This is EVE and EVE is Different

What would we encourage ALL new players to do in their first month to get them to subscribe long term, if we had to give out one set of advice for everyone (which we do if we’re giving general advice)?

The Question for Blog Banter #61

Well, the first thing I would tell a new player is how easy they have it these days with their “warp to zero” and their agent finder and their fancy fitting interface that is all easy to use and informative!  Back in my day the game was actively hostile towards you, ships looked like they were made out of beer cans, and asteroids appeared to be so many potatoes floating in space…

What was that?  Get to the point?  I was getting there!  Kids today, always in such a damn hurry.


EVE Online will not meet your expectations.

That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but you’re going to come charging in with some ideas in mind and EVE just isn’t going to line up with them.

Part of this is because of our desire to categorize things.  We stamp “MMO” on the side of the EVE Online box and drop it in the bin with World of Warcraft and EverQuest and Wizard 101 and call it a day.

And yes, if you pull back far enough, all of those games share similar characteristics.  For somebody who doesn’t care about MMOs, “WoW in space” is probably a sufficient characterization for EVE.

But even if you are just a mild MMO fan and do not suffer from the affliction of the connoisseur and bristle when somebody describes Lord of the Rings Online as “WoW in Middle-earth” because you can name fifty significant (to you) differences between the games, EVE Online is still an odd duck.

If you look at blogs from people playing World of WarcraftBelghast, Alt:ernative Chat, Kinless, Ysharros, or whoever… our posts tend to be about similar things.  Right now we’re writing about garrisons and leveling up and equipment and interesting sites in Draenor and items that pretty much cement that we are all playing the same game.

If you look at blogs from people playing EVE OnlineKirith Kodachi, Rixx Javix, Sugar Kyle, Gevlon, EVE Hermit…  things can be quite different.  Sure, some days we are all talking about the same thing, like the latest expansion.  But there are times when we clearly aren’t just playing in different areas of the game, but it seems like we might be playing totally different games.

EVE is an MMO the way a Swiss Army Knife is a knife.  If you really want just a knife… which we’ll define as a WoW-like NPC driven set of goals… it can be used for that, but you wouldn’t want to carve the Thanksgiving turkey with it.

I’ve posted this chart before.  The source site has the chart hooked up so clicking on a box brings you to semi-appropriate, somewhat out of date information on that particular aspect of the game.

What to do in EVE Online - A Chart

What to do in EVE Online – A Chart

That is a guide to a series of possible professions or goals or whatever in the game.  Each is a deep well which you could spend months, if not years, exploring and perfecting.  Or you could lightly explore a few at once, mix and match, or whatever.  And this chart is a few years old, so there are probably a couple more boxes that could be added at this point.

And like the Swiss Army Knife analogy, none of boxes are probably the best  experience possible for a given activity.  Some are crude, silly, or seem tacked on at times just to say that there is such a thing.  But you don’t buy a Swiss Army Knife because you need a single-purpose tool, and you don’t play EVE Online because it offers a single, linear experience.

You play EVE Online because it mixes all of those possible experiences into a single universe.  And it works… sort of… in a Rube Goldberg, this might spin out of control or go horribly wrong at any moment way.  The sum is greater than the whole of its, at times, rather mediocre parts.  It is an interlinked, living, breathing, system made up of a couple hundred thousand people doing their little space jobs and making things, moving things, or blowing things up.  All aspects are equally important in this mix as people go about their lives in space.

And the interaction with other people is a key, maybe THE key.  In no other MMO do I interact with so many different players, be it at the end of a laser, through the market, in my fleet, or just flying by in space.  All those people doing their thing.  You don’t have to join a corp or be in a big group or whatever.  You can play EVE solo, there being no wrong way to play.  But you cannot escape other people, good, bad, and indifferent.  The game is a fine mix of parts, each dependent in its own way on all the others, and people drive that.  Why I remember this one time I was in a system alone, way out in Omist and there was this other pilot… we were out there blowing up stuff that belonged to his alliance… anyway, there we were, both on the gate and he locked me up… and this really illustrates the dichotomy of man, the whole Jungian thing… and then…

What?  I’m rambling?  What was the question again?

What would I tell a new player to do in their first month to keep them subscribed in the long term?

That’s easy.  Go join Brave Newbies, get into null sec, and have a blast blowing stuff up.  The rest of the game is for losers.

Is it time for my nap yet?

