Eve Online is a casual mmorpg

I know what you’re thinking. Eve, one of the more technical and complex mmorpg’s, a universe of pirates, spies, intrigue and PvP, a casual game? Well, yeah, in some ways, Eve is one of the more casual mmorpg’s that I’ve played. Stick with me for a bit, and consider the following ideas.

Richard Bartle talks about four types of mmorpg gamers. The Achiever, the Explorer, the Socializer and the Killer. Games like EQ and WoW are heavily weighted toward Achievement, to the point where it’s difficult to participate in the endgame if you don’t play regularly with a dedicated group. The challenges in those games,  and a large majority of development, revolve around dungeons and raids. If you, like me, have commitments outside of your game world that prevent regular playtime and keeping up with the Jones’s of the raiding world, you’re left out of the loop. Playing with a guild at endgame is a serious investment of time.

I’ve been too busy the last few weeks to get in a lot of Eve playtime, but when I do log in, I can hop into my frigate, join a fleet with other people in my corporation and go hunting. It doesn’t matter if I have the best ships, the best modules or a year’s worth of skill points trained. In fact, my corporation, a haven for players new to the game, champions the ability of even the newest pilots to make valuable contributions to fleet operations. It’s the equivalent of a level 5 player in WoW coming along on a raid…except the new Eve player can actually contribute something useful to their fleet.

Eve content isn’t solely gated by the amount of time you’ve put into the game. Even if you only play a couple times a week, it’s absolutely possible to train skills that will always make you a welcome addition to a fleet, whether it’s fighting other players or running deadspace missions or helping out on mining operations. Despite the fact that I’ve been busy with work and real life for the past month, I feel like I can log in and play alongside pilots who are online a lot more than me and make a solid contribution. If it had been WoW, and I missed a month while my guild was working on getting keyed for the next set of instances, I’d have a more difficult time catching up.

Eve still has Achievers like WoW or EQ. Eve’s a deadly serious game in a lot of ways, and I wouldn’t argue with someone who wanted to characterize it as a lot more hardcore than WoW in some respects. It’s unforgiving in certain situations, and there’s certainly a steep learning curve if you want to know everything about the game. However, I can’t think of another mmo that lets people who are a week or two into the game play alongside veterans of a couple years and allows them to make valuable contributions. It’s tough to imagine another mmo that lets players log in sporadically but still be useful in raids, at least not before said player has invested a lot of time in leveling and equipping their character.

So, yeah, I know you can nail me a million different ways about how serious Eve can get. I won’t argue with that. But Eve still offers a way to integrate newbies and veterans that I haven’t seen another mmorpg successfully accomplish, and I think it’s pretty cool.

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10 Responses

  1. good write up mate

  2. Yep. I also can mix Eve much better with other games. I’ve played WoW for 2 years and in that time I barely played any other game, it just didn’t work for me. But now with Eve Online it’s easy enough, doing some Civilization 4 with friends, playing online fps’s I haven’t played for years and check out some of that high-quality single-player games I completely missed in the past.

    But I can also see myself playing a game like Eve 8 hours a day for weeks, there’s so much to do and make yourself usefull with. In CEO positions you can put an awful lot of time in a corporation and I could see myself enjoying that too. Although, I better keep that time for my oog life. :p

  3. What corporation is it…?

  4. Keep spreading the word my brothers

  5. Jaaissa, my corporation is Eve University. The Eve Online recruitment thread for the university is here:

    http://myeve.eve-online.com/ingameboard.asp?a=topic&threadID=521860

    Nuyan, you’re absolutely right. There’s a ton of depth to the game, and if you have some 0.0 space claimed, your corporation better have 24 hour coverage and a way to wake the troops if an invasion happens :)

    I wrote this post because I think Eve gets slotted as a more hardcore MMO, when it really has a lot of gaming available to more casual players without preventing those same casual players from contributing when they have the time.

    Alaph, one of these days, I’m joining the OTEP channel, I swear. We’ll get Eve bloggers in there eventually!

  6. [...] Eve Online is a casual game [...]

  7. Your post helped codify some of the things I enjoy most about EvE. As a player for about 18 months now, I’ve been able to sample most of what EvE has to offer – CEO, 0.0, Alliance work, mining, manufacturing, invention, pvp, marketeering, exploration, etc. Too, I have an oog life that requires much more time than I can afford to spend in-game.

    Like yourself, I enjoy working with new players, to help them enjoy the game. Having just started (my second) corporation, new players are generally the easiest to recruit. It’s been heartening to see how the veterans have invited the new folks on missions, mining, low-sec raids, or whatever they’ve been working on.

    Thanks for an insightful perspective into the EvE community!

    Adhar

  8. You’re welcome Adhar. I’ve found that DAOC and Eve veterans are much more willing to invite new players to participate. I think the PvP mechanics of both games encourage older players to invite and teach newer players more than a strictly PvE game.

    I find less motivation in games like WoW and EQ for established players to include new players. An inexperienced player is more likely to disrupt the pace and success rate of an instance or raid group. In DAOC and Eve, even inexperienced players can tip the balance of an encounter against other players.

  9. Great article. EvE is a fascinating game to me and I find myself studying it all the time even when I’m not playing it. It can be so many things, but it makes the players find their own way. I log in once and a while to do some training but have not played in a good while. I still try to follow the “story” of the game as the players are writing it. I really cannot just walk away from this one.

  10. I really like EVE because you don’t really have to play it to get better. When I’m busy all I have to do is log in and update my skills. I have been running missions when I’m bored or doing something on the computer instead of playing mine sweeper or something like that I just play EVE. Since I usually play console games it gives me more time for that than most other MMOs. Plus the EVE community is better about not bothering other players. They might destroy your ship and steal your stuff (it’s part of the fun) but they don’t generally annoy you in many of the other ways that happen in other MMOs.

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