The first descriptions are to compare wow to eve, further down is the overall description, and then a description of an older patch, Apocrypha. Other than this first paragraph the rest is various snippets from different sites that do a pretty good job of explaining certain things. Before anybody even really tries eve they need to know what to expect from the game, especially as a wow player. Eve is giant, and the things you can do are almost limitless. You can devote your entire time to a single, small part of eve because everything is that in depth. Trading, for example, has been compared to wallstreet before in the complexity and skill needed to play the market well. Mining can be as simple as flying out in your ship and mining, or to truly profit from it, training to fly specialized ships and be more efficient, probing (which is an entire discipline) to find special pockets in space that contain more valuable ore, knowing who to possibly sell it to, how to transport the ore, and so on. All these professions/disciplines come together in your corporation, which might be out for various agendas from making money to taking control of a part of the persistent universe. There are corps dedicated to freight, exploration, trading, mining, pirating, and many other things. Eve forces people to rely on others, giving it a strong community. The mining, for example, is probably gonna be way to risky to do by yourself. The most profitable ores are in 0.0 space where there are no laws and nothing to stop that pirate corporation from blowing you up, stealing your stuff, demanding a ransom or w/e else they might decide to do.

Corporations are the eve equivalent to player guilds. Your corp might control a popular part of space, encouraging people to come and trade at the stations that you've built, which is defended by your corp. Or your corp could be a vicious lot of pirates, making a living (and a quite profitable one) by pillaging and looting people in low security or 0.0 space. You determine your goals, eve is a sandbox: you are given the tools and must provide the imagination.

They plan to incorporate a fps mmo that integrates with the planets in eve, and their actions, which may be controlled by your actions, will dictate what happens in the eve universe.

There will also be a patch allowing you to leave your ship and go into stations (npc or player built) where you will be able to open your own shop/bar/whatever and sell various things. Unlike wow 99% of the items are created by players.

Everything in eve is controlled by the players. Truly understanding what eve is and what it is capable of is hard to grasp. It's basically the most epic simulation game ever made.

Eve is persistent, meaning that anything you do in the game will have a permanent effect on everybody who plays eve. There are no realms and no rules or limits placed on you like there are in traditional mmos. Everybody plays on one server in the persistent universe.


I firmly believe that anyone who spends a month playing in a good corporation will end up loving Eve to death.

In WoW you can pretty much reach “the top”. Call it level 80, call it a full set of epic gear, call it owning and running an elite raiding guild that beats dungeons on hard mode.

But personally speaking (not from a hardcore elite perspective, mind you) you can quite definitely reach an end point in WoW, and that end point is dictated by Blizzard.

And that’s cool. I love WoW, and to be frank I play it way more than Eve (my girlfriend and I both play WoW, but she doesn’t like Eve).

In Eve Online there is no top. You define the top, or you and your corp define your top.

Or more correctly, in Eve Online you don’t define a top, you or your corp define objectives and goals they’d like to accomplish.

For example you might set a long term goal of turning your 50 person corp into a 100 person corp, and your alliance into 5 member corps that can hold and control star systems in 0.0 space.

Or you might have a large mining corp whose objective is to dominate trade around Jita and make billions of isk out of it. You get the idea.

Where WoW is comparitively a linear MMO, Eve Online is one giant sandbox of possibility and (for some) uncertainty.

You don’t walk up to someone, talk to them, and then through experience advance from level 1 to 2. You don’t double your hit points, and you don’t start killing spiders rather than wolves.

To further complicate things, you don’t even increase your skills by using them. You could log in and engage in battle after battle, but your shooting skills won’t increase.

Eve does have an early game objective in that there’s an “epic mission arc” to start you off on the right foot, but after that, you’re on your own cowboy.

You can keep running missions (questing), or you can go off and mine, or you can just kill pirates for bounty, or you can manufacture, or you can be a pirate, or, or, or, or…

You make your own friends and enemies in Eve.

