Archive for the ‘EVE Online’ Category

My Glorious Return To EVE Online

After being away for several months, I resubscribed to EVE Online yesterday to a glorious feeling. It’s hard to describe but after cutting down all of my subscriptions to only include World of Warcraft, hitting the reactivate button on the account website was akin to cracking open an icy cold beer, smoking a cigarette after a long day of work or driving through the Red Light District of Amsterdam and knowing that it’s OK to look. Especially after playing WoW, EVE feels like a proper game for adults with no holds barred.

I'm loving EVE on a widescreen monitor

I'm loving EVE on a widescreen monitor

Two things struck me immediately after logging in again though. Firstly, that I’d completely forgotten how to play the bloody game and secondly that I have no clue what I want to do in it.

Unlike most of the MMORPGs I play, EVE’s UI takes no prisoners and I’m finding I have to relearn it all again. It’s the interface equivalent of Clint Eastwood: tough and complicated, old school yet exciting, and with a deep intelligence and melancholy behind it all. I spent the first 30 minutes just figuring out what the heck every button does again, where my items and ships are stored, what I’m doing and how to do it. I still haven’t even begun to get my head around all of my skills again and what ones I should be learning. But I’m not in a rush this time round because EVE isn’t going anywhere and neither am I.

The second strange concept was figuring out exactly I want to do with my time. After mainly playing WoW and other themepark MMOs a lot recently it’s a real shock to the system to be faced with the prospect of both nothing and everything to do. I’m not being prodded in the direction of leveling upwards or being forced to follow linear quest lines which take me through progressive areas, instead I’m just left to my own devices to do whatever the hell I want. It’s both terrifying and exhilarating at the same time.

My original goals from July last year still stand and I think they’re a good place to pick up again. Working up the skills and ISK to buy the ships I desire until eventually hitting my prize, the Megathron, will keep me going for now. Short term goals are always a good thing and have given me an immediate sense of purpose. Long term ones are a little harder to come up with though. I still want to take over the entire Universe but (obviously) that’s going to take a little planning and a reasonable investment of time. It’s still on my to do list but I reckon I need to plan out my steps a carefully. Rome wasn’t build in a day after all so I can’t except the world of EVE to bend to my will overnight. That will take a few weeks at least.

I probably won’t be pumping hardcore hours into EVE (he says now) and my approach is to take it a slowly and just enjoy it. I want to catch up on my skills and goals, do a little mining and some missions to build up my capital, and get thoroughly stuck into PvP. I have a blood thirsty reputation to acquire, after all.

The first course of action is getting myself into a Corporation. Anyone got any recommendations? I’m a Caldari called Mantooth Jones, feel free to look me up.

EVE Online In The BBC News

The BBC News website had an article about EVE Online today. Apparently CCP employ an economic analyst to monitor the in-game economy and the daily transactions (all 1.2 million of them), watching the ebb and flow of commodities and looking for trends and possible cheating. It’s sounds like the perfect world for economists, one in which every minor detail is recorded perfectly, data mining heaven for the right sort of geek.

The EVE UI: Slightly less painful than being punched in the face

The EVE UI: Slightly less painful than being punched in the face

This particular geek with the lucky job (I mean that sincerely – stats are sexy) happens to be Dr Eyjolfur Gudmundsson and apparently he reckons the real world (y’know, the Physical Realm) could learn a lot from EVE Online. And if by that he means greed, backstabbing, dirty politics and corruption, then I hate to break it to him but it’s a lesson we’ve already learnt.

Of course he doesn’t though. He means that Planet Earth and it’s fragile banking system could benefit from the level of transparency available when analysing a game like EVE. Gudmundsson says “people do make the good choices when they have the right information” and that the lack of information is why we’re all in the mucky money mess we’re in now. I couldn’t agree more.

And on another note, this is exactly why EVE is outstanding and the perfect example of how it’s more of a “virtual world” than a video game. It offers a living, breathing, flowing economy, the likes of we we don’t see in most MMORPGs. It’s heck of a lot of fun, but it’s also the closest thing we have to actually escaping into another Matrix-like dimension. Plus it’s just bloody fascinating. The game has it’s own in-house statistician for crying out loud!

EVE Online – The Best MMORPG Community?

EVE Online’s February newsletter revealed that the game was voted the best MMO community of 2009 by Ten Ton Hammer. I wasn’t surprised at all by this and I’m not going to dispute the award but I did think it would be interesting to look at it in more depth and comment on some of their, um, comments.

