EveOnline can be played as a 2nd job, or more, if you so desire – it is very easy to get seriously addicted.  However, I think it possible to play this game in a bit more controlled manor.

Of course, depending on how frequently you play, some aspects of the game will be pretty closed off.  For instance, your not going to be a big time fleet combat pilot if your not on a lot.  Likewise, solo mining is doable, but not very effectively – you really need a miner ship and at least a hauler, and ideally a third player in a ship called an Orca.  Of course, you can solo mining, it will just go slow and be pretty tedious.

So… the way I see it, there are four main aspects to Eve:

1)  Social – making friends, talking with interesting people, doing things together (be that mission, mining, pirating, whatever)

2)  Earning ISK – the in game money.  You need ISK to buy better equipment, ships, skill books, etc.  There is, unfortunately, a cheat now available:  PLEX.  PLEXes are 30 day Pilot Licenses redeemable for 30 days of game time.  You can buy PLEXes with real money and use them (although monthly subscription rates are a bit cheaper), or buy PLEXes with ISK and redeem them (which many serious players do to pay for their habit), or buy PLEXes with real money and sell them in game for ISK.  Many MANY consider the  use of PLEX a cheat – just a way for those with real money to get a jump up on those that earn their way ingame – but it is an option.

3)  Learning skills.  Virtually everything in EVE requires skills, from being able to fly non-newbie ships to firing the weapons on those ships to using mining lasers…  Skills are learned by buying skill books (or earning the early ones by doing training missions) with ISK, and by spending the real time to learn the skill.  Simple skills can be learned in minutes, harder ones in days, weeks, and for some, over a month.  It takes REAL TIME to do this, so no matter how much ISK somebody buys with PLEXes, they can’t get around needing to be in the game for months.  Oh, this is a good time to point out that EVE is designed to be played for not weeks or months, but years.  (See my previous post about a holiday 60-day free trial – but these are designed just to give you a feeling for the game.)  There are fun programs that help with planning your skills, since real time is the one thing that you really can’t afford to waste.  My favorite is EVEMon (http://evemon.battleclinic.com).  I’ve spent hours just playing around with my training queue – it really can be fun if you like setting priorities and expectations.  It also gives you a great reality check on what it takes to do some things in the game.

4) Experience.  ISK without Skills is useless.  Skills without Experience is likely to waste a LOT of ISK.  Fortunately, the game has a huge number of “missions” that will both help you gain experience, and pay you reasonable levels of ISK.  Running missions, especially “Security Division” missions (the combat ones) is both a lot of fun, and one of the normal ways people earn ISK.  Missions come in various levels that you earn the right to fly.

If you are looking to solo and/or play part time, the Social aspect can not be a priority.  Sure, you can join a Corporation if you have a buddy in one, but that’s not going to be your primary calling, and make sure the Corporation knows your a casual player (in fact, Corporations advertise for players with “casual” vs. “hardcore” representing part-timers vs. mostly-daily players.

Earning ISK will come slower, but that’s OK.  Earning ISK via missions will come more-or-less at the rate you need (note:  not want! <smile>) to keep you moving.  By the time you are capable of running level 4 missions solo – ISK should not be a major issue.

Skills work in your favor as a part time player.  You see: skills are trained in real time, even when your not playing.  The only caveat is that you can only instruct the game to train skills that will start within 24 hours.  So early in the game, when your learning a lot of basics, you might want to log in daily for a few minutes just to load up your skill queue.  EVEMon helps a LOT in this – you can figure out your plan once and just follow it.  Of course, as you gain experience, you will probably want to change that plan, but EVEMon at least keeps track of things for you.  Much, MUCH, later in the game, when your training 7 day skills, or 15 day skills, or 30 day skills, keeping track of your training queue becomes less of an issue.

Experience comes at whatever pace you wish to play, so is also not a problem.

So what can you do as a part-time casual player vs. a hard-core player?

1) Missions:  Most are designed to take anywhere from 15 minutes to 6 hours.  You can look at the bonus reward time to get a feeling for how long it might take you to run a mission.  Virtually all missions are also described in detail, with suggestions, on web sites like eve-survival.org.  You can probably ignore such sites for level 1 missions, but they are critical to survive level 4 missions.

2) Mining if you don’t mind doing it slowly – but personally I would think that would get rather boring.  If you want to do this, its probably best to join a casual mining corporation and hope to be able to partner with someone when your on.

3) Trading:  With a few skills and a lot of flight time, you can make a decent level buying low and selling high.  Time is in your favor for this, since most sale offers can be posted to last up to 3 months.  Not my cup of tea, but I know many people that make their primary incomes this way.  Just beware of scammers – folks selling things for inflated prices, or hoping you miss where the decimal place is in their offers.  Don’t trade on a whim, know what your buying, what the normal price is, etc.  Lots of websites and in-game information available to help (like watching item price trends).

4) PI (think of it as Planetary Industry although that’s not what its formally called).  Basically its building extractors and/or factories on planets to mine raw materials and process them into more advanced materials which you then sell.  I’ve written a guide you should find a few post below this one that will tell you more about PI.  The key to doing this part-time is to just realize you will be earning ISK at a slower pace then somebody playing PI full-time.  That’s OK.  The good news is that PI is like skills, it occurs in real time.  In fact, with 1 account you can define 3 characters, and with just a few skills, can have all 3 earning you ISK as real time passes.  Just note that PI requires attention at least once every 2 weeks (at maximum extractor cycle times), so 3 characters doing this will be 3 times the work of 1.  The best part of PI is that once setup, and given that small amount of attention, it will provide a small but steady stream of ISK to you.

Solo playing is very similar to part-time playing: the more seldom your on, the harder it will be to build your social network, so you will find yourself playing solo more often.  Again, nothing wrong with this – just know that the game is designed for teams of players.  In fact, some things, like Player Owned Custom Offices (POCO), can only be owned by a Corporation.  You could, in fact, make your own Corporation, but its just not possible for a single player to place a POCO in space unless they are an outstanding combat player with a LOT of time on their hands (like 17 hours non-stop).  That too is OK, its just a reality of the game.

Kevin

 

 

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