Saturday, April 30, 2005

Key Features of EVE Online

While there seem to be a lot of people finding out more about EVE Online, it's still generating a lot of questions about what it is and how it plays. Here's how it looks from my point of view.


  • numerous ship types -- different by size, purpose, and allegiance

  • many, many ship outfitting options

  • moderately good tactical combat game (ship-to-ship combat)

  • relatively deep asteroid mining/refining game

  • superb skills system (skills are learned in real time -- no grinding!)

  • varied factional NPC mission/quest system

  • good support for factional player organizations ("corps")

  • factory system allows generation of game objects

  • research system allows creation of new game objects

  • good cargo trading game tied in with factory production

  • price tracking data for all locally available goods

  • 5000+ solar systems (with multiple planets/moons) to explore

  • ungoverned areas can be controlled with player-created outposts

  • easy-to-understand mechanism for travelling from one place to another

  • difficulty of NPCs is keyed to "security level" of solar systems

  • quality of NPC loot drops is appropriate to NPC difficulty

  • 24x7 PvP generally doesn't affect those who don't want it

  • dialup-friendly -- light on network traffic, and fairly small patches

  • space is pretty

  • 24x7 PvP -- there are consequences, but if some player wants to kill your character, he can

  • space-based only -- no 1st-person planetary activity whatsoever (although some station avatars may be implemented)

  • mining and ship combat are really the only things that can be done full-time

  • mining is boring (so to speak) -- just turn on the mining lasers and wait

  • research system is so hard that only the truly hardcore can afford to play it

  • some NPC-generated market items (economy is not fully player-based)

  • factory production is not very detailed

  • rich backstory doesn't have many gameplay effects

  • highly social -- no advanced content for the soloer

  • corp gameplay can be extremely competitive and very emotive (think "soap opera in space")

  • there are few activities that allow your character to express a story (roleplaying)
Overall, EVE is aimed more at offering an intelligent space-based tactical combat game, but the economic subgame that supports combat is treated with respect as well. It's definitely a group game, though (and the developers have come right out and said so), so if you’re looking for a solo-friendly game, or if you're not interested in constant social competition, you may not be satisfied with EVE.