It's their job to screw the players, but that's another blog post.

Project Halibut Website
Project Halibut In-Game Channel - Project Halibut

So tell me what you want... What you really really want.

I've come to realize something during my short time within the Eve Universe; Everything you do matters.  What you do comes attached with a huge chain of choices.  Each of those little choices you make will have some type of impact on what you are doing in the game.  Those decisions can bring success, failure, frustration, celebration and even a good laugh or two. 

The process of careful decision making starts the very moment you enter the game in the form of your avatar.  This is what will forever represent you within the universe.  Well, until you decide you're ready for a new scar or tattoo or  if you're ready change of hair do.   To change that all you have to do is dock into the nearest station to re-customize.  Really, that's as easy as the decision making gets.  From there is a downward spiral of choice after choice.

Do you do the tutorials or strike out on your own?  (For the love of all that is sane and logical PLEASE do the tutorials.)  Do you go the route of wealth and power or go for blood and tears; maybe both?  Do you go for frigates, battleships, capitals or specialty ships?  What skills do you train?  What corporation or alliance will you join?  Which resources will you use?  What will spend your game time doing?

After a year a playing this game I still have trouble making those choices.  About two weeks or so ago, I left SpaceMonkey's Alliance to spread my wings in New Eden and try something new.  I spent most of my time trying to answer the age old question; 'What do you want to be when you grow up?'  The only answer I've been able to come up with so far is 'a killer.'  It's an unsettling though oddly liberating realization.  At least I had made the first choice.  Now it's on the second.

Where was I going to go and with whom would I kill things?  EVE Online after all is a very social game.  I can't think of any other game where I socialized to this degree during game play outside of game nights with my family when I was younger or role-play sessions with friends.  I found out rather quickly after four or five days of doing missions in high sec, belt ratting in low and null sec, rifter roaming in low sec and wormhole surfing.... EVE is kind of boring alone.  At least it is for me.  I've heard the joys watching movies while mining, but... that's not really my thing.

I considered high sec.  Running with AD0PT seemed like a good option especially when I knew Croakraoch, an awesome FC, as well as some of their more colorful pilots from M0F0's days of running with SMA.  I spent some time talking to The Pitboss and they seemed to have a really good operation out there.  They did have all the elements I was looking for when it came to my search.

I considered pirating in low sec.   I spent some time looking over different websites and kill boards seeing what different corps had to offer.  I even went out to different systems in low sec and checked out corps by who was moving though the area.  I even got to watch a little Gallante/ Caldari faction warfare clash while cloaked up in my helios.  It was pretty cool, but nothing I found really grabbed me. 

I talked to different people about what they had done in the game and if they had any suggestions for me.  I actually spent a lot of time in the Women Gamers of Eve Channel talking to them about their experiences.  Organizations like Rote Kappelle and Noir. came up in conversation.   It was really great to hear some of the stories and personal descriptions of corporation and alliance practices.   Still nothing grabbed me the way I wanted it to.

Then all of a sudden it just happened.  I was hanging out in Essence belt rating while I watched the low sec pilots go to and fro.  In the interesting of helping out a low wallet I did some light belt ratting.  It was mind-boggling boring.  So boring in fact; my attention had been diverted to a video link exchange that erupted in an in-game channel.  It was then that a little pop-up box of salvation came. 

Kenndo from Wrecking Shots of Wildly Inappropriate. was contacting me.  It seemed that an Incursion had hit the Fade area and they were trying to get a group together to go a-carebearing and then maybe hit some systems for a roam a little later on.  However, there was a hitch in the plan.  I wasn't blue for I had left SMA.  Kenndo, you ingenious fiend. 

He dangled the carrot.   Now if you're thinking that the incursion was the carrot, you've missed something.  It's the social.  I was bored and why?   I had grown accustomed to playing Eve as a social game.  They had found me in my greatest moment of weakness and offered me what I was missing from my game.  The social aspect of EVE Online is one of the reasons I enjoy this game as much as I do.  It was one of the reasons I was a successful corporation and pilots recruiter for SMA and it's part of the reason I'm now a podcaster and attempted blogger for the game as well.

So that was my choice.  I choose to be social and focus on that aspect of the game.  I choose to enjoy EVE Online with people that I enjoy as well.  I look forward to flying with the miscreants of WSHOT.  I also look forward to some of the other projects I'm starting in the game.  While I may not know exactly where my choices will lead my journey though this Ultimate Sci-Fi Experience... I know it's going to be one wild ride. 

Oh... and damn you Hallan Turrek.