A little over a year ago I received my first ever writing assignment for this website. Being a fresh faced youth on a gap year from education I spent the majority of my time begging a number of editors to let me scribble insanity on their pages: Jonathan Wood just happened to accept. What followed was an eight-part epic starring myself as the idiotic boob navigating the wilds of Eve Online. There were moments of joy, there were tears, and there were temper tantrums, but in the end I made it to the end of my two month ordeal and promptly parted ways with Eve Online and on to pastures new – if I even saw so much as another warp gate I would threaten murderous rampage.
You see my relationship with CCP’s creation was a strained one at best. Within the game was something amazing, something so complex and in-depth that it excited every gaming bone in my body, but to counteract this were numerous obstacles in which enjoy the MMO. I read guide after guide, watched YouTube videos, and cruised forums, yet I still didn’t understand the game any better.
In the end I stumbled along for eight weeks making as much sense of the game as I could. I made great friends, and I had some good times, but when my writing assignment finished there was little keeping me; you see my entire experience was not of my own creation but of someone else’s. When starting Eve the difficult nature of the game makes players run to guides and while this is a help, it isn’t necessary a good thing.
When trying any MMO it is important to note that it is a game, and something that should be discovered and explored. My entire time was spent with one eye on the game and the other on Internet advice that seemed to contradict at every turn. While I was trying to make my way through I was being told sternly that I must “choose a job” or I must take on these certain skills, or I must join a Corporation, and this isn’t the greatest way to approach something that is already confusing.
And so with the aforementioned in mind, over the last few months I have been thinking; I have some unfinished business within Eve Online – while I sampled a good majority of the title, I didn’t see it on my own terns, and I definitely didn’t take the time out to explore every avenue for myself. So with this in mind I am heading back to Eve Online for one month; I am a little older, a little wiser, and a little more confident in my ability to wrestle with the game; wish me luck and welcome to Survivor Guy: Returning to Eve
Week 1: One Baby Step at a Time
In the spirit of trying the game afresh, I decided on creating another character – Captain Morrissey shall forever glide motionless through space. One thing that struck me about coming to Eve Online was the difference in character creation. The various factions are described and detailed better, even a handy map shows which start where, and the information that was before hurtled at you like a freight train is now doled out in refined terms. Choosing to be a part of Gallente tribe and heading for the warrior type race I set about sculpting a rather magnificent looking avatar. I shaped the eyebrows to a satisfying point, I added a scar that said “I’m mean yet approachable” and also chiselled the strongest jaw you will ever see – looking back at my online-self I looked like a space fairing Charlton Heston; I needed more flab if it was to be a true portrayal of yours truly.
I feel slightly ashamed to admit it, but I spent almost an hour sculpting the appearance of my character. I believe that there has been rumour and plans to open the game up to third person jaunts through space stations, perhaps this is why I needed to add trousers, but whatever the case I enjoyed feeling like a fashion designer for a brief time. After spending far too long posing my avatar for his profile shot (incidentally I enjoyed the soft mood lighting with a smile that suggested erotic playfulness) I began my second run at New Eden.
I was hurtled into a familiar looking scenario – immediately I could see my ship, a dozen or so rocks and an enemy floating by, sheepishly waiting for death. A tutorial text box lay to the right and the familiar UI that was once my prison detailed itself around me. Instead of clicking the attractive looking “X” I decided to take part in the tutorial, refreshing my memory and learning one or two new tricks. I approach the wreck, I targeted the enemy, and I warped to the space station – all the while the tutorial box congratulated and clapped along like a trained seal, this pleased me.
Whether through a mixture of memory or simple refinement on CCP’s part, I didn’t find the experience quite so daunting this time around. I finished the tutorial missions with ease, set about training a dozen or so skills and began plotting for my future. The finished tutorial brings up a menu in which players can choose a path or a sampler of a certain profession and selecting business I set about finding another agent.
Before, when I had played the game I found the period after the opening stages to be completely overwhelming. While it is true I have played a plethora of sandbox games in the past year, I didn’t expect to be quite so at home with the game. Without looking for guides and determined to muddle my own path through, whatever that may be, I flew the first three mission stages of business up until the introduction of mining. Ah the process of ore extraction, this was an old friend. Equipping a second mining laser I headed towards an asteroid belt and began to work, carefully extracting materials and jettisoning them into a can for later collection. After a few minutes of this I started the process of hauling it back to the station; out of the corner of my eye I saw a yellow highlighted ship float close by – was I in danger? Was this fellow about to steal my precious Veldspar?