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If you want a sandbox MMORPG, you really can’t overlook EVE Online. It’s been running strong for 11 years now and there’s no sign that it’s going to stop anytime soon. But there’s a big problem with sandbox MMORPGs of this magnitude: there’s a lot of content, and it can be hard to decide what you want to do.
I’ve already covered some of the more basic activities that you can do in EVE Online and the great thing is that if you enjoy doing those, there’s nothing stopping you from continuing. There’s no need to progress “to the next phase,” so to speak. But if you’re looking for more things to do, here’s a list of some of the more engaging content in the sandbox.
Despite EVE’s label of being a PvP MMO, there are a few PvE activities in which you can partake. Not many, mind you, but enough to keep you satisfied from time to time. For the most hardcore PvE seekers, incursions are the end game. They’re as close as you’ll ever get to raiding in EVE.
A quick rundown on how it works: Incursions are automated. Throughout known space, NPC ships from Sansha’s Nation will invade and attempt to conquer a system. The goal is to eradicate the ships and return the system to normalcy. Incursion fleets are in high demand because the activity does net a hefty profit.
But beware: incursions are not instanced. You may be the first to arrive at a contested system, but other players might join in on the ride and throw a bit of chaos into the mix.
Planetary Interaction (PI) is an advanced form of resource gathering. Mining and salvaging are pretty straightforward – you go out, find your targets, fire your lasers, and collect your spoils. PI is more like a long-term minigame that doesn’t require a lot of attention but does require commitment.
The basics of PI involve finding a planet to colonize, purchasing the proper Command Center for that planet type, and constructing extractors to collect whatever materials are present on the planet. These materials are used in manufacturing and, thus, are valuable to other players. For most players, PI is a healthy source of passive income.
PI can be done in highsec, lowsec, nullsec if your alliance has sovereignty, and even wormhole space.
Speaking of wormhole space, have you tried it? It’s an area of space that’s separate from known space, making it a unique arena for fun and chaos. There is no law in wormhole space, which means no CONCORD, no empires, and no sovereign alliances. If you love exploration gameplay and you love living on the edge, wormholes are for you.
Wormhole systems are home to some of the most dangerous exploration sites. It’s a race to see how fast you can scan down these sites and make the most profit before somebody else comes along and takes it from you. There’s very little stability in wormhole gameplay – sometimes you’ll find tons of exciting action, other times you’ll go for days without doing much.
One distinguishing feature of wormhole space is the lack of local chat. You never really know who’s out there sharing your sky and death can snap you up in the blink of an eye. It’s stressful, exhilarating, and unlike anything else in EVE right now.
If you want a bit of structure to your PvP escapades, Faction Warfare (FW) is one of the best ways to do it. FW doesn’t exactly offer anything new in terms of gameplay, but the sum of all of its parts really makes for some high-octane fun. CCP recently announced some intended changes that aim to increase the amount of action in FW, so good things await us this summer.
For those who don’t know, FW is basically an open war between the four core empire factions. Once enlisted, you are free to shoot any player who belongs to an enemy faction. FW also grants you access to extra kill missions. Perhaps the main draw of FW, however, is the ability to conquer systems and place them under your faction’s sovereignty.
Enlisting is as simple as docking at any station belonging to the faction you wish to join and clicking on the “Militia Office” station service. Not only is it a great source of PvP fun, it can also be a pretty good source of income.
Pirating and Espionage
Pirating and espionage are two distinct activities but I’ve lumped them together because they both fall under the category of “sandbox PvP,” which differs from the kind of rules-based PvP you’d find in, say, Faction Warfare. In essence, these two are PvP activities that can actually be run solo.
Piracy is the act of profiting off of other players at their expense. In most cases, pirating consists of roaming lowsec and nullsec space to attack haulers carrying a literal boatload of goods. Potential pirate actions include:
- ransoming (force a victim to pay up if they want to live),
- violence (destroy a victim and loot their wreck),
- and, to a lesser extent, scamming.
Depending on your experience and skills as a pilot, pirating can be quite fun and profitable.
Espionage is a more subtle beast. There are many stories in EVE’s history – some so grand that they warranted media coverage – where massive alliances were defeated from the inside by artful spies. In a game as PvP-oriented as EVE, information is the key to survival, which means spies are the arbiters of life and death.
Spying can take on many forms:
- Intelligence (discovering and stealing important war strategies and locations),
- Sabotage (planting false information to lead the victim astray),
- Thievery (pilfering valuable assets).
Don’t let anyone tell you that there’s nothing to do in EVE. If you don’t enjoy a particular activity, there’s nothing stopping you from turning right around and pursuing something else. EVE is a sandbox and it’s only as fun as you make it.
Newbies, what’s keeping you from trying these fun activities? Veterans, what’s your current cup of tea when it comes to daily EVE play? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!