A year of Alphas

 

The 15th of November marks the one year anniversary of the release of Clone States and Alpha clones. My first character, Ikano Nakkar, was born on the 14th of November. I don’t know if that was a weird timezone issue but it marked the start of my EVE career. I want to share my beginnings in EVE and how I have developed. I will then talk about Alpha clones and parts of the upcoming changes, ending with some stories of my time in EVE. Please also bear in mind that I have been an Alpha for the entire year and everything in this article is based off of my observations and opinions.



First Encounter

My first engagement with EVE was probably about a decade ago, when I was about nine, I would be playing Flash games on my browser and would see adverts for EVE on the side, ‘try for free’ they cried out to me. I wanted to so badly to but never did. Just the word ‘try’ told me everything I needed to know. It would be a free trial for a few days and then you’d hit the subscription wall, I couldn’t afford that, I didn’t get much allowance and my parents wouldn’t let me use their money on a game like that. And with that EVE become another dream that was set aside for the future…

Fast forward to 2016. I’m in a call with my friend James who says “Did you know EVE is going free to play?” I couldn’t believe it and was immediately excited. I stopped what I was doing, opened a new tab and rushed to find out more, and it was true! EVE was going to have a free-to-play model as part of the game.

Leading up to the release I was scouring the internet, finding anything I could about the game that was known for its vast battles, complex mechanics and even deeper player-run markets. I found out what I would be able to fly, cruisers and down. I had no clue what that meant but I was fine with that. Also I would have a limited skill set, understandable for a free-to-play model, couldn’t expect too much freedom.

I read everything from how to spiral in to keep transversal up, to how cost indexes worked and even how to run reactions – there was so much to see, so much to do. I had no clue that I wouldn’t be able to do half the things I read about, but thinking that I could made me feel invincible. After reading up on the security systems I decided highsec was the place for me, I was never a fan of PvP in other MMOs. Lowsec seemed like a place where all the pirates lived, and nullsec was the lawless area where only the most experienced players would go to hunt each other down – no place for a newbie like me.

I dreamed about how it would be to go out and mine ores (yes, I like mining), produce my own goods and sell them for some hard cash. I was a fan of the industrial side of the game, hauling, refining, reactions, all of that stuff that makes the markets go round.


Capsuleers go!

It was time; the 14/15th of November, I got home from college and hopped straight onto the game. Ikano Nakkar, yes, that’s who I would be, a proud Amarrian, their ships looked cool and they use awesome lasers, I was sold.

I played through the tutorial, there was nothing else like the game. All the games I had played, World of Warcraft (private server), Runescape, Tera, none compared to how EVE made me feel. The music, hauntingly inviting. The scenery, frighteningly beautiful. I felt so small in comparison, just me and my corvette against the universe!

I felt so small in comparison, just me and my corvette against the universe!

I knew that as you go down in security systems things got more dangerous, leading me to stay in 1.0 sec space as much as possible, moving through 0.9 just to get to another 1.0 system. I spent my days doing the mission agents, distribution and the industry/mining ones were by far my favourite. The exploration one got me stuck, I launched my probes but couldn’t find how to open up my scanner window, my probes are probably still lost somewhere in the cold expanse of space.

At that time my absolute favourite ship was the Coercer, it looked amazing and had eight turrets. I fitted them with the longest range ammo I could find (I didn’t know about damage types, optimals or falloffs), found me some rats and blasted them with my lasers; I felt unkillable, but I felt empty.


You never quit EVE, you just AFK to train skills

(I didn’t actually know about skills and what they necessarily did, I just thought it was pretty cool.)

Once that was done, I had no idea what to do, nothing seemed to particularly interest me; I couldn’t get my head around some the mechanics and I didn’t have any friends. I was at a loss. So I quit. It had only been 2 weeks but I was done; I had done as much a I could and left the game sitting on my desktop.

But something didn’t feel right, the game I spent years waiting for couldn’t be that dull. There was no way, but I still had no idea what to do. I went AFK for a month or two, often logging in to admire my Coercer.

