Sunday, January 31, 2010


This entry is for CrazyKinux's Blog Banter Contest, which can be found HERE. You can also find full details on the contest and several other entries on that page.

CrazyKinux Asks;
"We know the EVE Online Community is unique in so many ways, and that EVE Online is like no other MMORPG out there. But what makes the game special for you?

What is it that makes this particular virtual world so enticing, so mysterious and so alluring that we keep coming back for more. Why is EVE one of the very few MMOs to see a continuous growth in its subscriber.

To put it simply: Why do you love EVE Online so much?"

EVE Online fits my lifestyle and that is one of the reasons that I love playing it. It certainly is the reason that I started playing the first place. In Real Life, I am a college student studying engineering. There are times that I have little time and can’t afford to really play ‘games’, and times when I have tons of time and need to unleash. EVE caters to all of that, no matter where I am, what I need to do, and always provides something else to do when one thing becomes boring. EVE is unique, it has several things to do, and is something anyone can play, and where about anyone can find an enjoyable niche. What I specifically like can be summarized in a few words: Pace, Inventory, Space, Community, The Anti-Grind, Balance, Variability, and Renewal. Maybe you’ll be able to find something you like in here, but allow me to explain…

Pace: As I mentioned earlier, EVE caters to me no matter how much time and focus I have. If I want to play EVE fully and unleash, I can run missions or go out into lawless space and blow shit up. If I have other things that I need to do, I can just put up a few skills into the skill queue and call it a day. The most unique thing though, is that there are things a player can do when he or she needs to focus on other tasks as well. A player can run courier or mining missions, mine minerals for themselves, or trade in a station. All of these things are productive and benefit the player so that he or she may have more rewards when he or she has more time to play.
I’ve actually done this before, to name a few examples, in my class: “Mythology of Ancient Greece”, I played EVE while reading The Odyssey and The Iliad to improve my study habits. I’m sure other people can relate to reading something so quickly that they can’t remember all of what they read after they get done. I mined ice in a Mackinaw while reading each book in 1-2 nights. I was able to run through three cycles with my Mackinaw before needing to dock and drop off my load. That break every 13-some minutes was just enough to stop and come back and try to find my place in the page again, to ask myself what I was reading. It increased my memory on schoolwork, without noticeably making it take any more time than it should have. AND I made several hundred million isk in game doing it. Nothing helps take the edge off of school work than knowing you are doing something have plenty of isk to blow stuff up with.

Inventory: I’ve played other games such as Diablo II, The World of Warcraft, Starcraft, and Runescape, and with the exception of Starcraft, there is one HUGE annoyance – you can never have enough inventory space! Yes, even with full Netherweave bags and 3 guild bank slots all to myself on WoW, I can never have enough. Fortunately, EVE doesn’t make you choose. You just have to deal with a very long line of assets when you have inventory everywhere, but god bless EVE Online’s free inventory space.

Space: Space is vast, and EVE captures this effort. Even with several thousand players online on the same server at the same time, there are always systems with hundreds of people and systems that are empty. All systems have basic similarities – asteroid belts, stations, (except for the few that are left empty to make more room for people willing to travel), and so, players are free to choose which atmosphere best suits them, if they want to hang out, be around other people, or if they want to do whatever it is they do in isolation.

In addition, space is sectioned off into areas that are high-security, where player versus player is allowed but discouraged through the intervention of security forces, low-sec, where security forces keep watch, but do not intervene, and null-sec, where the only law is your own. This allows for players to fight or not fight based on several different terms of engagement, depending on what they want to do. However, no one is truly safe, and high-security can have its benefits taken away by a simple and cheap declaration of war. There are positives and negatives for all choices made, and even undocking from a station offers some risk. But there’s always something that can be done about it as well, which leaves enticing options. Despite how dark this may seem, and despite that it is ultimately unavoidable, it does happen fairly little enough unless one does something to garner such attention.

Community: EVE is a game that can be played solo or in groups. As in any game, playing alone makes it dull for most people after a while. But, even someone that is accustomed to playing in groups can outfit a ship to do something solo when people aren’t around. There is no class, DPS, Healer, and tank that require someone else as support. That being said, EVE is a very social game, and anyone can find a niche that makes him or her feel useful, in a fleet, corporation, alliance, or even just through the people they meet. Not only that, EVE supports many different philosophies of game play – piracy, antipiracy, theft, mercenary work, and so on. An individual doesn’t have to get involved, but the option is always there to join a side that fits one’s ideals.

