13 1/2 years of EVE Online – Part I

I didn’t play EVE much during the past six months or so. My relationship with the game has always been kinda on and off since I created my first character in December of 2005 – heck, is it really that long ago?

Anyway, after actively playing the game for a period of time my excitement always wanes and I start looking for greener pastures. But just as inevitably there’s always something that pulls me back in after a while. Sometimes it’s stories about galaxy-wide wars and huge battles, sometimes the announcement of an expansion or a much anticipated overhaul of existing features.

This time around it’s something else. Despite my inactivity I’m still a member of our long-time corp Holy Cookie, and last week our leadership informed us that sweeping changes are afoot. Unfortunately I can’t talk about those yet, but we’re very excited and I’ve been logged into the game every day since then.

As I can’t share that news today I’d like to look back upon my personal EVE history instead. The experiences I had, the people I’ve flown with, the changes the game went through. For EVE veterans there will undoubtedly be some ah, those were the times moments while newer players might find some insights as to what kinds of gameplay this vast sandbox has on offer. Since this will be a rather long tale I’ll split it into multiple parts.

Here goes.

The second ever screenshot of my first ever frigate

Towards the end of 2005 a friend of mine had already played EVE for a while and tried to convince me and another pal to join him. He showed us a trailer – which looks terribly dated today, but amazed us back then – and some live gameplay. We were hooked.

Following his advice we both created Amarr characters. Lorewise I would have chosen Gallente or Minmatar for sure, but for some reason he believed that only Amarr characters would be able to join the corporation he was in. To my knowledge there never was such a restriction in the game, but by the time we realized that it was too late. Oh well, it’s not like I’ve ever roleplayed in EVE, nor have I ever been asked by anyone why I’ve chosen Amarr.

Since 2011 I at least don’t have to look like a grumpy old man anymore. Still grumpy though.

That little corp went by the name Tetragrammaton and already owned a little network of player owned stations (POSes) for moon mining, production and ratting. Their main system was N-8BZ6 in the Catch region. So I took what little stuff I had and moved out to nullsec, mere weeks after my first steps into the game.

Two ships of mine, calmly floating in space with POS modules in the background

Once there I earned a ridiculously low amount of ISK by ratting in a Brutix class battlecruiser, the larger ship seen above. It’s not bad, but with Tech I fittings, Tech I ammo and skill levels at 2 or 3 I was in way over my head. Luckily my corpmates took me along when they manned their battleships and went to clear a nearby level 6/10 NPC complex, which were static at the time and respawned only after the daily server restart. Now that was much more lucrative.

Only a year or so later it would’ve been unthinkable for a meager six-man corp to ‘own’ such a complex. As the playerbase grew competition became increasingly fierce, and eventually the only thing CCP could do to prevent the large alliances from taking all good plexes for themselves was to remove the static ones and replace them with random spawns all over New Eden. In early 2006 though we had that one plex mostly for ourselves.

At first I even ‘escorted’ their huge battleships in my tiny frigate

Much more interesting and even more lucrative were the industrial activities. The guys had decided to build and sell Hypersynaptic Fibers, an intermediate resource needed for all kinds of Tech II production. We had a couple moon mining POSes running, did some active mining – I just hauled the mined ore to the station in a Bestower because I hadn’t any mining skills – and had to keep the POSes fueled and the reactors running.

During that time I also learned the hard lessons that most EVE players have to learn sooner or later. Lessons like: you will lose a fully loaded hauler at the hands of pirates at some point, even if you’re cautious and warp core stabbed. While something like that isn’t fun for the player on the receiving end I managed to accept that it’s just part of the game, and from then on it felt all the more satisfying whenever I managed to slip through their grasp.

Unfortunately we couldn’t mine one of the required resources ourselves: Dysprosium. Those moons were among the rarest and most lucrative, and there was no way in hell for us to get our hands on one. So we had to buy the stuff on the market. It went pretty well for a while, but after a couple of months the ever rising Dysprosium price cut too deep into our margins, so we stopped production, sold the remaining ores as well as the towers and started to look for new enterprises. It was a great run though, and all told I earned somewhere between 600 and 800 million ISK, which was a fortune at the time, at least for me.

My trusty Mammoth hauler safely docked up

It actually wasn’t a bad point in time for me to cease the industrial efforts, quite the contrary. I now had considerable seed capital at my disposal, and my character’s skills started to shape up as well. I felt ready and eager to finally engage in PvP!

Next time I’ll talk about how this led to me becoming a member of the Interstellar Starbase Syndicate and earning my first stripes as a space policeman.

It even kinda looks like a police station, doesn’t it?

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