Is Eve Online a good match for my gaming style?
March 3, 2010 3:00 PM   Subscribe

The rest of the household would like to watch TV sometimes. Would Eve Online be a good fit for my (kind of picky) gaming needs or should I go for something else?

After Fallout 3, Mass Effect 1 and 2, and Assassin's Creed 2, I'm starting to feel guilty about hogging the XBox all the time and thinking I should move my gaming to the computer for a while. A friend has recently started playing Eve Online and has got me interested.

Since my EQ days back in college, I've been resistant to games that require a monthly fee and/or feel like a second job, so I've never gotten on the WoW train. I spent most of my EQ time crafting, and then hunting spiders to get more materials to craft some more. I enjoyed the process but the results didn't seem very useful.

My play time goes in cycles. I'll spend many hours on something for a period of weeks/months, then I'll move on to something else for a similar period of time before picking it back up again. Because of this, I'd need the capability to suspend my account and then pick up where I left off.

I don't mind playing online with others but I don't like the sort of "you MUST raid with us at least twice a week" guilds I saw on other games. I sometimes have 6 hours to play at a stretch, but more often what I have is an hour or two. I like to be able to productively play alone if groups aren't available.

Game needs to be compatible with an approximately 2-year-old iMac running Snow Leopard.

I love big, open, explory games that give you lots to see and do (see above for recent obsessions, and I have Dragon Age in the queue.) I like science fiction and actually enjoyed the survey/exploration bits of Mass Effect (though I would have liked a bit more variety in what you find.) Right now I'm playing Assassin's Creed 2 and spend at least half my game time wandering around, riding a horse, looking at the scenery, searching for hidden bits and climbing on things just for fun. I like games that have lots of rewards for time spent leveling, sidequesting, etc., and where the monetary system is well balanced so you feel rewarded for your effort but it isn't so easy to get rich that you break the game.

I come from more of a turn-based gaming legacy so I prefer things that don't demand too much twitch/precision aiming, but by using VATS and playing on "Casual" difficulty I do fine in Fallout and Mass Effect.

I always go for Tech, Diplomatic, or Economic victories when I play Civilization. Wars are just annoying interruptions to my schedule of researching technology and building pretty things.

Preliminary research suggests that Eve may be a good fit for me, but nothing beats an informed opinion from someone who knows, so: Eve Online players, what do you think? Would this be a match made in gaming heaven?
posted by oblique red to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Eve is a second job. It has been described fondly as a high-rez graphical interface to a spreadsheet.
posted by Tomorrowful at 3:04 PM on March 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

Yes, but it's got a pretty high learning curve. There are a LOT of options in EVE Online, and it sounds like you might enjoy going into manufacturing and mining; buy ore, make stuff, research blueprints, etc. and become a rich industrialist.

The other nice thing about EVE is you don't have to log play time to improve; there's grinding on skills, but you can set a skill to train that takes a week, log out for a week, and then come back to find your character has learned his new skill! That makes it easy for you to take some time off from the game (I'm in the middle of moving, and right now I just log on for a few minutes a week to adjust my skill training schedule). That also means that most corporations don't demand that you do a certain amount of raiding or whatever (some do, but most don't).

Sign up for a two-week trial and see if you like it.
posted by infinitywaltz at 3:05 PM on March 3, 2010

Best answer: Some of this discussion may be helpful.
posted by craven_morhead at 3:12 PM on March 3, 2010

Based on what you've said, I think you ought to give WoW a try. It is set up so that you can play solo -- you don't have to commit to a raid group or anything. There's a lot of different things to do -- crafting, resource gathering, questing, exploring. You can pick it up and drop it -- I've been playing off and on since launch and if I get bored with it, I drop my subscription for a while. I have mostly soloed in WoW although the new Dungeon Finder feature makes it easy to get into a dungeon group for 15-45 minutes at a time. This last time around, I joined a social guild, which makes it a lot more fun too -- but I don't feel like I have to do things with my guild -- it's just fun to chat about stuff while you're playing.

The other thought I had was maybe the Sims? Lots of building there. Not too much exploring though.
posted by elmay at 3:39 PM on March 3, 2010

You mentioned Civilization--have you considered other RTSs? They can offer the intensity and complexity of an MMORPG but you can take a break at any time.