EVE... it does make for lovely screenshots

EVE Online... it does make for lovely screenshots

Ten Ton Hammer’s justification for determining that EVE has the best MMORPG community is based on a few things: the fact that all players exist on a single server, that the developers work closely and communicate with the players, and that it’s just plain “hard to play EVE without becoming a part of the larger community”. The author must have been tight on time or watching the word count because all of these points are pretty flimsy and lacking in depth.

Although factors like the single server and Council of Stellar Management (CSM) help, they aren’t the be-all and end-all of community from my perspective. I don’t think size matters (/giggle) and to me it makes no difference is a server encompasses 2,000 players or 200,000 players, quantity doesn’t impact quality of community. Likewise, if we judged community by forum interaction or number of fan sites and blogs, World of Warcraft would come out in leading position and well all know that would be utter rubbish.

So do I think the award is wrong? No, actually, absolutely not. I only played EVE for a couple of months but I did get a sense of something vast and exciting out there, a large player base bonded together either through comradery or backstabbing hatred. Some people banded together to help newbies, some to defend their empires, some to become rich beyond their dreams and some to just wreck havoc and bring anarchy to the Universe. And those are the thing that I look for in community: communication between players, willingness to help (or destroy, as the case may be – anything that involves interaction), a sense of kinship and fraternity, a real bond with my fellow gamers, and the ability to share in the fantasy of escapism with others.

All of those things are hard to quantify and sum up as a singular aspect though. I see it as the warm, fuzzy feeling you get in your nether regions when someone helps you out for no reason or actively engages in a conversation with you for more than just buff requests. It’s that special little feeling that makes you feel part of something bigger than yourself. Everquest had it, Everquest 2 has it, World of Warcraft doesn’t have it (or at least it’s very well hidden) and I believe that EVE Online has it too.

So, as I said, I’m not surprised by the award nor am I disputing it. In fact, I think it’s very apt. However, I did want to explore a little more behind the reasoning for it. So what do you think – does EVE Online have the best MMORPG community?

EVE Online – Tempting Me Back With A Zephyr

EVE Online - Zephyr

EVE Online - Zephyr

Just as I was thinking about EVE Online today and considering going back to it, I received a nice email from CCP offering me 5 days free plus a gift if I resubscribed before 6th January. I also happen to have a 9 day holiday coming up next week… sounds like a perfect combination to me. Isn’t it nice when a plan comes together?

The free gift being offered (which I think even existing players are getting?) is the Zephyr starship. Apparently it’s good at exploration and wormhole travel. Having never been through a wormhole before (either in EVE or in real life), I have absolutely no idea what that means. But it is pretty.

It’s funny how such a simple thing can tempt players back, but then I suppose it’s an old tactic, Blizzard, for instance, using pets for everything from celebrating yearly anniversaries to encouraging account migration. Guess I’m just a sucker for a free, shiny toy cause I love that sort of stuff.

Now I just need a free trial for Age of Conan so I can test it out on my new PC without having to pay for it. Wouldn’t be nice if MMOs offered a generic “try-before-you-buy” option for anyone who’s been away for more than a couple of months? I’ve resubscribed to games on a whim and then never played them so many times before it’s not funny.

The Man Who Would Be King Of EVE Online

Last weekend I watched The Man Who Would Be King over at a friend’s house. In case you’re not familiar with it, it’s a film set in the time when Britain still ruled India about two ex-soldier scoundrels who decide to venture into Kafiristan, seeking gold and glory and the opportunity to make themselves kings. It’s a damn fine film, highly recommended – and I’m not just saying that because it stars The King of Scotland, Sir Sean Connery.

The Man Who Would Be King

The Man Who Would Be King

During the film, we starting discussing how great the British Colonial era was (y’know, so long as you were rich and white) and how there seemed to be more opportunity for adventure than there is now. Although The Man Who Would Be King is fictional, the book it’s based on was inspired by real life events and people. I can’t quite imagine anything like that happening today and there’s something about the freedom of the past that appeals to the (latent) adventurer in me. If only we were able to still able to undertake such amazing adventures and hi-jinks today…

And thus, an idea was born.

