fans! Welcome to a special style="font-style: italic;">Rock ‘Em Sock
‘Em Robots edition
of href=""
target="_blank">the Final Frontier!
I was going to use a name more familiar to our UK readers, style="font-style: italic;">Raving Bonkers,
but for the sake of this article it lacks the same kind of punch. Get
style="margin: 10px; border-collapse: collapse; float: right; width: 200px;"

href=""> alt="" src="/image/view/64641/preview"
style="border: 2px solid ; width: 200px;">

expect EVE to get podded out of the ring anytime soon.

*brushes off the boos from the audience as he adjusts his standard
issue ring announcer bow tie*

In the Atari corner, weighing in at style="font-style: italic;">zeeero
pounds because it exists in virtual space and has no physical mass
– the reigning Galactic Champion, href="" target="_blank"> style="font-style: italic;">EVE Online!
As many of you know, EVE has not only maintained a solid presence in
the MMO space for nearly six years, but has also experienced a steady
increase in subscribers during that same period. That’s
certainly earned the title some bragging rights when you consider the
large number of triple-A MMO contenders that have entered the ring
since 2003, many of which haven’t fared nearly as well as

Also in the Atari corner… *pauses to check the script*,
that’s right folks! Also in the Atari corner and also
weighing in at style="font-style: italic;">zeeero
pounds because it will exist in virtual space and will have no physical
mass – the challenger, href=""
target="_blank"> style="font-style: italic;">Star Trek Online!
While EVE may have years of MMO experience under its belt, the upcoming
title from Cryptic Studios certainly won’t be a push over
thanks to the high profile Star Trek IP. Cryptic is also no freshman to
the MMO ring thanks to the successful one-two punch of href=""
target="_blank"> style="font-style: italic;">City of Heroes
and href=""
target="_blank"> style="font-style: italic;">City of Villains.
This should be an interesting fight folks!

*tosses his bow tie to the floor and dons a classy ringside announcer

We have a few months until the first round begins since style="font-style: italic;">Star Trek Online
is still currently in training at the development gym, so in the
meantime I wanted to take a look at the reigning sci-fi champ, EVE, and
discuss some of the challenges it will face once STO is ready for prime
time. EVE certainly has the experience, but can it maintain years of
positive momentum moving forward? This announcer not only believes that
it can, but has a few ideas as to why EVE is far from ready to throw in
the towel.

style="margin: 10px; border-collapse: collapse; float: left; width: 200px;"

href=""> alt="" src="/image/view/64825/preview"
style="border: 2px solid ; width: 200px;">

is practicing its moves in the development gym.

Before we get started, some of you may be wondering why STO is the
current number one contender rather than href=""
target="_blank"> style="font-style: italic;">Jumpgate Evolution,
which at first glance seems to share more in common with EVE. While I
have no doubts that JGE will be an extremely successful MMO, and it style="font-style: italic;">does
focus primarily on space combat, the overall feel of the game will
likely appeal to a different type of gamer than those who thrive on the
more tactical approach to combat the developers of EVE have mastered
over the years; an approach notably first seen in episodes of the
original Star Trek series.

It’s also worth taking a brief look at the Atari connection
in the upcoming EVE vs. STO title bout. You see, Atari will be
distributing the retail release for EVE next week, and thanks to the href="" target="_blank">acquisition
of Cryptic Studios by Infogrames
(Atari’s parent company) last December, the Atari logo will
also appear on style="font-style: italic;">Star Trek Online.
While it’s certainly not unheard of for a single MMO
publisher to release multiple titles in the same genre, it will be
interesting to see if Atari will attempt to cross-pollinate subscribers
between the two games, or if EVE and STO will ultimately be marketed to
altogether different sides of the MMO arena.

