Throwing down the gauntlet, the great MMO challenge!

I’ve noticed a strange trend while reading the various blogs I read daily. The basic of it is this: any time an author brings up a complaint or shortcoming in an MMO, in my mind EVE comes up as the game that has the solution, or a way around that particular issue. It’s gotten to the point where I simply feel bad posting a reply because I feel like a broken record, talking about a game the majority of players have not played.

So instead, here on this blog, I’ll throw out a challenge to the community as a whole: Bring up an issue you have had with an MMO, and I’ll relate it to EVE and explain how EVE solves that issue.

The complaints can be anything; design, combat, graphics, economy, crafting, PvP, whatever. Just post below and I’ll do my best to explain how EVE handles the issue, and we will see if it indeed is an optimal solution or if game x handles it better.

Just to kick things off, here is my list of features that set EVE apart from the MMO crowd in a positive way.

  1. One giant world: Since EVE is not sharded, anything that happens in EVE happens on ‘your’ server, and might have an impact on you. Anytime you talk about a major event, you no longer have to wonder what server it happened on, you know it happened in the same world you play in. The 4 year history of EVE is very clear, everything has happened in one world, visible to all. No more ‘world first vs server first’ stuff here. The greatest guilds (Corps in EVE) all compete in the same world, no longer do you wonder if ‘power guild x’ could beat ‘power guild y’ if only they played on the same server.
  2. Endless growth: There is no level cap in EVE, nor is it possible to ‘max out’ your character. Regardless of how long or how often you have played, there is ALWAYS something you can do to gain more power/influence, and in significant ways, not just extra fluff. These gains are also permanent. At no point will the game change to make your progress obsolete. CCP (the developer) won’t release an expansion that raises the level cap and makes all that raid gear you spent a year acquiring now replaceable my solo quest greens.
  3. Caters to both hardcore and casual players: Since all characters gain skill points at all times, regardless if you are log on or off, casual players who play a few hours a week can keep up in skill points with someone who plays 60 hours a week. At the same time, those that play 60 hours have lots of avenues to gain additional power, be it with PvP in 0.0, running lots of missions to gain standing/money, or do heavy mining/production to gain a market advantage. These players will make faster gains economically, but in terms of skill points, they won’t outpace the casual player heavily.
  4. All game styles are supported: While the core of EVE is 0.0 PvP, all aspects of the game are not only viable, but critical. Without the mining and production Corps, 0.0 pilots would have a much tougher time buying ships and fittings to use in the latest fleet operation. Without the trade experts flying ships and fittings to low supply markets, the entire world would be forced to fly to one central hub to purchase goods. EVE gives you the option to never touch crafting, but unlike most MMOs, it also gives you the option to never touch combat, and be equally successful. Since skill points are not based on how many mobs you kill, or how many quests you complete, it is very possible to rise to great power without ever firing a single shot in EVE.

There are countless other examples, both large and small, but like I said above, I would really prefer if visitors posted their common complaints about MMOs, and hopefully that will lead the discussion further.

An important note in closing, I’m not saying EVE is the most ‘fun’ MMO, as that is very debatable. My point here is not to convince you to drop everything and play EVE, but rather that EVE has solved many of the common complaints in MMOs with its design. It’s very far from perfect, otherwise it would have more than 200k subscribers, and I myself am frustrated by a few aspects. That aside, it is the game that always springs to my mind when I noticed issues in MMOs, hence the idea.

Now get posting people!

About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
This entry was posted in Combat Systems, EVE Online, MMO design. Bookmark the permalink.

61 Responses to Throwing down the gauntlet, the great MMO challenge!

  1. Tobold says:

    Well, obviously I have to post the issues which are the reasons why I don’t play EVE:

    1) Possibility to lose something in non-consentual PvP. While in other games PvP is A) consentual, and B) if you lose you only lost the time spent in PvP and not any previous achievement, in EVE you can be attacked in most parts of the universe, and you can lose cargo, your ship or its insurance premium, the cloning cost and any skills you gained since the last clone. You can try to minimize risk with insurance and cloning, and by flying only through the safest sectors. But even that has a cost of time, as the safest way is rarely the shortest.

    2) Gathering of resources. Of all the various systems I’ve seen in MMORPGs to gather resources, I consider asteroid mining in EVE the most boring. It is mainly static, unlike the “search for resource nodes” system of games like WoW. And it requires you to be online to mine, unlike games having harvesters like SWG.

    3) Absolute dominance of large corporations (guilds). There are sectors in EVE which you can’t enter without being in the corporation that “owns” the sector, or an allied corporation, as they consider even unaffiliated players as possible spies and shoot down everyone on sight. While it is possible to “solo” EVE, you are excluded from mining the best resources or trading on the most profitable markets. Unlike PvE games, where powerful guilds don’t hurt you any more than making you jealous of their shiny epics, in EVE the powerful can harm the weak and prevent them from accessing content.

  2. Aaron says:

    Grinding — EVE involves an endless series of mundane actions to reach achievements, just like every other MMO.

    Investment required — EVE makes players play even longer than most MMOs before they can reach “the real fun”.

    The exorbitant amount of subscription time that EVE demands before introducing players to the core gameplay is the reaosn EVE isn’t more popular. 200k subscribers after 4 years is definitely success. And I can see how some gamers might think so much investment makes their ultimate achievements that much more valuable. But the amount of time-investment they ask of players is more than most gamers are willing to pay.

  3. Rick says:

    I tend to agree with you about Eve’s place in the MMO world. Did you happen to hear the 1up podcast from 11/9/07, still the most current one? They talk about Eve (I blogged about it over on my site, http://slashrandom.wordpress.com), and I think some of what Eve lacks is a way to communicate all those things you’re talking about to a new player, especially new players who aren’t particularly attuned to mmorpg’s in the first place. They have quite a few misconceptions about Eve on the podcast, but all the misconceptions are somewhat understandable.

    So, the new player experience is an area I’d ask about being solved in Eve. The expanded tutorial and character creation information they included last year is a good step, but like I said in my blog, if I hadn’t stumbled into good chat channels, I might have missed all that’s interesting about Eve.

    For that matter, most things I’ve learned about Eve have come from players and forums. I’m not sure that’s a bad thing. It definitely allows your game to be more complex, but I do wonder how many new players just don’t know where to go or what to do once the tutorial is over.

    Good post, I’ll be curious to see if you get more responses and challenges.

  4. Lucifrank says:

    The reasons I don’t play EVE are pretty shallow. Most of the things I read about CCP make me think, “Cool, I like the way they approach game design” and “Boy am I happy there’s a studio out there doing something against the grain that’s successful” and “Geez, I can’t wait for their Worlds of Darkness MMO.” The catch is, I’ve never had the thought, “Wow, that looks like FUN.”

    I’m not saying EVE is not fun. It’s just not my thing. I am extremely finicky about my sci-fi. I have yet to play a sci-fi MMORPG. This is not because of any attachment I have to fantasy by any means, but the sci-fi worlds present in MMORPGs so far have never jumped out at me. I’m not a big fan of space as the backdrop for my gaming. I’ll always take a colorful forest over a big, black, empty void.

    Avatars are also very important to me. I wouldn’t be planning to give PoTBS a second look in January if they hadn’t incorporated on-land play into the game either. I’m not a role-player, but the RPG element of massive online games is important to me. It’s probably closed-minded, but I want to play a character, not a vessel in a game.

    I admire the game conceptually and I’m really happy it’s out there, but the execution just happens to small smack dab in the middle of every silly pet peeve I have as a gamer.

  5. syncaine says:

    Good start, here goes.
    First Tobold’s post.

    Non-consensual PvP: High-sec empire space is generally very safe, and most suicide kills are at high profile targets, not random players. Unless you offended someone, or are flying a cargo ship full of high priced stuff, it’s not likely you will be the target of a random gank. Can it happen, yes it’s possible, but very unlikely. At the same time, you can remain in high-sec at all times and still profit in EVE, it just might be slower than you could in low-sec or 0.0, but that is a risk vs reward formula, and is presented as an option. At no point does EVE force you into 0.0 to progress.

    Mining: Solo mining in high-sec is indeed boring, and highly ineffective. Set up a Corp mining Op, get everyone on Vent, fly out to low sec with some protection, and it gets a whole lot more interesting, and profitable. I would also contend that running node circles in WoW or LoTRO or EQ is just as boring, while requiring a few more key strokes, while being chased by mobs you have no interest in killing. EVE also ups the ante, as nodes don’t instantly respawns, so it pays to search out belts with greater quantities of the better ores. In other games, you can bet that all nodes will remain in their zones, ready for you to run and collect at all times. Not to mention the whole mining efficiency/profit aspect of EVE. Everyone is equal as a collector in other games, while a focused miner can easily outpace a jack-of-all-trades type in EVE.

