I got rather more limited playtime in than I’d hoped last night, so I did not get the change to play WAR at all. I did spend several hours logged into EVE, but much of that was spent AFK, hopping on only to change skills over.
But on that count, I did make a lot of progress, training up Trade to 1 (increasing my open orders limit to 9,) Science to 3 (enabling me to train Cybernetics,) and Cybernetics to 1, which allows me to plug in the three implants that I have sitting around from the post-tutorial missions. Next up is Survey and Salvaging, and thence to High Speed Maneuvering and, for the first time, the Microwarp Drive, which I’ve never gotten the skills to fit in any of my passes at EVE. Then Destroyers and Tractor Beams. The point of all this should be fairly obvious.
When I logged on I had a shiny, lightly used Rifter awaiting me, gotten at a bargain price of 177K ISK on the aftermarket. I promptly fitted it out with cheap modules, renamed it Temptation’s Anvil as promised, put my Breacher up for sale and ran a few missions, a couple of which were fairly difficult at my current skill level and fitting limits. Mid-mission runs back to station for repairs occurred a couple of times, but all were successful and completed well before the bonus time ran out.
Many MMOs have quests; missions are the EVE equivalent. In many if not all stations there are mission agents who you can take missions from. The rewards are typically monetary, but sometimes they’re goods instead. In addition to the money, completing missions successfully gets you Loyalty Points which you can spend on gear at the Loyalty Points Store found in most stations. These run all the way from nice little implants to blueprints to powerful faction Battleships. Running missions also increases your standing with the Agent’s corp, which eventually unlocks higher levels of missions.
There are different levels of Agent – a level 1 Agent will give you level 1 missions, and so on. Each Agent also has a quality, which affects the mission rewards; higher-quality agents give you better rewards, and your standings with the individual agent and his or her corp affect the effective quality rating. The Agent I’m working for, for example, is an apparatchik of the Brutor Tribe, which is a corp within the NPC allience of the Minmatar Republic. Her natural quality is -3 (quality ranges from -20 to +20) but her effective quality with me is up to +4 now. This is not bad for a starting Agent.
As my standing continues to increase with the Brutor Tribe, I will gradually unlock higher-quality Agents; Loyalty Points accrue toward the whole NPC corp, not just the individual Agent (this is a change implemented in the last year or so.) Eventually, I will unlock level 2 Agents, which will give out level 2 (cruiser) missions.
Missions are fairly repetitive, especially if you stick with the same Agent. But you can mix it up by working missions for different Agents within the same corp; different departments will have different mixes of missions available. My Agent is part of the Security Division, which gives almost entirely combat missions, but other divisions will give out different mixes of jobs. The most recent patch added about 100 new missions to the game, many of which are said to be level 1 missions, so hopefully this will mix things up a bit more.
Running missions, after you’ve done a dozen of them or so and seen where your standings are at from them, appears to be an utterly merciless grind – it seems like it’ll take a good long time just to get to level 2. And it will… unless you develop some Social skills. These will either increase the standings gain from missions successfully completed, or give you a flat bonus to your standings. Some of them are fairly expensive for raw, green players, but it takes very little time to put together enough oney to buy a nice little suite of Social skills that’ll make the process of getting your standings up far more forgiving. Higher-end Social skills like Military Connections and the like have costs in the millions of ISK and should probably wait, but staples like Diplomacy, Negotiation and Social itself are reasonably cheap (in the neighborhood of 100-300K ISK on the high end) and make running missions more profitable in terms of both money and standings.
I also hit a million ISK from mission profits. As before, this is not an especially large amount of money, but it’s an important enough early milestone that it’s worth noting. I’m having a good time so far, but I’m not sure what I’ll be playing hardest tonight.