Notes for Experienced RPG Players New to EVE
EVE Online is just one of the many, many MMORPGs in existence. Though EVE is fairly well-known among the gaming community for being unique, EVE's differences can be very jarring for players who are coming from more "traditional" MMORPGs such as World of Warcraft, Final Fantasy XIV, Rift, Everquest, and other fantasy games.
The following are some of the most common differences that may confuse new players coming to EVE from one of the aforementioned games:
Characters in EVE do not level, and there is no limit to character progression.
Characters in EVE do not gain "experience" or "level up" through normal play. Instead, characters passively accumulate skill points (SP) which represent progress toward learning skills. Characters accumulate skill points (at a more-or-less constant rate) even when you are not logged in, so skill progress in EVE is almost entirely determined by a character's age.
Skill progress is handled by populating the Training Queue which, as its name suggests, allows you to set a number of skills to train in sequence. Upon reaching the requisite number of skill points, the first skill in the queue will advance to the next level and your character will receive the benefits of the new level. Then, the next skill in the queue will start training automatically. Only one skill can be trained at a time, so players will need to plan ahead to ensure that they train the correct skills for what they want to accomplish in EVE.
Levels do exist in EVE, in the form of skill levels. Each skill can be trained to a maximum of level 5 (usually written as the Roman numeral "V"). The number of skill points required to advance to the next skill level increases exponentially, but the benefits from each level increase linearly. This leads to what is known in EVE as the "80/20 Rule": characters get 80% of a skill's benefit (level IV) in 20% of the time (that it would take to train all the way to level V). Most skill levels only involve a few percentage points, so the gap between an older character with a skill at level V and a new character with that same skill at level IV is not nearly as large as in other games, and "catching up" is fairly quick.
Even given this rule, however, it's important for players to have an idea of what they would like to do in EVE to plan their skill training. Training the necessary Spaceship Command skills is only the first step toward piloting a given ship. All ships require various support skills which maximize their effectiveness, and training all of these skills even to level IV can be a significant time commitment.
With all that being said, because there is no limit to the number of skill points a character can accumulate, and because skills are not exclusive (a character can potentially learn every skill, given enough time) you will probably never run out of skills to train or new things to try. Training every skill in the game to its maximum level would take around two decades of non-stop training. There is no wrong way to progress - there is no rush to gain skill points, so you can either take your time to master one particular set of skills before moving on to the next, or you can train a variety of lower level skills and work your way up multiple paths. EVE is very flexible in that regard.
There is a method of skipping ahead in a character's skill training: skill injectors. Skill injectors can be purchased with in-game currency (ISK) to add a large amount of skill points to a character instantaneously. Because it is possible to quickly obtain large amounts of ISK by purchasing Pilot's License Extensions (PLEX) with real money and selling them in-game, some players use their real-life wealth to jump-start their character's progression. This only results in a character having more skill points than their age would suggest; it does not necessarily make them more of a threat, because a new player has not yet had time to develop their own skills to match their character's capabilities.
EVE is not pay-to-win.
Like several other games, EVE players are able to purchase game time in the form of an in-game item, known as the Pilot's License Extension (PLEX). PLEX represent one month of game time, and all PLEX are initially purchased with real money. Once a player has purchased a PLEX, they can either:
- Use it to extend their account's subscription time, or
- Sell it to another player on the in-game market for ISK (the in-game currency)
Conversely, another player who wishes to purchase a subscription to the game can do so by either buying it with real-life money, or buying a PLEX from another player for ISK. Players with large amounts of in-game wealth can therefore use it to pay for their game time, while other players can make large amounts of ISK by purchasing PLEX with real-life money and selling it for ISK. .