    Corp Domination: This is true, a Corp can indeed control large sections of 0.0 or even low sec space and make it very difficult for others to enter. However, unlike in other MMOs, they are not really blocking specific content, as anything you can get in their sector you can get in another, although it might require a bit more work. A player who never leaves high-sec still has access to the best minerals in the game, they simply must buy them on the market. If I never leave the starting area in another MMO, can I still get epic raid loot? EVE revolves around a risk/reward formula. If you are willing to take some risks, you get higher rewards. But the formula never FORCES you into any choices, while in most MMOs at some point the early gameplay changes and you hit the ‘end game’, which is often drastically different than pre ‘end game’.

    Moving on to Aaron.
    Grinding: Most games can be broken down to call anything ‘grinding’. Killing 20 mobs for a quest could be considered grinding, while others would call that questing. EVE certainly has many areas that could be considered a grind, but it is also possible to avoid many that don’t suit you. Say you hate the combat in EVE, but you like the market and production aspect. At no point will EVE ever force you to grind missions, while most other MMOs will indeed force you to level up before you can continue to focus on crafting. Same with mining and the issue Tobold brought up. At it’s most basic level, mining is possibly the worst grind in any MMO, but it can also be a thrilling experience in EVE. It’s all in how you play it, and what you surround yourself with. At the same time, I’m fairly sure the old Burning Steeps thorium ore circle I use to run in WoW could never become anything more than what it was, running in a circle hitting the same static spawning nodes over and over, hopefully before the Chinese farming I could do nothing about did.

    Reaching the fun stuff: This is the most common misconception about EVE, that you have to have 10 million skill points and be able to fly a battleship before you can do anything ‘fun’. Anyone can contribute to anything in EVE if put in the right situation. As a new player (2 weeks old) in a frigate I was in a level 4 mission with my Corp, blasting away at battleships and seeing the big stuff go boom. And I was not just along for the ride; I was actually contributing by killing the other frigates, things the big guys would rather ignore because they are hard to hit with the big guns. And I was making a ton of ISK (for me at the time) while doing it. Same goes for mining, early in my time with EVE I was flying recon for our Corps mining Op, checking low sec for possible pirates and traps. When I found one, I got my frigate blasted, but saved the rest of the Corp from getting blown up, and they were more than happy to replace what I lost, and more. Now all that said, it is true that it will take a new player a LONG time to fly the biggest ships in EVE, with no real way to speed this up. EVE certainly is not for those who are looking to see and experience everything it has to offer in a few short months, it takes a great deal of time for that to happen. To me however that is a major upside, as I like knowing the MMO I am playing will continue to provide new challenges and experiences for a long time to come, but I can see how others might view this as a negative.

  6. Nuyan says:

    Haha. You’re the MMO blogger I can find myself most with. I’ve exactly the same thing while reading other MMO blogs and I do read quite a lot of them. When I read Tobold’s blog for example, which seriously must have been one of my first blogs I started following, I disagree with over 80% of the stuff he writes, it must be because of I started playing Eve, since I didn’t have that problem before I started playing.

    Also most blogs of WoW-players bore the hell out of me these days, there aren’t many things more boring than talk about items, skills and instance-raiding. Ah well, perhaps I should unsubscribe to some.

    The harsh thing of Eve is that you have to create your own fun, set up your own goals. Unlike any other MMO out there it doesn’t put you on a rollercoaster-track, it doesn’t use items or levels as a “push” for the achievement based people to keep playing, I see ‘through’ that now anyway. Something like “levels” in a game is a big con for me now.

    I really do understand why people do not find Eve fun, especially in the first weeks. Mission-running bored the hell out of me too and I never got to lvl 3 missions myself. Mining has a nice feeling to it, but gets boring quickly too. You really have to find your own fun and some good company helps with that a lot. I wouldn’t want to fully ‘solo’ in Eve myself.

    But for the other comments here. Grinding necessary? Really, I do not grind at all in Eve. It really depends on what you want. I’m pretty much able to be self-sufficient in Eve without grinding, just with some trading. There’s also that misconception that you have to do training skills for months before the fun starts, but really, you can make yourself useful right from the beginning which also cant’ be said of almost any other MMO.

    I also found PvP in to be less ‘harsh’ than I expected. PvP in WoW was a lot more frustrating while you didn’t even loose anything (except time for a corpse-run of a minute). PvP in Eve makes a lot more ‘sense’, it just felt natural. And when you know what you’re doing, you can very well calculate the risk you’re running for yourself. Also, in the beginning you’re usually flying cheap ships anyway. Frigates are very cheap to buy and still can do very useful things when used correctly. I’ve been playing Eve for 8 months now and I can’t remember ANY loss where I was seriously pissed off, while I know I was tempted to smash my keyboard quite a few times in WoW pvp.

    As for new player experience. I don’t know. Perhaps it could be an idea for CCP to add some default very well written mission storyline of around 10 missions, but other than that it’s really up to the players themself to find their fun.

  7. Token says:

    I’ve played a lot of EVE and don’t plan on returning for one good reason. For me it’s an incredibly boring and limited game. I want to concentrate on fighting but I have no solo ability in PvP, so I rely on gangs all of the time. Risking such expensive ships if pointless when there are massive imbalances and cookie cutter tactics mopping up anyone who wants to fly a different type of ship. Sitting in good space for gang action means I can’t do anything else because I am just stuck there. I can’t craft or mine because I don’t want to dilute my training. I can rat but it’s so slow because I don’t have a Raven or missile skills and don’t want to jump on the bandwagon…You could argue that I have boxed myself in by my own choices but I disagree. I have had some fun fleet battles but they required no skill, just ability to buy a dual core processor and hear orders over teamspeak. I’ve done the mining guild thing, I’ve done the missions, I’ve done the alliance wars, didn’t feel sucked in at all. I could go on but I won’t.

  8. This is an unbelievably compelling argument. I’ll be looking forward to following the conversation.

    Could it be that people really just can’t handle/don’t want to learn anything more complicated than point and click like WoW? The lowest common denominator will usually sell the best… very interesting.

  9. syncaine says:

    Token,
    Is the fact that you now find the gang combat boring because your Corp did not entertain you much? I ask because for me, I look forward to Corp mining Ops, even though mining itself is generally considered very boring. The reason I look forward to it is because Vent is a riot during mining Ops, since everyone can focus on the chatter while still completing a Corp goal, which at the end feels good that we accomplished some greater goal.

    But really, it sounds like you played EVE for a good while, and only after that time got burned out. That’s very legitimate. I will also agree that EVE limits a single account to a focused Pilot, or you increase the time needed to train skills greatly. No game lends itself to multiply accounts greater than EVE, and while that might not be fair to ask someone to pay for 2+ accounts, I could argue that my two EVE accounts provide me greater entertainment than any two accounts I could have in any other game. Still a valid point by you however.

  10. Redrinn says:

    hmmmm…..well having good guild mates or even group makes even basic rat killing fun. What I am reading into your comments is, and correct me if I’m wrong, its the social aspect that makes your EVE experience so excellent. Because I really don’t hear much about fascinating gameplay in anyones talk of EVE. It sounds to me more like an occupation then a game.

    So here is my issue with EVE. I like surprises – that feeling of possibly getting that perfect drop for your character or something that will sell well. And I am not talking about epic raids, but just regular mobs while completing a quest for instance. What is the equivalent in EVE, or is there just making money to buy better ship parts?

  11. sollaires says:

    Redrinn – most mission pirates have a chance to drop pretty decent “named” loot (most items have a Tech I variant, several named variants, and a Tech variant). Generally, the named loot is 5, 10, 15, or 20% better than the vanilla Tech I variety in one or two attributes.

    In addition, there are “faction” and “deadspace” items that are another step up, generally, from the Tech II items. I don’t know a ton about these items yet, but I believe they drop from rare pirate spawns in some missions, complexes, and in deep 0.0 space. Every item in EVE is sellable, if not in the direct market than through the contracting system.

    You usually don’t go out looking for a specific item – the best you can hope for is to get some of the better loot (that you may or may not need for your ship), sell it, and buy the high end version for yourself.

  12. syncaine says:

    Redrinn, so you are asking what is EVE’s equivalent to a world drop in WoW? I would say the top named fitting, especially a weapon, would be EVE’s equivalent, although its tough to compare for a few reasons. The main reason being EVE is not as item based as other MMOs, in that the best stuff is much easier to get than it is in other games. Getting raiding epics is a lot of work, getting a tech two ship with all tech two fittings is somewhat reasonable for the average EVE player. But yea, getting that top named fitting compared to the average drop off a rat is huge in terms of its ISK value, which really is the be all end all of EVE.

