Articles are the standard fare of the day. Typically long winded and roundabout in content, they tie together many thoughts, observances, criticisms, and reactions into one post.

If you’ve ever played EVE Online, you’ll know just how crazy big it can be. Well, at least for a virtual universe that doesn’t resemble our own in the slightest. If left to drift at a few hundred meters per second I could literally take you weeks to make it to another station in the same system. That’s just the physical aspect of it too, there’s also the massive player run economy, hundreds of different ships, and thousands of ways to equip them. There’s alliances that span dozens (if not hundreds) of star systems that wont think twice about turning your trespassing ship into a crispy pile of space dust.

EVE is a huge and scary place, but I like it that way.

The latest Tyrannis expansion introduced the ability to set up planetary colonies that will actually harvest raw materials, or manufacture basic goods for you to ship and sell. So far, it’s purely an investment opportunity that makes for a pretty sweet return. Colonies cannot be destroyed and don’t require upkeep after initially dropping them on a planet short of moving your harvesters around to strip the place clean. It does however clear a path for player built environments for the upcoming FPS based in the EVE world, codenamed Dust514.

So not only is it huge and scary, but it’s getting bigger.

So in this big huge scary place I take about 30 hours out of my month to fly around and make ISK (money) while my skills slowly train up. There’s such a vast array of ways to make money as well. Trading appears to be the most lucrative by far, but you miss out on a lot of action in the meantime. I’ve dabbled in working the markets and shipping goods, but I don’t think it’s the route for me. Missions from NPC corporations can net you some ISK as well. Although you might find them a little more tedious after your umpteenth iteration of “Fly to point A and blow up dude B.” You can supplement missions with Salvaging, but you aren’t going to make crazy money until you hit level 3 and 4 missions. Some people swear by mining as a viable career path. Maybe if you’re the type tha falls asleep on the job I guess. Mining will make me fall asleep faster than leveling through the 30’s in LotRO.

Crafting? Well yes, almost everything in EVE is player made after all. In fact, there’s so much depth here I haven’t really begun to tap into it. From what I understand, a lot of the “trash” loot that you gather from Salvaging is actually crafting materials for all kinds of different things. I believe you also need to do Archaeology at ancient (or not so ancient) ruins to gather blueprints, which are like your recipes for items. Raw minerals are an obvious requirement, but I’m pretty sure gas harvesting comes into play as well. Part of the reason I’ve found crafting in EVE to be so daunting is the many ways you can go about doing it. If at any time you’re missing a component, chances are you can find it marked up on the Market too, but that’s hardly a profitable way to go about it. Actually developing the skills to go out and gather all the materials you’ll need for a more advanced Blueprint takes a bit more dedication than I’ve dumped into the game so far.

Wormholes and Cosmic Anomalies are where many of the special items and components come from. However, to find these you’ll need to spend quite a bit of time practicing how to detect them with your ship scanner, and scanning probes. Go figure, there’s no easy way to find them since they hold some of the more unique stuff in the game. There’s some fairly straightforward video tutorials and no less than a dozen different methods to finding these pockets of space, but no amount of youtube-ing for your answers will make up for the experience you have in-game. It’s truly a skill, or an art form, or whatever. Once you lock one down however, you’ll still want to be anticipating a fight. Many of these Wormholes take you straight out to 0.0 space where you’re just a wad of sheet metal to the many vicious pirates that could be lurking right around the corner. Cosmic Anomalies are at least more predictable with the resistance you can expect via NPC Pirates, but the “Boss” of the area might prove a little tricky. Point being, although you can certainly be a “pure” crafter, if you’re going to be effective at it, you’ll need to fight for your life on occasion.

So where am I at in EVE? Well, I’m about 150 hours in and just starting to work on Level 2 missions. I have skills trained up to be fairly significant in a Cruiser, and am currently working on getting money and skills for a Battleship. For the most part I’ve been wandering the universe looking for deals and trying to find a nice hub to work out of that holds a few mission givers from the Corp I’m working for. Don’t be daunted by the 150 hour mark either, I’ve spent a LOT of time screwing around doing almost nothing to progress my standing in the universe. It’s actually encouraged to play through the tutorial twice before starting your main toon just so you have a feel for what you are doing. I recommend going through and getting up to Cruiser class skills before starting again. There’s a LOT of things you need to train in the beginning. I’m still flying solo as well, and with a Vexor my drones do most of the work while I putter around and collect loot. Kind of a bad ship for PvP though, drones pop real easy and tanking a ton of armor only prolongs the agony of defeat once all your offense is rendered useless. You get used to dying eventually, as in, you stop getting into situations where people are killing you.

Each system in EVE has a security status attached to it. From 1.0 to 0.0, anything from 1.0-0.5 is considered “safe”. Safe meaning that the intergalactic police will come and blast the crap out of anyone opening fire unprovoked. It doesn’t stop someone entirely from destroying your ship, but it only gives them a matter of seconds to do so before CONCORD warps in to annihilate them. Typically speaking, you can play the game in high-sec exclusively. Now from 0.4-0.0 space you have no protection at all. If someone gets a target lock, you better be ready to start fighting back or getting into warp. Chances are if someone wants to attack you, they’re fairly certain they can destroy you. The allure to low-sec and null-sec systems is the quality of loot to be had. Mining becomes more lucrative as there’s much more expensive mineral to gather. Cosmic Anomalies have higher quality loot that pretty much dwarfs whatever high-sec was giving. Even the Rats (Pirates) are degrees more powerful and drop more loot. Of course, the main reason you’re going into low-sec space is for the PvP and Corp warfare.

This is my next step in the game. After I feel comfortable in my Battleship, joining a corp and getting some real battles under my belt  will be my main goal. This, I feel, is where the meat of the game comes in. You see, it’s not all about making money.Wait, no. It really is all about making money. Anyway, there’s also the meta-game of politics that comes into play with inter-alliance and corp skirmishing. Systems trade hands and boundaries are pushed one way or another. Tensions rise, all out war is declared, and you have system spanning battles of such massive proportions it will bring any powerhouse PC to its knees as the EVE servers scream in painful agony. Billions upon billion of ISK destroyed which further spurs the entire region to rebuild, restock, and prepare for the next conflict. There is so much EPIC that I’ve seen, albeit not first-hand, in EVE that I can’t help wanting to risk everything to be on the front lines.

Well, maybe the mid-lines.