Monday, September 27, 2010

The Big 3 in EVE: EveMon, EFT, & Battleclinic

By now you've made your character and done the tutorial missions. The next important tools in your EVE toolbox are what I like to call "The Big 3." These are:


EFT (EVE Fitting Tool)

Battleclinic Loadouts


You will want to start using EVEMon right away. EVEMon is a skill planner. There are a LOT of skills in EVE, and without a tool like this, it can get a little overwhelming. Many tools in EVE have prerequisites—skills you need to know at a certain level before you can learn the new skill. EVEMon makes planning your skills easy.

Here is a great guide on using EVEMon.

Here is a great guide on using EVEMon to make the most of your ship.

The guides are pretty self-explanatory, and EVEMon is easy enough to figure out on your own if you’re savvy. I will just point out a few things. There are three basic ways I use to add skills to my training plan.

1) Adding a particular skill. Once you’ve opened a training plan (or created a new one), you can go to the Skill Browser tab to enter a specific skill. You can either type in the name of the skill in the search field (the one with the binoculars), or you can find it in the skill trees. When you click on a skill, it will give you a description of the skill, and it will show you all the prerequisites in a tree format. To add the skill to your plan, right click on it, select Plan To… and pick the level you want to train it too.

2) Adding a certificate. Certificates are a great feature in EVE and an easy way to figure out which skills you need to learn. A certificate I recommend for every player to use as a starting point is Core Competancy Basic. To add skills by certificates, go to the Certificates tab in the Skill Planner window. Find the certificate you want, right-click on it, select Plan To… and pick the level you want. EVEMon will add all the appropriate skills to your Plan Queue.

3) Adding requisite skills for a ship. Go to the Ship Browser tab in the Skill Planner window. Find the ship you want to fly. Once you’ve selected a ship, you’ll see two relevant areas on the bottom right of the screen: Recommended Certificates and Required Skills. You can add each skill/certificate individually in each area by right clicking on them, or you can add all the skills or all the certificates at once by clicking the relevant Add All To Plan button (you have to click both buttons to add all the skills and certificates). The Required Skills are the minimum skills you need to fly that ship. However, I recommend training the Recommended Certificates as well, or you won’t do much good in that ship.

Attribute Remapping. EVEMon also helps you with your attribute remapping. EVE allows you to remap (redistribute) your attributes twice in the first year you play, and once per year thereafter. This will optimize your training time. To get EVEMon’s suggested attributes, click the button at the top of your screen that says Optimize Attributes. Then click the button that says Attributes that would be best for the first year of this plan. EVEMon will give you the best attributes for that plan. You will then have to go into the game and remap the attributes. You can do that from your character sheet.

A word of advice about remapping: Don’t worry about this until you’ve got a good idea what you want to do in EVE (or at least want you want to do for the first year).

EFT (EVE Fitting Tool)

This tool helps you to fit your ships. With EFT you can experiment with different fits and see how they work without having to buy a bunch of expensive modules in game. The tool wills show you your ship’s hit points, dps (damage per second), volley damage, and much more.

Here is a good EFT guide.

Battleclinic Loadouts

On the Battleclinic website you can find fits that other people have come up with for your ship. People are able to vote fits up or down. Browse the fits, and make sure to read the comments. You can learn a lot here. Just a word of advice: just because a fit has a high rating (a lot of positive votes) doesn’t mean it’s the fit for you. Feel free to experiment.

You can export fits from this page directly to EFT. Above the loadout, you will see a horizontal row of “buttons”. The first on the left is Browse, followed by Create, My Loadouts, etc. Click on the one that says EFT Export. You will get a pop-up with the fit in a text format. Highlight the text and hit Control+C (or right-click and select copy from the contextual menu) to copy the text to your clipboard. Now load EFT. It will ask you if you want to import the fit.

In addition to the Battleclinic, you can find some great fits on EVE University’s pages. (I actually prefer many of their fits to the Battleclinic ones.) They have a guide for each race, giving all the ships by class in a very well-organized format. Not only do they give multiple fits for each ship (PvE, PvP, etc.), but they also give advice on how to use the ship with each particular fit. Check them out, you’ll be glad you did.

EVE University’s Amarr Basic Ship and Skill Guide

EVE University’s Caldari Basic Ship and Skill Guide

EVE University’s Gallente Basic Ship and Skill Guide

EVE University’s Minmatar Basic Ship and Skill Guide

EVEMon, EFT and Battleclinic work together to enrich your experience in EVE (and make it a hell of a lot easier!). Play with them and have fun. I hope you find this guide useful.

Fly smart.

Your First Hours in EVE

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.

Fly smart.

Choosing Your Race

The first choice a new player to EVE must make is which race you are going to play. Unless you’re really into the roleplaying aspect of EVE, this choice is going to be centered around the ships you want to fly (although this may change with the future Incarna expansion). Here is a good place to learn about the four player races in EVE—the Amarr, the Caldari, the Gallente and the Minmatar. Each race also has bloodlines and ancestries that you will choose. Beyond roleplaying value, these choices have no real impact in the game other than determining your starting star system.

Your race will determine the ships you are able to fly when you start the game. Each race’s ships have their own distinctive focus. If you are a min-maxer type of player, then you’re going to want to delve into the general strengths and weaknesses of each race’s ships. There is no “best race” in EVE, just as there is no “best ship”. Each ship has a purpose in the game. You will fly many ships throughout your career as an EVE pilot, and if you follow this guide, you will have a few ships to choose from a few hours into play.

If you’re not as concerned with in-game statistics, you may want to choose you race based on the look of your race’s ships. Each race has a distinct style to their ship design. Likely at least one of them will appeal to you.

When you begin the game, you will be flying frigate class ships. Frigates are small, fast and maneuverable. Don't fall into the trap of thinking that frigates are “noob ships”. Frigates serve many purposes in the game, and some of the coolest ships in the game are frigates. If you want to fly covert ops ships or interceptors, for instance, those are all frigates. Here is a good place to see what the different frigates for each race are.

As you advance your skills in EVE you will learn to fly bigger ships. Some of the early classes of ships you’ll fly are (in order you’ll learn them) frigates, destroyers, cruisers, battlecruisers, and battleships. If you look over these ships, you will have a good idea of the ships you’ll be flying in the game. Here is a place you can explore the different classes of ships, and here is a site where you can see numerous pictures of each ship.

One of the best things about EVE is that, unlike many other MMO’s, you’re not limited in what you can do by your race or by a class. Any character can learn any skill in EVE. If you want, you can learn to fly any ship in the game, not just your race’s ships. Just keep in mind, it takes time to learn skills. So I recommend finding the race that has the most ships you like, and playing that race. It will save you some time training skills in the future.

Good luck in choosing your race! My next post will help you out with your first hours in EVE. I will provide you with a lot of resources to help you.

Fly smart.