Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Review: Eve Online 21 Day Trial

Have you ever wondered what spacefaring would be like if that famous Nigerian Prince owned his own spaceship? Eve Online answers that question and a whole lot more. A sandbox MMORPG set in space, Eve Online was created by CCP Games and publicly released in 2003. Since its release, Eve has become a benchmark for MMOs and has gained a large, dedicated fan-base.

Gamers interested in Eve may trial the game over a period of 14 or 21 days. After the trial period, players may subscribe to Eve for a monthly fee or use in-game currency to buy PLEX(Pilot License Extension).

Caracal - PvE fitting
M is for Massive. Eve Online is set in a vast universe filled with death, adventure and profit. Space is split up between security zones, which indicate survivability and general difficulty. Low-Sec(Low Security) and Null-Sec(No Security) is a free-for-all environment, while High-Sec(High Security) has engagement rules that are strictly enforced.

New players are led through basic flight school and career training. After basic training, players are unleashed into the universe to make their fortune or misfortune. Hard lessons await new players, and only through knowledge and practical experience can players succeed in Eve. Gameplay advice often includes: you are never truly safe, unless inside a station; and never fly what you can't afford to lose.

M is for Multiplayer. Thankfully, you're not the only small fish in Eve's huge pond. Players, new and old, band together under player owned and operated corporations(corps). Corporations tend to focus on specific gameplay, such as PvP or mining. Choosing the right corp is probably the single most important aspect of enjoying Eve. Established corps generally have an unspoken obligation to nurture new players and harness members to achieve greater goals, for themselves and the corporation. Unfortunately, corps can also be detrimental to newbies and can be utilised for scamming or griefing.

O is for Online. Eve players from across the world are all connected together. Eve's servers are stitched together, allowing players to freely interact with friends, family or enemies overseas; this is one of Eve's greatest strengths. Instead of having a server shard of 200-2000 players, all of Eve's online players are connected together, from 20k-50k players.

Eve's player-driven economy is directly impacted on day and night, across all time zones. Heavy investment into Eve's volatile economy can leave players billionaires or penniless. Insider trading, scamming, rigging, interdiction, metagaming, short trading and many more real life economic strategies can be used to turn a buck. Running missions or mining are also lucrative ways to make ISK, Eve's in-game currency.

Caracal - Firing missiles
R and P is for Role-Playing. Unlike popular fantasy MMOs, Eve Online does not corral players into specific classes or jobs. Spending all of your time devoted to a single aspect of Eve's gameplay will often reap greater rewards, but it also tends to burnout players and ruin other aspects of the game. Generally, players tend to focus on a few synergistic money making and combat roles over the course of their career.

Eve's sandbox design allows players to be pirates one day, and a simple miner or explorer the next; no one is locked in. A player devoted to trading on Eve's market can also be running scams, dodgy lotteries or metagaming to increase profits. Eve Online definitely has one of the loosest in-game rulesets in MMO history, in regards to player on player interaction.

G is for Game. Eve is not a game for everyone; action fans will not find instant gratification here. Pilot skills are gained over real time minutes, hours, days and weeks. Some ships require years of time investment to completely master. Dedication, friends and a slight addiction is necessary for players to keep coming back, aiming for loftier goals.

After my 21 day trial, I found Eve to be a mixed bag.

Eve Online's long history is littered with "Player vs CCP" drama, recrimination, paranoia and suspicion. Recent game changes make many online resources out-of-date, confusing new players coming to terms with Eve's gameplay concepts.

The best aspects of Eve Online is its depth, unpredictability, lethality, freedom, camaraderie and player-centric focus. Player corporations have the greatest effect on enjoyment and increase player retention. Choosing a corp, complimentary to your playstyle, is the single most important factor regarding enjoying Eve Online.

You can buy Eve Online on Steam or access a trial account on their website or player forum.


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