Leveling Up


Sarin Blackfist is rapidly approaching his first birthday and with that comes my first year of playing EVE. When I started writing for Crossing Zebras, I intended to offer a new player’s perspective on the goings on around New Eden. Yet lately I’ve started feeling like I have lost that point-of-view. I no longer consider myself a fresh faced newbie nor am I anywhere near a bitter, battle-scarred veteran. I feel like I’ve had an atypical first year of EVE, having gone in a lot of different directions that the average new player would not have chosen. As I transition to a place somewhere between the newbro and bittervet, I wanted to look back over the first year and reflect on my successes and failures along the way.  

Growing Up

Within the first month of my EVE career I joined up with, what was then a relatively new corporation, Karmafleet; I left the perceived safety of hisec and never looked back. Karmafleet was in no way a risky endeavour as it is the new player-focused branch of the Goonswarm Federation. It felt like a safe move at the time and I have had few regrets about my choice since then. In fact, Karmafleet has allowed me to invest in the game in a much deeper level than a lot of pilots get a chance to. I’ve made my way into Karmafleet’s leadership cadre and am able to use our collective power and influence to help new players get their bearings on the game, as well as assist them financially by helping to provide ships to fly in for our fleet engagements.

In any MMO I play, if I’m ever involved in a player-run organization, it is always a goal of mine to get into a position where I can exert a greater influence on the success of the organization. and do more than just showing up and playing the game. In doing so, I am able to more fully invest in the game and the people I play with. I am very grateful for the trust that Karmafleet has extended to me, especially in a game like EVE where trust is one of the most valuable currencies a person can have.

Equally important to my early stage development in EVE was joining the staff here at Crossing Zebras inside my first three months. The Crossing Zebras’ staff chats have given me great knowledge and insight to a greater slice of the game and the players involved with it than most new pilots could expect to see. I’ve talked with current and former CSMs, Fleet Commanders, Alliance Tournament personalities, broadly speaking people excited about all aspects of the game and full of knowledge to share.

“…the best way to get engaged with EVE is to play it alongside people who have a passion for the game.”

Between my membership in these two organizations, I have never lacked for a mentor. Because of this, I have come to believe that the best way to get engaged with EVE is to play it alongside people who have a passion for the game. If you are a struggling newbie out there, get involved: join up with one of the new player organizations and talk to people.

Growing Wide vs Growing Tall

As of this moment, I have approximately 104 million skillpoints, before buying and applying skill injectors. Since I’ve only been playing for a year these skill points are distributed between six different active skill queues, over eight different pilots. Managing so many accounts has been the single most stressful thing of my time playing EVE. I have dedicated ratting pilots, a capital character, dedicated interdiction and strategic cruiser pilots, and my main is a bit of a jack-of-all-trades. There’s a part of me that thinks “If only I could go back and limit myself to one or even two accounts, dedicate myself to training plans, and really keep focused, I would have a much less stressful time when subscription came around. I wouldn’t have to spend the majority of my liquid ISK on PLEX every month.”

In all honesty, though, I would do it all the same again if I had the chance; it has not been a bad experience. I believe I have access to many more ships than a player of my time in game with a single skill queue could have. I have the ability to contribute to a wide variety of fleet compositions and am able to relax and passively generate plenty of ISK if that’s what I want to do; I’ve even recently started a production focused character to get more involved in that side of the game. There is just so much to do in EVE that it’s hard to do it all with one pilot when you are new and hungry for the game.

Grr Gons, Hat Gons.

The obvious, most controversial decision I made during my first year was to become a Goon. Well, a Goon-lite I guess, I never did get around to joining Something Awful. My friends and I debated the decision to join Karmafleet quite a bit before committing to it, knowing that if we did join, we would inherit the stigma of associating with the Goonswarm Federation and might even have trouble joining another corporation if we were to leave. Our worries were completely unnecessary, for several reasons.

