“A gaming universe as vast and unique as EVE Online is constantly evolving and the experience is different for every participant. Conventional games review techniques cannot possibly hope to provide an accurate measure of every aspect of EVE’s gameplay. However, with a community initiative like the Blog Banters, we have the resources to deliver the most thorough and up-to-date review ever.
By combining the experiences of contributors from across the EVE metasphere, we get a wealth of opinions from veterans and rookies alike. We’ll be able to combine input from faction warfare specialists, wormhole residents, null-sec warriors, missioners, pirates, industrialists, roleplayers, politicians and more to paint a complete picture of the health and progress of EVE Online in its current Retribution incarnation.
Who better to review EVE Online than those who know it best?”
Eve is an interesting beast to try to review but if you go to the classic methods it comes up short. I went back to the beginning, 2003 to look at what folks first thought of it when it came out. Metacritic gave it an aggregate score of 69/100 from the professional reviews and 80/100 for the players.
What I found telling, though, is the words, not the numbers. “Patience, slow, boring, an exercise in monotony” and I wondered if I was playing the same game. Then it hit me. I am NOT playing the same game.
No, I don’t mean iterations that have changed this or that. What I am talking about is the one key ingredient that was missing when the game was reviewed . . . Us.
To review Eve without including its people is just plain wrong. The PvE side of Eve has a few highlights but only when other folks are involved. Look at my own most recent post. I was having fun flying a mining frigate because there were other people out there to talk to.
Podcasts, blogs, and the external community have become an integral part of Eve. Evaluating the game without including the players being a part of the review is like discussing a sandwich purely on the merits of the bread used.
Graphics: CCP is constantly upgrading what was always a beautiful game. Standing firm against the howling primates who demand access to the paint shop so they can draw kitties, ponies, and penises upon their ships they have managed to keep specific styles for each of the four races and have subtle undertones to even the space itself to indicate where you are. 9/10
Sound: It is a running joke for many players “Eve has sound?” There is a soundtrack and the effects sounds are distinctive and immersive and usually turned off. Players get into Team Speak, Jabber, Mumble and so many other voice comms as well as the fairly decent one provided within the game that the effects are almost too much of a distraction. Except for shield, armor and hull alarms, THOSE we leave on. 7/10
PvE Content: There are missions and mining and quite a few other things a player can do alone. Though in no space are you safe from non-consensual PvP you can fly carefully and a long time without being in a battle with another player, if you wish. The missions do become repetitive and could strongly stand a dynamic content update. The recent addition of Incursions provides a base for group PvE and is a good way to teach cooperative effort to players thinking of taking the plunge into larger scale PvP. 5/10
PvP Content: Eve is considered by many to be the Gold standard of PvP. Asymmetrical, violent with harsh penalties for losing. The ability to take and hold territory, gather strength and maybe even conquer all the space that can be conquered. It may yet happen and many wonder what will come from that event. Theory crafting of ships, flavours of the month, tournaments with CASH prizes. 10/10
Support: Depending on who you talk to there is either excellent support or people who answer in a monotone ‘the logs show nothing’. Personal experience has given me satisfaction each and every time I have had an issue with the game. The Devs communicate with the players. They fly a group of player elected representatives to Ice-freaking-land twice a year. The Fanfest is a huge event held once a year (this year being the 10th). While we still complain about NDA and the occasional change of focus we, the players, ARE in conversation with the people who make the game, make the decisions. Tell me that happens in other Triple-A MMO’s 9/10
Player Base: While Eve will never compete with the millions in WoW it has passed 450,000 accounts and is a vibrant community. It is connected to outside forums such as Something Awful and Reddit as well as its own internal groupings. Podcasts so much to learn, listen to, or laugh at. Musical pieces, art work, you name it it has been an inspiration for someone. While there are folks out to get you even the ones who will blow you up may give you a wave as they leave you in your wreckage. There are players who work to support and encourage new players up to alliances 10,000 players strong and growing. If you have a specific play-style or develop one there is probably a group of players out there for you to play with. If Dust 514 holds to its promise of linking directly to Eve and making a difference then there is a potential tsunami of fans looming on the horizon. 9/10
Future: In this day and age a player must worry about whether they are investing time and money and a little bit of their soul in a game that will shut down. Is it here for the long run? Eve has put out updates/new content twice a year for almost a decade. The game grows, changes, evolves. The company has survived a few rough patches but it has one thing a lot of games don’t, A rabid fan-base of intelligent and vocal players who point out when the emperor is naked. We, the players, work very hard to keep CCP honest and on track. Some say that a lot is riding on the release of DUST 514 and that may be so but this is a game that is older than WoW and is still growing, still finding new markets and shifting strategies. Agile, I think they call it. 8/10
Conclusion The tally comes out as 57/70 or 81%. Now I am NOT an unbiased reviewer . . . I write a blog exclusively about the game, afterall. But I think I have gotten close enough to it to see where the warts are airbrushed over. An MMO is difficult to review on a trial account, worse for a one day drop in. While we cannot force reviewers to spend a decent amount of time in the game before writing about it I think any review should be seen through the lens of ‘did they really find out what the game was like’?
Other bloggers have stepped up to review this, probably better than I have. I specifically didn’t read them before writing mine.
One last thought. The first thing I thought of when I started this review was this old Pixar short.
Eve is the toy drummer and we, the players, have drooled all over it and are now pushing the envelope and playing inside the box, outside the box, head in bag, stumbling about. And laughing the whole time.
The game is worth it. Numbers are just numbers, in the end it is a binary choice. Play or don’t
fly it like you won it