Chief Defender of the Faith
- May 1, 2001
- Reaction score
- The Forbidden Zone
- First name
Players considering jumping into EVE Online frequently have a lot of questions as the game is quite different than other MMOs. Too, many new players experience a great deal of frustration at first and end up quitting or spinning their wheels trying to figure out some aspect of the game that isn't well documented. Here's a brief list of things you need to know before jumping into EVE. Understanding the fundamental nature of EVE can make your transition from single-player gaming or other MMOs much less painful.
MMO Gaming in General
Welcome to EVE Online
MMO Gaming in General
- Grinding your way to success. In most MMOs it's possible to grind levels and create more powerful characters quickly. In some games it's possible to have someone else do the grinding for you and a few even allow the purchase of developed characters from other players. Most commonly, MMOs reward players for playing more often by granting experience points for the completion of tasks, quests, or missions. Once enough experience points are earned, the character advances in level and becomes more powerful.
- Casual fun vs hardcore gaming. Most MMOs are all about casual fun. The intent is for players to be able to jump in and start having fun right away so they'll keep playing. This often translates into losses being temporary setbacks rather than permanent ones. For instance, when a character dies in Conan or World of Warcraft, the character simply respawns in less than a minute with no permanent effects from the "death."
- Multiplayer gameplay. Some MMOs offer both solo and team-based forms of gameplay. Often, this means two very different types of game populations segregated onto different servers. Usually, players have at least some control over this aspect of the game and can decide whether they want to play vs computer controlled NPC opponents (PvE) or against other players (PvP). In many MMOs, PvE happens on one server while PvP takes place on another.
- Sharded vs unsharded gameplay. MMO gameworlds can be large and a technical challenge to manage, so most MMOs divide the gameworld up into different sections or regions. In reality, these are really individual instances of the game running on separate servers (called shards). These shards may be individual or unique, or they may simply be duplicates of the same region. It's common for individual servers or shards to develop their own unique flavor or gameplay culture. As a result, when conflicts of gameplay or personality arise between players, it's often possible for players or even entire clans to simply migrate to another server where the environment is more to their liking.
- Intuitive gaming vs steep learning curve. Since MMO gaming can be somewhat more time consuming than traditional single-player computer gaming, most MMOs sport simple, straightforward game mechanics which allow players to master the fundamentals quickly. MMOs are dependent on subscriptions and player activity in order to be economically viable, thus it's generally desirable to make such games as accessible and intuitive as possible.
- The nature of multiplayer gaming. MMOG stands for "massively multiplayer online game." Since these games are multiplayer in nature, most MMO communities are open and inviting known for their friendly nature. Most have helpful articles, community portals and blogs, and many have active discussion forums geared toward helping new players learn the game and join in the fun.
- Play by the rules or face the consequences. In any game there are ways for players to ruin the fun of other players. Most MMOs have some form of GM (gamemaster) who monitors the gameplay and helps ensure everyone plays by the established rules. Players who insist on being disruptive or who constantly harass other players for sport (usually referred to as "griefing" or "griefplay") may eventually be banned from the game.
Welcome to EVE Online
- Grinding has a different meaning here. In EVE, anything that's worth doing takes a long time and is difficult. The game's mechanics make it impossible to grind your way to power; individual characters don't really become more powerful by gaining levels like in other MMOs, they only become more flexible. Real power comes from player skill and knowledge, which usually takes a significant investment of time and energy to develop and isn't something which can be bought and sold. And since knowledge and experience are power in EVE, other players make it their business to mislead, misdirect, and generally undermine everyone else (if you're not with us you're against us...). And yes, very often this means being mean and heartless to new players seeking help.
