Written by  :  D Michael (232)
Written on  :  Dec 14, 2006
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  3.4 Stars3.4 Stars3.4 Stars3.4 Stars3.4 Stars

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A niche game that you'll love or hate

The Good

Simply put, Eve online is an MMOG based in outer space. This MMO is very different from the traditional online RPG's such as EQ, World of Warcraft, or any other MMO of various genres. I call it an MMOG because it is a Massive Multiplayer Online Game, but I wouldn't call it a Role Playing Game.

Getting started almost absolutely requires going through the extremely lengthy tutorial which is divided up amongst different topics. I say that this is a positive attribute to the game because without the online tutorial, it would be prohibitively difficult to get started by using trial and error.

The tutorials guide you through the game mechanics, the overwhelming interface, and even have you do some practice activities such as combat and resource gathering. In addition, all of the text on screen that is displayed during your training is read to you via a narrator, which is good because the whole thing is probably the size of a novel, or bigger. It may take many hours to complete all of the tutorials but it is highly recommended that the new user dedicate their time to reduce difficulty in doing even the most mundane tasks. Without the tutorials present, I would have never gotten into the game.

As with traditional MMOs, the object of the game is to advance your character to become more powerful and eventually wealthy. Eve is different in that the focus is on wealth and commerce, not so much leveling up. Buying new ships and then upgrading them along with your training could be equated with leveling up, but given that there are so many options for ship configurations it would be extremely rare to find mid to late game players that are identical.

While you are able to create your character which is little more than an avatar, helping you determine the type of routes you wish to take to success, your real baby is your ship, not your character. But once you've completed the tutorials and settled upon a character, it's time to go out and generate revenue in order to upgrade.

In the beginning, you're pretty much limited to doing courier missions or mining for cash credits, called "ISK". By doing this you ease into the game, which is good because the interface alone is daunting but fortunately, customizable. Slowly you begin to learn where to travel, how to mine, sell, etc. Doing the early missions involves working with agents that will assign you to do tasks such as deliveries or transport. It takes quite awhile to do all of the running around, but the money you make is better than mining early on.

Once you've pulled yourself up by the bootstraps, you can opt to join a corporation, which equates to a guild of sorts. Much more can be accomplished with corporations and alliances, however the theme is basically the same; to generate revenue. On the other hand, you could choose to go it alone, or become a pirate. I respect the fact that Eve allows you to pick the path that suits your desires, rather than forcing you into a team effort like traditional MMORPGs tend to do.

It is possible to do training to increase your efficiency in various fields such as research or mining. Where Eve is very different is that training is in real time, and continues even if you're offline. So for example, early training sessions may last 15 minutes or so. If you were to log off for 15 minutes, when you came back you'd be at the next level. The higher levels of training of course take a very long time, sometimes weeks. Being that you may only train one skill at a time, it's important to make tough decisions about which training is most appropriate for you, as sometimes gaining one point could take days or weeks.

The graphics are quite simply, beautiful. Even on moderate and lower end machines the game runs smoothly and with great quality.

I've noticed that the majority of the Eve community is very friendly and helpful, willing to answer the multiple questions I had which ended up being interface related.

The Bad

Depending on perspective Eve could be considered perfect for the right type of person, but for most its flaws are recognized.

For one the interface (as mentioned) is daunting. Even after going through the tutorials I had difficulty accessing the information I needed in a sea of menus. Observing chat revealed that much of the discussions were around helping new folks figure out how to contact their agent, or which screen they should be on when doing this or that. The interface alone is a gigantic learning curve.

Travel time is ridiculous, but that's to be expected for a world as gigantic as Eve's is right? Well even going to a neighboring star system could take several minutes, and many of the missions require you to hit 7 or 8 of them. You could be involved in a mission for hours. To make matters worse, most of these drawn out courier missions offer little in the way of surprises or events. After playing for a few weeks I finally got a mission that I thought was going to bring me some action. It was described to me that I had to spy on a corporation and report back, but that there was going to be danger all along the way. Well, about 3 hours later I reflected on what had happened... nothing but travel. Furthermore, almost all of the missions are the same. Go here, go there, report back. Even after weeks of play and upgraded ships and equipment, I was doing the same thing as I did in the beginning.

The game is very lonely. You can play for hours or even days and not work together or even have a conversation with another individual. This isn't to say that the game isn't populated, rather that teaming up is cumbersome and superficial enough to be avoided (with exception to large corporation endeavors).

Combat is neat at first, but doesn't require much skill at all. It mostly comes down to numbers and technology and the bigger weapon almost always wins.

The Bottom Line

With extensive travel time, repetitive missions, and confusing interface, it's no wonder that many were turned off by this game, but if you're a big fan (and I mean a really big fan) of sci-fi, space travel, and the desolate, empty beauty of distant worlds, this might be the game for you.