Tuesday, October 29, 2013

IRL and MMOing

I haven't played EVE online in several days, except to log on to check skill queues and mail really quick. I'm in college, work a ton (all hail the glory of the Starbucks Empire!), have a social life (what's that???), and am very active in my community. On top of that, a buddy I served in the Air Force with is moving here and I'm applying for a work study program through the VA.

A familiar nagging thought popped into my head as I was bustling around this weekend tending to RL duties and obligations. Where the hell am I going to find time to keep up with MMOing? 

I love playing, but I can't slack on my RL commitments unless I want to make lattes for the rest of my life and have no social life.

I faced this same problem probably about a year ago when I was in WoW for what was then my final stretch. I was playing the latest expansion (c'mon, pandas? Really?) To get top tiered gear, you had to do an almost unlimited amount of daily quests that were really dreadful, mundane, and time consuming. It would take around two hours a day. And on top of that, I had to be raid ready, doing heroic dungeons, and keeping up with crafting and gathering.

So as I found myself wondering how ever was I going to keep up with playing EVE online, I realized that EVE isn't AT ALL like other MMOs. There is no feeling of "Oh god I gotta log in and do my dailies! Shit, I missed the raid time!!? Will I be kicked from the core raiding group? How am I gonna explain this to my guildies?"

That shit doesn't matter here. There is no pressing objective really forcing you to be logged in to the game all the time, other than -you- simply -wanting- to be online. There are no attendance requirements (at least not that I'm aware of, in our corp) and you can literally be as casual as you want to be. Sure, training the ship types you wanna fly may take some time, but the beautiful thing about EVE is that you just queue up your skills and log the hell out of the game if you want to. You don't have to grind levels or grind to max level. 

I can literally do whatever I want. And I do.

I was chit chatting with one of my corpie buds who has been uber duber helpful with  helping me  (Nordy!) figure out what skills to train and everything, and he suggested we go out and do some 1v1 against each other. "Come on," he said to me. "Sitting around in station is no fun."

"I actually enjoy it." I told him. And it's true. I like staying docked up waiting for fleets, staying lost in all the chat tabs, blabbing with different people about everything and nothing at the same time, role playing, asking questions, everything. 

I got a very, VERY encouraging in game mail from Sentinel VI, saying to not get too discouraged as my last post was a bit QQish with all the losing of ships. He said to find my niche, have fun, and above all else, don't become defined by kill boards. 

So far, I like fleeting with my corpies and just chilling around Egghelende docked up. Still learning what's out there in game for me, and experimenting with different things. But I'm slowly finding my way, and I'm not quitting anytime soon, and I'm having fun. 

I'm flying first class!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Blown to Bits

Do you EVE veteran pilots ever have one of those days where you get almost nothing accomplished other than losing a bunch of ships and dying over and over? Yesterday was my first day like that, and man did it totally stink.

I knew my luck had to run out sometime. A month into the game and I hadn't been podded.. until about 24 hours ago. I wanted to continue my "independent LP earning, plex running" mind set that I had been set on for the past week or so. With my d-scan and finally figuring out how to use the factional warfare button ("there's a factional warfare map?!"), I felt unstoppable. But it pretty much came to a screeching halt after getting blown up three times back to back.

The first time, I got nuked just on my way out to the system I wanted to plex in. By a neutral or something. I don't even know, it happened so fast. I kept my head up and headed back to Egg to reship.  I headed out again to another system to try again. "If at first you don't succeed.."

I headed into another system and checked local. Another good guy was in system, and that was about it. I warped into the novice plex and he was there. "Cool!" I thought. We could team up or something, or watch each others back.. I mean, after all, he's purple.. right? So we're allies? Or something? There was a little under a minute left on the timer so I just orbited. The next thing I knew I was targeted and blown up. And then my pod! I had failed to check local chat upon entering the plex, and I had missed when he asked me to leave. I'd forgotten that LP was distributed based on how many people were in the plex, and Mr. Purple was upset I had come into his plex. Now I know it's considered bad form to try and join in someone uninvited in a plex. But the podding? Really? Was that necessary?

I QQ'd a little, I won't lie. Someone in corp made it a point to talk to him or one of his "superiors" or whatever in his corp, and he convo'd me and apologized and gave me isk for new implants. I too apologized for coming into his plex and failing to see him asking me to leave, and explained that I was new. At least I wasn't trolled.

