I have never talked about my Eve experience. It's not a ‘I’ve been so traumatized I can’t’ kind of silence, it's just never come up which may be inexcusable given my love of the sanbox. I played for approximately six months, and I was a dual-boxing, multiple account holder. I won’t get into what I did, specifically but I did try to sample every aspect of the game except for large fleet wars and faction battles. Remember, too, when I say ‘I played’ I mean it was the only game (mmo or otherwise) that I played for six months straight while I was (mostly) unemployed. I’m no expert but I did rack up a few hours. Right so, let’s get started with baseline Sandbox Scoring exercise!
Eve Online: The Sandbox Challenge Scoring
Learning Curve: 3.5/5
There is a handy story arc (introductory missions) which ensure you can come to grips with the basics quite quickly. Eve benefits from a plethora of forums which talk about load-outs, mission running, pvp...you name it- it's there. In-game there is a help channel as well. It does, however, take some time to learn what he hell is really going and you can lose a lot of ships along the way. There is nothing overly hard about learning the basics though prospering will take some time, patience, and research.
Online Community 2.0/5
Before the hackles go up on any die-hard Eve-fanatics out there let me just state that I realize Eve allows for, and encourages griefing, scamming, paranoia, corp-thefts, piracy, lying, deception, and ganking. I’m on board with all of that, trust me. It’s one of the reasons I decided to play, but just because I like it, and it’s part of the game doesn’t make it nice. Or right.
The Eve community sucks. Many players view you as content, pure and simple. I’m not bothered by pirates, or even gankers, but the endless spamming of crap-scams in general chat (who falls for that I wonder), and the constant paranoia, and worry that some jerk is trying to trick you gets a little old after awhile. It can be fun, but you really do have to have a thick skin, or learn to join in. “It’s all part of the game” is very reminiscent of “we were only doing our jobs”.
It’s not the fact that these thing are allowed, it’s how they are embraced and used by some (I did say some) of the community that drags this score down. Unfortunately the few really nice people I met are overshadowed by the fact I was:
A. Getting scammed/ganked/tricked/robbed/lied to/or bullied by a few jerks OR
B. Trying to scam/grief/gank them myself.
Hey, what did you expect? If you can’t find a solution, become part of the problem, right? You will note I have the Suddenly Ninja’s blog on my roll so you should have seen it coming. Just like in Eve.......things aren’t what they appear to be. Still, the community sucks. My final answer.
Freedom of Expression 5/5
Arguably the most important aspect of a sandbox-style game: are you truly free to pursue your own path?
In Eve the answer is a resounding yes. You can really do whatever you want. Piracy, faction wars, pvp, pve missions, production, resource gathering, exploration, worm holes, research, fake insurance scams, vacuum sales, or the old ‘Hey boss, I’ve tarmaced your drive so that’s 80 Euro, so’ scam (sorry if you don’t get that reference- it’s an Irish Traveller scam)- it’s all possible. As long as you are happy to do it all from inside a space ship you are free to choose your path- no doubt about it.
Player driven: by the players, for the players. Players gather the material which make the stuff, which get used up in the day-to-day play of the game. Monopolies, economics, supply-demand.....very realistic, and absolutely brilliant.
It’s an integral part of the economy, and you can make a lot of things, but it’s not too terribly interesting or complex. Get the plan, submit it for ‘production’. That is all. The difficulty in finding stations to do research in, and the time it takes is a big draw back to that aspect.
You shoot stuff, it dies. Simple. There are avenues for solo pvp, group pvp, ganking, piracy, faction wars, pve mission, ratting.... there is a lot to do and different zones (secs) to do it in. Nothing too spectacular (its combat in space after all) but a decent combat system none-the-less with different styles catered for (guns, missiles, stealth, speed, armour, etc).
To be honest I can’t really remember much about it. I don’t think it either bad, or exceptional so I’ve given it an above average to be safe.
I decided I’d stop playing eve for a few days to let some skills develop and I never went back. Ever. I found it easy to walk away because Eve isn’t very immersive. You know you are playing a game. You may think it’s a cool game, and there is a lot to do, but you never feel truly immersed in the world. From the spam-scam’s, to the trash talk, to the trolls, it’s all about playing the ‘game’ and not being in any specific world. You can lose yourself, I found, in the depths of a wormhole, while ratting in low sec, or while chasing someone you’ve got aggro on, but ultimately the immersion is only average.
Eve looks nice. I won't argue that but it's set in space so really,what can I say? It's space. Not very exciting really. There are stars, and planets, and what-not, but it's not overly unique or interesting. You can explore your ass off and everything still looks the same. The background lore isn't anything we haven't seen in a million sci-fi movies or books. Nothing too compelling, but not bad.
This may not make sense given the high scores in freedom, economy, and crafting. I know this category is subjective but I had to ask myself: If eve is a lot of fun, why aren't you still playing it? I had some fun in eve, but not a lot. I spent an inordinate amount of time looking for pvp and staring at asteroids while mining. Was it fun? Ya, some of it was but overall, it was only just above average which is why I could walk away from it and never think on it again (up until now of course).
If I had joined Red v Blue or participated in faction battles I likely would have had more fun, but I didn't. I flew solo for most of it and in the end Eve is a great sandbox with a complex, player driven economy, and it also allows for complete freedom of choice and action. It is not very immersive, has a generic setting, a ruthless community, and the fun factor didn't last much past six months.
Eve Final Score:73%
That, as they say, is that. I hope this will give you a good idea about how I tend to look at games and that this will make the rest of my Sandbox Challenge scores easier to understand. The only drawback is writing this (and reading Paul Clavettes’ blog) has made me want to go back and taste some of those precious care-bear tears, or re-activate my corporate infiltrator alt account and score some fast cash off some trusting noobs...................see, I told you the community sucked :)