Archive for the ‘EVE Online’ Category

EVE Online Encourages Dual-Boxing

I received a strange email from CCP today. Apparently they are now offering reduced prices for purchasing a second account on EVE Online and they seem to be actively targeting the dual-boxing market. The offer ends on 17th October and is called the “Power of 2″.

Seize The Power Of 2!

Seize The Power Of 2!

For those of you don’t know, dual-boxing is the term used for playing two (or more) MMORPG accounts at the same time either by running multiple instances of the game on your PC or by having a second computer nearby. I’ve met a fair few dual-boxers during my years and even read stories about people crazy enough to play five or six accounts at once but I’ve never seen it actually marketed to players before with an incentive.

CCP’s email uses terms like “having that extra account at your disposal is sometimes indispensable” and quotes the uses and benefits of having a second account as being “extra firepower on missions”, “extra hauler for miners” and “a tag along salvager”. There’s also no doubt that they aren’t just talking about recruiting your friends because they actually state “new alt accounts”.

I have no idea as to whether or not dual-boxing is common in EVE but I can see it’s uses. I don’t know if there’s a /follow command like in many MMOs but I could certainly see the appeal of running a spare salvager or cargo hauler behind your main. I don’t know if I can recommend dual-boxing because it seems like total neural overload to me but I have to give credit for CCP for obviously trying to attract players into giving them some more revenue and monthly subscriptions.

Something that I am tempted by is purchasing an alt account purely for roleplaying purposes. I could create a new character called “Dorothy Jones” and roleplayer her as the wife of my main character, “Mantooth Jones”. I could create an entire back-story about how they met and fell in love and fly them both around together, engaging in roleplay spousal fights and bickering. Eventually I could purchase a couple more alt accounts, create some “children” and end up with the first ever EVE Online virtual Sims family.

Hmm, maybe not.


EVE Online: Dominion – Titan Nerf and Facebook Fun

An interesting article over on IGN PC reveals some more information about the upcoming EVE Online expansion, Dominion. Apparently it’s going to overhaul the sovereignty mechanic, re-balance ship power and, oddly enough, introduce a Facebook style social network for player’s characters. That’s like just like totally like crazy, dude.

Who's Got The Biggest Ship?

Who's Got The Biggest Ship?

I haven’t engage in any territorial warfare (yet) but CCP have said that they want to simplify the way space is claimed. I have no idea how it’s currently done or how it will change so it’s all totally over my head. Something that’s sure to cause a stir though is the decision to nerf Titans – apparently their doomsday weapon is going to change from area effect damage to single target. Now I’ve never even seen a Titan before (I’m putting it up there in my “things to do before I die” category) but it sounds like a pretty large change to me. Other ships are also going to get rebalanced to keep up CCP’s motto of no one ship being being the best. They are also introducing a new bomber type fighter, a fighter especially designed to take out capital ships.

Dominion will also see the introduction of a new feature called COSMOS, CPP’s equivilent to Facebook for your EVE characters and corporations. Sounds bizarre I know, but the more I think about it, the more I can understand the motivations behind it. COSMOS offers essentially what you’d expect from any usual social networking site – a mini blog, status updates, friends list, email, pictures etc – and is likely designed with the idea to make it easier to facilitate communication between characters and corporations. I guess organising a war just got a whole lot easier.

Some other news which also sounds exciting is the decision that CCP eventually want to offer more and more interaction between online services outside of the game and your character inside. Expect the API functionality to eventually be scaled to allow you to actively train skills and buy items from the marketplace meaning you don’t need to log into the game to do it. I’m looking forward to that iPhone app for sure.

Overall some pretty sweet offerings even if they likely won’t effect me directly seeing as I’m still a newbie newb. Still, can’t complain at a free expansion. CPP are quickly becoming one of my favourite developers.

Oh and unfortunately we won’t be seeing the ability to get out of our ships and walk around space stations á la Earth & Beyond any time soon. It’s ok, I suspect my pilot has a bad case of muscular degeneration anyway.


You Don’t Need To Play EVE Online To Love It

I’ve got two confessions to make. One, I love EVE Online. Two, I barely play EVE Online.

I think I’m in love with the idea of EVE Online more than the actual day-to-day gameplay. This isn’t to say that I don’t like the gameplay mechanics, it’s just that they really aren’t as thrilling as the forces of nature that drive the game. The politics, the backstabbing, the huge intergalactic wars and they stories they tell. These are the things that inspire my love of EVE and what make me want to play it.

I think all MMORPGs are a little like this. Does anyone actually enjoy pressing a couple of buttons on a keyboard or moving a mouse around? I don’t think so, it’s not exactly thrilling stuff. I actually think the attraction of MMOs is not the gameplay, but the incentives of mental hubris they allow us to desire. If everyone was equal in World of Warcraft, would everyone play?

I don’t mind the fact that I don’t get to play EVE a lot. Sure, I play a few hours every week but that’s a drop in the pond compared to the gazillion of hours I pumped into Everquest and Everquest 2. But that’s OK. See, you don’t need to play EVE Online to love it. You can read about it, watch it, study it… it’s, quite literally, another world just waiting to be observed by MMO anthropologists.