I went back out again after reshipping AND updating my clone (I'm learning!!), but was caught by a Jaguar. All in all, I lost three punishers yesterday in the matter of about an hour and a half. I felt defeated, sure, but what was even more defeating was the fact that I knew this would be going on for a long time as I still find myself finding my "sea legs". I have to expect to lose ships regularly, and losing everything once you get blown up is still a hard thing to adjust to, especially after coming from other cookie cutter MMOs. It made me question if this game is really for me, the same question that made me end up leaving all those years ago without returning. How can I compete with these vets that have been playing for eight years or something? How can I make isk without dying, to spend on ships that will eventually get blown up? I had to remind myself that we learn more from our failures than we do from our wins. I can't even fathom how many ships out FW leader, or our other corp officers have lost over the years. Probably too many to count.

I logged after that, partlyto frustration, though before I did some good people in my corp gave some uplifting advice and told me to stick with it. "Don't distress! Everyone has days like those in EVE! Keep your chin up!" I'm looking at you, Tigerfish Torpedo and Jericho Willis.

I got back on much later in the evening, and our corp was already in fleet and on the prowl. I joined in a Tormentor and met up with them a few jumps out. We had a decently sized fleet and I was feeling good about things once more. We jumped into an enemy heavy zone and sure enough, battle ensued. I was dead almost instantly. I mean, I literally took like, two hits and was gone. I didn't even have time to broadcast anything. I don't think I've ever actually successfully broadcasted for armor or rep before. I was lucky enough to get my pod out and head back to home station to reship. Again, for the fourth time that day (in which I had only played a little over two hours). On my way back after reshipping, I heard our FC comment "Hey, we didn't lose anyone! Awesome work." I had to break the news. Oh well, I have frigates upon frigates lined up in my hangar. As soon as I rendezvoused with the fleet, they called it a night and started heading home.

Ah well. What are you gonna do? It's frustrating as hell, but I know if I stick with it I can do awesome things in game and maybe one day, all on my one. Maybe. But like my corpies told me, keep my chin up and expect the losses, as much as it sucks. But boy, does losing ships feel lame or what?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

My First Successful Solo Plexing Mission (Sorta)

Isk, isk, isk! 

Upon joining my corp and beginning to get ships blown up on the regular, I realized that I would have a need for tons and tons of isk. Especially when I heard people on comms talking about ships that cost 20 billion. And here I thought I was doing well with 20,000. 

I'll admit, I caved upon started my character and bought a plex for a whopping $17.99. I didn't want to beg friends and corpies for isk, because honestly, what's more f--king annoying in an MMO? I reasoned that I would make it up later after I got a few ships fitted. When I told a friend that I had bought a plex, she gasped and scolded me, explaining to never use real money to buy isk. Yeah yeah, okay. Lesson learned. #eyeroll

So, I got a few ships fitted and did some reading about farming isk. Running missions was lame. Pick up a part from system X and deliver it to system Y in some allotted amount of time. Lame. I also looked up mining. I read over mining for about five minutes before I closed my browser tab. It also sounded lame. Someone had also mentioned playing the market and working on industry. Cool, well, where am I going to get the isk to start? And how would I even know what to buy or sell, or to craft? I could feel a tension headache forming at the very thought.

"So how the hell am I going to make some isk?" I asked one night on comms. The plex I had purchased sold for around 550k and I was down to about 380k.  ... Mostly because the only thing I knew about clones was to "just get one". I ended up buying clone grade psi, which is the second highest grade clone you can buy, apparently. 

Side note: Can we talk about how high the numbers are with regards to in game currency? I'm by no means dull, but when you start talking about digits in the tens of thousands, millions, billions.. come on, that's too many zeros. 2600? 26000? 26000000000? I tried to give a buddy 30k for implants (wtf are those, anyway?) the other day and only gave him 3,000. I just can't with all these zeroes. 

I finally got the low down on isk: plexing. After some explanation, it sounded pretty fun. You can start those timed event things in a faction warfare system and earn loyalty points you can trade for stuff to sell on the market. Quite a mouthful right there, sure. At first, I eye rolled yet again at the idea. Instead of boring mission running or mining, I would have to risk my ship for a large pay out. I wasn't happy about that, but I had to remind myself that EVE is just that -- always risking your ship for something, whether it be a kill, transporting, or plexing. It's just that high stakes and it was something I would have to get used to. 

I tried about two weeks ago to go plexing, and I died horribly. I can't even remember where exactly I plexed, but I sure as hell didn't do it right. Didn't even check who was around in local, nor did I even know how to use a directional scanner.

I got a plexing tutorial for noobs by my ever helpful corp (love you guys!). Basically: our war targets are mostly in EU time zones, and when you plex in their system, it yields higher LP. So the trick is at such an early phase in the game for a new player flying solo, is to wait for them all to go to bed or go to work and travel through their systems. Oh yeah, and I learned to ALWAYS check local and spam the hell out of my d-scan.

