Like many MMOs, EVE Online offers a free trial to let players try the game out before they buy it. While this lets you see if you like the gameplay before committing, the sheer scope of EVE makes it practically impossible to experience everything the game has to offer within the trial period. Additionally, since the learning curve is relatively steep to begin with, it's very easy to become overwhelmed in a short trial period. These factors can make it hard to experience what EVE is really like, meaning it's hard to make an informed decision.

In this guide, I explain how you can maximise your time and fun with the EVE free trial and help make an informed decision on whether it's the game for you.

Maximising play time:
The official EVE Online free trial page offers a 14 day no obligation trial but it's possible to squeeze a few more days out of it by getting your trial elsewhere. Steam offers 21 day free trials and use of their download servers to receive the client. A more friendly option is available to people with friends that play EVE. Your friend can have a buddy key sent to you via email that gives you a 21 day trial. As an added bonus, if you later choose to upgrade your trial to a full account, your buddy will receive 30 days of play time free.

Character creation:
There are really no right or wrong things to do in character creation but if you want to get the most out of your free trial, there are some guidelines you should follow and important facts to keep in mind:
  • Attributes only affect your skill training times. As a lot of skills make use of the same primary attributes, the most important attributes are Perception, Intelligence, Memory and Willpower in that order. Charisma isn't used for much at the moment and is not really important.
  • Choosing a career at character creation only affects what skills your character starts with. After creation, any player is free to train any new skills they meet the prerequisites for.
  • Since you'll only have a few weeks to train new skills on the trial, it's a good idea to pick a career that will be useful early on. While industry or business might sound like your cup of tea, I strongly advise choosing a military profession. This will give you ship and combat skills that will definitely help in your trial.
  • If later in the trial you want to try out the industrial side of things, your account has two extra character slots that you can use to experiment. But remember that only one character on an account can be training skills at one time and you can train industrial skills on a character started as a military specialist with no penalty.
  • Although your character picture is currently only used for a passport photo, spend a little time on it and choose a nice name. If you later progress to a full account, you'll want a face and name you would be pleased with for years to come. Also remember that when the Walking in Stations expansion hits, it's unlikely players will be able to change their race or gender.
Your first moments in space:
The game begins with your character piloting their first training frigate in a deadspace training complex. The tutorial blinks in the bottom right of the screen and I strongly advise everyone to complete it. Other small tutorials will appear to explain concepts like insurance and skills as you encounter them. Additional advanced tutorials can be found by pressing F12 and selecting the "Tutorials" tab. EVE is famous for its steep learning curve and the tutorials are specifically created to cut out the steepest part of the curve.

Once you've finished the initial tutorial and have docked at the station, you'll find the tutorial agent waiting for you. This agent will give you a few starter missions and then introduce you to your first real agent. This new agent will give you a special series of missions that showcase areas of EVE from combat to manufacturing and invention. They're a good way to experience some of EVE's core gameplay first-hand but at any point you can tell him to shove his missions and try to find your own way in the world.

Continue to part 2 where I take a peek at your first big ship upgrade and talk about where to go from there.

This article was originally published on Massively.
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