This does not mean, however, that EVE is a pay-to-win (P2W) game. Having ISK opens many doors in EVE, and players who are willing to spend the money can purchase large numbers of skill injectors, expensive ships and modules, or deployable structures. However, money is not a substitute for experience, and even a character with every skill at level V can be easily defeated when piloted by a new player. Furthermore, the primary ingredient of success in EVE is numbers. Even with all of the ISK in the world, one character can't necessarily accomplish much. They may be able to purchase a citadel, but unless they are also willing to pay a massive fleet to defend it, it will eventually be destroyed. Success in EVE is largely measured by how many friends you have working toward your goals, not by how much ISK is in your wallet.
There is no win condition in EVE. Every player defines success on their own terms, and will judge other players based on those terms. A player who dreams of conquering huge areas of space won't necessarily be impressed by someone with a huge amount of ISK, unless that person is spending that ISK to help the first player conquer space. EVE is not about "winning"; it is about setting your own goals, making your own content, and writing your own story.
Having the best "gear" is not necessarily a good thing.
Like many other MMORPGs, ships and modules in EVE (analogous to "gear" or "equipment" in other games) have levels of rarity and power. For ships, this is represented by a "Tech level" from 1 to 3. Modules also have Tech 1 and Tech 2 variants, but also have several other levels of general rarity and power, such as Faction, Deadspace, and Officer. Modules also have a "meta level" from 0 to 14, which is a much more direct comparison of their relative power. It is absolutely possible to fit a powerful ship with high-meta-level modules, and such a ship will be have excellent stats on paper.
However, with an increase in power often comes a drastic increase in price. Powerful ships and modules are expensive, either because they are expensive to manufacture or because they are rare. Further, the increase in price is very rarely in line with the increase in power - players will charge millions of ISK more for a stat increase of a couple of percentage points. Thus, it's not always worth it to shell out the extra money for a more powerful module.
The number one rule in EVE is: "Don't fly what you can't afford to lose." When a ship gets destroyed, it's gone. Some of its modules or cargo may drop as loot, but that loot will more than likely be picked up by the pilot who destroyed your ship (or anyone else who happens to fly past). Other players can attack you at any time, anywhere. They may suffer consequences for doing so, but many players enjoy destroying expensive ships, no matter the cost to them (and many of them are very good at doing so cheaply). So while your ship may be strong, it is never completely safe, and the more your ship is worth, the more someone else may want to blow it up. Even the strongest ships can't fight off a fleet of players who have resolved to destroy them.
EVE is a game of balancing risks and costs. Fitting a cheap ship with cheap modules means you'll barely care when you lose it, but it may not necessarily win fights. A lot of gameplay in EVE is preparing for conflict, and determining how much money you want to risk in order to achieve your objectives. Having the best ship money can buy is great, but if you spend all of your ISK on it and then lose it, it's gone. "Gear" in EVE is a means, not an end.
EVE combat is a game of physics.
In EVE, movement in space is governed by internal rules of game physics, most of which are approximations of fluid physics (rather than the vacuum physics one might expect in space). Combat is often conducted over a range of tens of kilometers with physical weaponry that also follows these rules. Hits and misses are calculated using the math of trajectories, speed and distance. Results are always at least a little bit delayed, and sometimes you can't even get a lock on your target. Compared to other games, combat in EVE can often seem very slow, and players with even a small amount of skill will generally think much faster than their ship can react.
EVE is not a game of "biggest ship wins". The weapons on bigger ships may have the ability to deal more damage, but their weapons are large and cumbersome, and are often unable to track small, fast targets. In fact, some of the largest ships in EVE are almost completely incapable of dealing with small ships on their own, and require support from a fleet of smaller ships to be effective.
EVE is a game of math; one that balances distance, size, and speed. If you're big, you may not be able to outrun a smaller ship, but you can destroy them before they can even get close enough to damage you. If you're small, you don't necessarily have much firepower, but larger ships will have a hard time pinning you down if you're fast and get in under their guns.
Combat "happens" in the user interface (and usually isn't much to look at).
