Friday, March 20, 2009

EVE -- either the most, or the least casual MMO in existence

Is EVE a non-casual friendly game? I guess it depends on your outlook on such things, because I personally think EVE caters to the casual and non-casual alike. It's unique amongst the MMOs that I am aware of in that it features an entirely non-linear training system. There is no leveling and no level caps. Instead you pick and choose amongst several hundred skills, and train and all that you like, in any order that you choose. Trained skills "unlock" abilities and hardware for you to use.

Saylah laments on a point I think I have made previously in different words. That EVE is not a game of instant gratification. It's not a game of mindless entertainment. Amongst all the MMOs I have played or read about, this one actually requires you to research, think, and plan. So I can understand her point when she comments on lapses in play can make it seem very difficult to get back into it. I can see how you might feel something almost insurmountable is standing in your way. After all, I felt it myself when I came back to EVE in February after a year. I started a new character!

Still, I'm not sure I completely agree either. If you have concrete plans then you really have to have a concrete skill training plan to get you there. And time is not your friend. Long lapses only mean you have that longer to go before you can eventually do what it was you wanted to do in the first place. But that certainly doesn't change anything really. After all, you don't lose skills during lapses; you just don't make any additional headway down your training path. And whatever goods you had when you left EVE are still there when you come back.

I think the underlying problem that perpetuates these feelings is again, that it can take so long to get to anything substantial. For instance, I've been playing since February 16th and was finally able to get into my first real mining ship on Monday. It's the first real "starter" mining ship so there is still quite a bit to go before I can truly count myself amongst the serious miners in EVE. And I have a training plan to get me there, but for the next ship up in the line I'm looking at 54 more days. After that it'll take me an additional 32 days (86 days total) until I can get into the top mining ship. And there are many additional skills I could easily add to my training plan to make me better at this, or that. So that's just an example of the amounts of time involved in such things, and is by no means the best example. There are many single skills that by themselves, take weeks or even months to train.

Is EVE casual friendly? In many aspects yes. You can log in and putz around doing whatever you like with no one to stop you. Or you can log in and treat it like it's a job. Nothing you do will un-teather you from that training plan though. So it sort of depends on your point of view.