If your corp wants the space and resources owned by another corp, they’re your enemy. They’re evil.

If you’re a policing corp in 0.0 space, then all the pirate players are your enemy… and so on.

Eve is one giant sandbox. You can do whatever you want, and that can be daunting to people who like direction… or confusing to people who want to take part but are a bit overwhelmed by the scope of the game…

I mean, in Eve you don’t even need to fight!

In Eve you can literally never leave a space station, and just trade (throughout the entire sector, remotely) for a living, and amass billions of credits.

Or you can never fire a shot in anger and simply mine asteroids, create ammunition and ships, and research new technology and refine existing tech.

Or you can own a massive corporation of hundreds of pilots, mine moons, establish your own space stations, and make space craft so large that it takes months to acquire the resources to put them together…

The Bottom Line

While this isn’t an in-depth analysis of both games, in my mind, the difference between these games comes down to this.

  1. WoW is linear – you follow a set path.

  2. Eve is a sandbox – you do literally whatever you want to do (IF you can amass enough friends and resources)

  3. WoW is straightforward and easy to get into (with “hidden” complexities for those who look for it)

  4. Eve is astonishingly complex, and difficult for new players to get used to. (I’m still learning tons of new stuff every time I play)


Speaking of listening to the players, the game devs decided it would be a good idea to make a formal group of people to speak on behalf of the players, so they formed the CSM or Consul of Stellar Management. Their job is to listen to the players, and compile a list of issues and improvements for the game, and then twice a year present this to the devs, in person in Iceland. CCP (the company who makes EVE) pays to have the CSM flown out to Iceland twice a year, provides them with hotels and meals, then flies them back home. Any player can join the CSM, as long as they are voted in during the yearly elections.

The WoW devs are too busy ignoring what you say to do any cool stuff like this.

That’s because playing EvE isn’t all about the game, it’s about the community that plays the game. Since EvE is all on ONE world, the community is incredibly strong. The forums aren’t split into realm forums, everyone is talking about the same universe.

Now, I’ve talked a lot about the company, and how awesome the devs and graphics are, but I haven’t mentioned the game play at all yet. That’s because playing EvE isn’t all about the game, it’s about the community that plays the game. Since EvE is all on ONE world, the community is incredibly strong. The forums aren’t split into realm forums, everyone is talking about the same universe. Plus, with over half of the map lawless conquerable space, there are tons of politics and interesting things to read about. For instance, Goonswarms recent defeat of Band Of Brothers. If I met an EvE player randomly, I could talk to them immediately about this and they would know exactly what I am talking about. I can list tons of famous people from EvE, how many famous people are there in WoW? Leroy Jenkins? That’s about it, sure there are famous people on your server, but that’s just it , there are so many servers that no one even knows they exist.

