EVE – Industry Tutorial 2

I wanted to wrap up this mission sequence, so I was back at it the next day.

More Manufacturing

The next mission was to manufacture Cap Boosters (not sure what they are for). I had enough materials leftover from previous mining and reprocessing, I didn’t have to mine more. I completed this quickly after running the blueprint twice.

Delivery

Surprise, surprise, the followup mission was to deliver the Cap Boosters. This was straightforward: after loading the cargo (haha, that would be classic error #1, forgetting to bring along the cargo you are supposed to deliver!), setting my destination, I flew there with no incidents. It was only 1 jump away.

Build a Shuttle

After returning to Caille University, the agent offered me another manufacturing task: build a Civilian Gallente shuttle. It looked like that’s all I had to do for this part, build it. When I clicked Accept, EVE warned me the shuttle takes up 500 cubic meters, while my current ship, the Navitas, was too small. Well, I figure I’ll deal with that later.

A quick check of materials showed I was short: I needed 3167 cubic meters, but only had 1522 cubic meters. Time to mine more Veldspar and then reprocess that.

I undocked and realized I wasn’t sure where to go for asteroids. I fiddled with the overview and switched it from “General” to “All” and found something labeled as an Asteroid Belt, so I warped there.

And… saw nothing. I swiveled the camera all around and nothing. Did Asteroids move around like Exploration sites? Was I supposed to scan as in Exploration, for asteroids to mine? Hm….

I figured the best option was to punt and just buy a little Veldspar from the market. I couldn’t find any so I search for Tritanium. That pulled back dozens of hits and after spending a little ISK, I had enough to make the shuttle.

Spy Revenge

The 9th mission in this series is to draw out a spy by mining, and then fighting when the spy/pirate shows up. So, I need to fit a weapon and a mining laser. Since my Navitas already had all that fitted, I just used it.

After mining one asteroid and moving to another, the pirate finally showed up. We fought and it was over quickly. I looted the “Production Assistant” and returned to the station to finish the mission.

Navitas Building

The final mission was to use the provided Navitas blueprint. I lazed out and just purchased the needed minerals from the market. I submitted the job and noted it would take about 1 hour 15 minutes to complete. I decided to take advantage of letting the system work for me while I was offline doing other real-life stuff. 🙂

Reward

My reward for completing this series of missions was an Iteron. I had to buy the skill book that allowed me to pilot this ship, and train to level 1, but when I finished I undocked briefly to check it out.

Iteron
Iteron

It’s a Gallente industrial ship with a cargo hold of 3000 m^3. That’s a huge amount of space compared to the other ships I have!

Rookie Help

EVE has a reputation for being tough and unforgiving, but I can say first hand that at least the rookie help chat channel is friendly.

Earlier when I had to mine, I glossed over the fact I had some trouble. I tried to mine but kept receiving an error “can only activate on asteroid”. Puzzled, I tried a few things and finally decided to try to rookie help channel.

In other games, when rookies/newbies ask a question, they tend to get roasted. I didn’t expect much when I typed in my issue: why do I keep getting an error when I try to mine an asteroid?

After a few moments, 3 different players responded and said similar things: what is the name of the asteroid? You can only mine ones that say the name of the ore, for example “Asteroid (Veldspar)”. The other kinds aren’t mineable. Look around and find an asteroid named “Asteroid (oretype)”.

Amazing! The responses were helpful and friendly, and short of flying out and helping me look, great assistance.

So I took their advice and zoomed out. Lo and behold, I saw another (tiny) object that was indeed an asteroid I could mine.

Tiny Asteroid
Tiny Asteroid

See it in the screenshot above? (I zoomed out quite a ways to capture the size of the other objects floating around). No? I’ll circle it in red.

Circled Asteroid
Circled Asteroid

I spent my time going back and forth between the gigantic other non-mindable asteroids that dominated the area, and didn’t notice the tiny one there in between, until other helpful players pointed out what was wrong. Now I see how to update my overview to display “collidable objects”, but that makes for a noisy display.

EVE – Industry Tutorial

This tutorial series started out with mining. So I fitted the provided mining laser and warped out to a nearby asteroid belt and started up.

Two Mining Missions

After a few minutes, I had enough ore to complete the mission so I returned to station. The next step involved getting more ore and refining it… I checked and I mined enough on my previous trip I didn’t have to undock and get more. My reward was another ship: the Navitas. Yay!

Mining Veldspar
Mining Veldspar

Blueprint Mission

The mission after that was to use blueprints to build Civilian Afterburners. I had to work slowly to figure out where in the UI I had to go for the information I needed. The first step was locating the blueprints, which appeared in my item hanger. Right-clicking, “Show Info”, and then “Bill of Materials” listed out what I needed to make it. The skill needed was “Industry level 1” (which I didn’t have, there was a red X) and the Materials needed was “Tritanium” (I had 76 and needed 61).

