Trying Eve Echoes

Eve Echoes is a new mobile game available for Apple iOS and Android created by CCP Games, the people that created Eve Online alongside NetEase Games who I believe are known for making mobile games. From what I can gather its basically Eve Online but on the mobile in a parallel New Eden which means the same Eve but from the start so new players won’t be years behind veterans.

The game has only released today (13th August 2020) so now would be the best time to try it out and see if its any good. I’ve enjoyed Eve Online on and off over the years so I’m intreagued to see if this mobile version is as good as the PC version, my only concerns are how it is monatized and any limitations of a free account and how the gameplay will be on a mobile as it could be more difficult to control, especially in combat.

To start with the game didnt take long to download to my phone, it was under 2gb which is good as I can jump straight into it.

First up, after linking the game to my google account I’m asked to create my starting character which gives the options of the same 4 races available in Eve Online which are Amarr, Gallente, Caldari and Minmatar. As someone who has played Eve Online, my favourite race has always been Minmatar so I’ve gone with them.

After picking my race, I need to pick my Bloodline which is a choice of 3, it says the choice only affects appearence which is the same as in Eve Online, once over when Eve started the choices affected starting skills and their levels but that was changed a while ago to make it more cosmetic, I prefered the difference in starting skills.

When looking at the different bloodlines there are 8 different avatar pictures to choose from but these can be changed and at first look they seem to be all random which is good, however once I’ve refreshed a few times I can see its the same ones that keep appearing in different order so it looks like there is more options than there is. Also some of the avatars appear in more than one bloodline so the options are even less than I first thought.

The other reason for choosing is whether you like the backstory to the bloodlines too and want to roleplay it as each has a unique backstory. That doesn’t bother me really, I’ve just gone with a nerdy looking guy in the Sebiestor bloodline.

After creating your character, you join in the game and start in a ship with a little cut scene with an AI explaning we have partial memory loss, we then get to name the AI and set its male or female voice, it might just be me but I feel that a female voice suits an AI better than a male so I’ve gone with that and named her Nell.

We are then put into a fight which explains to swipe the screen to turn the camera, we then tap a target and select lock to lock onto them and then tap on the turret button to fire. We then have 2 more enemies to kill which shows us we can tap on a lock button to target them and also tells us about using a shield boost and shows us where our shield, armour and structure hps are. Theres not much to it really, just a simple tutorial but then we get attacked and are blown up with our clone then activating, it all happens in a cut scene.

We wake up in a new clone in a space station and are informed we have a pilots licence and some isk and we are then shown leaving the station and are left in space in our crappy basic newbie starter ship and are asked if we want to take the beginner training or not, as I’m new I best do it and am given a mission.

The basic training mission introduces some movement on the screen to move around and zooming in and out to better see your ship and its surroundings. Next you are introduced to the overview screen which shows what is around you and in the system and are instructed to dock at the only station in the system, so far its a fairly simple UI to use.

Once docked you are informed about your Tech Level and how its crucial, the higher it is the more types of skills you can train and the more advanced ships you can fly and we are advised to raise this Tech Level as soon as the requirements are met.

Skills can be found by tapping the character picture while docked and going to the Skills section which then explains that skill points are experience gained from skill training and that when we reach the skill point requirement we can upgrade our Tech Level. Our level can be upgraded straight away which we are instructed to do, once at level two it explains we can now fly ships at tech level 2 and below and that new skills are available for training.

We are advised to begin skill training as soon as possible to improve abilities and gain skill points faster, this is again done through the Skills section in the character screen. We only have Frigate Defense Upgrade available so are instructed to learn it, the guidance screen shows to click on learn level 3 but that isn’t an option, we only have train level 3 which will take 48 minutes, once clicked it is added to the training queue.

We are then informed that skills continue to train when offline and that we should max out the skill training queue, this is the same as Eve Online where you ideally want to be training a skill at all times so not to waste any potential training. The problem here is that while it says to max the training queue, it quickly takes you away from it to continue training and the guidance covers the skill area so I can’t see any other skills to train, I just need to continue with the beginner training.

Next up it talks about the ships and the ship inventory and ship hanger where I have a Tech Two ship called a Slasher which is a better ship to fight in than the newbie starter ship.

After activating it, we get a transmission that a transport ship is under attack by pirates and we are the closest to help and are given the coordinates for which we can set the autopilot to undock and then warp us there.

Here we start in combat and the lock button is useful to lock onto 2 enemy ships, I can then click on the target and orbit then click on my guns to kill it and we get some loot to collect from one of the ships.

It might be different in PvP and that was a basic starter mission but the UI worked ok for combat, similar to Eve Online where you target, orbit, kill and loot, It felt smooth and simple enough to do.

