Today almost ended up being the 'first day I skipped playing', but the stars finally aligned to permit me to log back in again – I wanted to complete at least one more set of the tutorials today – I fancied taking a crack at industry. Now here's the interesting thing. Had someone asked me going in what I would have found more interesting, combat would have been fairly high on my list...and yet, I've found the industry missions a lot more fun, somehow! Right down to 'cheating' my way through one of the missions by simply buying an item rather than manufacturing it – I figure that it is built in, but it felt great fun doing it.
This should really have been no surprise to me, I suppose. When I played Elite, it was always the trading that fascinated me – though not as an end in itself, I just wanted to get better and better ships. (Who didn't!) This has even greater potential...and I have a feeling that I'm going to end up going the industrial magnate route in this game, rather than the hot-rod combat jockey. My plan remains naturally to be sensible and complete all of the tutorials before I make any final decision, but I have a feeling that mining is going to be a significant part of the rest of my trial period...and the fact that I've started training Mining 4 is no coincidence.
I've always been a big fan of Poul Anderson's Polesotechnic League, the traders pioneering new markets, finding new things to exploit, and that style of play certainly feels possible in EVE – especially since I don't intend to loiter around as a highsec miner for too long, just enough to build up a decent little grub stake and get more of a feel for how things work. And yes, the fact that I am now beginning to work out how I'd like my character to go – and installed EVEMon this morning – should tell you a little bit about whether or not I'm going to upgrade.
There's a great feel to this game, and I rather like the low-intensity feel it has. I can switch back to the browser for a bit, do a bit of work, then click back to monitor how everything is going, let the ship fly itself for long hauls. (If there's a word processor built in somewhere, I'm sold.) This really is the Elite I dreamed about when I was a kid, isn't it...
Speaking of the industry missions – I liked them more than the combat ones. There I struggled really to engage with what was behind it, I felt it a bit like a point and click exercise – here I got the feeling that I actually was flying around to earn a buck – and again, the ability to 'trick' out of one of the missions by hitting the markets is an excellent feature, it really felt like I had a say in how things were going to evolve.
Then, it came to the last mission. This required the construction of a frigate from blueprints, and I decided – being a very lazy man – not to bother going out and mining for the materials, instead buying them on the open market. I realized quite quickly that I was going to make a loss on the deal...but what the hell, I figured I'd go for it. Then I found that one element – isogen – wasn't available on the station. Not a scrap. This was a bit annoying, I'd have to go elsewhere to buy it, drag it back, then build it.
At that point, I realized something. I wasn't the only newbie here, and I wasn't the only person who would be wanting to buy their way to easy victory. Instead of just buying as much isogen as I needed, I filled my cargo holds, I think spending about a million ISK, and took the lot back home. After using what I needed, I put the rest up on sale...and it's too early to see whether it worked or not, whether I made a profit on the deal or not, but this has sold me on the game more than anything else so far. I saw an opportunity to make some ISK, and I went for it. No-one suggested it, the game didn't prompt it. Whether I make any money out of this or not...this is excellent stuff.