EVE Online is, essentially, a big sandbox full of toys given to us by Icelandic developers CCP. Some 500,000 capsuleers live in this sandbox and get up to various forms of mischief, dastardly deeds, mining, farming , politics and all sorts. These are some of my stories. They are limited to my own experiences, a tiny fraction of what actually goes on in the vast galaxy of New Eden.
Recollections: In which I suffer my first loss in EVE
This is an early story from my first days in EVE Online. It’s, perhaps, not example of how I am bad at EVE. Rather I see this as an example of a new, inexperienced player learning the hard way about the realities of a New Eden where anything goes.
As CCP Soundwave once said about the EVE experience for newbies: “Welcome to EVE Online. Here’s your Rubix cube, go fuck yourself.”
It’s 2010, I’ve just created my account. I followed the basic (at the time) tutorials doing some combat missions, mining, industry type stuff and generally just trying everything. Combat missions were fun but I just wasn’t making that much ISK from them. After doing a trade mission I realised I could make more money moving stuff around to sell. A plan formulated: Haul stuff around to make ISK, use that ISK to buy more stuff to trade, repeat. Use the profits to buy a better ship and do more missions. Genius Ithica, genius.
The Bestower seemed to have the largest cargohold and, most importantly, had Best in the name and therefore must be good. So in went the skill book and before too long I was the proud owner of my very own Bestower, Francis. I remember when I first boarded it from my pod and being amazed at the sheer size of this ship. It was massive. Compared to my little frigates it was a monster.
I quickly set about becoming the next EVE magnate. I would buy trade items for a low price and haul them around selling at higher prices. I was bringing in the money. Soon I was able to scrape enough off the top to upgrade my frigate to a Coercer, a destroyer. How I would rip through combat sites now, killing all the NPC frigates with little worry that my powerful destroyer would take anything more than a few scratches.
I kept up the hauling bringing in more money. My target was an Omen. My entire justification to wanting an Omen was that it looked cool. That’s all I needed. I was only a little short when I spotted a deal that could make me the difference plus extra. I poured my entire savings into as much Antibiotics as I could fit in my cargohold, some 4.1 million ISK and set off on a fateful journey that would soon spell the end to Francis.
My autopilot set I started jumping. I had figured out quite quickly that the autopilot would warp me to 15km and slowboat in so I’d taken to just manually jumping. I looked at my route, twelve jumps or so, shouldn’t take me that long. I was vaguely aware of system security status but I didn’t really understand what it meant at this point. My route, it seemed was going through a “low-sec” system. ‘No problem’, I thought ‘It’s only one jump, I’ll be in and out before anyone knows’.
And so, Francis the faithful Bestower jumped blindly into my first ever orange system. I landed on the other side and didn’t immediately spot a problem. I saw my out gate and clicked to begin warp. Suddenly my client started bleeping as I was yellow-boxed by a waiting Harbinger. I frantically activated my 1MN Afterburner I and my Small Hull Repairer I as Francis slowly aligned. Within moments Francis was no more.
All my savings along with my hopes and dreams of an illustrious trading career were gone. Vaporised in a cloud of space dust. Many hours of hauling and saving and trading, all gone. I limped back to my faithful destroyer and continued my missions, hoping to earn back some money. Eventually when speaking of my desire to fly an Omen in the Amarr chat channel, asking people how to fit it and so on, I was asked if I had one? I replied in the negative and told them my story and how I was saving up again to afford it. Some kind soul told me to check my wallet and, lo, there was enough money to buy an Omen plus fittings and even a little extra.
I did not expect this generosity from a random player in this game when another had, so viciously, taken everything away from me. To give me these millions of ISK which, for me, must have been a huge amount of money and so I was extremely grateful. I bought my Omen and continued using it to sail through missions for many sites to come.
This story exemplifies why I love EVE. I wasn’t ‘told’ “Here’s how you make money” or “Here is how you play this game”. I sort of stumbled onto the idea that I could make money hauling myself from hints set down in the tutorials. I discovered piracy in much the same way. I’ve played many games in the past, MMOs and other genres but owning that Bestower and earning my ISK to buy cool looking ship, I never quite felt an achievement like that. I felt like I was making my own way and doing what I wanted, not what the game wanted. Likewise, when Francis exploded I’d never felt quite so shocked or so sad about losing an item in game. If it where any other game, no doubt I would just have been frustrated at losing something I’d spent ages working on but in EVE I actually felt the loss.
On the flip side, the person who donated the ISK to me showed me that people in EVE can be generous. For a random person to give some of their hard earned money to me, no questions asked, has never happened in a game to me before. No other player in any other MMO had done that for me. It’s a trait I have continued to experience in EVE over the years.
These days, if I spotted a lone Bestower coming through lowsec, would I destroy it? Even knowing it was a new player? I’d think back to how I felt losing my beloved Bestower and smile fondly as I blapped the ever-loving shit out of it. I’d probably go for the pod too. But, as I have done in the past when I see a KM that is clearly a new or inexperience player, I will convo them afterwards and talk to them. Give them some advice and I’ve offered to fly with some of them before. Usually I give them enough ISK to replace their loss and continue what they were doing but with their new knowledge and experience.
The shock of the loss is important and lets you know how EVE works. To ignore them would be a disservice as is giving them significant amounts of ISK. Advice and a learning experience is worth more than money can buy.