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Ten years ago CCP Games released Eve Online, an unusual sci-fi space combat massively multiplayer game 5 Initially Premium MMO Games That Are Now Free To Play [MUO Gaming] 5 Initially Premium MMO Games That Are Now Free To Play [MUO Gaming] It's hard to say where the gaming industry is heading, but freemium games are likely playing a big part in it. Where traditional games ask for your sixty dollars up front, freemium games take their... Read More that revolves around a player-driven economy and society. Unlike most games that have tried the same, Eve managed to survive, even thrive, and its popularity has only risen with time.

Yet most gamers only remember their early experience which, for many, was rather painful. Early Eve suffered from a terrible interface, unforgiving mechanics and an almost non-existent tutorial, and even veteran MMO players often bounced off these obstacles. Over the past few years, however, CCP Games have made changes to help newbies dig into Eve’s massive universe, and they’ve paid off.

The Tutorials Are Good

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I tried to get into Eve three times prior to my latest attempt, and every time I struggled because of the very bare-bones tutorial which only introduced a few basic mechanics, like targeting, and then unleashed the player on the universe. Entire professions went unexplained.

Thankfully, this rather obvious flaw has been fixed. The game now has five separate mission lines available at the start, each covering a different mechanic; mining, trade, exploration, basic combat, and advanced combat (which tends to focus on PvP). In addition to teaching the game, these tutorials offer substantial monetary rewards, and even hand out numerous frigates. Nothing exotic, of course, but the ships you obtain in the tutorial can be very effective with the right equipment.

Some players may find the tutorials to be a lot of reading, and that’s not an unwarranted complaint; Eve is still a complex game, and it takes a little time to explain. But the tutorials are absolutely worth doing, and they provide the resources a player needs to get started in their chosen profession.

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You Can “Carebear”

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Eve is a game known for its massive warfare between player corporations. These battles have at times been so large that they’ve made headlines on the BBC and The New York Times. War and politics are part of the game, and CCP Games doesn’t attempt to police either.

Yet, in spite of those stories, Eve has an active “carebear” community of players who enjoy only solo or cooperative content. Most of the player population is in “high-sec” space, which is policed by NPC ships that attack pirates. Players sometimes make suicide attacks against others in these territories, but such “ganking” usually only targets very, very high-value ships. Most players in high-sec space are never given trouble.

PvP Is More Accessible

At the same time, however, player versus player Is Free-To-Play Killing Competitive Online Gaming? [MUO Gaming] Is Free-To-Play Killing Competitive Online Gaming? [MUO Gaming] Who in their right mind would actually complain about something being free, right? That's a hard question to pin an answer on, but I'll bet that there are some very high-skilled online gamers who would... Read More has been made more accessible. This is mostly thanks to the factional warfare system that was introduced in 2008 and has since been gradually tweaked and refined. Faction warfare, which occurs between the four major empires (every player chooses to be a member of one at character creation), is limited combat between opposing factions with the ultimate goal of taking over star systems and earning ranks.

Three factors make this kind of fighting easier for players. First, the systems designated for faction warfare are just a few jumps away from major high-security trade centers. Second, faction warfare doesn’t reduce your security status, which means you won’t be marked as a pirate. And finally, the combat areas for this kind of PvP come in different flavors. Novice ones can only be entered by basic frigates, small ones can be entered by frigates and destroyers, and so on. This helps players find areas where they’re likely to find a relatively even match. Militia members even receive discounts on faction equipment, which helps reduce the real cost of losing ships, a misfortune you’re certain to experience.

Don’t get me wrong; there’s still risk and cost involved. New players will need to do some other content for a couple weeks before starting to look into faction PvP. But this sort of warfare is much easier to enjoy than the free-for-all of corporate war and is much more likely to result in relatively even fights.

There’s An Insane Amount Of Content

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Eve has received 18 expansions over the last ten years, and all of them have featured a new gameplay system, substantially revised an old one, or added new systems and/or ships. This has accumulated to a mind-boggling volume of content.

Many players will start out doing missions, tasks that gradually become more complex and difficult as access is gained to level two, three, and four agents (Eve’s name for quest givers).  These pay well and provide a literally unlimited stream of content, but many will branch off to other professions. Players can trade, explore, mine, salvage, craft, “rat” (slang for hunting hostile NPCs outside of missions), run incursions, join in faction warfare, or engage in piracy.

What sets the content apart from an average MMO, however, is that it never becomes irrelevant. The economy is driven by players who construct almost every item available in the game, so there’s a constant need for money and resources. Even the most common ore is in constant demand, which is why experienced miners can be seen extracting it from the relative safety of high-security space.

You Don’t Have To Spend Much (Or Anything) To Play

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CCP Games has created a unique monetization system to go with its game. Players can sign up for a recurring monthly subscription, which is the typical $14.95 (pricing is the same in Euros, but 9.99 in pounds), after enjoying a 14-day free trial. Both the game client and the expansions are free, so don’t get ripped off by purchasing it for $49.99 on Amazon.

Players can also pay for their subscription with PLEX (short for Pilot’s License Extension), an in-game item that typically is priced between $14.95 and $19.95. Since its in-game, it can be sold or purchased with in-game currency. Current pricing is about 550 million ISK, which is too much for a new player to make in a month. But after some time in Eve it’s not difficult to play the game for free with in-game currency.

Or you can flip things the other way, buying PLEX with real money 6 Ways To Actually Make Money Playing Video Games [MUO Gaming] 6 Ways To Actually Make Money Playing Video Games [MUO Gaming] Getting paid to play video games is the dream of many young gamers. While it may seem like an impossible dream, there are many people out there making some money – or even a living... Read More and then selling it on the market to give your character an instant boost. Some individuals even play the market, buying a number of PLEXs when their value is lowest (typically spring, as active player numbers take a seasonal dip) and then selling later (usually winter, when more people want to play).

