Cody “Micajah” Bye, Managing Editor

Playing an online game for the first time can be like learning to ride
a bicycle. Although you never forget how to ride a bicycle after the
first time, each bike is different and your particular skill with bike
riding can increase the longer you ride your cycle. From training
wheels to mountain biking, your particular proficiency with cycling can
vary greatly, and the interest in the hobby differs from person to

The same can be said for MMOG players. Casual gamers are certainly in a
separate sort of category from the hardcore daily raiders. Most casual
gamers wouldn’t feel comfortable participating in a raid
(unless they had previous raiding experience), and regular raiders
wouldn’t want to be stuck with a casual gamer’s
schedule lest they become increasingly bored and impatient with their
gaming. However, each gamer certainly knows how to play through most
MMOGs, even though they may be in different gaming categories

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Character creation in
EVE Online is a different sort of MMOG experience.

In general, I feel like a fairly competent gamer in my own right.
I’ve had plenty of practice riding on a variety of different
titles, from the very first few games unleashed upon the modern MMOG
market to the most recent titles that have entered store shelves in the
last few months. Typically, I can pick up almost any MMOG title without
too much fuss or fret and play through the first few levels without
worrying about the tutorial or any player guides to help me along my

The commonality between most MMOGs is fairly obvious, and even with
games that bend the genre a practiced gamer can hop in and start
playing right away. Class terminology like fighter / warrior, thief /
rogue, healer / cleric, or mage / wizard and attribute statistics like
strength, dexterity, constitution, intelligence, and wisdom are almost
universally accepted as norms within the standard avatar-based MMORPGs.

When I hopped on to EVE
for my initial play session, I felt like
I was riding a unicycle. From the very first few mouse clicks, I knew
that my first trip in was going to be a bit bumpy. Unlike
today’s standard MMORPGs, style="font-style: italic;">EVE Online’s
creation system is deep and full of pitfalls. Although your character
really isn’t limited in the long run by your initial choices
(due to the time-based skill advancement), you can put a fairly large
hindrance on your first few hours of advancement if you choose your
character poorly.

As I stated in my first editorial on style="font-style: italic;">EVE Online, this
combat game falls far from the typical MMORPG norm. Anyone that has
done any research on the title will know that there are a number of
things that are obviously different – no avatars, no classes,
time-based advancement, based in outer space – and the
attributes that you do have aren’t standard. Rather than the
previously mentioned “standard” attributes,
you’ll begin with charisma, intelligence, memory, perception,
and willpower as your beginning assortment.

And there are dozens of other options for you to choose from in your
initial character creation portion of the game. With four different
races and three bloodlines per race, there’s no lack of
reading to be done in your initial foray into this particular section
of events. Unlike some of the more recently released games, character
creation in EVE is still very meaningful; your starting attributes
(which come via your selected race and bloodline) are integral in the
development of your skills.

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Skill advancement is
based on time rather than killing monsters or completing quests.

You see, EVE Online
doesn’t rely on the simple
“kill the monster to get XP” equation that so many
gamers are used to. Instead, EVE
uses an allotted amount of time
that is based on your attribute scores. For example, when I first
created my EVE Online character,
I opted for a Caldari Civire, which
gave me very high perception and willpower attributes. I opted to go
this route because many of the combat-based skills – gunnery,
sharp shooting, missile launching – are based off of those
particular attributes. In order to advance my skills I must
“train” them, which takes anywhere from 2 hours to
days in real time, and the time it takes to “train”
those skills varies depending on my scores in my primary and secondary

If my explanation still doesn’t make sense, I’ll
revert back to my bicycle analogy. The time it takes to learn to ride a
bike varies greatly, depending upon the person. For the sake of this
comparison, we’ll say that learning to ride takes a
combination of two of your basic attributes, dexterity is your primary
(to stay balanced) and willpower is secondary (to keep on trying even
if you fall).

The children that have both attributes in abundance will obviously
learn to ride in the shortest amount of time, while their friend that
only have dexterity will take a little while longer to learn. The kids
that only have a lot of the willpower attribute may fall often, but
they’ll eventually get the hang of it after some time. Those
children without either attribute in abundance will obviously take much
longer than all of the other children. This is how skill advancement
works in EVE Online
as well.

My best recommendation to new players that are starting is really check
out all of the different options and how the various statistics work in
conjunction with one another. To be honest, the skills often
don’t make perfect sense (why is willpower so necessary for
shooting guns), but with a little time you’ll have the skills
and their attributes down pat.

That said, try your best not to simply plow through the character
creation portion of the game with your head down. One of
EVE’s major sticking points for a majority of players (and at
times in my play experience) is that it does not pull any punches for
people who are overzealous and idiotic in the way they approach a
problem. You will get nowhere in the game by pulling a simple
“Leeroy Jenkins” and charging in. That’s
not the way to do it. Sit back, take a deep breath, and try to find a
solution to your problem through whatever means you have at hand. By
simply forging your way through the character creation process, you may
not necessarily “break” your character, but he /
she could be severely gimped for a large portion of his / her early

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There are tons of
options in EVE's character creation system.

Since the majority of character creation deals with this sort of
statistical min-maxing, it’s recommended that you do spend a
little bit of time checking out your options and decided –
perhaps before you even begin the process – what sort of
character you’d like to make in the game. Due to the free,
sandbox nature of EVE, you can really accomplish whatever you set your
mind towards. Want to be a merchant? That’s possible. A
miner? That’s fine. A pirate? Cool. A simple soldier?
EVE’s down with that.

In truth, it’s almost best to think of EVE as a tabletop
roleplaying game rather than a standard MMORPG. Every one of your
actions needs to be clearly thought out before you engage in it. All
the actions in EVE are incredibly deliberate, and you’ll know
– almost immediately – whether what
you’re about to do is foolhardy or the correct option. Make
one misstep and try to take on an enemy that’s more powerful
that you, and you can expect a relatively quick beat down to come your

If you want to learn more about those deliberate actions and hear a bit
about the gameplay in EVE Online, you’ll have to keep your
eyes pointed at Ten Ton Hammer. Now that I’ve actually jumped
on the bicycle, how well did my first few riding lessons go? Was it
difficult? Did I fall down and scrape my knee and go crying to mommy?
You’ll just have to wait and see!

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our EVE Online Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016