One of the first things that I ever realized about Eve Online is that I am terrible at it. I get blown up probably once every few days. Sometimes by carelessly wandering into an NPC encounter I can’t hope to win, sometimes by trying to transport expensive mining materials through Low-sec. The best part of it all? I absolutely love being bad at this game. I’ve had more fun being bad at this game than I have being good at almost anything I can think of. Eve is challenging, evolving, and a rush. I’ve only been playing two months at this point and already the girlfriend is sick of hearing about it and my mind is preoccupied with visions of universal domination.
I don’t play like most newbies; many people log in, skip the tutorial and spam chat, asking for the controls. First thing I do when playing a game is spend at least a week researching it. That’s how I found out that in Eve Online, I had a massive amount of options for money. These options were pared down a bit by the fact that I had no Skill Points. So I checked things out and found that the most likely options for me were to start mining, run missions, or join faction war. There are dozens and dozens and hundreds of ways I’m sure that you pro pilots will berate me with as soon as you read this, but those were the choices I saw two months ago. I looked at myself and my play style and realized that I was way too new and bad at this game to try to kill other people, and my first forays into trying to shoot at NPCs ended up being my first ship explosions. I realized very quickly that my options came down to mining. So I fitted up my venture, checked to see how long it would be until I could fly a Retriever, and headed to the first asteroid belt I could find. Then the second… Then the third… I quickly found that any belt I could find was likely to be picked clean. I had rolled Gallente and was still in Couster, the newbie zone, which made mining mildly problematic, because the resources get stripped quickly. I asked around in local what I should do, and somebody came up with a grand idea, I would begin mining in a High-sec island!
For those of you who don’t know, a High-sec island is a piece of space realty that is .5 or higher security status, but the only way to get to it is by going through either Low-sec or Null-sec, effectively cutting it off from the rest of civilization by making it possible for PvPers to gate camp anything that comes through and forcing a bottleneck. This was a definite danger, but the advantage was often easy access to Low-sec ores and low population. It helped that I was only a few jumps from Jita. So I started mining early on in a Venture, doing rather nicely off of whichever ore was the most expensive around me. It took me a while, but eventually both my skills and my assets reached the point where I could get myself into a Retriever. I moved myself into an Iteron V with all the ore I had mined up to that point, and headed off to Jita. I have never been so nervous, my hands were shaking. My eyes are on the overview and scanning the space around me for the three jumps through Low-sec that I’ve got to make it to safety. At this point I’m too new to have trained MWD (Microwarpdrive) and to be honest I didn’t have a clue what they were for quite some time. I make it through the first two without an issue and I’m starting to relax when I jump towards the last gate. There, sitting on the gate, is the worst thing I could have possibly run into, a Rattlesnake. What’s worse? I’m on autopilot because at the time, I had no idea you could warp directly through a stargate. Now I’m sweating, I’m silently urging my little ship on, watching its giant mass slowly, impossibly slowly, inch forward. After about thirty seconds I realize something. The Scorpion is AFK, there’s no one there at all. I could have jumped for joy if I weren’t too lazy to get out of my chair. Still, there was fist pumping and silent cheers. I ended up getting through the jump safely with my cargo intact, making it all the way to Jita and selling off my meager offerings.
After returning to the Sister’s of Eve base, I grab some items to move them back to base of High-sec island profits. I grabbed an extra Venture in case I lost one to rats, and a Catalyst to help me clear them out so I could get back to mining, plus a few mining upgrades for when I leveled up high enough to be able to use them. It wasn’t a whole lot of money in retrospect, but at the time I felt like I was carrying gold by the ton. I jumped back into the void, having made a tidy profit of about 35 million ISK selling the refined ore that I had made. I was pretty ecstatic; I knew that I didn’t have much money according to the movers and shakers of Eve, but this money would allow me to fly and fit a Retriever and be my stepping stone to making more money.
I made my way past the errant Scorpion, throwing a silent prayer that he was still absent and a silent thanks when I made it past him the second time. I was a lot less nervous this time while I was jumping my way back home; I had traversed this side of the gauntlet once and had found it to be even less dangerous. I assumed that nobody would have made it past the Scorpion without either shooting him or having been shot by him. This of course, is the exact logic that got me shot by a Drake just one jump away from safety(http://zkillboard.com/detail/31506308/ ). My shields, armor and structure were gone before I had time to react, before I genuinely even knew what was going on. I was sitting back at the Sisters of Eve’s home base with 22 million ISK just disappeared into the breeze and nothing but a kill mail that I’d never be able to collect sitting in my inbox. I sat there looking at the screen for a moment, realizing I couldn’t even get to my original Venture to make some more money and try to get it back. Then I looked to my wallet, did the math, and realized that I was still winning. I’d made more money than they’d taken from me. I still had plenty of money to fly my mining ship that was going to make me tons of money and eventually allow me to throw bricks of ISK at PvPers until they exploded under the sheer weight. Or something like that. Thinking back on it, I’m pretty sure the Eve bug must have bitten me pretty damn hard.