Eve From the Bottom Up

My name is Sarin Blackfist, and I’m a newbie. I started playing EVE a little under two months ago, and have come to find myself completely and totally absorbed by it. Instead of continuing to pester my real life friends—with whom I’ve dragged along on this journey alongside me with too many details that they don’t care about—I have been invited to share my story with you. Hopefully, new and old players can get some enjoyment out of my trials and tribulations in New Eden; either picking up some pointers for those less experienced than me, or enjoying a good laugh at my newbie mistakes. As of today, I have been playing Eve for a grand total of 2,365,525 Skill Points; in real world terms, that equates to about forty six and a half days. The first number though, is much more real to me. As a new player to Eve, I am limited by that number. It limits what I can fly and what guns I can shoot, and it determines my rank in the grand pecking order in space. Currently, I am seen as prey. Most nullsec players I stare down have ten times the skill points, which means T2 or T3 hulls, T2 guns, T2 tank, and a full load of support skills to go with them. I can mine, albeit poorly. I can fly frigates, cruisers, and battleships, but they are weak, short-ranged, and slow. I can explore, that is, scan down sites and hack the goodies within, but some sites definitely elude me—with most hacks ending in awkward buzzing noises with permanently locked cans. With all of this said, I’m still in space! And I absolutely love it. I have a good head on my shoulders, learning as much as I can as quickly as I can, and I’m completely obsessed with this game—I actually have three accounts running at this point. One is my main: a jack-of-all-trades at the moment—looking to get specialized with the three types of T2 frigates. One is a miner: fighting rocks in the depths of nullsec, and trying to start an industrial empire. The last is a character I purchased using the current Power of Two special. His only goal in life is to pilot a carrier some time during his six months paid time, or come dangerously close to it. My ultimate goal is to fight my way up from the very bottom of Eve—climbing the rungs of power and influence—and make a name for myself in any way possible. I plan on sharing my experiences over the coming months, discussing as many aspects of the game as I can through the fresh eyes of a newbie trying to find his place in the massive sandbox we share, but who has not yet succumbed to the cold bitterness of space. Small gang PvP, industry, fleet warfare, general game design, and maybe, if I’m lucky, capital ship management.


How to die in space

It’s late—really late—and I’m tired; this is the second week that I have been playing this game, and I’m not willing to go to bed just yet. I’d just gotten into a Caracal, and I feel invincible. I’m running Sisters of Eve missions and I’m just absolutely wrecking them. Firing light missiles all over the place, doing my thing, murdering pirates left and right—it’s awesome. I’ve stopped checking Eve-Survival before every mission—a grievous sin according to my in-game mentor—because I am way more powerful than these missions. Everything goes fine, and I unlock level three missions. Angel Extravaganza pops up as my third mission for level three. I’ve done two L3s just fine so far, and I remember clearing this one out with no problems before. I clear the first three rooms with little trouble, then get to the fourth one. So far, I’ve done really well, but it’s closing in on 6:30 am ET, and I’m getting sloppy. Suddenly, there are frigates on top of me, and I’m scrammed and webbed. I’m not going anywhere. My damage output is not enough to get me out of this; I panic, I’m freaking out, I hit the warp button thinking maybe it will go through anyway. Nope. Space is still, silent, and peaceful. I notice a mail notification, and an insurance payment. My ship is dead, and my capsule bobs up and down in its wreckage. I go to bed sad, but not defeated; I’m battle hardened now. This won’t happen again. Over the next few days, I decide that missiles are not for me. I’m new, so not that invested in them; I switch to hybrid turrets and build my first Moa. I’m back at it with Sisters of Eve missions (and doing level 2s now, since the hubris wore off), and I get one that tells me to go to lowsec. No big deal; I’ll pop in, warp from cloak at the gate, get to my deadspace zone, and get back. It won’t be a problem, I’m sure. I tell the ship to jump through, and a warning comes up: “CONCORD doesn’t go here Capsuleer, beware. There be monsters here!” I cast the warning aside and dive through. Apparently, lowsec gate-camping is a thing. In my stunned shock, I don’t react at all. I’m taking damage again, and soon enough, I’m back to that newbie system I started in a few weeks ago. What gives? Oh, right—unlike NPCs, players can, and will blow up my pod. I rebuild my Moa, and get back to work. This one lasts a few days before I’m scanned down by combat probes in a lowsec mission site, and blown up by a Confessor. He gets my pod before I can react. This is the first time that I feel like it was personal, I was hunted. It’s frustrating, but at the same time, it’s exhilarating. Once again, I rebuild, and I vow to be more careful from that point on. Because apparently, people are hunting me. caldari-heron My next deaths are in Herons. I decided that maybe scanning would be fun, and started looking into wormholes, trying to figure out what’s what inside of them. The lack of local is disturbing, but I get over it quickly. I plop down my probes and start looking for stuff to do. About five minutes in, I remember that D-scan is a thing, and I hit it. I see a ship, he’s pretty far away, and I’m probably OK. I scan again. The ship is MUCH closer, so I panic. I drop out of the hole into—what I think is—the relative safety of normal space, and I start to calm down. At this point, the wormhole dweller follows me out, and proceeds to brutally murder me, and my pod. This death is almost exciting though; it’s much, much cheaper than the Moa losses, and I’ve certainly learned something by now. Time passes and I’m exploring again, in another Heron. I’ve gone through a wormhole, and exited deep in nullsec. I’m in Goon space now, so I know that people here are hostile, and will hunt me for sport. I scan a few sites down, watching D-scan and trying to stay alert, and make some cash. A few million ISK in my account later, my wife calls to me; she needs some help. I dock up in system. “Nothing bad can happen to you while docked,” I think. Ten minutes go by and I get back to my PC. There’s a little bit of chatter about me in local, but no one seems to know where I am, so presumably, I’m safe. I undock, ready to get the hell out of the system, and back home. “Man, space looks really weird out in nullsec,” I think to myself, “maybe some kind of weird space storm, that sort of looks like lightning.” I try to warp to the bookmark I made of the wormhole, but some error message comes up on screen. I don’t read it, because at this point I hear the buzzer go off, telling me I’ve been locked, and will soon be fired upon. “Oh, you know what? I bet that’s what an interdiction bubble looks like,” are the last thoughts I have inside that particular clone body. In every single one of these deaths, there is a lesson, and I think that’s the key to dying in Eve. Let every death teach you something. Never let them piss you off and make you rage out at your assailants. Take it with a grain of salt, and if you truly do not understand why you died, ask. In that last example, after the Heron died in the interdictor bubble, I started up a chat with the Goon that murdered me. He told me how he did it, how I could avoid it, and then even reimbursed me the ISK I lost from the ship and the mods that I had plugged in, all because I politely reached out, looking for knowledge. In Eve, dying as a new player is an opportunity: Be grateful for it, and learn as much as you can.
Tags: new player experience, Sarin

About the author

Sarin Blackfist

Sarin Blackfist is a linemember with Karmafleet, part of the Imperium.