Saturday, December 17, 2011

EVE Blog Banter 31: EVE Online Community Review

"As any games journalist would probably tell you, a true and complete review of a Massively Multiplayer Online game is impossible. MMOs are vast, forever evolving entities with too much content for a single reviewer to produce a fair and accurate review. However, a collection of dedicated bloggers and EVE players (past and present) with a wide range of experience in various aspects of the game might be able to pull it off.

This special 'End of Year' Blog Banter edition aims to be a crowd-sourced game review. Using your gaming knowledge and experience, join the community in writing a fair and qualified review of EVE Online: Crucible. This can be presented in any manner of your choosing, but will ideally include some kind of scoring system.

With each Blog Banter participant reviewing the areas of EVE Online in which they specialise, the result should be a Metacritic-esque and accurate review by the people who know best."

Well, this is going to be a tough one for me. OK my area of Eve is Faction War. But even that area is massive! How do I write a review about Eve-O concentrating on faction war? Who am I writing it for? Someone who has never done faction war or someone who has never played Eve. I know! A Eve vs WoW score battle. Balls! I've been beaten to it - Why EvE Wins by Shalee Lianne @ Living a Lie.

Wow Stan, thanks for setting this one, it's going to be the toughest banter yet I think!

Oh well try this then....


Eve Online : Crucible - Faction War.

Eve is massive. I don't mean that in terms of a massively multiplayer online game. This thing needs it's own classification. It is truly a MMMOG (a massive massively multiplayer online game). With most MMOG there are a handful of classes with a smattering of side proffesions such as mining or crafting. In Eve you can do what you want. It's a true sandbox. This review of Eve has a slant to the Empire Wars in Eve Online which houses a fair sized chunk of the community.

Ease of Getting Into - 3/10

Eve Online is not easy to get into and faction war is even harder.

Character creation is rather nice and the avatar creation can give you an amazing looking character. As there  are none of those pesky classes to worry about, the only thing you really need to think about is creating an awesome looking character!

Then you can run the tutorial missions to learn how to fly your ship.... and there you are. In a universe full of adventure and no-where to go!

This is where you really need to go to the web and do some reading-up on Eve Online. There are many great guides out there and help with the truly mindboggling choices of "careers", skills, ships and equipment out there. I used inverted comments for careers as there are no set classes as I've already said. Want to make a character specialized in asteroid mining? Well you need to train those skills.

Eve is not easy to get into, but if you climb the learning cliff, you'll be glad you did.

To get into Faction War you need standings (reputation) with your chosen Empire. This entails running missions for the correct agents found in space stations. An alternative is to join a play run corporation who already is in faction war. This in itself can be difficult. Meta-gaming is huge in Eve-O and spies and double agents are all the rage. Expect it to be difficult to get into a faction war corporation as a new player.

Overall Eve Online is not an easy game to get into, it does not offer fast "leveling" or instant gratification. 

Faction War is even more difficult to get into if you want to get the best out of it.

Graphics - 8/10

Eve Online has traditionally focused on gameplay as opposed to graphics. Which isn't a bad thing always. I'm always more willing for forgive poor graphics when gameplay rules. But I cannot as easily forgive crap gamplay with pretty graphics. Thankfully Eve's gameplay has been always been king. However, over the last few years Eve had had a pretty serious makeover.

With graphical updates almost twice a year to some element in the game, Eve nicely keeps up with technology without requiring everyone to update their PC every 6-months. This all keeps Eve looking shiny and how many 8 year-old games can say that.

Game Play - 7/10 

This element could easily run away with itself. The impossibly huge amount of things you can do in Eve could never be covered totally. The experience of a miner is different to that of someone running a 3000 person alliance. Even in Faction War, the game play options are immense. So I'll just broadly cover two of the main areas.

Player vs Enemy (PvE)
The PvE experience is pretty repetitive. You can accept missions from agents, but the selection of mission types is rather limited. Mostly they are "fly to this point kill/destroy/face-rape this ship/structure/object and come back here when done. They soon get boring and the objective becomes the rewards you get, not the mission itself.
There is also the joy of "plexing". This is where you capture star systems for your Empire. One of the major game play issues with Faction War is that capturing a system is pointless other than for bragging rights over the other side. It basically entails scanning down a site in a solar system and then orbiting a satilite for 10 to 20 minutes as NPC mobs either shoot at you (if you're capturing the system) or just stare at you (defending the system). 

However, if the enemy militia find you it can suddenly lead to.....

Player vs Player (PvP)
PvP in Eve is brutal. Unlike many MMOG's there are no specific battlegrounds and no safe areas. When you 'die' your ship is utterly destroyed and all your equipment is likely taken by the person that killed you. So unlike other games, you don't always equip your best, rare and valuable equipment. You need to think.
Now many players of MMOG might shriek at the thought of this. But what it results in is that PvP means something. Losing a ship and all the equipment onboard means you'll want to replace it (although most players have a hanger full of ships to choose from. To replace it you'll need money (ISK). To get money you'll either need to do some carebear stuff or blow an enemy up and steal his stuff to use or sell. So the outcome of this? PvP is uber-exciting. In your current MMOG do your hands shake when you in a 1v1? If not, you're doing it wrong.
PvP in Faction War ranges from solo roaming, looking for 1v1's, to large fleet engagements with hundreds of players. These epic fights are rarer these days than in the hay-day of Faction Warfare in 2009, but they are still around.
There are problems with PvP. There are bugs with the criminal system and remote repairs. Plexing doesn't generate as much combat is it should as plexing is relatively meaningless. But on the whole. PvP in Eve Online is perhaps some of the best PvP online.