    As for the first part, I think the community is key to EVE, but it goes beyond that. The fact is EVE caters to being in a great community more than other MMOs. The differences between going 1-70 solo or with a group in WoW is nowhere near as dramatic as being in a great Corp or Alliance in EVE. In WoW you will still get the same content, the same level ups, you reach the same end game. In EVE, it opens up some really incredible doors for gameplay, stuff like Player Owned Structures (POS), territory control, Capital ship construction, etc. I think a lot of credit has to be given to EVE’s structure that it has the type of player community that it has. So while it’s hard to say gameplay x is what sets EVE apart, the broader view to me is far more appealing.

    I know that, for example, the new POS my Corp just put up is going to really make a huge difference for us in the months to come, because of what it will do for us in terms of production and research, and we had to work our asses off to get the standing and ISK to make that happen. When you go on a raid, even if you get the perfect drop off the final raid boss, how much impact does that have for the guild 3 months down the line? Very likely that item has already been replaced, and that was all you had to show for in that raid.

  13. David says:

    I don’t want to PvP. Ever.

    Instantly with that statement Eve becomes one of the worst MMOs out there.

    I *like* capping my character and then working on gear. Any system where there is no upper end or cap becomes boring because there are no goals to achieve.

    Honestly Eve has *NO* positive answers to other MMO’s…its one of the worst out there, from a design perspective, for my playstyle and preferences.

  14. syncaine says:

    You mean capping in level? Because if there is better gear to get, you are not at the cap. And the level cap is an artifical goal placed on you by the game, put in place because the game is not designed to allow you to go higher without things becoming broken.

    Equate 20 million skill points, or 1 billion ISk, or flying a Capital ship, to level 70, and there you go, you have a goal. EVE just gives you the option to set your own goals, most MMOs tell you what they want you to do and lead you by the nose till you get there, and switch things up on you to keep you around for as long as they can.

    And above all else, the majority of EVE players are not into PvP either, as shown by the report CCP released recently. PvP is the ‘Hollywood glamour’ of EVE, the stuff that gets the most news/attention, yet the stuff that the ‘common man’ does not participate in.

  15. Definitely going to give the Mac demo a spin.

  16. mbp says:

    Even though I never made it beyond the 2 week free trial I think I agree with you Syncaine. Without question EVE has spawned the greatest stories in MMOdom.

  17. sente says:

    I found it a bit funny to read the first paragraph of the blog, because that is similar to how I feel sometimes, but replace EVE with City of Heroes/Villains…

    I played EVE during two periods, first when it was just released and a brief return during the time EQ2/WoW was released. Community is important and I never got into any corp that I really liked during this time, which is probably one big reason for not playing it.

    While I do like various SciFi-themes, just moving around in space and not much person to person interaction is a drawback from my view. I know they are working a bit on that, will see where that ends up.

  18. Yeebo says:

    From all I have read EVE seems to require too much of an initial time investment to get to game play that I would consider fun.

    One man’s fun is another man’s work, so it’s a pretty subjective criticism. However, whenever I see similar threads about EVE on a message board the responses of EVE players to this concern always sound a lot like “With a mere few hours or days of research and perhaps a week or two spent developing the right skills, you too can be doing something that will perhaps be moderately fun.”

    Other concerns:

    I am a big fan of solo PvE play with compelling (well written) quest lines. If EVE offers this I haven’t read about it.

    I despise non-consensual PvP. Particularly when you can permanently lose progress as a result of it. I’m sorry, but being able to fart around in “safe space” where I have limited access to resources and my speed of “leveling” (i.e., resource aquisition) is gimped does not appeal to me.

    Related to that, there is no “cap” in the game so I can never catch someone that started before me. I understand fully that I can become quite proficient in one area in a relatively short time, and that in terms of skills vets are broader than newer players but often no better at their specialties. However, that does not change the fact that my character just simply can’t ever be as good as somoene that has been playing since launch. In addition, there is no cap on cash and resources. What you can afford to pilot, what you can afford to trash on a lark, and how effective you can be at manufacturing and research are all limited by resources and cash (at least as I understand it).

  19. Heartless_ says:

    You were wrong about UO and you’re wrong about EVE. No point in arguing it as you seem to only consider games with open PvP as viable titles in this market. No game will ever be perfect. EVE has everything I want in an MMO, but I can’t stand to play it for more than a few minutes. Someone will come along and build on the EVE model and produce a far far better game experience.

  20. SK says:

    I don’t want to be a dick, but since that guy asked for it:

    Problem 1: it’s not fun

    Problem 2: it has more downtime than EQ1 did in the old school days

    I tried to like it. I really really did. I’m prime target audience too: I like sci fi more than anything, and when it comes to space battles I’m a fiend.

    So I scooped it up as fast as I could. Then came the spreadsheets. And the graphs. And 20+ minute warps. And sector after sector of uninhabited, empty, loneliness.

    I’ve heard they’ve made some improvements, but their engine doesn’t play well with ATI drivers, so even if I wanted to try it again I’d get bleeding eyes from graphic glitches.

    The new Jumpgate seems promising, I’ll wait for that to launch.

  21. Rick says:

    There are a couple misconceptions about Eve posted in the comments here. Two happen to be in Tobold’s post, although I see other’s making similar comments, and hear similar comments from mmorpg fans who don’t play Eve.

    First, you don’t ever have to PvP in Eve, and if there’s a ton of high-security space where you really never, ever have to worry about being attacked. I’ve been playing a year, and I’ve never seen suicide ganking (where a player will sacrifice themselves to harass another player). It’s just not worth the time, unless you talk smack to someone and ask for trouble.

    There really is a lot of PvE game in Eve, without ever dipping into low-security or 0.0 space. That leads to the second misconception. Tobold talked about mining for resources, and that is most definitely not the only way to get raw materials for manufacturing. When you run PvE missions for NPC agents, you get cargo holds full of modules as loot from the ships you blow up. Some of that loot has value and can be sold on the open market. The rest of it can be reprocessed into minerals for use in manufacturing.

    Eve isn’t a game that comes to you easily. It takes a lot of time to learn, but once you crest the top of the learning curve, a lot of the complaints I see here aren’t part of the game I’m playing. I rarely travel longer than a griffon flight from Menethil Harbor to Stormwind in WoW, I run PvE missions all the time, I’ve never encountered PvP when I wasn’t out looking for it. I used to be intimidated by the spreadsheets and graphs, but honestly, they’re not really necessary.

    Honestly, I think I got lucky falling into a good corp that thrives on teaching new players. If anyone’s looking to try Eve and feels intimidated, look up the Eve University public channel when you get in-game. They specifically look for new players as recruits, there are classes taught by experienced players on everything from PvP to trading to manufacturing, there are group mining operations which are hugely profitable and a lot more fun than mining on your own in a little starter ship, they have awesome links to game information in their forums…really, I don’t think I would have enjoyed Eve nearly as much if I hadn’t found the E-Uni folks. It’s a complex game, and it’s good to have friends who are happy to answer questions.

    Seriously, though, don’t think Eve is just lawless PvP and mining. There’s a ton more going on…and if you get bored with the PvE missions, trading, manufacturing and mining, there’s always lawless PvP for fun :)

  22. Verilazic says:

    I have to say that Eve sounds like *the* most interesting MMO out there. But your challenge leads me to ask what exactly would involve winning said challenge? And it also leads to the question of, if it solves all other MMO issues, why isn’t it more popular than say, WoW?

  23. Gooney says:

    Eve is a great game run by a great company, I don’t play though. The single biggest reason that I don’t currently play Eve-online is simply this.

    I am not my ship.

    The second biggest problem with Eve is actually the skill system. Because of the way it works players with significantly longer time in game totally outclass newer people. This in and of itself isn’t really a problem; but because those with multi-million SP numbers DO regularily prey on new people it becomes a very big issue.

    Being a pirate is definatley fun for those who enjoy inflicting harm on people who can’t defend themselves, I get that, but it truly sucks balls for the ones getting ganked. You know the guy venturing into .7 space for the first time to mine or rat, thier ship more or less represents the lions share of thier total worth. Most of those people are still on thier trial or first months sub, a majority of them leave the game and never look back. Which leads to my last reason.

    I don’t play Eve because of the non-consentual PVP as Tobold mentions. In my last go at Eve, I was working the market, buying low, transporting and selling high, actually having a lot of fun. I had my transport kitted up with what I hoped would allow me to avoid getting warp scrambled. Anyhow, I had my hold full of cattle heading into a .5 system to sell at a base there, soon as I warped in I was targeted and blown to bits by 1 guy, it happened so fast I didn’t realize what was happening until I was floating around my wreckage.

