Do you ever get tired of collecting bear pelts or delivering a message to Henry the blacksmith across the street from the Inn? Ever find yourself wanting something new, exciting, challenging… something different?
It seems that every new MMO that comes out these days is the same run of the mill game. Just re-skinned in a different landscape and different lore. Granted, some come with newer “innovations” like free combat or interactive quest text, but , in this writers opinion, not since World of Warcraft has an MMO been able to really hold the attention of its players very effectively. If players wanted to play WoW… They can just go play WoW instead of some knock off with a shoddy gimmick thrown in to separate itself from the herd. Then along came EVE Online. One of the first of its kind, a MMORPG space sim.
EVE Online is set in a pocket of space now called “New Eden”. In mans later years resources on Earth and the surrounding planets throughout the milky way galaxy had grown increasingly rare. The more mankind explored, the more they found and eventually began to run out of room. That was until a natural wormhole was found that lead to an unexplored section of the universe that was dubbed “New Eden”. Mankind erected a warp gate on both sides of the wormhole to stabilize the wormhole and insure safe travel to and from New Eden. Shortly after the New Eden gates construction and millions of people had moved in the New Eden gate collapsed, closing the wormhole with it. Without the warp gate or wormhole, those who had crossed into New Eden were trapped, cut off from the rest of humanity. They were forced to begin anew and forge ahead. Over time people divided across new eden. Eventually there were 4 distinct factions in New Eden, The Amarr, Caldari, Gallente, and the Minmatar. Wars were fought, alliances were forged and eventually a technology was developed that allowed chosen pilots create perfect clones of themselves. These pilots would come to be known as “Capsuleers”. Free agents, ready and willing to take on anything New Eden had to offer.
What exactly can you DO in EVE?
Great question! Lets just lay it out on the table. When you first start your venture into the Universe of EVE things are admittedly, well slow. By slow I do mean REALLY slow. When you first login you’re greeted by the games tutorial AI named “Aura”. Aura acts as your guide through the first few hours of gameplay. She’ll instruct you in various activities ranging from getting to your very first space ship, mining asteroids, building something with minerals you get from said asteroids, to scanning down cosmic anomalies to explore. All of the main things you can do in EVE such as mining, hauling, or even blowing stuff up has its own category of NPC corporations that will offer you missions if you so desire. By no means are you obligated to do missions for NPC factions if you don’t want to. After you load up your first character and get your ship you’re free to do whatever you want, fly to anywhere in the universe you want, and shoot at whoever or whatever you want. Though the last two would be extremely ill-advised. A simple answer to “What do I do?” is something that scares away a lot of players. That is that you can do quite literally whatever you want to. If you want to train your abilities towards PVP and take your bad self deep into the dark recesses of 0.0 security space and make your living picking off daring cargo runners ferrying precious and expensive loot. DO IT. If you’re perfectly content mining, building, and selling in the “Safety” of Empire space (0.5-1.0 security level) well that’s just as well.
What’s so “difficult” about it?
Another very good question. Plainly put, EVERYTHING. Going back to the slowness of starting out I spoke of before. In EVE you can do whatever you want, so long as you have the skills to do so. Unlike traditional MMORPGs, in EVE you don’t select a class. You DO select a starting race which determines your starting skills. But skills in this game are more prerequisites than spells you cast or attacks you launch. Skills determine what ships you can fly and what modules you can affix to them. One might say “well that doesn’t seem that difficult”. Well, here’s where that slowness mentioned before kicks in. Each skill has 5 tiers to it. Every level you train will then take longer for the next level.
For example: If you’re training “Mining I”. That will probably take you about 20 minutes or so to train. The next level will take about 2 hours, then 15, then 3 days, then 10 days… That’s right.. Days. This is the thing that deters a lot of players in my opinion. Someone realizes that to fully train a skill it will take them days, or even months in some cases and think, well forget that! Honestly, yeah it takes a LONG time to really get enough skills when you’re starting out to effectively do much of anything. I’d personally say that it takes about a month after first starting to get a good couple levels on most of your basic skills. Then the real fun can start.
