The Role of Cash in EVE

If there’s one thing I’ve disccovered playing EVE, it’s that it takes money to make money.

The new player comes on with very little.  The tutorial certainly does a good job in giving the player some cash in the intro missions, as well as some small ships (and as I understand it, it’s easier to work with now than it was when I’d done it), but when one looks at the prices to go to a cruiser, to a battleship, or even larger, you look at the numbers and ask yourself, “How the hell am I going to get this kind of money?”

I’d certainly felt that way for quite a while.  Getting Zhaven to a battleship was going to cost tens of millions.  Getting Coreth into a Hulk was going to be over one hundred million ISK.  When looking at these from the perspective of frigate fliers, with missions that pay out tens of thousands at best, with small cargo holds, it looks bleak.

But the progression actually matters.  Playing the game matters.  It’s easy to train up to these things:  if you have the skill books, all you need is time.  But getting the money to own them is a different story.

And, as it turns out, not as hard as it seems.

From the perspective of the frigate pilot just starting, these numbers are huge.  But in the process of playing and paying attention, you learn how to make your money-and as much as some EVE players might go into shock by the comparison, it’s very much like the gear progression in World of Warcraft.

Frigates get you through the level 1 missions, or get you enough mined ores and minerals to purchase your cruiser.  Depending on how you choose to outfit it, you discover that the cruiser allows you to do tougher missions, mine more ore-or maybe you start the mining barge path, looking to pull an exponentially larger amount of ore.  Or perhaps you go the industrial route, pick up a hauler, and do some trading between stations-the age old principles of “buy low, sell high”.  Tougher missions mean more ISK; larger cargo holds, more mining lasers mean more ore-and thus, more profit.  You start deciding how to specialize the character.

Soon-much sooner than you thought was possible-you start bringing in hundreds of thousands of ISK.  The millions that dwarfed your imaginings as a frigate pilot seem suddenly not so far out of reach.  You got the cruiser fast enough, and the battleships don’t seem so far away.  Your mining cruiser is getting you what you need for better mining ships.  You find that as you gain more money, you can purchase better equipment which enables you to not only make up for the temporary loss, but make up for it quickly.

I found this out as I played.  Even though most of my time is on CoH/V, I’ve still learned this lesson well.  Who knows where I’d be if I dedicated more time to EVE?  Zhaven’s now in a battleship going through level 3 missions, and in time I have no doubt that he’ll be able to survive a level 4.  Coreth has recently gotten into his fully fitted Hulk.

Now I’m looking at the Orca, the industrial command ship, with a skill book price of about 45-50 million, and a ship price tag of about 450-500 million.

The new frigate pilot looks at that kind of number, and thinks, “No way in hell”.

The pilot who has recently gotten into level 3 missions and using a Hulk to depopulate asteroid belts looks at that number, and thinks, “That’s not so far away.”

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