One night I found myself at the EVE newbies subreddit reading a thread on new-player corporations; I chose Brave Newbies Inc, it sounded good so I went to their subreddit and sent a message to one of the recruiters. I explained my history of Eve (the past 2 or 3 months), and what I wanted from the alliance. The following morning I got a detailed response from him and got instructions on how to sign up and get in. So I did just that. A day or two later once I figured everything out, I was in, on my way to GE-8JV I would warp to planets and D-scan the gates, looking for potential hostiles, if it seemed clear I would warp in. I got pretty close but was blown up at HED-GP and found myself in my medical clone in GE, it was definitely one way to get there fast.

Got myself into a Venture, went belt mining, and got quickly blown up by a Kestrel. Dokin-chan if you’re reading this, I will kill you, either myself or via my associates, I want revenge for that little Venture!

But just as before, I couldn’t connect to the community, the alliance or corporation, it didn’t feel right. So I quit. Again. It was probably around February at this point, I blamed myself for not finding people to connect with, and I was alright with that.


May
be this time will be different

Take time forward a few more months to May, and I was ready to make a comeback, this time as a Gallentian known as Wang Cavin-Guang. I got myself into Brave. Actually made an effort to connect, got onto Slack, got onto Mumble, all that good stuff.

And I got building, Atrons, ammo, guns, rigs, all of it

This is when things actually got better, I stalked on Slack, didn’t speak in Mumble, I learnt from others. Got some free BPCs for Atrons and their components, and ordered my minerals from my boy Rihan. He didn’t want my money, he saw I was new and gave me a helping hand through those 3m worth of free minerals. And I got building, Atrons, ammo, guns, rigs, all of it, I don’t know how I made it from our manufacturing plant to the market but I did. Things moved slow, the market was full of competitors who had prices much below mine. So I just let them sit there.

I mined my way to about 10m in a Venture, it was calm mining with others, a bit slow, but still fun. But it wasn’t good money, I wanted more, and I wanted it faster! So I turned to the markets!


There’s money in them markets!

Working with local markets was my new goal, I browsed everything I could, salvage, minerals, ores, anything that would fit in a Venture. I’d look for items being sold in allied markets which were priced lower than the system-wide buy orders back home. It wasn’t big bucks but I had fun flying around trying not to get blown up by any neutral that I saw. I probably worked my way up to about 20m in ISK.

And then, I saw a gem, a great deal on Arkonor that I could make huge bucks on. I spent all my ISK on it, flew over and was sorely disappointed…

I had bought 6300 units of uncompressed Arkonor, a volume of about 100,800 m3, I was devastated. I couldn’t compress it, I couldn’t find anywhere nearby to compress it, and I wasn’t willing to do all the jumps back and forth.

 

So I took to Slack, I went to the industry bros and asked for help, suggestions were thrown around, one of which included cynoing a rorqual over to compress it. But nothing which would be worth it. Then someone said something along the lines of, “I’ll give you 20m, and you can destroy the ore.” That was it, a simple offer, I couldn’t refuse, I took it. I got the 20m and destroyed the ore, before I did, I made this video which I sent to him once the deed was done. He loved it, he said this is why he loves Brave, I felt like I owed him something, whether it was respect, or just thanks, he did me a great favor.


You can’t get everything around these parts

Importing, buying things in highsec, getting them over to nullsec and selling it for a nice markup. It was simple to do. Brave’s JF corp made life even easier for a reasonable price, and I was able to double my initial import of ~30m in a matter of a day, those rigs sold really well. I was hooked, easy money, money I could make whilst sleeping, money that didn’t require much effort.

Most of my money was made via importing, with a bit of manufacturing thrown in here and there when the markets were slow. I made my first few hundred million in under a month and it felt good. So I kept doing it, more and more, constantly importing, worked my way up to a billion liquid, and then even further, more and more, I had about 10b by August/September.

worked my way up to a billion liquid, and then even further

Throughout this time I found enjoyment out of game helping newbros on Slack, asking questions myself and learning more about industry. I like to think I had built a reputation within the other industrialists as I engaged and offered my thoughts when relevant.

So that kind of concludes my history of EVE. Now I will talk some more about Alpha clones as a whole, my other memories/stories, and special thanks

I will go into detail about some of the pros and cons I mention. I have nothing to say about combat/PvP as I have no experience and have no clue what I am talking about, but it will get much better with the Alpha changes from what I have heard.

