It can seem to be a lot of information blitzing you at once, but after you've spent a little time looking at your character sheet, it all becomes quite simple. Perhaps the section of your character sheet you'll use the most is the skills section, and with good reason. At the top of your character sheet, beside your portrait, you'll see a listing of your skillpoints. Directly below that is your clone information, which shows how many skillpoints you're insured against losing. It's important that your clone number remains higher than your skillpoints number, at all times. When you die, you will instantly revive in your clone. If your clone holds less knowledge than you did before the mishap, you've just lost those experiences, in the form of skillpoints. You are your skills in EVE. You will go through many bodies or clones in EVE Online, but your collective achievement in the form of your skillpoints will always remain -- provided you follow the tips in these next few steps.
It's tempting to just jump in and fly recklessly in EVE, and we've all done it. But eventually most players come to realize that EVE is about flying smart, or at least smarter than the other pilots out there. Knowing what resources are available to you in stations is essential. The station services are the set of square icons seen on the right. While there are a number of station services you can use, this guide focuses on two of the most important: Medical and Insurance. In addition, all stations will have ship fitting services, which you will undoubtedly use in most game sessions. Not all will have Medical services though, and that's what you'll need to find. Read on to learn how.
Not all stations have Medical services, however getting access to them is essential. It's advisable to base yourself out of a station offering Medical services, for reasons that will become clear in this guide. Finding solar systems with stations where you'll be able to update your clone is important, and luckily isn't difficult to do at all. How do you find them? Either click "Map" on the left of your Neocom, or just press F10. A map will come up. Note that I have selected "Star Map" from the two options on the upper right. The World Map control panel will open up automatically. Select the "Star Map" tab in this window, and the "Color Stars by" tab after that. Click the blue "Services" folder and check off "Cloning." Blink! Now all solar systems with stations equipped with Medical services will glow on your star map. Simply click on one nearby your present location, right click and "Set Destination" and you're on your way.
Now that you're in a station with Medical services, it's time to move on to the next step. As a capsuleer in EVE, you're functionally immortal, but only so long as your clone contract is kept up-to-date. In the event that your body is obliterated as well as your ship in PvP, your consciousness is transferred to whichever station with a Medical facility your clone is located in. Having a clone that's up to speed with your number of skillpoints is essential; if your clone is current, you're good to jump in a ship and head out again following being podkilled. So, think of having a clone contract as an insurance policy on your character. Again, if your clone rating doesn't meet or exceed the number of skillpoints you've earned, you'll lose a substantial amount of skillpoints and potentially weeks of training time. Any station with a Medical facility, seen on the right side of your screen in-station and indicated by the red cross, will allow you to upgrade your clone. Click on that and move to the next step.
Now click on "Upgrade Clone" and select one of your options in the box that pops up. The amount of skillpoints insured and the price are shown for each option. Choose what best suits you. This would also be a good time to move your Medical clone to this station. Click "Change Station" and set your clone for the current station you're occupying. Keeping your clone updated should be a habit. As your skillpoints increase into the millions, so will your costs to keep your clone up to date. But by that point, the expense will be minimal compared to the benefits you gain by having this added insurance policy.
Now that your body and skillpoints are properly secured against lasting harm, it's time to do the same with your ship. Insuring your ship, providing it's a Tech I ship, is a sound investment for your isk. Click on the Insurance button among the station services. It has an image of a ship wrapped in chains and a padlock. A window will open, showing the ships you have in that station. Select your ship and click "Insure." Now it's time to select your level of insurance. See the next step for more details.
There are different levels of insurance, ranging from Basic which gives a minimal payout, to Platinum, which generally pays out more than you paid for the ship in the first place. A Platinum insurance payout will also offset your additional losses from your ship modules being destroyed. Massively recommends Platinum insuring your Tech I ships, particularly if you're reliant on that ship for your mission running or other isk-generating needs. You will receive an EVE Mail confirmation that your ship is now insured, and when the coverage will expire. But hopefully you won't get yourself blown up in the first place. If you're a mission runner, you can vastly reduce the risk of losing your ship by using the mission guides at <a href="http://eve-survival.org/wikka.php?wakka=MissionReports">EVE Survival</a>, which warn you what you're up against in a given mission, what damage types to deal, and what damage types to tank against.
The last thing to remember before you undock is to have a look at the upper left of your screen. If you've done anything 'bad' in the last 15 minutes, a criminal countdown is shown. Hover your cursor over that for a second and you'll see which corporation (player or NPC) that you've angered. If you want to play it safe, don't undock if you're criminally flagged by a player corp. If the dreaded 'Global Criminal Countdown' appears in red, don't undock in a ship at all until the countdown finishes. Otherwise, the station's sentry guns will open fire on you upon undock and you can say goodbye to your ship. (We sent in a stunt double for this one. Don't try this at home.) That's it! While there's always more to learn in EVE Online, if you've kept up with us this far, you've mastered what you need to know <a href="http://www.massively.com/photos/eve-visual-guide-before-you-undock/">before you undock.</a> Fly safe.