After months of waiting, Ascension is finally upon us. Not only will this bring us many changes to the industry side of Eve, this will also bring what could be one of the biggest changes since the game’s launch: Alpha Clones. This new system, allowing anyone to create a fresh account with limited (but also quite extensive) access to the skills, ships and weapons that New Eden offers gives anyone wishing to give Eve a try a much better incentive to do so, with unlimited time and much more flexibility than was offered by the previous trial accounts. While Eve has been unfairly deemed a “Spreadsheet Simulator” in the past, it’s no secret that Eve Online is an arduous game. For those on the outside looking in, however, allow me to make you a promise: Eve has never been easier to access, and while the game may seem daunting, pushing through the barrier to entry brings you into an incredible world, one led by us, the players. We are all drops in the ocean, making ripples in our own way.

Boy, Have Things Changed Around Here

Eve Online was initially released in 2003. Naturally, the game has changed a lot since then. This includes what we call the “New Player Experience” (NPE) as well. Yes, the learning curve is still much higher than most MMOs, or even most games for that matter, but Eve has never been more approachable. Inside and outside of the game, players and developers have been doing everything in their power to improve and promote Eve Online’s accessibility.

In recent years, developers have removed things such as learning skills (skills trained to make you train skills faster, essentially a waste of time that could have been spent training cool shit) and medical clones (you used to lose skill points if you died in your pod and hadn’t upgraded to a certain clone level). CCP Games, the masterminds behind Eve Online, have done a lot to make the game easier to access, and the Eve of old is long gone.

Eve's learning curve may be daunting, but it's gotten a lot better Eve’s learning curve may be daunting, but it’s gotten a lot better

The community does its part as well. There are tons of channels dedicated to helping rookies learn the ways of Eve, and many groups of players dedicated to learning. While there are more “elite” groups of players, in my experience almost everyone will accept a new player into their corporation (Eve’s term for guilds), and give them the tools and the time it takes to learn. As long as you aren’t afraid of asking questions (and please, don’t be), you can easily find whatever answers you’re looking for.

Plenty of Risk, Plenty More Reward

The most fundamental aspect of Eve Online is that no matter how small you are, every action you make impacts the world. The game supports an entirely player-driven economy, as well as permanent loss for every ship that you lose. You may have heard tales of people manipulating the market, or backstabbing their alliance. That actually happens, and while those ways make headlines because they push the sandbox to its limit, there are plenty of other ways to make your mark. In fact, the alliance Goonswarm, the long-time “bad guys” of Eve, worded it pretty damn well in a piece of propaganda from a few years back:

Did I just praise the Goons? What a crazy world we live in... Did I just praise the Goons? What a crazy world we live in…

I’ve witnessed this myself. It isn’t unheard of for a single support ship to get a lucky jam, causing enemy logistics (healers) to weaken, leading to your side winning a fight. The butterfly effect truly is present in Eve, and even though a new player can’t fly more advanced ships, you can still play an integral role in your alliance, doing whatever it is that you choose to do. Many groups of players are also creating ways for new players to be useful, even in larger-scale activities, so that no one feels left out.

Holy Content, Batman!

Speaking of activities, there’s a ton of stuff to do in Eve. I’ll try to give a short synopsis of the main ones here:

PvE: There are many forms of PvE in Eve, from easy-mode killing NPCs in asteroid belts, to more challenging, and occasionally rewarding, activities of scanning down hidden enemy bases, running missions for NPCs, or “Incursions”, Eve’s answer to raiding, and a number of others across the spectrum of risk and reward. This is a very good way to get money, especially if you’re a newer player.

PvP: Fighting other players, mano e mano. There are many different ways to kill your fellow Capsuleer. Fights are occurring all over New Eden, from your large-scale engagement between the largest alliances in the game, to small gangs of pirates, to suicide gankers preying on innocent miners. This can be profitable as well, if you’re good at it. Just loot your victims’ junk and sell it for cash. Assuming they didn’t kill you first, of course.

Exploration: Though a little more complex than PvE or PvP, exploration is a high-risk, high-reward way to make some cash. Scan down data and relic sites, hack the cans using special modules, receive sweet loot. Profit.

Mining: Most players bash on mining since there isn’t much involved in it: get a mining ship, lock on to the asteroid you want to harvest, and activate your mining lasers. Rinse and repeat. Mining, however, can be quite profitable for a newer player, and mining with a group can be a much more relaxed way to make money.

I’ve really only scratched the surface here, but it would take a few articles to properly go in-depth on every single activity that is available in New Eden. What’s important to note is that even though these are the things that the game pushes you towards, as they’re the simplest, there are always different, more creative ways to do things. Come up with your own thing and see how it works for you!

Just a Whole Lot of Gushing

Man, Eve is just a really good game. Seriously, if you’re reading this and haven’t tried it, today’s move to a free-to-play model is making it easy for you to give it a shot. I’ve been playing for almost three years now, and I don’t see myself stopping any time soon. The game is daunting, sure, but there really is nothing else like it right now. The friends you meet are real, the things you achieve feel real, and the thrill of battle is extremely real. No game has ever made my heart race like Eve has, and Eve manages to do that because it’s a game about consequences. You aren’t going to respawn in that ship; if you lose it, it’s gone. Get another one or try something different.

If you’re reading this and currently play Eve, or at least used to, spread the word. Be that annoying friend trying to convince people to give the game a shot. Badger people into trying it. It’ll take them months to do everything Eve has to offer, and by then I’m sure they’ll come to see the game for what it is: a unique world in which every player’s actions actually matter. A true sandbox.

The more the merrier, right?

Muffin Paladin is EN24’s resident grammar hound. When he isn’t flying with the Iron Armada, he drinks too much coffee and makes fun of Salivan’s use of commas.