In EVE, combat is three-dimensional, and it can be difficult to see the ships you are fighting in a meaningful way. While there is a "tactical view" that can give you an idea of the overall "shape" of the battlefield, even that will rarely provide the information you need to properly participate in combat.
Instead, most of the information players receive comes from various windows and menus, such as the overview, watchlist, locked targets, and drone menu. These menus tell you where objects are in relation to you, what they are, and if they are friend or foe. The E-UNI Overview Setup process takes about half an hour to complete, but when you're done, your display will tell you everything you need to know about what is around you. Most of time, the decisions you make will be based on numbers that appear in menus, rather than anything that you actually see in space.
Thankfully, you're not missing much. While explosions can be very beautiful (in the aesthetic sense, not just metaphorically), EVE is not a game for people who enjoy flashy combat. While ships do show signs of damage, they don't explode until they're actually destroyed. Most weapons are practically invisible: hybrid and projectile turrets show little more than muzzle flash, and drones are generally relegated to tiny purple icons flitting across the screen. Laser weapons do have a tendency to turn a computer screen into a light show in large numbers, and missiles can be seen launching and streaking away from their point of origin, but for the most part EVE combat is about reacting to numbers on the screen.
EVE "geography" isn't organized around character power level.
Most online role-playing games have a geography organized as a system of zones that cater to characters of a certain power level. Higher-level zones may be completely inaccessible to low-level characters, and even when low-level characters are able to enter high-level zones, such zones are often extremely deadly and impossible to survive at low levels. Game worlds constructed in this way often have a geographical layout that facilitates smooth progression from low-level areas to high-level areas.
The world of EVE is composed of thousand of solar systems, which are organized into constellations and regions. Characters traverse between solar systems using the "jump gate" network, wormholes, or specialized "jump drives" or "jump bridges". While there a sometimes ship size restrictions to travel (and remember that bigger is not necessarily better), characters have access to the entire game world immediately upon completing the tutorial.
Each solar system does have a Security Level, which determines the extent to which PvP is both allowed and punished. These restrictions are enforced by CONCORD, the in-game NPC "police" faction. Note that these restrictions do not prevent combat; they merely punish it after the fact, so players can and do get attacked and killed even in high-security space. Security levels also affect the size and power of hostile NPCs: lower security levels spawn more powerful enemies. However, player skill and numbers are far more important than character skills for overcoming these enemies.
Essentially all areas of space contain something of value for players of any playstyle. Asteroid belts (used by miners) are abundant throughout New Eden, all but the highest-security systems spawn hostile NPCs, and PvP combat can happen anywhere (though the consequences can be different depending on location). Because of this, experienced players with powerful ships can be found in all areas of space.
Corporations are more than guilds, and they are not optional.
From the moment they are created, all characters belong to a corporation (corp). Characters start out in NPC-controlled corporations with essentially nothing in the way of support or perks, but like other MMOs, most characters eventually become part of a player-owned corporation, whether by creating their own or joining an existing corp.
Corporations have access to a tremendous range of resources and functions: they can create offices at stations, declare war on other corporations or alliances, deploy and operate massive structures, and even control areas of space as part of an alliance. Some corporations focus on combat, others focus on mining and industry, others have no real focus at all. EVE University, for example, focuses on helping new players get the experience they need to be successful in the game.
While corporations are similar to guilds in many ways, the nature of EVE means that corporations are usually much more than loose social organizations. Players create their own goals, and corporations facilitate working toward goals as a group. Corporations have a physical presence in space: corporate hangars (and the items stored within them) exist in a specific station, so corporation members tend to live in the general vicinity of their corporate office(s). Additionally, players cannot own large deployable structures (such as starbases and citadels) without being part of a player-owned corporation, and even then, such structures are owned by the corporation, not the individual. Such structures often cost much more to build and maintain than any individual player can afford, so the shared responsibility of owning structures makes corporations much more focused than guilds in other games.
Fleets are not raid groups.
