Thursday, 30 August 2012

Day 74 : Skills To Pay The Bills

Hardly anything gets done today. I write a post but it feels like a Monday and I’m tired. I’ve just put Gallente Frigate V in the queue. That is the key element to frustration as usual. It means about 9 days training and has the usual effect of making you want to sit back and do something other than EVE while it ticks down, or maybe nothing at all. I force myself not to log off even though really I’m just a bit knackered and need to get some sleep.

I fly out and do some scanning practice, building on the epiphany yesterday ( Practice? Like combat, scanning using probes is one of the skills you need to train outside the skill queue and inside your own head. There is a real world element to it. It starts me thinking that there are quite a few of these that you need for EVE beyond the usual MMO “don’t stand in the fire” and dps maximisation techniques. I get to scribbling down a list of the stuff you might need. Since I don’t get up to much other than discovering a couple of wormholes, you have to suffer reading my musings. It’s the classic joke of translation of MMO rules to real life. Don’t tell me you haven’t done that down the pub.

The Real Life Skill List Needed To Play EVE

Internet III : EVE has a good installer, good sign up mechanism, and a good game launcher (apart from the full log out when changing character). It’s the only start I’ve seen for an MMO that was better than Warcraft. I nearly gave up with the sign up process on SWTOR, I laughed out loud at Warhammer antics and gave up, LOTR felt like it had been hacked together at the last minute and scared me off. For RIFT I had a “free month” promotion that didn’t work so I didn’t play it on principle. The worry when signing up for EVE was that it was so fast I thought I’d missed something. Honestly, all the companies doing the sign up grab for identity and cash are probably losing loads of potential players. Get them signed up easy and then make it hard to leave using the game. Don’t make it the other way around you pillocks (I’m looking at you SWTOR owners). If it takes longer than 90 seconds it is wrong. If it takes longer than 60 you should be thinking about streamlining. God help you if there are bugs in it. Learn some HCI and/or UI techniques. Why Internet III? Because thats the level at which you get the magic “turn it off and on again” solution when something goes wrong while playing. I’m in I.T. Works 9 times out of ten, guaranteed. (Space Noob is not responsible for any damage incurred by use of this technique, up to and including causing the grid to black out or the entire Internet to vanish).

Interpersonal IV : The game is an MMO. MM stands for massively multiplayer. Shockingly there are other people in the game. To get the most out of the game you’ll need to communicate with some people. Don’t train too hard. There are a few people out there you won’t want to talk to (o/ noob scammer down in Clellinon that I told off in Local at the weekend).

Writing II : Initially all communication will be through text entry. It is no good having Interpersonal IV if no one can read what you write. It is the internet however, so don’t bother learning this over II. Hardly anyone else in Local will. You’d be better off going in for the long haul and learning “Jargon & Acronyms XV”.

Adrenaline Rush IV: The ability to resist the effects of PVP combat adrenaline and be able to focus. This skill can probably be sidestepped by taking beta blockers but that isn’t going to make the game very fun is it? In the same vein - don’t learn it too high. This stuff is all about the rush. If you don’t learn this, then don’t try to light a cigarette or pick up a container of liquid for a few minutes after a fight.

Organisation IV : This is the important one. Everything from running a checklist in your head before undocking to knowing where your assets are without the interface. Thats right, EVE is the only game ever to make you really understand what a “pre-flight checklist” is. You know, you’ve undocked, realised you’ve forgotten something and then raged at the five second gap before being able to re-dock. Worse, you’ve gone four jumps before you realised and half an hour later arrive at your destination to find that you can’t make new ships with minerals that are ten jumps away.

Combat-101 V : The ability not only to understand what the hell is going on with your ship but why. Flying skills, ammo choice, weapon choice and tanking schemes. Balancing your fittings and aiming the skill queue in that general direction. System safe points. What gate guns do. I find that the latter is particularly vital.

Tactics V : This is the ability to see beyond the F1 key and come up with long term plans. I am badly lacking in this at the moment. As I said in a comment the other day I think my current idea of combat tactics is a spaceship based version of the scene in The Blues Brothers where they drive the car through the shopping mall. Chaos. I have no idea what I am doing. It might be a good idea if I did. As long as it doesn’t stop me laughing so hard.

Combat Awareness V :  The ability to see what the enemy is doing, analyse it and pump that info back into your Tactics skill at record speed. You are going to have to get at least four in the next few skills I mention in order to use it. In fact I’ve only included this skill because it makes the next two sound less boring, almost like the Leadership skill!

Statistics M : Yes, level M. EVE is, at some level, a spreadsheet game. Get used to absorbing thousands of statistics and then combining them to make your own thousands of meta statistics. You’ll need to have lots of them on instant recall. When drifting in hi-sec, draw graphs and point at them like you know what you are talking about. Write some spreadsheets and then get bored of updating them. Store useless amounts of sales information on ships just before they are “rebalanced”. Use percentage calculations more than an average accountant. Numbers, man, they are some crazy shit.

Brain Space V : You’ll need to learn a lot, so make room for a for more in there. This skill allows you to start throwing all that useless mental junk out to make space for EVE information. You can throw out stuff you’ll never need again. You know - like how to leave the house, how to make and eat non junk food, what your job is for, those other walking things on two legs. You know. Junk.

Meditation III : You’ll want to go mining at the start won’t you? This will help. Don’t go too deep into this skill or your reactions will start to skew. The other day I scared the living daylights out of myself because I’d reached a level of Zen like mining calm and then had to target a new rock. The part of my brain that now doesn’t like targeting sounds burst forth from the Zen state with a mighty shout. I jumped out of my chair cracking my knees on the keyboard shelf.

Anger Management V : Once you’ve got your meditation skills you are going to find that often occasionally things happens in EVE that make you incredibly mildly angry. You might put something on the market and miss out a digit. You might say hello to someone in real life when playing and turn round only to say hello to your fresh new clone. You might get so close to winning a PVP fight and then do something completely stupid. You might learn scanning in all the wrong ways. This skill at V will reduce the rage to reasonable levels below mild. Something along the lines of what that big green guy in the movies feels when he says “HULK SMASH!!!”. You’ll be okay with this. After a while you learn to keep your monitor out of punch range anyway. If you are a calm person anyway then still learn it to at least level III before going on any sort of forums.

That's my list so far. I’m bound to have missed loads. Stick them in the comments.


  1. I am getting odd looks for others in the office due to my laughing. Oh god.. so very VERY true. Went to the battle of 49- all pumped up, made the titan, bridged in and it wasn't until about 2 hours into the fight that I really started to notice that I couldn't keep up with anyone.. fitted a 1mn instead of a 10mn MWD to my Huggin! Ack!

    You don't even need to fly in PVP to get the shakes. A jump in my Ark into high-sec from a low sec cyno leaves me in need of a walk every time. Something about taking 7 or 8 billion isk ship with no guns, shields or armour into a harry situation that certainly gets the blood pumping! I wouldn't suggest rushing to get here however.. after you have that thrill.. some how putting a few hundred mil on the line in PVP isn't quite as exciting.

  2. Just putting in my two cents, as someone who has been where you are rather recently, gallente frig V is definitely the way to go, and I suggest you follow it with assault ship to IV. Hint: Enyo/Ishkur

  3. Just wanted to leave a word of unsolicited advice. You must put the training queue out of your mind, Luke. Just play the game. When something pops up completed it should be a surprise and now the shape of the game changes for you.

    If you want, I can throw a Jedi mind trick on you to make this work...oh wait, no I can't; I forgot how. Shucks.

  4. You can change a setting somewhere so that the eve client doesnt restart if you log off. Cant remember where though.