10 Years, 10 Questions: Taking the road less travelled One of the questions that comes up on the New Citizens Q&A forum is â€œWhat do I do now?â€? This arises from players who are well aware of the learning curve, as well as those who have just completed their first rookie mission (and may be throwing things at their screen doing the exploration one!) With this in mind, and considering that many of the guides and posts about EVE career choices tend to point towards large scale PvP in null, or missioning/mining in highsec, I have asked some of the more experienced of the EVE players who have taken different routes to answer a few questions. I hope these replies will provide insight and perhaps inspiration to career choices or activities people may not have yet thought of. Without further ado, let me introduce you to the people who kindly responded to my very long evemail: Caleb Ayrania: Poster of many out there ideas on the forums, owner of the SCC-Lounge, and all round grumpy vet: https://gate.eveonline.com/Profile/Caleb%20Ayrania Chribba: owner of the famed Veldnaught, and known for a fondness for all things rock-like: https://gate.eveonline.com/Profile/Chribba Entity: Collector of all things sparkly, rumour has it if you shake him upside down, T2 BPOs fall like small change out of his pockets: https://gate.eveonline.com/Profile/Entity Grendell: One of the few trusted third parties in Eve for holding isk, collateral and other things you do not usually let even your alts get their hands on! https://gate.eveonline.com/Profile/Grendell Saulvin: Industrialist Extraordinaire, Fount of knowledge on all sorts of weird industrial related calculations: https://gate.eveonline.com/Profile/Saulvin TornSoul: Lottery magnate, Banker, Fund manager, and allegedly quite friendly to boot! https://gate.eveonline.com/Profile/TornSoul
Part one of this interview contains answers from Chribba, Tornsoul and Saulvin, and in part two, we have Caleb Ayrania and Entity along with Grendell
1) When did you first start playing Eve Online? CALEB AYRANIA: I started way back in beta phase 3, so November 2002 if I remember correctly. I was invited by a friend into a group, which previously played Jump Gate, Merchants Alliance, and they had a lot of really useful experience in this type of game. When the game launched, I was delayed by 2-3 weeks due to problems with delivery of the game (A few countries had similar problems). ENTITY: I was in Beta, around Beta 6 or so, which was February 2003. As for this character, created on 2003.05.15 14:26:00, almost 2 weeks after launch, mostly because the company responsible for importing it in my country messed up, or I would have been there on day 1. GRENDELL: Summer 2003
2) What is the longest break you have taken since starting EVE? CALEB AYRANIA: I had a long wife aggro break lasting about 2 years I believe. It was the period where my son was born; my EVE time started getting strained and eventually became a long break ENTITY: 3 months, involuntarily. GRENDELL: 3 months when on a sailing vacation.
3) One of the problems facing new players, which does not receive much attention, is the problem of finding your path in EVE. As you all started when EVE was less established, could you give some details of what inspired you, and led you to take the path you have ended up on? CALEB AYRANIA: The same thing that convinced me to sign up for the beta is what has kept me engaged; The unique little feature that EVE is the only one to have used to perfection a buy AND sell order option. This was just like in real markets and I was already interested a little bit in stock trading in real life. My time in EVE made that even stronger and thus actually inspiration came just as much from EVE to RL as from RL to EVE. ENTITY: In the first days I probably did what everyone did: Mine valuable ore in null/lowsec (this was easier back then because even a 0.3 system could have stuff like Bistot) to get some starting money. However, I soon realized trading was infinitely more profitable, so I started skipping corp mining ops, instead trading the high profit (back then NPC-seeded) tradegoods such as Robotics, Spiced Wine, Long-limbed Roes, etc., because mining was a waste of time considering by the time 3 people in my corp mined 1M ISK, I made 10M in trades.