Fleets are a way of organizing groups of characters into a concrete command structure independent of corporate affiliations. While there are many aspects of fleets that are analogous to "parties" in other games, the mechanics and combat in EVE make the practical function of fleets one of organization rather than participation.
Fleets can be composed of huge amounts of players, divided into squads, wings, and command roles. Fleets membership determines who is affected by Command Bursts, area-of-effect modules that increase the capabilities of nearby fleet members. Players in command roles are also able to initiate warp for those under their command.
Each E-UNI campus has its own "standing fleet" that members can join while they are flying in local space. This is a good way to meet fellow players and also to keep up on what's going on in the area.
Mining, Trade and Research are full time, legitimate occupations.
Ore is refined into minerals, which are combined with blueprints to manufacture ships and gear, which is sold to other players via the Regional Market service. This process requires as much skill as combat, takes as long to learn, and is just as much fun to play. While most players learn at least a few combat skills, a significant number of players do very little combat, preferring instead to explore, mine, manufacture, trade or administer. (MORE)
When you die, you lose your gear.
This comes as a surprise to many experienced RPG players. You rez, not at a graveyard, but in your "medical clone", which you have stored at some station (possibly far from where you are). In the meantime, your ship was blown to pieces and the bad guys get to pick through the wreckage and take your stuff. Thus, the E-UNI Prime Directive: DO NOT FLY WHAT YOU CANNOT AFFORD TO LOSE. (MORE)
Some Players are Criminals.
Most RPGs have a PVE track in which you battle Evil, and a PVP track in which you fight honorably against players of different factions. Both of these exist in EVE, but the game also includes PVP "criminal" activity. You can attack another player anywhere, anytime and attempt to kill them and make a living by stealing their stuff. In some systems this is illegal and consequences ensue, but in many systems the only consequences are those that might be dealt by the player you killed and his or her friends. In EVE you can have a career as a criminal, and many players do just that. (MORE)
Distance is time.
It's not so much that the EVE galaxy is huge as that its systems are far apart. It can take over an hour to fly from here to there – and that's just counting the distance, and not counting the PVP criminals who may get in your way. Although you can go anywhere in EVE, the game is easier to learn if you organize your activities to stay in one area of the map, at least at first. To help with that, E-UNI has established a number of "campuses" – each of these focuses on a different aspect of EVE gameplay, and players are encouraged to join the campus of their choice. (MORE)
Time Is money.
In most RPGs, although crafting can contribute to your cash flow, the most valuable items are dropped as loot, and you sell these to make money. In EVE, however, the high value items are distributed among all of the "careers". How you use your time in-game is important with regard to maintaining an income, but there is no easy "one size fits all" answer for how to get started. The details listed below give an overview and a few suggestions. (MORE)
THE BOTTOM LINE: Be sure to read the UniWiki sections on fleets and join the local campus standing fleet whenever you are online. Check the Calendar for fleet announcements, and join whenever you have a ship that meets the requirements. (BACK)
Mining, Trade and Research are full time, legitimate occupations.
While the game itself makes basic items available for sale, most of the unusual, extra powerful, higher level ships and gear are made and sold by players. The game provides blueprints, some of which are very rare, that "Industrialist" players use to manufacture items. These are then hauled to central locations and offered via the Regional Market service. Mining, Missions and Exploration provide the materials needed to manufacture items from blueprints, Research allows Industrialists to improve the speed and efficiency of their manufacturing processes, and Trade improves their ability to sell their goods.
Here is a quick summary – for more details, look in the "Time is Money" section:
Missions – much like "questing" in other RPGs. Missions pay in ISK and loyalty points with the corporation offering the mission. Note that the loyalty points can only be spent in that corporation's store. Missions go from level I to level V. I through IV are solo and get progressively harder while offering progressively better payoffs. Level Vs are for fleets. Also included in this category are Encounter Sites, similar to "dungeons" in other RPGs, which pop up at random and offer loot if you can kill all the NPCs in the site.
