Part one of an ongoing series hoping to make new players more at home in the daunting Eve universe. This isn’t an end-all be-all guide, just a few tips from my perspective.

If you’ve been in the gaming circles you’ve undoubtedly heard stories of Eve Online, and let’s be real they’re probably daunting stories of how Eve is a griefers paradise where everyone wants to kill you or swindle you for all you’ve got. Now it’s true that Bernie Madoff would probably cry a single tear of joy if he ever witnessed the shenanigans that Eve players got up to, but it’s not the whole picture. You can be completely straight-edge in Eve –with tons of other people mind you – and have a blast, or you can just let your morals slip and become an infamous pirate, scammer, griefer, or combination thereof. Or you can be both. Eve is, after all, a sandbox in the truest sense.

Another misconception about Eve is that the learning curve is so steep that you have to make it your second job in order to be successful at it. When I started playing this was true, and strangely enough the steep learning curve helped create the close-knit bond the Eve community experiences. Once upon a time it would take /months/ of training before you could hold even the most basic of roles – but that is no longer the case. Ships have been rebalanced, skills are more intuitive, and the tutorial actually teaches you things about the game. Nowadays you can not only be useful, but actually become a sought after commodity, relatively early on both in PvP and PvE. These new mechanics also let you explore the various roles and figure out what you want to specialize in first. It really has come a long way. If you are anything like me you see a tutorial and you think “psh, I’ve played games all my life I don’t need a tutorial for this one.” Wrong. Oh god you’re so wrong. Please do the tutorial. Eve is such a deep game that the tutorial barely scratches the surface. Once you get done you’re going to realize how little you understand about the game. Remember that feeling, because it’s going to be a common theme for your first few months in Eve. I promise you it’s OK, even the grizzled vets don’t really know how things work outside of their areas of expertise.

OK I did the tutorial, now what?

This is the point where I think most people get to in Eve right before they get bored and quit. The sandbox nature of Eve basically means that you don’t have a set direction. There is no traditional grinding in Eve – you train skills at the same rate as everyone else regardless of how much time you spend in the game. That’s right, the skills train while you’re not playing – and they train at the same speed when you are playing. They also train at the same speed as the guy who has spent 10 years playing. Well, kind of – like everything in Eve there is a bit of nuance. You can spend space-money to increase certain attributes by using “learning implants”, and each skill relies on two attributes. As you’ll learn in Eve, every generalized statement has an implied asterisk – but let’s not get bogged down in specifics of it all, the tl;dr is that there is no grind for skillspoints. There is a grind for money, though.

The tutorial exposes you to a bunch of PvE activities in the Eve universe. It boils down to two rudimentary options: kill NPCs, get money or harvest resources, get money. This is where the tutorial really helps, because it exposes you to a very reliable way to make money: NPC Agents. These agents have a structure – you work for them, they tell you want to do depending on the type of agent you’re working for, and they give you a reward. You then progress from agent level 1 all the way to agent level 5, and they get progressively harder along the way. This is a great way to start because it gives you structure and allows you to figure out the type of flying you like, the type of activities you enjoy, and just learning the quirks of the game. Don’t worry, every decision you make early on you’ll later realize you were doing it hilariously inefficiently, or you’ll get bored of it and never do it again – but again that’s part of the game. Embrace it – you can drastically change your “style” in Eve very quickly so don’t worry.

While you’re training skills and making money, the most important thing is to find a group of people to play with. Socialize in local with your fellow noobies, browse the forums, trawl the Eve subreddit, or join up with a “noob friendly” corporation. Eve University is a common one, Brave Newbies is another – but these are just examples. You may find out that just chatting to people in local or your NPC corp-chat that you want to make your own corp and fumble your way through Eve together. Maybe there’s some specialized group that is looking for new blood. Once you learn the basic Eve mechanics, it becomes a very boring game to play alone. It is imperative that you find a group to play with. Not only because group-play is rewarded in Eve, but also because it’s just more fun. You can explore the game together, ask questions, answer questions, shoot things, die together. Frankly, it’s what makes Eve worth playing. The first corporation I joined was some mining corporation where the guy was just plain exploiting newbies. I figured this out pretty quickly and ditched it for another corp – a group of pirates that killed me while I was haplessly exploring space. They were cool, though, so I joined up and was a pirate. I quickly learned that these guys weren’t for me, but they did teach me a lot, and I moved on two weeks later. So I joined another group where they promised to teach me PvP, and then I was hooked. This whole socializing thing is the lifeblood of what makes Eve entertaining. You may be skeptical, but just try it out.

