Its quite hard for me to think way back about what I wish I knew that I know now. Primarily because a lot of what I learned early on is no longer applicable in the game. However, I’ll give it a shot.
Players from beta had an advantage in this regard. While all the regions — and the galaxy in general — was completely different, players from beta already had corporations and coalitions planned for May 2003 when the game launched. They knew heading out en-masse to 0.0 would be the most profitable venture, and they knew that isk was king.
On the one hand I wish I knew this as well, especially since I spent the first few months of my time just mining, because missions were completely crap, and there weren’t any rats worth killing. The only real alternative was trading, and it wasn’t quite what I envisioned when I was reading a preview for the game. But on the other hand, if I had ventured out into 0.0 to mine and make it rich, its doubtful I would ever have met the group of people that I did, and that matters more to me than any money (virtual or real).
Charisma doesn't matter
To be fair, there’s a whole load of skills now that use charisma, but its still a second thought to most pilots. I pumped everything into charisma when I started. This was before the more recent addition of every race/bloodline starting with the same base attributes. I was under the mistaken impression that a higher skill in Empathy would allow me to ‘barter’ in a way and subsequently buy NPC goods at lower prices and sell high. This mistaken idea is partly what lead me to re-roll to Minmatar; something I have never regretted.
At the time there was a few trade skills and one or two social skills. I’m not sure leadership even existed, but don’t quote me on that. So having loads of charisma made you totally gimped.
This happens to everyone at some point. Its late, you’re in the arse-end of nowhere, you need to go to bed before you fall asleep on your keyboard and end up with ‘QWERTY head’ syndrome. To achieve this, you need to get back to your personal/corp HQ ASAP. Shuttle time then!
Except that shuttle cost 10-100x what it should have, and checking the transaction log, it shows you bought it from ‘Joe King’. That’s isk you ain’t getting back.
Check zeros. Count them. Do this if you are feeling even slightly weary or tired. If you deal in large amounts of isk for orders or whatever, count them even if you’re awake.
That’s my three for personal stuff. I want to add a little something about trust though.
Its a common misconception that you cannot trust anyone in Eve. This is patently untrue. Yes, there are many many instances in the press and on the forums pointing to abuse of or complete failure of trust. This is more to do with mass media and sensationalism. If there was a news post about “largest e-bank in Eve doesn’t scam anyone, you’re money is still safe”, it would be forgotten... Actually, I lie, people would take their money out pretty fast, assuming something dodgy was going on... But that all feeds from the notion that we can’t trust each other.
I was there for Morbor. This was the first (that I’m aware of) pyramid scheme scam in Eve. I actually made some money out of it, since I sent a small amount and got decent returns to entice me into ‘investing’ more, which of course I never did, because I’m not a chump. Lots of people were though, and he disappeared with over a billion isk at a time when a billion was a hell of a lot.
Anyway, I’m rambling, which I tend to: you may have noticed.
The point is, most people are trustworthy in Eve. Use common sense when dealing with anyone though. Contracts in local are scams — not always true, but rule of thumb. Give other pilots money by all means, but do so under the assumption that you’ll never see that isk again — much like the ‘only fly what you can afford to replace’ rule for ships. Also, if someone gives you isk, its a bribe. Always. *waves to Tyrrax*