Captain’s Log – Star date March 17th 2009:
So the good ship Thoughtshake’s continuing mission to pass judgment upon the massively multiplayer online role playing game that is Eve Online is staggering on in a rather drunken meander. Ships have been plundered, asteroids mined and I, the brave captain Galactic Jim, have completed many missions for my corporate overlords.
In my travels I had completed various missions that, I assume, were intended to introduce me to the various features Eve has to offer. After completing three mission ‘arcs’ I decided that mining and construction were not for me. Mining in Eve is tedious, two clicks and I would have a cargo of rock ready to be reprocessed and sold for a fairly meagre sum of cash. Construction was beyond me, I wasn’t nearly qualified and earning the skills to start would take longer than the kessel run on foot. Blowing other ships into a million broken bits seemed more like my cup of tea.
So in my attempt to boost my piloting skills I contacted a chap who wanted me to go kill some pirates. The pirates killed me with ease. As spectacular as seeing my ship explode into a mass of floating rubble is, I felt cheated. Getting a mission is easy, all you need to do is be in a station with a contact offering a task that you think you can complete. However, while bouncing around the universe killing things I found it easy to get lost on the story track, I found myself on missions I was too weak for. The explanation given at the start of a missions were lacking somewhat, the story seemed to alienate me, it threw me to the mercy of my bank balance.
The game fails to make the level of quest I should be on obvious to me. I don’t want to be studying how to complete a mission, I should be able to decide how tough my quest will be at a glance; something that World of Warcraft manages a hell of a lot better than Eve Online. McMananus, my wow character, knows instantly that a quest highlighted in red will be fairly difficult to complete while a yellow quest will be completed as soon as I can be bothered to go and dispatch my charge. Personally I cant see the more complex aspects of Eve Online being hurt by making the game just a little more user friendly when it comes to the basics like questing.
Frustrated with the lack of direction the game had left me with I decided to ‘pimp my ride’ buying repair modules and bigger cannons. Despite huge guns, thick armour and powerful shields I was overpowered. I can’t seem to turn the situation around. It has become boring. I cant see a way of continuing without logging in once every 24 hours to choose the skills I want upgraded. If I was to part with a monthly fee I would expect the game to be more fun. Action and excitement, maybe? Sadly all the beauty and complex social experimentation in the world can’t make up for the lack of fun I’m having with this game.
I quit, angry that the game wasn’t spoon feeding me as WOW had, but reflecting on the my game experiences I decided that I was glossing over some of the important game functions. I had just started training anything that would fit into my 24 hour research limit rather than skills I would actually need to progress as a fighter pilot. I had taken missions from anyone and everyone, all worryingly wanting some green rookie to throw at the pirate rats that infest countless systems, not a thought about my survival. EVE was dragging me into the story, even if the NPCs were boring and didn’t make your work for them seem personal or important.
A few days passed by without eve and suddenly something hit me. I was craving EVE like some kind of sick addiction. I needed to play. I want a huge ship. I want to be rich! I take it all back, flying around space with no real clue as to what I’m supposed to be doing is fun! So while the daily downtime (11:00 – 12:00 GMT) kept me away from the game I planned my new career as a miner visiting websites with hints, tips and guides. The community support in eve is excellent, but I guess that’s what you get with a game that relies so heavily on player cooperation.
Ready to play the in game stock market with mountains of ore and loot, I finally decided to come and finish this episode of captains log. Counting down the minutes till I can play again. Help me. The study I was refusing to undertake with the game earlier in the week now just seems like an added depth to the game. I cant wait to jump back in. The ease and simplicity of WOW now feels like a toy, something I might pick up for half an hour but get bored with too easily.
This game has actually convinced me, as much as I hate it, I will be buying at least a months play instead of WOW. I suggest you give it a go too, however be careful not to get addicted. It seems like WOW is to crack as EVE to heroin. Until I can kick the habit my monthly sum will be disappearing in to the north and CPP.
That’s all I can think about right now. Next week I will be taking a look at the various professions and Corporations, telling you why I hate them and then probably why I cant live without them.