Time for Tannenbaum

A festival of gifts comes to Eve Online, and a new Caldari capsuleer earns her license.

Caldari citizen with a hologram of a starter Ibis corvette in Eve Online

The spirit of Christmas touches even the deepest corners of space in the distant future. The Yoiul Festival started in Eve Online on 14 December 2016, and it brings 12 days of free gifts for capsuleers. Each day, a new item will appear for 24 hours from midnight Eve server time in the item redeeming system.

I also decided it would be a good time to create a brand new character in order to try out the new Inception tutorial, which features a fully voiced mentor guiding you through an important faction storyline.

Yoiultide

The Yoiul Festival, which sounds suspiciously similar to “yule”, features twelve days of free gifts being given out by the game developers to all active players. The gifts range from ship skins and festive clothing to collectable trinkets and even cerebral accelerators (which can boost your skill training).

To claim your free gifts, just launch the game and at the bottom of the character selection screen should be a “redeem items” bar – clicking on it will reveal the item of the day, and to redeem it, just drag it on to one of your characters. It will appear in the item hangar of the space station wherever your character is currently located. If you’re already logged in to a character, you can claim using the redeem items menu in the Neocom (main menu > inventory > redeem items).

Each item will only appear in the redeeming system for 24 hours and disappear at midnight (UTC time), so be sure to claim your gifts each day. The exception is the Christmas Day gift and the New Year’s Eve gift which will stay in the redeeming system for you to claim until 9 January 2017.

The Patriot

I decided to create a new character to experience the new tutorial that arrived with the Ascension expansion. I already have Gallente and Amarr characters, so this time I decided to roll a Caldari citizen.

Each faction in Eve Online has its own style and backstory, and for the Caldari it’s an interesting tale. Their home system of Caldari Prime is in the same star system as Gallente Prime, and they were one of the founding members of the Gallente Federation. But differences eventually led to them leaving the Federation and sparking the Gallente-Caldari war.

The Caldari State is built upon the ideals of capitalism, and is run by mega-corporations in a corporate meritocracy. This manifests as a Caldari social culture of consumerism and patriotism, which I think is interesting in contrast to the democratic freedom of the Gallente and religious imperialism of the Amarr.

There are three main bloodlines available to choose from for your Caldari heritage – the Deteis, Civire and Achura. The Deteis are described as efficient, dutiful and hardworking, embodying Caldari ideals in every way. The Civire are described as the backbone of the Caldari State, being cool, dilligent, unselfish and level-headed. The Achura have been members of the Caldari State for three centuries, but their culture remains mysterious and they are described as intensely spiritual.

Compared to real present day ethnicities and cultures, the Caldari seem to be a mix of German, Finnish and Japanese, with the examples appearing on the character creation screen showing the Deteis as blonde germanic, the Civire as butch scandinavians and the Achura as oriental. This is also reflected in Caldari names, which sound very much like a fusion of German, Finnish and Japanese, with examples such as the Lai Dai Corporation or the Sobaseki star system.

My new Caldari character is a female Achura, with the heritage of being decended from inventors and learning her piloting skills from the School of Applied Knowledge. Being born during the festive season, I gave her the name Katana Tannenbaum.

For the state

I very much enjoyed the new tutorial. It is essentially the same storyline for all four factions, but with slight changes to the dialogue to reflect the culture of your chosen empire and a different mentor character.

You begin after regaining conciousness in your rookie ship, after surviving a devastating battle in which your faction’s Titan capital ship has been destroyed in an attack by enemies known as Drifters. You’re contacted by a fleet commander, who embodies your empire’s ideals and will become your mentor, fast-tracking you through your capsuleer training. The Caldari mentor, Fleet Commander Rai Kaatara is very level headed, efficient and emphasises your duty to the state and being a productive member of society – there’s a part where she sends you to fight pirates and calls them “parasites on the economy”.

Throughout the tutorial, you’re introduced to the basics such as how to pilot your ship, how to engage in combat, and even crafting and data hacking. It also does a good job at introducing you to some of the key players in the Eve universe, by focusing on the Drifters as the game’s big bad guys, and also having you rescue a member of the Sisters of Eve.

There’s also a part where you travel to an Astrahus citadel, surrounded by a fleet of your faction’s ships. You get to see how huge and awesome citadels are, and I definitely aspire to having one of my own someday. There’s also a chance to fly up to and inspect the ships available to your faction, with all kinds of frigates, cruisers, battleships and capital ships on display. Your mentor states that there’s nothing like the feeling of piloting one of those for yourself.

The tutorial culminates in a massive fleet battle against the Drifers, emulating what you might see if you ever join one of those massive PvP space battles which sometimes get streamed on Twitch. This is where you’re shown that each ship type has its own role to play in the battle, with even you in your small frigate making a difference.

Then you finally learn one of the harsher truths of the game – that you can and will die. You sacrifice yourself by destroying the Drifter hive while the rest of your fleet escapes, and are taken out by the explosion. But death is not the end – having earned your independent capsuleer status, you are now an immortal, being reborn in a new clone body and ready to begin your own journey.

Inception definitely is a much better starting experience for new players. In contrast to the old “tutorial” where you’re just thrown into your starter star system and left to fend for yourself, the new tutorial is designed to make you feel important, gives you a much better background to the universe of Eve and what’s going on, and is a lot more fun.

Finding a role

Katana Tannenbaum in Eve Online

After completing the tutorial, you’re urged to continue your training with the career agents. They each have short mission chains designed to introduce you to the basics of combat, business, industry and exploration. Doing these is worthwhile, as you get a taste of what you might want to pursue as a career in Eve and they also pay out quite a lot of ISK as rewards, giving you a good financial start. You also get a whole bunch of free ships suited to each particular career.

I ran through the business and industry tutorials, which provided me with a basic hauler in the form of a Caldari Badger class industrial vessel, which comes with a good sized cargo hold. It also provided me with a few million ISK, which I used to buy some skill books to begin training.

The other main reason I decided to create a new character was my need for more planetary commodities. My main character has several planetary colonies which extract various materials, and then processes those into more valuable refined goods. But he can only manage to produce half of what I need daily to keep the factories going. The rest I’ve had to fly around to different marketplaces buying, which is quite expensive and time consuming.

So, I’ve decided to train Katana Tannenbaum up to be a planetary interaction alt. The skill books required are very cheap, and I could buy those right away with the starter ISK I got from the career agent tutorials. I also had some points left over from the skill injector given during the tutorial to speed up training. For an additional boost, my main character had a cerebral booster lying around that could only be used by new characters under 14 days old, so this was perfect to give to Katana and speed up skill training time even more.

Within 24 hours, I had a planetary colony up and running and producing goods. A week later, and I’ve got four planets running at a sufficient level to provide me with everything I need. It has definitely been worthwhile, as it is so much simpler to produce these goods myself, ship them to Jita (the biggest trading hub in the game) ready for my main character to pick up and then pay myself for the trouble (mainly enough to cover the cost of planetary customs export tax).

Having alternate characters in Eve Online is a good investment, if not only to experience the new tutorial, then to supplement your main character’s activities by providing passive income. You get three character slots, so it makes sense to use what you’re given to your advantage.

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