    He didnt say anything, he wasnt a pirate, he blew me up because I was neutral, and his alliance was apparently at war (BOB vs GS). I had no warning, no message, nothing, there were only 2 ships destroyed in the last 24 hours in that system so ya I knew that but come one it was .5 space no POBs not connected to any 0.0 space, and hey…I was a neutral trader. The really fucked up thing about it was, is that if he would have just messaged me and warned me off I would have left, no problem, but he didn’t.

    Anyway, I wasnt mad or upset, I just logged out cancled my account and never looked back. In the event my losses were somewhere in the neighborhood of 8 or 9 million ISK, which was 3/4ths of my net worth. I know I could have recouped my loses in a week or two of trading, but thats not the point, I just decided… fuck it, I don’t have to deal with that so I won’t.

    -Gooney

  24. haslo says:

    You do indeed make EVE sound more interesting again :) – I never quite could get myself to trying it, after Wing Commander 3 I never touched a space game anymore. While many of them looked nice and all, open space is fascinating, it’s just not as involving to fly a vessel across space as it was to run a gnome across hills, or now (in Tabula Rasa, more on that later) a human survivor across deserted planets with huge stalkers and tons of aliens.

    EVE thus lacks one thing mainly for me: immersion. Admittedly I haven’t played it, but to me it looks rather like a browser game (one like Travian, which I like to play) with fullscreen capability than a “proper” MMO. I like being overwhelmed from time to time, by huge buildings and impressive scenery, best paired with a good soundscape (which Tabula Rasa does surprisingly well, one time I just stood there and watched those impressive lava falls in the Plains zone for 5+ minutes, with thunder roaring around me and occasionally a bug patrolling nearby).

    Tabula Rasa then does all those things right, it’s just that it’s targeted not only at a SciFi-, but also a Shooter-Clientele. So much in fact, that I often forget that I’m not in a shooter but an MMO, or at other times I run through an instance solo again (they all scale with group size, so they’re possible to solo if you’re only a few levels above recommended), it’s like tuning the difficulty rating down and bashing through a shooter just to explore the hidden tidbits and places the devs implemented. And there are, every instance and every zone looks and feels hand-crafted and custom-tailored. There’s only few servers too, mostly demanded by regional matters (the ping times between Europe and US would just be too high to provide shooter-like gameplay), and there are multiple instanzes of higher-populated zones on that server so players won’t lag too much. And as to the endgame, that seems to be way less of a gear grind (weapons of rarer quality don’t do more damage, although they do have other benefits, but no content has gear locks like in WoW from what I gathered in the first 20 levels) and way more community-centric, as you’d expect from a game that follows in UO’s footsteps.
    As to the bad bits – the trading and crafting bit is quite the opposite to EVE too, while EVE largely builds on those things the auction houses in TR aren’t even implemented at launch yet (although they will be), and crafting is beneficial sometimes, but quite cumbersome and somewhat poorly implemented at times. And then there’s server lag, but they’re working on that, the game was just released after all.

    So while I thoroughly agree with you that the “no level cap” and “customer-generated content” approach of EVE is great, the open space scenario and lack of immersion makes me not want to try it until I get bored of Tabula Rasa. And that could be a long time to go :)

  25. Pingback: The Common Sense Gamer » Eve in the morning

  26. syncaine says:

    And I’m back… Ok let me try to get through this without writing a huge wall of text. In no particular order, let me address some issues stated above.

    Immersion: To me EVE is one of the most immersive MMOs out, simply because its a singlular world with a very rich player history, unmatched by anything else. In addition, everything stays consistent; ship sizes, distances, asteroid formation, it just all ‘works’. And while it’s a different style, EVE certainly has it’s fair share of great looks, as you can see by most screen shots.

    PvP: To me PvP adds a sense of danger and ‘edge’ to a game, even if you don’t participate in it. It makes you responsible for your actions and words. If you go mouthing off in EVE at someone random, they might just War Dec your Corp, and if they have more military might than you, your Corp won’t be very happy with you. In flag on/flag off MMOs, you can’t do a single thing about a little kid running his mouth being an internet thug. Without a way to control those that seek to ruin your gaming experience, I think a game suffers far more than one in which you might get caught in the wrong spot at the wrong time.
    I also think the whole ‘ganking in empire’ thing is hugely overblown, due mostly to the forum posters that whine about it. In all my time in EVE, I have not once been attacked in high-sec, nor have any of my Corp mates. And having one of our alliance mates as a full time pirate, he has told me countless times ganking in high-sec is a waste of time for them, unless it’s a high profile target that has drawn their attention for some reason. Low sec is very different, but that’s a know fact and risk.

    Ship not character: I can’t really argue with this, as you do have your ship in the middle of your screen at all times. That aside (and I can see how that would be a huge deal for some), I think the options in EVE allow you to play a ‘character’ far more than most MMOs. Few games allow you to be a pure trader and succeed, or a pure crafter. Most funnel everyone into the whack-a-mole game at some point, using the tried and true gameplay we have had since the 90s. While not my thing, EVE leaves the option for those people who just love beating the market by a few % points, or by those obsessed with the highest efficiency in a given task. Few games out give you these options and allow you to focus on them 100%, while still having a major impact on the world and growing your personal power base.

    Downtime: Perhaps back in the day EVE was down often, but since I’ve been playing, the only downtime is the one hour a day in the early morning (EST), and this occasionally gets increased when a patch is released. Fleet battles will occasionally bring a node down, but not the world.

    And lastly,

    Fun: I agree, as great as EVE sounds on paper, it’s not as much pure fun as say WoW. It’s very difficult to describe, but for whatever reasons, at times EVE does feel slow. The good thing is, you can continue to train skills and do minor time in EVE and still grow, and then come back in a week or so and get right back into it, without missing a beat. Your Corp won’t be levels ahead of you, or have progressed to the next raid instance. EVE is flexible like that, and for me that’s a huge plus. But yes, for whatever reason, some just don’t find EVE ‘fun’, and I completely understand that.

    The point of this post was not to convince the world to quit everything and play EVE, but rather to point out that one game does so many things right, in a very interesting mix. Between the huge barrier to entry, the somewhat harsh world, and the sci-fi setting, it’s no surprise EVE has the 200k accounts that it has, but clearly CCP must be doing something right, as EVE continues to grow at a steady rate, four years after release.

  27. haslo says:

    I wasn’t saying that EVE doesn’t look great, but great-looking space is different from great-looking planets – it’s hard to describe really.

    Other than that, yeah I do think EVE does many things right, but so does WoW (although I’m bored to death by it and no longer play, I still think back to some good times with it), and so does Tabula Rasa. Funny enough, I think Tabula Rasa and EVE would compliment each other pretty well for somebody who wants the full MMO experience – one being a shooter-like virtual battleground, and one being a trade-and-mine game with some piracy thrown in. But I don’t have enough time for both, and if I have to choose (which I do), I’ll take TR for now :)

  28. Eric says:

    I first tried Eve several years back, right after Earth and Beyond went belly up (Damn you EA, I will never forgive you….ever.). I really didn’t like it (probably because I was having Earth and Beyond withdrawal) so I quit and went to SWG. SOE screwed that game up, so I moved on to WoW and stuck with it for a long time because there simply aren’t any other options. (I really don’t like the Dungeons / Dragons stuff….Sci-Fi is more up my alley). I finally got so sick of WoW I decided to try Eve again last year. I stuck with it for a couple of months and finally gave up on it again.

    My thoughts on Eve:

    1. The new player / intro isn’t very friendly. It’s pretty in depth as far as controls go…but I really didn’t find myself sucked into the story or background of the game. I found myself just concentrating on figuring out the controls, which I found pretty complex. Beautiful; but complex.

    2. PvP. I know it’s been said here many times, but I’ll say it again. I don’t like being forced into PvP unless I want to do it. Perfect example: I was in my new frigate running a mission, came out of a warp gate and was instantly killed. I didn’t understand how the sector security stuff works so I was insanely pissed. I /whispered the guy and gave him a piece of my mind. (I was really only mad because I had just spent all of my money trying to get a new ship). To the guy’s credit, he said he was sorry and didn’t know I was new to the game. He gave me a new ship and some cred’s to start over. That was real nice but most people wouldn’t do that…and I thought it sucked to lose all my progress because somebody thought it would be funny to ruin someone else’s gameplay.

    3. The travel time on some missions or going to some bases was awful. I found myself just setting my destination and then going to surf the net for 15 – 20 mins while I traveled.

