Choose My Adventure: EVE Online wasn’t really all that bad I guess

    
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Choose My Adventure: EVE Online wasn’t really all that bad I guess

As I alluded to last week, I’ve been putting in a lot of thought into my time with EVE Online over the course of this adventure, and I’m slowly beginning to realize that perhaps it wasn’t all terrible. I mean, it still was terrible, but not because the game is.

The longer I think back to everything I’ve done during this round of CMA, the more I come to realize that it’s the miserable UI and its extremely hands-off approach that I disliked the most. It felt less like I was piloting my ship or even ordering it around tactically so much as I was on some distant station pushing buttons on a computer. It all felt like some form of mobile game, which is kind of amusing considering EVE Echoes is nearly a thing.

The thing I love the most about sci-fi games and internet spaceships is being in direct control of said internet spaceship. I don’t necessarily need space legs or even need to care about what the avatar in the cockpit looks like. I just like the sensation of flight. It’s why I have fun in games like Star Citizen or Elite: Dangerous. There’s a sense of real, honest, flight going on here.

That’s not to say that I was expecting EVE to transform in to Wing Commander, but I was sort of hoping that I would feel at least some sort of connection to my weird little Caldari polyhedrons.

This problem was only highlighted by EVE’s awful UI arrangement. The number of windows required to perform certain things is beyond ridiculous at this point, and I wish that someone somewhere would wake up and realize that playing a space game via windows isn’t really fun.

Of course, these are problems that are too far gone, and asking CCP to fix them would require them to wholesale reboot the game, so I appreciate that things won’t change here. I guess those walls will remain in the way of me and my enjoyment of EVE. That’s a shame, because I have found myself liking things about it.

Most of these things revolved around combat, which really was opened up to me thanks to the two military career NPC mission tracks, especially the advanced military missions. I know I’m repeating myself here, but since these missions were never in the game the last time I played, I can’t stress enough how revelatory they were for me as a fresh face. There really is a lot more to combat in EVE than I thought. Even if the experts have likely pared combat down to a precise and efficient exercise.

Someone had asked in the comments before why I didn’t join up with a corp and fly with others. That’s mostly because I wanted to do the leg work to get acclimated fully to things in EVE, and I also felt it unfair to join a guild for a game that I knew I wasn’t going to be playing too regularly. I would be a wasted guild spot. That just strikes me as rude, honestly.

That said, perhaps some time later I’ll return to the game, find a group of people to fly with, and revisit EVE. Maybe I’ll fully explore just what being a combat pilot for an org is like. Maybe I won’t be awful and will completely find my place in New Eden. Or maybe I’ll just hate it even more, what with hell often being other people. I can’t really say for sure, and I damn sure will not be entertaining that notion any time soon, but it’s something to consider.

Unless, of course, anyone reading this just doesn’t want to hear it from me anymore.

To that point, it’s about time we moved on to our next adventure, which sees us arriving to Dungeons and Dragons Online. I am stupendously curious about this one since I’ve never played it before, but we’ll need to get a couple of polls out of the way before we begin.

First off is an obvious one at this point, I suspect: the starting class. I understand there are a lot of choices here, so I’ve narrowed things down.

What should be my first class in DDO?

  • Artificer. Because pets and trap disarming. (17%, 28 Votes)
  • Bard. Sing us a song, you're the Lute Man. (20%, 33 Votes)
  • Cleric. Bring the heals and the divinity. (12%, 20 Votes)
  • Paladin. Start simple. (30%, 49 Votes)
  • Wizard. Glass cannon time! (19%, 31 Votes)

Total Voters: 161

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The second one is another poll choice that I’ve used before, but I also feel like it’s pretty relevant to the interests of those curious about starting out a new MMO: whether to arrive as a free player or to start things off with a subscription.

Should I go free-to-play or subscribe?

  • Free-to-play. Start off the game like any other truly fresh arrival. (68%, 104 Votes)
  • Subscribe. Might as well get those perks for a month. (32%, 48 Votes)

Total Voters: 152

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As usual, polling will wrap up at 1:00 p.m. EDT this coming Friday, July 3rd. For now, I’ll be wiping EVE from my drive, but I will admit that it’ll likely just be temporary. I’m hoping to work up the nerve to dive in one more time. But it won’t be today. Or tomorrow, for that matter.

Welcome to Choose My Adventure, the column in which you join Chris each week as he journeys through mystical lands on fantastic adventures – and you get to decide his fate. Which is good because he can often be a pretty indecisive person unless he’s ordering a burger.

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MrCloista

For DDO there is a massive promotion going on at the minute. All quests are free until August 31st. There is a code DDOFREEQUESTS you redeem in the store to make all current non-expansion quests FREE PERMANENTLY. This let’s you use the DDO points you will earn in game for stuff like classes that aren’t free, or the current offer which is the first 2 expansions for 99 points each. As for a server, I recommend Cannith, it is the most populated.

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Sleepy

I thought Orien was. You do have to be careful around server selection, some of them are ghost towns.

