The Doctor Who/EVE Online cross-over event, the Interstellar Convergence, begins today.
I went over some of the problematic aspects of the event last week, ranging from small items like lore problems, to the pernicious sense that CCP is like a cell phone company from 20 years back and only cares about new customers, to the as yet unproven drawing power of Doctor Who as an incentive to come and play EVE Online.
But that is all water under the bridge at this point as the event is live as of this morning, Daleks are in New Eden, and we will just have to see how it all plays out.
As with any EVE Online event there are the usual list of included items. There are daily login rewards.
There are also a few special SKINs in the New Eden Store.
And there is, of course, a set of special packs from the web store that range from $5 to $60 in price and offer up cosmetics, PLEX, skill points, SKINs, and event filaments that you might otherwise be scrounging around to find in game. These are prominently displayed on the launcher.
Since the announcement CCP has started to take more seriously the new player aspects of the event. CCP Swift stated earlier in the week that new players would have some access to it:
Great news! There will be elements of the event open to players who are just starting, as well as the option to join a more seasoned player in the more difficult areas.
This was reiterated at the top of the patch notes for the event:
- The Interstellar Convergence event has begun! This limited time Doctor Who crossover event runs until downtime on February 1st.
- This event includes significant elements designed to be accessible for new players, as well as advanced challenges for veterans. The main focus of the event is exploration, with significant elements of combat and industry gameplay.
- The “Warp Matrix Convergence” relic signature is appearing all over New Eden, and probing it down is the starting point for this event.
- Use a relic analyzer module to collect materials and blueprints to build new limited time jump filaments capable of bridging realities.
- Explore peaceful and bountiful relic fields with the Curious, Enigmatic, and Mysterious Warp Matrix Filaments.
- Face off against deadly biomechanoid adversaries with the Precarious, Hazardous, Dangerous, and Perilous Warp Matrix Filaments.
- Special agency challenges and daily login gifts are available during this event.
- Rewards include items that can be sold for ISK, new SKINs, unique character clothing, boosters and cerebral accelerators, fireworks, and special Doctor Who easter egg trinket items for collectors.
Saying it over and over doesn’t make it so however, and new players are still going to have to get through the intro story invested enough in what is, by all accounts, a complex and often unintuitive MMORPG.
On Tuesday of this week CCP put up a dev blog about how to prepare for the event, something clearly aimed at newer players. It brings together some of the past informational videos along with suggestions as to what ships a new player might aspire to and training plans available in the new training UI. I suppose this will be a real test of the latter.
Because this event is going to be so high profile, I figured I ought to at least give it a shot. I only have one account subscribed right now and am not really sure about the viability of Alpha clones, so that gives me three characters to play with. Two of the character on my account, my main and a combat alt, are in the Imperium and, as such, subject to enough war decs in high sec as to not be useful for the event.
That left me with a third, a character I created back in 2008 on a whim and did nothing with for over a decade. I eventually trained him up to do some hauling and PI in high sec and to be able to fly a couple doctrine frigates that we use. He had close to 6 million skill points trained and I was able to throw another million skill points at him from login rewards and such I had hanging around.
CCP’s post recommends finishing the explorer and enforcer skill plans. Those will get you scanning skills, which are required for the event, and a jump on combat skills for one of the tier 1 abyssal cruiser fits that are in the community fitting selection that they are recommending for the event. There is one for each faction:
- Rupture: T1 Abyssal Rupture
- Omen: T1 Abyssal Omen
- Caracal: T1 Abyssal Caracal
- Vexor: T1 Abyssal Vexor
My pilot is Caldari, so the Caracal will be my goal. Getting there, however…
I realize that as a character rolled up in 2008, my pilot started out somewhat behind the curve when it came to skills available when created. I ran him through the previous NPE and had to stop and buy a couple skills because the tutorial wasn’t built for characters with that old build. He probably had to spend more ISK on skills to get rolling on these plans.
But I still ended up spending a fit cruiser’s worth of ISK on skills, and the plans as laid out end to end would have put me well into next week… and I have an Omega clone, so I train at double the speed of an Alpha.
As I said, I had the advantage of having a million skill points laying around, so I sped him up a bit with an eye to being able to dig into the event this weekend. I got the enforcer plans run through and most of the explorer skills done.
Then I looked at the recommended Caracal fit and realized that the skill plans suggested were not enough to get me there. So I bought some more skills threw them on the queue, including a couple just to deal with the CPU needs of the fit. And then I added a few more to the end of the list just to make the fit a little more viable. I could technically fly it with only Caldari Cruiser I trained, but I figured I ought to follow the old rule and get it to at least III before undocking in it.
At some point I will be done, at some point we all have to undock or give up. It is always strange for me, with my main sitting at 230 million skill points, having to try to make things work on a new character. I just have it all in the bag already on Wilhelm. Rare is the subcap skill he doesn’t have at V already.
Leaving aside the knowledge aspect of all of this, I do wonder where a new player is going to come up with the ISK to acquire skills and buy a ship. The Caracal fit runs 24 million ISK in Jita as I write this on Tuesday night which, while not an insurmountable amount of currency, is still a chunk for a new play.
A more cynical person than myself might suggest that the company is setting this up to sell some PLEX to eager newbies wanting to shoot Daleks.
At least the scanning ship is free if know to go run the career agent for exploration. I won’t have the Magnet they recommend, but a Heron will suffice I hope.
Addendum: Now that the event is live, CCP has put it up the, their solution to all PvE questions, though it doesn’t even begin to tell you how to accomplish the tasks.
I remain quite interested to see how brand new players in their rookie ships will participate in the event when it isn’t clear to somebody who has been around for 15 years. I’ve been at it for over an hour and have yet to find a single “Warp Matrix Convergence” signature.