    I really want Eve to be interesting; that’s why I’ve tried it twice. I just can’t seem to find a purpose there though. Wandering aimlessly from base to base while hoping to not get killed isn’t my idea of fun. I joined a guild (can’t remember what they’re called in Eve) but I was real disappointed. I was immediately give a list of what skills that I was “required” to train if I wanted to be a miner with them.

    I will give Eve credit on the leveling / skill progressing though. Not really having levels, but instead making you learn skills that take time is pretty smart. It was nice to be able to /train something and go to work…come home and the training was done! It kind of sucks only being able to train one skill at a time per account, and not being able to play another character and have it train too. I wanted to be a miner so I concentrated on getting all of the mining skills…the last thing I was training before I /quit was taking something crazy like 30 or 45 days. It’s a smart time-sink on Eve’s part…but not my cup of tea, it was just too long, especially considering I couldn’t do anything on another character.

    On a side note; I just started Tabula Rasa and it seems pretty decent so far. Lots of bugs and kinda jerky at times but it’s only been live for a week so I can’t expect much. Only thing I can’t quite figure out is how to earn decent money. My machine gun keeps me in the poor house. I can only use it 30 – 40% of the time because I’m usually too broke to buy ammo. =/

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  30. Coherent says:

    I think the consensus, Syncaine, is that you’ve been owned. While nobody has “proved” that EVE hasn’t solved all of our MMO problems, the consensus is that it’s a deeply flawed game that is very difficult to enjoy.

    Instead of defending the glory of EVE as the perfect game, why don’t we concentrate on the things that EVE has done _right_ and discuss methods of porting those great ideas over to other MMO’s? While EVE itself is an incredibly bad game, it has a successful and thriving community, an excellent and engaging endgame model (land wars with shifting military power, technology and political alliances), a great economy with a true balance of supply and demand…

    EVE isn’t a good game, but parts of it are worth keeping! Just concentrate on taking the best and making sure those ideas aren’t lost or overlooked by people building the NEXT generation of MMO’s.

  31. syncaine says:

    If it’s such a bad game, why is it the only MMO to increase it’s user base consistently 4 years after release? Last I checked all the other ‘big’ games from that time period are either dead or out in the pasture.

    That, plus you failed to read the ORIGINAL post, in which I state I’m not saying EVE is the greatest game ever, and even I have issues with parts of it. The point was for people to post things that bother them about OTHER MMOs, like crafting or PvP. It got sidetracked, which is fine, but at no point did I ever state EVE is perfect.

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  33. Coherent says:

    EVE’s population is growing because it dominates the genre of Space MMO’s and it is picking up the fallout from WoW players who want science fiction instead of fantasy.

    While it is an awful game, it’s the best in the genre. But it’s a very very short stack of candidates.

  34. Eric says:

    I have to agree somewhat with Coherent. There are practically no Sci-Fi MMO’s out there so it’s no surprise to me that Eve’s population is growing.

    A lot of people are sick of all of the dragons and wizards because it’s been the #1 thing for so long. Any change of pace is nice and Eve is the best of the bunch out there.

    The REAL test for Eve will be in another year or two when Star Trek Online comes out. As long as it doesn’t suck completely I foresee it having a huge following, and dominating the Sci-Fi genre.

  35. Guido says:

    @Eric, and sorry for sidetracking into TR again – as to the machinegun, I see many soldiers only whip that out when really necessary (huge enemies) or when they’re in a tight spot. Myself I don’t know how to spend my money really, as a biotech I buy all the ammo I need and what my shotgun and rifles can eat, without ever saving or sparing, and still make heaps of money – I have nearly half a million credits now, at lvl 23 :)

  36. alcaras says:

    How does EVE make it so new players can catch up with old player’s skill levels?

    WoW does this well with the gear resets at each expansion; I’m curious how EVE manages to avoid gear resets yet give new players a chance to catch up and be equal to at-release players. From the little I know of EVE, it would seem that its skilled based system makes it so the earlier players have a continual advantage in terms of skill points, since everything is done in real time.

  37. Eric says:

    @alcaras

    You really can’t “catch up”. The veteran players will be far far ahead in their training because it takes so long to lvl up your skills.

    So it appears to me that the older players will always, always have an advantage no matter what.

  38. Valmorgan says:

    Which is exactly how it should be… If I spent a year gaining skills, only to have some newbie come and catch up in a few months… That would annoy me to no end…

    Happened to me when I played WoW… I went on a two week vacation, and when I got back, I couldn’t do anything for my guild anymore… they were all way ahead of me, and I was left in the dust, while some new guy had come along and taken my spot in the guild…

    And on a note about PvP… as has been stated before, unless you head into low-sec space without a plan, PvP is easy to avoid. Like, ridiculously easy to avoid.

    Also on PvP, I find the prospect of losing something valuable makes the rush even better… the thought that my newly-acquired Abaddon could go down in a flame of glory makes me try all the harder. Yes, it sucks when you lose a ship, and even more when you get pod-killed, but that’s the part that makes it exciting; you fight tooth-and-nail to stay alive. And when you emerge victorious, you know you’ve actually accomplished something more than a moderate inconvenience.

  39. Eric says:

    @ Volmorgan

    I agree…almost. If I put in 2 or 3 or 4 years I would want to be rewarded for that and be far ahead of other players with my skill training. However since you are forced into PvP in certain sectors it’s out of balance.

    Before you say it; I know you don’t HAVE to go in those sectors. But if you want to get in on the good mining and such you have to go in the PvP sectors.

    Why should I be at the mercy of the long-term players in those sectors? I hate WoW (god I hate WoW) but you have options there. You have PVE servers there that let you avoid being at the mercy of better geared players if you don’t want to PvP.

  40. michael, StE says:

    @Eric

    The people mining in 0.0 space do get a substantial bonus to the value of the minerals they can mine, compared to the same time/volume in high security space. It’s almost a factor of four according to the EVE mining guide.

    However, for those ores to be useful, and turned into ISK, they need to be refined (which give very poor yields in 0.0, wasting perhaps a third of the yield). Or they have to shift the ore back in volume into high-sec, which requires substantial investment in logistics, security – eating game time, skill training and capital investment.

    And, if they save the round-trip, eat the yield-hit and just refine locally, to pour the minerals into constructing parts for the war-machines that all Alliances are, then well, those ships are going to get blown up pretty soon anyway.

    Compare that with a miner in high-sec who undocks, warps to an asteroid back, fills his hold (or transfers to a hauler alt if they’re adventurous) and warps back to the same station for a low risk 96-100% yield.

    The 0.0 ores exist as a resource to tempt players into controlling space. It’s effectively their “reward” for the enormous logistical challenges in in running a 0.0 Alliance. If you’re in their space, stealing their ore, why should you be able to do so without them being able to shoot back? If there’s some mysterious way of giving you an even chance 1v1 when you ninja-mine that Alliance’s areas, then they’re just going to bring more buddies, and more, and more until you stop. If you want to be at less risk, then bring friends to help you.

    If you can manage to ninja-mine some of that tasty ore, then great, but at no point at you “forced” into those regions. It’s greed and love of pewpew that got the Alliances out there in the first place. If you don’t want to PvP (and, right now, I don’t, but some pesky mercenaries have decced the Uni), stay safe in high-sec in an NPC corporation.

    Risk versus Reward is what EVE is all about. Less stress, less reward. Bit like life, really.

    And, the core reason: if players could mine 0.0 ores with low personal risk, everyone would do it, the mineral market would crash.

    On the topic of skill-catchup, EVE’s skill bonuses tended to be quite modest increments. It’s possible for a player, focusing their skills on a specific goal, to come very close to the “top players” in a specific area in a reasonable period of time, only requiring the longest training for “that last 5% bonus to targetting range…” etc. High-skillpoint players will probably have “completed” many areas of training, so can fly many different types of ship.

    High-skillpoint players get ganked in PvP all the time. My corporation is currently the target of a Empire wardec by a mercenary corp, and we’re doing quite well against them (last time I checked this morning, anyway). Why? Because we have a blob of 60-80 very annoyed newbies bringing supercheap EW and tacklers frigs supporting a small core of longer-time players flying battleships. They’re killing us in moderate numbers, but we’re costing them a fortune to do so, and having great fun.

    Upshot: in EVE there’s always something useful for a level 5 player to do, even on a raid with the level 70s.

  41. SVgr says:

    Getting close to the end of my first year in Eve.

    I see alot of people talking about the length of the skill tree, the lack of a level cap, etc. That’s one of my favorite parts of eve.