I clicked “Next” on the tutorial and Aura warned I had to relocated to a station that had “Science & Industry” services. Fortunately the one I was in did have those, which is great because I didn’t want to dig out a map and figure out where I was and where the nearest facilities were.

I don’t have Industry trained, and wasn’t provided the skill book… what would happen? As I made the configuration choices in the “Science & Industry” dialog box, I realized I was trying to make a Civilian Afterburner, so maybe those don’t have a skill requirement to make. (In another tutorial you are provided with Civilian Codebreakers, Civilian Analyzer – usable without the regular skills trained. Civilian items are weaker than their regular counterparts.)

But that theory crashed out as the next dialog was “Skill Required – you need to have the Industry skill at the necessary level.”

Missing Skill
Missing Skill

Well that is a bad result for a TUTORIAL. My guess is perhaps this skill is given in the Business sequence? In any case, CCP should fix this to provide the skill book and let people take the missions in any order; how am I supposed to know to do Business first?

As far as me being stuck, well I wasn’t sure I had time to do the entire Business sequence before returning to the Industry missions. And even if I did, I wasn’t sure I would receive the skill. So I searched in the market, and found it local (same station I was in) for a reasonable price. Good thing I played EVE before and can kinda stumble through with some half-remembered info. After receiving the skill book, I had to wait ~9 minutes for it to train to level 1 so I could continue the tutorial.

Again, not fatal, but certainly a poor experience in a tutorial for newbies. I took the opportunity to juggle my skill queue around, training Industry 3 times (to level 3), Mining to level 3, and then Astrometrics (my current long-term skill to make sure I don’t waste precious hours of training during the day) to level 4.

Industry completed training, so I submitted the manufacturing job. It took another ~4 minutes to complete the Afterburner so I waited patiently, listening to the background music. It completed and I was able to finish up the mission.

Mining with Enemies Around

The next mission (Mountain out of Molehills 4) was basically the same – mine more Veldspar – but the agent warned of rogue drones. Hm… better fit a laser or some kind of weapon in addition to the mining laser. So I looked around and realized I don’t have a good weapon. I had the Light Electron Blaster on my Imicus (from the initial tutorial) and could swap that over, but that may not cut it. Perhaps I should do the Military missions first. Industry is listed last but REALLY, can the tutorials be that order dependent?

I loaded up the Navitas with a Mining Laser, the Light Electron Blaster, and Light Armor Repairer (also from the initial tutorial). Unfortunately, the Fitting Windows said that the the Capacitor would deplete in 16 seconds. I guess that means I don’t have enough juice to run everything at the same time, or I could but only for 16 seconds… all the same I took the Armor Repairer along with me.

I arrived at the Deadspace location and saw two NPC enemies in the area, both were Moth Apis. So, I started my battle sequence: orbit enemy, lock target, click to start the auto-firing. The fight went quick but I was pounded. They went through my shields and half my armor, ouch! I need to beef up a bit before fighting any more.

Post Fight
Post Fight. I got beat up by two wimpy NPCs, but survived.

Courier Mission

The next mission was a delivery: take some electronic parts from Trossere VII, Moon 3, University of Caille, to Foves V, Center of Advanced Studies. I figured this wouldn’t be too bad, even though the ending system’s security status was 0.6. I set the destination and the route info said it was 4 jumps. I lazed out and using the Autopilot.

Approaching a gate
Approaching a gate

I had no issues, and used the time to write/edit this very post. 😉

More Manufacturing

After completing the mission, I took the next one which involved more blueprints. Or I tried to – it wouldn’t let me since I was in Foves V and the agent was back in Troserre VII. So I undocked and autopilot’ed my way back.

Once I got back to Troserre VII, I decided it was a good stopping point, so I double checked my training queue (Industry to 3, Mining to 3, Astrometrics to 4; total time for queued skills was about 1.5 days – perfect) and logged off.

EVE – Exploration Tutorial

I worked my way through the Exploration series of missions – great stuff.

First Mission

The first mission was an introduction to using the ship scanner. It wasn’t much more than scan the area for a cosmic anomaly, travel to it, pick up an item, and return. Simple, and completing within the time limit meant a nice ISK bonus.

Second Mission

The second mission introduced more. By accepting the mission, I received a larger ship, a Navitas. It was in my cargo bay, and it took some scrutiny and memory jogging to remember that I had to “Assemble” the ship, and then board it by choosing “Make Active”. The instant I made that my active ship, the tutorial popped up a few info panes about insurance and boarding the ship. So, a little bit out of order there! I chose Platinum insurance, at a cost of ~12K ISK which would payout ~40K ISK. While I was at it, I checked my clone. My current clone level Alpha holds 900K skill points, and my very new char only has ~80K. I’ll be OK for a while on that front.