So overall a lack-luster PvE experience and game-mechanic issues is more than made up for PvP with consequences!

Community - 10/10

One of the greatest things about Eve-O is the community. There is nothing like it out there. Eve-O is a social game. You can play solo but you'll miss out on 90% of the game and 95% in enjoyment. CCP are accesseble, I've had their Facebook page take one of my comments and turn it into a post. On Twitter I've been followed by Dev's and regularly tweet back and forth with them. The forums have devs posting obviously, but most importantly replying.

In the spring on 2011 CCP launched the eagerly awaited Incarna expansion. In hindsight that was a mistake. We all make mistakes, every company makes mistakes, CCP made a mistake. There were player protests across the gaming world, inside Eve itself and also on the internet. The players cared enough about the game not to go "oh sod it, I'll play something else" they spent time and energy campaigning to correct the mistakes. All all credit to CCP who put their hands up and when "Oooops! Yeah messed that up a little bit" and put everything right with Crucible. I'm sure the Sony Online Entertainment executive in charge of the Starwars: Galaxies NCE saw this and went "Ah! THAT'S what I should have done"

And if this wasn't enough, the players each year elect 12 members of the Council of Stella Management. A group of non-CCP players who are flown out to CCP's HQ a few times a year to act as a soundingboard/advisors all covered by a strict non-disclosure agreement.

Eve Online has perhaps the best community both in and out of game of any MMOG out there. No argument!

Longevity - 10/10

Eve has been going eight years. It was 2003 when the game launched. That was the year the space shuttle Columbia broke up on re-entry, the first case of SARS, the Iraq war kicked off, the Governator took office in Calafornia and Concord retired.

There are usually two expansions (free!) per year. These usually contain fixes and improvements plus new content. Faction War itself came from one of these expansions.

As highlight above in "Community", when CCP gets something wrong the players do all they can to encourage CCP to put it right. With such a supportive fan-base, a company that actually listens to the players and fans and a constantly evolving and improving game..... I cannot see Eve Online going anywhere for a long time.

Conclusion 38/50

The scoring doesn't work!!!

When you break it down, you can see cracks in the game. Small issues, bugs, gameplay issues, they are there  like in any other game. However, there is no "other game" that compares to Eve. Look at the game as a whole and its amazing. It's a massive, player driven, open-universe sandbox.

So whilst if you look into just a small area of Eve Online, it looks to be nothing special. However, step back and look at the game as a whole..... it's awesome!

38/50? Bah, scoring fail!


Sorry Stan, my blog attempt doesn't work. I struggled with this one and I think it shows. After writing this, I now can see that you cannot break Eve Online down into 'areas'. What makes this game special is the whole game together and the community. And just to repeat, even with the problems, Eve Online is awesome!

Although not everyone thinks so.....


Other blogs on this -

The Rollercoaster Thrill Ride that is Eve Online, with Cookies, Review by Rixx Javix @ EVEOGANDA
Why EvE Wins by Shalee Lianne @ Living a Lie
The Entire Wormhole That Eve Is by Harrigan Vonstudly @ Gun Turret Diplomacy
EVE Online Community Review by Drackarn @ Sand, Cider and Spaceships
EVE is what the player makes of it by tgl3 @ Through Newb Eyes
Challenge Accepted by Jace Errata @ Year of the Snake
Reviewing EVE Online by Urziel @ Urziel's EVE Chronicle
The Difference is... by Mike Azariah @ Missioneer in EVE
Attempting the impossible by Sessym @ Rants from New Eden
Community Review by Eelis @ The One That Writes (Drack - MY GOD! SHE'S ALIVE!)


  1. This is a great review. Honest and positive without being too "fanboi".

    I think your scoring system does work. 38/50 doesn't seem unreasonable and most people agree there is room for improvement in EVE. Your score reflects that accurately.

    Also, that Escapist review is hilarious and I can't help agreeing with many of his points.

  2. 1. PvE = player vs environment
    2. Yahtzee is one of the few reviewers I follow closely. He is bashing everything around even in games that he likes. He puts his finger down a sore wound, takes it out, licks it, dips it into salt then chilli and then dips it into the wound more and twists with his review. You cannot say that new players are drawn towards Eve like flies to fly-paper.

    There is no motivation inherent to Eve that makes you want to climb that learning curve. Not if you get in this solo. And you shall say "well Eve is a MMO yada yada yada". Well duh, it is, but at the moment it seems like a pyramidal scheme in which only people that are willing to listen to all the stuff their Eve-insane-friend has to say about the game and become open minded and willing to tackle the learning curve.

    This is Eve's problem. Instead of being only a "friends and family" game, it should have a part in the introduction at least that motivates the fresh player to want to join the family.

    Something like this:
    New EvE = -> .

    This would bring fresh meat. Eve only has and as categories. The first is abused (scamming, killing, can flipping, etc, etc), the second is abusing itself (scamming, killing, can flipping, etc, etc).

    No, this would not ruin Eve if done properly. Question is, does CCP know how to do this after so many years of developing something meant to be a niche game?

    Don't get me wrong, I love the game. But I wouldn't like to see it dieing.

  3. Blog ate my words.

    Twas supposed to be New EvE = average MMO draw-in stuff -> EvE as it is today, meaning an introductory part that would ignite the fire that burns in most of EvE's players now. NPE was a good first baby step, EvE needs a lot more than that.

    Second thingie ate by blog was that Eve only has cannon fodder and veterans as player categories.

    Also, quite funny that people that usually write so well, in these "reviews" they write something that sounds like the composition they had to write in 3rd grade about why they love their mother ^.^