Blog Banter #42: The Capsuleer Experience
It was waaay back in February this year (2012) that I participated in my first Eve Online ‘Blog Banter’. As anyone that has read or actively visits the blog will know, I’m not exactly a frequent poster (not by the standards of other Eve Online bloggers anyway!). However I do like to participate in these sorts of community activities when I believe I have something to offer. This is one of those times :)
So here we go again. The topic for Blog Banter #42 is “The 2012 Community Review of Eve Online”.
Blog Banter 44: The 2012 Community Review of Eve Online“A gaming universe as vast and unique as EVE Online is constantly evolving and the experience is different for every participant. Conventional games review techniques cannot possibly hope to provide an accurate measure of every aspect of EVE’s gameplay. However, with a community initiative like the Blog banters, we have the resources to deliver the most thorough and up-to-date review ever.By combining the experiences of contributors from across the EVE metasphere, we get a wealth of opinions from veterans and rookies alike. We’ll be able to combine input from faction warfare specialists, wormhole residents, null-sec warriors, missioners, pirates, industrialists, roleplayers, politicians and more to paint a complete picture of the health and progress of EVE Online and its current Retribution incarnation.Who better to review EVE Online than those who know it best?”
I will open by saying I am by no means an Eve Online guru, nor an MMORPG guru. Having said that, I have played in excess of 30 MMO’s in my MMO life so have a fairly good, broad understanding of the genre. Eve Online was my fourth MMO, back in 2003 late in the beta. I have stuck with the game on and off over the years as finances permitted and have been pretty solid from around late 2009. As such I think I have some perspective in reviewing Eve on where it is at today.
I will be the first to day I have a pretty poor memory. But I still remember my early days of Eve like it was yesterday. I had been playing “Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided” and the EA MMORPG “Earth and Beyond”. E&B was shutting down and my guild had heard of this game called “Eve Online”. As it so happened some work colleagues were in the beta, so I managed to get into it also.
It was Elite on steroids. That classic PC game, with the variety I wanted, in one neat bundle.
Man, did I make some mistakes! And honestly for the first few years, I heard these rumours of this thing called player versus player combat. But that was something that obviously didn’t happen much and when it did it was in this place called low or null sec. Places where the stars didn’t shine, pirates lived and “thar be dragons”.
I started out for many years in Eve as I guess what is known as the proverbial “care bear”. I never stepped foot out of high sec and when I did for the first time in 2006, someone promptly handed me my…yeah…they destroyed my ship. It wasn’t until 2008 that I really started experimenting with PvP in any serious way. So I have a solid background in missioning (boy do I know missioning), mining and trading.
I joined the Caldari when Faction Warfare was first rolled out, eventually switching to the Amarr. I have still stayed in touch with missioning and mining, however my Eve life has very much headed towards the PvP life in Faction Warfare. I should also note that my early years were very much solo. Occasionally a ‘Real Life’ (TM) friend would join me, but that never lasted long. My latter years I realised a major thing missing for me from Eve was playing with others and I can now say I have found a corporation in the Blackwatch Guard [BWGRD] that I truly enjoy and are a great bunch of people.
So moving from that background, I read with interest the metacritic style rating done by Mike Azzariah at the blog “A Missioneer in Eve”. I liked the way he did it, so I thought firstly I would do it in that style. Then I would do something a little more focused on the journey of Eve from ‘then’ to ‘now’.
Graphics: This is one thing I have always loved about Eve. There is no denying it, Eve is simply gorgeous and honestly always has been. From the environment rich in suns, stars and nebulae to the ships themselves. One thing missing is that ability to ‘zoom’ through areas, dodging asteroids and flying between ships with that feeling of movement. One friend who joined me briefly was disappointed that while the ships are so pretty, that when you’re in combat you generally see your own ship…if you’re lucky!
One thing I think should be pointed out also in regards the graphics is their lightweight nature. Having played many MMO’s, the beauty of Eve’s graphics are handled in such a manner that the performance is generally outstanding. 8.5/10
Sound: Yeah, sound. I turn off the music whenever I do a fresh installation. Is it atmospheric? Sure, I guess so. Is it good? All subjective but I’m sure an aficionado would probably say yes. Eve has even spawned it’s own community of musicians that release music tracks related to Eve. But for me it’s the atmospheric effects, the weapons, the warning claxons that I now hear. And they are solid, not outstanding. Retribution has subtly altered some of the effects and they are neither here nor there. 7/10
PvE Content: Aaaah, here we go. Missioning in Eve could be so much more. But instead we are left with a shell of any other PvE game. Yes, yes, I’ve heard it all before. The content is the players, it’s more than PvE, blah blah blah. My question for those (like myself) that love the sandbox…why can’t it be more? I have always said that Eve lacks casual appeal. Whilst it’s skill system would appear to promote the ultimate casual gamer (hey, you don’t even have to play to advance!!!) there are very few activities suitable for a ‘quick half hour here or there’. Missioning could provide that but fails to. Epic arcs came close. Sisters of Eve and some of the early storyline missions are a start. It needs far more. 3/10
PvP Content: I’m not sure I am truly qualified to answer this, as I have limited exposure to PvP in other MMORPG’s. But I would have to say Eve is right up there. I am going to include Faction Warfare within this category which is my focus at the moment. Improvements have been made here with iterations over the last few releases. I believe it has improved consistently and hope it will continue to be refined…nice work. 9/10
Support: I tend to be a little let down by the support. I have logged very few petitions over my time here (perhaps testament to the general stability of the game?). But when I do I tend to get “Sorry, the logs show nothing and we can’t help you”. I understand for every 1 legitimate issue they are probably getting 9 scammers…but really? I guess I will give them a pass for the overall game stability and CCP’s responsiveness with releasing patches. 7/10
Player Base: Eve players get a really really bad rap in the press. Yes, there are idiots. But I can assure you, no more than there are in any other MMORPG…actually I believe quite the opposite. The community that has resulted from a unique sandbox that has evolved over a decade is…well…a unique community. There are a myriad of supporting activities with blogs, wiki’s, podcasts and all manner of ‘real world’ meet ups and of course the annual Fan Fest. Within the game things are not quite so receptive, but when you are actually allowed to play the role of ‘anti-hero’ you can’t expect warm fuzzy hugs at every turn. 9/10
Conclusion My rating is 43.5/60 which makes for 72.5%. As Mike noted I certainly cannot be considered an unbiased reviewer so that is to be considered in all of this.
To summarise my journey within Eve and what I believe is the current state…I have been with Eve on and off throughout it’s history. It is undeniable that it has improved over the years in almost every aspect. The evolution has actually been quite remarkable when you take a step back and look at it. Obviously there have been some ‘bumps’ along the way with Incarna, the summer of rage and various player outbursts. However CCP has manged to recover and continue to iterate and generally support the player base.
Dust 514 could expand and further establish the Eve Online universe and I will again say, if they could manage to provide a more casual friendly enjoyable form of PvE content then I believe it would be in a solid state.