    People who only played eve for a short time or not at all may be confused by the eve skill system because it’s so different. When you ask ‘how does a new player catch up’, that’s actually easy to answer. There are skill caps in eve!!!

    There’s no limit to the TOTAL number of points, but there are many dead ends where there’s a hard limit to how high you can go. For example, there’s a finite limit to the number of skills you can learn that increase mining efficiency. I’m sure the numbers are out there, but I think you can “master” the mining profession in less than six months. Marketing and transportation skills are the same.

    Combat skills have similar limitations, they are just harder to see when you’re sitting in your first frigate, looking at how long it takes before you can fly a Capital class ship. For example, let’s look at Battleship skills. Each type of battleship takes different types of weapons and gear, so each faction should be looked at as a different carreer path. There’s a very clear cap to the sizes and typs of gear you can use on a battleship. There are skills you can train beyond Battleship skills (to fly other types of ships), but those skills don’t improve Battleships or the gear you put on a battleship.

    Many of the higher skills say something like “this skill gives xx% bonus per level for items that require this skill”. Now the first thing a WoW player will say is that the higher level ship must be better than the Battleship, but that’s not true at all. There’s lots of things you can’t do with a Dreadnaught or Mothership (they can’t enter NPC missions for the most part). Therefore, once you’ve maxed out skills with a battleship, you’ve caught up to the 4 year veteran player in battleships. I believe you can max those skills in about 6 – 8 months if you really focus.

    The nice thing about Eve leveling is that once you hit the cap on Faction X Battleships, you can go train another faction of battleships, or learn how to do something else entirely. In WoW, it would be like having the ability to train up for each of the different professions on one character, but not being able to cast while wearing warior gear. So if you’re wearing warior gear then only your warior skills count and all those caster skills are moot. With eve ships are like the gear you wear.

    In Eve you may be able to use advanced, specialized equipment when you’re 4 years old, but most of the time you can’t use that stuff, so you’re equal with the 1-year old in many ways. I take on 2 and 3 year old guys all the time, and sometimes I win.

    That should really answer the question about ‘what is the goal’ also. There’s not just one goal, rather a series of goals. My eve character is nearly maxed in mining and now I’m working on maxing out a few different ship types.

    The BAD of Eve:

    Forced PvP: Contrary to what was posted above, there’s lots of people who like to hang out in ‘secure space’ and gank people who are on autopilot. I’ve had it happen a couple times, and I DON’T go looking for a fight or talk smack in local. That trend is increasing alot lately because the new players are figuring out that it’s worth it to suicide half a dozen cheap frigates in exchange for a big hauler full of booty. The other way you can be forced into PvP (even in secure space) is by getting a War Decleration from some Pirate corp that’s bored and thinks they can make some quick money by holding your industrial corp hostage. (just had some stranger declare war on my corp over the weekend for no reason)

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  43. Yosarian says:

    Great post. I’ve played a range of mmo’s and have, like you, found Eve has found novel solutions to the problems that effect all its contemporaries. It certainly hasn’t solved every problem, but that would be impossible.

    It’s amusing but unfortunate to see so many posters here criticizing the game based on misconceptions. The ‘forced-pvp’ is probably the biggest one. After a couple of weeks of playing (once you’ve learned about security levels), you have no need to ever pvp unless you want to. I’ve only once died without looking for a fight, and that was because I was playing nearly afk.

    Anyway, here’s my list of the things Eve has solved that have bugged me about the other mmo’s I’ve played:

    – New players can play with experienced players straight away and contribute value. No other game has this, nothing even close.

    – PvP is very balanced in terms of ship power because of a key design principle: big ships have a hard time hitting smaller ships. This means a new player can bring a small cheap ship to a fight with the big-boys and actually be effective. I specialize in small ships in Eve pvp because I love this aspect so much.

    – No grinding for skills or levels. Characters improve in real time. This prevents you ‘getting left behind’ by your corp (guild). I also like the fact that you never really know how powerful someone is just by looking at them, it acts as a social-leveller.

    – You are not limited to a ‘class’. In daoc I played a sorcerer, in wow a priest. I loved those classes but I frequently wanted to try something else for a short time (shhh, don’t mention account sharing). In Eve there is no limit, other than time, to the number of ships you can learn to fly The result is that you can play dps, tank, crowd control, scout, healer etc depending on your mood. You can specialize of course, but you’re never limited to one. You can even invent weird hybrids of your own by putting unusual fittings on ships.

    – No predictable cookie-cutter classes copy-pasted from other games or LOTR / D&D. The Sci-fi genre allows ships such as combat-recons, interdictors, interceptors, battlecruisers, motherships, and logistics. It’s different and more variable that the class design you see in most other mmo’s, and avoids many of the traditional stereotypes.

    – You can take someones stuff in PvP (remember you don’t have to PvP). This makes PvP have some real value outside some arbitrary points table. If you like to PvP that is (and remember you don’t have to). It also makes it nice when you can get your stuff back after a fight.

    – Speaking of ‘stuff’, the game isn’t really about ‘getting more stuff’. Anyone who has wiped out in Molten Core over and over due to bad luck can appreciate that. Of course you can keep on getting more stuff if you feel like it, but it’s not the only way to play.

    – ‘Real’ territory, occupied and defended by players that brings them ‘real’ benefits. The in-game faction / standing system can be applied to other players. This means politics in a region build up as corporations and alliances negotiate and set standings. This leads to a constantly changing map and from a player perspective a sense of real involvement in the ‘world’ you inhabit.

    – The market resembles the Dow Jones more than the WoW auction house. I’ve spent periods in EvE making money by just playing the market, with a depth that makes just buying underpriced items and reselling them (WoW) seem amazingly primitive.

    – No instances or shards. You’re all in the same game, all the time. 30k+ players at once.

    On the downsides, it has a MUCH steeper learning curve than your average mmo, and demands players be more proactive about creating their own ‘gaming experience’. There’s not much that’s on-rails in Eve, but then you can’t please everyone all of the time, only some people some of the time.

    One last thing. My girlfriend has described Eve as ‘a girlfriend-friendly mmo’. If that’s not a testament to the offline skill-training I don’t know what is.

  44. SVgr says:

    @Yosarian:

    “It’s amusing but unfortunate… You have no need to PvP unless you want to.”

    As I said in the last paragraph of my post, if you get some griefer/pirate corp that is bored and wants to declare war on you, there’s no choice. You’re in PvP or you’re stuck inside a station till they get bored.

    That is forced PvP.

  45. michael, StE says:

    @SVgr:

    Stay in an NPC corp. No wardecs. :)

  46. Sahian says:

    I did not plan on posting here, but… Call it an impulse decision. Leaving aside arguments regarding ability EVE to properly address typical MMO issues, I’d like to present to you just facts and no more then facts I know firsthand.

    I started playing EVE when it came widely online, right after beta in 2003. I left after 18 month playing, sold my account, deleted game and… I came back in 4 month. Played again for 6 month. I started from scratch and believe me, it is twice painful to go through all waiting and growing again. Well, after short time I left with intention never come back.
    Do you see a pattern? I will probably come back again…

    I was looking for an answer to “why am I doing this over and over?” While writing this post I finally got it. EVE hunts me as many other my corpmates that cannot shake it of their minds. Unlike many other MMO, EVE involves you on very personal level the way our real do. You say – don’t let it be so personal, but in fact, it is only way I see to enjoy this particular game. Exactly the way I enjoy my life, although it is boring, dull, dangerous, sucking… sometime.

    Players, who enjoy anything else, but EVE, please forgive me for saying that – EVE is much less then life, but much greater then game. I am not sure that it is a good thing for an activity like a computer game.
    For those who play EVE and love/hate it I’d like to say that anything better than EVE can bring us to dilemma: which life to choose – real or virtual. I see it being far bigger issue compared to things like PvP, long training, empty spaces etc. I bet nobody complains that it takes 12 years of school, 6 years of university, 2 years of internship to make an acceptable doctor who can get into car accident with probability of 43% and loose everything he has due to sever injury and post-rehabilitation and end up living boring, dull life alone, looking for escape.

    Well, enough said. See some of you in space.

  47. Emkay says:

    While I don’t totally agree with the “eve solves all problems other MMO’s cope with” statement what caught my attention in this thread is mainly the statements made by people saying that it is impossible to catch up for new players, the PVP is unconsentual, and EVE in general is not a good game.

    First of it is possible to catch up, i couldnt wipe the smile of my face for an hour when i, as a 2 month rookie, kicked someone’s 20M+ skillpoint ass. He was flying a battleship a ship that by far outclassed my cruiser but i managed, on my own and he wasnt even asleep ;). The thing is EvE is a tactical game, and tactics are involved in every step of the game. Whether you pvp, mine, trade, manufacture or do missions you have to make sure you have at least an idea of what you’re doing. If you do, the mentioned problems are imho nonexisting. The involved tactics also add to my “fun” as a player tbh.