Pros of being an Alpha clone:

  • – You get to show off with your amazing knowledge
  • – You can master the few ships you can fly
  • – Scalable (for industry)
  • – Exploration ISK

Cons of being an Alpha clone:

  • – You face a stigma from others as being inferior
  • – One contract slot
  • – One research slot
  • – 17 market orders
  • – Racial lock
  • – Ship types
  • – Ratting sucks


Industry and market related activities

Industry is one area I feel Alpha clones are pretty balanced, just enough manufacturing slots to produce a good amount of item, they can even produce battleship class ships even though they cannot move them which allows them to be helpful with alliance doctrines and supply markets.

The single research slot can be annoying, but when you have a character of each race in your corp to fly all the doctrines it definitely becomes less of an issue.

Industry is easily abused and I endorse CCP’s decision on this

Trading is actually a somewhat viable option for Alphas. Although limited by the market slots and no use of margin trading or tax reduction skills you can still make ISK, especially when speculating with goods. A great example was with the refinery changes – PI went everywhere, moon materials went everywhere, salvage went up a bit. Even an Alpha could make the best of those market scenarios.

No additions (I think) to the industry skillset with the December changes is totally justified. Industry is easily abused and I endorse CCP’s decision on this.


Ratting

Ratting sucks, I hate it, at least in the current state.

So if you aren’t in the know, Alphas are stuck with T1 medium drones, these don’t pump out good DPS even with max skills and it take very long to clear sites.

It is honestly better to ask around for salvage and you will net yourself better ticks than ratting yourself. Especially if you can follow a carrier, you can chain salvage sites and make about 10m per site in loot and salvage.

That being said, the changes will help a lot, access to more drones means we can fully utilise the bandwidth of the VNI. I am looking forward to training into a VNI and trying ratting now, hopefully it becomes a good source of income for Alphas.


Exploration

If you huff or hack, exploration is good money. No cloak does gimp you, but meh, when you fly 5m ships  and can bring back hundreds of millions worth of ISK in your cargo, it doesn’t get much better. Personally I don’t like exploration but I do see the appeal and potential to make money very quickly. But I do enjoy huffing gas.


Opinions on the December changes

  • – T2 guns and accompany modules are good, gives us more of a chance of being useful.
  • – BATTLESHIPS! I can’t wait to fly Blackbirds and the Amarr battleships. I will most definitely be flying Navy Apocs/Geddons, maybe even Abaddons and Bhaalgorns.
  • – Can’t wait to ask the FC if I can bring my Drake.
  • – New ratting and drones skills are great, looking forward to that. Including WH ratting with new ships
  • – CCP please add a ‘Beta’ clone state – trains at the speed of Omega but limited to Alpha skillset


Stories/Memories/Other:

I’m sure there are more stories but they all seem to evade me right now.

  • We were coming back from an op, our scout had left so I volunteered in my Maulus to scout us back home. As I jumped into home system there was a Nestor and Bhaalgorn on the gate, I called to the FC to hold on gate. My gate flash might have spooked them both into jumping gate…right into our fleet. I jumped through as fast as I could as I didn’t want to miss a kill mail on a Nestor, which we got the kill on. The Bhaalgorn unfortunately jumped away. https://zkillboard.com/kill/64689806/

  • iHubs! It was about 2:30 AM local time, our alliance leader, Cagali himself, sends a request to the indybros, he needs 9 iHubs within the next 24 hours. I was a bit hesitant but I volunteered, I had just enough ISK to buy them all, I threw up all the courier contracts to Amarr and went to bed. Woke up early in the morning and set up the JF contracts. It had been about 12 hours since he had asked and I’m proud to say I had completed the job. He rewarded me handsomely, all the profits of mine going to one of our alliance projects

  • My first FC experience! I decided to take out an Atron fleet in Brave spirit, we headed towards Providence, we took out 2 Thrashers without losses, and then a Cormorant and a Talwar, flown by the Thrasher pilots. Then a Gnosis appeared with some friends, we tried our best to defang them but that is where our fleet ended. It was a great experience and I will definitely give it another shot. https://zkillboard.com/kill/64672517/ https://zkillboard.com/kill/64672512/ https://zkillboard.com/kill/64672453/ https://zkillboard.com/kill/64672449/

  • One of my spacejobs includes being PR person for one of our hauling corporations, I mostly deal with questions and special requests. I also complete procurement orders and contact clients if there is something wrong with their contract. Being PR doesn’t pay anything but I do enjoy it.

