So I was mentioning how I'm having lots of fun playing Star Trek Online, and I had just gotten promoted to Commander the night before and all this other cool stuff, when one of my fellow gamers, Fred, turns to me and says, "Well you could be playing EVE Online if you wanted to play a good space MMO." As this is typically the kind of opening you look for in order to discuss your ideas and explain your differing position (ie. call them an idiot and prove to them exactly how wrong they are) I began to list off the reasons why EVE Online is not only a bad game, but it is the worst MMO I've ever had the displeasure of playing.
Here is my list of pros and cons.
- Its graphically pretty. The renderings of ships and objects in space is nothing short of stunning. Everything looks good outside of a space station in EVE.
- Balance. The game is actually pretty balanced between combat, economy, and exporation.
- You spend a good amount of time at the beginning of this MMO customizing your appearance. Fairly standard and expected, until you realize that you never get to see your character outside of your ship. Never. You get to look at static portraits of other players and NPCs.
- The tutorial that teaches you how to play the game, and what keys are what function, and what all things you can do in the game, is 2 hours in length. Unless you're taking notes during the tutorial you're most likely not going to remember a tenth of what the game just tossed your way.
- Skilling up your character. EVE is a level-less game. So to make up for this, you gain skills as you progress to give the game a more "real-life" feel. This is all well and good, but it doesn't explain the necessity of making skills train for the lengths of time this skill increase takes. Your initial levels of skill can be trained in as little as ten minutes, but as soon as you look to level your skill up past level 2 (to a maximum of 5) you're looking at training times of anywhere between 30 minutes to weeks and months. Seriously. This begs a question: If I have a skill that I need so that I can do 'X', why am I paying $15 per month for the privilege of sitting around and waiting for my skills to train?
- Time spent training skills brings me to this point. You can only really have one character going at a time. If you start another character, any skills that you had training on the first character will stop automatically and only your current character will be able to train skills. So why bother being able to have multiple characters when you need to spend inordinate amounts of time for training up skills, when you can't utilize having multiple characters by training skills on one while you play on another?
- While the game is pretty balanced between economy, combat, etc. what is broken comes as a direct result of what I mentioned in #3. In order to get up enough skills to a sufficient rank to utilize the economy, or to go to a sector of space to collect on bounties (PvP), or engage in fleet actions (grouped PvP) its going to take you months, if not years, of time invested in the game. And if an update happens that make the skill path you were working on obsolete, you don't get that time back. No "free respec" like in other games. No new/other skills trained up to make up for the sudden loss of time/training.
- There is no way to turn off PvP. "Legal" PvP is determined by what sector of space you are in, and each sector is provided a numerical value to signify the level of safety. Sector .5 - 1 sector space are "friendly" and any PvP will result in the in-game law enforcement arriving to destroy the offending player. But there are times when you will need to travel to the far corners of the universe and if you have to go through 0.0 - .4 space, watch your ass because its anybody's game.
- There is no in game customization of your ship. You can't change the appearance, the color scheme, you get no interior of the ship to play in/with. The only thing you can really do is decide what armor/shields, weapons systems, and electronics systems you put on your ship...and you don't get any say-so on where those go either.
- This is the only MMO I've ever played that actually felt like a second job. After the 2 hour tutorial I was ready for a break, and then every time I thought about logging in in to play I got less and less excited at the game and started to feel like I do when my alarm goes off in the mornings.
- The NPCs that you get missions from get pissy if you take too long to get things done. I mean it. If you accept a mission from them and you do not complete it in the allotted time, you garner a negative reputation with that NPC and the faction that NPC belongs to. So if you're not careful, you could end up in a position of not having any NPCs to speak to to get missions from.
- All of the missions are done in space. Remember when I said that you only get to create a portrait of yourself? Yeah, you never leave your ship either.
- The game is just boring. The missions are endlessly repetitive. Its necessary as a new player to speak to NPC representatives of NPC corporations to increase your reputation so that you can eventually move on to bigger and better things, but all of the missions are exactly the same. Every. Single. One. The most exciting thing about the game is the 2 hour tutorial. How sad is that?
So if you're looking for a visually spectacular second job with in game "Excel"-like spreadsheets, a real-time stock market, and perhaps you just hate yourself a little bit, EVE Online is probably the game for you.
Personally if given the choice, I'd rather watch paint dry. If you're looking for a MMO with actual character interaction try anything else. Seriously, there are more MMOs out there than you can shake a stick at and lots of them are actually worth the cost of buying them and/or the monthly fee. EVE Online is not.