Game Review – EVE Online: Crucible

Posted on Feb 13 2012 - 1:46pm by Dave

CCP Games
Genre: MMORPG
Rated: T (Teen)
Platforms: Microsoft Windows PC
MSRP: $19.99
Monthly Fee: $14.99 (First Month Included)

There I was. On my left 15″ flat panel LCD, i was watching an episode of ‘Supernatural’, the one about the scarecrow that kills unsuspecting couples in a seemingly perfect little town. On my right 24″ LCD, my Gallente Destroyer, a Catalyst model…now tricked out to be a makeshift mining barge, sat still and motionless amidst a field of Banidine asteroids (an ore type in Eve, not worth much but part of a quest I’m on), deep in the somewhat friendly solar system of Vaurent. As I sipped my nightly glass of vino and watched ‘Supernatural’ with most of my attention, nothing seemed out of the ordinary on this particular mining run. Suddenly, nature, as she sometimes does, came a’callin. With a swift mouse click on the pause button in Netflix and a quick glance to all of my radar and early warning systems aboard “Fiona”, my flagship, I made off for the men’s room; content that I was alone in this particular patch of Eve Online’s ridiculously larger than life universe. Midway through my…em, goings, the faint but unmistakable sound of my warning radar began its dutiful cry. I was no longer alone. And I was AFK…(“away from keyboard”) for the n00bs. Somehow, some aspiring “pirate” had snuck up on me during my most private of moments and had attempted to spacejack me and my ship! Why? Who knows. My cargo of Banidine ore was hardly worth anything in the grand scheme of things, and my ship, while good, was no prized possession. But then, as I rushed back to find most of my shield system diminished, and my hull already taking damage, it sank in. In most games, there is a pause button. In Eve…not so much. Welcome to a living, breathing universe. It’s harsh. It’s brutal. And it never sleeps.

Eve Online is not your typical MMORPG. Sure it throws you onto a “server” with a bunch of other people. Sure you have to exhibit patience and devote time to learn the skills necessary to make money and attain bigger and better equipment. But let’s define just how many people you play with at once, and just what this “learning curve” entails in Eve Online. With anywhere around 60 to 70 thousand players cruising around Eve’s universe at once, things can get rather crazy, or so you would think. Sporting more than 5000+ solar systems, this universe is practically endless. Each system contains hundreds of things like stations, corporations, and mining areas. You could literally spend a month or more in one system and not run out of things to do. Where other MMO’s seem to have an “end” point to them, where you might run out of things to do or levels to attain, Eve can potentially last forever. Depending on what you want to do with your character and/or corporation, the possibilities in Eve are infinite. Where a game like World of Warcraft or Star Wars: The Old Republic present you with a nice little bubblegum wrapped wading pool for you to dip your feet into and learn the game slowly, Eve basically ninja kicks your newbie ass straight out into the depths of deep space with nothing but a POS bucket of bolts and a prayer. See the diagram below to see how this learning curve is illustrated.

To say Eve Online is difficult is a double-edged sword. It will take you weeks, if not months, to be able to understand some of the deeper intricacies of Eve Online, and even longer to master. Training in various skills will not be overnight endeavors. Skills and “levels” work a bit differently in Eve. While some MMO’s require constant “grinding” and repetitious activities, Eve allows you to choose from a huge variety of things to do in order to make money and gain skills that will allow you to acquire better ships and technology. There really are no such thing as “levels” in Eve, rather, your net worth is of utmost importance. From the beginning, if you play your cards right and invest in needed skills, you can be making millions in a matter of weeks. Skill training is the backbone of Eve online, and will dictate just about everything you can and will be able to do in the game. If you decide to build a mining character, you’d want to start building your skills in mining, science, navigation, and ship command. If you want to gear more towards combat pilot, you would invest more time towards combat, tactics, and warfare. Early training in any skill can take anywhere from a few minutes to several days or weeks, so it is crucial that you plan your character-building strategy carefully, as a week of training can be a huge waste of time if you don’t particularly need a skill. Sort of like education, you can’t really train the “wrong” skill, as ANY skill is good at the end of the day, but if you waste a few weeks building up your skills in, say, navigation, when you should have spent that time learning about science, you’ll have wasted a lot of in-game time.

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Once you decide what sort of character you’d like to go with, you’ll be dropped into your “home” station, with a basic frigate for a ship. Though a much-improved and welcome tutorial is now present, Eve can come across as overly difficult to any beginner, and even seasoned MMO players of other games. Fear not. With a few days of dedicated play, you will soon find that this game is not as hard as people make it out to be. If you are looking for an MMO to jump into for a month and hop around with a sword and shield all nimbly-pimbly, look elsewhere. Eve requires, no, DEMANDS your time, attention, and dedication. Rewards will be given and satisfaction will never feel as good in any other MMO as in Eve. When you advance in this game, you truly feel like you did something to earn it, not just go kill a bunch of trolls, rinse, and repeat. When you step into a brand new Destroyer or Battleship for the first time, that you bought with hard-earned money over months of blood, sweat, and tears, you will realize that Eve is something different. I’m not saying Eve is any better or any worse than other MMO’s, I’m simply saying that Eve is the graduate school of the genre. For everything that you will put into it, you will get just as much, if not more, back. The possibilities are only limited by you.

Rundown:

Fun Factor: 10 – Harder to learn than quantum physics, but 10 times more rewarding

Graphics: 9.5 – Absolutely beautiful. Stations and planets all look incredibly realistic, and galaxies and stars look amazing. Ships are incredibly detailed but can look slightly wonky close up. The new Captain’s Quarters look fantastic as well and serve to bring much more depth and feel to an already gorgeous universe.

Sound: 9 – The hum of engines, the sounds of weapons, and the trance/techno soundtrack all work to bring you into the game. I usually turn off the music and stream Spotify or something.

Control: 10 – For a 3 dimensional space-sim, the controls are perfectly intuitive and access to all of your systems and controls are simple and well-balanced.

Lasting Appeal: 10 – The only way you will stop playing Eve is if the internet goes down. With empires to build, and a massive universe to explore, Eve Online is second to none.

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