Thursday, 16 May 2013

First Evepressions: A 2 week trial of Eve Online

by Hugo Jones
It has happened, through the wormhole I have travelled and found myself in New Eden. That's right, I'm in Eve, pulled in by the 2 week free trial, the 10 year anniversary - a serious feat for any MMO I'm told - and thinking I'm Mal Reynolds. Don't Google Eve after watching Firefly. The download and installation were all a doddle, as always fast internets and fast computers make life that bit easier. 

"Wait, what?"
Eve has a reputation for confronting newbs with the steepest learning curb in the galaxy (don't look at me I only have Runescape to compare this against) and so far most of it does make sense. The tutorial runs the rookie capsuleer through the most basic of spacefaring skills and the starter missions are fun and simple enough to accomplish. Many of these missions provide the player with sweet new rides - albeit really cheap ones. The story line missions really suffer from the lack of a compelling storyline. In a game like WOW where the players are phased in azerboth (or whatever it is called) - each player experiences the same world differently according to their game choices. In Eve all players experience the world collectively. Once those asteroids in front of me are mined out by me or other players, the same applies to you, space cowboy. The point is, where in some other game the player becomes the central protagonist to the entire universe, in Eve you are small, you are nothing and you can affect relative amounts of nothing. A player can't complete missions, work his way up and destroy the enemy faction because there are thousands of players playing their with that enemy faction, nothing would make sense if everybody could be a winner at once.
"Big ships aplenty! Yeeeeeeahh boyyyyy"
As a result Eve can feel like a lonely place, even with the incessant chatter on the player channels. So what is a pilot to do? Well go join a corporation, an in game player made organisation where like minded pilots can go round doing what they like to do, which is basically a player's guild. Where the hell do you start with those? You apply to these things, I had one corp member ask me what career I was going into. Career? I play games to escape these things, I can barely work out what I want to do in the real world, let alone set myself a virtual career path. And it seems that New Eden has all the same problems as the real world, theft, embezzlement, corruption, a ludicrous trade in pointless bits accessories (ooh a shiny new hat). Some of the scandals even make it to the real world news, as ISK the in game currency can be used to buy PLEX -game time/subscription- ISK has a rate comparable to what it costs in the real world for game time. So when billion ISK ponzi schemes collapse it hurts in the real world.
"Back we go!"
And yet for all of it's universe and shiny big ships, I don't think I'll be sticking around, perhaps I'm after something with more of a pre defined story line, perhaps I'm afraid of the commitment. Who knows? One thing is for sure though; Eve is not a game, its a second world, a world where you work for your ISK, where you mine and refine and build and buy and insure(!?) stuff, so maybe just maybe you can get to the point where you can really start blowing cool stuff up. It's like you get home from your real job that keeps food on the table and internets in the tubes only to switch to your second job to keep your spacecraft flying and your character geared up with the dopest hat. Eve is not a game, it is the first step to the singularity, it is the beginnings of the total online human, where the mechanics of the game provide the player with everything they need(so long as they work for it) to survive and prosper. But do you know what, I'd rather we start our entirely virtual existence from the sturdy community of Eve players than a world populated by say, Neopets. Do those still exist? (Yes - Ed)