Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Career Paths, Starting Out, and What Am I Supposed to Do?

How does one start out playing EvE these days? I has been about three years since I last had to think about that. It seems like a lot longer to be honest. It is so far back in the cobwebs of my character's history that I honestly cannot remember what started me out wanting to play. To me Eve is a very content-dense game and I have been around and done so much that can't really remember the early days. I know I mined a lot, in a Navitas. Enough about me.

Something that I have come across in my travels is the masses of new players in the starter systems crying out: "I did the career missions. What now?" Eve is just so enormous that new players encounter face-first the paralysis of choice. This is one of the major problems with Eve, but it is also its strongest selling point.

What draws new players to this Terrible Game (TM)? To being my quest for this answer I began with the main website for Eve Online. www.eveonline.com Things have really changed a lot on the front-page since I was last here. Usually I only navigate here when I need my API key or I want to check out a Dev Blog; and usually the google search brings up the relevant page directly. They have really added a lot of neat content that does fairly well at trying to condense the immense amount of information that is Eve. There are a ton of hyperlinked pages and the inclusion of the interactive 3D maps are really nice. Buried in here are links to the wiki, the forums, and CCP's attempt at a FAQ. Most interesting to me was their attempt at a division of activities into "careers" that players can read up on. There is even a "personality test" that will ask you a series of questions before it displays one of the career paths that the player could like. These career paths are somewhat mirrored in the starting agents located in the beginner systems. Business, Exploration, Military, Advanced Military; but like all of Eve's quests they only provide a minimal introduction to a universe that is staggeringly enormous to a new player fresh out of Start Trek Online or WoW. Still even though these starting missions are better than they were when I started, they could be better. That is a discussion for another time though.

This abundance of information is helpful and all, but I still constantly see confused newbies flying about in their frigates and destroyers going: "What now?" Thinking about it some more I realized that there remains a disconnect between showing new players the beginnings of the game and transitioning them to the point where they create their own paths. Creating ones own path is really what Eve Online is about once you get to the meat of the topic. Yeah, the cookie-cutter "careers" are nice and probably provide a good launch-point; but it is that next step, that hook that sets in your cheek and you cannot get away, that will keep you logging in. For no reason was the saying created: "People never leave Eve, they just take breaks." It is very true.

In an attempt to try and provide at least more information and background to these starter careers I have made an attempt to try and inform players, new and old alike, what to expect and provided generalized paths to follow. These pieces will not be guides per-se, rather my goal was to try and provide a little more direction for a few of the "paths" that are available, show how each path plays its own unique part, and attempt to link each one to the rest. Eve is a game without a built-in win condition defined by the developers. Rather it relies on the players themselves to create their own win-conditions and working out a plan to achieve them. This is a concept that a lot of the new players, and even older players who are in-between goals (bitter-vets), struggle with as primarily win-conditions are spoon-fed left and right by just about every other game on the market.

I will be dedicating the next several posts to each of these "careers" that CCP has developed and go through their core functions, main features, and in general provide a wall of text that explains in depth: progression routes, ways and means, pitfalls to watch out for. But  most importantly - reminding you to have fun.

1) Miner (CCP)
2) Planetary Industrialist (CCP)
3) Salvager (CCP)
4) Explorer (CCP)
5) Manufacturer (CCP)
6) Trader (CCP)
7) Freedom Fighter (CCP)
8) Loyalist (CCP)
9) Bounty Hunter (CCP)
10) Empire Builder (CCP)
11) Pirate (CCP)
13) Fleet Commander (CCP)
14) Player-developed Careers

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