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Ever played Elite or Beyond the Frontier games ? Well, this is a similar game but much, much bigger.

This is going to be a detailed review of the game Eve Online and my experience playing it, be prepared for a long read. After playing this game for 6 months I am still nowhere near the level some people are and they, after 4 years, have not got everything in the game. Basically this is an ongoing game that cannot be completed. It has been estimated that if you want to be the best at everything in the game it would take 20years in real time.

Eve is an MMOG, Massive Multiplayer Online Game, and it truly is. Many people download the free trail spend two weeks messing about and quit due to the complexity. The complexity of the game also deters young childish players but not all. Eve is a game that is taken seriously by its players, so much so that companies are created, alliances formed and battle over territory take place. For new people there are even Universities for you to join to get the best out of the game from the start, highly suggested in my opinion.

There are four races to the game of which I have only started one, reason being is you can only train one character per account even though you can have three characters on an account. To be able to train more than one character at one time you would be buy a second account.

This review will cover as much as I can about the game but a lot will be based on my experience and choice of race.

~ Character Races ~

As mentioned there are four character races, each races has sub classes such as military/industry etc, the character generation is too complex to go through as there are so many options to create the kind of person and base skills you want in game. They have a background story behind them and a quick summary of them are…

Caldri : A corporate capitalism State, the State is run by a few corporations which control and rule every aspect of society. Each corporation is made up of thousands of smaller companies. The Caldri State is not as big as other States but its military can be just as deadly due to their interest in military technology. They were part of the Gallente federation but deep difference drove them apart. The Caldri ships to me look like how I would imagine them if we built them in our future. The ships use mainly missiles and railguns and most setups favour these methods. This appealed to me and why I chose this race.

Gallente : Self-righteous, meddling, pompous and tiresome, or virile liberalists and defenders of the free world. They are king of entertainment and mass production but not to be underestimated on the military front. After years of war with the Caldri neither gained ground and called a peace treaty. Gallente ships to me look more alien like than Caldri and use mainly railguns as primary weapons.

Amarr : The largest of the races in EVE, Amarr space spans 40% of the inhabited solar systems. Run by an Emperor, he is the head of a ritualistic, authoritarian imperial state, and below him are the Five Heirs, the heads of the five royal families from which a new Emperor is chosen. The Emperor's authority is unquestioned, but the archaic and bureaucratic system of government makes it difficult for him to exert his rule unless directly in person. Otherwise, the Five Heirs rule in his name, dividing the huge empire between them.
A deeply religious society, religion remains of great importance to every Amarrian, which at various times has been responsible both for great good and great evil.
Amarr ships again appear look more alien to me and their primary weapon choice favours energy.

Minmatar : A tough, no-nonsense race, the Minmatars are a determined and independent people. The most important thing in life is to be able to take care of yourself on your own, and although kin and family play an important role in their society. The population is huge but has been split into clans through space and have been known to war against each other.
Their ships tend to favour projectile weapons, while looking alien like to me these seem to resemble what I would consider ships that our future generations might build.

As you may see each race has different style ships and use different types of weapons. This does not mean that you have to stick to one race, the training system is so versatile that you can start the game as one race and train skills in other races technologies. A prime example of this is, I am Caldri which use missiles and railguns but I have also trained my character in Gallente skills to maximise the amount of ships I can use that use railguns.

This can get complex but much better than creating a character and a few weeks/months down the line, realise you don't want it and have to delete it. If you don't like your character, simply cross train in other races technology.

The game is taken pretty seriously by some players but believe it or not, most are very helpful especially with character generation and progression. There are groups that take on role play and write stories etc and some have created short videos.

~ Object of the game ~

Briefly covering the races, each one has specialist areas depending on what you want out of the game. Each race or character, no matter how it was setup can be what ever they want in the game, e.g. thief, miner, industrialist, pirate, trader, player vs player, player vs computer. What you want to be in the game is called a profession as in real life, you can't really be doctors or firemen etc but you could call yourself police and target unfriendly players. A lot of people pick a profession and stick to it, to me that is boring as you will be doing the same thing over and over, my character has been trained in a number of areas so I simply choose what I want to do when I feel like and not have to train up another character.

