EVE is well known for its steep learning curve (or learning cliff). The game is very complex, but once you get your bearings, it's that very complexity that will keep you coming back for more. There is a lot to learn in EVE, true, but once you learn the basics, it flows fairly organicly. Just remember--there is always more to learn in EVE. Don't grow complacent. No matter how long you've played, there's more to learn.
EVE can seem rather daunting to the new initiate. However, with the proper tools, it's definitely doable. Believe me, it's more than worth the time you will spend in the beginning figuring things out. In this episode, I will provide you with many of the tools you'll need as a new pilot to succeed in New Eden.
First, a word of advice: Do the tutorials. When you load your character the first time, you are going to get pop-up windows asking you to do tutorials. Do them. I know, I know, those pop-ups get annoying as hell after a while, but they're a resource there to help you. Use them. Your first tutorials will show you very basic things in the game--how to control your ship, docking and undocking, that sort of thing. You will want to start with the Crash Course tutorial. This will show you the very basics.
Once you've finished the Crash Course, you will want to do the Career Agent Tutorials. There are many possible careers in EVE (ways that you will make money, ISK). These tutorials will introduce you to a few of them. Even more importantly, they will teach you the basics of the game. It is in your best interest to do these tutorials. They will show you how to run missions, which is one of the many ways of making ISK in EVE.
As you do the missions in the tutorials, the Career Agents will give you ships, modules, and skill books. I suggest that you don't buy anything in the game until you've completed all of the Career Agent missions. By the time you've done them all, you will have much of what you need. Nothing is more annoying than buying a skill book, and then having your agent give it to you for free during the next mission.
As you do the Career Agent tutorial missions, you will have situational tutorials popping up occasionally. I recommend you do these (yeah, I know they're annoying, but they really will help you). Also, in the beginning, when you open an interface, you will have an informational window overlaying it. Read these over. It's important in the beginning to resist the temptation to speed through things. Take your time, learn the game. You will have plenty of time in the future to blow up pirates and run missions. For now, focus on learning the game. You'll be glad you did.
At any time you can access the various tutorials by clicking the Help button on your Neocom or pressing F12. The window that comes up will also have a button that will take you to your Career Tutorial Agents.
Here are some helpful tools you will need to begin learning the basics of EVE:
Evelopedia's Eve Basics. This is a great place to start. Everything from creating a character to choosing your race. Evelopedia is a great resource for EVE information. Spend lots of time here.
Industrial Sized Knowldedgebase. This is an unofficial "players' guide" for EVE. Download it, read it. You'll be glad you did. This book will teach you much of what you'll want to know as a new player of EVE, including: some of the lore of EVE, different types of missions and mission agents, what kinds of agents give what types of missions (combat, courier, mining, etc.), and information on trading, mining, exploration, manufacturing and much more.
Guide to Skill Learning in EVE. This is an excellent introduction to skills in EVE. It explains how skills work and introduces you to Implants.
EVE Career Guide. You may have read this already, as CCP sends you a link to it in your introductory email. If you haven't, check it out.
EVE University's How to Earn ISK. This is an excellent introduction to many of the career paths in EVE. ISK is the currency in EVE (Interstellar Kredits). You will need ISK to buy ships, buy modules for your ships, and buy books to learn new skills, among many other things. Doing the career agents' missions will give you some ideas of the possibilities in EVE (and which you may enjoy). This resource will tell you about still more. As a side note, EVE University is an excellent resource for a new pilot in EVE. Peruse their wiki; there's a lot of good information there.
EVE in 2D. Here you can download .pdf maps of the different regions in EVE. Very nice to have.
EVE Survival: Mission Reports. This site gives an alphabetized lists of the missions in EVE. These guides will tell you what to expect in a particular mission and how to be successful in it. You probably won't need it to do level 1 missions, but come back when the missions start becoming more challenging.
Varius Arcturus' Overview Guide. A properly configured overview (the main UI element of EVE) is the difference between life and death in EVE. You won't need to worry about this so much while doing the tutorials, but once you're done with those, follow the steps detailed here to properly configure your overview.
If you have any resources you feel should be included here, feel free to email me. I hope you find these guides as useful as I have.