Ok, now it’s time for the GAMEPLAY. Eve is a HUGE world, easily the out of any MMO, with hundreds of solar systems, each filled with planets, asteroids, stations, etc. There are two parts to Eve, empire space, and 0.0. 0.0 is space that has no law, no police, no stations, no civilization, and it is free to whomever can control it. The players build up an infrastructure there, building their own stations and star bases. They can enforce their own rules and laws, and have access to the rich and ample resources. 0.0 is in a constant state of flux, as alliances battle for control over space. Fleet fights of epic sizes take place, 500 vs 500. Capital fleets supported by super capitals vs other capital fleets supported by their own super capitals. Super capitals capable of single handily wiping out a fleet of hundreds with a doomsday, however they cost a large fortune, and are extremely vulnerable afterwards. 500 vs 500 must be insanely laggy though? Don’t you think? Because CCP is so amazingly awesome, they purchased a large quantity of cutting edge blade servers, and re-did their entire network infrastructure. Their database is a 2TB solid state drive, connected via fiber. There is lag, yes, but it is manageable, and not terrible to the point where it is impossible to play, they spent thousands of dollars, and hundreds man hours to address the problems of lag, and it paid off.
Oh, and WoW, 40 v 40, that’s cool too, I guess .
Then, there is empire. Empire is the safer area, of space, in most places there are police who will protect you (somewhat) from the threat of other players. I say somewhat because it is possible to kill a player before the police come and kill you. And when you die, your ship is gone forever, no spirit healer bullshit, your dead and that’s that. By a new ship and move on. “But what about all the purples I had on my ship?” Well there are no purples, shut up, how well you do in combat is equal to how skilled of a player YOU are. Not what ‘level’ (no levels in EvE) your character is, not what gear you have on, how good YOU ARE. Your character advances through training skills, which are done constantly no matter if you are logged in or not. That means, no grinding. In order to make money, you will need to start off doing some grinding, not a lot mind you, but if you choose to make a career as a mission runner, you will spend most of your time fighting NPC’s and getting killed by players like myself. The real experience in EVE is the PvP. Since you lose shit when you die, the actual combat is SO intense, I get an adrenaline rush, (lots of other people do to) my hands shake, and I start to sweat. 1v1 fights can last 5 minutes, it’s amazing. You never know if the person you are attacking has backup, or if your back up is adequate, since there are no classes, you also have no idea what kind of tricks your opponent will pull. Sure you can have an idea, an estimate of what they may or may not have, but I’ve been surprised, and surprised others more than a few times. The PvP is much more indepth, the damage formula is so complicated, you need to take into account your speed, your range, your opponents speed, his transversal velocity, is he shield or armor tanked, is he running E-War, what kind of drones does he have out? Many people get overwhelmed by this and announce that “EVE IS GAY” I know I said those words a few times, but then I realized that there is more to a game then raiding until you get the best loot. WoW’s PvP is so inadequate, compared to EvE, there is no risk, and the only reward is better loot, which you can then use to guarantee your victory. If you are sick of the boring, easy, and gentle loving touch of WoW, and are looking for something dark and dangerous, come play EVE. If you read this and thought it was gay, then I don’t care, you are the kind of person who would play EVE for a week, get blown up, and rage quit.


EvE Online

Review Date: May 2009
Mark Arnold


Space is big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind- bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist's, but that's just peanuts to space.” – Douglas Adams, The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.

If nothing else is said about EvE, and there is a lot that can be said about it, it makes the above quote a realisation. EvE’s world dwarfs all other MMOs for sheer size – how could it not when it measures distances in astronomical units? – but we all know that space, as well as being stupendously big, is mostly made up of nothing. Does that mean EvE is mostly about cruising through vast nothingness trapped in a tin can threatening to boil your eyeballs at the merest crack in the hull? No. EvE is large, complex, and deep – but it’s also not for everyone.

Writing this review is somewhat like leaping into the game itself – where to start? There is much to talk about, and there is much to do and in many ways a lot of the activities aren’t really interconnected. Do I start with the character creation process and levelling up? The expansive player economy? The vast exploration opportunities? The truly ridiculous number of tools and options for corporations (read: guilds)? Or perhaps the cut-throat community that has risen up around this game, and the amazing stories that come from it? I think that perhaps I will actually start with the game’s history, for to understand EvE, you need to know where it comes from.

EvE is an established MMO – it’s been around for 6 years now, after all. It actually comes from a different generation of MMO. It was a time when MMO philosophies weren’t about raids and quests and character-driven PvP but were focused heavily on “the grind.” MMOs stood at a cross-roads and the path was unclear – do they go towards a more ‘gamey’ streamlined approach, or a more immersive, sand-box approach? Each MMO had its own take and their paths carved a spidery web through time until in late 2004/early 2005 the monster WoW was released and its path obscured all others. It lumbered through ranks of MMOs, crushing them heedlessly underfoot, swatting them left and right. “Puny competitors!”, it boomed as it gobbled subscribers up like a shark on its last meal. EvE, however, is from pre-WoW and had taken an entirely different path: the path of the sand-box.

