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Monday, January 12, 2009

Advice for newbies

As I think back on various talks about newbies and how EVE is kind of a tough row to plow, and as Saylah from Mystic Worlds thinks about re-joining EVE, that I should put some thoughts down on the interweeb. So without further adieu, here is some unsolicited advice for anyone contemplating joining EVE:

1) EVE is different.

So you have played other MMOs. You think you've got the genre figured out have you? The first thing I want you to do is bundle up all that knowledge and pack it in some corner somewhere and forget about it. It will hurt you more than help you in EVE.

EVE is not level driven, it is skill driven.
You see those shiny ships? Looks like the equivalent of your sword or armor in WOW right? Wrong. We'll get to that.
You can't take a level 1 character all the way to the Outlands in WoW. But there's nothing but common sense stoping you from doing the equivalent in EVE. I suggest making use of common sense.
You see all the friendly and helpfull players? well some are. Most just want to frag your ass and loot any expensive stuff that may survive your wreck. And the friendly ones? Ulterior motives. Trust me. Except possibly Chribba. But Chribba is a special case.
Notice I made a reference to the reputation of a single player? If you screw up by the numbers your reputation will stay with you. There is no other server you can move your character to. Remember that. Try not to do anything too permanent till you know what you're doing.
EVE is a lot like a shark tank. You're starting off as a baby shark. Remember the bigger sharks are hungry.

2) Making isk (or how to pay for all those ships I'm going to blow up doing something stupid?).

There are various ways in eve to make isk. First you can kill things. All NPC pirates have bounties on their heads. Killing thier ships will get you their bounties (after up to 15min delay to reduce network trafic and lag). Then their ships usualy have "loot". Some of wich is crap and some of which is valuable. You can melt the crap and get minerals which you can keep or sell. You can sell or keep the good stuff. Once you get ahold of some blue prints you can make stuff out of the minerals and sell that. You can mine ore, sell that, convert the ore to minerals, sell that, convert the minerals to items, sell those. You can buy low and sell high. You can salvage wrecks (npc or player) and get salvage which you can then sell. You can run NPC missions, make isk off the mission, plus the bounties, plus selling/melting the loot, plus any salvage from the wrecks. You can do something out of the game that people will pay you isk for like some Alliance/Website Logo artists do. You could design some neat tool that people will donate isk towards the further development. You could extort isk out of other players. You could social engineer people into giving you isk. You could clean out a corporation. You can pay someone else's game time and they will give you isk (this is why some consider eve's time cards to be RMT).

With all of this, what do I advise a newbie to do? Start with ratting and salvaging. You may need to acquire the skills to be able to salvage but they pay themselves back VERY quickly. Especialy if you're in Amarr or Minmatar space. Loot and eventual salvage your wrecks. Learn about the rules of agression and loot ownership and the lack of wreck ownership. Don't take from other's wrecks till you know the possible consequences. Use the oportunity to stockpile useful modules while learnign how the market works and disposing of the ones you can't use. Learn about when to melt vs when to sell. Sure you won't be as effective as someone with the Scrapmetal skill but if you can sell the minerals for more than you can sell the module, melt and sell the minerals. Learn how to recognize valuable modules. Use the info system to find out what metalevel a module is. If it's Metalevel 3 or 4 they are usualy worth selling instead of melting.

3) Security Status

In EVE each system is given a security status. This indicates how proactive the NPC police is in responding to illegal acts. Basicaly it works like this:

In High security space (0.5 to 1.0) if you're not at war with someone and they shoot at you without you shooting first (or doing something that clears them to shoot at you), the police will drop their donuts and rain holy hell on the offending person. Note that there is not an ounce of prevention here. These guys can't be arsed to move till someone does something wrong.

In Low security space - well the cops never come. But if someone does something wrong nearby guns will fire on them (the cops are in the donut shops and they only take care of people trying to stick up the donut shop). This means that only near stations and gates is it "safer". Unfortunately for you a lot of bigger ships can actualy handle fire from gates and stations. So they can actualy pwn your ass, loot your wreck, do various things with your corpse and fly away under fire.

In Zero security space. There are no cops. He with the most buddies or the best buddies can impose his will. While they are online. If you're not their friend, you're a target. Remember that.