Next up in the training is fitting and we are informed that fitting the correct weapon can greatly enhance a ships power, our loot from the last mission was a new gun so we now get to fit it to our ship, we actually have 2 new guns to fit so the loot may have been 2 rather than 1 and I didnt notice the number next to it if it was stacked.

We are then informed that we have been given a level 3 pilot medal and are asked to move it into our ships inventory which completes the beginner tutorial and unlocks the advanced tutorials which looks like we can start at any time as its not forcing us to do them, we do have a task on our screen to do them which I will do but I dont have to.

Before doing them I’ve had a look at the skills pages again and only 1 skill shows that I’m training but I can click on where it says military and can change this to Industry or Business, each of those also has 1 skill that can be trained, Industry has Target Management which increases the number of locked targets I can have as well as increasing Scan Resolution, being able to lock onto more is good so I’ve added that to my skill queue. Business has Planetology which is to do with Planetary Production which can be profitable in Eve Online so could be in Eve Echoes too, for now I’m not interested so I’ve left it, I’ll add it to my queue if there is nothing else to add before I log off.

I also then noticed that as I’m training Frigate Defense Upgrade Level 3 that I can add Level 4 to my queue which will take 4 hours 33 minutes, it obviously needs level 3 to complete first but I’ve added it to the queue, I could also do level 5 which will take 25 hours, I might do that later on if nothing new comes available to train. This works the same in Eve Online too so that you can start the next level after the previous one finishes without needing to log back in to set it off, its handy to level up something a few times while offline.

I can also see that I’m 92% though level 2 so I should be able to level up my Tech Level soon which will hopefully open up more skills to train unless I now need to either buy skill books or get them through the advanced training.

One major problem I have noticed already though is that my battery is going down fast and the phone is getting hot, its gone down about 20% in 10 minutes, I’ve tried playing while on my wireless charger but it keeps stopping and starting for whatever reason, I’ll have to dig out my wire charger and see if I can play using that otherwise I won’t get much of a gaming session in if it eats battery that quick.

While looking around the UI I’ve noticed a red dot next to the station services named supplies, clicking on that shows there are login rewards for both Alpha and Omega accounts, nothing yet has mentioned different account types, I only know what they are from playing Eve Online as they have the same icons, Alpha is a free to play status and Omega is pay to play, I’m sure I’ll see something pop up about it soon as they will want people to pay, if not i’ll look online and see whats what.

Day 1 login for Alpha is a beginners insurance voucher x2, Omega is skill points and there are 30 days of login rewards of which 3 can be claimed late by the looks of things. What is interesting though is when I look at the vouchers it says that they can be used to restore destroyed ships but only on trainer ships and ships of tech 3 and below. In Eve Online you can always get a starter newbie ship if you have nothing else but once a ship is destroyed its gone forever but here in Echoes it looks like players using the smaller cheap ships can use these vouchers to get them back if they are lost which is good as it will help new players with no isk to replace their ships, it might also encourage players to be a bit more daring knowing they can get a limited number of ships back.

I also have a red dot on my Mail icon which when clicked shows I have 1 Mail and 1 notification welcoming me to New Eden, within the mail there are 3 beginner insurance vouchers and 4 boxes of what is called a Random Small 15-day Skin Safe and can contain 1 of various skins which looks like they only last 15 days and are not perminent skins.

The notification shows that todays CONCORD supplies have arrived and to dock, this must be the daily login reward I mentioned, clicking on the notification confirms this as it takes me to the login rewards.

Onto the advanced tutorials and I have to click on my assistant Nell which then gives options to do the advanced missions, the basic tutorial which now shows completed, a controls tutorial and a career plan.

The career plan shows 3 areas, Military, Industry and Business the same as in the Skills screen and only the Military one can be viewed at the moment to see what skills and ships are available at each Tech Level upto Tech Level 10. From the ships I saw it looks like a very limited number of available ships compared to Eve Online and it only shows ships for my race so maybe in Echoes you are limted to your own races ships only which would be disappointing if its the case as all races have good and bad ships so its nice to mix it up.

Looking on the in game market I can see ships that are not Minmatar and when I look at them the only restrictions I can see is the Tech Level and nothing mentions race so it could be that I can use any races ships as long as I have the required Tech Level which is good as theres no race requirements that I can see.

The advanced tutorials show that there are 7 in total and need done in order, the first one has 2 necessary missions to upgrade my Tech Level and train a skill, I’ve already trained a skill I just need to upgrade to Tech Level 3 which level 2 is currently at 94%, I need to wait until I have 51,000 skill points including the free points I have which it says will take 1 hour 25 minutes. I tried to see if upgrading a skill contributed to this by using 8,197 of my 24,488 free skill points to upgrade Frigate Defense to level 4 but it didn’t change the % so its just a matter of waiting.

