It has been some time since I reported on Lozyjoe’s progress and much has happened since the last installment. So much so that I’m not entirely sure if ‘rookie’ is the most appropriate term for her any more.

When we last checked in on Lozyjoe, she had begun to understand the basics of the interface and had grasped the UI elements that she needed. She had diligently worked her way through all the tutorial agents and had developed a good basic understanding of the gameplay choices available to her. She was now standing at the ‘what to do next’ crossroads. Unlike most other games, EVE does not provide the player with a clear indicator of where to go or what to do next. Aware of its ‘sandbox’ nature, EVE pretty much just hands you a bucket and spade (civilian issue) and points you at the desert.

I remember when I first started playing in 2003, most players just fell into mining as a relatively safe source of initial income, but this is 2011 and there are a plethora of choices available to the new capsuleer: Planeteering, PvP combat, industry, exploration, missioning, piracy, trading and so on. She had received a recruitment email from a local player corporation which she’d assumed was game-generated, but I explained it’s actual nature and advised caution with corporation selection given the number of scammers and charlatans around. So what path did Lozyjoe choose?

Mining. -sigh- Everything’s changed, but some things stay the same.

Her argument was that it was a fairly hands-off activity that she could participate in whilst still being able to attend to household tasks. I put aside concerns that Mike Azariah had threatened to hunt me down and pod me if I let her become a miner and gave some thought to her choice. Although mining itself was mundane, it could lead to manufacturing, something which she had expressed a passing interest in. So all hope was not lost.

Additionally, one hurdle she had been struggling to overcome was ship fitting, having been bewildered by the myriad of available options and understanding how they affected the performance of her chosen ship. She had tried her hand at missioning, but I suspect the difficulties that had deterred her had come from having an inadequate ship loadout, having fallen into the rookie habit of bolting any looted junk that her skills would allow onto her ship, irrespective of usefulness. So I set about rectifying this by designing her some combat ships in an attempt to entice her to try a more explodey way of life. This resulted in the Punisher Brochure: FGCM Edition, which I published a few weeks ago, and it was a great success.

Time has since passed and I’ve noticed a change in her play style. She started to use her mined materials to manufacture things from some blueprints she had purchased and found pleasure in the increasingly frequent wallet ‘blinks’ as she made another sale. She began to branch out and strike up conversations with other players, even finding a mining mentor in OldDirtyBreezer (cheers for that ODB, it saved me having to figure out mining). I noticed her language use in channel began to change and rather than writing in proper sentences she had remembered the chat shorthand from her EQ2 days (‘ty’ – thank you, ‘BRB’ – be right back, ‘nm’ – never mind, and so on), although I’m not entirely certain that’s a good thing. What was a good thing was the fact that she was chatting to other players, which can only open up opportunities and greatly increase the knowledge available to her.

I recently realised that the title of ‘rookie’ perhaps no longer suited her when I logged in one day to find that she had been getting involved in Incursion fleets – something I have yet to get around to doing. When she had found that she was treated with derision whilst trying to bring a Punisher frigate to an Incursion fleet, she had set about quietly skilling up and I discovered she was flying around in a Harbinger battlecruiser. What’s more the loadout wasn’t a complete travesty. Way to go Loz.

So within a couple of months, Lozyjoe has gone from complete EVE novice to a well-rounded player with a good handle on mining, industry, trading and PvE combat. She’s now my go-to girl for rig manufacture and I’ve made her a director of one of my alt corps (she wasn’t happy about the tax rate in NPC corps). You should see her EVE scrapbook of figures and calculations, it’s impressive. She now knows things about EVE that I don’t and I think she has proven that, with a little perseverance, the learning cliff can be scaled and conquered and the new player experience can become a rewarding one.

But now she’s got a new problem; she’s got her husband playing.

And so the cycle begins again.