Wednesday, 16 February 2011

The Alternative Character

For the majority of my time in EvE I have been running with one Jack-of-all-Trades character. I knew a lot of people had Alts, but never really saw the need myself.

However, before moving into the Wormhole I was one of the few responsible (and able) to resupply the Low-Sec POS using my Crane. When I moved into the 'Hole, there wouldn't really be anyone left to undertake the task back in Empire-Space.

So, I decided to bite the bullet and start training up an Alt. Chrieghten was born (for those who appreciate the good old British humour, Chreighten is in honour of the one and only 'Kryten' from Red Dwarf. Also, the name is very apt, as Kryten is the service droid).

Chrieghten is my Industry and Logistics Alt so that Akinesis can now solely concentrate on weapons and shields. So, to start off with, I trained him up to mine and haul as I was producing my own ships and modules to take into the 'Hole. Once he was able to fly a Hulk, I moved him straight onto the Crane and then the Orca. However, just as I was about to set him down the path of a Charon, I had a change of heart and started him on Logistics early.

I had recently witnessed a logistical Dominix in operation for the first time. Obviously I knew about Remote-Repping (RR) ships, but I had never really had much to do with them. I know this is quite odd, being that I am a 2007 player, but it is just one of those things that I have managed to inadvertently avoid.

Now at 8mil skill-points, Chrieghten is able to fly a Dominix fitted with mainly Tech-II equipment. This means I am able to fit my Nighthawk purely for DPS and use my Alt to rep the 'Hawks shields. Using this method allows me to steam-roll Level 4's even faster. Fleet-Ops can be a bit of a nightmare now as pilots bring pure DPS platforms and rely on the Logi's for defence, so I find myself juggling the RR between three or four ships and trying to manage the Nighthawk on the other screen at the same time. But it certainly makes everything more interesting.

I will train Chrieghten up to a Basilisk before I move him back to Industry. RR is so handy to have around that I want to make full use of the trade. As mentioned, he uses a Dominix (because of it's drone-bay and it's ability to tank damage if it gets aggro'd), and he also has an Osprey for a cheaper option (as well as the range bonuses being very handy on occasion).

Originally, I was running two windows on one monitor. This was fine as long as I had the graphics turned right down, but now I run my Alt on a laptop and leave the main with the desktop PC. This way I can enjoy full graphics on a large screen.

A shot when I was running two window's on one screen. Chrieghten's Domi often tries to eat the Nighthawk:

But having the two characters on separate machines means I can now run the graphics the way they are meant:

As I often run in Low-Sec, another valuable perk is being able to use Chrieghten to scout the systems ahead. This stops me (and others, if I'm in a fleet) running into a gate camp and saving, potentially, hundreds of millions in ship and component losses (and maybe some implants!). Although I have not finished setting it up yet, running PI alone on two accounts racks up a wad of extra ISK. It can also be fun to play in-character with two separate toons.

I can only liken the Alt situation to driving a car - you never need one all the time you never had one, but as soon as you have one you can never be without it. Now, I always run the two characters side-by-side and often have to fight the urge to start up a third Alt.

My only regret about having an Alt in EvE is that I didn't start one sooner.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

EvE Online - Game or Hobby?

For a long time I was a casual player. I use to treat EvE as a game. I would log on, swap a few skills, run a few missions with the Corp and maybe do some mining. But after 2-4 hours I would log off and go and do something else in the real world, perhaps not returning to my computer screen for a couple of days.

But then work moved me away from my friends and I found myself with empty evenings during the week. Not content with just sitting and watching DVD's, I started to explore in greater depth what EvE has to offer. So I got a lot more involved with the Corp. I wasn't just turning up to more fleet operations, but suggesting and exploring ideas to expand and move our Corporation forward. I started learning about the mechanics of running a Corp and managing POS's. My involvement continued to escalate as time progressed. Now, in game, I am the Vice-CEO of our Corporation.

Some time ago now, through the wonders of my iPod Touch, I began to take an interest in the Blogs as well as listening to Podcasts. I was learning about areas of EvE that I had not yet explored or even knew about, and my interest and curiosity in the game grew. In one of the Blogs I also read that EvE has the most active gaming-community the World has to offer and I found myself wanting to get involved. I now dedicate time to writing Blogs and I am also a member of the Tweetfleet where I can keep up with other pilots in a real-time fashion. EvE (in and out of game) is so large I find it hard to get bored.

So, I have made it more than 'just a game'. I write to an audience about life in New Eden. I have 'worked' to the position of co-manager of a successful Corporation of which I have an active part in recruiting and expanding as well as the organisation and activities of the members within. I have brought myself to a position where if I were to leave the Corporation I would change the game for many people on some level. As well as all this I have a selection of internet space-ships with changeable armament and equipment to suit a myriad of situations - situations that are both in and out of my control. And I can use the spaceships in any way I choose because EvE is a sandbox game. There are no restrictions on how I can play.

It's not just a case of completing missions any more to get a bigger, better space-ships. I've realised the more one puts into this game the more one gets out, and I actively 'work' at EvE to get the most enjoyment out of it. It's not a game to me now, it's a hobby.

And the best thing? There is no end to any of this.