Sunday, May 27, 2012

[Eve Online] Final Thoughts

The other day, I realized that I had not logged into Eve Online for a while. In fact, I was avoiding logging in. So I canceled my subscription. These are a couple of assorted thoughts on Eve.

Type of Thought

Eve's greatest strength--and greatest weakness--is that it "scratches a different itch" than the other MMOs. Eve is much more cerebral and strategic than most MMOs.  This is great if that is the type of game you are looking for, and not so great if it is not.

It kind of reminds me of my work. I'm a programmer/software dev by trade, and Eve sort of reminded me of programming. Not so much in terms of actual mechanics, but in terms of the type of thought that Eve takes. Which is fine, I do enjoy programming. But one of the things I found is that after coming home after eight hours of coding, I really preferred to do something else.

To be honest, I'm sort of surprised that Tobold doesn't like or play Eve. This strategic/tactical thinking and gameplay is what he is always espousing.

Graphics

You often see Eve partisans boast that Eve has great graphics. This statement has always bothered me. It is true ... and it is false.  I've finally figured out how to articulate my thoughts on this issue.

Eve does have good graphics. Your ships look very nice, and the stellar backdrops are excellent.

But if you look at most games, you have your character, other characters in the foreground, and the background. Eve only has your character and the background. The vast majority of the time, there is nothing truly visible in the foreground. Instead you're looking at the UI to identify and interact with elements in the game.

Like if you're in combat, in a game like TERA you'd be interacting with a giant monster and watching its animations. In Eve, you're shooting at a white box on your screen because the other ship is not really visible.

So Eve has good graphics, but those good graphics are irrelevant at the same time. The UI layout is far more important than the graphics engine in Eve. I rather think that Eve would be playable if the UI was on top of a completely black screen.

There are times when objects do come into the foreground. Like when you're docking at a space station, or when you pass by a fleet of ships at a jump point. Eve is extraordinarily pretty at those times. But those times are not normal.

Conclusions

I did like Eve. It was an interesting game and experience. If you are growing disenchanted with the current crop of WoW-like MMOs, and are looking for something different, I would give Eve a try.

11 comments:

Clockwork said...

Hit the nail on the head with the graphics section; one of the issues I always found with EVE is that I never really saw my opponent unless I zoomed to them. It may be more "realistic" but somehow made the game a little less enjoyable...I was somewhat able to fix it by flying an interceptor however.

I think it is TERA are well received; we'd rather react to that then the text box popping up and saying "Boss readies SMASH!" I think it is a matter of how "under the hood" we play the game. Some of us want to play the game looking at our avatar...others don't mind just watching the combat log or a list. The fact that EVE can be played mostly without ever taking your eyes off that list (with the exception of manually steering your ship) makes its graphics somewhat irrelevant.

The type of thought that drives EVE might be more to Tobold's liking but I think there are other aspects to the game that are not. The "always on" PvP does not sound like his style. Frankly I found EVE got boring after a while if you were in empire. Mining, mission running, station trading and those activities tended to bore after a while. 0.0 PvP and Piracy were fun, but playing them is playing on a knife's edge and I don't think that is as much his style.

Personally I think EVE is a good game. Albeit, it is not a good game for ME but that does not make it a bad game.

Jason Ambrye said...

I've flown missions (or rather, the latter 80% or so of missions) with my in-game graphics glitched out. The result: flying around and killing stuff just based on the overview, the targeted ships, and my ship control. Worked perfectly fine from a game/succes point of view. Looked even more boring than flying a mission usually does, and meant it was harder to fine-tune my flying by manual piloting (clicking in the star field).

So yes, the (pretty) graphics are mostly optional.

dOxxxicle said...

If you've ever read the Honor Harrington books, the space combat in that reminds me (somewhat) of EVE. It's very abstracted, the characters hardly ever have visual contact with their enemies because battles are fought at hundreds of thousands of kilometers. All the action lies in the "plots" -- the holographic displays of ship positions and all the action going on around them, missiles etc. In other words, the "UI" *is* the center of everyone's attention.

Maybe for some ship types in EVE, the UI should consume more of the screen space to show a more tactically useful view of the space around them.

Anonymous said...

Eve = Excel online

Rohan said...

@dOxxxicle, that's an interesting idea. I wonder if Eve would work better if you played it in a zoomed out, "plot" overview, rather than the standard 1st/3rd person view.

dOxxxicle said...

That sort of view depends very much on a specific style of combat. It works in the books because of the way the author has setup the physics, which is fairly realistic given a few assumptions about technological capabilities. I haven't played EVE for very long (just the 2 week trial) but there was still a certain aspect of the "dogfight" to combat. Maybe that changes with larger capital ships.

Still, maybe as a separate view mode it could be useful to some players.

Clockwork said...

@dOxxicle

In my experience the smaller ships (frigates and cruisers) can do the dogfight thing and transverse velocity to your enemy (which often requires manual piloting) is important. Heavier ships like battlecruisers/ships tended to feel more like the Honor Harrington books you described.

Though now that you brought it up I think it would be cool if they did a system of a "plot" like you said...have some sort of holographic looking overlay that represents the ships you are fighting larger than they are to make it easier to see. Sort of like Battlefleet Gothic (the tabletop game).

dOxxxicle said...

I imagined it looking something like a 3D version of an air traffic control display.

serpentinelogic said...

It's called Tactical View and it's available as a button on your HUD.

Tobold Stoutfoot said...

I like EVE - the game. I hate EVE - the community. Would you want to live in a neighborhood which organizes an annual event to harass and beat up innocents?

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