Spaceships pew pew
I’ve always liked sci-fi, and spaceship games. I loved Star Control I and II, as well as Master of Orion I and II. Having played WoW, and given other fantasy MMOs (such as Guild Wars, Runes of Magic, Dragonica and Florensia) a spin I like how EVE is a totally different world, with different roles from the usual warrior/mage/healer kind of thing.
I’m also a big fan of the Battletech universe, or at least up until the rights were bought over by Wizkids and they released the atrocity of Mechwarrior Dark Age in order to reboot the universe, in the process completely throwing away more than a decade of storyline. I loved the Mechwarrior series of games, ranging from the first Mechwarrior 1 which I played on my IBM 386 (with 5 1/4″ floppies) to the recent (omg 10 years ago) Mechwarrior 4 Mercenaries by Microsoft. Incidentally, Microsoft and Mektek have recently released MW4 Mercs for free, which is pretty nice of them. Part of what I liked about it was the customization of the Mechs in the Mechlab, which allowed players to tailor their favourite chassis for different roles. The same thing is available in EVE with their modular ship system. You can experiment and fit out each ship in different ways, and a good fit has a huge impact on gameplay.
Altoholics and Packrats
Being an altoholic who always has multiple classes to try out different roles, EVE’s classless system is also good because it lets me experience many different aspects of the game without having to create an alt. I just need to train up some skills and I can pop into a long range sniping battleship or switch to a missile based Drake, or a small speedy Rifter.
I’m also a pretty compulsive packrat, so much so that my wife has to periodically clean up my bank alts in WoW otherwise I run out of storage space from collecting stuff “just in case it comes in useful”. EVE has no storage limit, at least in stations, and I find myself collecting a huge hoard of stuff in Jita and picking up lots of modules and salvage in all my missions. It’s always fun to find a nice piece of loot and see that it sells for 20 million ISK. Of course I don’t actually sell it, but chuck it into my hangar “for future use”. I can also foresee myself eventually collecting one of each ship type, just for kicks. Well maybe not a Titan… but at least all T1 ships! Except mining ships, cos those suck.
This is, to me, one of EVE’s greatest strengths. If not for EVE’s skill system, I would probably not be playing. I like the fact that I don’t have to compulsively log on in order to achieve anything, which is the norm for most subscription games. For example, if I was still playing WoW, my character wouldn’t be able to do anything except a couple of random heroics in the hour plus that I have every night. That would get really boring very quickly. I wouldn’t be able to raid or do anything interesting. And if I don’t log on, my character does absolutely nothing, which makes me feel that I’m wasting my subscription. In EVE I can pop on and do a few missions, or try to scan down some sites, or even try to get some PVP in. And all the time my character is slowly skilling up so that eventually I can try even more things.
A lot of people cite this as “promoting people to play EVE Offline”. This is, frankly, a total load of crap. I don’t understand how not penalising not logging on is the same as promoting not logging on. I mean, it’s not like my skills train faster when I’m offline. I don’t get ISK faster, I don’t get any standings, I don’t have any fun. Why is it better to not log in? A commenter at Tobold’s site gave some half-assed argument that his skill trained per play time ratio is higher if he doesn’t play. Well dur, yes if I created a level 1 in WoW and never logged him on ever again my exp/playtime ratio would be 1/0 = infinity = I’m the greatest WoW player ever? There’s something seriously wrong with you if the only reason you play a game is to have the highest progress/playtime. I mean, it’s not a competition. If the game is so undesirable that you’d rather not play it, then you should unsubscribe?
This is another factor without which I would probably not be playing EVE. I don’t mean selling PLEX for ISK, I mean buying it. I like the fact that EVE’s economic game is pretty deep, and if you do well at it you can buy a PLEX for roughly 300 million ISK, which gives you a month of gametime. This gives me additional incentive to play the economic game, in comparison to WoW where after a while the 100k gold just sits there doing nothing and becomes pretty meaningless (but buying a mammoth or a chopper is still pretty dumb). If I had to pay a subscription to EVE I probably wouldn’t be able to justify it with my playtime, but since I can earn pretty much a billion every month I’m pretty set for PLEXs, with some left over to buy shiny toys too. This also ties in to how EVE complements relatively good players with casual playtimes, since there’s no pressure in terms of the subscription. I can take my time to accomplish my own goals without feeling that I’m wasting money.
Great graphics and music
EVE also has really great graphics that run so well even on crappy computers, since it’s basically your ship on a pretty space backdrop. But the stars and planets are really gorgeous, and this is coming from someone who normally doesn’t give a rat’s ass whether a boss is a giant white cube called Captain Placeholder. The music in EVE is also fantastic, in a new age techno kind of way that fits in with the EVE universe very well. Very few games have music that I would be willing to listen to outside of the game (although the Orgrimmar drumbeats are pretty catchy too… dun, dun dun dun!) and the relaxing instrumental tunes go so well with the ambience and solitude of deep space, where it’s just you and your ship in the big wide universe. While combat normally occurs at long distances, if you zoom in to the individual target ships you can also see the great detail that goes into the ship models, which each have their own distinct visual styles and designs. Even the rogue drone NPCs look sinister and creepy, with prawn legs clicking and waving all over the place.
Steep learning curve
I like the fact that EVE is renowned for having a steep learning curve, because this means that my actions have consequences. If I play poorly or ignorantly, I can easily lose a expensive ship or valuable cargo. This is in contrast to the general trend in other games of making everything mass market. WoW’s raiding scene in TBC was a good example of this, where you had to be a relatively good and knowledgeable player in order to progress through SSC and TK, Hyjal and Black Temple. Nowadays, WoW heroics and raids consist of just grouping everything up and AOEing them and free gear is given to every spellpower hunter and tri-elemental mage so that they feel good about themselves. I believe that you need to have failure as well as success in order to learn, rather than spoon feeding a bunch of meaningless “successes” to the players to keep them happy.