6 Space-Faring Alternatives to EVE Online

Matt Smith 13-05-2014

Eve Online 5 Reasons To Give Eve Online A Second Chance Over the past few years CCP Games have made changes to help newbies dig into Eve’s massive universe, and they’ve paid off. Read More is one of the oldest MMOs running, yet it remains one of the most unique. The title’s massive world, meaningful player-on-player combat and wide variety of ships provide an experience that no other game can match.


The truth is there’s no comparison for Eve Online. Nothing is the same. There are a few games that manage the same flavor, however, and can satisfy Eve players burnt out by the MMO’s grindy gameplay and vicious fighting. Here are the six best alternatives.

Star Conflict

Star Gem’s free-to-play space shooter is an under-rated title that’s unfortunately flown under the radar of most gamers. The game is essentially the space-faring equivalent of Team Fortress 2; two teams of players fly about a map to capture objects or annihilate the enemy captain.

Combat is the focus here; while the term “MMO” has be used in conjunction with Star Conflict, this is a persistent shooter at best. Fortunately, the combat is excellent. Unlike Eve, where a hit is often determined by stats, Star Conflict operates as a third-person shooter. Your shots travel where you point them and, in the case of projectile weapons, you need to lead your target. While the game doesn’t include capital ships, it does have vessels ranging in size from tiny, agile interceptors to lumbering, heavily armed frigates.

I’ve already penned a full review of the game Star Conflict Free-To-Play: A Multiplayer Space Sim Game You Can Go To Combat With Free-to-play games have served most genres well. Role-playing, strategy, and first-person shooters are represented by numerous offerings that don’t cost a dime. But what about space shooters? All of the genre’s best titles are paid.... Read More , so check it out if you’re interested. You can download the game from the developer’s website or Steam.

X3: Terran Conflict

This is undoubtedly the most Eve-like of the games listed here. Like Eve, X3: Terran Conflict takes place in a large universe with many possibilities. You can fight it out as a combat pilot, learn intergalactic trade, or explore the stars. The game world isn’t as large as Eve Online, but the options are similar.

Unfortunately, X3: Terran Conflict has another similarity to Eve; a hopelessly obtuse interface and general disinterest in helping new players get into the game. Nothing’s explained well and you can quickly find yourself dead or, worse, bored. You’ll need to read some fan-made tutorials online and keep the X3 wiki at the ready. Once you’re comfortable with it, though, X3 is the closest you can get to Eve Online without actually playing it. And, since its offline, you can install mods!

X3: Terran Conflict is $15.99 on Steam. There’s a new game, X3: Rebirth, but it’s harshly criticized for bugs, lack of content and poor optimization. You may also want to check out X3: Albion Prelude, a sorta-sequel that builds on Terran Conflict and provides a new campaign.

Space Rangers HD: A War Apart [No Longer Available]

Space Rangers HD is the re-release of Space Rangers 2: Dominators, a cult classic from 2004. The game thrusts you into the role of an independent pilot navigating a galaxy under siege by vicious AI warriors bent on domination. Your mission is to help save the galaxy while amassing your own personal fortune.

The Dominators attack systems on their own, and those systems defend themselves however possible. While you can attack the Dominators directly, victory is more likely to be secured by helping planets and systems by eliminating pirates, completing quests and assisting research. This provides the NPCs with better weapons to fight their foes. But don’t think combat is boring; the turn-based system, while unusual, is complex and challenging. Gamers who prefer the direct approach will not be bored, though you’ll need to upgrade your ship before you can fight the AI head-on.

Not everything about the game is great. Some quests involve text-based puzzles that can be frustrating. There’s also an RTS sub-game about planetary defense against the Dominators – and it’s terrible. Thankfully, you can ignore it if you choose.

Space Rangers 2 HD: A War Apart is $24.99. If that sound a bit pricey for an HD remake, check out the original. You can buy it new for $12.99 or grab a used copy for a couple bucks.


FTL, aka Faster Than Light, is an indie darling and one of Kickstarter’s best success stories. The game is a rouge-like in which you attempt to escape perusing rebel Forces intent on destroying your ship and killing your crew. To get away you must jump through various star systems, each with a random encounter.

Like most rogue-likes, FTL is extremely hard to beat, which will no doubt please Eve veterans. Extremely precise management of ship systems, and the crew manning them, is mandatory. You must deal with enemy ships, random encounters that may help or hinder you, and boarding parties intent on killing your crew. While there’s no level progression there are unlocks, including new ship types, which extend the game’s longevity. The design of your ship is extremely important, so unlocking one is like discovering a new map in an RPG.

You can grab FTL for $9.99 on Steam or buy a DRM-free edition directly from the developer. There’s also an excellent iPad port.