I was in a horrible accident so I’m bedridden. I’ve got time.
Great! About the time, not the accident. If you’ve made it this far and thought “well okay maybe i can give it a month to try.” Then awesome, I can tell you about all the other stuff you’ll either LOVE or HATE. So you’ve played through most of the tutorial missions, gotten some free ships and have some ISK in your wallet. The Universe is your oyster, if you like that sort of thing. If you’ve got a computer that has greater graphic capacities than a brick, you’ll be able to enjoy EVE Onlines interstellar beauty.(pun intended) From the moment you first undocked into space the beauty of the surrounding galaxy smacks your right in the face. Engine trails fade softly, distant stars shine brilliantly and accessible Nebulas glow beautifully. If you’re the type that likes to admire a well made and gorgeous game world you’ll find yourself enjoying warping around space and marveling in the jump field effects, especially when you distort a planet around you as you pass through it. Aspiring entrepreneurs will find that their time playing the market can be extremely lucrative. If you’re business smart, park yourself in a system that most of the players online have designated as one of the few major trade hubs and see if you can’t turn yourself a nice fat profit by playing the market. If you’ve got a silver tongue you might even make a career out of scamming people. Sure, con artists are in the game. One of CCPs selling points for EVE is that everything goes, including “illegal” activities. Go out and take unsuspecting miners for all their worth. Hold their ship at ransom until they wire you an agreed upon amount of ISK and then blow them up just because you’re a jerk if that’s your thing! Anything goes in the dark world of EVE as long as you keep it within the game. If you write a virus and unleash it in the real world to take control of someones EVE account, don’t expect CCP to protect you from the long arm of the law. And who knows, if you get good enough at what you like to do you might even be able to use in game currency to buy Pilot License Extensions (PLEX) and play the game for free. And if you get tired of being a carebear. Maybe train up your combat skills, buy yourself a nice ship and become a pirate…. Or even a bounty hunter.
All of that is in game footage by the way. JUST throwing that one out there.
But yeah, to the person who knows nothing about EVE, some of what was said in that video won’t make much sense. Such as “Corporation and Alliance”. Well in EVE you don’t join a guild, you join a corp. First let you should know, you don’t HAVE to join anyone. You can freelance your entire career. Joining a corp. makes some things easier while making some others quite a bit more difficult. The way it works is usually something like this. Players will join a corporation that has interests aligned with the players style of play. Such as a corporation that specializes in mining/industry, or PVP for instance. Corporations take in “capsuleers”, as you’re called” and usually provide structure and support for their members in return for taking a % tax of their players income. Some corps don’t have a tax and hold building projects or pvp fleets which will then split the profits between its members. Corporations will then usually join an Alliance full of other corporations that compliment each other. For instance a corporation that specializes in PVP would join an alliance that either is full on PVP or one that requires a PVP type of corp. to defend their mining/industry corporations. That being said, logistics of synergy between corporations and alliances is fragile to say the least and should only be undertaken by those with a knack for management and masochism.
Less Preachy More Reviewy
Interface and Controls
It’s easy to see why some players are immediately turned off as soon as they launch their pod for the very first time. Especially when those players are used to playing the traditional MMO where you move your character using the WASD keys. If you try to move your ship with WASD, you’re gonna have a bad time. EVE is very much a contextual based game. Nearly every single thing you can interact with in the game has a right click contextual menu. When you undock your ship for the first time you’re spit out in your pod traveling at 150 m/s straight out of the gate. You’ll keep going in a straight line until you tell your ship to either stop or do something else.
This is done by either double clicking in a direction in empty space
or by right clicking celestial bodies and telling your ship what to do. You can simply approach an object which could take you years, or if you decide you want to actually play the game then you can warp to it. Picking up cargo from a container in space or a ship wreck is the same. You right click and select “Open”. You can then click and drag the items you want from the container into your cargo hold and laugh maniacally at your phat loots. On average it usually takes a new player about 2 weeks to fully get acclimated to the way EVE’s interface operates
and ships move about. If you’ve stuck with it that long you’ll hopefully grow to realize exactly how intuitive and natural it really feels. It’s certainly a culture shock from the norm, but for a game to work the way EVE does, any other type of UI would be entirely too bulky given the amount of customization and interactive options that are available to you.