EvE could be accused of having a steep learning curve and to a fresh-faced noob this is extended to getting overwhelmed from the moment you logged in. This problem has been largely tidied up in later years with extended tutorials and welcome pages for all the different interfaces, but even once you get that all sorted, learning the vast array of ships, skills, equipment, and activities (not to even mention the player politics) will keep your eyeballs bleeding for many weeks.

The interface, and the game itself, have been built up for over six years, so every facet is extremely powerful, but also highly complex. This is great once you work it out, but at first it is intimidating. The amount of customization you can achieve is unparalleled in my experience, and the amount of data you can access is mind-boggling. It’s all hidden away, at your option, but you can find histories, combat logs, descriptions for every ship, planet and player, and even an in-game browser, just to scratch the surface. As an example, your main tool for tracking money is your “wallet.” This is no brown leather strip to hold shreds of paper, oh no, this is a full-blown accounting ledger, tracking every purchase and every detail. It tells you where the money came from, how much was squandered, when it occurred, and double-click for more information. You can even export it into text so you can properly track your profits and losses in a spreadsheet.

EvE’s sand-boxy nature and number of activities available to you compounds the learning curve problem. It’s common knowledge, within EvE, that the best way to get the most out of your character is to aim for a goal, and go straight for it – but how do you choose? Do you want to do small scale PvP? Pirating? NPC ‘ratting’? Mission running? Hidden “Complex” exploration? Fleet-wide PvP? Player-owned station raiding? Corporation wars? Mining? Trading? Crafting? Or, as added in the latest major update (termed Apocrypha) – mysterious wormhole exploration? The options are nearly endless, but getting good enough to do them can be a bit of a trick.

Due to its large number of activities, EvE seems like an even bigger “box ‘o’ sand.” It has always been about player-driven content. Especially in the early days this was a big turn-off – “what exactly am I supposed to do?”  EvE was, and still is, all about finding your OWN thing to do. This can’t be demonstrated more clearly than with the often viciously cut-throat attitudes of the player base that has become the modus operandi for EvE.  Take the examples of Ubiqua Seraph and BoB.

Ubiqua Seraph was a giant corporation which, in 2005 was completely dissolved by a few infiltrators who, over the course of one full year, worked their ways up through the ranks. Then in one coordinated operation stole everything of value out of their hangers and vaults and made off with goods that was estimated to be worth $16,500 real US dollars. CCP, the game’s developers, took a steadfastly neutral stance – no game code was abused and there was no cheating. Some players let their guard down and some unscrupulous people took advantage of it, and there was nothing they could do to intervene. Player reaction was split between “wow, amazing job, well done” and “don’t you think you’ve taken things a bit too far.”

Far more recently, in fact only a few short months ago, EvE was dominated by the largest of alliances called “Band of Brothers (BoB).” They owned vast tracks of space and had many enemies – perhaps most notably “Goon Swarm.” The story goes that a low-level Gooner was “scamming noobs” – a common and generally accepted practice – when one of his marks turned out to be a high-ranking BoBer masquerading as a noob hoping to infiltrate BoB’s enemies. Both the Gooner and the BoBer thought their plans were going swimmingly when the Gooner had a change of heart. He came clean to his mark who then revealed that he also had had a change of heart and quite liked it in Goon Swarm. He revealed that his ‘alt’ was in fact a high-level BoBer who had unlimited powers in the alliance. Mind swirling with the possibilities the Gooner passed the new member up to his higher-ups who hatched a plan, and in less than 72 hours the BoB alliance was disbanded from within by the ‘alt’, and along with it all assets and space claimed under their name.

If the thought of huge guilds being destroyed from within doesn’t boggle your mind, you need to turn your sedative down, man. The two main points here, I think, is that first; this sort of behaviour takes place at all – in fact entire corporations are built around the idea that that is their main focus – and the second point is that scams to make quick cash are extremely common. They vary from the simplistic strategy of placing a cheap item up on the market with a bunch of extra zeros in the price tag hoping that someone accidently buys it, to the far more complex operations. Extortion and robbery are common. It’s a whole new world in there.

