About two months ago, after the big initial raid encounter grind fest in the new Cataclysm raid instances, the In Harmony raid schedule went down from 6 days a week to about 3-4 days a week. It was a bit of a relief of having more nights with free time, but on the other hand left me with the decision of what to do when I’ve nothing else to do. My initial plan was to finally finish my complete Fallout 3 playthrough, but at this time, my brother and a few of his friends started (for whatever reason) playing EvE Online. And somehow, a friend invite made it in my E-Mail-Box.
At this point, I should mention that I’ve already played a trial period of EvE once, about 2,5 years ago. I was very positively surprised about it and already thought back then, that this is a game that could entertain me for a longer period of time. However, I was kind of alone in space, already really involed in WoW and didn’t want to pay subscription for another MMO, so I stopped after the trial period. However, I still bought the boxed version of the game and put it on my shelf. Just in case I wanted to play it again sometime in the future. Well, the future eventually arrived. I got the friend invite, which gave me 21 days, and the boxed version, which gave me another two months worth of playtime. And the beginning of EvE is still on of the most demanding game starts I’ve ever encountered.
So, why do I blog about EvE and not WoW. Well, for WoW, I don’t think I have to say much new about it. WoW is a very streamlined experience: You get interesting questlines from the start and Blizzard basically holds your hand and keeps you busy until you reach the level cap. After that, you can do PvP (Battlegrounds and Arena) or PvE (Heroic Dungeons and Raids). That is the so called “endgame content” which keeps players busy from that point on. That isn’t a bad thing, but almost anything interesting about this endgame has been written down already. At least for the PvE side. And since I’ve never actively played PvP in WoW, I can’t say anything about that.
So, how is EvE different? Well, they say that one picture can say more than thousand words, so I’ll start with a lot of pictures. EvE can be like this:
Or it can be like this:
But, when approached wrong, EvE can also be like this:
So, for starting this little personal, irregular instalment of ramblings about internet spaceships, I’d like to talk a bit about the game mechanic differences of between EvE and WoW from the EvE-newbie point of view and what type of gamer might find more enjoyment in EvE than others:
EvE doesn’t hold your hand. At least not for long. In WoW, you’ll get into a storyline (presented via quests) from the first second and you are guided that way through different areas and stories until you hit level 85. Putting the presentation aside, that part of WoW would do quite well as a single player RPG. There is always a subtle “at your current state, you can do this or that” signpost guiding you through the game, keeping you busy. In EvE, there is a basic tutorial, then five “Career Agents” that will explain some very basic professions and game mechanics. After that, there is a so called “Epic Arc”, a coherent storyline of 50 missions (= quest). This will keep a player busy for 2-10 days. After that, a player have to pursue his own goals.
In EvE, your character doesn’t have a race, class or profession limitation. In WoW, your possible actions in the game are bound to the class and race you choose at the start. For example, a dwarf is limited to the alliance side of the game, a priest can only heal or deal damage but not tank. Each character can only has two professions. In EvE, you learn and enhance “skills” which will limit the possibilities you can do in a certain moment. However, each character can acquire any skill that is available in game. For example, every character can play as a “healer” by flying a logistics ship, as long as the player took the time to acquire the required skills.
In EvE, you can’t grind your character progression. In WoW, you progress your character by collecting experience. You get experience for slaying mobs, completing quests, etc. The accumulated experience will result in a level up, which will give you access to more powerful spells. So, the more time you invest in getting experience, the faster your character progresses to the level cap. In EvE, you will get a fixed amount of skill points per second. These skill points are used to enhance skill through 5 levels, chosen by the player. The amount of gained skill points depends on the character attributes, which can be modified by the use of implants or remaps. But in the end, there is a hard limit of how many skill points on can get per second. Which basically means, that it is impossible to catch up with older players. However, each activity only requires a certain set of skills. So, for example, while an older player may be able to operate all available battlecruisers, a younger player may be able to fly only a battlecruiser of a certain race. But by specializing in the skillset for that particular battlecruiser, he can fly it as good as (or better) than an older player.
