Excel 2007 Eve Online: What People Don’t Get

king_of_the_monsters_gen_screenshot1Kate of the Monsters has contributed to our site in the past, which is a shame, because her contributions are usually fat turds.  Then again, anybody who lowers themselves to submit their writing to our site probably deserves to have their brains dashed out on the corner of an old Intellivision.  In the case of Kate of the Monsters, she’s probably got more brains than most, because she spends a great deal of her time playing Eve Online — according to this article, at least.  We all know, though, that girls don’t exist on the Internet, so her whole article is clearly just a lie.  Join me in welcoming Kate in her sophomore effort here at WeHateVideoGames, and when I mean welcome, I mean open your butts and empty your guts, because you’re about to get a whole helluva lot of Eve talk.  ~Dr. Rance Quest Magnum

AW YEEAAAAAH BOY.  SPACE.

AW YEEAAAAAH BOY. SPACE.

Eve Online, a space-exploration-themed MMOG, is hardly new. Preparing to celebrate its 10th anniversary, Eve Online debuted a year before World of Warcraft, right around the MMORPG battle of 2004, became a whisper among gamers. Despite this, the game has an intensely loyal fan base and developers that refuse to stop releasing free expansions around every six months.

I’m not here to tell you how awful or amazing Eve Online is. There are ten years of reviews to tell you that. I’m here to tell all the people who quit Eve Online, of which there is an astounding number, what you didn’t get about this game.

(Editor’s Note: I tried Eve Online and quit an hour into it after I couldn’t perform linguistic algebraic algorithms while twisting my asshole into a pretzel shape.  Look, I might be borderline brain-dead, but you gotta be smart in a game that turns flying from point A to point B into an act as difficult as beating COSMI’s Aztec Challenge, and I don’t make the smart-smart real good.)

Eve breaks the mold of the typical hack-and-slash RPG.  Its action takes place entirely in space, piloting ships and traveling warp-speed through fields of stars.  Before we get too much into it, though, let’s start off noting some of the notably different things it does.

Welcome to the riveting world of Eve: Online.  It's like Excel without all the fun.

Welcome to the riveting world of Eve Online. It’s like Excel without all the fun.

Eve is Level-Less: Eve offers a character system completely devoid of levels and classes. Achievement is determined by skill points and isk (the in-game monetary unit). This completely eliminates the problem that every MMORPG faces: end-game content. It literally takes years to master one profession in Eve, of which there are at least a dozen to arguably choose from.

The Universe is a Variable Sandbox: Most MMORPGs focus on an epic, arching story for the players to follow so they can beat up a big boss in the end. In Eve, the universe, economy, and environment is determined by the players; thus, areas of space can be owned by players, be destroyed by players, and the market fluctuates not unlike the real-life financial situation we hear about on the news and don’t understand a fucking word of. That means whatever you do matters and has a cumulative effect on the world, instead of getting the same crappy shit and taking the same crappy screenshot when you beat the same crappy boss as everyone else.

PLEX: PLEX, or Pilot License Extension, is something the likes of which I wish other games would do. As Eve does require a monthly subscription, it gives players the option that, when they make more isk than they know what to do with, that they can spend a lot of isk to get a PLEX, which extends the account for one month. In other words, you can use in-game money to pay for your subscription and therefore, it can be played for free.

It's a shame this all boils down to being just a big still picture on your screen.

It’s a shame this all boils down to being just a big still picture on your screen.

Crazy Character Customization: By far, this is the most in-depth, specific character creation I have ever seen. Period. In the past, when I’ve taken breaks from Eve, I’ve still used the character creator to help design and visualize characters in my writing.

So, those are some awesome things about Eve, right?

But wait a minute.  These are also all the reasons why Eve sucks.  Let’s revisit that list one more time.

Eve is Level-Less:  For the new player, a classless, leveless system translates into, “What the hell. What am I supposed to do. No quests, no guidance. Just me in a hangar with a floating turd for a ship that everyone says sucks and I don’t even know why. Whatever, this game is for the birds.”

The Universe is a Variable Sandbox: This means that when you start a character, everyone else is astronomically better at everything than you. They probably scratch their balls better than you do. They’ve gotten the Ball Scratching skillbook and trained it to Level 5. So you buy the book, to get awesome at it, right?  Oh, wait. It’ll take a month to train it up. Welcome to the universe of Eve Online.

(Editor’s Note: There are iPhone apps out there that allow you to monitor your leveling while you’re away from the black hole called Eve.  These apps will scream at you randomly in the middle of the day to tell you you’ve improved a skill up.  They will also get you beaten senseless.)

PLEX: There is no way in titty-twisting hell you will make enough money any time in Eve to afford this. Don’t worry, though.  All your friends that you’ll meet, they will.  Some will give you a PLEX out of pity. They work to support my laziness. Best game I ever played.

Crazy Character Customization: Yes, it’s awesome, but too bad that you never see your body. All you get to see is your portrait when you look at your character sheet, so that hour you just spent making sure you looked awesome was just for a JPEG. Enjoy your game.