I eventually started meta-gaming, speculating on patch changes. This today still remains the quickest way to get filthy rich, but is also a huge risk, so I don't recommend this unless you have copious amounts of spare ISK. GRENDELL: I was originally trying to get away from the stress of running a high profile pirate corp. I was becoming jaded with the pvp side of Eve, and I felt I had achieved everything I wanted. I was in need of a big change, which led me down a road which had me enjoying a completely different side of Eve. 4) What keeps you going during those slow times, where you are waiting for important skills, or when you are just waiting out manufacturing time? CALEB AYRANIA: Back in the distant past, the issue with skill training was rather different. You had to plan and alarm clock up and change skills if you wanted optimal skilling. It was just how things were done. Now with skill queue the stress is much reduced. The waiting is actually a relief of sorts. A luxury of being an old player is also that you were and are often ahead of demands. So what you are trying out at one time takes about the time needed to have skilled up. Those big things are goals where you usually need learn a lot or save a lot before you can actually use things, so it tends to even out. Flying a Titan skill wise is not the same as knowing how to use it. The same is true with most skills, my experience being mostly in markets and industry. ENTITY: Collecting every single item in the game has kept me interested all this time. There is always the next item to get. It is necessary to have goals ahead of you in EVE, and this one is likely always going to stay ahead. GRENDELL: I’ve never really had much downtime in eve. I spread myself out in many projects, so there is always something for me to do. 5) Eve is often portrayed as a big group play MMO, primarily focused on ruthless no holds barred PvP and sov gameplay. You have each taken a different route than this. You have also all taken paths outside of the usual "Grind missions" "Grind incursions" "Grind mining" PvE options players are aware of. What advice would you give to a new, or older player, who loves this game, but feels they do not fit into the perceived styles in EVE? CALEB AYRANIA: Well, the novelty of shinies and even blowing things up runs dry after a few years I would say. When you started back in the day, and especially with the very intimate relationship with devs back then, you get into the metagame aspects rather fast. This is something that usually seems to take a few years for many players. Without delving too much on details of my EVE history, I got rather active running a corp, and later building "alliances", well they were not really there at first, but we worked without the mechanics, and built affiliations through networks. Especially when T2 launched things got interesting. We had to find many hacks to work around missing features and functionality. So, the socializing was pretty good and still things had not grown "big". Once you start this aspect, which CCP Seagull has coined “instigators” in the CSM, you really see grinding as something else. It is 3
what you do when you are replying to mails, chatting in channels and managing things. It is funny because usually when you come back to the "client" you forgot what you were up to, or how far you got with it... So eventually, you kinda stop doing that, unless things are quiet. ENTITY: Be creative. Find some hole in the market to fill or something. Chribba's 3rd party service, Somer Blink and Red/Black/Blue Frog Freight are excellent examples of people recognizing a need or business opportunity and successfully capitalizing on it. GRENDELL: I would seriously encourage anybody who has not already tried the economic side of EVE to give it a shot. The economic side of EVE is like no other game I've ever played, it is a work of art on its own, and like the rest of Eve it is only limited by peopleâ€™s imaginations. 6) Outside of the activities for which you are known, what else do you do in Eve? CALEB AYRANIA: I mainly work on experimenting with ideas for EVE, more than actually launching them. I like sharing and consulting with people and see things take on a life without my influence or participation. I spend quite a lot of time following some of the truly amazing EVE players work. Things like Clear Skies or Rooks and Kings blow my mind. Recently I enjoyed the CSM8 election interviews to a degree that shocked me. EVE politics is more engaging and have in many aspects more skilled people than many real life equivalents. The Crossing Zebras interviews were truly like watching really good BBC HardTalk interviews. I hope the next developments will be some cross breed between documentary and education. A lot of that is already around, but I would like to see if there isnâ€™t room for something more out of pod oriented possible. ENTITY: Besides my item collection (http://home.online.nl/ntt/eve/collection/index.html ),Tech2 industry and trading/investing in Limited Edition items. GRENDELL: I actually still pvp when I have time, but I do a lot of consulting on other peoples projects. When I have the time, I also teach some in-game classes.
