Very, very pretty.
I was reading Hardcore Casual and We Fly Spitfires and they were both talking about Tobold’s adventures in EVE Online. They also both happened to be doing the same thing while talking about Tobold’s posts, they managed to be snide and elitist without offering anything that might resemble a helpful suggestion.
Don’t get me wrong, I love reading Hardcore Casual and We Fly Spitfires has some real gems. On Hardcore Casual Syncaine took his usual approach and defended sandbox MMO’s, namely EVE. He makes a good point about Tobold seemingly going into the game with the expectation of disliking it, but he loses me when he starts talking about the EVE Offline problem. I played EVE for a very short time and I didn’t like the way you skilled up. I understand it, and I know some people love it, but if I am playing I want to be able to choose to get a certain skill up and not have the game tell me I can’t. Sure you can choose what to skill up on in what order, but this amazing sandbox actually limits what you can do by making you unable to work hard and see faster progress.
Many people have a problem with EVE because the skill system encourages you to not play in the early levels, or so they say. Syncaine makes the point that if you want to play like that, you might as well buy a preskilled character and it’s a good point. However with the inability to focus on skilling up while playing, it leaves the player with only one goal in the early game (assuming they are new, they know almost no one and they are not in a coorporation, which is nearly all new people). That one thing is to get money, and in the starter ship with the starter gear, the best way to make money without the very real risk of losing everything you have is to mine. Mining in EVE is notoriously boring, a fact Syncaine tries to refute by equating it to playing the WoW auction house. I disagree as I can play the WoW Auction House for an hour a day and make a little money and then go about questing in order to improve myself, or make money. In EVE I can mine for three hours, then decide to go skill up OH WAIT I CAN’T! I can just mine some more.
Gordon over at We Fly Spitfires tries to defend it by saying the biggest problem with the EVE skill system is that we are paying money, and feel we are being forced to wait just so CCP can make more money. He feels that if we take the money out of the equation, we would see that the skill system was great. I disagree. If I picked up a single player game and it told me that I couldn’t “beat it” for six months, and that I could play the multiplayer version but I would probably NEVER be as good as the people that picked it up a year ago, I’d probably just stop playing. I could see continuing if there were other things to do in the game, dungeons to run, an alternate advancement system that I could actually work on other than money (which equals ships and gear).
Saying the freedom of EVE Online is it’s greatest asset I feel is a little misleading. EVE is free in the sense that, if you are in the right corporation you can do certain things, but you are in no way free to do whatever you want. In fact, if I want to skill up, I can’t choose to go do that. If I want to PVP and not get destroyed immediately I need to be in a PVP Corporation. If I want to enjoy the political intrigue that is EVE’s Corporation system I need to be in the right Corporation. So how does a newbie get into those Corporations? Well many require a certain amount of skill points to even put in an application, so it seems like you’ll just have to keep paying CCP until you get to the point where you can do what you want to do, as long as your Corporation approves.
Seems like they just traded level restrictions for skill/social networking restrictions. Better start friending people if you want to really enjoy this Facebook game.
(Keep in mind I didn’t mind EVE, and just didn’t like the skill system. Since that seemed to be what both blogs defended the most, that’s what I tackled. I’d offer some helpful advice but I haven’t played enough to get the requisite skills to join a decent Corp, so I don’t have any advice to give.)