Home Strategy EVE Online Beginners Guide: Know your role

Note: Use the EVE wiki to answer any questions raised but not answers by this and any future articles.

If you play MMORPGs, you’ve probably at least heard of EVE Online. What you may not know is the community’s level of dedication to the game, and the dedication you’ll need if you want to succeed in EVE. The complexities of the game make it daunting for any gamer, MMO veteran or no. As someone who’s traveled from high to low sec and back again, I have a few tricks to making your entry into the world of EVE easier.


Today, I want to focus on your starting skills, and why knowing what you want from EVE from the beginning is vital to your success.

Skills in the world of EVE Online

If you’ve played MMOs like World of Warcraft, Everquest, or any of their clones, you might be surprised by the leveling system in EVE. You don’t earn experience through quests, combat, or other objectives. Instead, you need to purchase skill books, learn the skill itself, then train it in real time. There are five levels to every skill, and you’ll spend roughly half a day training up to level 3. Level 4 can take anywhere from one day to four depending on your stats and the skill’s training modifier. Level 5 is always a kicker, but if you want to get anywhere, you’ll need fully trained skills, which can take up to ten days.

The more specialized the skill, the more expensive it is. The more expensive it is , the longer it tends to take to train, for two reasons. First, skills have prerequisites you need to meet just to learn them, let alone train them. So you’ll spend a lot of time training other skills just to get to the one you want. On top of all that, if you want to be effective in your chosen role, you’ll need a bunch of other skills to supplement that role’s core skills. A full complement of such skills (and I apologize for using the word so much), can take anywhere from 20-50 days to train, and subscriptions are 14.95/month if you buy one month at a time.

Your possibilities are endless

If you’ve not been scared off by the skill system, then you’re ready to make your character and define his initial place in the galaxy. While there is no clear cut “class” system in EVE, you’ll work your way into an unofficial class after spending some time training skills. With that in mind, you shouldn’t have an exact idea what you want to do. Instead, have a general conception of where you want to be in a couple month’s time. I’ll list a few general roles below, and the skill areas you’re best to focus in.

  • Pirate: The most glamorous, and dangerous, of your options in EVE, being a pirate is primarily a combat based endeavor. What that combat boils down to depends on how you want to find and trap your prey. While the methods involved each deserve an article of their own, at the beginning focus on a coule things.
    • First, decide what size ship you want. For the lone wolf, set your sights on the assault ship, advanced frigates suited for close combat. Mid-sized vessels like cruisers are good when hunting in packs, and anything larger than a battlecruiser is only good for engagements against similarly sized ships.
    • Second, decide how you want to hunt. If you don’t want to be tied down, again, frigate sized vessels, or maybe destroyers, are good. You’ll want to join a corporation at some point even if you like solitude, and if/when you do, you’ll probably start using larger ships, even if they aren’t your main weapons.
    • Last, decide where you want to find prey. High security systems can be treasure troves of easy pickings off of scared miners and new players, and once again frigates are best for this. If you want to entrap ships as they’re moving through the galaxy, you’ll want to wait outside low-sec jump gates with a warp disruptor and some other interdiction tech.
  • Trader: The EVE economy is huge and ever-changing. Profitting in small amounts is easy, trading a planet’s worth of goods is not. Regardless of your desire, there are two main areas you should focus. First, your marketing and corporate skills should be second to none, since you’ll want to be able to buy and sell from anywhere in the galaxy. Second, you need a way to transport your goods, and industrial ships, from the small to the large, are your best means of doing so. Beware that all such vessels are virtually helpless, and unless you’ve got friends keeping you safe, trade in high security systems to start with.
  • Miner/Producer: The polar opposite of pirate, spending your hours extracting ore from asteroid fields is a slow, tedious process. It’s like fishing, kind of, but it takes even longer and requires just a touch more attention. The payoff when you do start creating the big ticket items is huge, and no spaceship based economy can survive without its producers, who usually also do the ore extraction. If this is your preferred path, focus on industry, both in the mining and construction fields, making so you can have multiple projects going at a time at minimal material cost.
  • Mission Runner: There are an endless amount of NPC given missions, and associated PvE opportunities, across the EVE galaxy, from the highest security systems to the lawless depths of 0.0 space. These missions cover every aspect of EVE’s skill system, from combat to mining and trading and distribution. You won’t make as much money as quickly as with effective pirating, trading, or mining/producing, but the income is steadier and more reliable. It can also be just as chaotic as a high-stakes PvP battle without the animosity of your enemy coming through global chat.

Create your character around your intended role

While the above list is by no means exhaustive, your starting character can make reaching your goals easy or frustratingly lengthy. Each statistic determines your affinity with certain skill types, and thus how quickly you learn them. After a few months of play, this is less of an issue, but at the beginning, having a good starting build makes you first steps easy. If you did pick a role from my list, there should be clearly defined backgrounds to help you down your path.

I’d advise that you do some research on the EVE wiki in addition to, and while doing, your character’s creation. Have a brief glance at which attributes affect your chosen role-based skills, and plan your build accordingly. Remember that you can change everything about your character later on, it’ll just take a good amount of time.

And if you decide your new direction doesn’t fit your goals, trained skills don’t go away. The masters of EVE are masters of all.



6 replies to this post
    • Yeah, it is, you’re right. And yeah, I’m not trying for strategy here, just getting out the info for those who haven’t played before.

      As for the clone thing, that’s jumping the gun a little bit. I want to go through things slowly (as it were) so as to cover EVE as completely as possible without overwhelming people with info.

      But yes, you are correct, and I’ll cover skill point clones along with jump clones later.

    • Well, I’m going with professions that are considered legitimate, if not exactly moral. Though the line between the two blurs a little more in EVE everyday.

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