7) Can you tell us some of your defining moments in Eve so far? CALEB AYRANIA: I think I have to mention three. The first was when I got the chance to be handpicked for the beta version of CSM. That was really inspiring, even though the technologies and formats were rather terrible. That was when I gained the respect for the work that the devs put into the game. Something that keeps me apologetic towards the games flaws. [This was the Council, which predated the CSM as we know it today, it was conducted over IRC. For sample meetings, please see this link from February 2004: http://web.archive.org/web/20040420181614/http://www.evegate.net/exclusives/council021.php This link is from one of the first ones, in September 2003: http://web.archive.org/web/20040306221206/http://www.evegate.net/exclusives/council010.php ] The second was when a real life good friend stole all our corp assets. That was very strange, to experience a game that could disrupt reality in that way. To me that was rather amazing, because it showed me that EVE had something different from other games and activities. The last was my trip
to Iceland to FanFest 09. Experiencing the EVE players, that Zeropunctuation defines as being to geeks what geeks are to normal people, that was like coming home. Well in a rather alcohol soaked way. It is what I think all EVE players should set as a goal, if they want something to really go for. ENTITY: There have been several major events that dramatically influenced my path: I think the one with the most profound impact has to be the transformation of Expanded Cargohold I BPOs to their Tech2 variant with the release of the Red Moon Rising expansion in 2006. This exploded my net worth to the trillion ISK range in an instant. I knew that change would happen 9 months before it did, so I blew -all- of my cash on buying the affected bpos so when RMR happened I had 16 SBA [Shield Boost Amplifier] and 8 Expander bpos. I sold off all the SBA for ~15bn each, I had bought them for 1-2b each as T1. How did I know it was happening 9 months prior? Because they tested that change on the test server, which I noticed. Getting my first 20 billion was also awesome; there is an item, Transcranial Microcontrollers and there was an event, for a short time, you could buy TCMC in empire and sell them to some far-off places. The items were really small (0.15m³) and had like a 7k mark-up on them. These TCMC didn’t last long, however, they came back at some point, but… the catch was, you could only see them if you had them on your market quick bar, and it seemed like it was just me that had done it! For 2 weeks I had exclusive access to the entire universe's supply/demand, lots of Iteron 5 hauling ensued. The market worked differently back then too, everything could be bought and sold, you just needed it on your market quick bar. I got lots of items for base price, like 24k for Domination Webs? Yes please! I also had some interesting adventures in Beta, I even had a nemesis, which turned out for the better in 2004; I was in deep stain then, I met this guy there. If it wasn't for us knowing each other from beta, their corp would have killed my hauler ;) (Which had a billion worth of NAGA corp stuff in it). It's really interesting to see seemingly minor things have a major impact later on in Eve. GRENDELL: There have been quite a few defining moments for me over my time in EVE. The biggest would probably be, going from being a CEO of m0o, to making a full 180 and becoming a well-known trusted 3rd party. m0o a very long time ago was an infamous pirate corp, known for being untrustworthy griefers. It was never the plan to swap, I simply just got jaded with pvp, and needed a change. So I somehow ended up on the other side of the spectrum. Another one would be reaching the 1 trillion mark in peoples isk I was managing that wasn't my own. I've always managed peoples isk to some degree, but that was a milestone for my public investing service. There are many other achievements that I can't even list due to them being confidential dealings that have gone through my 3rd party service.
8) To many small/solo players, the most informative and interesting part of eve is the ingame chat channels. Are there any public channels that you would like to recommend to players? CALEB AYRANIA: The ones that really are relevant to new players are eve-uni and eve-radio. That is where you can jump to all the other resources you need and get into the EVE experience. The specialist rooms people will find when they need to and know a bit more how and where to ask. Also people should at least read one forum area regularly, just like checking the paper for news, no demand for participation just make sure you see what people are talking about. Then join when they are ready. [Eve University Chat Channel is E-Uni, and is listed under Help channels. Eve Radio is Eve-Radio under the Media section in the channel listings]
9) What excites you most about Eve today? CALEB AYRANIA: The fact that has survived 10 years and therefore seems to have enough ambition and potential left to still do things like DUST and WoD. It means there is more than likely 10 more years ahead and I wouldn't miss it for the world. (Not counting potential rage-breaks) ENTITY: Mostly all of the player/dev drama. This game is unique for its drama and scandals, for better or worse. And of course, I am always looking forward to any new shiny stuff for me to collect! GRENDELL: My undying hope that they will one day bring back the old Helios model :)
10) Finally, what would your advice be to the rookie pilot who is interested in the long haul here, but is feeling overwhelmed, and very much in love with the game? CALEB AYRANIA: In Mckennas words FIND THE OTHERS! There is no Solo game in EVE, you can restrict yourself to minimal social interaction but not zero. If you dont want to share your gaming experience with anyone you really should play something else. The pvp and metagame aspects in EVE are just so powerful that it would be like shooting sparrows with nuclear warheads. ENTITY: Join a corporation with interests similar to yours and with plenty of people online at any time. There are many corps out there happy to provide new players with ships and things to do. Other than that, try not to do everything at once and focus skill training on one or two things. Being a jack-of-all-trades is something for later down the line. GRENDELL: My best advice here would be to specialize. Be great at one thing, then grow slowly from there.