This is for players who are considering starting a second account. If you are new to Eve Online I recommend checking out Eve University and their wiki article Getting Started in Eve Online. So that out of the way, let's step back.
Yesterday I got the exciting news that this blog has been accepted as an Eve Fansite. Looking at the list (filtered for blogs) I'm in some very intimidating company. No pressure, right?
(and yes, I've already asked for the encoding of the apostrophe to be fixed.)
Now Eve Fansite also comes with a nice bonus: a free account subject to some restrictions (no buddy program, no character transfers). So the next couple blogs will be about spinning up an alt account.
Eve now has a couple different ways you can kick-start your character, notably both with ways to boost your attributes for a short period of time and thus get through those first skills that are so frustrating for new players. To confuse things, these different ways to get started appear to only be on 3rd party sites (Ex: Amazon, Markee Dragon), not on Eve Online's storefront itself.
Starter PackThere are several varieties of these to give you a particular frigate (or Venture), a pile of skillbooks, and in the case of the Core Starter pack some BPCs and fancy clothes for your avatar. To my surprise the Esquire and Executor coats can be sold on the marked for 20M ISK, which is a nice way to start your wallet indeed. This makes the Core Starter pack definitely superior to the Explorer and Bounty Hunter Starter packs I see on Markee Dragon's web store.
For a new character the real payoff is in skill points, and what these Starter Packs share is the Prototype Cerebral Accelerator which gives you +9 to all attributes for 14 days. Since you get a bonus to skills of the Primary skill plus half the Secondary skill the bonus is thus 13.5 SP / minute. Since there are 1440 minutes in a day, that means you're paying US$14.99 for 272160 skill points - plus the 20M worth of resellable clothes to bankroll you (for the Core Starter pack) and a spread of other little goodies. For an alt character the ISK value is minimal compared to what you probably have on your main, or the 800M ISK you can score from buying one more plex. The skill points may be tempting, but there's one other kicker.
The Markee Dragon page explicitly mentions that using this Starter Pack makes the account ineligible for the buddy program. If you're spinning this up from your main account, that's basically 1 month or 800M ISK that you're not getting. In my case for the fansite free account it would me more a matter of the US$14.99 for getting the account spun up faster.
Commissioned Officer PackI only see this on the Markee Dragon site - there is an Amazon listing by the same name but it looks like something different (and for US$31.89). This is geared to getting a new player right into shooting things with a Cerebral Accelerator that provides bonuses for 35 days. This seems clever, since the bonus is longer than the 30 days of game time, enticing the buyer into at least a second month. It's also a bit more expensive at $19.99.
On the skill point side you get +3 to all attributes, thus giving +4.5 SP / minute but for a longer time, giving you 226800 skill points. On the combat side you get +20% Damage to Laser, Projectile and Hybrid weaponry, plus a +20% rate of fire to Missile weaponry. That's a pretty nice little boost - at the end of the 35 days you could have all your Gunnery support skills to IV, and even gotten into T2 guns and tank. For those last few days you could be a real surprise to someone who thinks they have an easy newbie target.
It is not as clear to me if the Commissioned Officer Pack is eligible for buddy awards. This thread on the forums ends with someone claiming that they are eligible, but if you're looking to do this with your main you might want to put a ticket in with Support to confirm. Again, this is complicated by the fact that CCP does not sell these directly. If they are eligible then this could be a nice option for spinning up an alt - for the US$5 over the price of a month of gametime you get that alt ready to go faster. If, for instance, you were looking to stick this alt into Faction Warfare the combat bonuses would be pretty nice too.
Speaking of FW alts, next post will be about what kinds of alts are out there. I'd be very interested to hear what kind of alts people out there use, please do leave any advice in the comments!
Update: So I should have checked out the Eve Support FAQ re: Buddy accounts, which says:
"To be eligible for the rewards, the Buddy account subscription fee cannot be paid using any in-game currency or other game credits, including (but not limited to): or CD Keys, including CD Keys or CD-Key type Starter Packs purchased or received from non-CCP sources and online stores such as, but not limited to: Amazon Starter Packs, Gamers Gate, and Game Stop."
Now what's not clear to me here is if you use real currency after the starter pack expires, does that then make it eligible? It sounds like it.