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BB42 – Is EvE the answer?

December 20, 2012

“A gaming universe as vast and unique as EVE Online is constantly evolving and the experience is different for every participant. Conventional games review techniques cannot possibly hope to provide an accurate measure of every aspect of EVE’s gameplay. However, with a community initiative like the Blog Banters, we have the resources to deliver the most thorough and up-to-date review ever.

By combining the experiences of contributors from across the EVE metasphere, we get a wealth of opinions from veterans and rookies alike. We’ll be able to combine input from faction warfare specialists, wormhole residents, null-sec warriors, missioners, pirates, industrialists, roleplayers, politicians and more to paint a complete picture of the health and progress of EVE Online in its current Retribution incarnation.

Who better to review EVE Online than those who know it best?”

Well, I certainly am not that close to mice. Nor do I have a brain the size of the planet, but I suspect the answer to the question may indeed be 42 after all… πŸ™‚

Actually, I’ve hesitated answering this particular blog banter precisely because I’m too close to the game and I’d prefer a certain degree of objectivity before answering. Ain’t going to happen any time soon, so figured may as well just weigh in.

H was created at the end of May 2008 and now has over 90 million skill points. That is more that four and a half years ago. Years. A looooong time to be playing one game by anyone’s standards.

In that time, she has been involved in wars, lived in null sec, ducked occasionally into wormholes, and done some serious scouting and intel gathering. But mostly it’s been mission running and scanning/exploration, with a touch of invention and manufacturing (supported by Planetary Interaction and ice mining) on the side.

I’m going to really only talk about the first two of those since I know them best and touch on general gameplay in the first instance:

  • InterfaceΒ  – 8/10 for every day use, 2/10 for complexity (overview settings, tabs etc)

In general terms, EvE’s interface is OK once you position everything to your liking. Where it falls down a little is when you start hitting the screen real estate limitations and how much information you as an individual can take in at one time.

By the time you’ve got local, corp/alliance channels, intel channels, D-scan, bookmarks, safes and your overview all open at the same time, information overload is a definite possibility. Now in EvE, a lack of information can kill you in a very abrupt and WTF was that?!?!? kind of way.

One of the only ways you can filter this information in a non-binary way (on/off) is by creating individual tabs on your overview. Something that is only exceeded by the corporation interface in its arcane, frustrating, and backwards methods.

You can’t really do without it. A near instawarp to a moon to avoid that gank squad sitting on the gate… please hold while I scroll down my overview…or have a leisurely look around the screen.

or

Why aren’t my guns hitting?. Transversal? What is transversal and how do I see it?

or

Oh, look, we have gates, concord, haulers,(scroll down) planets, moons, belts, corp mates (scroll down again), neutral haulers, random travellers, (scroll down some more), and, oh look, red flashies… Ka-BOOOOOOOM!!

Comms: Guys, I just got killed by the War Targets on X gate.

Comms: OK, what ships were they flying and how many of them were there…?

Comms: Ummmmmm….

Most of my alts have more than one tab set, some have all five in use. Information is life. How you triage that information is as much a key to survival as any other single component in game.

  • Ships – 9/10

This is probably the single thing that has kept me in the game for so long. The ships. I looooove my ships. One particular hull is (fairly obviously) a favorite. I’ve spent hours and hours planning and scheming using the EvE Fitting Tool, tweaking fits and plotting new and unusual ways to use ships.

My one concern at present is the potential for real homogeneity if all the hulls end up having exactly the same fits in game. This is as a part of CCPs ongoing tiercide campaign.

There is a potential for a loss of individuality between the factions if the ships are almost identical. I would have to say this is likely a minor quibble, and affects the smaller ship classes more due to all of the numbers also being smaller making differentiation more difficult.

  • Flight Dynamics 7/10

I still, even now, have the odd mental disconnect when I power a battleship into a large immovable object at over 400m/s and bounce. Fluid space vs purely newtonian physics. This can’t be changed without appreciably changing EvE. Collision mechanics (damage, inertia, kinetic energies, vectors, etc etc) would be that much more complex, no doubt putting extra loads on servers.

And frankly, without being able to aim towards the outer parts of the galaxy and the removal of the speed limits, there is little reason to change it. It isn’t a total immersion breaker for me either.

  • Graphics – 9/10

EvE is pretty. Damn pretty. I too stop and just look at the visuals on occasion. Sometimes lens flare across face of a planet or moon, or just the general effects you get in system are just fantastic. I just wish my favorite hull still had black livery….Β  we shan’t even mention the Navy Raven… πŸ˜›

  • Audio – 6/10

Better than it used to be. The station music in Amarr used to drive me batty, and frankly the limitations of the jukebox weren’t much better. I did used to really like the underneath the asteroids track a lot though.

Gun sounds are still a little anemic, or overpoweringly loud. Can’t quite seem to get the balance right between that and the background music yet. Still again not a big game breaker for me. As long as I’m getting the right queues for targetting, firing etc, then I’m relatively happy.

