27.3.13

Dipping my toes to the MMO swamp

Myself and the different MMO games

During all these years I've mostly just laughed at WoW players and wondered the going of those who play fantasy-themed MMO games. Somehow scifi hasn't been a popular theme, the exceptions I know being Anarchy Online (that died pretty quickly, if my poor memory serves) and EVE Online that was mostly described as truly massive. My former costudent Teemu recommended Eve to me "this is definitely your kind of game!"  when he started playing it to ween himself off Wow.
I admit, the game sounded and looked pretty curious but I didn't have any misconceptions of a) having the time to play the game as much as it deserves and b) paying a monthly fee to play a game, especially considering point a. That'd just lead automatically to a pitifully insignificant ROI.

The first run's free

My coworker Sergei plays Eve more or less constantly (the rest of my multiplaying coworkers jump from a MMO to another every two or three months like a swarm of locusts, as far as I know) and he's tried to lure me in for a long while. As soon as I left for my two month long parental leave he sent me a three week trial invitation. I thought that what the hell, I could try it for a short while if I accidentally had enough free time.



Ok, let's give it a shot

"Country": Gallante Federation > Race: Gallante > Background: Immigrant
Myself, a Gallante Federation citizen
 

The unbearable difficulty of choosing a career

The initial situation: 21 days, a kiloton of options. Well, not quite like that, but after the first tutorial set it looks like there's six law-abiding careers: military, advanced military, mining, truck driving, wandering and industrialing. A galactic neighbour had also just declared a war so I could've joined that, too, I guess.

The default ship Velator somewhere in space
One of the countless enormous space stations

To war!

Rare as it is for a pacifist individual like me, I went and contacted the military agent straight away and started working on the missions with a rapid pace. Pretty early on he gave me a new frigate that was a bit better in the fighting department than the default one, some guns and ammo. The guns I got were, in the end, three 75mm gatling rail thingies with animatter ammo. I also bought some uranium slugs to the third one because "why not?". Oh yes, I'll vanquish all my enemies with these puppies! And as soon as I get to buy those missile launchers, this is going to be fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuunmuaahahahahahahahaa!

Fitting the Vindicator

A dive towards the spleen of an enemy

Wrong.
I got my arse handed to me in the eighth tutorial mission, the enemies attacked from an insane distance and my poor (luckily it was insured) gunboat blew up before I even got within the optimum range. A change of career is what I needed, I didn't like this crap at all...


To the mines with my tail between my legs

It'd be easy to be a space miner, right? A couple of the first missions were done as quickly as they could. Then I was told to take some blueprints and to manufacture some junk for the agent. Somehow I managed to cock the industry view somehow and I lost my blueprints but never got the products I had ordered. Of course they sell the same junk in the market but they cost quite a bit more than what I was prepared to spend on them. So, another career path change took place just like that.

Dig, dig, dig...


Mining on my own

Not giving a damn about the missions at this point I taught my character to operate some drones (obviously you first had to learn to use drones in general (a couple of levels so I could run two at the same time) and then a type-specific skill, in this case the mining drone) and bought a couple of them to my drone bay. I thought that I could at least check how this mining business worked in general.


Dig, dig, dig, dig, dig, dig, di...

At the same time I put more mining to the skill queue and bought a few systems away a couple of better lasers (dual diode mining laser I). Why did I buy them from a place that took 15 mins to get to? Because they were cheaper there, of course. And I had the time to waste.
I think I was just reading a book while the autopilot was running around. When I heard the autopilot saying "docking", I woke up enough to slap the new tools to the ship and set up a new destination so I could keep reading. That sounds like an awesome sales pitch :P



Many against one, that's the way to go

Mining was somewhat faster with the drones, I guess, but as each tool has a cycle of 1 min and even the better lasers return something like 120m^3 per cycle and the flying things something I don't even know, filling the 5000m^3 ore bay took a good while. What do you do with all that spacerock? Sell it away or refine and then sell the components. My idea was that if I waste a couple of moments mining and getting slightly bored meanwhile I could earn enough money to buy some interesting toys to my remaining ship. In the end, with a couple of full loads my ISK stack went from mere 2M to 8M, so...

The biggest problem seemed to be that there are plenty of asteroid belts but depending on the time of day they may all be wiped clean. So all you can do is to drive around the universe, checking from one to a dozen locations in each solar system until you find something. And sometimes there's an unfriendly welcome waiting for you, that doesn't really make you feel too happy because your ship's both turret slots are filled with necessary tools instead of self-defence guns so you could mine in the first place...

Business is busyness

Fetching some cargo

The businessman's career that I earlier referred to as the truckdriver's job didn't really interest me. I checked a couple of the first missions but they didn't sound too fun and to continue on I'd needed to buy and learn some more skills. Considering that I only had ~3 weeks, I didn't have the time to check everything out. Anyway, I got a new Venture mining barge that I scrapped and sold the parts away.

