These days the world we live in seems pretty grim. You may be wondering if there is something better. If so, you should not jump into EVE Online, because that world makes the real world look like the garden of Eden. Smugglers, pirates, bounty hunters, thieves, scammers, mercenaries and suicide gankers are only some of the threats you will encounter in EVE. There is only one way to die in EVE and that is having your escape pod destroyed. That being said, the number of enemies who want to destroy your precious pod are almost infinite. If you are not discouraged and still interested in playing this game that obviously does something right considering the number of players it has, then I will try to give you a few pointers.
The most important part of surviving in EVE is to get some friends. Join a friendly corporation or alliance, there are plenty to choose from so you should be able to find what you are looking for whether you want a corporation run under communistic principles or pure capitalism, one that requires 24/7 commitment or one with no commitment required at all.
A lot of people believe you need to have countless millions of Skill Points (SP) to compete in EVE, but a pack of frigates will win against a battleship almost every time. In EVE, strength lies in numbers and how well you function as a group. You might be thinking that you can take care of yourself and that you will stay in secure space only, but that would be akin to being suck in your house all day because you are so afraid to go outside that it just doesn't seem worth the effort. Even in high security space there are dangers and the game's "police", called CONCORD, cannot always protect you. You can live like that, but you would be missing out on a lot of things and while life may have been given to you for free, EVE costs money so there is no point in wasting it playing only a small portion of the game.
There are, of course, many things to learn about surviving in EVE but since you can find a good corporation where more experienced players can teach you what you need to know, there is no need for me to go into ship setup, skill training and other such things. I can, however, offer this piece of advice: you will die, and you should be ready for it. Death in EVE is, however, not the end, just a setback. To minimize that setback, the most important part is having a clone that can handle all of your SP. After that, you're going to want to look into having your ship insured.
Even following these steps you can lose a lot in EVE, months of grinding missions or mining asteroids can be undone by someone for no other reason except for the fact that he can and he probably thinks it's pretty funny. Thus surviving in EVE is not just trying to not get killed, it's handling your inevitable demise. All things must come to an end. Even mighty empires fall, and anyone who has been following EVE for the last few years know about Band of Brothers and how they had everything and lost nearly all of it. That's a great example of the gains and losses in EVE.
Therefore it is of utmost importance that your psyche is ready for it. Some of you will handle it well, remember that you are just playing for fun and that all you have lost was some data on a server somewhere in the UK. The problem starts if you know yourself to be the kind of person who can barely handle a loss in a round of Counterstrike. If that's the kind of person you are, then losing months of work within seconds and only being able to watch as your defenseless ship full of valuables explodes can be too much to handle. This is no joke. I know a few people, myself included, who become devastated after a particularly hefty loss. I won't go into details, but one day we woke up and discovered that the war had come to our doorstep, or rather, docking platform and there was nothing else we could do than take what we could and try to get out of there. We didn't make it and lost almost everything. Now I can look back and almost laugh at it, but back then it was no laughing matter.
I did not return to EVE for weeks, but eventually we rebuilt and become stronger than before. I think the most important thing is to have the right goal. If you are playing to have some fun, then you have nothing to fear, there is plenty of fun to be had in EVE. If you are playing to build something, become stronger, more powerful, accumulate more wealth and resources... then you might have a problem the day your carefully constructed house of cards comes crashing down because of some unforeseen event. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with building empires or making tons of money by exclusive mining rights, but if your sole motivation for playing is to expand your material possessions or sphere of influence, then you could potentially go insane when you lose it, just like some real life emperors or high risk capitalists.
I was impressed when I read an interview with someone from Band of Brothers right after they had lost all but a few systems. He said that the war was great fun and there were no hard feelings. It is said that those who possess power are afraid to lose it, but he had realized that the true power was not having the largest number of systems in EVE, but rather being in control of one's emotions and not letting people and events out of your control make you crazy.