So about a month ago, somebody made an account on GiantBomb and made a forum post about free 21-day trials. He's a nice guy, and has helped me greatly, but we're not getting into that yet. Right now, I'm just going to tell you that my 21-day trial ended yesterday, and I've paid for 3 more months of EVE Online. A 10-goddamn-year-old game.
I think blogging about it may be interesting for others to read because I'm not really your average EVE player, I think. You be the judge. Anyways, here's some...
I'm not like your normal Internet-guy "gamer" because I don't really get passionate about stuff. I'm a science fella, and stress hormones/overly emotional states tend to lower one's ability to reason effectively. What's more, they're just videogames, y'all. Not worth getting all worked up over. Life's too short to get into arguments about fake things that happen in fake worlds, unless they're things that, I dunno, propagate racial stereotypes, or whatever. And even then, fuck arguing, just vote against it with your wallet! People won't make insensitive games if you don't buy them... but a lot of people don't have that level of willpower, which is a bummer. Either way, that argument time is time you could spend going for a jog, which would be healthier for all involved. Then again, that's just my opinion (the healthiness thing is scientific fact, however).
Beyond my brain's natural Valium gland, that just produces chill-pill-juice 24/7, the main points about me are as follows: I've finished my 3rd year of a microbiology degree, I'm a medical school hopeful, and on the rare occasions that I get free time, I play video games; one such time is this summer. I've got a relatively active social life, I've held a job as an RA and another as a lifeguard, I'm currently writing a review paper on alpha-blockers as hypertension medications, I've gone out and got drunk, made out with girls who weigh more than I do (150 lbs., for anyone wondering), and overall done a lot of stupid things, some of which I'm not proud of, but most of which I am VERY proud of.
So as you may have gathered, I'm not your average EVE guy, or probably even the average video game player. That's not to sound pompous or to place myself above any of you, it's just to provide context for how my experience and viewpoint on things in general informs my viewpoint on video games. Please let me know if it came off as me telling you how great I am, because it's just meant to tell you how I am. And "how I am" is one cool motherfucker.
The Early Days of My EVE Experience
Due to many people on EVE telling me the best starting point is the tutorial missions, I did those first. I'd say 9 out of 10 people I've met on EVE so far have been eager to help, and really nice about my stupid questions. But come on, how the hell was I supposed to know "BS" means "battleship?" The tutorial missions really give you the basics for getting around, buying/selling stuff, space-fights, how missions work, etc. The story blurbs written for the missions could easily be ignored, but I'm a story fiend most of the time, so I read them. They're mostly generic sci-fi stuff, but with the occasional funny line or two in there to keep me reading. One said something about a group of space-folks who drink blood, and prefer clone-blood because it's the freshest (all players in EVE are "capsuleers," which means their conscience can be loaded into their clones, effectively making them immortal). I've always liked the sense of humor that the Scandinavians tend to bring to the table, but DAMN. They knocked it out of the Weirdness Park with that blood thing.
After finishing the tutorial missions, I applied to the corporation "EVE University," which is meant to help new players learn the ins and outs of the EVE experience via classes and shit. It gets deep and crazy, and since I just got accepted - yes, there's a bit of an application process, folks - I'm not fully aware of how to make the most of it. The cool part is that the university will provide you with a lot of free stuff, so practicing and getting better is less of a financial worry to new players. That's good because at these early stages, you're probably not rolling in the level of sweet, sweet ISK that the veterans are. Completing the tutorial missions will leave you with around 5 million ISK, which isn't much at all. Right now I'm sitting at about 15 million, but that's only because 2 fellas - one in the "GiantBomb" chat channel (word to Tomiko Kawase) - gave me 5 million ISK cash infusions. Like I said, most of the people I've run into are total sweethearts. For comparison, one guy in the GiantBomb channel is raking in like a hundred million per day or something, with no titanic effort on his part. Apparently it's pretty easy to become a baller once your ISK-stackin' infrastructure is in place.
The craziest thing to me, so far, is skill training. To get the skills to do stuff - fly certain ships, use certain equipment, gain bonuses to various things - you have to buy the skill book for it, make sure you have the prerequisite skills trained, then train that skill. Each skill goes to level 5, and while the lower levels can take like 8 minutes, the level 5 of the same skill can be four goddamn days. Luckily, those continue training even when you're logged off. But the crazy part is figuring out a skill plan for what you want to learn or do with your time in EVE. The game has a certificate system built in to give you some guidelines, but past the "core competency" certificates, they get mixed reviews from players. EVE University also has some skill plans. By and large, though, people have told me to just train for whatever I want to do.
The Future's Future
What I want to do in EVE is cook space-drugs. I'm a huge neuropharmacology/psychopharmacology nerd in real life, so it only fits that "boosters" (drugs in EVE) were the one of the most interesting aspects of the game to me. Boosters improve things like your target tracking or shield regeneration while having an increasing probability of side effects (decreased speed, etc.) with increasing strength. If you'll believe it, some people on the forums want to make that shit MORE complicated by incorporating addiction mechanics into the gameplay itself. There are corporations in place that sell the stuff; maybe I'll join one, or maybe I'll make a corporation called "GiantBomb Heavy Industries" that is on that booster tip 24/7. Seems like it would require too much time to run a corporation, though, so maybe I'll stick to missions and stuff for now.
All in all, I've learned a lot, and lasted much longer than most new players. However, I have a shit-ton left to learn, as well. Now, I COULD spend the EVE time using MIT online courses to learn programming or something, but I don't think that would be as entertaining. Maybe close, given the amount of numbers I'm comparing to each other, but not quite. But I'm trying to get into medical school; I've got enough stuff to learn, man. I just wanna shoot things in space, with bigger and better spaceships... and possibly while jacked up on space-drugs.
This game is nuts. This game is FULLY. NUTS. But in the way that somebody like me can get into. I'm "Midnight Browning" on EVE, look for me if you's a playa. "Midnight Brown" was taken, so fuck whoever that is. But you have fantastic name-choosing skills, so you're forgiven.
Also, I'm very interested in how DUST 514 is going to turn out. I hope it's that radical shift in shooters that the staff talked about on the Bombcast whenever. It's hard to keep track of whether it was this week or back in 2010, since I listen to the backlog on bus rides. Feels like a time warp sometimes.
Anyway, thanks for reading! Who am I kidding, nobody made it this far. I may as well post my credit card information here for safe keeping, since nobody's going to see it. I'll maybe update periodically when new things happen, but if you'd rather I don't do that, just say so.