To prove my point, here’s a series of great articles from Rock, Paper, Shotgun about life in EVE Online:

Or better yet, watch this:

Now if that doesn’t make you want to love EVE yet not play it, I don’t know what will.


EVE Online iPhone Apps

I was considering not bothering writing this article because, quite frankly (and sorry if this ruins the conclusion of the post for anyone), all of the EVE Online iPhone apps I’ve found are absolutely, utterly terrible.

As every regular reading knows, I love my iPhone. I mean, I really love it. Not just in the way a man loves a fine cigar, but completely in the way that a man loves a fine woman. So throw in my borderline obsession with MMORPGs and you’ve got a person who scavenges the App Store daily looking for MMO apps to play around with at every spare moment. So suffice to say I was pretty chuffed (British word, meaning ‘happy’) when I discovered not one, not two, but three iPhone apps for EVE.

EVE Tracker

It doesn’t work. Yep, that’s right, it doesn’t. Even. Work. I cannot for the life of me get it to accept my API key. I’ve tried creating new keys, manually typing them in, copying and pasting, and even using the built in web site parser tool (which doesn’t work either). It’s a complete dud. Very frustrating because I’ve spent the last three weeks trying to get it working.

iClone

It doesn’t work. Starting to sense a theme here? When I click on the button to add my API key, it crashes out. That’s even less impressive than EVE Tracker which at least let me enter my API key before refusing it. What is it with these apps?

Capsuleer

Capsuleer Screenshot

Capsuleer Screenshot

Yay, it works! It’s already beaten the other two apps by simply functioning correctly! So what amazing things does this app allow me to do? Well… it lets me see my pilot stats. OK. It shows me what skill I’m currently training. Uh-huh. It shows me what skills I already have and know I have. Right. It shows me ‘headlines’. Great… Don’t get me wrong, these are quite handy things to have, I suppose, but the app didn’t exactly me blow me away in terms of functionality. I was at least expecting to be able to view any and every skill (not just the ones I have) and perhaps even view certificates and create training plans. Such a shame. At least it’s free. That’s a bonus right?

Maybe I’ve just been spoilt with the World of Warcraft Mobile Armory but I can’t help but feel very disappointed with these EVE Online apps. I know they’re free and made by amateurs but still, I was expecting so much more. Maybe that’s my fault. I’ll just stick with EVEMon for now and perhaps, if I ever get enough spare time, contemplate making my own.


The Sting Of Death

I died in EVE Online for the first time last night and I felt something I haven’t felt in a MMORPG for many years: the sting of death. I wasn’t pounding my fist on the desk or screaming at the top of my lungs but it hurt, oh boy, did it hurt. I was shocked, pissed, and completely regretting the moment when I decided to charge full speed into a swarm of tough rats (NPC pirates). Alas, after a few moments, I recovered and felt OK about it all and then, a little while later, I thought to myself “hey, this death mechanic is actually pretty good…”.

For those of you aren’t familiar with EVE Online, when you die you lose your ship and all the equipment on it. Your cargo remains in your ship’s wreck to be collected later (hopefully by yourself) and you eject into an escape pod to use to get your ass to the nearest space station and equip another ship. Sometimes other players will maliciously destroy your escape pod too (known as podding), in which case you end up back at a cloning facility. Of course, there are ways to alleviate the sting of death by making sure your ship is insured and your clone is up to date. As I discovered, good insurance is very important as, for about 1/4 the price of your ship, you can get almost your full investment back when it’s destroyed. The weapons and items you’ve attached to your ship, however, are lost into the aether.

My net loss (after my insurance payout), due to my death, was about 1.4 million ISK. To give you an indication of timescales, I could probably earn that much in about an hour or two. I was flying a Cormorant destroyer, fully insured fortunately, so it wasn’t hard to replace, however I’d had just bought a new tractor beam that very day which cost me a cool 1 mill ISK and now it was destroyed. Ouch indeed.

So you may be wondering why I actually quite like this death mechanic. Now I’m not a masochist or anything like that but I feel that a fear of death is healthy and the only way to induce a healthy fear is through a nasty sting. Being scared to die makes me sweat when I’m in tough battles and think twice about what I want to do and how I want to do it. It adds consequences to the game world and provides a balance to our actions. Without the sting of death, the point of it is meaningless and there becomes no need to challenge ourselves as players.

Death in EVE also has the very cunning side effect of controlling the virtual economy and the trade market. Money is very important in EVE, moreso than many other MMORPGs I’ve played, and to give value to currency you need to make sure that the market never becomes saturated. Most MMOs do this through souldbound mechanics whilst EVE does it through item and propety destruction, ensuring there is a continual and constant demand for ships, weapons and equipment. Clever, very clever.

Anyone that knows me will tell you that I’m a casual MMO player but I make the distinction of being casual in time, not in challenge. I don’t have any problems with the death mechanics in EVE, in fact, I applaud it. It brings depth to the game world, gives consequences to our actions and, above all else, it teaches us some very valuable lessons.