I had a little time to kill, and with the help of a FW map my corp has, I found myself making my way about seven jumps from my home system to Hadozeko. Local was mostly empty, and when I warped to the plex at 10m (yeah!! I remembered!!), no one inside. So I headed in.

It was pretty uneventful, so I did the best I could to practice keeping range from both the ticker thingy and the warp in point. A corpie of mine (probably one of the best PvPers in the game), Shiva Makato, inquired as to where I was and he flew out just to patrol in case I got ganked. As if on queue, a Thrasher came into my plex and was burning towards me. Honestly, I didn't even look at the ship type, I just saw BLINKY ORANGE and warped the f--k out of there. I don't know if I'm even able to take anyone on yet in 1v1 (maybe a capsule..).

Shiva showed up in a Tristan and scared off the Thrasher, and I came back in to run down the timer and collect my LP. He was even kind enough to fly out to give me the full amount awarded. 30k LP! It was a lot in my eyes. I had barely been able to save up 10k from doing piddly novices around our own system.   I was almost drooling. Shiva went to activate a medium and I was able to come in during the last few and got another whopping 43k LP. That's almost enough LP for seven slicers!!

 I was so happy, over such a small triumph. Not only had I ventured into bad guy space and was able to assess whether or not it was safe to plex, but I almost got away with it solo, too. And I made out with some badass LP. Soon, I'll be taking over New Eden, plex by plex. 

Maybe in my dreams!

Monday, October 21, 2013

After probably about a year of going through what every aging MMO player goes through at some point in their life, the dreaded "What do I play now? What's everyone playing now?" I finally settled back into EVE after playing it around three years ago with a friend.

Back then, I had been a WoW player for over four years and was taking a brief break. I wanted to try something new. My friend introduced me into her corp and I was well received, but I couldn't for the life of me get into EVE the way I had gotten into WoW. And the tabs! My god the amount of tabs you had to navigate through were overwhelming.

"I issued you a contract, pick up your new ships!" My corpies would tell me. "Where the f--k is the contract button?" I would mutter to myself while wearily rubbing my eyes on the other side of the computer.

These were the times when the graphics were still primitive, space was just one giant black hole, and there were no captains quarters.

The corp back then was heavily into PvP, which at the beginning sounded awesome. I loved PvP. But it comes with a dire consequence in EVE, once your ship is gone, that thing is GONE. It was high stakes PVP. And the only thing I could really fly were frigates or destroyers, and I often found myself getting yelled at for not tackling something fast enough.

Needless to say I left only about a month after picking it up.

Time came and went, and I cycled through other games restlessly, desperately seeking that feeling that everyone has in their first MMO. I tried Guild Wars 2, Rift, LotRO and eventually went back to WoW.

FFXIV recently came out, and my cousin swore it would be "the new thing". It was awesome, don't get me wrong. Graphics were incredible, cut scenes and story line were great, customization was decent, and the class roles were versatile and challenging. But still, it wasn't enough to keep me logging in and paying that monthly subscription fee. 

I started talking to my friend again (we had been friends for years and years) about my MMO woes. She begged me to get back into EVE with her and her new corp. I groaned and moaned and made up every excuse in the book as to why I didn't want to play. She twisted my arm with a free 21 day game trial. 

So here I am! Just under a month in. I have some experience in the game, since I'd played long ago, but I still basically #havenoideawhatImdoing

Our corp is fantastic, and really, that's what gives this game its soul. The people and the community.  I noticed changes immediately. The graphics are awesome, from the detail of space station to the tunnel through which you travel in warp drive. The captains quarters is a really nice addition, giving your pilot a little something beneath just being a portrait. 

I've been having nothing but fun in our new corp. We are a factional warfare corp based out of Egghelende (sp?) and seem to fleet up just about every night. I love our usual leader, Almity. Everyone in the corp - In Exile - has been more than helpful. They all understand I'm new and that I'm basically just pointing what I can and hoping for the best. Major shout out to my bro Nordeast for putting me on a skill training path. Again, everyone has been really patient and helpful. This game is DEFINITELY an adjustment for anyone who came from more traditional MMOs like WoW. The learning curve is stupid deep.

Speaking of, that's always one thing I really admired about EVE. You can train your skills up even while you're offline. So there's none of that obnoxious "kill 10 spiders and return to me for another quest doing the same thing". 

So that's where I am now! About a month in and very much enjoying it so far. I still have so much to learn, so.. why don't you join me on this noobs journey!?