Join Now!Tarek Raimo
The First StepsRight off the bat, I’ll get the worst part right out of the way: EVE is still a complex and difficult game, with lots of mechanics and features that need to be discovered and learned. However, over the past few years, CCP has invested a great deal of time simplifying things and making the game more accessible. Tooltips, clearly distinguishable icons, more intuitive hangar inventory management, a more practical market interface, a vastly improved industry and manufacturing UI; the list goes on. The most notable change that will help many new players is the upcoming ghost ship-fitting system. No longer will they be relegated to an expensive game of trial-and-error until someone points them in the direction of EFT or Pyfa – most of what those tools do will soon be available in-game. This won’t make newbies automatically better at fitting, but at least they will be able to experiment and see what works and what doesn’t. The difficult concept of ship fitting becomes much more accessible this way, and therefore new players will have an easier time overcoming one of the early obstacles in EVE’s complexity. The game also looks better than ever. One thing I remember from my beginnings, was the fascination of just exploring the starscape although it looked much duller than it does today. You now get a true sense of where you are in the star-cluster as the stellar environment changes during travel from one region to the next. As you do your tutorials, trying to figure out how your ship works and running your first few missions, you can do so against the backdrop of a genuinely beautiful sci-fi universe.
The Journey OutwardIn the past, it was terribly easy to get stuck in highsec with no idea where to go next. The massive battles you have heard of, the political intrigue, the adrenaline filled PvP, the heists and betrayals, they all seemed to happen to other people belonging to a club of players deeply entrenched in the game and far out-of-reach for you. How could you, as a new player find your way into the really interesting parts of EVE? There were newbie oriented groups back in those days too, but often they came from their own out-of-game communities or they required at least some mid-term dedication to their cause. A major exception to that was EVE University, but because they were hounded by griefers and infiltrators, even their entry regulations and rules were very strict. Many a new player would just stick to the small part of EVE they could understand, which inevitably led most of them to boredom or outright frustration when they appeared on the radar of the many highsec dwellers who seemed to have no other purpose in the game than making the life of inexperienced players absolute hell. I won’t lie to you, those people still exist and some of them are highly organised. EVE is still an unrelenting game and a healthy dose of paranoia can still be a positive attribute to have. The attitude towards highsec griefers has changed though. In the past exploiting new players and milking them for tears was generally celebrated by the EVE community as a whole. Steadily increasing subscriber numbers have made both CCP and the playerbase incredibly arrogant over those years. New players just had to HTFU (Harden The Fuck Up) or “GTFO back to WoW”. That, fortunately is no longer the case. Highsec griefers who only seek to victimise others have suffered severely in their reputation. Long-term players, including CCP, have realised that they need to change their attitude if they don’t want to see the game die a slow death over the course of ever more stagnant years. Today there are more new-player oriented organisations than ever, and never have they been as diverse in nature and culture.
Fleet Up And UndockYou may have heard many different things about EVE including that it emphasizes the formation of social groups. From experience, I can tell you that you will most definitely benefit from joining an established organisation, but in today’s EVE you are not even forced to do that in order to join a fleet and have some fun. So where can you turn as new player fresh out of trial with maybe a handful of ships and a few million ISK? There are many more groups than I could list, but I will give an overview of the most prominent ones:
- Eve University: That venerable institution is still around and they are doing better than ever. Once exclusively stuck to highsec and suffering from overly restrictive and risk-averse gameplay, they have not remained static. E-Uni is not an organisation that wants you to stay with them. They would rather teach you mechanics and methods to play EVE before sending you on your way to develop yourself. In addition to their basic classes which are supplemented by the best and most up-to-date information source on the game’s mechanics, they now feature branches active in lowsec, nullsec and wormhole space. If you are the sort of person that learns best under structured guidance from others, then this group is a perfect fit. Be aware though that they do still have a code of conduct in place. If you want to dive into the game with reckless abandon or you want to play the bad guy, Eve University is not the place for you. Their wiki, used by thousands, is still a great help for every new player.
- Brave Newbies: This organisation deserves a lot of credit for being the first major self-made new-player powerhouse in a long time. Without being propped up by an established group, they blazed their trail of “fun per hour” across lowsec and all the way out into sovereign nullsec, leaving a wake of wrecks – mostly their own – behind them. Unfortunately they’ve recently gone through a period of serious drama, and came close to potential collapse. They are consolidating though, and are still the single largest alliance in the game with the most new players. Despite the recent upheavals, their internal culture is strong, and if you want to jump right into the deep end among the superpowers of EVE, then this is your go-to alliance. Unlike other alliances on the same scale, they don’t take things quite as seriously. Crazy drama, a lack of established organisational structures necessary for an organisation that size and a currently somewhat battered leadership are their main drawbacks.