This is an area that could do with a little more work imho, though it should be said that I can’t devote hours and hours to the game like I used to, and so haven’t had the same exposure.

  • Complexity – 3/10

I’ve given EvE such a low score on this, not because it’s too complex, because I’m firmly in the “lets not dumb the game down” crew, but because it’s needlessly complex at times.

Especially when you’re looking at things like invention and manufacturing, which once you take into account the fact that you have to set each individual invention or build job separately, but you also have to have the right permissions if you’re using a POS, or make sure you have the right components in the right hangar, or make sure it’s actually at the lab at the POS… well, needless to say it’s a huge PITA and I take my hat off to those who do it for a living.

It’s probably the biggest barrier for me to do it seriously if I’m being totally honest about it.

  • Missions – 6/10

I would have scored this lower before Retribution and the introduction of the new AI because there are a very limited number of missions. If you’ve ground out as many as I have over the years, you’d be darned glad of any change too.

It’s not enough though, and there needs to be more variety. A lot more imho.

One tick in CCPs favor however, is the overall move towards lessening the differences between hardcore PvE and PvP ship fits. Anything where the game itself encourages players to learn about the harder end of the spectrum so they don’t pop like an overgrown soap bubble the first time they hit low sec is a good thing.

  • Scanning/exploration – 7/10

This also suffers from a lack of variety in game. There are only so many sites. Only so many variations on a theme. Exploration does at least have the challenge of scanning the sites down.

While I’m totally biased about it, I still believe this is a wasted opportunity for pushing forward either the lore or the story line. I said something like this a long time ago: let the warriors fight, the manufacturers build, and the explorers go find. We just don’t have enough to find right now.

Still, it’s better than a lot of other games I’ve played, and possibly my favorite part of EvE. I think I’ve scored it low because it has the potential to be utterly AWESOME… and isn’t. Yet.

  • Social/Collaboration – 9/10

You can fly solo in EvE. There is no necessity to engage with anyone else directly. There are market warriors who are among the richest in the game who do not need to talk to anyone else. Ever (with the possible exception of having their Caldari Navy standings high to reduce costs in Jita… or whichever trade hub they operate from).

But in many respects, the “end” game for EvE is capital and super capital warfare. Gaining and holding sovereignty. Massed wars of thousands of capsuleers per side. This is not a solo endeavor. Not even remotely close to one.

But the irony is this, a tightly run fleet operation with good intel and a good FC, in combination with fleet make up and/or doctrine will give a bloody nose to a force considerably larger fleet. And you only get that with good planning and logistics, but most of all with excellent communication from the top down and back up again.

This is what makes EvE different. It’s not just the hardcore nature of the game, where a loss really is a loss, it is the forging of online relationships that last for a long time. Sometimes years. Trust is the hard currency of the game. To quote a certain movie, “…once lost is lost forever…”

Getting a corporation and an alliance going (and growing) takes effort. One that the majority of us do not have the time or energy to devote to, and I take my hat off to those that do it successfully.

Goonswarm gets a certain amount of bad press, and I’m no fan if I’m being honest about it. They have numbers, true, but taking and holding Sov is a little more complicated than that. I’ll point to a little bit of history – Band of Brothers was considered fairly invincible a couple of years ago…

No you don’t have to fly with others, but together you can challenge the stars…. or the big kid on the block.

  • Score Overall – 8/10

Perhaps a bit random and it’s certainly completely arbitrary, but this game is nothing like anything I’ve played before or since. Four and a half years worth continuously so far. The Vikings must be doing something right…

And yet…

And yet, I cannot help but feel EvE could be even grander than it is now. We write the stories on a personal, or corporation, or alliance level every time we log in. But the over arching storyline hasn’t moved appreciably since Sansha Kuvekai came to play.

CCP have done some pretty awesome things with the release of Retribution and I suspect if other players are like myself, have soothed some of the old bitter vettedness.

But boy, I miss that feeling I used to get when I hit the log on screens back at Empyrean age… c’mon CCP it’s past time for you to knock my socks off again.

H

P.S – Go here for more banterers!

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7 Comments
  1. -K- permalink

    *blink blink* no posting new stuff right when I log in to check if you posted new stuff.. its bad for my head.

    No, we shall not mention the navy raven *mutter mutter* ever!

    Have to say i agree with your rankings on most things. Especially the need moar missions NAO or sooner πŸ™‚

  2. -K- permalink

    yep, still taught her a thing or two though πŸ˜‰ and right now I have Scarlet waiting for me… but shes gonna have to keep waiting for me till i get done with Sam tonight πŸ˜€

    • oO

      Any emails shall have the required warnings… btw I loved that half naked one. From Demotivational?

      • -K- permalink

        lol well yeah I know you haven’t had a heart checkup lately so I shall adhere to the warning system πŸ™‚ and who wouldn’t love a topless pic of me?

  3. -K- permalink

    Besides… have to go easy tonight, made the poor boy walk smack into a tree last night πŸ™‚ Distraction… I R good at it!

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