I have been playing with EVEMon and have worked out my skill learning plan for the next 131 days!
First, I will train all the learning skills to 5. Next, I will train drones so I can get tech 2 Hobgoblins. This should make missions significantly easier, even though I am not having problems with most Lvl 1 missions at this point. I might even try some Lvl 2 missions with my now speedier Imicus and tech 2 drones!
The next phase of training involves getting into a Helios and learning to use a Covert Ops cloaker module. My thoughts on going for the Helios are that I can use it as a scout to help Sedona move goods, and hopefully be helpful for a corporation as a scout. Sedona and myself are planning to try to join a corp after we have trained the basics. We hope to find a 0.0 corp with significant Industrial and POS activity who are open to taking on newbs with brains. We have already identified several prospects that we are watching! Getting faction to allow for some jump clones is also on the agenda, as implants are too expensive to lose casually!
Getting the learning skills is very slow, and the game design in EVE definitely favors those who think long term! Luckily, Sedona and myself are planning to check out LOTRO Mines of Moria for the next month or two. We will keep the skills cooking in EVE, and return to more regular piloting sometime in early 2009. I will still probably do some occasional missions to be developing faction in the interim.
It is funny that my original plan was to mainly train skills in EVE for the first several months, but I enjoyed the game so much that I couldn't stop playing EVE! Sedona agrees that EVE will likely be our primary Virtual world for the next several years! A casual player would probably be better off not initially training all the Learning skills to 5, but rather focusing on getting broadly trained in Navigation, Gunnery, Drones, Electronics, and Mechanics. As we are planning on checking out LOTRO in the near future, the strategy of getting all the Learning skills out of the way makes sense. I can already tell that I will be playing EVE for years, so the investment in early Learning skills makes sense!
As an aside, taking the Special Forces option in character creation has really been nice! My drone skills were good enough from the beginning to easily solo Lvl 1 missions. Even though I will have to play catch up to get the Industrial basics, I think it has been more fun as a newb to have the ability to run Lvl 1 missions from the start. For any newbs reading this, a basic strategy is to get an afterburner on an Imicus and orbit at 25km from the nearest enemy. You just get the enemy's attention, and then release your drones and let them wreak havoc! If they get too close, use the afterburner to keep out of damaging range. I carry a remote armor repairer to fix the drones if they ever pull aggression. I'm sure there are faster ways to run missions, but this method works well for me.