I have been hopelessly addicted to EVE online the past week.
You always hear about it, maybe you download the trial and decide you are too "lost in space" to get a grip on things, but this time, I payed money for it; I bought the game and expansions on Steam for 6 bucks which gave me 30 days of time. I was determined to get my moneys worth.
To put it simply; EVE is the most ambitious multiplayer game I have ever seen. It takes the idea of the MMO and puts it into overdrive. And after playing it, I am absolutely uninterested in trying any other MMO out there for the simple reason that they don't do what EVE does.
I'm something of a science fiction geek, but I prefer the realistic kind. I'm more about the "what ifs", science fiction set in a realistic universe; worlds that may actually exist one day. I had my time with Star Wars, Star Control is one of my favorite games of all time, but overall, as I get older space fantasy is beginning to lose some of its charm. EVE online is chock full of fantasy in many ways, but it is the activities you are doing, the focus on the human race and the progress they have made which excites me. EVE is a game about possibilities, about wonder, and quite literally about living a second life; one with all the cutthroat and brutal rules which the real world abides by, and that is a fact I find incredibly intriguing.
In EVE, the focus is not on leveling; in fact, the only way you really do this is in learning new skills, but that process basically takes care of itself. You can even set everything to learn while you are away, and quite often it is required; I have already reached a level where some of the skills I am wanting to learn will literally take days to finish, and some of the later ones apparently take weeks. The struggle for EVE, then, is money. And much like in the real world, there are dozens of ways to make it, though the greatest barrier for new players are the pirates and pilferers of EVE who will take it at any cost, including human life.
Now, so far, I have been lucky. I've spent some time mining alone in deep space, but have never had anyone come for me. All this means is that it hasn't happened yet, but it is an inevitabl outcome of the game. I absolutely love this because it makes every journey a cautious one; I will never forget to insure a new ship, will always be careful about where I am going, and with what. EVE has very little in game restrictions, and even scamming people out of their precious ISK is legal by the games terms and conditions. A lot of people will find this unfair; but that is life in deep space, and EVE does everything it can to preserve that reality. It is a game for the hard hearted, for those who can accept loss along with gain - or loss in lieu of it.
Because of that, it's hard to consider EVE a "game". Certainly it is; it was designed to act as a vehicle for fun, but the fun is in the immersion, in the ability to escape into a science fiction world not of our own, but which is familiar enough that we feel comfortable with its rules. EVE is a lot more intuitive than people have led on in the past. I was able to gain a rudimentary understanding of the mechanics fairly early on, and though there is still a great deal I do not understand, it has been pretty easy to fit the pieces together. Rather than being concerned with character builds, equipment, and levels, the question I have had many in the newbie chat channel ask is "what do you want to DO in EVE?" EVE is centered around career paths, though no character is limited to one. There are specialists out there who build specific career characters very quickly by focusing only on the skills they need to do so, but you could realistically be proficient in anything; although you'd eventually have to focus on something in order to effective in raking in precious, precious ISK.
I can certainly see why the game is not for everyone; I am still not sure it's for me, but in the fifteen or so hours I have invested I have been having a blast. It keeps pulling me back in even when I want to play something else. "Just one more mission" or "one more mining run" has been enough to keep me up until three AM getting lost in its world.
Overall, it's been a great experience so far, and I am excited to finally finish the near endless tutorial missions and really get into the meat of the game. I just wanted to share my experience with it so far.