Thursday, December 22, 2011

BB 31: The Game Outside Eve Online

The 31st Blog Banter is out and the topic is an Eve Community Review. This also happens to be my first crack at a BB \o/  Its fun to be an active part of the action as opposed to just the regular reader. 

"As any games journalist would probably tell you, a true and complete review of a Massively Multiplayer Online game is impossible. MMOs are vast, forever evolving entities with too much content for a single reviewer to produce a fair and accurate review. However, a collection of dedicated bloggers and EVE players (past and present) with a wide range of experience in various aspects of the game might be able to pull it off.

This special 'End of Year' Blog Banter edition aims to be a crowd-sourced game review. Using your gaming knowledge and experience, join the community in writing a fair and qualified review of EVE Online: Crucible. This can be presented in any manner of your choosing, but will ideally include some kind of scoring system.

With each Blog Banter participant reviewing the areas of EVE Online in which they specialise, the result should be a Metacritic-esque and accurate review by the people who know best."

 Eve Online. Where to start? I know where I started. I began playing Eve at an internship almost three years ago, just after Apocrypha was released. Its been my first and only MMO, and I still remember asking, "So, how do you win at Eve?" I was of course greeted with a bit of a laugh, and in hind sight, I definitely deserved it. "Winning at Eve" is really more of a meme than an actual objective at this point. But as I talked to the guys at work, I could see their eyes light up about how excited they were about this game. They talked about all of the possibilities and all of the roles you could play. They showed me a couple diagrams online to give me the idea. First was all the ships of New Eden:

I didn't realize I'd be flying the barely visible ones..

So at this point I was interested to say the least. We spent the rest of the afternoon talking about it, and I knew I had to at least give it shot. Just before I headed home that day, they showed me this graphic too, which I'm sure we've all seen by now. Okay, a little intimidated, but nothing I couldn't overcome.

Not too far from the truth
I spent hours that first weekend flying around in a freaking Velator. I couldn't wait til I had the funds for that 26,000 isk Atron. I was hooked though. So I kept playing, and after a while, my friends from the internship slowly faded out of Eve. I spent a while (way too long) running missions aimlessly. Its only really been recently that I've been getting into pvp legitimately, and I guess I'm still a bit of a noob in that respect, despite that fact that I'm about to cross 50M SP.

Its been a long ride, and its mostly been a blast. I think there were a few things that CCP and my friends didn't initially tell me about though. First of all, no one ever told me how much time I'd spend doing things other than flying internet spaceships. I've spent countless hours managing POS's, parsing through market windows for trade and jumping from system to system for any other reason. Eve can often be more of a job than a game. 

The second thing that no one told me about Eve was that I'd spend so much time out of game talking, thinking and strategizing about Eve. I've spent an absolutely stupid amount of time in applications like EFT and Evemon. Why do I do it? Because its so damn interesting. Why did I listen to hours of Eve podcasts on the way home to my Dad's house this Christmas? Same reason. Theory-crafting about Eve is a beautiful thing. How can I beat this fleet composition? Where will they move next? How can implants/boosters/etc give me the edge I need? All of this doesn't even scratch the surface of inter-alliance politics and null sec in general. Its everything. I've probably spent even more time out of game thinking and planning about Eve than I've played. 

What all of this comes down to is simple. CCP got it right when they said Eve is real. I wasn't too thrilled with their promotional campaign at the time due to the state of Incarna, but they were right. Eve is a great game, but its so much more. Look at media like the Clarion Call or Clear Skies series. Eve is virtual blood, sweat, and tears. Eve is real.

So my review of Eve? Its a pretty solid game. Its certainly still a work in progress, and Crucible has been a fantastic step in that direction. At the end of the day, its so much more though. Its a full immersive simulation in an alternate universe, and it can be so addictive it should come with a warning label. That's the Eve that I know.

-- Rollins

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