Pleasantly and serenely, my ship orbits a floating asteroid composed of Veldspar. With one eye lazily monitoring the soon to be overflowing cargo hold and the other devouring an episode of "Game of Thrones" I am the picture of contentment. Every so often I will slowly flex my fingers around my mouse and drag a hefty amount of mineral to a jettisoned can and then sink back into my semi-conscious malaise. "This is the life" I think, sipping slightly at the steaming cup of tea to my right, whilst eyeing up a chocolate digestive with erotic conviction.
Time passes by and after many scenes of medieval boobery (quite literally) my program finishes and the credits role. Returning once more to reality, I rise from my slouched position, scratch at my scratchables, and bring my full attention back to the world of New Eden and its many space delights. Scanning around for various details I discover that I have mined a hefty sum of Veldspar - now it is time to go fetch my freight ship, the aptly named Badger. Just as I begin the process of right-clicking empty space, I notice something nestled within the panel that shows attractions nearby - a bright red box signifying an enemy.
Born half of excitement and half of stupidity, a light bulb goes off somewhere in my mind. I reasoned that this red fellow was up to no good, and that my jettisoned can was just the kind of prize that such a player would be looking for; and quite rightly the distance between us was melting away fast. I acted quickly. I warped back to the station and set about preparations for a ninja-like counterattack. Once docked I waited the normal 20 seconds and made my combat ship "Merlin" active. At some point before these events I had attached reinforced plates, boosters, and some very impressive missile launchers - I felt tough, I looked tough, and now I was about to go beat up a girl - like a real man.
With anticipation I undocked and lingered around the space station for a few minutes, until finally I decided it was time enough to head back to "Asteroid Belt IV". My warp drive activated and I hurtled off into space, my heart mildly racing, and my mind alert and concentrated. After a few seconds the asteroid field came into full view, and sure enough there was the red highlighted character. Taking a deep breath I approached, enabling my boosters - because I was the type of guy to bring "Need for Speed" style nitro to Eve Online.
After what seemed an eternity I came face to face with the red character, and sure enough my initial thoughts were proven correct - the first ship was geared for combat, but this lazy, lethargic thing was a mule, a floating trailer with which to steal the majority of my ore. With a flutter of anger, I targeted the ship and then activated all four of my active turrets - a flutter of missiles and lead illuminated the screen and came crashing onto my enemy; their shields halved, and I congratulated myself for being such a daring pilot - and then the ship disappeared. At first I believed that my turrets had finished the job with haste, but then I started to realise that this wasn't the case. They had warped out.
With panic I right-clicked and opted to warp to the one station in the system with a plan to hide out. Within a few moments I came back to the familiar sight of the hulking structure that was the hub of the galaxy and achingly made my way towards the "dock" button. And then cold fear spread throughout my body. Just as I requested permission to come aboard, a message informed me that my aggression had been noted and I was denied access for a further eight minutes. Oh no. And then the red marked ship appeared on the navigation panel. Oh shit. A rocket came hurtling towards my spacecraft and melted my shield away with ease - a second one started an impressive orange blaze. I didn't even see the third one, my ship was destroyed with all of three hits and I was reduced to a shell of former "Merlin" marauding glory. I dared to dream, I dared to punch above my weight, and now here I was, a pod person, I would be crying if it wasn't for the insurance policy I had just taken out on my Arthurian wizard ship. Party time!
A Little Help from My Friends
It is my third week returning back to Eve Online and I find myself ever-more addicted to the delights of space. From running level 1 missions to freighting my ore to the highest bidding space station several jumps away, I am finally feeling immersed in the game like never before. My skills are slowly establishing themselves, although not in a particular specialised path but in a route suited to the type of activities I am currently enjoying. One thing however which is hindering my experience is the fact that in the previous weeks I have yet to strike up any kind of friendship or connection with other players. This is about to change.
I'm getting the feeling that I am a bit of creepy loner in Eve. I go about my daily tasks, running missions, collecting ore and the like, whilst watching conversations unfold in "Local" and "Rookie". I'm like Robin Williams in One Hour Photo, peering into other folks lives with perverse interest, eyeing up their avatars and mentally cutting and sticking my face on top of theirs - it won't be long before I'm throwing excrement and other fluids at my monitor through fits of giggly tears. Things are getting desperate and I don't want to be alone anymore.
And so I go about my business, mining for ore, and shooting things out of the sky, all the while keeping informed of the happenings in the "Recruitment" channel looking for that special someone that will brighten my space dwelling days. Adverts come and go, all proclaiming to be the next best thing in Eve Online Corp'ery but all lead to pointless nasal-dwelling conversations about paths, specialisations, and strict time tables to be kept to. Ho hum.