The implications are fascinating, scary, and exciting all at once. Not for everyone, that much is clear, but as EvE has matured, so has its player-base. No other MMO has had the continuous growth that EvE has, bar WoW’s gobble-tastic shark behaviour. Most MMOs have a massive spike of subscriptions at release, which then plummets, stabilises for a while, before petering out. By contrast EvE appears to have stumbled onto the scene, hair dishevelled but talented none-the-less, and slowly acquired the spit and shine to make it a serious competitor. It’s gone through several graphic overhauls (the latest of which looks quite stunning,) the developers are talking about “long-term plans” and it really doesn’t appear to be slowing down any time soon.

So what is it like to play EvE? Well, especially compared to the clone-ridden MMO market at the moment, EvE is about as a different an MMO as you can get. For one thing, the character creation step means very little. This isn’t something you’ll be aware of straight away, but the rest of the game design means that at the end of the day it has little impact, and you can change direction and do anything you want regardless of race or background. No, you will spend all of your time with spaceships anyway, and never see your avatar (although there is talk of fleshy bipeds coming later this year.)

The first huge departure from modern MMO philosophy that you’ll notice is the experience system. In an attempt to remove level grind, EvE is a purely time-based system. You earn “skill points” which feed into whichever skill you are currently learning and once you have enough, the skill is yours. This means that you continue to level up while doing nothing – while not even logged in. That might take you a moment to wrap your head around. I’ll wait. It does have a lot of implications. It does mean you don’t have to grind. It does mean that the more “time-challenged” among you can level up as fast as any fanatic – you just have to switch over your skills once they finish training. It also means that you can never catch up. If you’re late to the game you will run into people that have been playing the game for six years, and have an ungodly amount of skill points. Cleverly, this is off-set by the fact that you can only get so good in a particular area, so more skill points just means more versatility. So long as you are focused in one area, you can fight on equal terms with someone who has 10 times your skill points – but probably only in your area of expertise. It also means that no matter how keen you are, or how much spare time you have, you can’t speed up the process. The best you can do is to plan carefully to minimize the time it takes to reach your goals. The free expansion, Apocrypha, has a big new feature that lets you plan 24 hours in advance too, so you don’t even have to get up in the middle of the night to switch skills. All this does NOT mean there is no grind. EvE doesn’t fall too far from the MMO tree in that regard – but the grind has been moved from experience to money – ISK, as it is called. Anything and everything costs ISK. Oodles and oodles of ISK in most cases. There is a huge number of ways to make this ISK, but as you can imagine, most of them involve repetition.

The second main departure – although this is duplicated in a number of games over the years – is the skill-based character system, rather than class-based. What that means is that you are bombarded with all the skills in the game (some 370-odd) which you can pick and choose from to make any sort of character you wish. However, by design, learning all skills is just not possible so the idea is to choose a route and stick with it. After a while, if you want to try something new you can learn up a different path.

Arguably, the last major difference between EvE and most other MMOs out there is the ship out-fitting system. Just getting the skills to jump into one of the 300 available hulks is only the first step – there then are literally thousands of components that can be strapped to the sucker. The art of picking the right chassis and then balancing the ships resources so that you can squeeze the most out of it for whatever role you desire is one that keeps the player base constantly in flux. A single character can have as many ships as they like and the number of possible builds is endless. Players might have a small, fast, and cheap PvP ship, a giant tanking PvE ship, a massive fleet-battle DPS ship, a cloaking scout ship, or perhaps a “force multiplier” ship - designed to scramble the enemies systems, or protect your allies. For every build there is any number of tweaks for a specific situation. Getting your head around it all takes quite some time, but like any good skill it is endlessly complex but also rewarding. This system is a bit of a step up from calculating DPS stats to determine the best sword.