People leave the Imperium all the time and they’re welcomed into new organizations with open arms. The “Grr Goons” mentality is, for the most part, over-stated. One of the larger corporations inside of Goonswarm, Bat Country, recently left and were welcomed into one of GSF’s long-standing enemies with open arms; for all accounts they are having a blast with their new friends. The majority of players in EVE recognize that it is just a game and most people aren’t just mindless slaves to a corporation.


More importantly, being in Karmafleet is strongly beneficial and I can see no reason to ever want to leave. Karmafleet offers so much to a new player that it’s hard to find an area of the game that they can’t help you to excel at. In under a year I’ve had the opportunity to both mine and senselessly slaughter NPC pirates in well-protected, rich space that most newbies are terrified of. I’ve been able to join fleets alongside hundreds of capital class vessels and been bridged to destinations by Titans. I helped scout out and participated in a small wormhole eviction operation run jointly by Karmafleet and Hole Violence, Goonswarm’s wormhole based corporation. Fleets of different kinds go out daily and there’s rarely a lack of something to do whenever you log in. All this is open to any player who joins Karmafleet, regardless of skill points and player personal experience.

Assuming that joining Karmafleet was the most controversial thing I’ve done in my first year of EVE Online, it was by far the thing that has done my EVE career the most good. Getting involved with a corporation that cares about new players and does everything it can to empower and support them has been a great experience. I hope to help pass that experience on to as many new players as I can.

Killboard Green?

No EVE related year-in-review would be complete without taking a look at the year’s killboard stats. During my first year in EVE Online, I have lost over 8 billion ISK in ships. Sadly, the vast majority of those losses were dumb, PVE-related incidents where I was in an expensive ship, not paying enough attention to my surroundings, and some unscrupulous individual set upon me. Several Gilas, a few Tengus, and at least one Ishtar later, I have learned quite a bit about keeping my head about me during combat. Many of these losses could have been prevented by a slightly different fit, a little more situational awareness involved during the actual fight, or simply keeping my head out of my ass and paying attention to intel channels.

My greatest mistake and a lossmail that actually physically hurt me to receive was probably this one. It was my first combat with another player while flying my Tengu, my first time staring down the angry end of a tech 3 destroyer, and my first loss of over a billion ISK. Adrenaline and poor game knowledge led me to engage the Confessor on the gate. I assumed that my 700 dps Heavy Assault Missiles would make short work of the destroyer and that he couldn’t possibly break my massive tank. Instead his damage sailed straight through my EM hole and my HAMs did little to his tiny signature radius. After the engagement, I spoke with him a bit and he asked why I didn’t simply burn to the gate and escape, instead of aggressing. The option had never occurred to me, I was so inexperienced in non-fleet PvP and overwhelmed with the thought of losing the Tengu that the rational part of my brain stopped firing. I lost the ship with no heat damage on any module, frantically bumping into a gate that would not let me pass. RIP that Tengu.

Even with such a staggering amount of losses in the first year my kill stats are green. Between whoring on capital kill mails with the alliance and participating in Ministry of Love activities, I’ve helped to destroy over 200 billion ISK worth of spaceships. My favorite kill would be from the Imperium’s invasion of Providence, shortly after the release of FozzieSov. It was an exciting time, testing the new system and playing with cutting-edge content. We were returning from an entosis op when we found a Pandemic Legion Cerberus gang. During the confusion of the battle, I noticed fellow CZ writer MukkBarovian and managed to help bring down his Claymore. It was memorable as it was the first time I had found a person I knew out in space and, as a bonus, I managed to snag his corpse (it’s for sale if anyone wants it!)

Looking forward

I’ve enjoyed EVE so far. My time has been somewhat brief, but I hope to continue to play and explore the universe together with you all for a while to come. I plan to keep writing as long as there are people out there willing to read my words, but it’s going to be with a new voice. I’m no longer a newbie, I still have quite a lot to learn, yet I feel I have some things that I can teach now. With that, I hope I can help inspire new players to greatness and success in New Eden over the next year.

Thanks for reading and following my story so far!


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About the author

Sarin Blackfist

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