I am sad, I am lonely, and I need anything - just a little contact. Then a miracle happens. Floating around Asteroid Belt IV, as is my usual haunt, I peer into the scrolling wonder of "Local" and there like a sign from the heavens is a simple question "Any of you newbs' want a corp?". Holy Jesus, Buddha, Shiva and Allah, my non-specific prayers have been answered. With excitement I thumb at the keyboard "I am a newbie and I want a corp PLZ" I add the capitals to increase dramatic effect. You never know there may be room for an amateur-dramatic in New Eden.
The next few moments are magical. The recruiter tells me of his corporation; their morals; their activities; what they do and what they want to do - and at no time am I told to specialise or set a strict timetable of when I will and won't be active, the only overriding sentiment is "we will help you learn" I had found the equivalent of Barney the Dinosaur in Eve Online, and I frikkin' loved it.
I was told to head to search for the name of the corporation and then click the "Request to Join" button and then I was a shoe-in. And I was. Moments later I was invited into the group specific chat channel and further to social nirvana. Everyone knew my name, they said "Hi" and asked me "Where you from bro?" They even collectively got excited about having an English member. I in turn dialled up my British sensibilities, forgetting that my regional dialect sounds more akin to a swamp monster. I was wanted, accepted, with others, and oh my god they did mining missions on a Monday. Jackpot baby!
Don't Look Back Annie!
The one drawback of joining others in this apparently "multiplayer" game was that their headquarters was based 15 jumps away from my current location. I was told that to enjoy the corp-lifestyle it would be better to pack up my things and head to the centre of operations. In truth I was sad to let go of my current location - it was home, it may have been a centre for newbies but I liked that, I liked the numerous missions, and the general safety of it all. Here I was being asked to head to the altogether scary sounding Ghesis and 0.6 sec space. Sucking it up however, I stripped my active ships, disassembled my Banthar and Merlin, sold the remaining six (all won in missions) and packed everything neatly into my ever-useful Badger: the U-Haul of Eve Online. I was ready to leave.
I exited the station and upon entering space I saw a familiar sight, a red box with a name that rung so many bells - this time however it was attached to a freight ship. How interesting. Quickly I re-entered the space station, unpacked and equipped my Merlin and decided to go out with a, quite literal, bang.
I undocked once more but this time the red box was gone, clutching at my mouse, I right-clicked and began searching the asteroid belts for clues (LA Noire may have affected me a little too much). After a minute or so I warped into my mining paradise, asteroid belt IV, and there sure enough was my target. Rather oddly however, the ship wasn't near a cargo container. Neither was it doing much. It simply hung in space, lifeless and motionless. Was it link-dead? Perhaps AFK? I was going to find out.
I activated my boosters and rocketed towards the enemy; the distance melted away and I began to target. Not long left now: 12k, 11k, 10k. Finally I came into range where my turrets could do damage, and then I opened fire. It was a glorious mess of missiles and iron charges, their shields surrendered quickly like the French, their hull was breached like the scene from "Scum" and I emerged victorious and with oodles of revenge. I didn't even stop to loot, I simply looked at the mess I had created, smiled broadly and physically raised my arms in a long bow like pose and proclaimed "Booya bitch!" and then I warped out and back towards my Badger.
I moved quickly. Setting my destination, I warped as quickly as possible and forgot about this place I once called home. I was surely a wanted man, and the conversation I had just accepted contained many threats and obscene gestures. I found it amusing and toasted my new future with others. After 20 minutes of non-stop right-clicking I finally started to come close to the corporation’s headquarters. At last I could rest my weary bones, and finally get some shut eye, it was getting darn late.
The next morning I arose from my slumber, red eyed and achy, but excited. I made the miniscule journey from bed to comfy chair and started the process of logging into Eve. After clicking a dozen or so times I was back into the perpetual darkness of the game. I quickly scanned around for any new developments, some skills had been learnt, and also I had Eve Mail. I was quite excited.
In the tab marked "Corp" I had 3 messages, one a simple welcome, the second a notice about "Mondays mining will still go ahead as normal" and a third informed me of a war. What? We were at war? This isn't 20th century Europe; I didn't know this game even had such a thing. And yet here I was, a foot soldier in a conflict between a corporation I had just joined, and one I had no clue of, but wait, that name, I had seen that name before.
Quickly I searched for people within Eve Online, and came up with my desired target, right clicking I looked with haste through their profile. And then my heart sank. What had I done? The person I was searching was the red boxed enemy, and they just happened to be in the corporation that was now committed to warfare. Had I inadvertently started this conflict? Had I brought bloodshed to my new friends? I was a mixture of pride and guilt. What if they found out? What if they kicked me out? There was only one thing to do, I entered the corporation chat channel and addressed the remaining online players "LET'S MOTHER EFFING KILL THESE BITTTTTCHESSS!"
Join me next week as I continue to chronicle my misadventures throughout Eve Online.