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Quick Thoughts About Eve

29 Aug

Life has been busy of late and I’ve been remiss in posting.  Of course, it will only get worse in the next few weeks as Potshot and Mrs. Potshot packup and make an RL move.  Talk about grindy.

I, like many others I suspect, got lured back into Eve when the five free days offer came up last month.  Being a bit bored with current MMOs and while waiting for the next great thing (if there is one this year) I’ve been spending more time in Eve.  What really set me off lately was Wilhelm’s experience with two boxing Eve.  More to the point, one of the commenters to his post explained that all you needed to do was launch the same client twice and log on and you can “two box” on one computer.  Of course you need two fully paid accounts to do it, but on my system it works fine switching back and forth in windowed mode.  Its been so interesting that I’m considering adding a second monitor just so I can keep both windows up at the same time.

At some point, I got over the hump as it were.  I had acquired enough skill points and game knowledge to increase the efficiency of my sessions.  I wasn’t getting blown up all the time, nor was I always broke.  Still it wasn’t completely a “must play Eve all the time” feeling yet.  Two boxing has changed that.

It might be that running two sessions simultaneously requires twice the input Eve ordinarily requires.  For those multitaskers with short attentions spans among us (you know who you are), this is a godsend.  There’s alwasy some twiddling or research to be done.  Simply there is more activity so I feel more plugged into the game.

Being a bit broke and wanting to only get my feet wet in the two ship set up, I thought I’d stick to mining for a while to skill up my new Minmatar to go along with the Caldari main I’ve been working on for a while.  After working with them both for a while now, I have a few general impressions:

Since the Revelations II release, starting out is much more friendly than it used to be, or so it seems to me.  I have no historical evidence, but I think you start out with more skills under your belt which seems to make getting up and running sustainably much easier.

Mining, that bedrock profession (pun intended), in Eve is unlike resource gathering in any other MMO that I’ve seen.  This is the only game I’ve played where any gathering activity truly scaled with your ability.  As you increase proficiency and increase the size of your ship(s) and their loadout, you can gather more and more material more quickly from the same “resource node” aka asteroid.

If I wanted to, I could continue to harvest a relatively common ore type like Veldspar till the Gurista come home.  I could park a very large vessel with highly efficient mining equipment in the safest 1.0 space zone and harvest to my hearts content and be rewarded for it.  Not richly, but rewarded nonetheless.  I would be awfully hardpressed to make it worthwhile in WoW harvesting copper with my 50cp mining pick that I’ve had since I was level 5.

In other games where the yield from nodes is fixed (perhaps within a small range) with a relatively slow respawn rate, a power miner would have to traverse the countryside trying to grab as many nodes as possible in order to fill up his cargo hold.  You really can’t leverage skill or advancement as a substitute for time.  In WoW, harvesting 1000 copper ore takes as long if you’re Level 5 as if you were Level 70. 

In Eve, the only limits on the resources available from the node are 1) the mass of the asteroid (which, if not consumed, regrow slowly) and 2) the efficiency of your harvesting apparatus.  Better skill = better equipment = higher yield per time played.  This is good.

In just a few days, my little mining gang of me and myself are starting to develop specialization:  One character can pilot an industrial ship for hauling large loads while the other mines and tears off to dispatch the occasional rat.  One has a relatively high refining skill, so that character can efficiently reprocess the ore into valuable materials, and all of this can be coordinated through the common hanger at corporate HQ.

Another impression.  Scalable security space.  The security of Eve zones ranges from 1.0 civilized, governed, law abiding space to 0.0 anarchy.  Our corporate HQ is in 0.6 or just this side of the tracks.  I’ve been mining just one jump away in 0.7 space where I seem to get harassed less and travel time isn’t appreciably increased.  I can choose how “safe” I want to feel by zone.  Just because I might have quite a few skill points or something more advanced than the noob ship doesn’t mean I don’t have anything to do in safe space.

Finally, the Market.  Unlike other MMOs and presumably in a nod to “realism” goods purchased off the market aren’t magically delivered Acme-fashion to some warp-distorted mailbox out of which you can pull a ship or a horse or a complete set of armor or a few thousand tons of ore, etc.  In Eve, you have to go pick up your purchase where its located or contract to have someone deliver it.

This is good and bad. 

Bad if you want instant gratification because sometimes the best “bargain” is 15 jumps away in less secure space.  Buy the item, set your destination, go defrost a large turkey, cook it eat it, do the washing up, sleep off the triptophan, then come back and watch the last few jumps of your journey to your prize.  Voila.  Space is, well, mostly space and a lot of it.

Good because this regionalism allows you to exploit arbitrage opportunities.  For me, that means the mythical “profession” of the trader is a viable virtual lifestyle.

Case in point, after I inadvertently blew 1.9 million ISK on clone that will last me the rest of my virtual and physical life (more on that later), I decided I needed to ramp up the mining operations to recoup.  Geared up with what I had left in the bank I quickly got to the point where I could afford a Badger industrial hauling ship and got the skill trained.   Then, I started making bigger runs more quickly using it to haul in the ore from the asteroid belt.

I was somewhat dismayed to see that while the ore I was mining was nicely valued elsewhere, the local buy orders were woefully inadequate (40-60% below regional average price).  Here’s where Eve’s market’s depth shines.  You can drill into price trends and history as well as sorting and searching through buy orders.  I was able to find a buyer just 1 jump away that was willing to buy at a 5% premium and buying scads of the stuff.  With the Badger and a modest frigate mining, I can make about 3 full loads in a typical evening’s work while I do other things. 

This is OK.  I don’t feel bad about working diligently and intelligently in a virtual world as long as I get back some of that time to attend to RL which is always important during the week.  Pack a box, mine some ore, tape a box, make an ore haul, clean out the cat box, fight a pirate, etc.

While the Badger takes a load to market, my frigate keeps mining away.  When the Badger returns, it starts mining and collects the ore which the frigate has offloaded to a jet can.  Lather, rinse and repeat.  A few more nights of this and I should have enough ISK and skills for my two pilots to do upgrades.  Go me.

More as this develops.

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5 Comments

Posted by on August 29, 2007 in Eve Online

 

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5 responses to “Quick Thoughts About Eve

  1. syncaine

    August 29, 2007 at 2:55 pm

    Good write up Potshot. I use exactly the same setup, I have two accounts, one being a miner and the other using a Badger. My Badger pilot however is my ‘main’ and I also use him for combat missions. The miner is used less often now as he is training up his Learning skills and can only pilot a frigate. He has high mining/refining skills from character creation, but not much beyond that.

    I just recently started ‘playing’ the market by checking price trends and location prices. My Corp (MILK) also does trading runs with a freighter and combat pilots for protection. That’s always a fun time, and very rewarding.

    EVE has amazing depth, and each day the game gets more fun as it unfolds.

     
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