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MrCloista

Looking at Ddo Audit, it’s generally between Cannith and Khyber, though Thelanis has had a spike recently. They are all quieter because of Hardcore league at the moment though.

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sophiskiai

With all the DDO content being available to F2P players till the end of August, the main benefits of a subscription at the moment are a wider choice of races & classes, being able to enter adventures at higher difficulty levels (F2P has to play through an adventure on Normal to unlock it on Hard then play through Hard to unlock Elite), and an account bank to transfer stuff between alts on the same server.

Most classes can be pretty tough with the right build, and if playing a class without its own heals you can recruit an NPC Cleric hireling to help you out. Traps can be very dangerous if there’s nobody in the party to disarm them, but even on Elite difficulty they can be survived if you’re quick/careful/tough. One of the big choices to make is whether you stick with the original F2P starter missions on Korthos Island, or hop over to the new Keep on the Borderland starter missions they added for VIPs last year.

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Tobasco da Gama

The gameplay systems in EVE are genuinely good. I loved the exploration mechanics, and the combat is pleasantly deep as well. I don’t really love the corp side of the game, though, ironically, and of course as this series has pointed out the interface leaves a lot to be desired. Still, I’d love to see more space games take this kind of heavily systems-driven gameplay over the intense cockpit-simulationist angle of the main players we have right now.

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federicobeiz

Some of the most fun I’ve ever had with videogames was playing turn-based games without any animation, some even without graphics. I really couldn’t care less that I can’t pilot the ship in EVE lol. It’s just not that kind of game. What did disappoint me about EVE was when they dropped WiS. THAT would have been the more natural direction for the game; it was ripe for more social features. Things like its character creator and the TVs in Captain’s Quarters were super cool at the time.

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memitim

“I wanted to do the leg work to get acclimated fully to things in EVE”

I get this because I was the same but it’s kinda like saying “I’m going to become a firebreather now, with no formal training whatsoever” The problem being it takes years and you’re probably gunna get burned either way :D If you do reconsider just join a newbie friendly public roam like Redemption Road or Bjorn Bee then theres no commitment, you likely won’t want to make EVE your home from what you’ve said but maybe it’ll give you something to write about on a slow week. ;)

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federicobeiz

This is the first time I hear someone complain that EVE “all felt like a mobile game.”

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Armsman

From the article:

I wish that someone somewhere would wake up and realize that playing a space game via windows isn’t really fun.


^^^
What you prefer Android Cell phones (You a Blizzard groupie?) or Linux… ;) [Cymbal-crash]

Thank you…Thank you…I’m here all week. :P

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Sleepy

I remember one of my main gripes about Eve was that the PvE combat didn’t prepare you for PvP at all. A build you could survive in pretty much indefinitely in PvE was liable to get burnt down in seconds in PvP.

Voted paladin for DDO. Human, 2-handed, slap all your enhancement points into the Knight of the Chalice tree first. If you can pick up some sacred / hallowed armour too you’ll have great fun in all the undead filled quests.

It’s very tempting to muck around with class splashes but paladin just does a very good job of staying alive while making everything else dead.

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memitim

Wizard. Glass cannon time! Except DDO wizards be like “Oh? You want to hit me? Oh? You got past my 50% concealment miss chance? Oh? You got past my 25% incorporeal miss chance? Oh? You got past my dodge chance? Oh? You got past my AC miss chance? ok…*now* you can hit me….but my death aura will heal the damage you just did anyway :D”

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EmberStar

Which is apparently a big change from older versions. I have a copy of the really, really old rules. (Like, 2nd Edition or something? Don’t know, got it used at a game shop, never played it.) Anyway, if I remember right starting wizards had like two spells, which they could essentially once per adventure. And they had up to four! hit points. Regaining their spells meant researching and meditating back at their home, and took (I think) a day or so per level, per spell. So casting a level five spell meant being sidelined for nearly a week, for just that spell.

I could be mistaken, as I said I never tried to play it. But until they got to a level where they could one-shot the Death Star, Wizards seemed to be really, really poor torch bearers. “Hey, bring the light over here- Damn it. There’s a giant spider chewing on Malchor’s head again. Clarissa can you get your resurrection ready, and I’ll go chase the stupid thing off?”

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memitim

When it came out it was a reasonable approximation of the 3.5 rules, it isn’t even close now, the limits of using pnp rules in a crpg and massive power creep have seen to that, it’s still fun though.

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sophiskiai

Just this last weekend I decided to start levelling a wizard alt so I can make my own soul gems for crafting (with a splash of Rogue for traps & evasion), the Pale Master tree + casting Death Aura is great – a bunch of bonus hp and so much regen :)

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styopa

Entirely agree with your first paragraph.
Eve isn’t a bad game, and it isn’t the gankfest it’s reputed to be, mostly.

I just find it unspeakably dull because I hate pvp in every game and the pve here is like watching paint dry.