This is all managed through the skill system and the way the Universe is designed, there is no real object to the game, it all depends on what you want to do. While there is no real object, there are options such as missions to keep you busy and earn you money, if you can't be bothered with missions you simply train yourself to do the others mentioned above, this is the player vs computer aspect or commonly called PVE.
Most importantly, the aim is to play and have fun.

~ The Universe ~

The Eve Universe is split into sections, 0.0, low sec 0.1 - 0.4 and what we call high sec or Empire 0.5 - 1.0.

1.0 - 0.5 : High sec or Empire space has a low chance of being attacked so that new players can get to grips with the game before being blown out of the sky and never returning to the game. It give you a chance to train your character in relative safety while you run missions etc etc. High
Pictures of Eve Online (PC)
Eve Online (PC) Picture 56801554 tb
The HUD, 3rd person view of ship, options on left, navigation on right, ship details at bottom
sec basically stands for high security space, the higher the number the more secure. Don't let this fool you because the space police (Concord) are reactive not proactive, meaning they punish people who attack you or vice versa. If you join a company you can also be attacked if another company declares war on you, basically the company can pay police to look the other way for one week at a time.

0.4 - 0.1 : Known as low sec but still Empire space, this area of the Universe has a high chance of you being attacked by other players. If you have your wits about you, you can play in low sec as you do in high sec but be prepared that you might lose your ship from time to time. The biggest problem with low sec is that pirates tend to camp warp gates leading in to low sec known. The reason it is called low sec is that it has low security or no cops, you won't be protected by police. If you are near a space station or a gate and you are attacked, the guns will fire upon your enemy but a good enemy will have configured the shields to be able to take the gun fire.

0.0 : Known as 0.0 funnily enough (some do call it zero space), this is where you will get killed at some point, best avoided if you want to avoid combat. Although with high risk comes high rewards, this is where a lot of money can be made especially if you join a group that owns a section of 0.0 space. In 0.0 space you have no protection what so ever, your only protection is how good you and your ship are.

While this may sound daunting thousands live in 0.0, low sec and high sec. Playing the game for six months now I've only ever been in combat once with another player and lost my ship through in-experience. Living in high sec the only action I get to see is when our company is declared war against, I have been involved in a few wars and really enjoyed them.

The player owned sections of space are referred to as sovereignty, in 0.0 space player run companies can claim territory and effectively own it. Anyone enter their space without permission will be shot on sight. Player owned systems are often war zones due to one company wanting that space. Some player companies are larger than others and tend to do very well so other companies ask to join them and form an alliance. This is very handy as you can call upon your friends to help when in need. While most battles in 0.0 are small, you can get huge alliances battling it out with hundreds of ships on screen. If you want action with high risk, join a 0.0 company.

~ Skills ~

You hear me mention them, what are they ?

Skills are basically that, to be able to do something in the game as in real life, you have to learn it first. Skills are worked out in real time, so if it says it will take 24hrs, 24hrs later you will be trained in it. Each skill will have a multiplier with it known as rank, as an example a rank 1 skill may take 15mins to train but a rank 5 may take a few days. This gets slightly more complicated as each skill has levels up to 5, this means a skill can have 5 levels to train and each level is how good you are with that skill. A good example of how this will affect in game play is, if two people had same ship and weapons but 1 person had gunnery 1 and the other had gunnery 5, the person with gunnery 5 is more likely to win unless they were a bad pilot.

How many skills are there ?

Hundreds, too many to mention, your best bet is to decide what you want to do before hand and train to be good in that area and then consider training in other areas. From my experience it is a good idea to train the learning skills to cut down the amount of real time required to train others.

I've made a mistake can I change my skill ?

No, all skills are real time and permanent, once you've trained that's yours forever. To help you avoid mistakes and wasting skill time you can get skill/character/profession planners.

As mentioned skills can be cross trained with other races to give you complete flexibility in what you can do in game. One week you could be a miner, a few weeks later you could be well on your way to being a good fighter pilot. If you can't be bothered to skill up a character you can buy them off other players.

~ Game play ~

This game is played from the 3rd person view, another words you are looking at your ship, not through the cockpit windscreen. Everything is keyboard and mouse controlled, I'm sure you could use other devices but I'm not sure what would be best.

