Hippla: Hey Ambrose Dexter. I had the chance to get to know you as Sydanten Taksikuski, your EVE Uni character and my mentee! Thanks for taking the time to share some of your experience as a recent EVE Uni alumnus with the community. Let’s get started by learning a bit more about who you are and what it is that brought you back to EVE?
Ambrose: In spring of 2023, I returned to EVE for one reason. There’s simply nothing out there that provides the true sandbox MMORPG experience like EVE does. My first MMORPG was Ultima Online, and at its inception I got hooked on the concept of player-driven economy with full-loot PvP.
Much like EVE, we had to treat gear as ammunition and we had to solve logistical challenges to be able to show up to a fight at a certain location. To get to a “prepared” state, we had to figure out gathering of resources, crafting and transportation. To be efficient at this, we had to specialise and that meant working together with other players who fulfil different roles was absolutely necessary. And once you get involved with other people to achieve larger goals, you unlock the full potential of a sandbox game: emergent gameplay and incredible storylines that you become a part of with those around you.
Now this was a brief summary of my experience in Ultima Online, but as you would replace the name of the game “Ultima Online” with “EVE“, you’ll find that all aspects of my experience correlate to EVE perfectly. This is exactly why I have returned to EVE.
Hippla: Having played UO back in the wonderful early days of MMOs, I can totally relate. When you recently came back to EVE, why did you decide to join EVE University (again)?
Ambrose: I’ve had a really good experience with E-UNI back when I was active in 2019. At the time, I was introduced to EVE by a somewhat experienced friend and he helped me get to a stage in hi-sec gameplay where I was able to run L4 missions to make ISK, and do the occasional PvP in neighbouring low-sec systems. In time, I realised that my gameplay was mostly limited by my friend’s vision of what can and should be done in this sandbox.
Realising the fact that I hadn’t been introduced to the majority of what EVE has to offer, I looked into joining a corporation but I didn’t feel like I was equipped to judge which corporation was actually good for me.
Most of my questions regarding in-game mechanics were always answered by the UniWiki, and so I decided to join E-UNI, the people behind this wiki. In E-UNI, I quickly learned the most valuable thing which was “getting to know what I don’t know“.
Learning about all sorts of different playstyles and career choices removed the “fog of war” and turned “unknown unknowns” into “known unknowns“. The transition from a beginner to an advanced beginner was great because I didn’t feel overwhelmed with EVE anymore and this was essential for my post E-UNI career.
Fast-forward a couple of years, I ended up taking a break from EVE. On my return I was mechanically very rusty and had some outdated knowledge. So joining E-UNI again to get my bearings straight was a no-brainer.
Hippla: That totally makes sense. EVE Uni is without the doubt the best place for returning players to dust off!
Tell us a bit about your time in EVE Uni. What would you recommend new or returning Unistas to make the best of the time in EVE Uni?
Ambrose: My second stint in E-UNI was a bit different than the first one. This time around, I already had the fundamentals. I just needed to learn what had changed in New Eden and get back to flying with Unistas as soon as possible. I moved out to Syndicate right away to join the null-sec base of operations of E-UNI. Coincidentally, I had returned just in time to witness a very busy strat-op schedule due to a neighbouring group attacking E-UNI structures. I ended up spending two months in and around PC9-AY, fighting this group, and in hindsight their presence was a blessing in disguise. Constantly undocking in a hostile environment was the perfect crash course I needed to relearn important mechanics.
My recommendation for new or returning Unistas is to do two things. First, ask tons of questions on Discord and learn about things that you’re curious about (“fittings channel” was my personal favourite). Second, join fleets and go into the fray as soon as possible. Most E-UNI fleets have newbro ship/fit options baked in, and this allows you to be a part of something important without having to deal with decision fatigue of endlessly theorising over “perfect” fits and skills.
Combining fleet experience with a healthy amount of theory talk in Discord will quickly prepare you for your EVE career. If you skip the practical part, you’ll be doing yourself a disservice because you’ll be missing out on high quality content that is made very accessible to everyone with the hard work of E-UNI staff.
And finally, learn about NPSI (Not Purple Shoot It) groups and give them a try. E-UNI is NPSI friendly, so make the most of it!
Hippla: At one point it’s time for all Unistas to move on. How was the process for you and where did you end up? What lessons would you want to give new players on how to best transition from Unista to EVE Uni Alumnus?
Ambrose: People in E-UNI recognize “moving on” as part of a natural progression, so there’s no need to feel bad about wanting to move on when that time comes. For me, as a returning player, two to three months of very active play in the Uni was enough for me to feel 100% confident. After that point, it was my time to go back to flying higher skillpoint doctrines and being a part of much riskier engagements. If you’re happy to remain a Unista, don’t feel pressured to “graduate”. When the right time comes, you’ll know it.
That’s my answer for “when” to move on, but “where” to move to is a completely different story. I’d definitely recommend planning ahead and talking to other Unistas and Alumni about the groups you are curious about. Choosing the next step proved really difficult for me and so I applied to the mentor program, requesting a mentor who has enough experience to address the “where to” problem and I was lucky enough to get paired with you, the renowned Hippla Tsero. 🙂
After learning about the current sovereignty landscape in New Eden, and doing a bit of hopping around, I ended up in the South with the Literally Triggered [LTRIG] alliance. The South is a very interesting place to be right now with tons of potential content and a limited amount of blues. If any of our future readers consider joining the Southern action, they can send an EVE Mail to my main character Ambrose Dexter. I’ll be happy to help and potentially recruit fellow Unistas.
Hippla: EVE is a tremendously complex game – how do people stay engaged? How do they continue learning? And most importantly: How do they continue to find things they enjoy doing in the game?
Ambrose: EVE is a game where you need to have something that’s resembling a plan in order to stay engaged and challenged. You can pursue your own goals, or be a part of a larger entity and contribute to their plans instead. The trick to having fun for me is to always have something to look forward to. Some people find that the planning and theorycrafting portion of EVE can be a source of fun just by itself. But from personal experience, I enjoy EVE much more when I undock frequently and put those plans to the test without waiting for the elusive “perfect moment”. Don’t indefinitely delay the things you want to do.
And to answer the “How do they continue learning” portion of the question, I’d say always keep looking out for new opportunities. If you feel stagnant with where you are in EVE, you have great tools at your disposal to shake your status-quo up. Try NPSI fleets. Try looking into different sections of space, and use Jump Freight services like PushX or FrogFreighting to get over the laziness of moving assets around. And if you want to fly different things, maybe use the skill trading system to potentially pivot your characters. Whatever you do, keep undocking, and keep interacting with others.
Hippla: Thank you so much Sydanten (aka Ambrose)! I decided to call you by the EVE Uni name I got to know you as to wrap things up.
Always a pleasure to catch up with you and happy to hear you are finding a good time in the galactic South East! Hope to see you around in space and fly dangerously 🙂