  • Impass, once everything with CO2 happened, I was a bit late to the party but I made so much money, upwards of 8b. I spent lots of time buying out contracts, clearing out markets and hauling things about, just to sell them on to our buybacks for a tidy profit. Some things I kept for myself which I shipped back home to sell there, but overall It was a great learning experience and a profitable one at that.


Special thanks:

Apologies if I miss anyone out

  • TheReverend Arnst for being the one who convinced me to join Brave
  • #Indybros channel on Slack for being my home, both to teach me and for me to have fun in
  • Toto, you’ve taught me so much and have shown me awesome things I wouldn’t have otherwise seen
  • Algazel, being a bro and bailing me out 20m that one time and for being an awesome dude
  • Jinx, for being my go-to Dojo person and being a chill dude to have a chat to
  • Rihan, always got my back, sorted me out at the start and always been around to help since then.
  • PanykButton and Malcoreh, two peas in a pod, always shitting up Slack whilst also being around to answer my questions and teach me things
  • Yukiko because \o/ also teaching me a few things here and there, and currently I’m teaching him the industry ways with some things he nabbed from a firesale
  • Dunk Dinkle for telling everyone to STFU whilst also being kind and helpful towards me and other
  • Cagali, obviously. We wouldn’t be here without the AFK leadership who appears just to give us a kick up the backside.

If anyone does have any questions or comments feel free to eve-mail me in-game on Wang Cavin-Guang and I will get back to you ASAP. Until then, never not undock and fly Brave 7o

Tags: Alpha, wang cavin-guang

About the author

Wang Cavin-Guang

After starting his EVE career in 2016, Wang found his first home with the Brave Collective. There he found his love for industry and everything within.


  • Freelancer117

    Where are the Daily Extractors ccp ?

    • Viince_Snetterton

      CCP is in desperation mode now. Clearly they need all the Pay-To-Win cash to break even. I am sure that the financials in March or April will show 2017 as a profitable year, but not as profitable as 2016. We will never know how much of that profit came from skill injectors and extractors, but without them, CCP is deep in the red.

      CCP is reaping the whirlwind after years of catering to the RMT cartels and driving away their casual player base.

      • Anon

        Clearly you haven’t experienced “P2W” if you think extra opportunities and choices through an affordable, fairly priced method gives you an advantage.

      • Freelancer117

        When only whales matter to ea/ccp and consequences do not, then it’s time for:
        https://imgur.com/a/WnazK

        • wang cavin-guang

          I think you also forget that people can inject all they want, but it is their actual skill at playing the game which makes all the difference.

          • Viince_Snetterton

            The rookie telling a 2008 char about how in-game skills don’t matter, and devotes at least a third of the rookie’s article about the limitations of being an Alpha….riiiigghhht.

            I have heard that trope for years about how in-game skills don’t matter. And if you are talking about small ship warfare in a massive group, you can argue that point. But that canard falls utterly when you get into small gang warfare, or specialized ships.

          • wang cavin-guang

            I didn’t mean to say that in game skills don’t matter.
            Take a situation where you have 2 players with equal in-game skills, flying the same fitted ship, the only difference is one fly in FW daily, and the other decided to inject to try it out.
            If the 2 were to face off, the one with the greater in game combat experience would win.

            And Alphas can get kills on Omega character flying ships of the same class, so even if the Alpha lacks skills compartively they can still win by mistakes from their opponent, which also comes down to skill. The more skill and experience they have the less they’re likely to slip up. And I think we can both agree that solo/small gang is much more than just F1 and orbit.

  • DireNecessity

    Enjoyable read Wang Cavin-Guang. If I may be honest, not far into the essay I started paying less attention to your specifics instead preferring to simply swim in your enthusiasm. We vets (see Viince/Dinsdale in this very comment thread) often forget how exhilarating EVE can be. It’s good to have you aboard. If all I ever got to do was listen to Viince/Dinsdale gripe I’d grow bitter too.

    Keep up the good work Wang. I look forward to your next essay.

