I picked up a copy of the new “box on the store shelf” version of EVE Online.
I actually bought it a few weeks back, shortly after it came out, but have been sitting on it wondering what I ought to do. Finally I decided that what I needed out of a third account, at least in the short term, was a dedicated hauler in an Iteron Mark V, hopefully in time to support The Expedition.
And so Reynaldo Fabulous came to EVE Online.
And I got to experience the “new” new player experience.
At the character creation end of things they tried to trim things down to keep new players from facing a wall of text, but they may have gone a bit far.
You start off choosing your race.
But the information given about each race in the mouse-over text doesn’t tell you much about each race.
Amarr is the largest empire in New Eden, solely devoted to God, Emperor, and the spread of their faith.
The Caldari State is the epitome of civic duty and ruthless efficiency.
Championing freedom and liberty across the universe, the Gallente Federation is the only true democracy in New Eden.
Breaking free of Amarrian subjugation, the Minmatar Republic is a nation of resilient, ingenious, and hard working people who thrive on a tribal culture.
While perhaps offering brief insights into the nature of each empire, I am not sure if anything said really reflects what influences actual game play beyond how agents of a given empire greet you when you want a mission.
You really need some tangible differentiation. I suggest the following:
Amarr – Their spaceships actually look like what you think a spaceship should look like, plus they shoot frickin’ lasers!
Caldari – You get a wide choice of slow asymmetrical ships that shoot missiles. But you don’t have to do much to hit with a missile.
Gallente – The French in space. Really, that is all you need to know.
I went with Gallente because I don’t necessarily find “French” a pejorative, because I actually like the looks of the Citroën DS, and because I wanted primarily to fly one of their ships. On the last I assumed that starting as Gallente would give me a leg up on that goal.
Then you have to choose a bloodline, because inter-breeding is apparently a no-no in New Eden. This is a choice out of three, none of which have a description worth mentioning. I chose Gallente as my blood line, since then Reynaldo would be Gallente Gallente and look like he should be in Duran Duran. Neither Intaki nor Jin-Mei offered anything as amusing.
Then there is the choice of ancestry. You can pick from Activist, Miner, or Immigrant. Man, these people really are French! I went with “Miner” in hopes of being among the third of the population who actually keeps the republic going.
And then you get to choose your sex, which as far as I know, only affects your avatar creation choices.
You do not get to do anything with your attributes. That is completely out of the character creation process now. As far as I can tell, they just balance them all evenly and send you on your way. You do, however, get two attribute resets after your character is created. After the second one you have to wait for a full year before you get another shot and attribute changes.
If you chose male, you are then presented with an avatar that looks remarkably like Darren from The Common Sense Gamer, which you then must alter to shake that particular “I’m playing as Darren” thought.
Once you are done making your “not Darren” avatar, you can enter the game. You actually have the option now to start in a station or in space. However, the drop down menu for that is so small and dwarfed by the “Enter Game” button that I am going to bet that no more that 20% of people will ever notice it is there.
Not that it matters, because once you start the tutorial, you’ll be going between space and station on command.
I honestly couldn’t bring myself to go all the way through another version of the EVE Online tutorial. I got far enough in to see that they bring you up to speed on some useful things. For example, almost immediately they give you a damage control I module that you cannot fit because you don’t have the right skills. Then they give you the skill you need to use the module. 22 minutes later, after training the skill, you can actually put it on the ship.
Now if the tutorial had really been true to the game, it would have added one more tab that said, “Get used to this, you’ll experience it over and over again!” in big red letters.
I went as far as getting the first mission. I decided I did not want to start making enemies just yet so I flew off to one of the university stations where they sell skills. Then I logged on my main, sent Reynaldo 20 million ISK. With that I bought a stack of learning skills and started laying the groundwork for my ongoing training plan. There is about a week of getting all of the learning skills up to level IV, then I can start on the path to the Iteron Mark V.
In the mean time I can fly around in my new InterBus shuttle, one of the special items you get with the EVE Online box edition.
And, just to close the loop, the actual time advantage one gets towards the Iteron Mark V by starting as Gallente is just over 2 hours.
Ah well, time to figure out how this double training speed is really going to affect me. So far it seems to confuse EVE Mon now and again.