Still, these are the typical things most Eve players complain about. The truth is, Eve is miserable for new players (great job, CCP, making it basically impossible to enjoy the game the first month). Eve is also miserable if you like to solo. Of course, there’s a lot of good things about Eve that I’m about to get into. Most of these cool things you can’t even enjoy without a team of other players to help you. Other MMOs can arguably (key word: arguably) be played alone from start to finish; Eve, you’ll get pretty much nowhere without a group (also known as a corporation).

Amongst all this sludge, what did the players miss? There’s got to be some reason why there are some 300,000+ active subscriptions. And there is, but most people just miss it.

(Editor’s note:  I’ve chosen to stay away from most games that require advanced knowledge of dark material science and a degree in galactic economics, but please, tell me why I shouldn’t!)

Pretty visuals don't matter in Eve.  Really.  They're just aesthetic additions.

Pretty visuals don’t matter in Eve. Really. They’re just aesthetic additions.

Games like this are roleplaying games, but no one really thinks about what that means. Most games have you pick a class and a race and there you’re off to do the same crap everyone else does. Eve allows you to create a character and be what you want to be outside of most limitations or triad class organizations.

Want to be a pirate and blow up other players for no reason? Go for it. CCP won’t interfere. Want to control a commodity and make people beg for something only you can make in the system? Enjoy yourself. Eve lets the player figure out what they can do and then be the biggest piece of crap about it. You know that miserable moment in any MMORPG, when you’ve dumped a week’s worth of time in a class and start to hate it? In Eve, you don’t have to start over; you simply change what skills you’re training. Miss blowing up ships a year later? Go back and train what you were doing. There’s no need to start over.  All it takes is some patience to figure out what’s fun.

Beyond the character customization, filling a role happens primarily based on how you outfit your ship.  In Eve, you are a capsuleer. Think The Matrix without all that philosophical glasses-without-arms bullshit.  You’re plugged into a capsule. You don’t pilot your ship with a crew. Your capsule plugs in and you become your ship. So that’s cool all by itself. That means, if you are your ship, that you need to “fit” your ship with awesome crap. Fitting is the same as the character sheet where all your armor is kept.

tumblr_lmkvs030C31qzjku9o1_500

Everything has fancy names, like Damage Control, and Railguns, and Web Stabilizers and Afterburners.  Everything that fits on a person’s ship is the same goddamn thing that it is on any other MMO. Lasers, railguns, missile launchers? They’re your swords, staves, and daggers. Then there’s things like Afterburners (translation: go faster), Webifiers (translation: make enemies go slower), Capacitor Batteries (translation: make sure guns never stop shooting), just as examples. Those are your buffs and debuffs. Lastly, there’s Armor and Shield Repairers (heals the ship), Damage Control (adds resistances), Shield and Armor Hardeners (adds HP to the ship). These things are your armor and healing spells. Any combination of these modules can do a number of things: it can make you a god in PvE fights; it can make you the misery of every player industrialist as you blow them up before they know you’re there. All ships are customizable to be whatever you need them to be (though some are definitely designed for one thing over the other).

Oh, and did I mention?  Eve is a pretty massive sausage fest.

Of all games, Eve Online has the smallest female player-base of any game ever made ever [repetition intentional]. The majority of Eve players are either active or retired military, comp-sci nerds or, the worst of them all, Star Wars and Star Trek (specifically the latter) fans. These areas are known for having a smaller female population than males.  Don’t believe that Eve is mostly just people with dicks?  Let me give you an example.

Most Evenings end like this.

Most Evenings end like this.

Some gaming websites have reported that World of Warcraft is played by 35% women and 65% men. A nice ratio of about one woman to every two men, which is progress in the gaming world.

Eve Online? 5% women to 95% men in 2006. That’s one woman to 19 men. I’m pretty sure it hasn’t improved, based on the OMG YOU’RE A GIRL reactions I still get.

(Editor’s Note: It’s surprising she’s gotten those reactions.  Unfortunately, she’s Italian, like Keith Courage, so bodily odor and ass-smell are her go-to personal aromas.)

That means that if you’re looking for time away from the wife, and you just want to play a game without a cornucopia of whiners, you will have better luck in Eve Online. The developers don’t give a crap if your ship gets blown up. Hell, the developers don’t give a crap if a player figures out a way to make your day unpleasant on a regular basis. It’s a sandbox, gentlemen. Get out your Tonka trucks and big boy underwear.

Guys. Eve Online is to nerds what nerds are to normal people.

Eve Online attracts the biggest dick-cheeses this side of humanity. Its more successful capsuleers are jerks. That makes the player-base in itself wholly paranoid of being robbed, ganked, destroyed, podded (when not only your ship is destroyed, but so is your capsule, effectively killing you any implants you installed to boost your stats), spied on, and otherwise tormented. But that in itself makes it an interesting game. New Eden is not a safe place to be and it encourages players to seek revenge, to build massive structures and defend them with their virtual lives.

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This is suspiciously like a real life job. That I’m paying for.  And you can have a real life job in a video game that you pay for, too!

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