    As stated before you do not have to run into PVP if you don’t want to. Even if you venture into lawless 0.0 space, there are many ways to make sure you do not get ganked (mining passes, intel channels or even the time you have after seeing a “baddie” appearing in your system). Information is the key and that is available both within and out of the game. On the other hand if you want access to these minerals with no risk whatsoever there are also other ways …see the post on reprocessing NPC drops.

    Sure Eve isnt as big as Wow, sure it does not solve all problems, it definately has quite a steep learning curve and yes newer players might need some help from others.
    Eve requires to think before you do and know what you’re doing as long as you keep that in mind, in EvE, there are no limitations. Whether or not this is considered to be fun by everyone I leave in the middle, for me EvE is definately one of the best games ever but then again i never liked to just point and click.

  48. Letrange says:

    Well I’ve been playing EvE for 8-9 months now. And I’ve discovered something about it and MMOs in general after playing various MMOs before (and while) playing EvE.

    Coming from someone who’s played the following (at various points in time):
    FFXI, WoW, Everquest II, CoH/CoV, Tabula Raza, Vanguard, EvE-Online, Guild Wars.

    1) Character Limitation.
    Here the clear winners are FFXI and EVE. I hate having to create new characters to experience other jobs in MMOs Both these games have solutions to this problem. It’s just too bad other MMOs don’t clue into this aspect. All the others would be a much more interesting game if you could learn all the jobs on the same character. For those that can’t identify with the char flying the spaceship you see in front of you, some time in 2008 we’ll have characters that walk around in stations so you can plan things out and have an avatar you can move around (yep eve’s not perfect but they are working on it).

    2) PvE
    Here EvE does have some problems (see it didn’t solve everything). Most of the other MMO’s do this slightly better. There is PvE in eve but until you click into the reasons to do it you wont’ recognize it’s value. Sure there’s the standard “make some coin get some items” reasons to do it. But there’s always the “get my standing up so I can get a jump clone when ever I want”, and the “get the corp standing’s up so we can put up a starbase in hi-sec” and other reasons to PvE. The value of PvE to anyone in the game is strictly objective based. The great thing is you can do it in waves you’re not forced to constantly PvE to progress. PvE in EvE is definitly going to be a grind but you simply set yourself some objectives and deal. There is the other aspect that the more difficult PvE stuff IS in the PvP heavy areas (again a problem). Of course you have to realize that most PvP players PvE to fund their PvPness since there is quite a cross over in skills between the two (ship fits are the main difference – not inherent character skills).

    3) Single shard
    Oh boy is this a big one. The biggest problems with sharded worlds only surfaces once you get out of the game. If you actually meet someone outside WoW who plays WoW, the odds of meeting them in game are microscopic. So you’re essentially loosing out on a big potential social part of these games. If I meet someone in the real world who happens to be playing EvE, there’s always the possiblity that we could do buisness in game as well. It’s damn well guaranteed we could run into each other in game. One of my corp pilots happens to live in the same city as I do. About once a month we get together at a downtown pub to discuss strategy and where we want the corp to go. I can’t do this in any other MMO out there (possibly except guild wars).

    I haven’t been to fan fests of other MMO’s or even EvE’s fan fest, but those who have have remarked that the biggest difference is in the socializing at the event. In most MMO’s people tend to group by the server they are on and there is very little cross server interaction. In EvE they were grouping up by corporation/alliance and the group dynamics were completely different. Since everyone you were meeting was in the same game you were in you could actually discuss situations you all had in common. Make deals with other corps, discuss plans with allies, meet some foes.

    4) The market.
    This is an effect of the fact that EvE is a single shard system. It makes for a much more robust player economy than the micro economies of other MMOs. So much so that it’s been used in Economic studdies and CPP even hired an economist. This will seem much too hardcore for a lot of people. But for anyone who’s more of a crafter in other MMOs you wont’ believe the difference it makes. Again not for everyone to get into deeply (most PvP players dont’ delve into the market too deeply so it’s not a necessity anyways, just like most households don’t play the stockmarket full time either). But for those of us who like that aspect oh boy does it reward.

    5) PvP.
    Initially I had a big problem with this. Course the truth was I was playing stupid. I was trying to make the game fit what I wanted it to do instead of learning how to live in it’s shared reality (2 week old newbies really shouldn’t go to low sec till they have to sign a release form at the last gate before low sec). Then I got smart, got into a corp and learned the ropes. And a few mantras: “Don’t fly what you can’t afford to loose”. “Don’t fly stupid”. “Good intel is your friend”. “Proper Planning Prevents Piss Poor Perfomance”. Being Canadian I didn’t have to learn that quintessential one “Dont’ smack talk in local unless you’re prepared for the consequences”. And having seen the following one from the point of view of the alliance: “When in a merc corp, If we wardec an industrial corp that’s in the process of joining an alliance and that alliance politely asks us to re-consider the war, I will think twice before trying to extort 400mil isk from them”. The PvP players in that alliance hadn’t had a good war in months. Not a pretty sight. Then again neither is jumping into the tiger cage and going up to a tiger and trying to kick it in the balls.

    6) “I can’t catch the older players”
    As someone mentioned: there are micro cap’s all over the place, and you forget that these players haven’t capped out either. They just have more options. That’s all. If a 2mil SP player in a rifter happens to catch a 30mil sp player doing something stupid in a tech 1 hauler, there’s not much the 30mil player can do about it. And don’t think 30mil SP players don’t do stupid things. They do (over confidence is a killer). I will note that they also don’t give the keys to formula one cars to people entering in driving school either. I am amazed at how certain players that have much more SP than I do constantly have a poor-er wallet than I do.

    The reality is that if you have a hard time playing with the cards your dealt or insist that other people must play the way you want them to all the time, you’ll have a hard time in EvE. This is a social game in the sense that you must be capable of being social to the extent of at lest working with others. If you can you’ll love this game. If not you’ll hate it. The real game starts once you join your first player corp, preferably in an alliance. Not just once your 2 week trial stops.

    Again this game makes you pay if you play stupid. On the flip side it does not have the equivalent of barrens chat and the economy has some serious meat to sink your virtual teeth into. (probably why it attracts an older fan base than most other MMOs).

  49. Pingback: More quality EVE talk, this time with copy/paste action. « Hardcore Casual

  50. Saladin says:

    As someone who played EvE ever since the game went live (4 years going strong now), I would have to admit I am biased. However, 3 things highlight what I love so much about EvE:

    1. Hellmar (CCP’s CEO) said it best in today’s NY times article:

    “There is the theme-park approach and the sandbox approach. Most games are like Disneyland, for instance, which is a carefully constructed experience where you stand in line to be entertained. We focus on the sandbox approach where people can decide what they want to do in that particular sandbox, and we very much emphasize and support that kind of emergent behavior.”

    That paragraph in my opinion sums up what other eve players have said very nicely.

    2. I can’t praise the training system enough. Last year I was burned out and took a 3 month break from the game. All I did was login after skills finished training and selected a new one. When I returned I had not fallen behind at all. In EvE, you can even unsuscribe from the game and whatever skill you last had training will keep running. It hardly seems fair to be honest. Compare that with other MMOs where your character gets trashed when you unsuscribe (happened to me in UO).

    3. The economy and the market system. Aside from the complexity of the market which so many people already mentioned, EvE has so many ways one can earn money. Some can just set up buy orders for raw materials (which remain active after you log off) and once they are filled start building items. Supply and demand rule the day, so you have to give some thought as to what you should build. Regional markets mean that you can trade between regions or buy your raw materials in one market and sell the finished item in another. In essence, the industrial aspect of the game allows you to spend a few minutes every day setting up buy orders, submitting manufacturing jobs, then logging off and spending some time with the family or go out and look for a fight. You don’t have to be hands on all the time.

    EvE is not for everyone, but it is definitely the game for me.

  51. Eric says:

    You bastards! I started playing EVE again after getting involved in this discussion…

    lol

  52. Downtym says:

    I’ve been playing EVE for about 2 months now and my complaints would be the following:

    1. High cost of entry to PvP. When you start playing EVE, you’re in Empire. And when you’re in Empire in your little frigate there are very few options for PvP’ing. You can either “duel” outside of stations, try to incite miners to attack you, or join a corporation to do some corporate wars. However, it seems clear that no war will ever be “even” and the cost of war escalates quite quickly as people pull out their Battlecruisers, Battleships, and Tech 2 ships and equipment. There seems to be no chance for newbies (like me) to get their “feet wet” and pick up the PvP game before you hit the BC, BS, Tech 2 area.