    • wang cavin-guang

      Whether it was the writing, or the newbro charm that got you to read, I’m glad that it did. I enjoy sharing my experiences with people and hopefully I can continue to share my future adventures in this world.
      Keep an eye out for a new article soon (TM)

      7o

  • Rolfski

    As an alpha you can’t really compete against Omega industrialists. Sure, you might find some niche in our local nullsec market, but in high turn-over markets like Jita it becomes painfully clear you lack the skills to produce stuff at a competitive price.

    Which is even a bigger problem for alpha’s than their current ships & fitting restrictions: It simply sucks to make ISK as an alpha and I bet this is actually one of the biggest reasons why CCP is struggling so much to get alpha players to stay with this game. If PVE is not only boring but also unrewarding, then there is little reason for the average new player to stick with this game. Especially if the social part has a relative big threshold.

    • wang cavin-guang

      I beg to differ regarding your first point, although opportunities to make isk in nullsec are much more prevalent, this isn’t to say there isn’t space in Jita. I also do manufacturing on the side a few jumps from Jita, my goods do get sold in Jita. One of the items I produce has consistently held a 33%+ margin in the time I’ve been producing, and the item is such I only have to adjust my orders maybe once a day, or every other day if at all. I won’t name the item, but I will give examples of others which have high margins, Armor EM Resistance Script, ECCM Script, Focused Warp Scrambling Script, Missile Range Script, just to name a few.
      Although Alphas get smacked with extra manufacturing tax, are unable to reduce their market tax rate, and lack access to margin trading, there is still plenty of room to make ISK in highsec selling in Jita. So I disagree with the statements: “As an alpha you can’t really compete against Omega industrialists” and “in high turn-over markets like Jita it becomes painfully clear you lack the skills to produce stuff at a competitive price.”

      Now this second point, I partly agree with. Fittings are hard to do, lack of T2 guns and ammo really gimp us especially when everyone else gets access to T2 modules, although this will change somewhat in December it is currently a problem.
      ISK making sucks if you’re ratting, you lack the raw firepower to clear sites. However, compared to something like exploration, I have seen Alpha clones bring back 400m+ in the space of 3 or 4 hours, plenty of ISK to blow up ships with. Exploration isn’t for everyone and does require a mindset but at the end of the day it does offer a good income for Alpha clones.

      All being said, thanks for reading the article and dropping a comment, appreciate it.

      7o

      • Rolfski

        The problem for alpha industrialists vs alpha station-traders is the lack of flexibility. You can trade everything and switch your market positions on the fly, but that doesn’t go production. When market prices drop and production costs increase to a level where you simply can’t compete with the margins of omega’s (which you will inevitably run into at some point), switching to more profitable markets is simply less flexible.

        Also there is more money to be made as an alpha trader. Going from a new alpha account to 200 million within your first 2 weeks is perfectly doable as a trader, if you know what you’re doing ((I’ve done it). Not so much as an industrialist. The key problem for alpha traders is not so much lesser margin (although it sucks) but the limit to only 17 positions, which forces you to constantly switch between multiple characters in order to sustain a reasonable income for more fun stuff like getting blown up PvP.

        As for ratting, as you said, except for maybe the Gnosis, you simply lack the power to consistently clear lvl 4 missions and higher level sites that have good income.

        Exploration can be fun ánd good income, but it’s inconsistent at best.
        Mining is really a no-go for an aplha and so is Planetary Interaction.

        So yes, I really believe making ISK sucks as alpha and CCP needs to change this if they want to tie new players to their game.

  • Ivan Tomaselli

    I’m glad to have shown you things, but i’m sure you could have seen that eventually even if i wasn’t there. Thanks to you my friend for being such a good company in this harsh universe 😉 Keep it coming!

    • wang cavin-guang

      Likewise my friend, good company all round

      7o

  • Dr.P.A.esq

    Great read, thanks for sharing.

    • wang cavin-guang

      Thank you! Glad you enjoyed it, I hope to write more in the future.

  • Calduron Vorn

    Great article. Any chance of a follow-up going into more detail about the possibilities of the recently announced alpha clone changes? I’d love to read your take.

    • wang cavin-guang

      Possibly, I may write one up after the changes and share my thoughts on them as I find it hard to make a judgement given what we know as there is still much which CCP could change in the run up to the changes going live