I’m very pleased with the results of my little MMO design challenge below, with a lot of great responses. Thanks to everyone who posted, even the trolls, because we all know trolls need love too.
First the major issues that I agree on.
Non-consensual PvP: While to me this is actually a plus in many MMOs if done right, I understand why some people might simply not want ANYTHING to do with PvP, or allow any player to impact their gameplay unless they themselves allow it. I can respect that, but I would also say they should give it a shot, going into it with a thicker skin and set a timeframe to ‘tough it out’. I think a lot of people would be surprised how much some good PvP can add to a game, and the experience/stories you come away with.
Barrier of Entry: It’s a known fact that EVE can be extremely overwhelming when you first fire it up. Unless you get into the right chat channel or do some research yourself, it’s very easy to have no clue what you are doing and quickly give up. You almost have to go into it with the mind frame that you are going to tough it out for a month, and only then do an evaluation, which is not fair to ask of people. That’s one of the major downsides of giving your players so many options, they might accidentally pick an option they are not ready for and it could lead to a negative experience.
Lack of short term ‘fun’: This is the big one, and the hardest to break down. I think EVE has been home to the greatest events in MMO history, period. The Guiding Hand Social Club event, the first Titan kill, the massive wars, the Alliance tournaments, and countless other events are far and away the pinnacles of what it means to play an MMO. I doubt anyone involved in such events will ever forget them, or the rush that they surely had during them. That said, there was no doubt countless hours spent doing the ‘less fun’ stuff to make this all happen. The mining, the scouting, the planning; all the less glamorous aspects that need to happen behind the scenes to make everything come together.
This all leads me to this statement, and depending on how you take it will likely determine if EVE is the game for you; EVE is more fun out of game than in game.
What I mean by this is that looking forward to what is going to happen in EVE, be it personal goals, Corp goals, or Alliance ones, is often more motivation to play than whatever you happen to do that day. Part of the fun in a mining Op is knowing that down the line it will have a great impact on the Corp, that it will lead you forward and raise your power level with those around you. The actual mining Op itself is not reason enough to do it, it’s not ‘fun’ enough on its own to fly out and mine those asteroids.
I think the difference with EVE is that the scope is so much greater than other MMOs that you get a lot more of the low because the high is so much higher. A raiding guild needs to farm mats for pots/enchants, but that aspect of the game is much smaller than it is in EVE. At the same time, downing a boss with a raid is a smaller accomplishment than launching a Titan, or putting up a POS.
What draws me to EVE is that potential, that possibility of launching that Titan. I know exactly what I can get out of WoW, I know I can level up and gear up and take down Illidan. And that would be cool, no doubt. But for me, it would not be nearly as cool as seeing my Corp move out to 0.0 and have a major impact out there, or to have us become an economic powerhouse and control parts of the market in EVE. It’s those goals that make even the dull tasks of EVE enjoyable, because I know in the end the high will be that much better.