Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Played Lately: EVE Online

  • Soon after recording the Shut Up, We're Talking podcast (episode 59, listen now!), I thought about my answer about whether I played EVE Online. I said, in a very flip manner, that I tried it, didn't get it, and then uninstalled it again. All of that was true, but it was true a year ago. Had things changed enough during that year (both the game and myself) that I might give another answer now? The only way to answer that would be to try again. CCP Games makes this extremely easy. My trial account could be upgraded to a full subscription for only twenty dollars with thirty days of play time included. The rest of this post is going to be really random, so please excuse the mess.

  • One of the first things I noticed when logging in was that character creation seemed a lot easier. Maybe CCP just hides the numbers better. When I made my trial character a year ago, it felt like I was making decisions about the game before I'd learned anything about it. Even better, though, is the great tutorial that awaits new players. After finishing the crash course that teaches the basics, you are introduced to five career tutorial agents that give more in-depth instruction about various facet of the game. I just came out the other side with nine ships, several skillbooks, and a couple million ISK. But best of all, I have greater sense of the possibilities in the game. To compare my two attempts at playing the game, my trial was like being dropped into the deep end of the pool with the expectation that I would learn to swim out of necessity. This time was like starting in the shallow end, but with enough instruction that I really want to now how deep that pool gets.

  • While I enjoyed all of the tutorial missions, the ones I was most amused by were the suicide missions. Both of these missions occur during the Advanced Military tutorial. In one mission, you fly a frigate straight into a pirate station and blow it up. The second has you shoot down a pirate only to be overwhelmed by his many, many buddies. If you were every worried about losing your ship, those missions get you over the trauma very quick.

  • One of the recent primary gripes about questing in MMOs is that they are more like errands. The funny thing about EVE is that although the missions feel exactly the same, that actually works in EVE's favor. A capsuleer may have a lot more resources and abilities than the average person, but you are still playing someone trying to make their way in the universe. And if that means taking on jobs for various organizations, you're going to do it because you want the paycheck. So yeah, I'm roleplaying a merchant prince(ss), but at least I get to do it in space.

  • While the tutorials freaked me out with all the things they teach you, I love how the game has so much complexity that you can dig into. While I knew there are any number of roles that you can fulfill due to the ship fitting and skill systems, I don't think I understood how deep that was. And it doesn't even matter if you don't care. You can play on just a surface role if you're interested. But there are so many layers for you to peel back if you're interested. The audacity of designing something so gleefully complex boggles my mind.

  • This may be silly but I really, really like my destroyer. It's the Gallente version, but I don't remember what it's called. I named it the Exeter after the destroyers in the first Wing Commander. Flying the Tristan was fun, but mounting eight (EIGHT!) guns makes its huge wing bristle with pointy death. I barely get all eight guns warmed up before my target goes down. I also found out that, with a couple cargo extenders, you can get a shuttle in the hold. Hilarious!

  • This was really cool. Jump To Contact (a fascinating EVE blog in its own right) recently linked an new blog, EVE Online Essays. It's premise is both simple and awesome: one friend (the author) is explaining EVE to another friend in the attempt to woo him away from his WoW-centricity. All of the big picture stories about EVE do a lot to sell the game from the macro-perspective. It's cool to see someone do it on an individual basis.

  • One final note before I post this: I did complete the tutorial Sunday night and had a good time doing so. But then I freaked out when I realized the training wheels had come off and I was on my own. I turned off the game and went to do other things. But I kept thinking about it. "What should I do next?" When went back to EVE, I looked at the star map (the first time I found myself really using it), investigated systems near my original base, and found a system that was both out of the way, but with plenty of opportunities nearby. I'm already halfway moved into my new home. For the first time, I may finally understand the draw of EVE Online.


© 2010 Marty Runyon. All rights reserved.

5 comments:

  1. Glad to see you enjoying EVE, it is a unique experience among MMOs.

    Just finished episode 59, was good to hear you again.

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  2. The tutorials are much better now at getting new pilots into the game, something that really helped me this time around.

    I know what you mean about that what to do next feeling. I ended up doing some scanning and running random agents before heading over to the Sisters of Eve for the epic mission arc.

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  3. @ Blue Kae - SUWT was a lot of fun. Even better since it got me to try EVE again. BTW, sorry about incessantly bugging you in game. :)

    @ Jayedub - Moving my home was about establishing myself closer to that mission agent. Just have to get up the courage to give it a try.

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  4. If and when Allods burns me, EVE may be the next MMO I try. I've been hearing a lot of good things about it lately.

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  5. You've not been bugging me at all, always fun to chat while I'm mining or travelling.

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