this was originally going to be a condensed guide for those seeking to learn how to fly their ships but i guess this is more of a set of tips or advice.
so, you started the game, won the tutorial and are left with the usual question “what do i fly?”, “what should i train?” and so on. i’ve played this game for a long time with different accounts but not really a veteran, i even deleted all of those extra alts to focus on a single character, single organized account from 0, so i have experience with the new player mechanics of today so lets get started with the list.
1. The Big 4 Empires and the Big 4 Skill Families:
everyone starts this game in one of the main starting factions, barring lore, aesthetics and stuff like that each of the 4 empires has a proficiency with 2 weapon systems, 1 tanking doctrine, 1 form of Electronic Warfare (also called EWAR or CC in other games) and an extra disruption specialization. this is a more or less condensed list of what each empire gets bonused to.
- Energy Turrets (Lasers) is primary weapon
- Drones is secondary weapon (can also use missiles as support to them)
- Armor is their tanking doctrine with a focus on resistances
- Weapon/Guidance Disruptors are main Electronic Warfare platform
- Energy Neutralizers/Vampires are their secondary disruption source
- Missile Launchers are their primary weapon
- Hybrid Turrets (Blasters and Railguns) are their secondary weapon
- Shields are their tanking doctrine with a focus on resistances
- Electronic Countermeasers (“ECM”) are their main electronic warfare platform
- they dont have a secondary disruption source
- Hybrid Turrets are their primary weapon
- Drones are their secondary weapon (its actually their specialization but yeah, just to keep with the order)
- Armor is their tanking doctrine with a focus on better repairs
- Sensor Dampeners are their main electronic warfare platform
- Warp Scramblers/Disruptors are their secondary disruption source
- Projectile Turrets (Autocannons and Artilleries) are their main weapon
- Missiles are their secondary weapon
- Shield is their tanking doctrine with a focus on better repairs (though they can also armor tank or speed tank)
- Target Painters are their main electronic warfare platform
- Stasis Webifiers are their secondary disruption source
with this you get a more or less simple idea of what skills you may need to fly depending on the empire you chose. however, there’s actually 4 big skill families that are a must have for any ship in the game and which you should master in the long run, not only because of the bonuses of each faction but also for things like better fitting or performance in PvE/PvP. they can be easily found in the Character Sheet in that big list of skills.
this family has everything regarding ship agility, max velocity, Afterburner and Microwarpdrive bonuses. almost all the modules dedicated to improving movement in and out of combat root from here.
mainly for CPU, Powergrid and Capacitor. all the Electronics and Energy modules root from this family and its a requirement to squish the most out of your ship for fitting.
everything that goes with that doctrine goes there. still, even if you’re a Shield based ship having armor skills means having an extra emergency layer in case your main tank gets removed.
same as with armor, everything related to Shields goes here and you should also skill for it even if being an Armor user because the Shield still acts as an extra buffer before delving into your main tank so its still usefull.
if you master those 4 you have basically become proficient at fitting and flying every ship in the game no matter the faction, and you can start messing around with modules and rigs properly with only a few constraints in the middle.
2. Secondary Valid Skill Families that you should take a look:
these arent a big requirement but you may have to look at them in the short future depending on what you want to do and also depending if you’re Alpha or Omega.
you’re gonna wonder “but why this family if Engineering provides the CPU?” the answer is that Engineering only provides for improving CPU and some Sensor related modules unlock. the rest comes out of this family and the next one. Electronic Systems provides the requirements to use Propulsion Jamming modules (Warp Scramblers and Disruptos), Electronic Warfare modules and Electronic Support like increases to Sensor Strength or unlocking passive targetting modules.
this one is all about improving your targetting systems, faster locking, more target locks, extra targetting range and so on. really usefull for all situations (allthought mostly for combat)
Jury Rigging is the first skill here and requires some skills in Armor but everything else in this family is important to whatever you want to do in the game as all the Rigs have a root here (you can rig your ship regardless but the drawbacks are reduced by these skills). its not a direct must but you will need it in the future.
seen those accelerators you get from events? the drugs/implants that people carry in killmails? all of those are unlocked from this family. Neural Enhancemente provides skills to get better bang for your buck in terms of Combat Drugs or Cerebral Accelerators (less chance of drawbacks and higher duration for example), along with unlocking Implants which can be beneficial on many things from Skill Leveling to Mining, Combat, Exploration, etc…
this family also unlocks Jump Clones and additional clone slots for your character. the reason that its not in the big 4 is because all of this is optional, you dont need drugs or implants to do PvE/PvP allthought there’s times where it will come handy and getting extra hours from those skill drugs always comes handy.
another one that i dont count on the big 4 for a simple reason. that is that for starting you dont really need to skill up past lvl 1 in Spaceship Command (the skill that gives the name to the group), with that single point you can board any T1 shuttle, industrial, frigate and corvette. additional skill leveling will provide the requirement for flying Destroyers and up but i wouldnt count that as a necessity, rather, its an optional thing.
of course, if your long term goal is to jump into a Battleship this is the family you have to look after. all the ship skills root from this one. in addition this this skill also gives a boost in ship agility so i personally group it with Navigation
3. The Other Families and Career Specialization:
at this point you may be wondering where do the weapons, mining, trading or exploration families fall into. this is the part where specialization becomes key.
a. if you want to do raw combat:
- Gunnery is the family for all things Turrets if you master the support skills inside that one you will have cut more than half the time required to learn any gun.
