A Newblette in Space is a weekly series about my adventures in Eve Online. Each week I’ll be rambling about something in the amazing vast space of New Eden that has caught my attention. Feel free to comment, heckle, request topics of discussion, or offer up interesting flames.
I’ll say this right out – I LOVE sandbox games. Give me a wide open world where I can do anything, and I will happily wander off and do everything I can. I have no interest in following storylines, almost no interest in quests; instead I want to explore, see what’s there, what I can do, meet the people around me, and play in the sand. I’m no master sculptor, as it were, I’ll never build a grand castle. I’ll never be the leader gathering together a large army of people and taking kingdoms, but I’ll happily build my modest mudballs and call them home. I’d rather kill a thousand monsters and explore a thousand different methods of killing them than read a quest panel or hear a cutsene and wander off to kill ten monsters for the pleasure of another quest box or cutscene. I don’t want a glowing arrow leading me in a direction, I want to forge my own path. Even if it’s not as “efficient” the simple pleasure of deciding my own route is reward enough for me and worth its weight in isk and xp.
Today’s Newblette in Space is dedicated to everyone I’ve ever seen in the rookie channel asking what to do. Anyone who has ever set foot in any sandbox game and asked a variation on one of these questions, or seen someone ask:
“I finished the tutorial, what do I do?”
“There’s nothing to do! What now?!”
“Where do I go?”
Click the little button below, because this one’s for you.
The most obvious place to start is combat. There are very few MMOs without some variation on killing things. Whether it be zombies, rats, goblins, spaceships, skeletons or some other monster type – killing things for their stuff is one of the base foundations of developing and progressing a character in an MMORPG, and Eve Online is no different. Where Eve differs is in the choices. There are a few ways to go about mass slaughter and each one has its own pros and cons; mission running, pirate killing in the asteroid belts, player killing, and hopping into wormholes in search of enemy hideouts. There’s also incursions, which sound like an incredible amount of fun as fleets of enemies invade star systems, and factional warfare.
I’m still too new to the game to have participated in many of these, but I do know that the ships and fitting I’d use for each of them is different. Mission running is simply the process of getting a mission from an agent, then warp to an instanced room to fight the enemy NPCs – it’s all AI with no chance of encountering other players. Should you get into a rough spot, just warp out, fix up your ship, then return. Everything else puts you at some degree of risk of running into other players, and many of them won’t be as friendly – and are much more difficult to escape from. Want to hunt pirates (or rats, in Eve terminology) in the asteroid belts? There might be player pirates there as well, hunting the rich miners. Exploring wormholes and anomolies is something that I plan to do more of as I progress in the game, but it also is a risk – anyone with a scanner can find them and wormholes count as nullsec – which means no holds barred. Anyone you find in there – or who finds you – can be attacked.
Thus far I have run missions, hunted rats in the asteroid belts, and explored a few anomolies (although I haven’t yet dared venture into the wormholes), and have found each of them to be completely different experiences. Mission running is a very solitary activity – I tend to do a few at a time when I only have a few minutes. Sometimes I’ll run a bunch with a friend, but even then it’s more like we’re playing a coop than an MMO. Asteroids are much more sociable, as they are home to miners, rat hunters, and player pirates hunting miners and rat hunters. I’ve met some cool people while out in the asteroids, and will probably end up joining the corporation of one of them. I’ve never met anyone else in an anomoly, although I have been blown up inside them. They are more dangerous, which adds a certain spice to the activity. From what I’ve heard of wormhole space, it’s even spicier, and you’re at even greater risk of being blown up by other players.
But not everyone likes to engage in mass slaughter. Want to become a merchant prince, traveling the universe amassing a fortune buying and selling? Eve has plenty of room for that. I’ve made a few million myself already simply by buying large quantities of cheap goods in one system and transporting them to sell for more. With the use of player haulers and the marketing skills, you don’t even have to travel much to control an economic empire and engage in economic warfare. There are many ruthless merchants duking it out to control the best trade routes and markets, it takes just as much effort and attention as reigning supreme as a fighter pilot.
Feeling more like traveling the universe? Haulers are always needed, to transport merchants’ wares, miners hauls and industrialists’ materials. There are even NPC agents who will give distribution quests. The question is whether you’d prefer a large freight to haul massive loads (or lots of smaller ones!) or smaller ships that will carry packages more quickly. Or both – using speed or heavy load depending on circumstance. There are entire corporations built around hauling – sometimes the cargo is of enough value that numbers are needed to protect it from profiteering players. It’s not uncommon for haulers to be attacked, or to be the victims of contract scams.
Miners and industrialists are perhaps the backbones of the Eve universe, supplying everyone with ships, weapons and fittings for their ships. The vast majority of goods in the marketplace are provided by player crafters, and they are in turn supported by the materials miners bring in. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing – you’re always going to need the best ship you can afford, and there is no shortage of demand as it’s a certainty that everyone will lose ships and need them replaced.
And these are just a bare few of the things possible in Eve Online. You can build colonies on planets, create huge mega-corporations (or smaller ones) and lead other players, become a mercenary and hire out to anyone who’ll pay, focus on espionage and spy on rival corporations, I’ve even heard of players earning isk by acting as real life translators and negotiators between players and corporations!