Once we start talking about combat, we start to stray back into familiar territory. In fact, one could say we stray into it, and keep on straying until we reach yesteryear. Many paragraphs ago I talked about MMOs and the cross-roads they stood at. One of the decisions that needed to be made was how to handle combat. The reward of watching slightly larger numbers grow slowly was much too simple for the modern audience and so most designers took the logical step of making it move involving. There isn’t a (western) game made today that doesn’t have you pressing a skill every heartbeat to generate DPS. Some even went as far as “combos” and no auto-attack whatsoever. The problem they still face, however, is that the system is ultimately limited. The number of hours a typical player sinks into their favourite MMO turns these button-pressing battles into a grind long before they reach all of the content they desire. Any player will work out which combination works best, have a couple back up plans prepared, and then repeat the process over and over until all bad guys are dead as far as the digital eye can see. EvE is computerised, and it says “no.” There are a few buttons to press, sure, but it’s a one-time deal. After that, you watch the lasers, guns and missiles do their job until your foes are dead. Besides switching targets, there’s not much to do in typical combat. There is plenty of planning to do before combat, however, as the combat system is suitably subtle for example Range, transversal velocity, shield recharge rates, armour repairing drones, ship size, and many other factors all influence your effectiveness. At the end of the day though, “AFK missioning” is a term that can be bandied about, and it’s no exaggeration.

It’s almost as though CCP have decided that rather than trying to spruce up the repetitive combat sequences, they’ve made them as simple as possible. Do your planning beforehand and then the rest flies itself. When you consider the massive distances than need to be navigated (which can all be done on auto-pilot,) and the PvE (which can be done AFK,) and the levelling up (which is can be done while logged off,) it’s almost as though EvE was designed to be a game you can play while doing something else. Grind up some ISK while at work? Fold laundry while you travel through 20 star systems? Convince your girlfriend that “no, this isn’t one of those life-stealing MMOs... hahaha... of course not”? You’ll never feel so productive, but at the same time, can you really argue you’re playing a game? To some people, it has great appeal, but to others it’s a turn-off.

Well, I should stress this is PvE I’m talking about – as you might imagine PvP is a tad more furious (and a lot more short-lived.) Not that PvP is perfect or horribly flawed. It’s not terribly different to many other open-world PvP systems. It largely consists of hunting down unwary foes, and then there is a cat and mouse game where your fast guys try to catch and pin them down with tackling abilities while heavy hitters wipe them out as fast as possible. Ganking, in other words. However, the number of variables and possibilities makes it an experience that can be endlessly repeated and besides, ganking isn’t all there is to PvP. There are attacks on player-owned stations, which require suitably ridiculous ships which in turn tend to force the defenders to bring out their own mammoths resulting in massive fleet-sized battles as well as the unique small-fleet encounters possible in Apocrypha’s wormhole space. It’s all very free-form so PvP is what you make of it – solo pirating, or gang killing, or wars... it’s up to you, really.

CLICK Here to see a larger image

So where does that leave you and EvE? Here’s the thing: it’s not for everybody. Every major game design decision is a double-edged sword – cleaving a path for novelty and free-form fun on one side, and slashing down potential subscribers with the other. If the sounds of corporate intrigue interest you, then EvE might be for you. If the thought of endless PvP opportunities sounds like fun, then EvE might be for you. If exploration and carving your own name into a real living and breathing galaxy sounds like something you could work for (and you’ll have to work hard for it), then EvE might be for you. BUT, if undocking and getting ganked by someone who declared war on your corporation sounds annoying, then perhaps EvE is not. If the harsh reality that you just lost your multi-million ISK ship and you could not possibly replace it any time soon sounds too vicious, then perhaps EvE is not for you. If you then get podded to find you haven’t updated your clone and you’ve just lost who-knows-how-many skill points and are likely to rage, then EvE might be for you, but for the love of God, stay on your toes!


eve incarna -

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