Eve mentioned on 1up podcast

I listen to quite a few gaming podcasts on my commute to work. I generally enjoy the 1up.com podcast, even though they’re not as geeky about mmorpg’s as I am. (As we are, I suppose. If you’re reading this, you’re far geekier about mmorpg’s than the folks at 1up.)

The episode for 11-09-2007 talks a bit about Eve in the “What Have You Been Playing” segment. John Davidson mentioned that he downloaded the Eve Mac client. Jane Pinckard was the most literate about Eve and could be depended on to keep the discussion on track. Both she and John described the game as intimidating, but neither of them called it fun. Jane said it was compelling because of the complexity and navigating in space, and they all acknowledged that it could be compelling due to the community, but it was pretty clear that neither Jane or John had been hooked by the game for the fun factor.

John’s comment was that there’s “a lot of leaving it to do it’s own thing”, and he mentioned Ryan Scott from GFW saying that he could play the game by not playing it, mining and waiting a week for missiles to be crafted.

While I can see how you get that impression from Eve, it’s obviously incorrect for those of us who have somehow pushed past that intial “what the hell am I supposed to do out here?” feeling. I can’t fault them for their opinion. Eve is particularly open-ended. I don’t know if either Jane or John had gone through the entire Tutorial, or if that would have even changed their mind. I think those of us who play regularly are quite aware that Eve appeals to a certain niche in the gaming community. We’d love for everyone to understand why we’re so excited about Eve, and we try to explain it to our friends, but part of me just accepts that it’s difficult to convey the magic of Eve to someone who’s not attuned to such open-ended gameplay.

I remember trying to explain the early Elder Scrolls to friends, how there was a whole world you could move through, and people were thrown off by the lack of direction. Eve’s like that when I try to explain why I enjoy it so much.

Back to the specifics of what was discussed on the podcast, Jane and John both mentioned the learning curve, and the other hosts tried to compare it to other games. Shane Bettenhausen, who admits to not playing a lot of PC Games, asked if it was like Homeworld (the answer was no). Simon Cox asked if it was like Elite, and John Davison said kind of, without the combat.

Looking back to my early days in Eve, I can see why you think there’s no combat, but that’s clearly wrong. Maybe Eve needs to do a better job of giving new characters a chance to fight in level 1 situations to give them an idea what running combat missions and ratting might be like later in life.

I was also thinking that even if John had finished the Tutorial and went to find an agent to run missions, what if he ended up with an agent that just gave out courier missions? It’s certainly possible to miss a combat agent. Shoot, it wasn’t easy for me to figure out that I could run missions, and how to get started. That might be easier in the new player tutorials, but I don’t think I would have figured it out as easily without lucking into good chat channels.

And really, the chat channels were my gateway into Eve the second time I tried it. I wonder if John or Jane would have enjoyed themselves more if they stumbled into the Eve University public chat channel and found a place where you can have all your questions answered, and be informed about more game mechanics than you realized existed? If I hadn’t found E-Uni, or if the ISD folks hadn’t been so helpful in the Rookie channel my first 30 days, I don’t know if I would have been hooked by Eve. I’m not sure I would have progressed past “compelling” and into “fun”.

If you’d like to hear the conversation for yourself, here’s the link to the podcast. The Eve conversation starts at the 14:30 mark and goes on for another 8 minutes or so.

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