Tobold's Blog
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Syncaine on EVE as the ultimate MMORPG

Syncaine from Hardcore Casual is throwing down the gauntlet: He believes that EVE Online has all the answers to all the issues that plague other MMORPGs, and challenges everyone to prove him wrong. My general opinion is that by solving many things differently than other MMORPGs, EVE simply has different issues. The problems the average player has in a game that allows non-consentual PvP which can cost you your cargo and more are simply not the same as those of a PvE-centric game with a bit of loss-free consentual PvP thrown in. I mean, in WoW you actually can still get rewards for losing every single PvP battle without it costing you anything.

I agree that the single-server setup of EVE has advantages when it comes to scalability and the ability to play with or against any other EVE player, without being hindered by artificial server borders. But this only works because space in EVE is so vast. There is no Ironforge where thousands of players could turn up at the same time and overload the server. Space travel in EVE can get rather boring, because of space being so vast and empty.
Well I am no expert. I have installed EVE on the free trial bases. I basically didn't make it through the insanely tedious introductory tutorial unscarred and never returned. So from my perspective EVE has failed the simplest thing that WoW has highlighted: The importance of easy entry.
I feel that the possible loss in Eve makes it a more interesting game as long as you have a decent idea of the risks involved. In high security space, you are pretty unlikely to be killed unless you are hauling a lot of valuable materials (and in that case, you should really either be doing it with some friends or make sure to be in the proper type of ship).

It is pretty difficult to gauge the risk of activities when you first start out and there are plenty of people in game that will take advantage of your lack of knowledge, but as long as you live by the tenet of only flying what you can afford to lose, you mitigate a lot of the risk. Just about every time I undock from a station, I ask myself if I have enough money/resources to replace whatever I'm taking out just in case something goes wrong.

As Abel said above, the game itself provides a lot of barriers to entry which is unfortunate. The learning curve is steep and the game itself does little to help you understand all the mechanics at play. I highly recommend the Eve University corporation for anyone that is interested in the game. I'm still relatively new to the game and learning a lot from the players in the corp as well as from the classes they provide.

The game is also made or broken by the corporation and people you play with. There isn't much of an interesting solo game in Eve, so if you don't find a group that you enjoy hanging out with you won't have much keeping you there. It's really about making your own personal goals, both short and long term, rather than having set objectives provided for you (I personally think some more set objectives in the game would be beneficial).

Enough rambling - I'm enjoying my time in Eve and think it provides a lot of opportunities for fun in its own way.
I tend to roll my eyes a little when somebody talks about how great EVE is as an MMO. Like abel, I too quit because of a lame experience with the introductory bit.

I got to a point in the tutorial mission chain where the pirates I was supposed to blow up were killing me before I could do a single point of damage.

I asked in open chat what I was doing wrong, and they said "Are you still in the starter ship? You need to upgrade." I thought to myself "Awesome! They didn't call me a n00b or anything. This game seems to have a cool, helpful community!"

I went to the shipyard, and found to my delight that I could afford a much more powerful ship than my tutorial tin can, but...

I had to skill up to fly it. The skill training was going to take 4 hours of real time. The game basically required me to log out for 4 hours if I was to make any meaningful progress, and I wasn't even done with the tutorial. I declined, opting instead to log out for, oh, 8 months so far.

I'm sure there are parts of the game that I'd like, but they did a really, really good job of preventing me from finding out about them.

I like Tom Green, but I understand that I am in a serious minority in that regard. I might say that his opus Freddy Got Fingered is a funny movie, but for me to claim that it's the perfect comedy is a little misguided. EVE may be the perfect thing for the kind of people who like EVE, but I don't think it's some kind of MMO panacea.
Holy cow this guy makes a compelling argument.

The only thing I'm seeing from anyone that he can't refute is "it isn't fun". Well, that's subjective isn't it?

I think what he's done a real nice job of pointing out to detractors is that people think they know what they want. EVE gives it to them and they don't like it... very interesting.
Another loser that just wants to kill newbs )
EVE changed the tutorial, by the way, and it is no longer the tedious 3 or 4-hour monster of frustration that it used to be. You might want to give it another go. I was reluctant to do so myself, but my husband assured me that the tutorial is far more accessible and such -- and now I'm slowly getting the hang of everything in EVE, and playing a little Intaki business woman. :)
I didn't realize there was a Mac client available now, I may have to give this a go.
I am too much of a carebear to expose myself to the harshness of EVE's low security space but when I stand back and think about it I probably agree with Syncaine. Without question the most interesting MMORPG stories I have read all come from EVE. Whether they be about scams to defraud players out of billions of ISK or the monumental effort to built the first TITAN which promptly backfired on its own alliance or just the day to day stories of piracy and survival in zero zero space.
Hmm interesting, I tried to just get the points he is raising and I really can't say it makes sense to me.