As stated previously, in EVE you don’t pick a class. Your class is your ship. Think of it like changing from your suit of tanking gear into a ninja suit. As long as you’ve trained the skills, bout the ships and fitted the modules. You can effectively play any “class” anytime. All it takes is for you to dock up at the station that your ship is at and hoping into it. The customization available to you is unparalleled to any other game.
Ships have four types of slots available for modules.
High Power – (Turrets\Missile Bays\Cloaking Devices)
Medium Power – (Shield Upgrades)
Low Power – (Armor Upgrades)
Rigs – (Permanent Riggings)
Ships have three resources, CPU, Power Grid and Capacitor. Coincidentally modules have requirements for these as well. Fitting your ship is like a balancing act. Should you put the bigger guns that take more power in order to get farther range at the sacrifice of not being able to fit those nice thick armor plates on? Or should you opt to fit your ship to regenerate your shields at the cost of capacitor per cycle and hope you can outlast your foe? Depending on the ship and the skills of the pilot flying the ship, your options are endless. It’s nothing new to see a cargo ship full of capacitor batteries and ammo and only fitted with a shield regenerator and a gun beat out a armed to the teeth battleship.
So you’re putting up your mining laser and pulling out your 800mm’s eh? Great, everyone should try their hand at the combat in EVE. Combat is as complicated as you want to make it. Though the more complicated you get with your modules and trajectory angles the better your chances of survival is. If you decide to fly straight towards an enemy and park right in front of them while they loop around and orbit you at complex angles and speeds, you’re gonna be waking up in a fresh clone in a matter of minutes.
Combat in EVE is a bit different than traditional MMOs. In EVE you can’t just click a person to target them. Selecting a persons ship for information is one thing, but the second you click the “Lock Target” button, the target is immediately alerted of your presence and intentions. Once you’re locked on and within the ships weapons range you can engage the ships offensive modules and fire on your target. Once firing, modules continue to do so until ammo runs out, you or your foe dies or otherwise escapes, or they are told to stop firing. It’s during this phase that the PVP game is played. PVP is more about flying in a way that maximizes your weapons potential and reduces your foes to maximum efficiency. Or you can go for straight up mitigation and tank or repair the enemies damage while dishing out as much as you can at the same time.
That being said the combat can get quite dull if you’re fighting mainly NPC pirates. The game difficulty ramps up significantly when PVP is introduced. But there’s a limit to which that’s true. The large scale battles that happen in Null security space are thrilling in their own right but it’s not called “Blob warefare” for no reason. It’s essentially, who can get the largest fleet together and who is left after you smash them together for a lag filled 30 minutes.
Sound and Visuals
EVE offers an in game Jukebox and a audio library with a good selection of musical arrangements that do a great job capturing the ambiance of being in space. Most of them are best listened to when mining asteroids in a quiet belt. Though others certainly have their time when it comes to getting your missile bays warm. Module activation and ship sounds are crisp and accurate with their animations. EVE uses the Trinity graphics engine developed by CCP. It does a marvelous job rendering ships and other celestial bodies as you fly about the universe. Constant graphic updates have consistently improved on existing models and animations in the game. There’s no denying, the game looks and sounds great.
This review could go on all day and you still not scratch the surface of what EVE is. There’s just that much to it. There was a rumor going around saying that if someone were to try to learn all of the skills in eve and get them to max level, it would take 19 years to do so. Whether that’s accurate or not isn’t quite clear, though it certainly seems likely. All in all, if there is an MMORPG that can stand the test of time and hold it’s own against the MMO powerhouse World of Warcraft or any other cookie cutter MMO out there, EVE Online is it. It does different perfectly. If you’re a fan of space sims and have the time to spare, and you’ll need time believe me. Give it a try, you owe it to yourself. But make no mistake. EVE is HARD… Very hard. EVE is a time sink. EVE is Rewarding. EVE is no ordinary MMO.