Why we play Eve-Online. Great New York Times article all about it.

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In an Ever-Changing Galaxy, the Action’s Starting to Get Intriguing
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A screenshot of a preliminary design from a new version of the science-fiction game Eve Online that will be announced today.

One of the strengths of an online computer game is that what you see when it first appears is not necessarily what you get if you pick it up years later.

With most media, of course, precisely the opposite is true. The content of a novel’s ninth printing is the same as the first. Likewise, it is considered sacrilege for a painter to lay so much as a drop of pigment on a work once it leaves the studio. “Remastered” is a common marketing hook in the music business, but ultimately that version of “Crosstown Traffic” on the umpteenth Jimi Hendrix compilation is much the same as the rendition that hit the airwaves four decades ago.

Online games are different. Inhabited by thousands or even millions of players, online worlds are constantly evolving, and not merely because of the ever-changing cast of characters within them. For their customary fee of $15 a month, players of what are called massively multiplayer games expect developers to add new features and rebalance old ones constantly.

That process of continual refinement has never been so effective as it has been for Eve Online, the science-fiction game first opened to the public by CCP of Iceland in May 2003. More than four years after its debut, when most games are either a distant memory or provoking burnout among longtime players, Eve is only now hitting its stride as one of the most interesting games in the world.

After all, what other game has a Ph.D. economist on the staff who publishes a quarterly newsletter about the game’s virtual economy? What other game recently announced plans for an elected player council with ideas drawn from philosophers from Aristotle to John Rawls?

Eve takes place in a fictional galaxy in a far future, where humanity has splintered into four competing factions, the theocratic Amarr, the militaristic Caldari, the liberal Gallente and the rebel Minmatar. Players choose a side and find their own path.

With its formidable depth, complexity and Kilimanjaro-like learning curve, Eve will never rival World of Warcraft and its nine million customers for mass-market appeal. But at a stage when most games have long since stagnated, Eve continues to grow, recently passing 200,000 subscribers. Today, CCP plans to announce a major graphics overhaul scheduled for Dec. 5. Just this past Sunday, Eve set a record for any game when it recorded 37,729 simultaneous players in its common virtual universe.

Explaining that statistic should go a long way toward explaining what makes Eve unique.

In most online games, players are split among dozens or even hundreds of identical copies of the game world, known as servers. Each server generally has a total population of around 10,000 players. In World of Warcraft, for instance, the game’s roughly 2.5 million United States customers are divvied up among about 220 servers. At any given moment, each server has at most only a few thousand users actually playing the game. (People do have real-world obligations, after all, like sleeping.)

Moreover, in most games users are segregated according to language and nationality. Because the total population of each server is so small, it is vital to provide a critical mass of players who speak the same language and play in common time zones.

In many ways Eve is more like the real world. All 200,000 of Eve’s players exist in one huge virtual galaxy spanning thousands of solar systems. About 40 percent of Eve’s players are European, another 40 percent are North American, and about 20 percent are from other continents. They all share one polyglot community around the clock, and at any moment tens of thousands of users are logged on.

More important, the economy and politics of Eve are almost entirely driven by the players themselves. Miners drill asteroids and sell their ore to industrialists who construct spaceships and weapons at orbital factories. Industrialists then sell their wares to vast fighting forces that battle for control of entire regions of space. Other players make their living as full-time traders, scrupulous or otherwise. If another player cheats you, you can take it lying down, retaliate on your own or hire mercenaries to exact revenge.

“There are basically two schools of thought for operating an online community,” Hilmar Petursson, CCP’s chief executive, said in a telephone interview yesterday.

“There is the theme-park approach and the sandbox approach,” he continued. “Most games are like Disneyland, for instance, which is a carefully constructed experience where you stand in line to be entertained. We focus on the sandbox approach where people can decide what they want to do in that particular sandbox, and we very much emphasize and support that kind of emergent behavior.”

The most compelling aspect of Eve is that once players control a region of virtual space, they bear the responsibility of policing it, setting taxes, establishing diplomatic relations with neighboring groups and waging battles to protect their territory or take more. In most online games, the advanced content involves getting together with a few dozen friends to battle computer-controlled dragons and demons. In Eve, major battles involve hundreds of players fighting in starships in vast “Star Wars”-like firefights.

At the strategic level, coalitions involving tens of thousands of players struggle for months over strategic objectives or simply to wipe out their enemies. For at least a year the most powerful group in Eve has been an alliance known as Band of Brothers, a self-appointed evil empire with the stated objective of taking over the galaxy. Against them is arrayed a motley batch of self-styled freedom fighters with names like the Red Alliance (mostly Russian), Tau Ceti Federation (mostly French), GoonSwarm (mostly obnoxious) and the Interstellar Alcohol Conglomerate (mostly drunk).

As in any war, propaganda can be as formidable a weapon as a gun. Earlier this year a scandal erupted in which a CCP employee in Band of Brothers (known far and wide as BOB) was found to have improperly given his group technical blueprints that could have helped decide the war.

GoonSwarm, however, turned the incident to its side’s advantage by using the scandal to undermine confidence in the legitimacy of BOB’s achievements. Since then, BOB has lost vast swaths of in-game territory and remains on the defensive.