Movement : To move about in space you simply double click where you want to move and your ships moves, to move to planets/asteroids/space stations/warp gates you click on them and either approach at what ever speed your ship can manage or use the warp button to warp there fast. If you are part of a group, you can select a member and warp to them. Your skills will determine how fast you can go and how agile your ship is.

Combat : This is easily done by selecting the enemy you wish you attack and lock target on it by using the lock target button, once locked you can fire which ever weapons you want that are in range. Once again the computer controls your weapons and is determined by how well your combat skills are trained. Each ship has shields, armour and structure to destroy before the ship goes bang. Not only is combat determined by skills, it is also determined on what modules you have installed. A good example is if a ship has shield extenders, shield re-chargers and shield hardeners, it can do what we call tank. This means the ship can take a lot of damage without the shields dropping to dangerous levels. The combat system is pretty complex when you consider all he factor such player skills, player modules, ship sizes, ship speeds, weapon velocities, weapon tracking speeds, projectile speeds etc etc
You don't have to worry about most of this as the computer tracks it all for you.
Because there are so many skills involved in the game it is not a case of the longer you play the game he better you are. Each skill has a maximum level so someone who decides to maximise a certain skill straight away can be just as good at that skill as a veteran player. The only difference is that the veteran player may have other skills that help him compared to a new player. I personally have seen a group of new people take down a larger battleship using basic skills and weapons.
To help you in combat you can join friends and do things together, some ships also have drone bays, these can be filled with AI controlled ships that you can control and use to attack other ships, there are different types of drones and each have different abilities.

Market : The Eve game would be nothing without its market, the market controls the price on everything. If you sell something expensive, someone may be able to beat your price and vice versa with cheap items. Almost everything you need to play the game is on the market somewhere. The market is absolutely huge and I will not try to cover it. Playing the market can net you a lot of money if you know what you are doing, you can literally play the game and make your millions without ever seeing combat. The good thing about the market is prices vary for the same item depending on where you are and how many items are available. I personally buy something in one area, make 10 warp jumps and sell the item with a 50% profit.

You need to do some market research if you are going to build items to sell, so many factors are considered when buildings items such as renting production lines, your efficiency at production, product waste and time to build among many others. Many people setup characters and focus purely on production so they have a 100% efficient industrialist and make their millions and then transfer the money to their main combat character.

Some people just sell things on the market at market price that they have gathered from ships wrecks, yes that right you get to loot ship wrecks and salvage what is left. Looting is different to salvage as in when you destroy a ship, its hull leaves a cargo container behind, you simply open cargo container and steal the stuff. Salvaging the ship is more specialised, you need a salvaging module to analyse and recover what could be valuable, some items could make you millions on the market while others very little.

There seems to be a lot of drugs in the game but I never see people buying or selling them, it appears the profession of drug dealer has died or not yet been fully implemented.

Space stations : These placed in solar systems usually near planets and are the places to go to get missions, trade with players, repair your ship, refit your ship, setup production or hide from enemies. . You can access the market from out in space but it's the space stations where majority trading goes on, items you buy can only be picked up at stations unless you arrange to have them delivered or meet up and exchange, most people won't meet you and exchange in case you are a bad person and shoot them and steal the stuff without paying. Space stations are where a lot of the companies setup themselves up and recruit people to join them, further on in the game and providing you have the materials and money, you can create your own stations. If you were to attack a station, you are very likely to get killed unless you have a very powerful shield.

Asteroid Belts : These are belts where you can go to mine, these are placed in solar systems usually away from stations or planets. Mining can be a boring job but done right can make you loads of money, to add a bit fun for you enemy ships spawn ever now and again and attack you. Depending on the security rating of the system will depend how hard they are and how much you can make killing them. Not much else goes in the belts but are very handy places to warp to if you in trouble and need to get away quick.

There are other structures in the game but the above are the most used and most likely to be used by a new player to get to grips with the game. The game play is mainly centered around the above until you get to live in 0.0 where you will learn about player owned stations.

What sets the game play apart from many other games is the team building that goes on, as well as playing in teams you can chat in game via chat boxes or if you like, can use and external chat software to actually speak to people. Many corporations will require you to sign up to teamspeak or ventrillo to take part in team operations.

