My short EVE Online experiment

Yeah, I tried another MMORPG, EVE Online. Fell for the claims that it was different, that it was good, has wonderful graphics. It offers a total sandbox approach where everything is pretty much player created, even bounty-hunter mission assignments, corporate powers and the economy. They offered a 14 day free trial and I, being a total sucker, gave it a shot.

I was done with it in one afternoon.

Okay, it was different. No first person shooter, just you piloting a space ship. Graphics are gorgeous. My big problems with it are: the camera, the interface, the learning curve, the general feel.

The camera: staring at my own ship during combat is annoying. Controlling the camera in space, when in galactic map mode, etc. was difficult and annoying. This is why I gave up on Homeworld: camera issues made combat almost impossible. In the future, there will be some kind of combat schematic optimized to filter the necessary info out of lots of useless data. In Homeworld and EVE, well, can't let info management get in the way of showing off cool nebulas.

The interface is just overloaded with information and trying to figure out which system you're in is a chore. I lost the intro tutorial when I entered a space station, only to realize it was waiting for me to do something before it continued. The learning curve is tremendous: you essentially have to memorize a skill and spaceship parts catalog where every item sounds/looks just like the last one. You have to learn how to navigate through space with warp and jumpgates and nearly impossible to read maps of routes between planetary systems. Plus, you spend most of your time watching your ship fly through space with nothing to do.

It all adds up to not being fun, which is the point. Why would a casual gamer bother? Why would a hardcore gamer make the time investment to figure it out?

In contrast, recently I downloaded MS Visual C# and Sql Server Express Editions to toy with related to an experiment at work. I was up and running, and knowing what I was doing, within minutes of starting each program. My actions produced understandable results and I could see myself improving instantly. Why can't video game designers shoot for the same result?

5 comments:

Ron Toland said...

Video game designers *do* shoot for ease of use, but not all of them make it.

MMOs are a pretty young medium, and RPGs are the most information-intensive type of video game, so it's natural that the ones that come out have a klunky interface.

That's no excuse for bad design, though. I've played both EVE and WoW, and the user interface is infinitely more intuitive in the latter (which may explain why WoW is so much more popular than EVE).

My experience with EVE was similar to yours: bad interface, gorgeous graphics, too much time spent flying through space with nothing to do. I *wanted* to like EVE, just for the feel alone, but dropped it when it just got too boring.

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Mihai said...

Eve is TOTALLY UNBALANCED, good only for old players, if you will join the game you will ether quit the game ending in frustration because there is no way you can catch old payers up , or you will become someones tool, old players will use new players and mock them.

Been there, played a few months.

Also nobody will really help you in eve, all will scam, lie and steal from you, the GMs are busy making money in real life protecting spammers who sell ISK they don't care about your petitions.

Just don't play EVE it's a bad game for frustrated old players who don't want new players to join in.

rich said...

Eve is TOTALLY UNBALANCED, good only for old players, if you will join the game you will ether quit the game ending in frustration because there is no way you can catch old payers up , or you will become someones tool, old players will use new players and mock them.

What a complete load of crap. Don't get me wrong, some of the NPC related content isn't the most thrilling (although there is supposed to a update coming soon to improve that) but to say that you can't catch up is tosh.

EVE does not limit your choices based on your original char selections so you can do anything. Initial race/bloodline choices just determine what you can do initially.

In any particular field you will be able to equal a veteran in about 6 months. Of course, that is in one specific thing, like combat with a particular class of ship. The advantage vets have is breadth of skills which mean they can do lots of different things. But they can still only be doing one thing at any one time and at that thing you can beat them if you've trained for it.

And no, not even the majority lie and cheat. There'll always be some, but that's true of any game. The difference with EVE is that your safety is largely down to your own wits. You can't look to the game itself to protect you.

At the end of the day what you get out of EVE depends on what you're looking for. The PVP is second to none. The PVE isn't on your own but then if you want that then why are you playing a MMO game? Why not just play an offline game? Whenever you want to play a game that in a way that interacts with other people then EVE is great.

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