Mining – use a laser to chop asteroids into pieces and haul the resulting ore back to a base. The ore can be sold "as is", or reprocessed. It tends to be worth more "as is" until you train up your reprocessing skills. Mining is relatively peaceful, and slow enough that in a safe system you can read a book while your ship mines the ore.
Industry – using minerals reprocessed from raw ore, and blueprints, to manufacture items. Many higher level game items are produced this way. Industry requires high level skills and is very competitive, but is also a lot of fun. "Research", which improves basic blueprints and allows discovery of new ones, is an advanced aspect of industry that requires extra training and is seldom pursued by new players.
Trade – sell stuff. You can produce it and sell it. Or you can buy it, move it to a place where it's worth more, and sell it. Or you can loot it and sell it. Trade is interesting, but there are a lot of traders in EVE and the competition is cutthroat.
Hauling – contract to move stuff from one place to another. Because long distance travel is boring and/or dangerous, many players hire other players to move their items around. This is done through the in-game contracting system. Hisec hauling is easy, competitive, and doesn't pay very much. Low and nullsec hauling is dangerous, but pays very well. To get into the lowsec hauling business, you need good ship handling and cloaking skills.
Exploration – use your scanning, survey and decrypting skills to unlock potentially valuable archaeology sites. The best sites are in nulsec and in wormholes, but such sites can be amazingly valuable. Exploration is easy to train, and very exciting ... because any site worth exploring is also inviting to PVP criminals who want to steal your loot.
Solo PVP – fly around in lowsec and nullsec space looking for people who want to fight. The winner gets to loot the loser's ship. Not recommended for beginners.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Depending on what you enjoy doing, any of it can be fun. However, it is impossible to do all of these things at the same time with any kind of reasonable competence. So pick one or two: combat pilot, explorer, miner, manufacturer, merchant, researcher, hauler – and focus on deepening your skills in those areas. (BACK)
When you die, you lose your gear.
The E-UNI Prime Directive: DO NOT FLY WHAT YOU CANNOT AFFORD TO LOSE.
Always insure your ship (with Platinum, because you will probably lose your first few ships one way or another). Never carry stuff that you don't need. Never use an expensive ship when a cheaper ship will do. Avoid the autopilot. Keep your rez clone nearby. Always assume that five guys in a Pirate ganking fleet are waiting for you at the next gate. (Paranoia is good, but it is not enough.)
THE BOTTOM LINE: You will die, then you will know. 'Nuff said. (BACK)
Some Players are Criminals.
EVE includes PvP "criminal" activity. You can attack another player anywhere, anytime and attempt to kill them and steal their stuff. In hisec space this is illegal and CONCORD will try to wipe you out, but in lowsec and nulsec the only consequences are those that might be dealt by the player you killed and his or her friends.
If you look at the EVE star map with the color set at "security status", you will see a ring of dangerous red solar systems surrounding the safer green and yellow ones. Some of the red systems are the home of Criminal corporations whose members prey on anyone who ventures out of hisec space. As far as EVE is concerned, these activities are perfectly legitimate, and there are even a number of game mechanics that favor criminal enterprise.
So, if you want to be a criminal, you can ... though to do so, you need to eventually leave E-UNI and find a corporation located in lowsec or null space. E-UNI is a force for good in the galaxy and does not generally condone criminal activity. (Which isn't to say that E-UNI won't kill you; just that the basic E-UNI strategy is "tit-for tat".)
THE BOTTOM LINE: Watch your back. (BACK)
Distance is Time.
Travel through EVE's many star systems can take a a minute or two per system. Also, travel is inherently dangerous, even in hisec space. For example, three players can form a "suicide" fleet whereby one player, usually in an ship with a lot of offensive power, will suddenly kill you. CONCORD will immediately kill him or her, of course, but the other fleet members will now scavenge the loot from your ship, and then share the proceeds with the dead guy. This is only profitable if the ship killed is a big, valuable ship, preferably an industrial ship hauling a lot of goods ... (though I was "suicide ganked" once in a small, cheap ship; apparently just for practice).