In the first stage of the mission, I looted an Exploration Ship for supplies: Core Scanner, Core Probe Launcher. The next stages covered various sites:

  • Gravimetric; mining locations. Need mining gear and skills.
  • Magnetometric; man-made “dormant” structures, ruins or abandoned. Need archaeology gear and skills.
  • Radar; high electronic inteference, communications centers or data hubs. Need hacking gear and skills.
  • Ladar; gas-cloud condensate areas, harvest to make boosters (drugs). Need gas cloud harvesting gear and skills.
Radar Site
Radar Site

This mission was all about reading information and traveling from area to area via acceleration gate. I didn’t have to use the equipment provided in the first stage. After reporting back to complete the mission, I received my reward of 151K ISK!

Third Mission

The goal of this mission was to scan for a Gravimetric site and return with proof. I was a little confused starting out because I wasn’t sure I had the right skills trained or gear fitted to my ship, but upon accepting the mission, an Aura tutorial popped up and said “you will need Astrometrics trained to level 1, and a Core Probe Launcher fitted to your ship”. The first mission mentioned training Astrometrics (I think the pacing of the second mission was to allow Astrometrics to complete while doing the tutorial) so I had that trained up already. I fitted the Core Probe Launcher and undocked to continue.

And… I got lost. The tutorial said to use the “silver control handles” to move the probe, but I couldn’t figure out where those were, or what to click to get them to display.

Solar System View
Solar System View (where are the silver handles?)

After clicking around for a bit (ugh!) I discovered that the other “Solar System Map” is the one I wanted. There is a “Solar System Map” tab and a “Solar System Map” button, on the Map control panel. It’s the button that displays the “silver box view”, not the tab. I think better wording would help that out as well.

Solar System View
Solar System View (correct view with silver handles)

It took me a while to triangulate on the Gravimetric site, partly due to challenges manipulating the probes and visualizing 3D scan volumes.

Scanning
Scanning using four probes

I finally got a 100% from the scan and warped off to the area to pick up proof that I found it. The area had some crazy looking asteroids ready for mining, plus a canister containing the proof I needed for the mission.

Gravimetric Success
Gravimetric Success

I’m going to watch some videos that Seamus Donohue of EVE University makes available – there is a series on the tutorial missions. The instructions provided in-game are adequate but I think some tips from the EVE Uni video series will also be really helpful.

Fourth Mission

The EVE University videos were fantastic and I picked up a lot of tips for Exploration and moving probes: shift- and alt- (or option-) click to move/control probes is very useful. Orbiting the station while scanning, to avoid slowly flying out of the solar system, is also a great tip. With this new information I went to practice in the next mission. Unlike the video, I did each scan separately, which takes longer, but I could use the practice doing it.

I took me several minutes to close in on the location, but I finally did it. The area had some floating space junk but I was just there to retrieve my proof of discovery.

Fifth Mission

This time the goal was to scan for a Radar site. I was provided with a Civilian Codebreaker, used to bypass security on the electronics systems inside. In this training area, it is risk free. However, in a real Radar site, failure to hack might alert owners to my presence.

I’m getting a bit faster; this scan only took half the time of the previous one. Most of that is due to handling the 3D view better as far as positioning probes, and moving them as a group. My mission reward was ISK and a skill book: Astrometric Pinpointing. I can’t train that until I train Astrometrics to level 4.

Sixth Mission

The final exploration mission was to scan for a Ladar site. These are the Gas Cloud Harvesting sites. I had some trouble zeroing in on the location… need more practice with probes and optimum triangulation setups. I narrow the location down to two points, meaning 3 probes can see it in their sphere, but screw up the next step and lose the signal, for some reason.

To help, I disabled a few of the probes and concentrated on getting their sphere to overlap the circles (when 2 probes detect a site) or the yellow points (when 3 probes detect a site). This worked pretty well and I finally found the Ladar site for this mission.

Ladar Site
Ladar Site, with gas cloud also visible

Final Exploration Reward

I finished up and received another ship, an Imicus! I couldn’t resist undocking and flying around enough to take a screenshot or two. It is very worth while doing these tutorial missions. The ones I have left are: Military and Advanced Military, Industry, and Business. I’ll probably do Industry or Business next, and save the Military ones for when I have enough time to do both.

New Ship
New Ship, the Imicus. Trossere VII is the space station in the background.

