It's been pretty obvious I'm in a huge Eve lull right now. Just look back at the complete lack of Eve posts over the last few months. I cannot remember the last time I logged into TQ before this weekend. I never really recovered from Fanfest to be honest. Add it a combination of my crap timezone plus the summer lull and low-sec PvP not getting any CCP lurvin' in the foreseeable future has meant I've just not bothered last month or two.
At the weekend I thought I'd try something to reinvigorate me. I started a brand new toon. I thought I'd run through the NPE to see what has changed in eight and a bit years since I did it last. No help from my other toons. No transferring cash, ships or modules. Try and relive those difficult and challenging times I recall from back when I first started in 2008.
One of my vivid recollections of that time was my first Caracal. I started Drackarn off as Caldari and been soloing for some time. I don't remember what frigates I was using but I do remember upgrading to my first Cormorant. Obviously they tear through level one missions like a hot knife through butter. However, I had my eyes on that lovely cruiser. I loved the look of the Caracal. I was desperate to get one. However ISK was always a problem at that time in my early 'Eve life'. The big memory that I have of that time was the massive disappointment of buying the hull, then remembering I needed the skill only to find I didn't have enough cash left! I had spent it all on my dream cruiser that I actually couldn't fly. Doh! So I had to go grind more missions to buy the damn book whilst my awesome new Caracal sat in my hanger collecting dust. Is it still like that?
There were no career agents as I recall back in my day, just the simple tutorial missions. Now you have your hand held a bit more. However, more than that, they give you free stuffz. A lot of stuffz. I was given an Atron, a Tristan, an Incursus (although that got blown up in a mission you are supposed to die in to teach you losing a ship is no big deal) and finally a Catalyst. The missions would be useful to a new player. They introduce you to concepts of webbing, tackling and taking orders from an FC. There is even one that has you doing some remote repping. However, they cannot teach you all you need to know. For example that webbing a ship may slow it down but also that if its not pointed it will align and warp away faster.
The big difference for me was the money. Eight years is a long time, but as I recall money was really tight for me as a new player. I recall all the the cool stuff in the game, but not having the ISK to buy it. Three hours running the initial Aura tutorial then onto the military and advanced military career agents this weekend and I had 5m ISK in cash plus four ships and a shed load of civilian modules as well as my loot collection. I did lose two ships. However I had to in order to complete the respective mission. One is where you fly an Atron packed with boom-boom stuffz into a Serpentis base. The other was the one I mentioned earlier where you are provided an Incursus for a suicide mission. The rest of the time my Gallente armour-tanked noobship and T1 frigates generally didn't get below half shield.
This was not the challenging times I remember. Am I remembering wrong? Was Eve this easy back then? Is it me? Is there that much of a difference between me as a total noob in 2008 and me now as a bit of a noob in 2016? Or have things changed? The "Eve is Hard! Are you up for the challenge?" campaign didn't last long. Is it less HTFU these days and more "Here, have some easy ISK and a handful of ships"?
I've moved onto level 1 missions and flying through them. Warping into "Gone Beserk" yesterday I just sat at the warp in and blapped everyone. I had to push my nose against the screen to see if the shields on my Catalyst had been touched. Not sure they had. This is easy Eve. Am I invested in the experience? Mmmmm.....