The next guide will be more focused on navigating Eve modules ships – basically an introduction into how you want to fit ships. But I’m open to suggestions – if you’re new respond with what you want to see and I’ll try to go over it.

About me: My ingame name is Elise Randolph, I’ve played Eve for about 8 years. I’m probably most known in the Eve community for writing battle reports over various nullsec fights. And being an unapologetic fan of Taylor Swift. I do other things, though! I like to PvP in both low-sec and nullsec, big fleets and solo. I’m an FC for Pandemic Legion which basically means I organize groups of dudes with the express intention of shooting other groups of dudes. I’ve been a member of the CSM – a player elected body that interacts with the developers – for two years. I’ve also been involved with 3 Alliance Tournament wins. I’ve done almost everything Eve has to offer, and I want you to get hopelessly sucked into the game with me.

Reddit post

Feel free to discuss in the comment section below!

  • santa

    wall of text… my noob eyes! ahhhh!

    • Leicester

      If someone can’t read a few paragraphs then their best bet is to join Goons, it only takes five minutes to teach a monkey how to titan bridge, anchor on the FC, target primary, and press F1.

      However those who want to engage their brains and play a bit more intuitively, this article is a good place to start.

      • James Ashley

        True. But doesn’t it also take 60d of membership is SA forums to join Goons? And good-frakn-luck finding another corp to take you afterwards

  • Dirty Rotten Sneaky Bastard

    Not too bad, Elise… Not too bad at all. Now to get this on other gaming forums.

  • flatterpillo

    If there was a like button, i’d press it 🙂

  • Lux0r

    Elise… you rock… yet again a nice well thought out and written piece. Please god run for CSM again, you actually care about this shitty game <3 !

  • Homophobic John

    Reads nicely, well thought out, well written. Whats happening? Where am I?

  • GSection

    I wish I had this available versus the wave of horrible advice I received when I started eve.

  • Hmm

    Look when are people going to get it into their heads?! It’s not about how good tutorials is. The simple fact of scamming, risk v reward, the lose everything in an instant, the terrible community, the complete control of eve by large alliances, the gank issue (hot drops) is the main issues, until things like that change eve will never keep many new players

    • Billbo

      You still have WoW if you want to play “Fluffy slippers Online”

      • Sub Human

        Which is why EVE subscriptions have stalled and are in decline for actual “new” players and not an army of multi accounts. But please, continue your self destructive actions and attitudes. Prime example of what needs to change.

        • James Ashley

          Isn’t that also the attitude of CCP also? I watched the Rubicon 1.1 sneak preview and at the end… something like “Everything is fair game” popped up on the screen. Perhaps CCP has things the way they want them for the most part. I dunno .. /shrugs

        • Snargle

          Yes, every new account is an alt. No new players join this game, ever.

          • Sub Human

            Train Reading Comprehension a little higher young troll, you need it.

      • lol

        lol thats why eve has stagnated for years because of twats like you with such a narrow minded bigoted view

        • Snargle

          And by “stagnated” you mean “grown every year since launch” ? Since that’s what, y’know, actually happened?

          • Sub Human

            And that the average lifetime of a “new account” is 17 days. GG

    • Paul Naughton

      And those ‘issues’ will never be solved, as they are features for most of EVE’s players. EVE Online is not, and never will be a safe game world.

      • hmm

        and thats why it WILL NEVER appeal to the mass market and new players wont stay, gaming as moved on since 10 years ago, people expect more for their money

        • heh

          Not quite… It’s more of the sandbox element and not knowing what to do that drives new players away.

