Cody “Micajah” Bye, Managing Editor
In the real world, there’s really no limit to what you can
learn. If an individual put their mind to learning a particular skill
or set of knowledge, the only restrictions they would encounter might
be time, money, or their basic level of intelligence. Still, the real
world holds fathomless amounts of information that is merely a trip to
the library or a few keystrokes on the computer away.
Unfortunately, most of our online video games don’t hold this
kind of depth. Due to the restrictions of our computers and the
broadband connections we’re operating - on along with a host
of gameplay feature and mechanic issues - massively multiplayer online
games typically have a preconditioned set of skills and abilities that
a player must learn understand and learn to operate. Inside the game,
character can only learn a limited assortment of abilities, skills, and
professions that are sufficiently capped to limit growth within the
world. While the lore of the world may be expansive, players can only
see this content through their character’s point of view, so
much of it might be passed by or simply ignored.
style="font-style: italic;">EVE Online is a
game with tons of depth, but a very different type of MMOG experience.
But what would a game be like if there were no restrictions? What if a
character’s skill wasn’t limited by the amount of
time a player could play or the type of class an individual selected?
How would players act if they were allowed to set their own rules
within a game? Would this sort of game be successful?
The answers to many of these questions lies within the vast confines of
an massively multiplayer online roleplaying game that takes the common
forms of the MMO gaming and turns the standard on its head. Released
mid-2003 to a diverse range of reviews and industry opinions, style="font-style: italic;">EVE Online is
unlike almost any other game on the MMOG market currently. With its
space-based gameplay, players are free to create their own vast
organizations within the world along with supplying everything needed
for a thriving in-game economic marketplace. But that’s only
the tip of the iceberg, and a vastly complex game world exists within
the EVE’s far from empty universes.
Yet until recently, all of my previous rhetoric was based off of third
hand accounts and the experiences of other games. As one of those early
skeptics back in 2003, I turned my attentions to the easier to
understand games of that time period and went on my merry way. However,
when I joined Ten Ton Hammer last year, one of my first assignments was
target="_blank">an interview with the developers of CCP,
specifically Magnus Bergsson. Being a long time White Wolf
fan, I was excited about the premise of chatting with Magnus about the
merging of the two companies, but our entire conversation got
sidetracked by the unveiling of the (in)famous href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/620" target="_blank">“Ambulation
Video” that has now received its fair share of
the EVE Online
Scams and player
versus player activities are encouraged.
I was fascinated. This was a world of gritty complexity; a shocking
step away from the norm of fantasy-based roleplaying. Like a clarion
call, I found myself going on the Internet and absorbing any
information I could find on the game. The more I searched, the more I
discovered, and I quickly learned that style="font-style: italic;">EVE Online wasn’t
game for a simple casual gamer. Here was a game that truly evoked the
notion of a virtual gaming world, where players were free to develop
their own set of rules and nothing was off limits. From “The
Great Scam” href="http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/issues/issue_19/121-A-Deadly-Dollar.2"
target="_blank">which involved some in-game capitalists
losing 480 million ISK (EVE
Online's currency) to
the 700 billion ISK scam extorted by the EIB, a group of individuals
that created their own in-game bank…. href="http://myeve.eve-online.com/ingameboard.asp?a=topic&threadID=381340"
target="_blank">then have one individual proceed to steal
all the money from other players. Still other EVE scams have
been documented discussing the stealing of player owned ships and other
While most of these actions would be considered
“griefing” in other games, the style="font-style: italic;">EVE Online
actually accept this type of action. Every player in the EVE universe
knows (or at least should know) that the world is a dogfight; only the
strongest survive. The more I read about this sort of behavior, the
more intrigued I became. I wanted to learn more.
Once I’d gotten past the scams and “big
news” headlines that pop up any time you do any EVE research,
I began to learn the mechanics of the game. While the
“offline” advancement mechanics certainly seem
aimed at the casual gamer, the world of EVE couldn’t be
further from a “easy” experience. Even in the
preliminary research stages, I found the discussions and talks of the
game fell into some interesting mathematical philosophies and the true
merchants in the game were wholly concerned with discovering the true
natures of their own economy. Even those EVE player more interested in
combat would talk deep mathematics, trying for the best min-max options
when developing their outfitted ships.
But what gamer doesn’t want this sort of complexity in their
game? While having a fundamentally simple game may be intriguing for a
short while, the deeper a game’s content the longer a player
will continue to play, as long as that content isn’t
excruciatingly hard to grasp. Although I’m no mathematical
dunce, I certainly don’t fall into the “math
wizard” category either, and the discussions that
consistently occur on the EVE forums were never beyond me.
Stay tuned at Ten Ton
Hammer for more upcoming EVE
The deeper I peered into the outer rim of the
style="font-style: italic;">EVE Online
more my interest in the game grew. But the fact that EVE is such an
immediate diversion from common MMO gameplay made me hesitate (more
than once!) to really let myself into the game. What would an open
sandbox, skill-based, PvP-friendly, MMO game environment be like?
Truly, I’d never experienced anything quite like EVE Online,
but it seemed like something I should really sink my teeth into.
So nearly a year after my interest was originally piqued,
I’ve jumped into the game with both feet. Over the next few
weeks I’ll be offering up my experiences with style="font-style: italic;">EVE Online from
the perspective of a brand new player. As always, I’ll
attempt to be completely honest with my views on the game, which means
the quality features along with the disappointing aspects. At the same
time, I’ll try my best to relate the unique world of EVE to
players of the more common fantasy MMOGs. Although EVE fans (who truly
epitomize the word fan-atic) may take issue with this tact, I think
it’s important for the common MMO gamer to understand the
universe of EVE in common terms.
Until then, keep your browsers pointed at Ten Ton Hammer!
To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our EVE Online Game Page.