In EvE, getting killed costs ingame money. Ok, now the WoW player will probably scream “but in WoW, you get 10% damage on your equipment, which you have to repair and that will costs gold!”. That is correct. But the amount one have to spend on repairs compared to the money one get by playing the game is not really worth mentioning. At least, I was never in a situation where I have to worry about a repair bill. And if you were in such a situation, then chances are, you are doing something wrong. But in EvE, you will lose your ship, which means you have to buy a new ship and new modules. You may also lose your pod. In that case, you will have to buy a new set of implants. Which lead to one of the golden EvE rules: “Don’t fly what you can’t afford to lose”. Or put in other words: In EvE, the game won’t protect you from having a repair bill bigger than your wallet. If you can’t afford it, chances are good that you shouldn’t fly that ship yet. In WoW, the game mechanic hinders a lvl 2 player from wearing a lvl 85 item, for which he can’t pay the repair bill at that point.
There are no instances in EvE. Every point in the universe where you have access to, can also be accessed by any other player. In WoW, there are dungeons, raid instances, arenas and battlegrounds which are exclusive for your current group. In EvE, everything is open. So the plex (which may be called a dungeon – a set of rooms full of mobs) you are flying to may be empty. Or there may be a competing player. Or if you accept a kill mission, it will usually spawn a special mission room. Even that can be accessed by other players.
There is no place in EvE where PvP is prevented. If you take a WoW-PvP-Server as an example, there are places where no PvP is possible (Shattrath, Dalaran) or at least proactively interfered by NPCs (the NPC guardians of Ironforge will attack any horde player). And if I’m informed correctly, one can always disable his PvP flag in their home cities. In EvE, there are no real safe places. In Null-Security and Low-Security space, there is no mechanic that prevents PvP. And although there are some kind of NPC guardians in High-Security (CONCORD), they take some before they arrive at a PvP place. Depending on the enemy ship and your own ship, your ship may have already exploded before help arrived.
There are no interface addons for EvE. I actually saw this question quite often in the rookie-channels (english, german and the public EvE-Uni channel). No, no addon system there. Afaik, this is the norm for most MMORPGs. So, no, you are stuck with the user interface as it is – as bad as it is in some places. (And I am not the onlyone calling some aspectsof the EvE UI bad.) This is actually a nice thing for WoW. I personally think, a lot of addons for the WoW-UI exists because there were a lot of deficits in the standard WoW UI. And since Blizzard took a few addon ideas and implemented them into the standard UI, they basically admitted that some aspects were… crap. (Old raid unit frames *cough*).
I’ve probably missed a few more points, but the main point should be clear: If you are new to EvE, you shouldn’t expect a “WoW in space”-game. In my opinion, both are very good MMORPGs but the game mechanics are different and a player have to be aware of that. It is the same if you compare Mass Effect 2 with Fallout 3 – as an example. There is the linear, storytelling approach on one side and the open world with free character development approach on the other side. I enjoyed them both, but I’m aware that there are players who don’t like the game mechanics of one or the other. Still, both are very good games.
If you enjoy open world RPGs (like Fallout 3, The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind) and you are more busy exploring the world than actually advancing the storyline , than EvE might be a game you might like. If that doesn’t appeal to you and still want pixel spaceships, you are probably better of with playing Freespace 2 or Freelancer.
Coming soon(TM): Clueless in space – Random ramblings of another EvE-newbie trying to explore this vast internet universe with internet spaceships.
We interrupt our irregularly scheduled broadcast to bring you absolutely nothing of value!
I’m still here and alive. My workload in the past few weeks was kind of crazy. I’ve not abandoned MRT, but after 8-10 hours of working each day I don’t really have the concentration for working on MRT in the nights. But thankfully there were no new bugs found, so I guess the current state of MRT isn’t that bad. If any important issues will show up, I’ll fix stuff asap. Anything else will have to wait until I’ve a bit more spare time than now.
In other news:
Comming soon(TM): Totally WoW unrelated blog posts about internet spaceships.