          Maybe I can agree that we should be able to tone down the high sec ganking… but for the most part, Eve works fine. It’s the tutorials and what to do next. Basic economic tutorials would help too. Too many people think its like any other game where you buy the biggest, baddest thing right away, you’ll be fine. I think there probably should be a talk about what you should roughly do with the isk you earn.

          Otherwise it really is about what happens after the tutorials… I think people immediately start grinding lvl 1s and it just takes forever. Maybe get into lvl 2s and 3s if they persist. Then they just give up. PVE is kind of boring in this game… especially when you are alone. I can see where people have a problem with this.

          Personally I was grinding alone until someone came to me. If no one did… I don’t know if I’d still even be playing today to be completely honest with you.

        • easykill

          It isn’t supposed to appeal to the mass market. That is precisely why EvE has been around for as long as it has been. If coddling and theme parks are what you’re after, you’re playing the wrong game.
          The second EvE changes to suit that play style is the day it actually dies.

    • bearsgonnabear

      Can I have your stuff

  • Sub Human

    As we need to wave our cocks around, before I type this wall of words I will set my qualifications out. I have been playing MMO games since 2001, Anarchy Online through Star Wars Galaxies as well as Everquest/EQII and a whole raft of short lived experiments with WoW, Guild Wars et al. I have been an EVE player since 2005, been involved in nearly every major nullsec conflict since the first death of BoB.

    Your analysis of the new player experience is quite honestly just plain wrong. The “tutorial” is in no way set up to be friendly (small popups with limited small text). In many ways it appears to be specifically tailored to the multi account user, rapidly and easily closed and disposed of.

    There is minimal actual fleshing out of the game. Character creation is deeper in content.and the very fact that the structure of the NPE leads to confusion and disinterest is no surprise. When you finally get through the dirge you are then cast adrift into a world that quite frankly hates you. Within a week you will experience the full gamut of bitter vet griefing behaviour, belt bumping, suicide ganking or plain old mechanic exploitation in missions.

    Sooner or later you realise that, this shit isnt worth paying for.

    If you are serious in retaining new players, those who feel they can only entertain themselves by destroying the environment new players need to grow have to be shown the errors of their ways. Be that through increased punishment for those acts, or a 30 day “safe” zone for new players.

    The architects of the eventual demise of this brilliant game are the very ones who post articles like this.

    • lol

      Lol. Here, have some cheese with your whine.

      • Sub Human

        Classic rejoiner of someone with little to say and alot of time to say it

      • exN

        Well, he actually just says how it is, doesn’t he?

        Although I think the idea of immunity for newbies is rubbish, the dismissive attitude towards and intentional exploitation of young players by entrenched vets is one of the main reasons why this game is hardly growing anymore.

        I guess it’s just too late for EVE to really attract new players for a longer period of time. I’m very curious how the development of the player base will look after the surprising news coverage of the big battle in B-R and, say three months from now.

    • James Ashley

      1.0 systems are safe zones .. or so I have heard. Someone mentioned that ganks targeting new players were not allowed. I could be wrong.

      • Yepp

        You are.

  • Chris Morel

    I tried to play twice but never could get past the tutorial. So maybe I am just not smart enough to play.

    • MaraRinn

      How long ago did you last try the tutorials? They have become much more forgiving lately 🙂

      Well, except the parts where they blow you up. But you just have to read the instructions.

  • just a gamer

    A nice write up but I would argue that it is based on an incorrect misconception – that “Eve is a griefers paradise where everyone wants to kill you or swindle you for all you’ve got”.

    Most gamers who I talk to EVE about refer to EVE as either 1. expensive (in real dollars) or 2. spreadsheets online first and foremost.

    Unfortunately I do not have a counter argument for either of those impressions.

    • dotec

      What makes EVE so expensive compared to any other subbed MMO?

