Billy Blame, greenhorn pod pilot for the Pator Tech School located in the Ryddingjorn VI station, is learning a lesson in patient origins. One hour previous, back on Earth, I open up an EVE Online account (this is my second in approximately three years, executed with a nonplussed expression on my lovely wife’s face as she’s seated next to me), just hours before the in-laws pull into the driveway for Easter Weekend.
Only enough time for blasting halfway through the tutorial, which has changed its voice since my prior visit. Rather, it’s lost its voice, and began my training out in the ether, as opposed to docked in a station, with me reading the tutorial text rather than listening to the vocal-distorted audio monologue. I’d feared that developer CCP was denying me an intimately familiar voice from my bygone subscription, but – two NPC pirate kills later – I see that the voice is here, comforting, just dismissed from the tutorial process.
My Reaper-class Minmatar frigate warps to my first duty station, the Pator Tech School, at a healthy 3.0 AU per second. Not bad for a ship that looks held together by duct tape and a prayer. To be fair, the architectural aesthetic of the entire Minmatar Empire doesn’t fare much better. Picture the Slumdog Millionaire trappings of an in-the-cracks India, and give them just enough technological advancements to be a force to be reckoned with in a quarter-spliced universe, and their build-style materializes.
The focus of EVE has shifted from mankind’s exodus from the Milky Way to his gospel as an immortalized force in the New Eden galaxy. As evidenced by the intro, there’s less pontificating on the harrowed histories of man’s spinoff races (Amarr, Caldari, Gallente, Minmatar), and more bolstering statements of each individual’s inherent potential in this scary-huge galaxy collective.
In-laws are five minutes away and the Missus is committing herself to a frantic run with the vacuum cleaner. I surprisingly pull up the Training Queue, a long-awaited device that allows me to stack Billy Blame’s skill training for the next 24 hours. Building a character’s skills in EVE is a non-organic (but intriguing nonetheless) process of, essentially, plugging a skill training ‘book’ into a brain receptor and, over the course of minutes, hours, or days, depending on the level of information being taken in, absorbing the skill through an osmosis-like process.
I queue up the allotted 24 hours’ worth, all Piloting 101 stuff, and shutdown. Tomorrow evening, the soonest I’ll log back in, one to two levels of advancement will be realized within a spectrum of topics covering electronics and engineering to gunnery and science. Even though I haven’t accepted a single agent-given mission yet I’m already growing in ability. This entirely unique system seems to be trademarked by CCP, since no other MMO wants to even touch its complexities, but it’s a system that never ceases to amaze, no matter how long you see it in action.
As you were.