I’ve spent the last few days traveling the stargates between Jita and some forsaken boondocks system full of floating rocks. But these floating rocks keep things toasty and bubbly in my jacuzzi, so I ought not to complain. Fortunately, several friends of mine have covered their ships with serious mining lasers, purchased a few mining drones, and the like, so we make relatively short work of these rocks. I’m also gaining skill in trading, letting me buy and sell all over the place. Days are pretty quiet, and that’s how I like them — fly to the boonies, pick up a load of rocks, set course for Jita, snooze for an hour; drop off rocks, pick up something for the return trip (empty ships are sad and make no profit for anyone), autopilot, snooze… (Hint: A system full of low-ish level miners is a great place to transport low-ish level mining equipment for a quick buck!)
At night, we’ve managed to pull together an informal collective of miners. I’m the only big truck, but that seems sufficient for our scale of operations so far. All of the mixups delaying my larger ship are ironed out now, and I’m proudly flying the Iteron Mark IV “Moocow Pig Rig.” While I’m out there, though, I like to run my mining laser too, because it makes a pretty orange light.
The “optimal” way to develop a character for EVE Online is to spend your first chunks of time learning the “learning” skills. These skills boost your attributes, which then causes you to learn skills at an accelerated rate. It’s all a question of trade-offs — it takes time to learn these skills, but that time will repay itself cumulatively. I’m not committed to EVE for a year or more yet, but I am committed for at least a few months. With that in mind, I opted for a mid-grade bunch of Learning skills (for the EVE geeks, level 4 in the tier 1 skills, level 3 or 4 in the tier 2 skills), used some of my initial donation to slot a bunch of +3 attribute implants, and shot for a 45-60 day “repayment” timeline. I can always go back and pick up the last tiers if it seems that my residency in New Eden will be extended for a very long period.
Choosing to go down a Trader route was far more difficult than I’d expected. Not the least problem is that all five attributes are going to come into direct play — Intelligence and Memory serve as the basis for most learning, Willpower and Perception are key for learning to pilot larger ships and operate their systems, and Charisma is vital for trading. Oops! Your first 1.6 million skill points are learned at double speed, so I’m picking up as many lower-cost skills as I can in this time window, which will be closing this week, alas. Trade skills have let me reduce the taxes paid on sales (from 1% to 0.6% at Accounting IV), broker fees (from 1% to 0.8% at Broker Relations IV), have more open buy and sell orders, manipulate orders from distant systems, and even place orders remotely. I’ve learned to pilot ships through the Gallente Industrial IV skill — training Indy V will be my first task after the 1.6M point. I’ve also learned how to employ MicroWarpDrives to make flying my ships a little faster. (I didn’t name it “Moocow” for nothing. It accelerates, moves, and steers like a large bovine.) I’m still hanging out in safe space, but I have a Stasis Webifier slotted to help deal with any pesky pirates down the road. And then, for something to swap off to when trading is slow, I picked up the ability to control 3 scout drones and equipped an Imicus frigate with a turret, a salvager 1, and a few Hobgoblin drones so that I can tag along on combat missions (from a safe distance, of course) and pick up the odd knick-knack for sale.
A few weeks in, I have to report that I’m enjoying EVE greatly.