My friend and I will plan to save up enough money to be able to quite our jobs and live comfortably for at least three months. Once said funds are accrued, we will resign from our work and hand notice in on our apartments, finding a completely new, small apartment with a high-speed Internet connection that we can both live in together. We will shun all contact with the outside world and abstain from both drink and women. We will then purchase and create two completely new accounts in EVE Online and create the characters ‘Daniel Dravet’ (me) and ‘Peachey Carnehan’ (him).

Our objective? To become Kings of EVE Online.

We would start small, befriend some naive players, join a corporation each and slowly work our ways up the ranks, eventually gaining the attention of our leaders. Then, once we are loyal lieutenants,we would offer to lead the armies into wars against their enemies, slowly destroying our opponents and building the trust and respect of our comrades. Eventually we would strike, like cobras from the mist, and subvert our leaders to gain control of our corporations and join them together into one gigantic sovereignty, spanning the entire galaxy. We will be the rulers of all that we survey.

Obviously the plan’s not 100% perfect but I think it’s pretty foolproof. Now, I just need to tell my wife…

The Urge To Return To EVE Online

I’m feeling that urge again. Not the type of urge that a man gets when he’s near a beautiful woman but more of the type of urge a man gets to smoke a beautiful cigar. The urge is back. And EVE is my cigar.

Dominion comes out tomorrow, EVE Online’s 12th free expansion and the trailer looks pretty darn sweet. I admit that the expansion doesn’t mean much to me (I’m by no means a hardcore EVE player) but there’s something about EVE – and the way it’s marketed – that constantly attracts me like a moth to the flame. I guess the only thing stopping me from jumping right in and re-subbing is my knowledge that it would require a serious commitment in order to achieve anything meaningful. Sometimes a guy just doesn’t want to be tied down.

On Friday, whilst out having a great booze up with my work colleagues, someone asked me what computer game I would take with me if I were to be stranded on a desert island. Apart from the obvious flaws to the question and the issues with playing an Internet based game on a desert island, my answer was EVE Online. I was also tempted to say Everquest but oddly enough never to say World of Warcraft. I knew that if I was stranded somewhere, I mean really stuck in some imaginary room with a reasonable PC, an Internet connect, unlimited supply of food and a ton of time to kill, I’d want something vast and immersive to fully engross myself in. WoW doesn’t fit that bill but EVE does.

I think deep down we all want to be to somebody. Maye an adventurer, leader, scoundrel or pirate (etc etc) and that’s why we like escapism and entertainment in all of it’s different forms of media. It’s also why MMORPGs appeal so much. Not only do we get the opportunity to play one of these roles (hence, role-playing) but we get to do it surrounded by thousands of other people who can marvel at our achievements and join us in our aspirations. EVE Online appeals very well to this itch inside of me and sells itself very well, constantly tickling my mind with the thought that maybe, with enough time and hard work, I could be someone special in it’s world.

So, what do y’all think? Should I return to EVE Online? I hear the planets are getting a makeover.

Should I Cancel My EVE Online Subscription?

I’m having a bit of a dilemma at the moment because my EVE Online monthly subscription just renewed a few days ago and yet I haven’t logged in for a week or so. I’m still very fond of EVE but I’ve been incredibly busy with moving apartment recently and checking out other MMORPGs so it’s kinda fallen to the wayside.

Currently I’m subscribed to three MMOs – World of Warcraft, Aion and, of course, EVE Online. Is that too many? My personal limit usually sits around two as, quite frankly, I just don’t have the time to play any more than that (even one is a stretch sometimes). This of course is the perfect example of one of the major flaws with subscription based games. There tends to be a threshold for the acceptable numbers of hours playtime per month to justify the fee. Of course that threshold varies per person but ultimately we need to feel like we’re getting value for money.

My big problem is that I keep thinking “I still like the game, I will probably log in and play it a lot sometime soon”. This thought is what kept me paying a subscription to SOE for EQ2 for about three months, long after I really stopped playing it. Maybe I just have more money than sense.

I know there’s a big movement now towards micro-transactions and pay-to-play although I doubt we’ll ever really see the latter take off in the West. What I’d definitely like to see though is some sort of restricted subscription. Maybe something like you can pay reduced fee but only get to play the game for X number of hours a week or in-between certain times of the day. A lot of other services like mobile phones, broadband connections, TV packages and gym memberships offer this already so maybe it’s not too much of a stretch for MMORPG companies to swallow.

Should I Cancel My EVE Online Subscription?

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