There are some pretty simple mistakes that are alarmingly common to new players in EVE Online. This is my take on the ten things most players would warn themselves about, if they could travel back in time.
#10. Not Doing The Tutorial
Ten mistakes every newbie risks making.
#9. Not Availing Yourself Of Free Information
The internet has a wealth of freely available information about EVE Online. Nearly every facet of the game is covered in excruciating detail, somewhere out there in internet land. Ten Ton Hammer is a great resource for this, of course, but as with so many other aspects of life, a wisely chosen google search will tell you everything you need to know about any problem you are having. If you get stumped, ask Google. The answer is out there.
#8. Enjoy Yourself First, Worry About ISK Second
When I first started playing, I spent an awful lot of time mining with a Tormentor, which is a teensy frigate that nobody in their right mind would waste their time using for more than a day or two. I used it for a month, and proudly, because I simply did not know any better. During that time, I could have been joining a real corporation, doing low-cost PvP, or otherwise enjoying myself. Instead I was dodging frigate NPCs and harvesting rocks.
Maybe all that suffering built character, but I would rather have spent that time clowning around and actually doing things, rather than trying to maximize my ISK earning.
#7. Not Making Friends ASAP
The point of playing an MMO is that there are lots of other people playing with you. You should do your best to make some of them be your friends. Not the kind of friend where you nod your head when you see them, either. You want the kind of friends where you are doing the same things in-game and hanging out on Ventrilo together, regularly. It will heighten your interest and involvement with EVE Online, and enable you to pool your collective labor for projects that otherwise would not be feasible.
The best way to make friends is to join a corporation. The best corporations for newbies are the ones with a proven track record of training new players to be better at EVE Online. EVE University is highly praised by myself and others, and rightly so. Consider them or a corporation like them, and get to be on a first name basis with some people that seem to be your kind of person.
#6. Not Trying Everything
There are lots of interesting things to do in EVE Online, and you owe it to yourself to try as many activities as possible. This means, yes, try mining. Yeah, you should probably try PvP, too, though I caution that you should do it in good company. You should try exploring, trading, inventing, and anything else you can think of. It's a big game, and the more you try, the more general expertise you will have, and the higher the chance that you find something that perfectly matches your idea of fun. It's like playing russian roulette, and every chamber contains a different variety of winning.
#5. Not Sticking To A Skill Plan
Some areas of EVE require a lot of skill points: flying capital ships, inventing tech two ships, and so on. But most of EVE Online isn't like that, at all. If you pick a thing, like flying stealth bombers or manufacturing tech two missiles, you can be doing that thing about as well as anybody, in just a couple months. Figure out exactly what skills you need, make a skill plan and do not deviate from it.
Lamentably, this sometimes runs counter to mistake #6, with trying new things necessarily involving training lots of weird skills. That's fine. But if your skill tangent takes more than a few days, you should seriously consider whether it is worth it.
#4. Flying What You Can't Afford To Lose
This is an important one. Never have all your net worth packed into a single ship. If you undock something, it is forfeit. It isn't a matter of if you are going to lose that ship, it's a matter of when. If there is a high risk of losing your ship, then it had better not be worth even a fifth of your value. You need to be able to insure yourself against calamity.
This is especially true in PvP. If you can only afford one pimped-out ship, then you can't afford it at all. You need to be able to fly three or four of a ship, at any given time, or you risk being wiped out. Don't put it on the table if you aren't willing to gamble with it.
#3. Thinking Your Time Is Free
Your time spent playing EVE Online is precious. Don't waste it performing activities that make less ISK, when there are other opportunities for ISK making available. I'm specifically talking about things like mining scordite in high-security space, which is to EVE Online what McDonalds is to dining out. Don't waste your time on lesser ISK-generating activities, especially if they involve a lot of your personal work. Try to budget most of your time for doing the things you enjoy in EVE, and then as little as you can on ISK generating at whatever makes the most ISK possible.
Everybody has an obsessive compulsive streak to some extent. In practice: I know flying to that station ten jumps away to get that 150,000 ISK module seems like a good idea, but in the amount of time it took to retrieve it, you could probably have earned twice that by running a mission or otherwise spending your time constructively. It's probably better to just trash the module.
#2. Assuming You Can't Do Something
Newbies in EVE Online have an unfortunate tendency to undervalue their own effectiveness. This is lamentable, because the main thing in EVE is that players train themselves to have the right skills, with in-game skillpoints rating a distant second.
Attach yourself to the right corporation, learn everything you can, and follow others' advice, and you can make just as important a contribution as a much more advanced player. This especially shows in very active corporations, where a motivated newbie is much more valuable than a disinterested veteran.
This maxim applies equally to industry, trade, and PvP. In industry, human labor is often more important than skillpoint totals. In trade, spotting an opportunity and having a good idea of what risks are worth taking trumps skillpoints, every time. In PvP a newbie in a tackling ship can be just as important as a pro with a ton of firepower (without the newbie, targets can escape). There are also situations where skillpoints are irrelevant: if your ship is in a tactically unfeasible situation, skillpoints aren't going to make a lick of difference.
#1. Not Reading Ten Ton Hammer
We have guides on pretty much everything. Lots and lots of newbie-oriented information. Give it a peruse, and if you don't see something covered that you are interested in, we're generally pretty amenable to do a guide on it. Some favorites: