EVE Online – The Tutorial

[Addendum: This post refers to the 2006 version of the EVE Online tutorial.  It has since been revamped multiple times.  It still has problems.  Different problems, but problems none the less.]

I have seen EVE Online mentioned in more than a few places over the last two years, so I was aware that it existed, but I did not know anything about the game really. (Not even that little bit about a game you can really “know” without actually playing it.) But after hearing a bit more about it over the last few weeks while going through some MMO podcasts I decided to try it out. I downloaded the software, signed up for the trial account (which does not require a credit card), ran the install and signed in.

Noob Yet Again

Into the game and I know nothing. I know even less than I usually do when I start in on a game, especially an MMO. I have no friends playing, I have not read much about the game, and I have a downloaded copy so I do not even have a back-of-the-box view of the game.

First I have to create a character. I am ignorant on the differences between the races and bloodlines so I choose pretty much at random. This is a first character, which as often as not, ends up being more of an alt than a main for me.

I am Wilhelm Arcturus, a Caldari of the Deteis bloodline. Time to get into the game!

The Tutorial

You start with the tutorial. At several points before and during the tutorial you are told how important it is to complete it. I am all for it. I know nothing, I want to learn, I have a couple of hours free (as recommended), and I am ready to go.

Unfortunately, at several points the tutorial makes me want to uninstall the game and forget I ever heard of EVE Online. The first occasion happens almost immediately.

Hangar? I Don’t Even Know Her!

You start in what I can only describe as a hanger bay. In the middle is an egg-shaped pod. The first thing the tutorial shows is the command bar, called the NeoCom. I am told to open our ship hanger from the NeoCom. In my mind, pod = ship, hangar = where we are. I start looking for a way to open up this hanger. It cannot be done.The button I am really looking for is a few steps further in the tutorial. Nothing, except the tutorial, has the word “hanger” anywhere. I try to skip forward in the tutorial to see if that will give me a clue, but I am told that “The Ship Hanger needs to be open before continuing.”

I spend five minutes trying to solve this puzzle. I want to scream. I am such a noob that I am bogged down three steps into the tutorial. I walk away from the computer to get a drink. I read and re-read the tutorial text.

I finally figure out that the tutorial wants me to click on the ships button on the NeoCom and leave open the window which comes up. The word “hangar” is in no way involved with this button. I have just demonstrated what is a continuing theme in my gaming life: When presented with ambiguity, I will always make the wrong choice or assumption. It never fails.

Pirates, What Pirates?

The tutorial goes on and I manage not to get lost for a while. It takes me out into space and back into the hanger… or whatever it is… again. Then the tutorial starts me on the path to killing a couple of local pirates. This is the first thing in the tutorial I am really up to do. I realize the value of learning all of the basic functions, but going out and popping some pirate scum, which sounds more like fun than learning.

The tutorial tells me to warp out to one of the Deadspace Training Complexes in the system. There are five of them. When I get there, pirates are supposed to be in the vicinity.

When I arrive, there are no pirates. I try the next closest Deadspace Training Complex. No pirates. Given the hanger incident, I think I must have made a mistake again. The tutorial shows you a picture of what you should see on your overview when you come out of warp, which is two pirates. But I see none.

I ask about this on the Rookie Help channel. Somebody helpfully tells me I should follow the tutorial.Somebody else says I need to go to the Deadspace Training Complex. I am pretty sure I did that correctly, but I go back to my starting point and try again with the same result. No pirates.

The tutorial makes a point of mentioning, as you arrive at the Deadspace Training complex, the Ancient Acceleration Gate that you need to use for the next step of the tutorial. Is the “next” step, the step I am on, or something that comes later? Maybe I have to use that. I approach and activate it. It scoots me along to another location. When I get there, the tutorial tells me I need to be at the Deadspace Training Complex to continue. I warp back there. Still no pirates. But then there were no pirates where the acceleration gate sent me either.

I skip ahead in the tutorial hoping to get a clue as to what I should be doing to make pirates appear. The tutorial eventually tells me to use the Acceleration Gate, assuming that I have slain my two pirates and am ready for a bigger challenge. I float in space for about ten minutes hopping between two of the training complexes in the hope that some pirates will show up. They do not show up.

Still No Pirates!

I use the acceleration gate and continue on with the tutorial. Again pirates are on the menu and again I must guess that the kitchen is out of pirates at the moment. I am supposed to kill a pirate to get a key for the next acceleration gate. There are a few cargo pods floating around, so I guess that pirates have been here. I skip ahead in the tutorial until it tells me how to loot a cargo pod. I do so and get the key I need. I also learn how to mine an asteroid. This will come in handy later.

A Pirate!

I use the acceleration gate and end up in a new location with the instruction to kill pirates until a special cargo pod drops.

I see a pirate when I arrive! At least I know what they look like now. However, somebody else is killing him. As before, no combat but plenty of cargo containers floating around, including a few of the one I needed to finish the mission. Being a bit out of patience with the “no pirates, no combat” situation by that point, I pick up the item I need and move on.


After that, the tutorial ran along as designed without any noticeable flaws. I even killed some pirates when I did the mission for the tutorial agent, though I had to learn how to fight by experimentation at that point since the tutorial assumed I was accustomed to combat by then. It is a good thing that the tutorial pirates are pretty weak.


In the end, the tutorial gave me the basic knowledge I needed to get started in the game, but I am not happy about the way it ran. The “hangar” problem was perhaps more my literalist mind-set than the tutorial, but the pirates were a fiasco. If you are going to make users go through an inflexibly scripted tutorial, you had better make sure that what the tutorial says is what the user sees. I spent an hour of the tutorial unable to do most of what the tutorial was telling me.

Furthermore, every day I see in the Rookie Help channel the question, “Where are the pirates?” so I know I am not alone in having this issue. Ironically, I have never had this problem since I started doing agent missions, only during the tutorial. The bad guys are always there waiting for me now.

A tutorial is a way to get a new user into a game and make that user want to become a paying customer. This tutorial falls short and could end up discouraging players who might otherwise end up enjoying the game.

13 thoughts on “EVE Online – The Tutorial

  1. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    Well, if my post mattered to somebody, that is about all I can ask!

    I hope it runs a bit smoother for you this time… or that you at least get past the problem!


  2. Pingback: Revelations Tutorial - Part 1 « The Ancient Gaming Noob

  3. alaph

    you shouold send this to CCP. I understand your pain, when I first started we didnt have a nice talking tut agent to help us at all. I had to learn everything the really really hard way lol.


  4. Inako Zabusa

    The tutorial I started with was quite formidable. Technically, your pod is IN the “ship hangar”, the “ship” button represents the contents of said hangar. I had no problem making the connection. As well, the button blinked and was pretty much the only button available(If you advance forward for Aura to say something along the lines of “… needs to to be open…” the buttons will no longer blink). However, the tutorial was tedious and involved traveling to dead-space pockets available to anyone. If you were lucky, you were able to finish the tutorial before another player. So they changed the tutorial. It starts the same, but all the NeoCom buttons are available and Aura’s tutorial message has been altered. Once you make it outside of the hangar, she tells you to approach a nearby pirate. I’ve never been able to find this pirate and always gave up at this point.
    The newly revised and current tutorial as of Trinity begins in space inside a rookie ship. Very well compiled with a personal dead-space pocket created just for you. Everything is well explained, pointed out and moves along smoothly. Yet there is still a con in every tutorial they have “improved.” They no longer teach you how to assemble and use items. Assembling and activating a ship is an assumed ability. In addition, just like the previous tutorial, after you finish your storyline agent (after the tutorial agent) you are left to your own resources. Told to “use the People and Places window” to seek a new agent. Something I have yet to figure out how to do. It seems at this point the only option is to ask for help or just mine and train skills.


  5. Ra Jackson

    No matter how great a tutorial they make, in the end you will still have to ask around and need some friends in the game to show you. EVEs complexity is quite unparalleled.
    So get out there and socialize. This is not a single player game..!


  6. Hypersapien

    Hah, I find this to be a very comical post. I am trying the game for the first time, 1.5 years later from the day you wrote this, and am experiencing the same frustrations. Pirates did show up for me, but the whole acceleration gate thing really confused me.

    This game looks like it could have a lot of potential, but I’m quite boggled at why they couldn’t make it easier to learn. They wouldn’t have to re-program anything. Simple word choice or rephrasing their sentences would do wonders. Maybe that voice actor was just too expensive to rehire…


  7. GodLikeRod

    I am spent 3 hours trying to find the Deadspace complex

    Time to uninstall this game I think, shame I was super keen about it


  8. Gadsit

    I have 20+ years in gaming too and while Eve isn’t the easiest game to learn, the effort is well worth it.

    It’s a huge game with a massive learning curve as there is always something new to learn and it’s the only game I’ve ever played where getting killed is really distressing…you will take it personally as you are so drawn into the life of your character.

    This is something that the reviewers of the game never seem to get, they don’t play the game long enough and don’t get immersed in the Eve world as they are simply doing a job.

    Play it for the full 2 week trial and you’ll be hooked :)


  9. Whitireia

    Eve online is one of the best online massive multiplayer games available. You really are best to google for answers as you learn how to play the game. Yes as someone stated above there is a huge learning curve especially knowing what skills to focus on upgrading first vs the type of ship you want and it cargo capacity and a whole range of other factors. Believe you me once you’ve sussed out Eve it’s definately a hard game to put back down.


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