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Friday, 2 September 2016

5 of 7 - Space Ming For Fun And Profit

(For the 5th of our 7-day blogathon, we look at a game I have returned to after a decade - Eve Online!)

What is Eve Online?

It's an MMO, set in a fictional chunk of space, in which you play a "capsuleer" - a dedicated starship pilot who has been thrust into a world of politics, war and industry. Your goal? Well, you choose. Assist one of the many factions, make as much money as you can, hunt other players - it's all valid.

I've played multiple MMOs in the past, WoW being my first. If one was to count Planetside 2 then I've tried out a good half dozen. None of them have really drawn me back, though; and I think the only reason Eve has is because it doesn't feel like an MMO.

When I say that I know that logically it has a great number of players and it is online. But you aren't special. You're just a capsuleer. There's thousands more like you. There's no destiny, no demonslaying, none of the things that are sprinkled through WoW to make one feel special despite the fact that thousands of people have done it once already. All you are here for is war and profit, and it makes no bones about that.

Another thing that draws me is the economy. It is player-driven in just about every way. The production of damn near everything is handled by other players, so all the money that changes hands goes between players. On occasion people run scams, and that is legal - you just have to not get caught. Corporations (the equivalent of Guilds, which make a lot more sense) are formed just to dodge taxes, or sharded off other Corps to declare war on rivals without dragging the main Corp into trouble.

Piracy is real. If you're in the wrong sector of space you stand a good chance of being warp scrambled and destroyed for whatever is in your hold.

It appeals to me because the system of doing things relies on thinking right before thinking fast. Like the fitting of one's ship and knowing how to use it far outweighs the ability to click rapidly. Preparation and tactical acumen is rewarded far more than reflexes. This applies to the industrial field as well as warfare; maximising one's margins, producing for just slightly cheaper and selling for just slightly more, these are the ways to high profit.

A game that combines tycoon sim and mega-starship command? What larks. And some of the starships get VERY big. A ship I can actually pilot right now can ship two Eiffel Towers stacked end-to-end, room to spare.

Daily I can swap from lengthy mining expeditions turfing out thousands upon thousands of tons of ore an hour, to exploring spacial deviations that contain precious materials and hostiles, to running missions in a swift destroyer packing banks of missiles, even going so far as defending my corporation mates with a battleship with railguns capable of firing over 100km accurately. Mining and construction are my primary passions though - nabbing blueprints for cheap, harvesting my own materials, buying the last few rare parts and selling the results on the open market for a big-ass profit.

It's not all fun and games. There's some scumbags in the community - signing into Mining chat is a bad idea at any point of the day - but you can find some really cool people with a little patience, and eventually find a corporation that you fit with. My corporation (Quantum Mining) is a good bunch, industrialists primarily, all independent though we all have skills that help each other.

Soon it is becoming somewhat free-to-play; a tiered system, wherein those that don't pay have significantly less freedom of development than those that do. It's worth it though. My skills have only recently gone beyond those that would be allowed by the "Alpha Clones" as they will be called. There's still a lot of game to be played there.

So if I ever say I am mining - that is what I mean!

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