~ Ships ~

As mentioned game play is mainly 3rd person view of your ship as you fly about what you're doing. Without counting each ship for each race, you have about 25+ ships per race. Each ship looks different to the next and has different abilities, abilities meaning bonuses for certain weapons or equipment. As an example Caldri ships tend to have bonuses to missile damage or flight time, however, some Caldri ships have specific roles and might have bonuses such as ECM jamming strength.

All of the four races a ship from each class of ship, each class has a role but can be adjusted to suit you. These are…

Titan - A huge ship that is the biggest in the game and very few own one due it cost and the materials to make one. These can't be bought as anyone who owns one will want to keep it to control their space. These are the ultimate war machine in a fleet and only found in 0.0 space. These don't use jump gates and are not allowed in empire space. Don't be fooled though, without the right support, these can be taken down.

Motherships - The 2nd largest ship, a deadly ship mainly owned by corporations who want to keep them, if you are lucky you might be able to buy one but they will be very very expensive, once again only found in 0.0 space. These don't use jump gates and are not allowed in empire space. Mothership can carry fighters, items and a clone bay. Clone bays are used when a pilot is killed, they are reborn from a clone bay. These are usually found in stations so having one on a mothership is a big advantage. These can be taken down without the right support

Dreadnoughts - The 3rd largest ship to be found in 0.0 and mainly used for siege operations against structures. Again, a deadly ship mainly owned by corporations who want to keep them, if you are lucky you might be able to buy one but they will be very very expensive, once again only found in 0.0 space. These don't use jump gates and are not allowed in empire space. These can be taken down without the right support but have special mode called siege mode. Once in this mode they cannot move but their offense and defensive capabilities are hugely enhanced making it something to be weary of.

Carriers - The carrier's main offensive are heavy combat drones known as fighters. Carriers are able to operate the fighters remotely, and assign them to other commanders, allowing them to fill a role away from the immediate frontline. Like the Dreadnoughts' siege mode, Carriers can enter a "Triage" mode that greatly increases its logistics capabilities and defenses but reduces any offensive ability they have. Carriers are also capable of carrying a limited number of frigates, as well as possessing a small corporate hangar. Due to these sitting at the back of the fleet they are harder to take down but it can be done.

Freighters - A very large industrial ship, should not be seen in combat as it is not designed to be. These can used to carry items or unpacked ships, unable to find any information as to where they are found or if they can use jump gates or not. These are quite expensive and would make an attractive target if unsupported, someone might just want your cargo. To give you an idea of the cargo size, the Caldri industrial ship has a base cargo of 4125m3 where as this ship can have sizes of 720,000m3 - 785,000m3, with this kind of space you are probably talking billions worth of cargo, well worth attacking for some people.

The above are the least common ships found in Eve due to their cost to build and are not allowed in Empire space (freighter not sure about). The following is now a brief list of the common ships found in both Empire space and 0.0.

Battleships - The larger of the combat class ships with varying roles but primarily on combat. One of the most common found due to them being cheap enough to buy and equip, these will take a few months of training to use properly. Pretty powerful and something to look out for if you are in a smaller ship. This class tend to have a damage dealing ship, support ship and sniper ship.

Battlecruisers - The 2nd of the large combat ships that again have varying roles, mainly damage dealing but some of the races have support role ships. Pretty quick to train up and use and cheap enough to buy and equip. This class tend to have a damage dealing ship, support ship and sniper ship but in general not as powerful as a Battleship. These have a 2nd class of ship call a command ship, the role of command ship is similar to support but specialises in warfare links, another words it can enhance other ships abilities.

Cruisers - The middle class combat ship and again with varying roles, there are also tech 2 variants of this class. Tech 1 (or basic cruisers) are easy to train and Tech 2 (Heavy Assault Cruisers, Recon ships and Logistics) a little longer and have more benefits. Cruiser tend to have damage dealers, support class and usually a mining ship, some mining cruisers have bonuses that make them almost a good as a mining barge. This is a pretty common class but people tend use them until they can get into a Battlcruiser or battleship.