Oh, here are some other people who tried to answer the same question.  They might have different opinions, this being EVE Online and all, and probably more useful than what I have had to say.

9 thoughts on “This is EVE and EVE is Different

  1. Anon

    I think Isey hit the nail on the head. I have always told people who have asked me to find another game to play for that very reason. Eve is not a good game, but it is a great social event, which is why the propaganda machine has gone into overdrive to MAKE people interact with each other, for example (my personal parrot/regurgitation/blatant marketing ploy) … IF YOU ARE NOT IN A PVP CORP, YOU ARE PLAYING EVE WRONG.

    Why do I say this … because Eve is best left to the masochists and social groups to play (which is why Goons do so well) and my friends are ‘tip of the spear’ people who will not want to play ‘Skilling Online’ just to have slim_to_no chance of forging ahead for themselves.


  2. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Anon – I don’t think Isey said anything like that, but it sounds like you have a serious axe to grind against the game, so I am not sure what to say.

    PvP is exciting and easy to demonstrate in a short clip. I wouldn’t put more stock into it than that. Lots of people, even Goons, play EVE as a PvE game and just accept PvP as an environmental aspect of the game. That does not make them masochists.

    Some people seem to get very bent out of shape when the game content is other people rather than scripted NPCs. If you play some trading and commerce game like, to go back ages, Taipan!, if pirates take one of your ships, that is just the game and you deal with it and move on. But, in EVE, if somebody ganks your freighter in high sec and takes your stuff, for some it isn’t a cost of doing business or part of the game or a learning experience on what you should or shouldn’t do, it is an outrage to complain to the heavens about.

    But if you’re just saying EVE is different, and you don’t like different, that’s fine. I play a lot of WoW too.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ysharros

    Every few years I go back to EVE and have fun with it. The reason I don’t stick with it is because I just don’t have the PVP gene, in any game (and I’ve tried), and in order to really appreciate EVE you have to have at least a few PVP chromosomes. That and because the whole space thing makes me a bit sea-sick IRL, though not as badly as Minecraft does.


  4. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Ysharros – I love the space thing, so that is a strong draw for me. There are times when I just fly around and look at space.

    PvP has never been my thing, but I think the ability to tolerate loss is a requirement for EVE even more than a desire for PvP. In so many other MMOs we strive for the best equipment, and having the biggest, baddest sword or whatever makes us stronger in PvE or PvP. But in EVE, where you can lose it all, going all out for equipment, unless you really know what you are doing, can be a huge mistake. EVE favors the conservative player in that regard unlike many other MMOs, and losing your ship can be devastating if you aren’t ready for that reality, especially if you poured all you had into it.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Anon

    TL;DR: Eve is not for everyone.

    I think I did not wrote enough for it to come out right, so let me go back and fill in some of the blanks. I am being critical but when we are talking about new players, its better to be transparent in that Eve is a commitment, more a hobby and a venue to socialize than a sit down and PvP for an hour game. Still not going to be complete explanation…

    1. Eve is a great game to read about but not really to play for 100% interactive people (FPS types). A significant percentage of the player base is not going to be involved in ANY of the great stories that the media highlights, and interactive people want that involvement NOW.
    2. I do Marketing for a living with the military, so I read things differently … like, how the COMPANY writes and uses media to attract new customers. I say propaganda because a significant portion of the population rally behind their gameplay style without question and parrot whatever the catchphrase of the day is without actually being involved in multiple parts of the game the game (referencing the Career chart). They do this because of their social circle and meta which encourages an ‘Us vs Them’ mentality.
    3. REAL Goons do a lot of socializing outside of Eve through their boards and other games ad are more willing than other groups (personal experience, YMMV) to attend functions around the globe.
    4. Masochists …
    5. Tip of the Spear … military jargon for a go-getter. While military people do play ( i was a mod for a channel that was 95% international military for two years) it is because we understand ‘hurry up and wait’ and 99% waiting/1% terror. With the new unlimited skill queue, that population just got real happy; we can deploy and set for when we get back.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. tsuhelm

    Always interesting, as mentioned many times before this blog is coming closer than anything else to getting me to try EVE again (will be the third time…)

    But my space adventure gaming was formed by playing ELITE in the 80’s and non ELITE like gaming has always disappointed (even its own sequel!), and EVE is not ELITE… waiting to see if Elite: Dangerous finally brings me my space game or I will have to keep waiting!


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