Journal of a Pilot: Week 1 of EVE Online
I knew right away that I wanted to be a Gallente pilot. The Gallente are the closest EVE Online has to “good guys,” after all. Their culture prizes freedom, liberty, and democracy above all else. While the other factions all have their own appeal, I wanted my first character to be one with her heart in the right place. I wanted her to set out into the cold bleakness of space with unshakable optimism, just like I was about to do.
EVE Online has changed quite a lot since I gave it a chance all those years ago, and nowhere has it changed more than in the new player experience. My original experience with EVE was akin to being pushed out of an airlock without a space suit. I spent my time just trying to figure out what to do, and ended up with such choice paralysis that I gave up. This time, I resolved for things to be different. Succendus would survive.
CCP beat me to the punch, thankfully. The newbie experience has been greatly overhauled, and before long Succendus was on her way with a fleet of frigates and a solitary destroyer. All it took was a few hours of running tutorial missions, and suddenly Succendus had a healthy amount of coin in her pocket and a cheery outlook on life. Of course, she was also conditioned to never fly what she couldn’t afford.
My personal favorite of these possible careers, despite the tedium involved, is exploration. Exploration in EVE Online is achieved by launching a bunch of probes, using them to scan a system, and gradually triangulating until you find a randomly-generated spawn. While the mechanics of probing are a little boring, the results make it worth the effort. Military complexes, hidden asteroid belts, unstable wormholes, and dangerous interstellar gas fields are just a few of the sites one can encounter. Space is the last great unknown, and giving me a way to gradually make it known is a surefire way to my heart.
After finishing up the tutorial – and ending up with a small fleet of disposable Gallente frigates – I decided that even the best combat pilots need a respectable profession to fall back on. I set my sights on mining. Instead of running out to immediately pick a fight and potentially lose my brand new ship, I set out to build up a reserve of ISK and ore. Just in case of emergency. While mining is a rather boring activity, it’s also a lucrative, respectable, and wholly necessary one. Mined ore is turned into minerals, which are used to construct everything in EVE. Almost all of the ships and modules you purchase on the market are player-made, and other players provided the resources. Never let another player shame you for being a miner. They are the backbone of EVE Online.
I eventually got tired of mining in high-sec space, and I set out into low-sec to do some more ore harvesting. For those unfamiliar with EVE Online’s security statuses, here’s a quick lesson. High security systems (AKA high-sec) have insanely powerful cops. Low security systems (aka low-sec) have no cops, rendering them perfect for pirate bases and gang warfare. Systems without security (aka null-sec) are the domain of the big players: Alliances in search of fights, the bottom line, or both. The transition from high-sec to low-sec is among the nastiest in the game, as pirates often like to sit on the other side of a gate and murder people who drop in.
My first foray into low-sec filled me with paranoia. Even though I’d done my research to find a relatively abandoned low-sec system, I spent the entire time hitting my scanner to make sure that a pirate wasn’t coming for me. Eventually my vigilance paid off; A pirate took notice of my presence in an asteroid belt and chased after me. Thanks to some preparation on my part and some crazy piloting, I managed to get away with a full hold of low-sec ore to haul back to my stash.