EVE Online celebrated its thirteenth year anniversary in 2016. And for those thirteen years, it’s been a game that requires a subscription to play long term. All of that changed several weeks ago when the franchise announced a Free-to-Play (F2P) model that now supports permanent character slots. Not a timed trial. You can play for free with restrictions related to the level of ships and components you can equip. However, none of the restrictions prohibit having an enjoyable, meaningful and engaging experience.
The EVE community has embraced the change and is welcoming new players with open arms. For all the reputation of it being a dog-eat-dog world, I’ve always found the community helpful with advice and assistance. However, once you’re out among them… be prepared to defend yourself.
As far as game mechanics go, you can’t compare Star Citizen and EVE Online. However, I think there are things from an attitude and frame of mind, Star Citizen players could benefit from by playing a bit of EVE. And now that it has a great F2P model, there’s no time like the present!
TOP 10 THINGS SC PLAYERS CAN LEARN FROM EVE
10 – Fun is What You Make It
While EVE has a mission system, sandbox games aren’t intended to lead you by the nose to the “fun bits.” There’s a reliance on emergent gameplay where other players are part of the content ala cart menu. I have the impression that Star Citizen will have considerably more missions and mission diversity than EVE. That said, if you’re not finding a set of missions or a zone to your taste, pick up your toys and go elsewhere. It’s not a linear experience. The only impediment to new adventures is you.
9 – Be Self-Reliant
Playing in groups and roaming around in multi-crew ships will be exciting but shouldn’t be your only option. Busy people trying to squeeze in game time want to be productive when the opportunity arises. EVE prepares you to do things in a group or alone. Sometimes it’s as simple as knowing how to reconfigure your loadout to be self sufficient for a particular task. EVE is about being open minded, shrewd, adaptable and smart with your time.
8 – Have an Income Stream
It’s all fun and games until you’re broke. I can’t tell you the number of games I’ve played where friends and acquaintances are higher level and have better gear that I do, but are flat broke. My professions will always be higher and my pockets more flush. Even if PVP and pirating is all you want to do, be smart about planning another income stream. You are going to lose ships. You are going to lose goods. You are going to fail missions. Insurance doesn’t cover fuel, ammunition, medical bills, etc. Being a sandbox game, EVE fosters the mentality that you can dabble in various activities to make up the whole of your gaming experience. Veteran PVP players have a side gig that pays their upkeep.
7 – You Will Lose and You Will Die!
If death as certainty feels too harsh, you might as well bail now. The revamped New Player Experience (NPE) for EVE has finally realized it’s best to teach that to players early! Within the first few missions the tutorial sets up a no-win scenario. No bones about it, you’re going to have your ship blown to bits. People are startled at first. WTF! It’s a tutorial??? This is a valuable lesson and starts you down the road of being desensitized to death in space. It’s not the end of the world. You prepare yourself for success but sometimes it’s not your day. Someone got the jump on you. You misclicked at the worst possible moment and BAM your corpse is floating in space. Get over it. Get used to it.
6 – Know Your Adversary
It takes time but part of surviving in EVE is about sizing up opponents. The faster you can identify your opponent’s ship, the sooner it can inform your combat strategy. It’s not always about size. Is there a weakness you can exploit based on your ship’s loadout? What is their loadout likely to be? If nothing else, it can alert you to a lost cause in time for you to run before it’s too late.
5 – Situational Awareness is Key
EVE is the best MMO training ground I know of for learning to be situationally aware. I’m not a PVP player even though I play MMOs on PVP servers. I like the added thrill of having to be prepared. On some level, I must enjoy trying to outsmart would-be aggressors. You can survive solo in low security zones and suffer few losses IF you pay attention. Who’s in local chat? Any smack talk taking place? If so, who are the aggressors involved? Did you remember to scan before heading in that direction? No one cares about your tears in EVE. If you fail it’s on you. You weren’t prepared. Didn’t comprehend the risks. Or took a calculated risk and today you lost.
4 – Remain Calm Under Pressure
You panic. You die. This takes practice.The more you face heart pounding blood racing moments, the better equipped you are to deal with it the next time. Even doing PVE, EVE dishes out plenty of practice maintaining your composure while your ship is melting out from under you.
3 – Know When to Run
It’s always better to live to fight another day. Even minus permadeath in EVE, people don’t like having their fancy ships blown to bits. Over time you learn the limitations of your ships and how much time you have to flee successfully, versus going boom in the night. At the very least, you get tossed a rookie ship when yours is destroyed. So even as a complete noob, you can keep rushing into the breach until you do better.
2 – Information is King
Similar to the ARK Starmap, EVE has a detailed map of it’s universe. What’s happening in a system can change at any given time based on player activity. Savvy players use realtime maps managed by fans such as http://evemaps.dotlan.net/ to stay abreast of current events. In most cases, there’s more than one way to reach a destination. Why risk flying through a conflict zone if you can take a different route? Veteran players rarely rely on the automatic route planning done by the game engine. Being lazy is an easy way to get yourself killed or goods stolen. You learn to take the time to do research before undocking your ship.
1 – Don’t Fly What You Can’t Afford to Lose
This is the universal #1 rule in EVE Online. Don’t fly it, if you can’t afford to lose it and that includes whatever it’s carrying! Many of the newsworthy headlines people see coming out of EVE are about mega losses. Assets that took someone or an organization many months, if not years to accumulate, having suddenly gone up in smoke. Rage quitting in EVE is mostly about people losing what they couldn’t bear losing and therefore shouldn’t have undocked.
LOTS OF TIME TO PARTAKE IN THE MADNESS THAT IS EVE
We’ve got time before a full release of Star Citizen and likely months before Alpha 3.0. Ignore all the “EVE is a spreadsheet” game analogies and give the free account option a try. There’s much to be learned about being mentally and emotionally prepared to play a sandbox game where you can lose what you’ve worked for.
There are organizations and chat channels specifically for Newbros – what the community has dubbed new players. More importantly, there are organizations and streams focusing on what new players can do using the F2P accounts so they know how to advise you. You’ve got nothing to lose but a bit of game time.
Here’s the stream I’d recommend most. Rush and crew have taken the time to assess, document and provide ship loadouts for F2P accounts for PVE, PVP and industry careers. They’ve especially focused on industry, knowing that everyone needs to earn a living in game, regardless of the type of content you enjoy most. Gotta pay for those space toys. They even have a Newbros organization you can join. The stream chat is very helpful too. You can also get extra rewards for your F2P account by getting a referral code from a subscribed player. Hit up Rush for his referral number.