I was meaning to post about this for a while now. At the end of June I singed up for a free Eve Online trial. I figured that since I love space trading games such as Frontier, and Freelancer, I’d like this one. I was wrong. But let me start from the beginning.
I pretty much summed up my first impression of the game in earlier post. On the first day, Eve’s one and only server was down for maintenance. So much for a single server philosophy.
I spent about an hour tweaking and creating my character. Their character creation setup is actually pretty awesome. You only get to see your avatar’s face for the whole game, so naturally the game gives you a really fine detail control over how you customize it. You can essentially re-sculpt the whole face to give it just the right expression. I went for a smug smuggler look – with one raised eyebrow, self confident smirk, head cocked at an angle, and a little goatee.
Choosing skills and attributes was also easy. All the choices were well explained, and it was essentially a breeze… Ok, not a breeze because the skill system is a bit convoluted, but it was not that hard. I give the character creation sequence an A+.
Once I was done, I went on to do the short tutorial. First big disappointment: there seemed to be no “mouse flight” or anything of that sort. You move your ship by clicking where do you want to go. And since you are in space with few reference points this does not always work well. In other words, you usually want to click on an object to fly to it, or use the auto pilot.
I didn’t like that. The thing that I loved in Freelancer and other games like that was the ability to mouse fly the way I wanted. Even in Frontier I could do that – it was difficult, but if you could manually on a planet without crashing it made you feel like a fucking ace pilot. Eve lacked that – but I guess I could get used to it.
The tutorial then made me do some mining (snooze) and combat (surprisingly also snooze worthy). When you mine you essentially lock onto an asteroid, and shoot at it with your mining gun for 5-10 minutes, after which stuff starts appearing in your cargo bay. So essentially, each time you mine, you can get up from your computer and make yourself a cup of coffee, because that’s what you will need to get a whole cargo hold full of precious ore. I know that mining is hard work, but is it really necessary to make it feel like work within a game?
Combat looks strangely similar to mining. You select your target, tell the autopilot to orbit it within the weapons range, then select your weapon and hit attack. So no twitch based combat here – but I expected that. But the ship won’t even shoot when you want – it shoots whenever it feels like it’s ready. You hit the attack button, and you have to wait few seconds as it adjusts itself, and prepares for shooting. Meh… Not particularly exciting.
Finally tutorial took me to a space station where I could dock. Once you land on the station you can do all kinds of fun things like trading, repairing your ship, trading some more, and trading. You trade by using spreadsheet like marketplace screen which is a little confusing at first. For example, you can easily buy items that are not on the current station, so you might need to fly a long way to pick them up.
Here you can also meet people who will give you quests. Here is another big surprise – quests have a real life time limit. This means that the quest will expire in n real days, and if you don’t do it in that time limit, the quest givers disposition towards you falls meaning they will be less likely to give you new quests. As a casual player I didn’t like that at all. Why can’t I take a break from playing during an exceptionally difficult quest?
I set out to do my first quest. It was some silly “take this package and deliver it to some dude on a station 3 jumps away”. So I launched from the station, only to experience more big disappointments on my way to the target.
First of all, the map in Eve seemed like a mess. I tried to find my target on it, but after 5 minutes of tweaking and changing map modes I just went back to the agent screen, choose the destination from my quest log, and told autopilot set it as the target location. Frontier had an immense universe, but I was always able to find my destination targets on it’s map. Apparently Eve designers noticed that no one can use the map, so they simply allow people to set their course directly from the dialog screen.
Second disappointment was – no collision detection. The target turned out to be oriented directly behind the station I just left, so my autopilot decided to I just fly through it. I also flew through some planet on my way there. Ugh… That sucks. I was hoping you can sometimes land on planets, or maybe even play around by skimming their atmosphere. But no – I just flew right through it.
Third disappointment – jump gates. In most space games, jumping from system to system is an awesome experience. You go through some gate, and your end up in some crazy whirling tunnel, or everything flashes and etc… And while the fast travel within system in Eve is kinda cool, jump gates are huge disappointment. I got close to the gate, and my ship disappeared. Then the game started loading, and my ship appeared somewhere else.
When I looked more closely next time around, I noticed that the gate is actually supposed to slingshot you out using some sort energy beam. So you don’t really disappear. You just zoom away from the sight. Still, I liked the crazy swirling wormholes and stuff like that. Eve jump gates are boring.
I finished the mission, then took another one which required some easy combat (nailed it without even getting my shields half way down), and took another errand-boy/gopher mission.
I hooked up with some guild… Sorry, a corporation which was recruiting in the newb areas. The people were really nice, invited me to their corporate chat room, and gave me tons of useful pointers. I ended up with bunch of good notes of which skills I should invest first, what should be my next ship purchase, what weapons should I get if I plan to do some combat missions and etc.
I have to say, I was impressed how nice these people were – especially to a n00b on a free trial like me. I even told them I’m not sure if I will still be around after my trial ends, but they were ok with that, and encouraged me to join. They also offered help with missions and etc. So the community, at least in the newb areas gets an A from me.
Anyway, I ended up making a long detour of 12 jumps to reach my new company’s base, and join it. I did the whole trip on autopilot, chatting in the meantime. Flying long trips like that is kinda boring.
All the time I alloted for Eve was spent going back to the newb systems to finish my quest, then going back tho the first space station so that I can grab yet another dull errand-boy mission. I also tried some trading, but since I had virtually no money, and no cargo space I couldn’t really see any worth while trade runs I could do.
Finished the mission, went back. I witnessed a space battle near the station. Around 4 or 5 ships were sitting in place shooting at each other. I decided to stick around to see the outcome. After about 20 minutes I logged out. None of the ships even looked like it was taking damage. WTF? Most boring combat I have ever seen.
Took another mission. Realized that I will have to make like 10 jumps to get there, and logged out.
Fuck eve, I’m done.
I just got bored with it. It seems that all of Eve’s primary activities such as travel, combat, mining and trading are inexplicably boring. The game felt like a chore, and during the week I was playing nothing really exciting ever happened.
So it’s not a game for me. I can see how people who are more into the trading and tinkering can enjoy it. I just didn’t find it fun. I think that the biggest draw in this game however is the community – wars between corporations, crazy plots, infiltration, and stories of betrayal make this game fun. But I don’t really have time to get involved in these communities so meh.
So that’s it. I haven’t logged into the game since then, and allowed my trial to expire. I’m not going back. In a way I’m relieved. I was afraid I was going to get sucked into this MMO, and spend inordinate amounts of time in it. But this didn’t happen. I just got it out of my system. :mrgreen:
[tags]eve online, eve, gaming, mmo, massive multiplayer online[/tags]