There are also 3 optional missions in the first advanced tutorial, one is to get bounties and shows 0/100000, one is to complete 2 encounters and the other is to do with planetary production.

The get bounties one is to get 100,000 isk from pirate bounties through killing them in cosmic anomalies. These anomalies can be found in the overview and then you can warp to them from the overview, if no anomalies show then its a case of trying another system.

The encounters are missions posted by factions, on the character screen you can select Encounters, then on the News page there are encounters you can accept and complete which reward Isk.

The planetary production is to mine 2m3 of planetary materials and works by placing a Mining Array on a planet and then configuing factories to collect mining yields.

While I’m waiting for my Tech Level to go up I’ll try out the optional missions and see how easy they are starting with the Encounters as there is an Introduction to Encounters mission available. Once accepted the mission appears in my journal where is shows as a combat mission and as having 4 parts, the first is to speak with someone, when I click on the Begin button the coversation starts and then the second part talks about some basics of encounters.

Next the third part is to take on some pirates and I can autopilot to them, like in Eve Online we started with a small wave of 3 pirates which once killed spawned another wave, this time of 6 pirates. As it was a tutorial is was very easy to kill them all and like the previous combat I found the UI worked well and it all went smooth, I’m quite impressed with how easy it works on the mobile format.

The final part of the encounter was getting paid for completing and that happened straight away after the last ship was killed, I was told that isk is paid straight away and items delivered to the station.

While killing the pirates I also got bounties for each of them which will contribute to the optional mission to get 100,000 isk in bounties, however each one wasn’t worth a lot, I got 13,500isk from those pirates so it might take quite a few kills to complete that one so I won’t be going out actively doing that just yet.

Next I wanted to try the Planetary Production, the help says to use a Mining Array but I can’t find one, at least not on the market. Looking at the tutorial further it says to open the Resource Extraction page to find a planet and then place development arrays and set the type of resource to extract, you then launch minerals into space and autopilot to them. I’ll try looking for a planet and see what happens.

First issue I’ve noticed is that there is no Resource Extraction page, there is however a Planetary Production page on the character screen which then shows you the planets in the system, each planet then shows what can be mined and whether its Rich, Medium or Poor. For now I just want to mine anything to see how it works so I found a planet that showed as Rich for Opulent Compound and Industrial Fibres. On the planet screen, there is a button that says Place a Development Array which I clicked on which then let me look around the planet without being able to do anything on the planet itself, however on the screen it shows the different materials with a – and a + button next to each and I have a 0/2 showing next to Mining Array, when I click on a + it goes to 1/2 then 2/2. I selected 1 for each of the Rich materials and then clicked on Confirm, this set off a timer counting down from 2 hours, 27 minutes which I assume is the time it will take to mine the materials before I can collect them.

It seems that some of the tutorial guidance is old as the UI has changed since as theres been a few instances where the instructions were slightly different to the actual function, the game has just came out so there will be some bugs and its only a small difference easily worked out so it wasn’t a problem.

So now I need to wait for my Tech Level to go up and wait for my Planetary Mining to finish, I may as well do some combat mission encounters and see how they go which will in turn work towards by 100,000 isk bounties I need.

Overall from what I’ve seen so far the game looks good, it runs smoothly and it seems fairly basic to play, my first impressions of it are good, the only negative is it seems to be eating my battery too fast, even now I’ve plugged it in its still going down too fast, not as fast as it was but still too fast to be able to have a long play session and it will be no good to play on the go as it will drain it too quick when not plugged in charging. It could be my phone but its a Samsung S9, less than 2 years old and has no issues with the battery playing other games so I doubt my phone is the issue.

Its definately worth giving it a go if you like Eve Online or even if you’ve not played it before, from the tutorials its easy to pick it up, its free to play so you’ve nothing to lose except your phones battery.

Speaking of free to play, so far nothing has tried to make me buy anything which is nice to see, usually free games have pop ups from the start trying to get you to spend money. As nothing has popped up, I’ve had a look around to see what the Omega prices are and if there are packs to buy.

The in game market just shows things to buy for Isk but there is the New Eden Store (NES) which shows what you can spend real money to get.

First there are 5 limited packs, 4 cost real money ranging from £14.49 to £174.99 which is basically a 1 month, a 3 month, a 6 month and a 12 month Omega Duo pack. The other pack is a Cognative Neuroscience gift pack which has 15 various chips and cost 940 AUR which is some in game premium money, same as on Eve Online which you can buy for between £0.99 for 25 and £96.99 for 2750.

You can also buy a 1 month basic omega for £4.69, a standard omega for £11.99 and a duo for £14.49 plus those cognative chips for various AUR costs.

You can then also buy various skins using Plex which can be bought for in game isk.