Coming Soon: Star Citizen / Elite: Dangerous

There are other space games, of course, but the ones above are the only modern titles I consider worth your time. Many entries in this genre, like Vendetta Online and Black Prophecy, have proven to be thoroughly mediocre, lacking the strange magic of Eve.

Two games provide a glimmer of hope in this stale genre, however; Star Citizen and Elite: Dangerous. Both are developed by individuals who worked on classic titles like Wing Commander and Elite, both will feature online and offline game modes, and both promise to provide a dynamic game world in which gamers can trade, fight or explore.

There are a number of distinctions between them, of course, but they’re too many to list here. Star Citizen is expected to release in 2015 and Elite: Dangerous is scheduled for late 2014.


Veterans of Eve will find no replacement for their first love, but these games can ignite a similar passion. If you’ve played one of the space-faring games above – or another title not listed here – let us know why you think it does (or doesn’t) come close to Eve.

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  1. Geoff
    April 27, 2017 at 12:03 am

    None of these games are an alternative to Eve Online.

  2. braca
    August 31, 2016 at 7:26 pm

    star citizen is gona destroy eve..... yeeeeeeeee

  3. Anonymous
    May 31, 2016 at 8:41 am

    And four years on Star Citizen still hasn't been released proper. I feel bad (not really) for all the suckers who flushed their money supporting this scam.

  4. MM
    March 27, 2016 at 10:12 pm

    No other game will ever exist, that's like Eve. Period,.....

    • Bankie
      April 5, 2016 at 11:20 pm

      Good. Eve's economy and back-end were nice but the combat needed help and the community was CANCEROUS. Holy crap, how did they find the trashiest people on earth and pack them all into one game??

      The training time sink was ALSO annoying.

      • truthmonger
        April 16, 2016 at 12:12 am

        Amen. EVE made games I used to consider "meh" or not worth my time seem brilliant by comparison. The game has been in steady decline for years with CCP - possibly the worst game studio ever - doing all it can to drive away new players. Even the gaming press is beginning to ignore EVE after a decade of trying to fool readers into becoming the latest victims of of that game. The sad thing is that CCP has completely poisoned the industry against making something *like* EVE but with 99% less bulls**t..the publishers simply won't support an open-ended tactical space MMO when the sole example has never attracted more than a tiny niche following.

  5. Sergey
    February 12, 2016 at 3:03 pm
  6. none
    November 19, 2015 at 11:01 am

    Elite dangerous blows. Its like a shitty loner version of EVE where you can rat or space truck. none of the economy is player based, none of the items are player made, no player run corporations, no player made anything....OOOOOHH you can explore though!!! Whoopdie do exploring isnt profitable AT ALL even though the risk is very high..risk/reward please. Elite dangerous is poop.

  7. Mike
    December 15, 2014 at 6:23 pm

    here is a free eve clone, runs in the browser using unity. it is quite fun and very similar to eve, just less complex.

  8. Mark
    May 15, 2014 at 3:39 am

    What about Star Trek Online? It's a little grindy but it has space and ground combat as well as plenty of places to explore.

  9. Sean
    May 14, 2014 at 11:05 pm

    X:3 is available today for dirt cheap at Get games cheap and support a charity!

  10. Victor O
    May 14, 2014 at 6:08 pm

    I've played Star Conflict before, and I find it slightly underwhelming. The combat is somewhat fun, but the weapons, armour, and modules you put on your ship don't seem to make a huge difference. It doesn't feel very engaging IMO, and the weapons systems are basic.

  11. Anonymous
    May 14, 2014 at 9:27 am

    Earth & Beyond is still running on as a Fan run MMO

  12. ArgMoji
    May 13, 2014 at 2:51 pm

    Out of all these games only X3 has any relevance to EVE, and it's single player.

    This is not a list of alternatives, it's a list of games that share a similar setting and/or genre but are in no other way at all an alternative to EVE.

    • Alex D
      May 13, 2014 at 3:38 pm

      Understand he's saying alternative, not clone. Sure they are not the same experience per say, but they are suitable alternatives if you need a break from Eve. Though I would argue Sins of a Solar Empire should be mentioned since it is kind of in the same vain of Eve.

    • Matt S
      May 13, 2014 at 5:03 pm

      To quote myself, in this article's introduction.

      "The truth is there’s no comparison for Eve Online. Nothing is the same."

      But if you want something kind of like it, these games are about as close as you are going to get.

    • Chris W
      May 13, 2014 at 6:55 pm

      "Out of all these games only X3 has any relevance to EVE, and it’s single player."

      EVE's developers have cited the Elite series as a primary influence on their game, so Elite: Dangerous is definitely relevant! Star Citizen's creator (Chris Roberts) has called out Elite as a big influence on his games too, so there's relevance by association... X3 was clearly also founded on the legacy of Elite.

      So in conclusion: Elite.