EVE pve consists of:
1) undock
2) autofly to destination
3) autoattack mobs until they are dead. Occasionally change course.
4) fly s-l-o-w-ly around to wrecks to loot them (or let drones do it).
5) autofly to next room.
(rinse, repeat until all rooms are cleared)
6) autofly back to quest giver for reward.

It’s an old game, I get that they did what they could with what they had at the time. It’s certainly pretty (like a slowly-changing Space(tm) screensaver), but nobody really ever sees the ships or avatars close up except you.

There’s other minigame stuff like wormholing, which I did for a while, but it’s ultimately equally boring and repetitive (ending in a minigame that’s basically random!) unless you’re looking forward to surprise pvp I guess.

In 2020 its a game that manages to take flying in space (in what would be a fairly cool setting/universe if it was even slightly fleshed out) and make it dull as dirt.

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federicobeiz

EVE’s setting is pretty fleshed out.

Techno Wizard
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Techno Wizard

I’ve seen a lot of EVE capsuleers leave and return over the years. EVE Online is kind of like that beer you thought you disliked then try to drink it again and again and again and again and then try even more of it and so on. Until you are well and truly back on that beer.

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EmberStar

If you try something and don’t like it… why would you keep trying it? “Wow, nailing my tongue to that board totally sucked. Maybe it’ll be different this time though!”

Personally I don’t drink alcohol. Nothing “moral,” and I don’t care if other people do as long as they aren’t being stupid. I don’t like how it makes me feel, and I really dislike the taste. Someone offered me a small glass of apparently very expensive wine. My immediate reaction was that if I found a container in my fridge that tasted like that, I’d consider it spoiled and flush it down the toilet. :/

Techno Wizard
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Techno Wizard

And yet players still return for that beer, liked or not. Horses for courses. Same with EVE.

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memitim

It took me at least 5 attempts to understand why EVE was a good game, it’s just so different to other games and there are so many traps to fall into that it’s really hard to grasp…at least it was for me, some people seem to get it right away but I suspect they are in the minority. There’s also the fact it’s a sandbox and I don’t usually get on well with those since I have the creative faculties of a goldfish…

The reason I kept nailing my tongue to the board, so to speak, was I could see the potential…I just couldn’t quite get to it…and that annoyed me…I could see the depth was there, there’s over 300 ships and each one of them is essentially like a class in other MMOs, how many MMOs have over 300 classes? How many would even want to? :S This insane complexity appeals to me, if it doesn’t to you, you can probably just stop reading here…

And then there’s the fact I’m a massive nerd, I’m a massive nerd about space and spaceships and I’m a massive nerd about theorycrafting in systems with ridiculous depth and EVE has all of those things. I’ve probably spent just as much time making fits for ships as actually playing the game…massive nerd, y’see.

Then there’s the fact other MMOs kept pushing me back to it by dumbing down the game until I could play it half asleep and/or making the PVP just another grind with no real meaning, I mean no game has *real* meaning but at least try and make me feel like it does y’know?

Finally I looked at this game, this weird one unit RTS in space where the PVE consists of pressing 2 buttons and trying not to fall asleep and I thought the skill ceiling here must be so low I’ll have to crouch just to get in the room…so why am I so fucking bad at this game? To the uninitiated, it seems like the answer is “well they just have more skill points/money than me”

The real answer though, and the reason this game is so different to anything else, is twofold:
Firstly, Knowledge is power in EVE, I don’t mean in the wishy washy sense the phrase is often used.. it is *literal* power, worth far more than any amount of skills points or money and it’s knowledge unique to EVE, all your twitch skills and all that time spent playing a thousand other games won’t help you if you don’t know the max overheated web range of a Rapier along with a ridiculous number of other variables many of which don’t have a clear answer, how likely is it he’s alone? If he’s not can I kill him before his friends get here? The list goes on (and on) but this is getting too long already. :p

The good news is most of the people who play this game are also fucking terrible at it so you aren’t going to get your ass handed to you for 5 years before you actually get a kill. :D

Secondly, you can use many of your actual real life skills to get something out of the game, social skills are the obvious one and that’s true of some other games but not to the extent it is here, you need friends and people who have your back and not because you can’t get the shiny raid gear without them but because you actually *need* them. Some games are fun in spite of other people but EVE isn’t fun for me without them.
Good at marketing? You can use that. Want to play detective and find out things other people don’t want you to know? You can do that and gain significant advantage by doing so. Good at art? You can make money just by making pictures or posters for people. Once again, the list goes on and on…

There are people in this game who understand the markets so well it just boggles my mind, they are probably terrible pvpers, but I can’t say they aren’t good at the game because even though pvp is the framework around which the game is built, it’s a sandbox and you can do whatever the hell you want. I can’t think of another game where I’d say “wow he’s good” about a player who basically hasn’t left the tutorial area…

The best way I’ve heard EVE described isn’t “spreadsheets in space” even though it’s true to an extent :p or “gankbox” how true that is is entirely on you, it’s and I’ll make this the tldr…

TLDR: EVE isn’t a game, it’s a hobby.