You may have noticed that I mentioned 2 types of Omega and a combined one which confused me as in Eve Online there was only 1 last I played it. I’ve had a look in game and its not clear what the differences are so I’ve had to look online and found a Facebook Page which explains it, there are differences in the Omega packs and some restrictions to Alpha accounts, I’ve copied the relevant info below to save people going to Facebook:

Let’s begin with the design concepts and limitations of Alpha Clone. Our design intention is to allow players with Alpha Clones to have the opportunity to be converted into Omega Clones while ensuring economic freedom for all. At the same time, we aim to eliminate the frequency and tendency for botting, cheating, or rapidly creating new characters for prohibited monetary reasons.
Therefore, under these notions, limitations are applied as follows:
1) Alpha Clones have limited access to the market. Yet, they are free to access ITC Market in High Sec and Low Sec. The reason for this limitation is to reduce suspicious trading with significant price discrepancies in an attempt to transfer unlawfully obtained resources from Alpha Clones to other players.
2) Alpha Clones are prohibited from the Contract function. The access can only be granted after the Alpha Clone is converted into Omega.
3) Alpha Clones are unable to learn certain skills.
4) Alpha Clones are denied access to ships of Tech Lv. 8 and above. However, they have access to several pirate cruisers and some special small ships. For the exact access list, please refer to the ship tree chart.
5) Alpha Clones have the training speed of 30 points/minute. The default free skill points production when not training skills is at 50% speed (the pre-stored limit is about a few days worth). Alpha Clones may allocate these points at will upon logging in.
6) Trading with Alpha Clones has a higher tendency to activate Audit. Activating Audit will put the trade on hold until verified.
1. Omega Clone (Importance: ★★★★★)
We have differentiated Omega Clones into two categories – Basic and Standard.
If a player purchases a two-in-one Combo Pack, the price is listed at $14.99. The two versions of Omega Clones can be obtained at the same time to maximize your skill point production.
Monthly Basic Omega Clone – $4.99 (£4.69)
Monthly Standard Omega Clone – $12.99 (£11.99)
Monthly Combo Pack – $14.99 (£14.49)
First, we must establish that purchasing Basic Omega Clone alone negates the previously mentioned limitations. Standard Omega Clones offer mainly increased skill points production. An in-depth introduction on the benefits of Omega Clones is as follows:
1) Purchase Monthly Basic Omega Clone, and receive an additional 5 points/minute, which comes to a total of 35 points/minute. The default free skill points production when not training skills is at 70% speed, and the pre-stored free skill points limit is also increased.
2) If you purchase the Monthly Standard Omega Clone, you will receive an additional 25 points/minute, which comes to a total of 55 points/minute. The default free skill points production when not training skills is at 80% speed, and the stored free skill points limit is also increased (even more than Basic).
3) If you purchase the Monthly Combo Pack (containing both Basic and Standard), You will receive an additional 25 points + 5 points /minute, which comes to a total of 60 points/minute. The default free skill points production when not training skills is at 100% speed, and the pre-stored free skill points limit is close to infinite.
2. Cognitive Neuroscience (Importance: ★★★)
Cognitive Neuroscience greatly accelerates the speed of skill points production in the early stage. Simply put, it is one of the most desirable abilities in the game. We have designed Cognitive Neuroscience as a set of three skills, with each skill consisting of 5 levels of proficiency. Each of the three skills under the umbrella of Cognitive Neuroscience offers an increased production of 5 points/minute. And the best of all, these points are valid indefinitely. In other words, Cognitive Neuroscience will be a one-time purchase. (For example, if you purchase all of them, it will cost you 2+6+30=$38, and will be a one-off cost)
Cognitive Neuroscience – $1.99 (+5 SP/min)
Advanced Cognitive Neuroscience – $5.99 (+5 SP/min)
Expert Cognitive Neuroscience – $29.99 (+5 SP/min)
We highly recommend players with high demands for skill points to master these three skills. But of course, these early-stage advantages will eventually smooth out as time goes on, so please utilize these skills in time and at your discretion.
Those are the main costs that I think are relevent, the Facebook page goes on to talk about corporation clones and ship skins so you can use the link if you want to know more about what they have to say but the main costs that people might want to spend money on are quoted above.
Personally I’m not planning on spending any money on the game, at least not while its going to drain my battery if I spend any decent length of time playing the game, also I’m quite fickle when it comes to games and very few games keep my attention long enough to justify spending money.
One thing it has done though is made me think about playing Eve Online again where I’ve invested a lot of time already and have enough isk to buy Omega status with in game money if I decided to invest some time into it.
So to sum it up, I like the game from what I’ve seen, its definately worth trying out and could be worth putting some time into it but for me its not worth spending money on it at the moment.
– Sparko Marco

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