Destination: a random, questionable station

Indiana Jones - in space

Exploration was one of the ways to learn your bread in Eve. Fly around the systems and scan places. You could even do like the Empire and jump to a system and launch probes to check the rest of the system while you snoop in one corner. Sadly I didn't find a single probe model that looked or felt like the Arakyd Viper, but I also have to admit that I didn't search extensively, either.

Scanning between space junk

Being smart I installed a gun in this ship, because I knew that at some point an Anomaly would have some stupid pirates just waiting to attack me. That happened, a couple of pirate ships were found in each of the few anomalies I found. Just like the businessman's career, I didn't spend much time doing the explorer's missions, for the exact same reason: time. If you have a few hours available, maybe jumping around the universe and warping all day long around the systems might not be the most beneficial use of them... So I ended up doing something a bit more active.

Back to the grinder

If you can't win, at least die with a huge boom. That's pretty often the way I approach things. Originally I wanted a set of missile launchers in my ship, so that's what I went for! Of course I first had to study them (skill: missile launchers) and to be able to actually load anything in the launcher I had to train a skill for a proper ammo type. Light missiles and  light rockets sounded like something that I could manage to fit in my ship so those were studied. Naturally I'd enjoyed cruise missiles with nuclear warheads quite a bit more ;)
So I bought a nice-looking launcher from the system where they were cheap and from a couple of other systems about 150 units of ammunition for my hungry, hungry launcher. For some reason the rocket launchers were cheaper than the missile launchers, but I guess I could always upgrade later.



There's a load of Inferno missiles to be stored for later use and tungsten ammo to be used straight away (they had a nice range and lighter requirements for the systems of my tiny ship). On the other hand, I could fit some drones to this one...
Of course I'd need to study for a few days to use them.
From the rocket salesman I bought a good load of Nova rockets to be spread all around the galaxy. Why exactly those? Because they had nuclear warheads, of course! Muahahahahahahahaa!

Finishing the set of missions

Without noticing it, I actually had fulfilled the requirements of the mission 8 that I thought I quit in the middle of. I wasn't even supposed to fight those clowns but to check that everyone I was to escort was already pushing daisies -> away. I think I felt myself a bit stupider than usual, when I was looking at the mission parameters. Again.
Then I proceeded to the next mission, where I was supposed to blow up a bunch of enemies and a hidden narcotics warehouse. I didn't quite expect that a hidden facility would be having this low a profile. Dropped a load of nuclear rockets on it and it was gone. Muahahahahahaha!


My last mission in this set was to kill a pirate called Wolf. They even gave me a new ship for the mission, a butterfly-like thingamagick that naturally didn't have any slots for rocket/missile launchers... what is this heresy? In three different encounters I had to fight a bunch of those pesky fighters and continue to the next one. One afternoon I had just killed the last of the last ones with a bit of "jump there, fight, escape and return when reloaded"-action and I was finally ready to warp to the last encounter when I ran out of gaming time.

Tristan

The next day I continued and what do I see? The daily mainenance downtime also means that everything resets and I got to repeat the whole procedure once again. I had to attack the last place three times: first I got beaten up badly but at least I got Wolf's base's shields down and armor chipped nicely. During the second attack run I ignored the flyers altogether and concentrated on taking down the tower with a slowdown device, managing to blow it up at the last practical moment. When I jumped there the third time I immediately found mr Wolf's escape pod pretty close to me. Lock target, fire and forget, jump away and leave the angry flying pirates behind. "Another job well done!" is what Bender would say and he'd be correct.
Perhaps I got some "you're a good person" bonuses that wouldn't really help me at this point in my trial period. On the other hand, I guess I got a bit of happiness myself for completing something in the game. Because things are as they are, this is just about the last proper session I had in Eve so I did pretty well for that, I guess.

Kaboom!

Deathwish

To finish gaming up on my last session in a nice way I bought a load of missiles, rockets and turret ammo. With the cargo bay properly set up I pointed my nose at a nearby lowsec system and started hopping towards it. Two minutes later my ship was reduced to a slowly drifting hulk through an old battleground. I left with a bang, as I had intended.


Fire at will, commander!

PLEX

Did I plan on  buing a plex (Pilot License EXtension) and continue my confused adventures in New Eden? No. I've had a good amount of fun, but unsurprisingly I didn't get to drive the ship I originally wanted, a nuclear missile cruiser, in three weeks but I was playing with the beginner's stuff.
No, I really didn't think I'd get to do that. I mean, think about it: if you got from zero to the cockpit of a fully armed and operational mothership, something would be awfully wrong in the balancing of the game.

The main thing is that I had fun. Thanks, Sergei, for the invitation :D

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