These are simple comparisons of the good and bad of EVE online. My account turns 5 years old on the 30th, so the "return to EVE for 5 days" gift is a nice birthday present. Thanks to CCP I am exploring space for the first time in 8 months or so.
1) The game continues to evolve: Like any good "older" game ( I can't believe some of us think of the last 10 years as a "long time") it adds layers naturally. Imagine if you started a story today, and it was comprised of one paragraph. After a year or two of adding more paragraphs every week you would have a pretty complex fun little story. That's how EVE is, and every time I return I am surprised by some nice little update or graphical change.
Of course, many of these changes are nothing large enough to change the core game-play, or to really blow you away. Walking around in stations would be such a change, or being able to crew a ship with your friends (yes, I know...the LORE. But screw that. They can change it to make the game more fun.) So, only a veteran player might appreciate the little things.
Maybe wormholes or factional stuff would blow me away, so I will check those out next.
2) The game continues to be a sausage party: Within 5 minutes of logging in for the first time in 8 months, the word "p**is" appeared 4 times. What is it about games like EVE, Darkfall, UO and the PvP server of EQ2 that attract such spicy talk? It is, like I said on Massively 62, the lack of girls. When I asked in chat why they talked so much to each other about their p****es, they got smarmy and just started talking about their pe****s more. Then, someone brought in race, then they asked if I were gay, then brought in religion, race, and pe****s in a contest to see who could use the foulest language.
While I know that there ARE females that play EVE, I would wager that maybe 1 percent of the population is female. Why should I care? Because when you gather together a bunch of men, they tend to want to talk about their ****** a lot. I don't know why, and I always wondered if I were normal in being uncomfortable with talking about my parts with other boys, but I guess I must be the odd man out. I think it is a basic human male trait, something that comes from cave-men days when we used to strut around peeing on trees to impress each other.
Thing is, I don't like peeing on trees, much less in front of a bunch of 2o somethings that listen to bad music. MUCH LESS trees in space.
On the other hand, some of the best nerdrific times can be had while hanging out with your buddies. You can only feel normal surrounded by your nerd friends while staring at a screen filled with tiny space-ships.
It would just be nice if they would try to address the issue of non-existent females in their game. It seems they think that once you can walk around in stations that female players will flock to the game to play space-dolls, but I think it is much simpler than that. The less females play, the less females want to play. It's not that girls only want to play with other girls or that girls cannot "hold their own" against boys, it's just a matter of sticking out. The two girls I met (in the entire 5 years of play) stuck out like sore thumbs. If they got on the Vent channel, WATCH OUT. Worse yet if they insulted some guy, being that soon would follow a stream of curse words and threats that would make any player embarrassed.
Even the developers seem to acknowledge this boy-on-boy action: (from their explanation of certificates, a new cool "achievement" type system) "Wondering just what the hell to train next on your 80 million SP character? Or just want to wave your Gunnery e-peen around? Read on!"
Also, look up EVE fan-fest and you will notice that usually the only girls there are the ones that are paid to be there.
This is also a culture in which it has become OK to use the word "rape" to describe playing a video-game. While I am not mainly offended because of some kind of PC soft-spot, I am mainly offended because the very term comes from a place of MALENESS. Instead of worrying about making space-dolls to attract women, just no longer allow the use of the words n****r, f*g, d*ke, rape, c**k, pe**s, wiener, dingaling, or shlong and half of the community will dry up for lack of things to do. By the way, that would be a good thing.
Maybe it's just me. Maybe that's why I don't get into watching football with my male friends.
3) EVE isn't hard, just hard to read about: EVE is as hard as reading a thick novel. Like any good novel you have to set it down once in a while, maybe chat with your friends about it. It isn't hard to read the novel, just hard to find the time to finish it. EVE is that way: filled with information that needs to be read, and that takes time to finish.
It is a good boring, though, in the way that a good game of chess or a table-top game can be. It is filled with moments of leaning back in your chair pondering what to do next. You feel like a commander of a giant space ship sometimes, in the way that you have to be careful, wait things out sometimes, and walk quietly. Sometimes you set your ship on auto-pilot and go do laundry while it flies, thinking about what you will do when you get to your destination. I hope it makes sense to say that EVE can be dull in a good way.
And the challenge in EVE doesn't come from split-second timing or with knowing the strats of a dungeon. It comes from reading about whatever blocks your path (or by asking other players) and learning how to get past it. It took me a few of these years to figure out what kind of player I want to be or what kind of ship I want to pilot, but now I know. I like small ships, cloaking, exploring. I have a Covert Ops ship that I am still figuring out and a few elite frigates. I keep a Raven outfitted always, just in case I feel like going on mission runs. But overall, you can do a lot in the role you want if you just read about it.
4) War is boring, and so is combat: Again, this is a good thing. If you think about a battle between giant space-ships, it would be pretty slow moving, strategic. While there are moments of excitement in EVE, most large scale battles come down to just trying to survive while trying to kill someone else. Usually you know your target and try to concentrate on that.
In solo play/missions/pvp, you might hammer away at your enemy for a long time. Missiles take several seconds to reach them, and unless you are greatly outgunned, a fight can last for an eternity. This is boring, but in that chess-game way. If you start to get hurt too much and have done your home-work, you know when to call it and warp out, or you might have a back-up plan to help you survive.
Don't get me wrong, there have been times in war when I warped in, targeted someone and killed them before they even came back from taking a pee, and vice-versa. But generally fighting in EVE is a long (in comparison to other MMO's) process.
Having said all this, EVE is a great Sunday afternoon game. Just like football, you can sit around with a beer daydreaming about power. EVE is essentially one big browser game, with it's log-in-check-stuff-log-out play-style, so it's a great game for RMT. You don't even have to play for characters or for ships, just buy them with real life money. Buy a miner character and the ship to go with it, log in to mine while AFK. Or you can, of course, spend 5 years playing like me.
I give a nod to the attempts at making the game better, like the skill queue, but I am not sure that it does enough. Sure, you can fill up 24 hours worth of skill training (unless I am missing it where you can set it for more time) but in a higher "level" most of your skills will take much longer than that to train. Again, this is based on possibly not knowing more about the system, but my gut feeling is that they didn't want to allow players to set a month of skill training because they knew that the populations in game would quickly drop. Players would simply log into their 2 or 3 accounts (many players have multiple accounts), start a skill training and then only log in to check it once in a while. Soon, the game would go from having tons of players on at once to having tons of players checking in every once in a while.
Anyway, not enough has changed to make me sub again to EVE after this 5 day return. The game is great if you are into it's type of game-play, but be aware that EVE is simply a game of time and of maintenance.
Not that that's always a bad thing.