“We did a survey in our database at the point of the controversy, and it turned out there were actually more CCP employees in GoonSwarm than in BOB,” Mr. Petursson said yesterday. “What happened first and foremost was that the controversy created demoralization within BOB and a downward spiral because they started to doubt themselves and the legitimacy of their achievements. GoonSwarm’s P.R. campaign was effective in creating this impression, and a lot of people left BOB, I think, because of this idea. And kudos to GoonSwarm for having good P.R.”

After all, that’s Eve.

Eve-Online

source
 
Soldato
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Interesting article. Good to see one of the better MMORPGS out there getting the press / publicity it deserves :)
 
Soldato
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God, I so wish it was a bit easier. I prob. would come back, seems so much like work for me though. How long does your charecter stay in the world though, just incase no games come out I want to play.
 
Soldato
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God, I so wish it was a bit easier. I prob. would come back, seems so much like work for me though. How long does your charecter stay in the world though, just incase no games come out I want to play.

No characters have been deleted yet afaik due to inactivity :)
 
Soldato
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Hmm, I couldn't get into X3 cause of the steep learning curve. Is this worse than that? Seems like.....
 
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Red Alliance (mostly Russian), Tau Ceti Federation (mostly French), GoonSwarm (mostly obnoxious) and the Interstellar Alcohol Conglomerate (mostly drunk).
:D
 
Soldato
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I had not used my char for over two years - its still there - reused it last weekend, so i think they keep them a while.

The hardest part of the game i found was the lack of end game as in WOW, this is more a sim game and if you realise that, you have great fun. Sure there are missions and runs you can do, but unlike other games, you dont have to do them, you can do trade runs all the time and makes isks, go mine and make isks, mine and make ships to sell to make...well, you get the idea...

Lovely game, takes about 5 days solid playing 12-15 hours to understand everything, imo, but its a very fun time and when the penny drops on things, its wonderful.

Give it a go, 14 days free i think it has now, enough time to learn and play.

Colin - out of wow, into eve... frying pan and fire?
 
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I had not used my char for over two years - its still there - reused it last weekend, so i think they keep them a while.

The hardest part of the game i found was the lack of end game as in WOW, this is more a sim game and if you realise that, you have great fun. Sure there are missions and runs you can do, but unlike other games, you dont have to do them, you can do trade runs all the time and makes isks, go mine and make isks, mine and make ships to sell to make...well, you get the idea...

Characters are never deleted. The way i look at Eve is that stuff such as capitals are the "end-game" in a non-traditional way.

The whole sandbox aspect of Eve is what keeps me playing though, especially in regards to space control etc, theres just nothing in any other MMO that can match it.

edit: w00t IAC got mentioned in that article \o/ go us :p
 
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Commissario
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Hmm, I couldn't get into X3 cause of the steep learning curve. Is this worse than that? Seems like.....

I have no idea, I've never touched X3 but the learning curve on Eve is very steep. But the new user experience is a good tutorial and does get you through that initial jag very well.

If you are interested, I'd suggest waiting until the end of next week because there's a massive patch due next Wednesday where the new graphics engine is being rolled out along with a load of extra content and changes. Wait for them to hit. With Eve, all patches/updates are compulsary and free.
 

Mp4

Mp4

Soldato
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interested stats there for eve i played it along time ago when (planetside) was out at beta but apart from that never bothered as i found it too hard to get in to.

i take it the OCUK eve clan is still very popular?
 
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Caporegime
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I miss the game so much its the best game I've ever played, but to progress and enjoy the game to its maximum potential is just 'meh'.

Freinds from RKK left to join Outbreak they say its 10 times more fun. Because POS wars ain't fun kids.
 
Soldato
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Could see the potential. But it bored my socks off and really wasnt in the mood for learning it. Seemed very social, dont know whether thats good or bad.
 
Soldato
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The hardest part of the game i found was the lack of end game as in WOW, this is more a sim game and if you realise that, you have great fun. Sure there are missions and runs you can do, but unlike other games, you dont have to do them, you can do trade runs all the time and makes isks, go mine and make isks, mine and make ships to sell to make...well, you get the idea...

It depends on how you define end game I guess. No MMORPG should ever end, really, its business model critical :)
Eve's end game is 0.0 space and what you do out there. Its where the game transitions from being just a boring old grind into an ever changing experience.
In WOW (and Guild Wars, Everquest etc. etc.) all you've ever really achieved is minor inconveniences, nothing that directly impacts your day to day actions and very life in the game.

In Eve 0.0 space your every deed and action has a knock on impact on your corporation & alliance. You fight to control large swathes of territory, which has an impact on your income, your ships, the NPC Rats available to hunt, the complexes you have access to and so on, essentially every aspect of your entire lifestyle in the game is directly impacted by your corporation and alliances actions. I'm not aware of any other still active MMORPG where the end players have quite the same level of impact on the game as Eve.
 
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Soldato
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im guessing the mac and linux clients are as uptodate as the windows client?

you wont get the new gfx on linux or mac and from my personal experience windows frame rates on my macbook pro are orders of magnitude better than the os x client :(

when I tested it on sisi they didnt seem to bad, but actually on TQ and with the released client I find fps on os x crawls around 20fps where in the same situation i get over 100fps on windows
 
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