On the Eve of Eternity…

When an old friend tells me “I know your playing style, you’ll like this game,” the alarm bells kick off immediately (I have no interest in repeating the Travian debacle back in ’07). In this case, however, its because he was right and I’m wondering how I may integrate this into my life. Anyway, onto a game review…

First, the general summary:

Game: Eve Online
Owner: CCP (Iceland)
Type: MMO (subscription), Space-based, Player-driven, ‘Sandbox’ model
User content: Partial (story interaction & PvE/PvP, no actual new items generated)
Advancement: Skill learning /w RL timings, tied to equipment use
Currency/Economy: Yes (ISK), tied to RL currency indirectly, RL Market system (commodity-based)
Month-to-month Cost: US$15 per month in US, costs are in Euros everywhere else; Standard multi-month discounts. Can now buy time extentions on the Market with ISK.

I am currently under the 21-day trial invite that my friend sent me. Within the 3.5 days of playing so far I’ve accrued a net worth of about 2.2 Mil ISK (their currency), which long-term is small but has included a lot of equipment that could be usable for the long-term as well.

The current equipment list includes five low-end ships, one of which I’m eager to fly (cargo carrier – useful for mining) but one required skill can’t be learned by Trial accounts. Since the ship in question was given out as end rewards for (essentially) tutorial mission arcs, I find this maddening but understand all too well why they did it. After all, a good MMO should give enticements to stay; Eve has decided to do this by handing you very nice carrots, but no way to ‘eat’ them without a proper subscription. That’s a refreshing change (and one that’s working *sigh*).

I need to add/stress that in some respects, I’m still doing the Tutorial. The initial ‘bootstrapping’ took about four hours; Anyone with a WoW or SL/There background can probably get to a pause-point within two, and continue on at a leisurely pace afterward. There are *many* aspects of this game that are like the classic board game Othello – “Simple to learn, Lifetime to master.” Therefore you probably need to plan out reasonably quickly what you’d like to do here, and thankfully the starting mission groups do a reasonable job of ‘getting your feet wet’ on all the major job types. I completed two of the mission trees – Industrial and Business – with flying colors, but the Combat tree is making me wonder if I’m interested in completing it…

Their economy is, in a word, insane. Its effectively a full-blown (perhaps fully implemented!) Commodities market, down to Gantt charts and detailed tickers. It frightens me more than the combat does, but I suppose working in the Financial Sector for 14 years has left a few scars in that department. Very recently, a direct tie to RL currencies occurred, through the creation and selling of subscription extensions within their Market. With this action, in theory you can now legally buy and sell ISK for RL currencies (though there is no facility to ‘cash out’ – the benefit given when selling ISK is free game time). This makes it the second multi-user environment I know of that does this – Second Life was the first – and I’ll be watching to see how this new twist pans out. It will be very interesting to see what the going rates (in ISK) of a monthly time extension turns out to be.

Anyway, enough rambling for one post. Anyone on MystBlogs (or perhaps from SL-related feeds) who are looking for me there can look up the name ‘Alain Kinsella.’