I had originally planned this to be a test drive article, seeing what I could get out of Space-em-up MMO EvE online in a day of play. However after starting a trial account and doing my first day I got the feeling that to base my experience of EvE on a day’s worth of play would do it a disservice (more than it would other MMOs). This is a game that invites you in for the long-haul and rewards you as such.
Space is definitely pretty, beat that lens flare JJ Abrams
Right from the word go the game challenges you to find your own way to play it. The tutorial missions go over the very basics (how to mine, scan and fight), fit you out with a few ships and take you through the process of flying in space. After that you are left to your own devices, to the point that in any section of space another player is free to attack you (although there is an interstellar police force who will seek vengeance on your behalf).
After those first missions it really is up to you what you do, but finding some way of making ISK (the game’s currency) is something of a prerequisite to conducting activities in the more dangerous areas of space (known as low-sec and null-sec). To fit your ship out with anything more than the basic equipment you need a source of income and that is where one of EvE’s most famous features comes in to play…. The Economy!
EvE’s Economy is primarily player driven and so almost anything that you buy you are buying from a player (the same goes for selling). This allows players to carve out almost any niche they want in order to make money within the game. There are corporations (player run organisations, similar to guilds in other games) and players who make their money buying goods in systems where the price is low and freighting them to systems with a higher price. There are miners who look at what minerals are needed where and then go off hunting for them. There are even a large number of pirate organisations who dog some of the more profitable routes in order to hijack those cargo or minerals.
In addition to ISK the other limiting factor on what you are capable of is skills you have because in order to use any ship or piece of equipment you need to have the correct skill trained. The skills themselves start off basic (mining, salvaging, trade etc.) but then allow you to train more complex skills (for example a refining skill for a particular ore type). The skills themselves improve not by use, but by passive training, you add a skill to your que and it will take a given time before you go up to the next skill level. The skills themselves train in real time, even when you are offline and given there are skills which take 20+ days to train this is a good thing.
This is one of the more intimidating aspects of the game, it does not hold your hand, you need to put a bit of thought in to what you actually want to do right from the off. Fortunately there are always people in the rookie help channel who are willing to share their expertise. Following getting my pretty destroyer blown up during a level 1 combat mission I got some solid advice and an EvE friend out of just asking what went wrong.
That man is small, that ship is far away!
While EvE’s subs numbers a less than that of other MMOs there really is a strong sense of community, born out of an understanding that you cannot really charge in and expect everything to be alright. Everyone there has made mistakes similar to my destroyer incident and most people are pleased to share their knowledge on what they think works best.
As for me, I am going to stick with EvE and give a proper summary at the end of my 14-day trail. Although I don’t think that will spell the end of my adventures in eve!