    2. There is no “combat simulator” which allows you to test out the game mechanics. For myself and others to learn how damage works, how tanking works, how different variables affect the game we’re left to do life-fire scrimmages in which someone could lose a ship quite quickly. Now, I subscribe to the “Don’t undock what you can’t lose” philosophy (Having lost 8 ships already), but there’s a fundamental difference in losing a ship PvP’ing versus losing a ship goofing around with your friends trying to figure out how to PvP because someone lagged and their drones tore your structure apart.

    3. Tanking > DPS. This is a biggie for me. The PvP in EVE seems very nerfed to favor defensive strategies over offensive ones. This seems like a defensive tactic on the part of CCP so that people don’t undock their big 100 million ships, lose them, then go crying about the loss. The ability to solo tank 1, 2, 3, or even 4 ships of the same class is a defensive design decision to reduce the impact of PvP. Personally, I would feel happier if they just reduced the cost of doing business so that you could have higher losses, but participate more because each loss cost less.

    To give you an example of the kind of loss I’m talking about: My current “PvP” frigate is a 200,000 isk ship with 10 million isk worth of fittings (Equipment) on it. For a frigate, it tanks like a beast. Short of someone fielding all level 5 combat skills and tech 2 gear, it’s unlikely I could be killed in it by someone in a frigate. This is pretty goofy to me. If I do lose the ship, it would take about 2 hours of missioning, salvaging, and/or mining to recoup the loss. Instead of letting me make my Tank monster frigate, why don’t they just reduce the cost so that it would only take 1 hour or 30 minutes to “get back into the game”? (This is ignoring any losses if I get podded which may increase the “Time to Recover”, as I call it)

    Also, 8 minute fights with no clear winner due to the tanking/dps problem is just ridiculous. To give you a concrete example, my friend and I were in BC’s shooting at another BC. After about 5 minutes of pouring ammo into one another, the fight had *no* clear victor. Myself and my friend could absorb every point of damage our opponent was firing – despite his technological and skill advantage. And no matter what we did, we couldn’t do enough damage to our opponent to “break his tank”. And our ship’s combined dps was easily in the 300-500 range focusing on our opponent’s weakest resistances. On some level, you have to admit that is absurd. It’s like watching paladins and druids fight each other ad naseum.

    4. Resistances and Damage. In EVE there are 4 types of resistances which, while generally standardized for each class of ship across the races, make PvP an aggravating adventure of “Change out your ammo to find the enemy’s weak spot”. This is not to mention the “Turret Based Weapons” versus “Missile Based Weapons” problem where turrets have a chance to hit, miss, glancing hit for less damage, scratching hit for even less, land a good hit for more damage, or crit hit while missiles almost always hit if the opponent is in range and do a steady amount of damage. It’s no small wonder that at least 70% of the population of EVE that I’ve observed in my month of playing use missiles almost exclusively – they’re predictable, easy to use, and easy to figure out your enemy’s weakness(es) – whereas turret based weapons have to deal with damage jumping up and down on the graph during any short conflict.

    5. Unilateral War Dec’ing. Say you join EVE and want to play with some friends, so you form a corporation. And then one day an older, more experienced, and more moneyed corporation decides to start griefing you? Well, there’s very little you can do to stop them because they can war dec you and then start making life hell for each and every member of your corporation. The odds that your corporation can afford mercenaries or protection for your corporation are slim. The odds that your corporation with one or two month old characters can fight the opposing corporation on even ground are even slimmer. Now imagine that such a war dec’ing happens every week for 2 months until people become demoralized and want to quit the game because they can’t Mission, Mine, or Explore without having to constantly look over their back for someone flying ships which are impossibly strong compared to their Tech 1 frigate with basic, unnamed equipment on it.

  53. Id says:

    I’ve been playing EVE for about three years now.

    I’ve suicide ganked in Jita (a high sec system and major market hub) and made a ton of ISK off of it (which is why we do it). If you’re going to transport expensive merchandise, transport it in something sturdier then a shuttle. Or train up your trade skills and do remote buy/sell orders.

    The only grind I’ve ever done in EVE is raising my sec status up from -10 so I could participate in our high sec wars. I’ve never done any mission grinding (I can’t even do level 2 missions), nor have I ever picked up a mining laser (I have exactly 1 rank in mining, what you start with. Granted the old tutorial used to make you mine Veld, but that doesn’t count). I came right out of the Federal Navy Academy blasters blazing.

    You don’t have to stick to high security space to make a profit in this game. If you want to mine in lowsec or nullsec, all it takes is some situational awareness. But the fundamental fact is, in EVE, without risk there is little reward.

    I’ve done fleet combat, gate camping, suicide ganking, POS busting. I’ve been the pirate, the anti-pirate, the trader, the diplomat, the mercenary, the fleet commander.

    The difficulty of EVE is the filter for the game. The game is the way it is because of the players, that ones that don’t cancel their subscription after 6 months (the average lifespan of an EVE account). We’re competitive. We’re cutthroat. And the game is that way because WE made it that way.

    Honestly, if you can’t handle it, nobody from EVE-O will fault you. There are other games. (And it’s just internet spaceships).

  54. Dakx says:

    IMO the reason that EvE is not as popular as WoW has more to do with advertising than game content. How many EvE ads have you seen on television? and how many WoW??

    Yeah the game was meant to be more of a niche type game, they were not looking to be a big time MMO and they are genuinely grateful for their continued success.

    EvE is one of the few games out there that is growing stronger over time instead of losing its sub base as so many have. I played DAOC for four years and by the time I gave the game up many of my friends had been gone a long time. EvE just seems to be getting larger and with many players bringing in more and more RL friends the community grows more stable.

    The best thing about EvE imo is that anyone can do anything at anytime….. Now isnt that a broad statement… If newb A wants to pvp immediately they can, granted they will have to either get a duel or find a corp willing to let them join them for some pvp but they can do it. My first account I was out shooting players within 4 hours because I met some guys in a system who thought it would be fun to take me along with them… it was a blast. You can mine as soon as you enter space if you want. You can do missions immediately and get your PvE fix. You can even go participate in EvE-o politics if you feel the need to do it.

    The fact that I don’t have to worry about getting to max level to do anything in this game is a great appeal to me and many others.

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  56. Fuzdom says:

    The author of this post is lame. Eve definately does NOT fill in all the void for any hardcore mmo (UO, EQ, WoW, etc) gamer.

    Eve leaves much to be desire from hardcore players.

    EVE does not have:

    Housing – majority of mmo has them

    Avatars – your ship does not count

    Roamable space stations

    Roamable capital ships much less cruisers

    Landable and Roamable worlds – Even cheesy Earth-n-Beyond had them, to an extent

    Ships that creates wormholes and or jumpgates/stargates – E-n-B

    Now let’s get down to the CORE of the matter concerning EVE.

    WTF, why would I want to play with people who do NOT play the game, EVE.

    Logging in to set your skills and then logging right off again does not constitute playing which the majority of people do.

    Skills based on – Real time (yes your clock) – serves only one purpose, to serve the non players who spends most of their play time OFFLINE.

    Eve is NOT a real mmo, not when the majority of players play while OFFLINE.

    Yadda yadda yadda, 1 year EVE player.

    Google Fuzdom, yes I’ve played most of them and some not listed.

  57. Fuzdom says:

    Credentials,

    My merlin can take out blackbirds and scorpions (soloing killer) and my kestrel can definately kite ANY oversized slo-poke’s butt (pvp).

    These two types of ships are preferable over the bigger medium size ship.

    Had a few ammo – Unlimited blueprints…pre-patches.

    Yes had millions too, working the market…not slaving away mining.

  58. Fuzdom says:

    In response to Downtym,

    please post some REAL complaints, sheesh!

  59. Fuzdom says:

    Lacking skills does not count :)

  60. Noobtackler says:

    ok ive been playing eve for almost 6 years with year long breaks in between, yes eve is not really noob friendly, they have made improvments, like the tutorial, yes i actually spent 2 hours doing the entire tutorial, but i was also lucky enough to be recruited by a corp that was freindly and showed me the ropes, and on that note i think thats what discourages alot of new players, so that being said, There is in fact a corp/guild that quite literally does nothing but teach players how to play eve, Eve-university, it has trained some of the most succesful traders and alternately some of the more infamous lowsec pirate players, so if you find your self in the game, in a starter frigate, with no firends and nobody willing to show you how to play, find some one from eve-university and ask to be recruited, they taught me quite a bit and had alot of fun before i moved on to bigger and better things in eve.

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