Given this it's a good idea that once you discover how to get out of your starting solar system, you learn how to have the map show you the prety colors of security status. EVE not only gives you enough rope to to hang yourself with, they also give you a pre-built scafold with prety instructions on how to make sure everything works smoothly.

4) The learning skills (the category as opposed to action).

As you may be aware, in EVE you need to work on your in game skills to unlock new toys. Some of these skills, speed up the process of learning new skills. Yes you need to work on them. No it does not have to be immediately. Your early skills in eve are going to be rather quick to learn anyways. Although in absolute terms it may be better to do all the learning skills first, the two to 3 months it would take mean you'd be stuck in a noob ship or a frigate for the entire time. Now on some 2nd account this may be fine. But not on your first. When you have learned enough to play the game for a while with some good ships and you need to learn how to use them properly before moving on to different ships, THEN is the time to put some time in your learning skills. So don't feel forced to put time in on the first go round. Get some shiny capabilities THEN while you're making use of them and learning the game it'll be the time to put in some speedup time.

5) Size is not everything.

Unless you have a very specific reason DO NOT make a bee line for the battleships. Two reasons. One is that about half the skills you need to fly these right are also good for ALL ships. So you might as well spend the time getting these in shape in smaller less expensive ships. Two is that they are actualy more vulnerable than they apear.

A BS flying alone screams only two things to EVE pilots: "Bait" and if not that then "Target". In EVE you are usualy safer flying in the smallest T1 frigate in a gang than you are flying alone in a BS. Especialy if you don't have the skills to fly the BS to it's maximum potential.

In fact the most common roaming gangs involve Assault Ships as the core ship or a mix of Cruisers and Heavy Assault Ships would indicate that Battleships are not the be all end all a newbie is supposed to go for.

6) While learning don't use the expensive versions.

Look there are better versions of the same module for most things. The best versions (also known as Faction modules) can be unbelievably expensive. But even though you could buy them and put them on your ship, don't. They only make your ship marginaly better. What they do however is make your ship a NICE JUICY TARGET. And you're an easy kill. Look you're going to loose ships. A few to mistakes in PvE, a lot to PvP. More while you're starting out than later on. A PvE ship in high sec might have a nice long lifespan once you get a hang of things. But all PvP ships eventualy die. It's a fact of EVE. Once you get tackled and get called primary 99% of the time your ship is going to go down and there's not a lot you can do about it personally. Live with it. Don't fly ships you can't conviniently afford to replace.

PvE ships you can afford to put in some good stuff once you stop making noob mistakes, but don't start putting good stuff in your PvP ships till you can afford to keep up with your loss rate. This is where the "always go for the most epic equipment" mentality of other MMOs will hang you up to dry and drive you to tears. "Rage quitting" EVE happens because of this. Don't become a statistic. You need to think of ships in EVE as consumables, not equipment. That's why I say that ships in EVE are not the equivalent of swords and armor of other MMOs. Your skills are, not your ships and modules.


PsycheDiver said...

Good points all. I've already communicated all that to the wife.

Finding an industrial corp for her may be difficult though.

Mynxee said...

Very good post, Let.

Letrange said...

@Psyche - oh industrial corps are easy. Finding a PvP corp where the pilots won't wig out on you and turn pirate within a week? That's trickier.

@Mynxee tks. It was a bit of a "dump the info" kinda post. May need some polishing.

Tony said...

Pretty nice stuff.

I should say something off topic though. I have seen the world "ulterior" at least 4 times this week. Once in your blog, another in another blog, once in my book, and once again in my English class as vocab.

Cool stuff!

Anonymous said...

"EVE is a lot like a shark tank. You're starting off as a baby shark. Remember the bigger sharks are hungry."

AND they like the taste of baby shark.

Cozmik R5 said...

EVE is not your average game, period. There are TONS of good guides for every aspect of EVE from industry to PvP to trade to fleet command to piracy.

Before you even install the client, DO YOUR RESEARCH! The game's user interface WILL WITHOUT A DOUBT fry your braincells the first time you see it.

Ombey said...

Very good read, excellent advice there

Saylah said...

All very good advise and thanks for coming over to meet me and impart more stuff in-game!

Another thing that's not obvious is that if you didnt' complete the trial from way back when it wasn't so good, you can re-do it now. Like DOH! It hadn't even occurred to me.

Leumas said...

Great post. Good information here for the new player.