1) Server sharding isn't a major issue for me personally. It really isn't in WoW nor LotRo, because the communities are big enough. The argument he makes is that big guilds _compete_ with each other in earnest in EVE, but funny enough I don't like competition. I never raided to compete with another raiding guild. And I certainly don't care if a world first was on my server or not, because I don't care for those events anyway. That's someone else playing their game. So knowing that all "big guilds" are on my server adds nothing to my MMO experience actually.

2) I like the alternation of leveling and endgame. I don't actually see a problem with that. The second part of it is that I actually don't care about endless growth either. I play MMOs to (a) play with my friends (so where they are matters) and (b) to see fun content.

3) Relative growth only matters if you compete. I couldn't care less if someone outpaces me or not because I don't compete with them. Let me be in WoW lvl 70 blue/greens or even on my lvl 20 alt, and have others strut T6. Doesn't bother me.

3b) In fact I despise non-consensual PVP, even the flagging mechanism in PVE WoW is too giving for my taste (i.e. there is ways to increase chances for unvoluntary flagging followed by what would actually be non-consensual PVP).

4) I don't understand what success means in EVE, so I can't speak to that. Again my "success" measures is playing with friends and seeing new content. Can one see all interesting EVE content without ever engaging in combat?

Anyway, I think there is a specific player mentality in mind here... and even if one doesn't believe in the Bartle player types, people may actually want something else out of an MMO.

But that's the good story, we can shop and choose the games we like. Neither WoW, nor EVE nor LotRo needs to be for everybody.
Actually, Jita is just like IronForge, lag and all. It's where all the traders go (for just as long as it takes to list things with a range of "Region") to sell their stuff.
I really wanted to like EVE. Played the 2 week free trial. Paid for it for a month. Told my MMORPG friends to come join me.

But at the end of the day, it became boring as hell. Mining in EVE is way worse than farming in the other MMORPG's. Transporting goods just invites non-consensual PvP at the gates while you're spending most of your time being bored watching your ship from behind as it jumps from gate to gate. Ratting is doing the same missions over and over and over again. If you're gonna PvP, you'd better have superior numbers since you're new. And honestly, I like the occasional Ding over having to wait 3-4 days to get my skills high enough to be able to fly a newly purchased Industrial. And I'd rather craft in just about any of the MMO's rather than do the EVE version of it at Industrial Complexes.

If in spite of this, you're still gungho to try EVE, get into a Corporation ASAP. The solo game is awful.
By the way, Pirates of the Burning Sea has many of the advantages that EVE Online has, but is more accessible for new players. It has offline resource gathering instead of offline skill gains, and thus avoids the boring mining part. It has the shipping and trading. It has PvP safe zones that are *completely* safe, PvP unsafe zones that aren't static but move with the war, and they are clearly marked on the map.

For all of you who found the idea of EVE interesting, but the actual implementation unsatisfactory, you might want to give PotBS a try.
I started playing Tabula Rasa only a week ago, and while both are SciFi it seems like it's the complete opposite to EVE:

- EVE has open space and you're just a ship, in TR you're a soldier on planetary surfaces and so far there's not even vehicles

- EVE has PvP all around, in TR your clan has to declare war on another clan so there's open-world PvP, and then there's wargames which looks like WoW's BGs

- EVE basically builds on crafting and trading, TR builds on shooter-like fighting

- In EVE you can even log off from time to time and you can still progress (it looks like sometimes you even have to), in TR you're so immersed that sometimes you do things for fun without thinking about XP (sometimes even things that don't give XP in the first place)

So all in all, it looks like the two would go together pretty well. But: I'm playing Travian already, a trader- and builder-browsergame with open-world PvP, and in all honesty, EVE doesn't look all that more interesting to me.
I downloaded the mac version the day it came out and registered for a 2 week trial account. I am trying real hard to like the game but so far it's been a bit of a disappointment. The interface is dark and confusing, the tutorial sucks so much it's unbelievable. Many basic things are not explained or inadequately explained in the tutorials. This includes the most basic stuff like skills, training and upgrades.

Like a previous poster I couldn't get through one of the tutorial missions, I was blasted out of the sky. You'd think somewhere it would say: get a better ship before trying to tackle this mission but no. I gave up on the mission and just figured what the heck, I'll do some mining and selling instead. The marketplace looks really interesting compared to the crappy system WoW has but boy is mining boring!
Downloaded the Mac version yesterday, and this game is like a revelation.
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