Conclusion

Eve Online has come a long way since its release. Though still far from the most popular MMO, its developers deserve credit for evolving the game and reaching new players without simultaneously destroying the hardcore PvP which makes headlines. If you’ve tried Eve before, but found it too dense, give it another shot. You may be surprised by how much you enjoy it.

  1. Thomas Hutchinson
    August 23, 2015 at 8:03 pm

    Do NOT give Eve Online a chance.

    Mining, Industrial, and Trade are not reasonably accessible to new players in any way. This is due to the way that skills are acquired. You make money, you buy them from other players, and then you need to let REAL TIME PASS to get them up to where you need them. The money you spend on getting the skills, of course, you need to earn. How do you earn it? There's two ways. You take your crappy newbie ship on the same terrible missions over and over again, or you mine, which is a process that would bore the most patient of us to tears.

    PvP is not accessible. When you first start, you have essentially one option. Join a corp and help attacks or.. nope, that's it. You have to get to lowsec to do it and chances are, you're going to get podkilled which will cost you money you won't have at the beginning because that lovely ship you just flew into lowsec, well, that cost you money too.

    I gave this game a few months, and was continually disappointed. Don't make the same mistake.

  2. Keith N
    October 6, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    I think a lot of EVE's issues come fro the sheer breadth of activities available to the new player. The most cogent advice I can give (as an EVE player of ten years, on and off) is to pick a long term goal and evaluate your decisions regarding which activities to pursue based on whether they advance you towards that goal. Your goal. The devs aren't going to point you at an ultimate prize and signpost the way to it, you have to do that yourself.

    Also EVE definitely gets to be more like a job if your aim is to make enough in game currency to play for free, that's what burned me out last time. It can be very time consuming.

  3. Christian C
    October 3, 2013 at 9:46 am

    I tried to get in EVE a few years ago, and was going great guns after my first 6 hours until I was inexplicably and unreasonably killed by some total pillock. Never managed to get over that.

    I recall a colleague back in my NHS days was quite heavily into the game, not sure how he managed to maintain a private life and a job as well!

  4. Jay S
    October 2, 2013 at 10:06 pm

    Depending on what you are doing, the feeling that it is a job is entirely accurate. Taken to their extremes some tasks, such as mining are mind numbing in ther repetative natures, others such as sovreignty warfare where alliances of tens of thousands war over system control can be both a lot of fun, but due to poor mechanics they can also be grueling in nature. We call it 'Grinding Sov' for a reason. Still, as the article suggests, wars where thousands of people are involved and thousands of real world dollars are destroyed (because of the plex, a real world dollar value can be put on any loss or gain) are common. During these long campaigns the need to destroy enemy structures is time consuming and you are expected to put in your time if you wish to remain with an alliance.

    Overall though EVE is a great game and I would definately recommend giving it a try.

  5. Jay S
    October 2, 2013 at 10:06 pm

    Depending on what you are doing, the feeling that it is a job is entirely accurate. Taken to their extremes some tasks, such as mining are mind numbing in ther repetative natures, others such as sovreignty warfare where alliances of tens of thousands war over system control can be both a lot of fun, but due to poor mechanics they can also be grueling in nature. We call it 'Grinding Sov' for a reason. Still, as the article suggests, wars where thousands of people are involved and thousands of real world dollars are destroyed (because of the plex, a real world dollar value can be put on any loss or gain) are common. During these long campaigns the need to destroy enemy structures is time consuming and you are expected to put in your time if you wish to remain with an alliance.

    Overall though EVE is a great game and I would definately recommend giving it a try.

  6. Jay S
    October 2, 2013 at 10:01 pm

    Depending on what you are doing, the feeling that it is a job is entirely accurate. Taken to their extremes some tasks, such as mining are mind numbing in ther repetative natures, others such as sovreignty warfare where alliances of tens of thousands war over system control can be both a lot of fun, but due to poor mechanics they can also be grueling in nature. We call it 'Grinding Sov' for a reason. Still, as the article suggests, wars where thousands of people are involved and thousands of real world dollars are destroyed (because of the plex, a real world dollar value can be put on any loss or gain) are common. During these long campaigns the need to destroy enemy structures is time consuming and you are expected to put in your time if you wish to remain with an alliance.

    Overall though EVE is a great game and I would definately recommend giving it a try.

  7. Joel L
    October 2, 2013 at 8:39 pm

    I've heard that EVE can feel more like a job than a game, whether you're playing the economy or conquering star space. If I played EVE it would be for either of these reasons, not for the solo content, so what would you say in response?

    • Matt S
      October 2, 2013 at 9:10 pm

      I've played entirely solo so far and I find the game entertaining, but it depends on what you do. Most people are going to be bored if they just take the newbie mining barge, pick and asteroid, and mine. There's nothing to that.

      I made my early money by taking a very cheap frigate with salvaging equipment out to the faction warfare zones. By salvaging ships, and picking up loot drops that others had no taken, I bought myself a cruiser pretty quickly. Everyone else could kill me without trouble, so I had to learn to dodge them and salvage when they weren't looking. And it's fun to open an unlooted wreck and find millions of ISK of equipment just laying there - not unlike opening a treasure chest in a regular RPG.

      Now I do missions in my cruiser, while still taking a cheap frigate to go salvage, and sometimes I take a another cheap frigate with weapons to try and blow up some other players.

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