      I mean, it CAN be. You could go drop a hundred dollars on PLEX right now. But for most players it’s no more costly than a WoW subscription. And frankly, those can only be considered “expensive” if you’re unemployed IMO.

  • Kirie

    Eve really does need to make the tutorial not a total fuckfest of text. This game is the most un-intuative, horrifyingly unfriendly, tutorial and UI I’ve ever seen in an MMO including everquest’s piece of shit UI. Note – I absolutely love all these things about it now. When I first started however the ONLY REASON I pushed through to today some years later is because spaceships. And space. Now? I love it as you all do.

    I do agree newbies need some kind of immunity during the free trial -however- that immunity should be dropped the instant they change the green to yellow or red following a big fucking message that says you will die when you push this button.

    Also: Fix that fucking mission where your ship blows up no matter what it seems to be in the tutorial missions. That is a shitty way of podding players.

    Also? PvP tutorial against other less than 15 day accounts. I don’t care if they instance that one fight but it should be done.

  • Yeshana

    Thanks Elise, I will be reading the series and hopefully learn a lot from it.

    I started Eve about a couple weeks ago. I’ve done the tutorial, the 5 carrier agents and I’m two thirds throught the SoE Epic Arc.

    Contrary to what other comments say here, I found the tutorial quite comprehensive and helpful. I tried Eve a couple years back when the tutorial was different and I played about 3 hours until I gave up. It is so much better now. I have to say though, that I got prepared for Eve from a friend who basically explained, what a rough place Eve but also how rewarding Eve can be. That got me hooked cause I like a good challange.

    There are two things right now that I struggle with ATM. First, what career I’m going for and second what skills should I learn. First, after the tutorial, I thought about mining. But then a friend told me “mining is cool, you can do so much beside it like reading, cooking etc.”. Well, I’d like to play a game actively so, no mining. Then I thought about PVP. But I’m still too much of a chicken to get into actual fighting yet. And because I’m really bad in anything economy related, that kinda leaves me with missioning and exploring for the moment. That whole “choosing a career” thing is something you could write about.
    Then there is the whole skill thing. I come from a WoW theme park background where you have a nice skill tree that you can climb. When I first saw the enormous amount of skills that you can learn in eve and heard the fact that it takes about 19 years to master them all I got a but overwhelmed. I really have no idea which skill I should learn next and I haven’t found a comprehensive “skill guide” yet. That would be another helpful thing for a noob like me.

    So, what I basically want to say is, thanks Elise for helping noobs like me and keep up the good work

    • blubbblubb

      what really helped me deciding what to train is to ask yourself what kind of ship you would like to fly, what kind of weaponsystem you want to use and what kind of tank you want to use.
      back then i decide for lazors because of pewpewlazorpewpew^^ which lead me to the amarrian ships because they have bonuses to lazor guns.
      then i had to decide what tank i wanted to use and since amarrian ships have more lowslots than medium slots and also some of them get bonuses to armor repair or armor resistances it was finally set in stone, i´ll become a armor tanking lazor ship pilot.
      my tipp, decide the weapon system you want to use, then you´ll find out the race you will train for and with looking at the ships bonuses/stats you´ll find out what tank you should choose
      and imho. in the beginning (first 6months) it is very important to stay at one weapon system and train it till you have proper support skills and weapon/ship skills.

  • Midgen

    Wow! Great series man! And coming from a PL dude it’s just Wow, maybe I am just ignorant about these things but I never knew pl bros to be this ….well. Down to earth! Especially about noobs to eve on line :p saying as PL IS pretty much the top tier of pvp pilots any aspiring pvp noob should be looking forward to matching! I myself have bin playing eve online on and off since about 2005, but only recently (in the past 6 months or so) bin able to REALY dedicate myself:p really looking forward to MORE of this series man! Keep up the great work 😀

  • Shvak

    Very nice. With all the Titan losses, glad to see you finally have some time on your hands to write some quality stuff… Just kidding. Great read. Being South African it was easy for me when I joined I went to the RSAchat group. My recommendation to new players would be to start out looking in national chats. Join any corp you can as early as you can but always keep chatting. A guy ganks you or a pirate pods you. Ask in local, why you were chosen, or go into a private chat with the dude. Ask what mistakes you made etc. You will find guys are happy to share info and maybe just maybe you may find someone prepared to take you under their wing or at least impart some valuable knowledge. If a crit of your ship fit is better than nothing.