My Goals In EVE Online

Last week I wrote about defining goals in MMORPGs and talked about my ultimate goal of piloting a Megathron in EVE Online. I got some awesome feedback and advice from everyone and since then have been thinking about how I can realistically achieve this goal, one step at a time.

Turns out owning and operating a Megathorn is no simple feat and requires a fair amount of planning and investment. Not only that, but I quickly found out that one shouldn’t be in a eager rush to obtain such an expensive trophy lest the big boys on the block decide to take away my new toy from me. Perhaps a good idea for me to slowly figure out the game as I work up to owning my highly prized battleship.

1. The Cormorant

Cormorant Destroyer

Cormorant Destroyer

Step one for me is the Cormorant, a Caldari destroyer. Originally I was thinking about bypassing destroyer class ships all-together and going straight for a cruiser but after a bit of reading I discovered that this ship could make a decent salvager and a reasonable miner thus letting me earn a steady income. Plus, I was getting bored of my little Merlin frigate. Although my race is Caldari, I’d already learnt the Gallante Frigate IV skill so it was a toss up between piloting the Cormorant or the Catalyst. I went with the former because it simply looks nicer. Vanity will, quite laterally, be the death of me no doubt :)

I picked one up today and have already made it’s cost back by salvaging wrecks from level 1 missions. I’m gonna try a bit of mining too but I think I’ve just found my preferred source of income.

2. Exequor/Thorax

Exequror Cruiser

Exequror Cruiser

After I can work up the three or four million ISK it will cost me to buy and fit a cruiser, I plan on upgrading to either the Exequor or Thorax. As far as I know, the Thorax is the superior combat ship but the Exequor is more versatile allowing me to use it as a salvager and/or miner and supplement my income further. This is also were I make the full switch from Caldari ships to Gallente. As much as it pains me to leave my beloved Caldari State ships behind and betray to using ships produced by the Gallente Federation (who are off FRENCH DESCENT /scream), they just look so much darn cooler.

3. The Brutix

Now we’re getting working up to playing with the big boys. The Brutix not only apparently fills the role of miner quite aptly but it also makes a perfect blaster boat, exactly what I’m looking for. My perferred style of combat is definitely the ‘up close and personal’ kind – I love to see the whites of my enemies eyes before I send them to meet their makers.

4. Finally, the Megathorn.

Ah, yes. The prize. Beautiful and deadly. If Matthew McConaughey was a ship in EVE, he would be a Megathorn. I’m looking forward to this like a fat boy is to cake. One day, oh yes one day, Mat… the Megathorn will be mine and I’ll finally be the hyena that gets to swim with the sharks and bears.

So, there you have it, my goals for EVE Online in four simple steps. I’m still figuring things out as I go and I’ll be the first to admit that I still have a huge amount to learn but I feel good knowing what my plan of action is. It gives me some reasonable targets to try and achieve, keeping me from feeling completely overwhelmed by the freedom and complexity of the game.

Spotted a flaw in my master plan? Got any general tips or advice for me? By all means, please let me know.


Exploring EVE Online

Ever since I watched the documentary Another Perfect World I’ve been curious about EVE Online. Maybe I’m just extremely impressionable but they made it sound very cool. I love the idea of sandbox MMORPGs and virtual worlds and, unless you count the original Star Wars: Galaxies (that was a sandbox game right?), I’ve never played one before. Something about the absolute freedom you get and the ability to take part in huge interstellar wars appeals to me greatly.

I downloaded the 14 day trial of EVE Online just over two weeks ago and have been playing around with it slowly and steadily. My trial ran out yesterday so I decided to subscribe and continue to play as I felt that I hadn’t finished with it yet or even scratched the surface of what it had to offer. EVE is a hugely complex game and, even after toying with it on and off for two weeks, I still haven’t really gotten to grips with it all. But I’m getting there.

The vastness and complexity of the game is in many ways extremely scary and yet, in others, very appealing. It’s kinda refreshing to log into a MMORPG for the first time and have utterly no idea what’s going on or what anything means. It makes a change from me usually picking up and running with a MMO within moments.

EVE also seems to offer something of a casual playstyle (although maybe I’m just not hooked enough yet) but the idea of everything being skill based, as oppossed to levels, takes away that itch to try and level up as fast as possible. Skills are also trained in real time and queued up so I can go to work and know that my character in EVE is still slowly progressing up. Very cool.

I’ve still got a long way to go. I haven’t even joined a corporation yet and only just purchased my third ship, plus I’m terrified to go anywhere as I’m also still constantly trying to work things out. We’ll see how it goes though. I’m glad I’ve subscribed because I’m feeling like a bit of a MMORPG nomad at the moment and this will distract me with something for the time being. Plus everyone keeps hammering one about how amazing the game is so there must be some truth to it.

If you play EVE and want to look me up then my character’s name is ‘Mantooth Jones’. Otherwise if you have any tips or advice, please share them with me! I need all of the help I can get right now :)