- Hardcore gaming is the rule, not the exception. Loss has significant consequences in EVE. Although characters do respawn when they die in EVE, they can experience a significant loss in abilities unless they pay for a clone to insure themselves against such loss. Obviously being killed often can get very expensive. In addition, characters may also lose cybernetic implants, which can be extremely expensive and which cannot be insured. And though ship-to-ship space combat is very common in EVE, it's easily possible to lose billions and billions of ISK (EVE's virtual currency) with a single ship loss. A player who dies in a capital or super-capital ship could potentially lose tens of billions ISK. And this ISK is not easily replaceable like "gold" in other MMOs; illegally purchasing that ISK with real-world dollars is prohibitively expensive (for instance, replacing a super-captial + implants loss could cost $2-3,000.00 US). Loss hurts in EVE and players delight in hurting other players!
- EVE has a steep learning curve. EVE is unforgiving and individual aspects of the game can be difficult to master. The learning curve is often steep in EVE, and though the developers do provide a limited number of tutorials and articles to help new players, mastering new aspects of the game can involve a significant degree of risk and potential loss. This tends to drive players to either quit out of frustration or join a player corp of like-minded individuals in order to more easily learn as well as for mutual protection.
- There are no shards. Unlike other MMOs, EVE is a single-sharded universe. That means for all intents and purposes, there is only one big persistent gameworld. If you make enemies in EVE or someone declares war on you, you can't escape by simply moving to a different server and electing to opt-out. Instead, you'll need to either arm yourself and kill your opponents, or you'll need to find some other way to deal with them (surrender, become allies, bribery, etc...). Though some portions of space are safer and less violent than others, EVE is generally hostile everywhere and sooner or later someone will take notice of you and attempt to take what you have or just kill you for laughs or simply in order to harvest whatever resources are left after you and your expensive ship are destroyed. The sooner you understand people can and will kill you given any opportunity to do so, the sooner you can take measures to prepare and protect yourself.
- Solo gameplay vs. teamwork. Independent or "solo" gameplay is extremely difficult as EVE is heavily geared toward militaristic teamwork. Players are never safe anywhere, ever, because non-consensual PvP is part of EVE's fundamental core design. It's certainly possible to play alone, but don't expect it to be easy. And unfortunately, many player-run organizations in EVE tend to be run like the worst sort of military dictatorship. Low level members are expected to do as they're told and participate often in order to defend the organization and help it meets its goals. This very often means the leadership gets to reap the benefits of absolute power and become fabulously wealthy, while low level members must be content with serving their masters. Such are the politics of EVE. If you're unhappy being a slave or having someone else tell you what to do with your game time, you can either quit and find some more gentle game that better suits your tastes, or arm yourself and do something about it! Violent revolutions and hostile takeovers are the norm in EVE.
- The true nature of EVE. Everything in EVE is competitive and a form of PvP activity. Even posting on the official discussion forums is considered a type of information warfare, which is why new players are often treated quite badly and end up outraged and offended, leading many to quit and move on to other games. EVE's culture is not a culture of friendly, cooperative gameplay like other MMOs. It's a culture where the greedy, violent, or sadistic rule, and an environment where the rule of "survival of the fittest" is celebrated and actively encouraged by the developers.
- It's good to be bad. In most MMOs the developers take steps to ensure players aren't cheated or manipulated by other players. In EVE the developers actively encourage virtual piracy and criminal activity in space. Other players will rob you, scam you, lie to you, and generally use you to further their own ends whenever possible. With very few exceptions, this type of behavior isn't considered "griefing" as in other MMOs, nor is it considered an exploit. GMs will rarely intervene unless there's a real problem with the game mechanics, and even then the chances of you getting back whatever was taken from you are slim. There are entire corporations and even alliances dedicated to piracy, robbery, extortion, scamming, and suicide ganking, and they can and will target you. Although many new players understand this in concept, they are often unprepared for the reality of just how far these virtual enemies are willing to take it. Against the type of enemies one can encounter in EVE, there are no easy solutions. Protecting yourself can often be a tedious and sometimes frustrating process. Such an environment isn't for everyone and many gamers won't react well once they've had a taste of what it's like to be targeted and exploited by other EVE players. The sooner you understand this and either learn to protect yourself or join a corp with members willing to help you, the better the chances you'll find a home in EVE. No one enjoys being a victim, so learn not to be a victim because the GMs aren't going to protect you.