Most of my friends know that I’m into EVE Online and yet they still tell me I’m notoriously difficult to buy gifts for. EVE is a bit more of a hobby than a game for many players, but it’s a very unique community and it can be difficult for those who don’t play to pick out gifts that players might appreciate. It’s not helped by the fact that many alliances in the game have their own unique subcultures, and that the official EVE Online store has been shut for a long time.
I’ve spent the past few days scouring the internet for internet spaceships swag and have found five things that I think most EVE Online players would love to get as gifts. If someone you know plays EVE and you’re struggling to find a gift for them, hopefully this holiday gift guide will point you in the right direction. If you find anything else that EVE players might like that isn’t in the list, leave a comment with the suggestion.
EVE Online is one of the few MMOs that has managed to remain subscription-based while most of the MMO market has transitioned to free-to-play business models, and part of that is thanks to the PLEX. The 30-day Pilot’s License EXtension (or PLEX for short) is bought as a code that can be redeemed by an EVE player as an in-game item. The item can be consumed to add 30 days of subscription time to a player’s account or sold on the in-game market for ISK, the game’s currency. Even if your friend has his subscription paid up for the next few months, he’ll be able to sell the PLEX for a tidy sum in-game.
CCP often runs some good deals on PLEX, but it’s very difficult to actually buy this as a gift as you’ll need an EVE Online account to take advantage of the offer. There are also sometimes deals on Amazon, but you’ll need to link your EVE account to Amazon to buy them. If you’re buying for a friend then, you’ll need to buy from one of the licensed retailers who send you the codes via email, and then give the code to your recipient. Licensed retailers include Green Man Gaming, MarkeeDragon, and EVE Radio.
The EVE Online collector’s edition would have been no-brainer for any EVE fan this holiday season, but unfortunately the physical editions have now sold out. The collector’s edition came with the EVE: Into The Second Decade book, a rifter USB hub and a copy of CCP’s board game Danger Game, as well as codes to unlock rare in-game cosmetic items and a PLEX. While the physical edition is now sold out, there are still plenty of codes for the cosmetic items and PLEX for sale over at MarkeeDragon. There’s currently a 20% black friday discount on these codes on the listed price, which makes them pretty good value for money for a limited time. We’ve been told that the offer will be open throughout the weekend.
The EVE Mystery Code comes with a 30-day PLEX and a bunch of cosmetic items for your EVE avatar worth around 400-500 million ISK, and is only about $1 more than buying a PLEX on its own thanks to today’s 20% discount. The Collector’s Edition Items Code is pretty expensive at $45 (but a much cheaper $36 with today’s discount) and grants a bunch of in-game cosmetic items such as the valuable golden escape pod implant that are currently valued at a total of around 3.5 to 4 billion ISK. That’s enough to buy at least 3 PLEX on the market right now, so it’s worth about $50 unless the price of those in-game items changes significantly.
CCP Games has published three novels set in the EVE universe so far, two of which have been very highly reviewed. The Empyrean Age by Tony Gonzales was released in 2008 alongside the Empyrean Age expansion and sets the stage for an escalating war between EVE‘s four main factions. It was CCP’s first foray into published novels and was met with mostly favourable reviews, and you can pick up a copy for around $8 now on Amazon. Tony Gonzales’ second book EVE: Templar One was extremely well-liked by readers and universally highly reviewed, and you can pick it up for around $12. Hjalti Danielsson’s 2010 novel EVE: The Burning Life unfortunately didn’t go down so well and had very mixed reviews from players, but if you’re collecting the set then you can pick it up new for $13 or used for a lot cheaper.
If your friend isn’t much of a novel reader, CCP has also released a number of collectable books that are much more visual. For the lore buffs, EVE: Source is a 200-page lore source book filled with information and images from all of the game’s NPC factions. Fans of the EVE universe or art style might prefer EVE: Universe, a 192-page art book filled with screenshots and concept art, including plenty of unreleased content and sketches from over 15 years of development. And if your friend is more interested in the political movings of player empires within the game, Andrew Groen’s upcoming book A History of the Great Empires of EVE Online is accepting pre-orders. The book probably won’t be delivered this year, unfortunately, but manufacturing has officially begun.
One of the problems with buying EVE-related gifts is that it’s a massive sandbox that everyone plays in their own way, so you may not know what kinds of things they’re interested in. Some alliances have their own unique subcultures, and every alliance and corporation has its own logo and artwork. Thanks to websites like RedBubble, you can create personalised gifts for your friend using his own artwork or screenshots. RedBubble allows you to make posters, t-shirts, phone covers, notebooks, bags, stickers, phone cases, cards, mugs and more. Just remember to set your designs to private so that other people can’t buy them, as you don’t want to be making money off someone else’s intellectual property and possibly land in legal trouble.
One good idea for a gift would be to get t-shirt made up with your friend’s corporation or alliance logo on it. RedBubble has just recently added graphic t-shirts to its product list, so you can make a huge design that covers the entire T-shirt rather than just a corp logo. You could also try to find a nice high-resolution screenshot of your friend’s favourite ship and make a poster or print out of it. You can find 4k resolution images of the famous battle of B-R5RB and other impressive moments online, and CCP’s official wallpapers can be scaled up to the required resolution for posters and prints without much loss in quality. If you’re not the artistic type, player Rixx Javix has put together a fantastic set of high-resolution battlecruiser posters that you can buy for $35.
EVE players have a saying: The best ship in EVE is friendship! The number one gift that you can give to any EVE player is probably to finally give in and sign up an account to play with them. You may have been put off EVE by its reputation as a cutthroat universe where people screw each other over for profit, but the day-to-day reality is far from that. Most established EVE Online corporations welcome newbies and players will go out of their way to show you the ropes, and this is doubly true if they’re a real life friend. EVE is typically a very difficult game to get into but can be a very rewarding hobby, and your chances of sticking with it are exponentially higher if you are helped along by a friend who already plays. EVE is also different to the typical MMO in that you can be a useful wingman for your friend right from day one.
If you happen to have picked up the full collector’s edition code pack from MarkeeDragon, you’ll get a 60-day game time code with it that can only be used with new accounts and would be ideal to get you started. Steam is also currently doing an offer on the starter packs and career packs, which can be used to create new accounts and will give you a set of ships and skillbooks to get you started. These aren’t normally worth buying as player corporations will usually give you ISK and free ships if you join them, but with the discount they’re so cheap that you might as well pick one up. If you do start a new account with one of these packs, remember that they can’t be applied to existing accounts and they don’t come with game time, so you’ll probably want to buy a month of game time to remove the trial restrictions. Of course the easiest option is to sign up a trial account here for free and then add a month of game time to your account.