The Anti-Grind: This is the opposite of grinding, and I am PROUD OF IT! One of the things that I hated about my friends from high school moving away was that we were all on during different time zones, doing different things, and so on. Having to play just to keep up with your friends can suck, especially when you can’t. In EVE, one doesn’t really fall behind, and one doesn’t need to spend hours to train up a character’s level or find new gear. As far as skills are concerned, they train in real time. All skills are worth something, so as long as a person trains something that will help them in relations to their friends, it’s worthwhile to do. The only thing that has to be done by grinding is making isk – and there are several ways, some that are even fun, to do so. Wormhole exploration is a fun thing to do in groups, a person can go bounty hunting, and some pirate groups declare war on corporations and hold them for ransom, while terrorizing them. Which one is more fun and morally acceptable is left to the individual. However, just how much isk one needs depends on what that individual plans on flying, and potentially losing. Frigates are cheap and very easy to replace. By comparison, battleships can take a few hours of mission running or an entire wormhole exploration.

Balance: Things in EVE are balanced to make the game more fun. Frigates can take on battleships, and often do so, although a good battleship pilot will have a very good chance of winning the fight. Everything in EVE is balanced, and CCP checks and tries to make sure things stay that way. One doesn’t have the overpowered paladin complex or one race given a drastically unfair advantage. A battleship has the advantage over a frigate by its shear hit points and capabilities, but can still be taken down if the battleship pilot is poorly trained or doesn’t have the proper fitting to combat the frigate. The way things are balanced is through a combination of experience, knowledge, intelligence, and capital. Frigates are easy to replace, and easy to destroy, but can be used very effectively against almost all targets when one is experienced enough. The same goes for all other ships, with the risk of losing it matching the increase in overall power.

By the same token, anyone has the same capability to pilot any ship that anyone else has, regardless of the character’s faction. All it takes is some training time, which again, everyone has to spend time to train a skill. And anyone can use the same equipment.

Variability: The equipment available is also balanced – there are several variations that are all useful, depending on the skills of a character (to use tech 1 or tech 2 equipment), the fitting allowances of the ship, and how much each one costs. The higher tier items of course, cost more, and the player can choose if he or she wants to spend millions of isk for an increase of maybe 1-2% from a module, or if a slightly less effective module with a few cpu and powergrid more fitting cost will work. All races have ships, some that do the same job as another faction’s ship so that no race is without a mining frigate or cruiser, but the factions also have their own special edge, such as Caldari for missile launchers, Gallente for Drones, Minmatar for their brutal adjustability, and Amarr for their lasers. There is something for everyone in terms of how a person wants their ship to function, but all races have about the same capability in terms of damage output, mining yield, or other capabilities.

Finally, the most important thing about variability: Unlike almost every other game that features over a thousand items with only 2-3 being top end that everyone wants and uses, EVERY ITEM IN EVE IS USEFUL. Well, besides the perpetual motion machine. Every variation fits a purpose depending on what the pilot feels is effective through cost and output, and has the skills to support. No item ever becomes truly outdated or worthless.

The last big thing that EVE features is Renewal. EVE has been around since 2003, and has seen a rise in users since. Why? Because EVE produces free expansions twice a year, updating graphics, making the interface easier to use, and looks for ways to improve its product, while introducing new material and new ships. This last expansion saw the introduction of several new faction ships, upgrades to the super-capital lines of ships, and updates to the sovereignty system to balance null sec game play for newer users and factions that before didn’t have a chance due to larger and more powerful player alliances. The previous expansion introduced Tech 3 ‘Strategic Cruisers’, which gave players a whole new level of adjustability, as well as upgrades to probing, and the introduction of wormhole space – another form of lawless space with new rules, that no one had a prior claim on.

To top it off, CCP has a ‘Council of Stellar Management’, which is made up by players that are elected to offer ideas for improvements on existing game mechanics, as well as ideas that they would like to see implemented. CCP even flies out some of these people to Iceland to meet with them in person, in the real world, to discuss EVE and these topics.

There are always opportunities, and even a several year old player can be outdone by a newbie that takes advantage of one of those opportunities (I’ve had that happen more than once).

For role-players, there’s always something new going on in the development of EVE politics both in player alliances and the overall EVE storyline.

For sports people, there’s the alliance tournament as well as several player-run combat and racing events.

There are no restrictions on what can and cannot be done in EVE.

These ensure that EVE will always be expanded on, improved, and that there will be something new to learn and do. Unlike many games, like WoW and Guild Wars, where running an end dungeon or fighting in Arena is all that there is to look forward to, there is no end-game in EVE, only a continuation. So for someone that wants to sit down, and have what they ‘work towards’ for years, be worth something, even years from now, EVE is a good game and is easy to like. EVE is easy to like. For someone like me that wants something that works with my life instead of constantly demanding my life, who wants to try new things instead of the same over, EVE Online is also easy to fall in love with.