The danger makes it important that you actually fly your ship. The autopilot will take you to a designated destination, but the autopilot flies very slowly, especially as it approaches hyperspace gates, which is where the bad guys like to hang out. Ships on autopilot are much more likely to be killed than ships with active pilots. On the other hand, piloting a ship for 15 or 20 jumps can get pretty boring. So this is something that you do if you have to, but not something you want to do often.
In the beginning, at least, the game is easier if you organize your activities to stay in one area of the map. To lessen the burden of excessive travel, E-UNI maintains a number of "campuses" – E-UNI offices in different solar systems – that are located in the same general region of the EVE galaxy. Each campus emphasizes a different aspect of the game. By joining one of these, you can have fun, learn the game, meet other players, and not have to travel long distances. Most new players should start at High Sec Campus (HSC) which is especially set up to give advice to beginners. (You can find the locations of the all the various campuses by clicking on the links that follow.)
Each of these has a chat channel, a Mumble channel, and a Standing Fleet that all members are invited to join. Read about the campuses in UniWiki by clicking the link; chose the one you want to join, and go there.
Amarr Mining Campus (AMC)
Hisec Campus (HSC)
Lowsec Campus (LSC)
Nullsec Campus (NSC)
Wormhole Campus (WHC)
These provide unique experiences, generally for more advanced players, though only the Incursion Community has an entry requirement. They have chat and Mumble channels, but may not have a standing fleet. These are "practicum" campuses where you learn how to do something by doing it alongside E-UNI experts.
IMPORTANT: An option with regard to travel is to train for and acquire "jump clones." These are copies of your character that you can station in systems that you want to visit, and then "jump" from one to another as needed. There is no limit on how far apart the clones can be - but of course, you can only play one clone at a time, and there is a 24 hour reset timer on the jump. This is probably the best way to establish yourself in different parts of the EVE galaxy. You should at least read about Cloning now, so that you can learn the skills that you will need when you are ready to clone.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Long distance travel is slow and dangerous. Play near a campus to increase safety and reduce bordom. Consider using clones for distant activities, and when you do travel, use a ship you can afford to lose. (BACK)
Time Is Money.
There are many ways to make money within the game. Here are a few examples to illustrate the differences among possible careers:
- Mission Running: A Level 3 Security mission takes about half an hour to run and pays a bit under a thousand loyalty points. 1,200 loyal points plus 5,000 plain ammunition charges gets you 5,000 extra-powerful "faction" ammunition charges. So, for example: if a regular, medium, fusion projectile costs 70 ISK, then 5,000 of them costs 350,000. Faction, medium, fusion projectiles sell for a bit under 800 ISK, so 5,000 of them would sell for 3 million ISK. Thus, you spend 350,000 ISK plus 1,200 loyalty points, and you get 3 million ISK. It's not quite that simple, but it works out to a good profit. (Plus, you can use some of the charges yourself ... and the loyalty store has some other useful stuff for sale, too.)
- Mining: 50,000 units of Pyroxes Ore takes about half an hour to mine (with a mining barge) and sells for about 2.5 million ISK. Ores have varying prices depending on scarcity, but once you have the skills, you can make a fair profit this way. (On the other hand, mining ores in safe systems is rather boring, and you only make money ... you do not gain loyalty standing with a corporation.)
- Industry and Trade: An Amarr Faction "Punisher" frigate sells for about 400,000 ISK and isn't all that hard to manufacture, once you train the Industry, Mining and Trade skills. On the other hand, you only make money when someone decides to buy one of your ships, and you need to sell five of them to make 2 million ISK. Furthermore, since there are other players also making and selling ships, the marketplace is very competitive.
