[EVE Online] A new day, a new galaxy! While most games content themselves with taking us to a new world, EVE Online takes us to a new galaxy filled with worlds. You could control an entire system on the other side of the EVE Gate!
I do not need to say as much about EVE, I suspect, because most of our contributors here have played and commented. Still, there are some things I would like to address. After all, even if you do not enjoy EVE, you must respect what they are doing. The game has an independent vision, an increasing player base, and bold prospects for the future. It strikes out from the mainstream “Yet Another Fantasy MMORPG” approach and has a different take on what a MMO should be and do. Even the one-server approach is rare. I expect to return to EVE sometime soon.
The Thinking Man’s Game
This is the game where auto-attack makes the most sense. Do not use the Force, Luke, you have the most advanced targeting system available on your system. You are relying on technology to fly you through the inky death of space at hypersonic speeds, but you want to trust your feelings to hit your target? No. Let the targeting computers do their job.
You can plan out trade routes or production schemes. You can benefit from math. This game actually rewards thought, not just swinging a sword and time spent. Catass smarter, not harder!
Again, my love of skill-based character advancement rears its head. EVE has an interesting implementation of this with time-based skills that improve even while you are offline.
Skills are good. EVE has no strict levels, although there are classes of ships. You can go in whatever direction you want, and if you change your mind, you are not hampered from starting something new. You can stick to one character, unless you want to engage in clandestine activities elsewhere with an alt.
Because of EVE’s time-based skill improvement, you will never catch up to an old player, but you can catch up in a specific area. You can only get so far ahead, since each skill caps at five levels. There are only so many skills that can be brought to bear on a specific situation, after which you are just learning skills that will let you be more effective in more situations. I may never fly a Caldari ship, but I can do quite nicely in Gallente ships.
Diminishing returns arise in another way: increased training time. Yes, you spent an extra six month on that skill, but you are only about 10% better than me. When that last skill rank will take you two months to learn, even if I am years behind in training, I am only a few percent behind in effectiveness.
Massive and barely contained PvP is not my usual interest, but I do like how much EVE hands over to the players to run. To paraphrase Arthur C. Clarke:
ALL THESE WORLDS ARE YOURS — EXCEPT EMPIRE SPACE. ATTEMPT NO OWNAGE THERE.
Of course, if you are willing to sacrifice a ship, you can fight in Empire space in 30 second increments all you like. Unlike yesterday’s game, you can violate the laws pretty blatantly, but enforcement involves detonations.
The economy? Largely player run, although not entirely. Players are buying and selling along with the NPC corporations.
Your own starbase? You can do that. Your own death star? Can we do that yet?
I love the in-game tracking systems. Everything is there. Do you want to see what your expenses were for the past month? Bring that up in the wallet. Every change in faction with each corporation and its date, time, and cause? You can look that up. The location of every unit of property? That is a screen, too.
I long for most games to have something as simple as Fallout’s killsheet. EVE Online tracks everything and gives you access to all of it.
Specifically, I like being able to access and move all the windows. All that information I just mentioned? You can display however much of it you need at once. Tack things open, move them around, show everything you need. During this next combat, while my hybrid turrets and drones chew up the enemy, I will be checking my inventory, referencing prices on each item, plotting a route across six systems, and checking if my agents have any jobs for me. Whee!
And there are pretty things out there. Ships, planets, the icy reaches of space, and all the shades of the galaxy. I look forward to my return, when I will be able to see more of them on my larger monitor, instead of blocking the whole thing with windows.
(Please remember, comments may be moderated for Shiny Happy Week posts. This is a festival of joy, not complaints.)