Destroyers - Another combat ship that can be quite good due to the amount of guns you can fit on it, the problem with this ship is the low armour an shielding. It really wouldn't stand a chance against a Battlecruiser and probably have a bit of trouble with a cruiser. In my honest opinion, this should not have the name of destroyer. A lot of people use this class as a salvager, you could fit cargo expanders with 8 spaces for a mix of salvager modules and tractor beams. People usually do a mission in a combat ship and then use this to clean up after.
Each race has another variant of this ship called and interdictor, interdictors can do damage but main role is dropping interdiction spheres, these spheres prevent ships from warping within a certain radius.

Frigates - The most common ship in eve, easy to train up, cheap to buy and not such a waste if lost in combat. They have varying roles such as combat, support, mining, exploration and scouting. Each ship have different abilities but are not very strong, the Tech 2 variants (Assault frigates, interceptors and covert ops) are slightly better and seen more often in low sec or 0.0 space than in empire but take longer to train. These are basically a step up from beginner ship and useful in certain situations but most people use them as a stepping stone.

Rookie ships - The most useless ship in the world of Eve, it is the starter ship and paper thin, not much I can say about these as people are not in them for long. They are free so if you die, you will be given another one at your station. However, I have seen a group of starter ships destroy a Battleship.

Shuttles - Simply a basic ship to ferry you about rather than use a large slow ship, not much can be done with a shuttle as it has no weapon slots.

Industrial Ships - A very basic ship for transporting your goods and trading, each race has different size ships with different sized cargo space. There Tech 2 variants (transporters) that have larger cargo space as well. People tend to buy cargo expander modules to increase the hull size. These are very weak ships and not seen near combat.

Mining barges - A large mining ship used for mining only, no combat ability so unable to protect themselves in the asteroid belts. Usually escorted by a friends ship or if out solo, simply turn and run when there is trouble. Mining barges are easy enough to train unless you go for the biggest. These are a good way to make you some money but I think it would get boring just mining all the time. Mining Barges have a Tech variant called Exhumers, larger ships again with the ability to strip mine or harvest gas.

There is a patch coming up soon that will introduce another 20 or so new ships.

~ Graphics ~

A lot of the graphics are detailed but not realistic, there will be a patch coming out soon that will update the graphics engine making it much more detailed. However, the graphic are still pretty good as they considering there are thousands of ships flying around 5000 different solar systems as well as other in game mechanics.
Graphics on the ships are pretty detailed but the environment is less detailed, while it still fits in with the game. What they have concentrated on in this game is the player and what they do rather than dazzle you with stunning graphics and rubbish game play. There are some screen shots provided at the end of this review to give you an idea.

~ Cost ~

The game is free, you download the game from the Eve website and 638mb later you could be playing your free 14 day trial, as simple as that. If you like the game you can continue to play it by subscribing to it. If not just leave your account or delete it.
The monthly cost for this can vary depending on where you are due to conversion rates etc. In the UK a subscription would be 14.95 euro a month which works out around £10. This will get cheaper if you order and pay for 3 months, 6 months etc as they like to reward you for longer subscriptions. Another way to keep it cheap for you is to buy game time cards which for me worked out about £8 per month. If you are making billions on money in game you can buy time cards from sellers with in game money, cool hey !

All game updates/patches are free and you can download the game as many times as you like as the software is not linked to your account. This means you can install the game anywhere and simply just sign in with your username and password.

~ Summary ~

A fantastic huge MMOG with so much built into it and a great community. Slightly more expensive than I want to pay on a monthly basis but not too bad if you buy in chunks of months at a time. Once you get a taste of the game and take part in the community it does become quite addictive, the complexity turns away kids and inpatient players. Good graphics, excellent game play and a game I should have started playing when it first came out.

Sources : www.eve-online.com, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eve_online and personal experience and ownership of game.

Images are screenshots from my computer.

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Comments about this review »

liwo 20.08.2009 19:19

To learn all the skills available in EVE, one will need 26 years of real time so pick the skill carefully...:)

petebrolly 22.05.2009 13:08

really detailed review, great work! im really thinking about getting into this, bit late I know but better late than never!

tribalsjs 17.05.2009 03:50

Brilliant review, complete with pictures.

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