Adventures in EVE Online – part 1

The following is a guest post by Guaka.

When I was in primary school the first girl I ever liked was called Eve. I used to stay late just so I could work on a geography project with her. All of this is totally irrelevant but provides a nice human interest introduction to my adventures with EVE Online.

I’ve been hearing all sorts of good stuff about this game. People say that it rewards the casual gamer (which I would count myself as), others say it has depth that no other MMO can touch, still others have called it boring. Who is right? Over the next couple of weeks I will sample the game and see what all the commotion is about for myself.

EVE Online is a space-based MMO – like a mix of Elite, Mass Effect and X-wing. You have no avatar in the traditional sense but you do have a splendid spaceship to begin with.

I downloaded the client and installed. The client comes in two types; original-graphics and new-graphics. I went for the new graphics. The first problem I had was launching the installer, I run vista-64 and found there to be a 5minute delay between double-clicking on the setup button and the program actually launching  (by which point I had four different copies running – not so good).

The game loads with an intro movie that has a lot of in-game spaceship models flying around and the occasional still head-shot of a sexy alien or sour-faced fascist mixed in. It’s fine, it introduces the universe very effectively and you get a real sense of back-story.

So, once it loads it’s a very easy set-up and you go straight into character creation. I should say here I didn’t find  any way of selecting a server but maybe I’m just being backwards.  The character creation is pretty standard, choose race, class, specialisation etc… You do create a face for your character but this is fairly pointless as no-one except you will ever see it, all other players will ever see is your ship (there is talk of an expansion where your avatar would walk around space stations but that’s all just talk for now).

The game launches and we go straight into tutorials. The game is based on the old “get quest from X, fetch Y or destroy Y, then return to X” formula so the tutorials just teach you where everything on the screen is and how to pilot your ship.

There’s no ‘WASD’ here, you chose a destination (or target) and select a speed with a slider or drop-down menu. This separates you from the game a little and loses the sense of immediacy you get when running through Outland dodging mobs.

The screen is fairly cluttered with windows popping up over other windows and obscuring your view. This isn’t so great as the tutorial will ask you to click on something which you only find after clearing away four different windows.

The first quest-giver is an ‘agent’ lurking inside a space-station. I docked with the station and found myself staring at the inside of a hanger while more windows popped up. The conversation is all with a small portrait of the agent and again I started wishing I could just run up to someone hanging out in some kind of ’space-cantina’ and ask them for missions. The way that EVE works is fine but I want to feel more involved and a sense of setting and place REALLY helps with that.

Anyway, thats my initial thoughts. I’ll keep updating as I progress through the game and even go on  my first mission. I’d really like to hear other people’s experiences with the game or suggestions for things I’m missing.

guaka’s space-epic suggestions to go along with EVE Online:

Alastair Reynolds ‘Revelation Space’ saga – a fine read.

Battlestar Galactica (but you already knew about that).

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5 Comments

  1. Karthis says:

    I’d rather stab myself in both eyes than play EVE for a few of reasons:

    1. Spaceships aren’t personal and are boring as sin. Tho I love sci-fi novels, it takes a rare game indeed to get me to play something space-based.

    2. EVE is cutthroat and is all about screwing your fellow player. Unlike most MMOs, it is entirely possible to be set back MONTHS by the maliciousness of your fellow players. No thanks. I’d rather not have my gaming experience ruined by a bored asshole.

    3. If you do progress into EVE, the player-driven “end game” seems to be reduced to meta-gaming…. i.e. you’re playing against the framework set up by the game as opposed to resolving disputes using your ships. (See the links in the following post for a recent example of what constitutes a conflict in EVE, and how it is resolved: http://www.brokentoys.org/2009/02/06/doubt-thou-the-stars-are-fire/ Hint: it was basically an exploit.)

    Anyways…. some people love it, but it’s certainly not for me…. I just don’t get it, I guess. I didn’t drink the koolaid.

    Oh – and by the way – you couldn’t select a server because the game only has one. It hosts an impressive number of players…. neat architecture from a technical standpoint.

  2. Gordon says:

    Reminds me of Earth and Beyond – anyone else remember that MMO? I’m either an incredibly seasoned MMO vet or someone who spent faaaar too much time in front of his computer during their younger years. Hmm, yep, definitely the latter.

    EaB wasn’t great but it did have some of the stuff you said Eve is missing i.e. the ability to dock with a space station and actually get out and walk around. Plus it used the standard WASD keys and was more combat orientated.

  3. Lazy says:

    If i remember correctly the tutorials give you just enouth rope to hang yourself without explaining where the fun is. Try to find a decent corporation (guild) as soon as you can, a little guidance from an experienced player can make all the difference. I hear eve university is a good corporation for new players, althou i have never delt with them myself.

  4. DeltaTango says:

    Eve is indeed somewhat abstract at times and more for the tecnical minded. Some even say it’s a glorified spreadsheet :) At the beginning it can be quite complex to learn, but is worth it. And there is only ONE server :)

    Some advice: Don’t venture into low-sec systems, you will most likely lose your ship! It’s called low-sec for a reason.

    If you’re not into PvP, you might explore, trade, craft and exploit the most complex and rewarding economy in any current MMOG.

    Always have a skill running, else you waste time. Install a skill planner like EveMon (http://evemon.battleclinic.com/).

    Train skills to level 5 only if really necessary, at least at the beginning.

    /me thinks about resubscribing …

  5. Mav says:

    TBH its a love hate thing with eve, the ship design is amazing as their is thousands of differant fits for ships and with the new expansion you can even design a cruiser hull for yourself. However I got lured into EVE expecting more of an adventure atmosphere and being able to command great battleships with a crew to explore the universe or to simpley blow the hell outta things but things aint that simple once you find yourself in a battleship(without a crew) you will generaly find yourself outgunned by some band of rouge Tech 2 cruiser pilots, which is ridiculos in my opinion as even though it adds to the game balance by removing over powered ships it seem they have nearly made the battleship obsolete. Now I am a fleet commander of about 100 people so why do I find myself bored you ask? well because of the reasons explained above I find myself sitting in a station half the time waiting for a war just so I can move my battleship, which is basically just a warplatform, and guide a fleet thorugh a lagged out fight. EVE can be very fun at times, during fleet fights, ect however it has bored most pilots like me out of their skull as they have nearly completely strayed away from large crafts and it nearly feels like the whole game is pretty much centered around small fast crafts for the majority of the time. In EVE their are capital ships such as mothership and carriers these ships have a hige amount of potential in them just like the battleships however they are extreamly restricted ie. they cannot enter most parts of the map, they cannot use jump gates which means they have ot use jump drives which results in releying on a fleet because you need a specilized craft to be already where you want to be so you can jump on his position. So main problems with EVE is that that the sense of adventure is lost in the corperate and pirate driven world and that the larger boats are nearly completely dependant on fleets… which is not cool as my dream would of been to take a carrier(with a crew inside the ship flying the fighter jets as the jets are actually driven by AI) and venturing deep into unknown space for half the year.

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