Posted Tue, Feb 09, 2010 by Space Junkie
Everybody talks about how steep the learning curve is in EVE Online. Long-time players brag about it, and ex-players talk about how they couldn't get over it. The game runs you through a ton of tutorials that teach you the basic mechanics of the game, but doesn't integrate you into the game's metagame or continuum of emergent behavior, which are the two things that EVE does better than any other MMO that I've ever heard about.
This is the second in a multi-part series dedicated to helping new players get into EVE right off the bat. I present to you a step by step guide to what every new player should do in their first month of the game.
Week One: First Thing's First
Your first week of the game should be spent familiarizing yourself with how the game works by doing the tutorial, and training the most basic skills, including some learning skills, fitting skills, and weapon/module skills. By the end of this week, you should know how to fly, fit, and use your ship, as well as how to travel around the universe of EVE Online. You should also have a decent chunk of your low-level learning skills done.
Doing the tutorial missions available in your starting station should take only a few hours, and give you a strong basis for understanding the rest of the game. While you are doing those, you should be training the basic learning skills. Learning skills don't improve your capabilities, but instead let you train other skills at a faster rate. They are essential, and as a new player your main challenge is to balance training learning skills with skills that will help you enjoy playing EVE Online. If you just train learning skills, it is possible that you will get bored of EVE before the skills pay off. If you just train interesting skills, you will learn them so slowly that the same thing can happen.
Here's what I recommend: train Instant Recall, Analytical Mind, Learning, Spatial Awareness, and Iron Will all to at least level III, then train things that will make you happy or more useful, like Destroyers or the cruiser skill for your race. Engineering, Electronics, and Weapon Upgrades are all easy to train few levels in, and will go a long way toward using more modules, and fitting more of them on your ships.
Week Two: Figure Out What You Like
The conventional path of progression for players is something like this: try mining, see some of the sights of EVE Online, and then run missions until you have high enough standings with a corporation to run lucrative level 4 missions with them. Along the way, you may or may not make some friends, join a corporation and/or alliance, and experiment with PVP. This week should be spent sampling your options, particularly missions.
In order to run missions efficiently and not make certain easy mistakes, you need to be warned about a few things. Firstly, if you are constantly running missions for different corporations, you are wasting your time. This is because your time running low level missions is only useful because it propels you along toward accessing missions that are actually worthwhile. Secondly, most combat missions limit access so that larger ships won't be able to access them. A friend of mine recently explained to me that he sold a timecard and skilled up to fly a battleship as quickly as possible, only to find that low-level missions wouldn't even let at ship that big into them. Never mind that he wouldn't have the necessary support or fitting skills to use it properly. Thirdly, the loyalty point store items with higher costs usually give the best point to value ratio, because of the time required to accumulate them.
For your reference, the missions of each level are generally oriented as follows:
Week Three: Pick A Career (For Now)
By your third week you should have figured out what areas of EVE are more likely to interest you. Because EVE Online's incredibly intricate economy supports atypical career paths, you are mostly limited by your imagination. Well, that and your budget. Most newbies will eventually settle on some form of mining or running missions. At first, anyway.
Mining can be incredibly simple or a complex ballet of logistical, personnel allocation, and spreadsheet math. If you are mining, the benefits from joining a mining corporation are immense. As long as the corporation isn't fleecing its members, miners benefit more from collective effort than any other profession. Potential benefits: mining fleet bonuses, centralized hauling, bonuses from huge ships like rorquals and orcas, highly skilled refiners, production chains that will make the most of your minerals, collective defense against pirates, and more.
Running missions effectively involves picking a corporation that has level 4 agents in high-sec space of the sort that you want to run. Usually, these missions are combat-oriented, so you want to find an NPC corporation with level 4 agents of the Internal Security type. A lot more can go into the choice of corporation, including the specific loyalty point offers that corporation has available, or is likely to have available in the future. I'll cover that better, in another guide. In the meantime it is enough that you just want to make sure that your corporation of choice actually has level 4 agents. The most important increases in standing are the storyline missions that are offered periodically in the course of running missions. These improve standings dramatically with not only the corporation offering them, but also the faction that corporation belongs to, e.g. an Amarr Navy storyline mission would improve your standings with all Amarr corporations.