Exploration Overall

The more I think about it, exploration is brilliant. I haven’t even used it outside the intro missions (yet) but the overall mechanism is simply brilliant.

Not everyone might find it fun, but I think it fits EVE perfectly: it boils down to puzzle solving to find the correct place to go. That puzzle blends real-world technologies (satellites, geolocation) with abstract math (intersection of spheres), jazzed up with EVE sci-fi tech (scan drones) and skills (astrometrics and astrometric pinpointing; basically raising the limit on the number of drones you can deploy and their scan error).

Think about a typical MMO that wants to make an exploration puzzle to find a dungeon. Eventually the solution will be posted online. However, for exploration in EVE, the locations (puzzle solutions) aren’t fixed, they move around periodically. You can’t just solve the puzzle for everyone forever, or even for yourself (bookmarked locations will eventually become worthless) – somebody who want to find an exploration site needs to do the steps. That’s just brilliant design and implementation.

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!

EVE – EVE University Videos

I decided to refresh my EVE memories by watching the How to Survive EVE Online video series by Seamus Donohue of EVE University. I’ve been pecking away at them, watching a few each day, and recently finished up.

That was a huge undertaking, recording and narrating 45 (!) videos for new players. I’m glad people like him play the game and are willing to put so much time into spreading information.

Sci-Fi game

I played EVE Online for 18 months or so. Well, more like 9 or 10 months, since the last half of my playtime was largely me logging in long enough to fiddle with my skill queue.

Reading the recent posts over at TAGN on EVE, and all the posts at KTR on EVE, kinda makes me was to resub. Plus my coworker plays, which I mentioned earlier…

Still, I remember that the PvE combat wasn’t terribly exciting. Syp’s comment on a Massively post, about how EVE Online is “mindless circling and autofiring” reminded me that yeah, that’s kinda true, at least for PvE. Of course there is the PvP option, but that would be a very abrupt change. Somewhere between “PVP: very high risk and probably very difficult” and “PVE: too easy” is a happy medium. Perhaps the key is harder agent missions: accepting challenging missions in lower security systems. On the other hand, how much should “exciting” combat matter, versus exploration content? EVE Online, I think, is unsurpassed in exploration opportunities.

I would like to play a sci-fi game, and these days, there are some great options. Fallen Earth looks interesting, as does Star Trek Online, especially since both are free-to-play. Then there is EVE Online, with a monthly fee but honestly that isn’t exactly the barrier. I’d certainly feel more casual about a free-to-play game, which meshes well with the actual available time I am able to devote.

But I suppose that even as much as I lean towards reactivating EVE Online, I should give Fallen Earth and Star Trek Online a whirl first, or perhaps even Star Wars: The Old Republic.

Haitus

Has it really been 10 months since I last posted? I must be lazy since plenty of other MMO bloggers like Syp (BioBreak) or Wilhelm (TAGN) post several times a week.

So I haven’t been playing MMOs recently; instead I’ve been off trying some Indie games (SpaceChem!) and regular RPGs, like Skyrim. However, I feel the lure once again, now I just need to carve out the time. But what games to focus on?

  • LoTRO – still my favorite and after a break I’ll be motivated to proceed to Isengard
  • DDO – I’d like to level my monk a bit more
  • Guild Wars (at this point I’m really just waiting for Guild Wars 2) – I haven’t finished the extra “War in Kryta” content nor have I ventured into most EoTN dungeons
  • Fallen Earth – now it is F2P and I have it installed
  • EVE – a coworker plays this and offered to help me with some in-game cash and help should I reactivate
  • SWTOR – I’m not the biggest Star Wars fan, but I’d like to try this out for a few weeks

Six games I am interested in, and the first four are F2P! That’s sweet and is several hobbies/distractions worth of content no matter how you look at it. I’ve justified two subscriptions to MMOs in the past (reasoning that at $30/month it is a good deal if I can squeeze as little as 5 hours a week of play in), and am tempted to pick up EVE again as my only pay MMO.

EVE is a bit of a surprise because I never expected to return, when I unsubbed back in 2009. It’s a great game but I wasn’t getting too much out of it because I was chronically poor. Now it is tempting because I’d know somebody that also play – my coworker runs his own corp, has sufficient funds (he’s apparently reasonably wealthy in game) and offered to provide me with some in-game cash should I reactivate. This is very tempting because I’d like to train all the exploring skills (and associated stealth “hide me from other players” skills) and give that a try. With some seed money I could buy the skill books I need, buy a decent ship and outfit it, etc.

And that’s why EVE bumps out SWTOR, as far as piquing my interest. If my coworker didn’t play, I’d definitely try SWTOR first. Actually, I still might since I am curious. It would be nice to have a good sci-fi MMO to play rather than just fantasy MMOs.