Green Eggs and Ham

The number one complaint I’ve heard about EVE over the years
is that the game is simply too hard for casual players to learn. The
second would be that the pace of combat early on is simply too slow, or
that more direction should be given for players unfamiliar with
EVE’s various career paths. Somewhere in between
you’ll also hear a lot of people say, “Dude! It
would be so flippin’ cool if CCP made another game and called
it ADAM! They could set it in Old Eden and it would totally
rock!” But that inevitably leads to bad “ href="" target="_blank">BoB-ing
for apples” jokes, so we’ll just ignore that for
now. (OK, I promise that’s my last awful pun… for

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href=""> alt="" src="/image/view/37808/preview"
style="border: 2px solid ; width: 200px;">

creation is just one area seeing a complete revamp in EVE.

The point here is, for the release of the Apocrypha expansion,
EVE’s developers have very wisely addressed one of the
game’s largest roadblocks for new players by completely
revamping the new player experience. By lowering the barrier for entry,
EVE will likely see a much higher retention rate of trial accounts
becoming paid subscribers. By adding in epic mission arcs starting in
the tutorial phase, this will also give players a better sense of
direction straight out of flight school, whereas now you tend to be
left to your own devices a bit too early on considering all there is to
learn in the game.

Hopefully this is just the start of much grander plans for EVE to be
more welcoming to new players. The battle-hardened vets that make up
the bulk of EVE’s established community may disagree, but I
think the game will only continue to thrive so long as the developers
continue to focus on appealing to a wider range of potential players. A
good example here would be the Walking in Stations project, which to
some old-timers may seem like a wasted effort since they’ve
happily existed in EVE for years without the need to obsess over which
belt matches their hair better. But for more casual gamers the idea of
adding in a purely social element is just what the doctor ordered.
Moving forward, I think striking a balance between staying true to long
time players while also attracting a broader spectrum of new
subscribers will be the key to EVE dodging STO’s magic IP

I firmly believe that developing content to attract new players is just
as important as pumping out an endless stream of high-end challenges
for an established player base if an MMO hopes to survive in an
aggressively expanding market. If I look at Game X as it stands today
and think it looks cool but not quite cool enough to purchase, why
would I purchase it tomorrow when an expansion is released boasting,
“More high-end raids! Faction grind until you’re
blind! Endless Doodles of POW for hardcore Zippers! Oh, and for low
level players we’ve added an awesome cardboard box that just
kind of sits there on your shelf.”  

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href=""> alt="" src="/image/view/64827/preview"
style="border: 2px solid ; width: 200px;">

Online's Special Edition retail release is a great way to welcome new

Allocating resources to strike that balance is a challenge all MMO
developers face, one made all the more difficult when you have the
hungry mouths of existing players always wanting new content to chew
on. But at the end of the day MMOs are a business, and for any business
to thrive against the competition it needs to diversify at an entry
level. Lumping all of your virtual eggs into a giant raid basket
won’t help you achieve that goal, which makes New MMO 2009
that much more appealing to gamers by comparison.

With the impressive list of improvements being made at the entry level
of New Eden, EVE’s developers clearly understand this as
well. That’s why this is exactly the right time for a retail
release, as it capitalizes on offering something new and improved for
the curious, and gives EVE the opportunity to sink its space hooks into
a broader audience well ahead of STO’s launch.

Arena Log: Stardate 3020.9

style="font-weight: bold;">

By now I’ve surely gotten your fingers itching to tell me
I’m either: a) Nuts, b) Secretly a robot spy sent from the
future, or c) A terrible sports announcer, but you have some of your
own thoughts to share on how EVE will stay ahead of STO (or you may not
think it will at all!). So let your fingers do the walking across your
keyboard right here on our forums and immortalize your words in virtual
text! Or if you prefer, I’m always happy to deny point B
(even if I can’t provide any proof) if you send a virtual
carrier pigeon (that’s my extremely non-robotic way of saying
email) to href="mailto:[email protected]">my inbox!

Until next time dear readers, this is Captain Sardu signing off!

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our City of Villains Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016

About The Author

Reuben "Sardu" Waters has been writing professionally about the MMOG industry for eight years, and is the current Editor-in-Chief and Director of Development for Ten Ton Hammer.