There are issues with the annoying amount of time it takes to travel from one system to another when first starting out. Until you are able to set up bookmarks in your favored stomping grounds, it can take quite a while to get where you want to go. This is especially true in deep zero space where the time it takes to reach each gate seems like an eternity as you scan the area for would-be assailants. I realize it was a design choice to add to the level of strategy in the game, but people it hurts most are the new folks who are already thrown into deep enough water as it is.
I would have to say that the PvP action is by far the main draw of the game and the same rule for being prepared applies to an even greater degree as the most prepared player who understands how to use his ship against several different types of strategies will often prevail or least escape to fight another day. There is nothing like winning a tough fight by the skin of your structure. Despite the steep learning curve and staggering detail and weak introduction, it was fun creating my own destiny instead of following the path of others to max level.
In terms of fun, it gets 8 out of 10.
L33T DEWDS AND BRAIN SURGEONS?
Getting a feel for the community at large in MMOs is usually a futile attempt at best. The best you can hope for is to meet the most outspoken and vocal members in a server of thousands. In EVE there is only one server cluster where the entire game population lives. My impressions of the community were good and even the 'bad guys' are sometimes cool. Sure there are the usual misfits who can only enjoy themselves at other's expense and the ultra helpful guides, but the real measure of the game community is somewhere in the middle.
The depth of the game combined with the frighteningly open PvP model seems to have brought in a lot of diverse types. From ice miners to arch-pirates the game has a cohesive blend of gamers that makes the world that much more realistic.
The community scores 8 out of 10.
THE LARGE AND SMALL OF IT
The EVE Client is quite light on system resources and even dual boxing on a marginal system is possible due to its optimization. It is supported by a powerful server cluster loaded with 64 bit servers which were added to improve performance on a cluster that held the record for peak concurrent users online before the Chinese open beta.
Having taken part in several medium sized engagements in 0.0 space and flown repeatedly through the busiest stations in Jita, I can say that I was impressed with the games performance under high player loads. It also helps that there isn't much to render as most of the ships are rarely close enough to see details and the vacuum of space has surprisingly few polygons compared to most 3D virtual environments. I choose to see it as a benefit of the genre rather than a cheap shortcut and although I ran it on an unsupported video card I never crashed at all.
For performance and lag, I give it a perfect 10 out of 10.
HELP! I'VE FALLEN AND I CAN'T GET UP!
In my entire time playing, I only had to file two support tickets. Both were handled in an acceptable amount of time and with a helpful and professional attitude. This area is one that I find critical, but also one where I'm inclined to cut slack under certain circumstances. After a major upgrade it is always touch and go and although there have been problems, sometimes serious ones, the developers always were able to find time to keep a steady steam of updates about their progress to a solution.
Customer service scores 9 out of 10.
WORTH THE WAIT?
EVE is definitely a game that takes some time to get into and fully appreciate the open-ended flavor that is being offered. Most players without extensive MMO experience will spend their first month wrapping their brain around just the basic concepts of marketing, combat and staying alive. CCP has worked hard to create a giant living galaxy of danger and mystery if you live long enough to get into it.
The game is available for download on the EVE Online site and the monthly fee matches the industry standard for top of the line products. They provide all of their expansions free of charge, which is really impressive considering they have added an enormous amount of content since their launch in 2003 and with Kali on the horizon things look to get even more interesting. The bottom line is, if you have the patience to learn the ropes and you enjoy the tactical and planning aspects of games, the time spent learning your trade will be well worth it.
Overall value is 8 out of 10.
I'd like to say it was a great overall experience and the game appealed to me as a person who doesn't have all the time in the world. The skill system may hold back the younger power levelers that have nigh unlimited amounts of time to ply their trade of fun and ownage, but it works perfectly for a medium or casual gamer who enjoys coming back from work to see his new skill finished. In the end, if you're looking for a space opera where you can be a hero or the ensign in a red shirt, then EVE definitely delivers.
So long and thanks for all the ISK!