  • Besbin

    Well written 🙂

    …and good timing, since you’re waiting for new titans to come outta the oven anyway and the B-R slant is bound to bring in some new players, and why not hook them up through the space famous PL FC 😉

    (a slight note: You might wanna change “agent level” to just 1-4, since, if I was a newb reading this, I’d definitely think lvl 5s was the natural next step from 4s and go straight off get my faction and meta 4 fit Mael terribly mutilated :-p )

  • oh dear me

    GJ Elite Rudolph

  • I swear I am not Luwc

    this topic is getting sooooooooooooooooo old.

    • James Ashley

      The fact that this “topic” is still relevant +10yrs into development sheds light on the need for this issue to be written about to the point of sickness …

  • Ming Tso

    <3 Elise

  • Provi Miner

    to die and lose something valuable is cruicial to staying in eve. If you can handle watching 80% or more of your stuff disappear you will find a way to make it in eve.

  • orly?

    The biggest advice I have is to try to learn from every experience, especially your first few PVP experiences. You will get dealt with most likely. Every now and again you’ll have someone send you a mail after a loss and say hey – that fit was really terrible. I like this fit instead… if you can’t use the fit consider working your skills that way etc etc. Sometimes it’s trolling but usually if someone takes the time to put in a fit, advice etc they’re actually trying to help you and mostly glad you were there to squash :). Me? If some newb wants to come tackle me – fkin’-a right! That’s awesome, IMO and if they do I’m all in on giving a fight. If it’s clear I’m going to slaughter-fest I’ll even hold DPS and see what they do. No – I won’t let them go (sorry) but it really is a good way for old farts like me to find quality new people for their alliance.

    DONT take losses personally. LEARN from them as much as you can. Get dealt with horridly in solo 1 v 1 pvp? COOL – go look at the other guy’s KB I guarantee you he’s got losses and good bet you’ll figure out he was flying a fit he lost at the time. TALK to people about why you lost and put your dignity aside just a little bit. You’re new. It is 100% ok to be new and lose stuff.

    Keep a good attitude and a good organization will find you. Remain an infantile, screaming troll… well I’m sure an organization will find you…. You might do well either way. That’s EVE.

  • DSpite

    The only issue I see is a financial one for new players. there should be much larger income gaps to maintain certain ships. New players have to grind too hard and skill up pretty high just to keep themselves in basic frigs – which if you go PvP will last like, 30 seconds – but need players to run L4 missions for income, as L1-L3 are just training exercises.

    A solid PvP frig fit is 5-10 million, and a good 45 minute L4 mission will let you buy about 3 or 4. An L1 mission should pay for a frig from payout and mod drops, but will barely pay 1 mill.

    I’m not saying make missions pay more, as with current mechanics it will screw the economy, I’m saying that when income scaling was designed, it should have been done differently, say frigs 1-2 mill, destroyers 20 mill, cruisers 100 mill, etc, and mission/mining income scaled to suit, after all a cheap car is 10k and a Ferrari is 500k, that way running L4 missions would keep new players neck deep in new frigates to explode, and even very casual players could explore frig PvP 23/7 without the game feeling like a grind, while still keeping high end content separated, with a need to work for it … anyway, just my opinion.

  • I was there

    The 3 biggest knocks against EvE I’ve encountered in the larger internet community are
    1) Spreadsheets with a nice looking background (MMO Players)
    2)These people sound like psychopaths (non MMO Players)
    3) Griefers Paradise (MMO Players)

    Also, nice write-up, although I’ve come to expect no less from this author.

  • Draught

    toughest part of the curve is getting into a proper (active) corp right at the start. If they try staying solo, they’ll lapse that sub in a hurry.