- Factional Warfare: Fast-paced lowsec fights with cheap ships, a decent enough income stream to support them and many opportunities for new pilots to be meaningful after only a few weeks or even days of training – that’s what Factional Warfare can offer you. It is also an ideal place for the more casual player who can’t log in to defend the homestead every day. If you are interested in some EVE roleplay, you are much more likely to find it there than elsewhere. Many Factional Warfare corporations and alliances also include very experienced PvPers and fleet commanders who can help you on your way to becoming better at the game. In recent times, there have even been some big fights where you can gape in awe as supercarriers are dropped on the field while dozens or even hundreds of players engage over some objective. The downside is that you will become a target for everyone in the opposing factions. No matter where you are in EVE, you can be hunted down and shot, not only by enemy players, but also by the NPC navies who will target you wherever you are in their highsec space. They may not be particularly effective at that, but you do ruin your opportunity to be at peace in their space for a protracted period even if you leave the FW militia of your choice. To find the right group you can use the in-game tools for finding corporations that suit you – simple with the corporation search tool.
- Karmafleet: Once the now well-established Goonswarm was at the forefront of bringing new players into the game. They began to neglect that aspect as they expanded their powerbase and playerbase through an ever-increasing list of blues in their bloc. That is until they recently formed Karmafleet, a newbie-friendly initiative that is present on reddit just like Brave Newbies. Joining them will not only allow you access to nullsec, but you immediately become an adjunct of the currently most organised and efficiently run major bloc in the game with an infrastructure that has no equal. As such you can expect generous financial and material support as well as experienced players to train you. On the flipside that also means a high level of red-tape which may be a bit too much for a starry eyed newbie who just wants to see some big battles and make truckloads of ISK in the depths of space. Apart from that I am just never quite sure whether those guys have a double agenda. Goonswarm has the most cunning and ruthlessly pragmatic leadership of any organisation in the game and those people like to play chess with the human resources they have. Another thing to consider is guilt by association. Goonswarm may have many allies, but those who are against them tend to have very strong opinions. Joining a Goonswarm related organisation can work like the nullsec equivalent of joining faction warfare: all opposing parties will immediately see you as an enemy. I have known corps unwilling to accept anybody into their group who has had any affiliation with Goonswarm.
- The NPSI Community: This is a diverse bunch offering a great opportunity for the casual PvP pilot to fly with different people, getting to know a range of engagement profiles following experienced commanders of small and mid-sized fleets. The acronym stands for Not Purple Shoot It which refers to the purple colour of fleet members on the overview. NPSI fleets are popular with inexperienced players who get no other opportunity to engage in fights or those who just want to get away from the big strategic warfare campaigns of nullsec to have some inconsequential and casual fun. You never know who you end up with in a fleet, but for as long as you fly together you are a team. There are different flavours of NPSI and some can be quite demanding in terms of skill and ship requirements, but others are specifically tailored for new players or those who are new to PvP action. You can join Greygal’s Redemption Road, the Spectre Fleet, the Tuskers and the newly-returned Bombers Bar.
The NSPI community is a fluid thing, new groups appear and dissolve all the time. Sometimes tracking them down can take some effort, but if you do, you are guaranteed an experience with people you may have otherwise never met. New contacts or even friends may be found during those roams. The diversity and flexibility of the NPSI community is at the same time its greatest weakness. While good fun with little commitment, you may never see the same people in fleet again. Doctrines and tactics can be haphazard sometimes, and the skill level among participants can vary from newbies to old veterans. Unless you get to know the individual fleet commanders, you never know what you may be up to in any given roam.
- Pandemic Horde: Just like Goonswarm, Pandemic Legion wanted to re-invigorate themselves with new players. Particularly after the drama which hit Brave Newbies, this old group of top-tier PvPers saw an opportunity to rally some of the disaffected who left in the wake of the crisis. Once Pandemic Legion prided themselves in not accepting anyone below a certain level of skill, but as I mentioned earlier, attitudes have changed in EVE. To join with them means that you will be under the wing of some of the best tacticians and strategists the game has to offer. Mainly from their training corp Sniggwaffe, a new generation of enthusiastic FCs has risen and my fellow CZ writer Apothne is one of them. Read any of his pieces and you will sense the eagerness of this boy to go out and raise hell. Already Pandemic Horde has taken names on the stellar battlefields and you could be among them tomorrow. Their experience comes at a price though. Hardly any group in this game has a higher concentration of bitter veterans who appear to sustain themselves on a combination of smirking superiority and a subculture unhealthily obsessed with Taylor Swift. They are not as bureaucratic or totalitarian as Goonswarm, but in many aspects they are just as deeply immersed in their own ways.
- Red vs. Blue: Strictly speaking the Red Federation and Blue Republic could be considered an NPSI group, but they differ in some significant ways from the others and deserve a separate mention. Those two corporations are engaged in a perpetual war against each other which mostly plays out in highsec. Rather than being a grudge-match, this is intended as good natured competition where players are joining in for fun. Since they are not real enemies, RvB also join up regularly to form their Purple Fleets. Usually they go for bigger fights then and roam farther than their home territory. Open to everyone who wants to join and without any strings attached, RvB still has a number of very competent PvP players to command fleets, among them former CSM Mangala Solaris. For those who want to test the waters, RvB also organises the increasingly successful RvB Ganked roams which are free-for-all fleets which anyone can join. That RvB are highsec based makes them very accessible – no need to move your assets through dangerous territory – but some might also see that as their main drawback. Life in lowsec or nullsec has its own unique aspects and mechanics. On the other hand, if you want to leave for more challenging regions, nobody is going to hold you back.