A couple weeks back Jeff of Lewis PR dropped me a note asking me if I wanted a free copy of the EVE Online Second Decade Collector’s Edition.
I naturally assumed that this was some sort of scam because, EVE Online. Right? I ignored it.
Trooper that he is, Jeff persisted in trying to give me something for free, and around the third note from him I finally responded with my suspicion that this was a scam. By that point I had looked up the company, which turned out to be up the freeway in SF and did, according to its web site, represent CCP.
He said that suspicion was not an uncommon reaction. Once we got on the same wavelength he got my address and the very next day a big box dropped on my doorstep containing the whole big thing. It is heavy.
And it is heavy because it has a ton of stuff in it. The first things you see are the big things, all nicely tucked into the box. There is the model of the Rifter, probably the most recognizable ship in the New Eden, which is also a USB hub. I am not sure how many people will actually use their Rifter model as a hub… just having the Rifter model itself seemed like enough for me… but you have that option. Me, I am leaving my free of cables so I can run around the house with it and strafe the cats when the situation calls for it. (I like that the official YouTube video about the USB Rifter got about a third as many views as the video of somebody “flying” their Rifter through the CCP offices.)
There is also a copy The Danger Game, which was the first product that CCP created. I am not sure what I can really say about this, except that this was the first product CCP shipped, and it brought in the money to bankroll EVE Online. So it has that going for it. There is a fuller story narrated by CCP Guard on YouTube.
And then there is the the book, EVE – Into the Second Decade.
This is the meat of the “big” items in the box. Coming in at just over 190 pages, it describes the birth and evolution of the game EVE Online. While heavier on illustrations than details, it does take a pretty extensive look at the first decade of EVE Online. It is coffee table book comparable to the 10 year celebration tome that SOE put out to celebrate 10 years of EverQuest.
The books are quite similar as the both describe the foundations, the launch, and the arc and developments of the respective games, leading looks forward to the future, with EverQuest Next figuring in one and DUST 514 in the other. Where the EVE volume differs is how much more focused it on the players. There are little tidbits that mention things like Hulkageddon, Burn Jita, and the boot.ini episode. That is sort of like SOE bringing up Planes of Power bugs, the Mystere incident, and Fansy the famous bard as part of their memories of EverQuest, something that just wouldn’t happen.
And when the chapter about the Incarna expansion hits… entitled The Long Walk… CCP is pretty clear that the player base was in revolt. The follow on chapter that picks up the story… after a detour into DUST 514, is Redemption Arc.
Add in the guest essays from various people in and around the game and this is something to have, not a detailed history but a trail of images, impressions, and emotions that really evoke a sense of connection to the game. Good stuff. The best of the big items and something I really wanted.
And then there is the little box within the big box.
The first thing in the little box is the music from the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra’s performance of some of the music from EVE Online from Fanfest back in April. I missed this performance because, like so many CCP events, it happened while I was at work, but I have been dying to hear it. So now I have a new twist on a series of tracks that are among the most played on my iPod. The songs on the CD are:
- Stellar Shadows
- Below the Asteroids
- Shifting the Balance of Power
- Rose of Victory
- I Saw Your Ship
- All Which Was Lost
- A Surplus of Rare Artifacts
- It Ends Here
- The Jovian Front
- Smoke from Down Below
- Merchants and Looters
Tucked in around the the music CD are the game code cards. There is one for EVE Online, the contents of which CCP has detailed on their site. Implants, cosmetics, a special ship and some blueprints come with the code.
Then there is a code for DUST 514, which is part of the EVE Online universe… though not a part in which I participate.
There is a 60 Day new account code that you can give to a friend… or use to create another alt.
And then there is the Collector’s Edition Mystery Code which was… for a while… a mystery. Then they announced some of the items, which included a PLEX, more in-game cosmetics, a special ship in the upcoming EVE Valkyrie (which looks a lot like one of the EVE Online drones), and some of what they call in-game collectables.
I think that, like some of the entries in the collector’s edition book, the in-game collectables give some insight to how CCP views the game and the players. They could have dropped in a bunch of things that celebrated game milestones like expansions and such. Instead, they are focused on player achievements. There is a set of tokens for each of the alliance tournaments celebrating the winner. And there are a bunch of one-off items, like ticket stubs for the premier of Clear Skies.
Others include notable events from the history of the game as created by the players.
These are actual in-game items. They do not do anything within the game, but you can sell them, trade them, or store them away for another day. Like the implants and other in-game items you get with the collector’s edition, they are not locked down to your account. You are free to do with them as you please. I have seen the “golden pod” implant, which goes in a special socket and survives clone jumps and being podded, on the market for several billion ISK.
So what to make of all of this stuff.
If you are a hard core EVE Online player… well… you probably already own a copy of this. But if you somehow missed it, you can still get one via the EVE Store or Amazon.com. The list price is $150, but Amazon has had it available as a flash sale for as low as $99 at some points.
Is it worth the price? Hard to say. For me, yes. I wanted the book and the CD, which are probably worth at least $45 right there. Add in the PLEX and a substantial bit of the cost is covered by tangible items of value. I am not sure what I would have paid for a Rifter model… I would have paid quite a bit for the LEGO Rifter, which gets a mention in the book… and The Danger Game isn’t much of a draw for me. And the rest is digital, stuff made of ones and zeroes and accessible to me only as pixels on a screen.
It was worth it to me.
At this point you are probably thinking, “Well of course it was worth it to you, you got the damn collector’s edition for free!”
Well, I did get a copy for free. But I had already pre-ordered the whole thing before it came out. So I speak from the perspective of somebody justifying their expense, not as somebody who got something expensive for free. Or something. I paid for a copy and am content with that.
Collector’s editions always carry some controversy. If you don’t like them, they can seem a naked cash grab. If you do like them, they can be a way to own something extra, something special, from a game you enjoy. I can go either way on the topic, depending on the game and what is being offered.
Now I have to figure out what to do with this other copy of the collector’s edition. I promised I wouldn’t turn around and sell it on eBay. No fun in that anyway. I think bits of it might serve as prizes for a contest. Maybe something after the holidays, when things settle down a bit.
I already know somebody who is interested in the USB Rifter. I owe him for some home made salsa.