EVE – Return to New Eden

I played EVE Online for about 18 months, quitting in early 2010. I didn’t leave angry or disgruntled (i.e. as a so-called “bittervet”), it was more that with the limited time I had available to play, I wasn’t really getting anywhere. I still don’t have a ton of time to play, so what changed?

Well… my coworker helped to talk me into resubbing. That plus EVE went on sale on Steam ($9.99 for the game; 30 days included). He’s also busy so we’re not going to storm New Eden or anything. Indeed, my personal goal is quite modest – if we can regularly meetup and play 2 hours a week, that’s good enough for me and I’ll play. The monthly fee doesn’t bother me, for a fun and very unique game. $15/month is less than what I play for Netflix and I spend way more time computer gaming that watches TV and movies.

Anyway, the only drawback to the Steam sale was that it only applies to new accounts. It would mean giving up my previous account and a character that had 18 months of skill training. On the other hand, due to the changes over the last 3 years, plus the steep learning curve and similarly steep forgetting curve, I decided I could start over and not really miss much from my previous account.

After a few hours setting up EVE on my Mac and PC, I was ready to play again!

Welcome

You are about to become what all men should fear.
You will roam the heavens, commanding the most powerful machines ever built.
So unbound, that not even death itself can claim you.
For you are immortal, with all eternity to seize a destiny that is yours to define.
But you are not alone with such power.
Other demi gods roam these stars as well, and they are no less driven to succeeed or to rule, as you.
There are more paths than one to greatness.
If you have intellect, you will survive the darkest days.
If you have courage, you will claim the bounties of man and nature.
If you have patience, you will amass the wealth of empires.
And if you can lead, there is no limit to what you can become.
What you dare to become rests on your will to be bold…
Dare to be bold, pilot.
Forge your own path to greatness.

With that inspiring welcome, EVE takes you straight into character creation. I fiddled around there and eventually created several characters, just to see art and ship styles. EVE’s character creation is quite detailed and lets you tweak many aspects of your character appearance. It’s ironic you’re the only person that can see your character, other than as a mini-portrait. I believe avatar interaction in space stations is coming up… but for now, the ship you fly is really your avatar.

Anyway, soon I found myself in an all-new (to me) view: the captain’s quarters.

Brand New
Brand New

Tutorial

The tutorial doesn’t waste much time getting you out into space, and within a minute, I had completed the earliest tutorial steps where I picked up my starter ship. Since I made a Gallente, that ship is the Velator.

Velator
Velator

One of my goals next time I play will be to figure out how to disable the UI. I was swamped enough doing the tutorial to explore the config options too much, sorry!

The new tutorial is pretty nice. It contains step-by-step instructions, with the game pointing out where to look for click or where to look for information.

Combat Tutorial
Combat Tutorial

In the screenshot above, what I am describing is the “You can interact with your missions here” floating text in the upper left. Or in the Captain’s Quarters screenshot, the textbox on the right that says “Agents can be contacted through this menu”. What I remember of 3 years ago was blinking to call attention; that was OK but this is even more noticeable. For that matter, I don’t remember your current mission overlayed on the UI at all, I always remember having to click the journal to find info. So that’s a nice leap in friendliness!

The game even highlights the mission goal (probably only for the tutorial missions):

Highlighting in a mission
Highlighting in a mission

The combat mission was straightforward – blow up a fuel tank then fight two NPCs. The fuel tank explosion caused ship damage, which provided a quick introduction into using the armor repairer, and a brief overview of shield, armor, structure as the 3 layers of your ship’s defenses. I thought the tutorial was very good, covering fitting modules (the tutorial provides an armor repairer and gun), targeting enemies, using the armor repairer plus needed navigation skills such as interacting with acceleration gates and spaceports, talking to agents and accepting missions, how to loot items, and skill training.

From what I remember of doing the tutorial in 2008, this new tutorial is much better. CCP has put in a lot of effort to smooth out the initial shock of playing EVE. It covers a lot and if anybody is starting up, I heartily suggest only doing the tutorial at such a time that you will not be interrupted.

I only did the newbie mistake of undocking from the station without accepting the mission one time. I saw my error and redocked fairly quickly to fix that problem. I also screwed up and set my destination to the mission start, but rectified the error (without the correct destination, the overview doesn’t display the correct waypoint you need to fly to). And I did find one minor problem in the tutorial – in the section about skill training, it tells you to right-click and select “train after current queue”. That option has been replaced by the simpler option “Add”.

Tutorial End
Tutorial End, 5 more agents to work for

The tutorial ended with me flying to a nearby station and meeting 5 more agents, each with a mission covering various possible aspects of gameplay. Those areas are Explorer, Military, Advanced Military, Business, and Industry. I will play through each of these, gathering knowledge and hopefully more rewards, and then I’ll see if my coworker and I can meet up sometime.

Before logging off I made sure my skill queue has at least a day of skills queued up, so I don’t waste any precious time.

More Screenies

I figured out how to hide the UI, and took more screenshots. I gotta say, the graphics in EVE always look good to me!

Acceleration Gate
Acceleration Gate
Minmatar Space Station
Minmatar Space Station

If you look at the ships, most aren’t symmetrical. I’m not sure what it is, perhaps years of expectation built up from TV and movies, but a spaceship that doesn’t have at least one axis of symmetry looks weird to me. Modern cars and planes have one axis of symmetry, usually vertical (minus minor things like side mirrors). Horizontal symmetry isn’t typically present here, but then we have gravity and so forth to deal with (i.e. vehicles need wheels on the ground).

But it is refreshing in a way. Here’s a Minmatar rookie ship, the Hull, noticeably lopsided.:

Minmatar Hull
Minmatar Hull

Now that I look closer, perhaps the axis of symmetry here is horizontal. In any case, I think the ships all look pretty good!

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