- Exploration: EVE space contains "encounter" sites that are guarded by NPCs who drop significant loot. It also contains encrypted, unguarded sites that you can loot if you can break the code. But the various sites are not like the typical RPG dungeons that spawn especially for you. These spawn randomly, and whoever gets there first gets to use them. Naturally, there is a lot of competition, and it is not unusual for whoever gets there second to try to kill whoever got there first. There is an art to dealing with these sites, and many EVE players find them challenging and fun.
SUMMARY: it all works out to more or less about the same income per hour ... less in the beginning, and more as your skills and gear improve. Therefore — find something you like to do, and use it to fund your character.
More basic information for each career type:
Mining is easy to learn and turns a slow, but steady profit. Ore sells at a predictable rate, and the systems within which you mine have predictable security hazards, whch lets you fit out a ship that matches the conditions you expect to meet. You need to train Mining skills, of course, but also train Reprocessing skills ... because you will often get more cash for the reprocessed minerals than you will for the ore. Train Drone skills for protection while you are mining, and train Salvage skills to harvest the NPC pirates that your drones will kill. Trade skills will let you offer more goods for sale and increase your profit, but these will not be your first priority.
Mission running is not lucrative in and of itself ... missions pay a fairly small amount of cash for each completed mission ... but the loyalty points you gain can be used to buy "faction" gear that sells for a high price in the market. Level III missions are fairly easy to complete and pay good loyalty points. To get to Level III do ALL of your level I and level II missions with the same Corporation. Train Connections to improve your standing with the NPC Agents who give out the missions. Train Negotiation to increase the rewards that you get for completing a mission.
Missions come in career flavors: distribution, mining, and security. Security pays the best; distribution (making courier runs) is the safest but you have focus on flying the ship; mining has a limited set of missions, but it lets you do other things while your ship mines the ore. Pick one of these career types, and then pick a corporation that offers up to level IV in that kind of mission – and run all of your missions with that same corporation. (Research missions serve an entirely different game purpose, and you can ignore them for now.)
Exploration is the most random, and dangerous, way of making money, but it also has the biggest potential payoff. Explorers go into lowsec and nulsec space, and into wormholes, searching for ancient archaeology sites. Once opened, the sites have the potential to produce extremely valuable loot – though these areas of the game are also patrolled by criminal players who hope to kill explorers and steal their loot. Begin by training Survey and Hacking, and then all of the skills in the Scanning section. You will also need Salvaging and Cloaking.
If you eventually want to do Exploration, then start by running Security Missions, and simultaneously train the basic Scanning and Salvaging skills. You can practice your exploring skills in hisec space, finding sites and hacking them in relative safety. Move to lowsec once you are experienced at Hacking and have the skills to fly a cloaked ship.
Industry and trade produce goods for sale to other EVE players and deliver them to various markets. Right at the beginning, you can sell items that you loot in the marketplace, but you need special skills to become a professional Industrialist and Trader.
If you eventually want to do Industry and Trade, then start with Mining. Run mining missions to get loyalty points to buy augmentation plugins. Once your Mining skills are well developed, and once you have the Spaceship skills to be using Mining Barges, then begin to train Industry and Trade skills. Start by buying blueprints and manufacturing disposable items for your own use ... ammunition is good place to start - it will save you the cost of buying it, and any that's left over can be sold. As your skills develop, think about moving up to producing various ship equipment items and eventually ships themselves.
Hauling can be lucrative once you have the skills to fly the basic Industrial ships, and especially if you have the Cloaking skills to fly large stealthed blockade runners in and out of lowsec space. Many EVE players develop an "alt hauler" character to carry their stuff around in wartime (which, at E-UNI tends to be pretty much all the time). If you do this, you might find that you enjoy it and just continue developing those skills. To make money at hauling, you will need to be able to fly the very big freighters, you will also need Contracting skills.
THE BOTTOM LINE: It all works. Choose an approach that seems interesting and pursue the skills you need to become good at it. (BACK)