- Missiles is pretty self explanatory, it carries everything related to them from the smallest rocket to the ones used by capital ships and much like above you ease the pain if mastering the support skills inside of it.
b. if you want to do missions:
- Social is the family that manages standings in general along with mission reward bonuses, you’re gonna need to master that one if you’re planning to make a profit from agents
- depending on which mission specialization you want (Security, Distribution or Mining) you may have to learn points in a different family
c. if you want to do mining/salvaging:
- Resource Processing is the main family for all things mining (and also Salvaging and reprocessing loot)
d. if you want to do “PI”:
- Planet Management is the main family where all things Planetary Interaction are unlocked
e. if you want to do Industry:
- Production is the main family for things related to raw manufacturing
- Science is the main family for things related to invention
f. if you want to do trade:
- Trade is the family for all your needs
- Social may also be required due to how the market works
g. if you want to do exploration:
- Scanning is the family that manages scanners, probes and hacking tools
h. if you want to provide command burst or be FC:
- Fleet Support is the family related to this, including Command Links
i. if you want to use deployables or have our own structures:
- Structure Management is the family and covers from Mobile Depots to Interdiction Bubbles and Upwell Structures
j. if you want to found your own Corp/Alliance:
- Corporation Management is the family that covers all of this
with this we’re almost finished but there’s still some stuff left behind to cover.
4. WHAT ABOUT DRONES?:
i left this one for last because Drones are a much more complex topic than other Weapons. in the beginning Drones were designed to be small automated support to your ship and thus could fill some activities depending on your role.
due to this we have skills for Resource Harvesting Drones, Logistic Drones and Electronic Warfare Drones (and other forms of disruption) as support to Combat Drones.
in addition to this, many ships required drones as extra backup not because they’re bonused to them but because of their size. the larger the ship, the harder it will be to hit smaller targets even with application bonuses so many of them have a small dronebay to carry a full flight of drones to cope with that issue.
thus depending on what you’re gonna fly and where you may need to skill up in the Drone family, even if you’re not going to use them for main combat.
5. No T2/T3 Specializations?:
this is a guide for new players so i left out those from the list. however if you’re wondering what the Subsystems family does in the big list well that’s the one that manages everything related to T3 subsystems (the ones used by Strategic Cruisers like the Tengu, Legion, Loki and Proteus).
6. Some Extra Advice for New Beans:
-optimize your Skillpoints:
if you’re Alpha you’re limited to learn 5 Million SP over time. after that limit its going Omega or buying Skill Injectors (which are quite expensive) so dont try to learn everything at once, looka t the first points of the guide and try to make a “budget” of your avaliable SP.
-optimize your wallet around your skills:
that Vexor Navy Issue or Gila, heck, even the regular Drake or Raven will take a long time to skill up and will take a lot of money to get properly fit and ready for whatever money making activity you want. if you’re starting dont try to look for the fastest way to get into those lumbering ships, instead, try to improve what you can do with the current ships you can fly. perhaps not invest into T2 modules for it but improve the skills so you can get better efficiency even with regular T1 for that activity.
this will mean you’ll have a faster, safer and steady source of income so you can start saving money and skills on those medium to long term vessels you want to fly later on. and even if you loose them on the 1st (or later) tries you will still have some sort of backup to climb all over again.
-practice with the fitting simulator:
the ingame simulator inside the Fitting Menu will allow you to check on ship fits before buying anything and they will be scaled to your current skills so you can see what skills are missing and how are their current bonuses.
if you dont have acces to the game in any given moment you can also use out of game tools like Pyfa or EFT so you can keep theorycrafting or even checking fittings of killmails imported from sites like Zkillboard.
-every piece of info is important:
much like how other games have several calculators for character attributes, talents and equipment stats this game is hard packed on information for everything. ships, structures, modules, ammunition, even player information can be read by just right clicking and “Show Info”.
so try to research before doing questions in the forums, chat or other social media as many things can be solved just by checking that info.
in addition to this there’s resources online and outside of the game for many of this, EVE University has a Wiki and EVE Market Data or EVEPraisal are good sites to check on the price of items if you’re looking to buy/sell stuff.
-dont rush your experience:
fly at your own pace no matter what activity you do. there’s no need to jump straight into a Nullsec Alliance or even a regular corporation, try to make a living by yourself or with friends if you have them. sometimes it will take longer to achieve things but such is the way of the game. the skill leveling system, the lack of classes or direct leveling systems, this game is meant to be about the ride not the destination.
with this i finish the guide, hope it has been pretty informative. i left the Pirate Factions out in purpose because i feel that like with T2/T3 those are more advanced concepts that require a far higher grasp on the game and this is a new player talk.