Blanketed in stars and white

December 9, 2005 by Tim

You know those days, the ones where you wake up with a list of things you want to accomplish, thinking to yourself how you’ll be super-productive that day? And then you sit down to do something intending only to do it for an hour or so, and you wind up wasting the whole day on it? Yeah, yesterday was one of those days.

Fortunately I didn’t go it alone, as I was able to trick some sucker— erm, I mean, a friend of mine, into wasting the day as well. I find that if you’re going to be lazy, it helps ease the guilt if you make someone else be lazy as well.

What I sunk my whole day into yesterday was EVE which I’ve been trying the free trial for. I am very intrigued, and I’m not even sure why yet. The game isn’t quite as graphically flashy or intensive as maybe some other games are, but perhaps that’s part of the appeal for me.

But one thing is for certain. I have never played an MMO with a deeper, more complex gameplay system. It’s so complicated, in fact, that the tutorial takes like half a day to complete. I actually completed it over the course of three days. It’s very, very easy to become overwhelmed the instant your ship launches.

I imagine the prospect of captaining your own ship out into the vast reaches of space to carve out a niche for yourself in the galactic struggle for dominance would appeal to just about any man. Even though you never get out and walk around on foot in EVE, you still get to create a unique character portrait. And then you’re set loose with your newbie frigate to do what you can do.

Want to be a space pirate? Go for it. Focus on the necessary skills to get yourself an assault ship. Save of some credits and purchase and outfit your new rig and then head to the fringes of lawful space where you can be a highwayman on the many spacelanes of the galaxy, threatening and extorting cargo haulers and convoys. “Jettison your cargo or be destroyed”.

Hate pirates? Make your living as a bounty hunter, tracking down space pirates who have become a little bit too greedy.

Want to be rich and build your own space stations? Become a miner or a tradesman. Save up for a ship with a large cargo hold and outfit her with the best mining lasers and drones, so you can go harvest the precious minerals found in the asteroid belts around the galaxy. Hire gunships as escorts, or upgrade your thrusters to outrun pirates.

There are no “classes” really. You don’t choose “Space Pirate”. You just create your character to be an offensive fighter, and live the life of a pirate. Your character is what you make it.

I’ve got about a week left of my free-trial, and I’m still on the fence about whether or not I’ll become a full-time subscriber, but at the moment I am definitely enjoying the game. I can see how it wouldn’t be a game for everyone, though. If you care about “phat lewt” and “pwning noobs”, it’s not for you. You could do that quicker in Warcraft. Given EVE’s skill system, it would take an estimated 3 years to reach the equivelant of L60.

If you prefer simple, straightforward gameplay, a sort of “go here and do this and have fun” system, also probably not for you. EVE is more open ended. You have to make the choice for your style of play, and then how to best act it out.

It’s also a much more laid-back game. I think if you are the type of person that wants to sit down and just game for a couple hours straight, you may get frustrated. Space is vast, and travel times between systems can take a while, even at warp speed on auto-pilot. It’s very convenient for me, because I can forsee myself working on a comic, or accomplishing some other task during a particularly long series of jumps to my destination. If I had nothing else to do, I can see it getting boring sitting there watching your ship travel. And travel can be a fairly large part of the game, depending on your chosen profession.

I love World of Warcraft, but after a year of playing it off an on, and hitting L60 a couple of times, I’ve begun to get bored of the cartoony MMO. EVE is a refreshing break from that. I’m also looking forward to Vanguard for the same reason.

As I said, I’m still up in the air about whether I’ll play EVE long term. It could happen, or I could find the magic wears off in the next 7 days and I won’t bother. But if I do subscribe, I would consider starting a small Ctrl+Alt+Del corporation down the line. I’ve already met a lot of CAD fans in EVE (I never cease to be astonished how many of you there are anywhere I look), and it worked out well in World of Warcraft. Even though I stopped playing, the CAD guild is still going strong.

So I’ll let you know.

Oh yeah, and it’s snowing like gangbusters here in New Hampshire.

NFS: Most Wanted still rocks, but the Blacklist is becoming a bitch.

If they delay Dead or Alive 4 again, Hulk will smash.

Ctrl+Alt+Del is going animated, which will be included with CAD Premium next February.

Digital Overload. Come game with me in person.

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