Starcraft is a must if you've never played it. You'll need to download Blizzard's OSX installer before using the CDROM, which is available at Target etc.
posted by neuron at 4:18 PM on March 3, 2010

"Since my EQ days back in college, I've been resistant to games that require a monthly fee and/or feel like a second job, so I've never gotten on the WoW train. I spent most of my EQ time crafting, and then hunting spiders to get more materials to craft some more. I enjoyed the process but the results didn't seem very useful."

DDO is at least an order of magnitude, maybe two, less grindy than WoW. Guilds in it are less important (mostly a way to see when your group is on line). My guild has a couple dozen members. Some guys we see once a month or less, other guys are on everyday.

It's fairly combat oriented but the world is quite large and there is lots of exploration which you are even rewarded for. Maybe .1% of the activities require twitchy skills and even those are pretty easy as I've got the hand eye of a dead cow and I'm getting along just fine. Most combat areas allow you select a casual difficulty level which is fairly easy to survive if you just want to explore around.

It apparently plays fine on Macs with either parallels or Boot Camp.

And it is Free to Play. You can sign up for a membership which unlocks additional character slots, modules and few other features but there are weeks of free content that is exactly the same as paid membership. Guild membership is open to FtP users with only starting a guild needing cash. Personally I wouldn't subscribe until I had my first character up to at least 4th level which will take a couple dozen hours depending on whether you are soloing or part of a group. I subscribe but mostly because it gives you 10 characters per server instead of 2 with FtP. Several of the guys in my guild and one of our Sunday campaign players are Free to Play. The latter member just buys the non FtP modules that our campaign wants to access but like I said there are lots of FtP modules.

And the game has been around for a while (though they just added FtP last fall) so things are pretty stable.
posted by Mitheral at 4:44 PM on March 3, 2010

Don't know whether it would suit, but Runescape has a decent amount of free stuff available, and if you wanted to get paid membership for a while then drop it, you can keep (but not use) your members stuff for next time you feel like buying another month or two. Start off free, do the Lumbridge Diary, see how it goes. Plenty to explore even in the free world, but it's a lot easier to get home once you can use a few teleports.

Combat is very easy; I'm playing on a Powerbook using the trackpad. There are times when it would be nicer to have an easier right-click on a moving target, but it's never been annoying enough to make me go digging through drawers to find a mouse.
posted by Lebannen at 5:10 PM on March 3, 2010

Baldur's Gate II.

If your into turn based games then you NEED to play that.
posted by zombieApoc at 5:47 PM on March 3, 2010

Best answer: EVE is not a second job.

EVE is a second career.

We tried to get a metafilter corp going once, but my time schedule caused me to totally fail at my duties as CEO as I had two wars brewing at the same time all of a sudden.

Let's see, what can I give you in capsule version? EVE has a lot of math. This doesn't detract from the game really, but you do need a spreadsheet to figure some of the more arcane concepts out and much of the market and "non-flying" interfaces are represented (in game) as multicolumn interfaces. The learning curve, as others have said, is incredibly vertical, and it is likely to be extremely frustrating unless you are very into complexity as rule. It is not a casual game that one gets into.

There are people who treat EVE very casually, but you really don't see the beauty of EVE until you get involved in some of the most time consuming aspects of the game: PVP, empire and 0.0 warfare, the "politics and ego" game, industrial production, etc. Everything prior to that is just filler. I've spent over three years with EVE now and I still don't "know it all" (though the big rocks are cracked).

As with many multiplayer games, things are greatly eased if you go into it with friends. EVE is a brutal, brutal place to be alone. I consider myself a very serious EVE player, and I put in about 30-40 hours a week on it, though not all that is "true" activity. (I often idle at work and sometimes AFK for long periods of time while in space). I am at the top end of the scale in terms of activity, though there are a great many people at similar levels who I see around every day just as frequently as i'm logged in.

This is NOT in any way to be construed as EVE being un-fun. EVE is probably the most fun game I have EVER played, but you have to be a very particular kind of person to get the benefit out of it. It is nothing like your average FPS or RPG.

I should disclose that I spend about $400 a month or more on EVE, in terms of accounts, timecards which I translate into the in-game currency, and computing upgrades, but I know a great many people on absolutely ancient machines happily paying their single $15 account.

You can absolutely play EVE in "spurts" as skills train while you are offline; a very attractive and refreshing change from most other games. You set your training and you can be logged off, while your character advances.

Your 2-year old iMac might have some problems with EVE, depending on the video card used in it; EVE on OS X is not the best supported thing in the world but it "works".

Feel free to contact me if you have any more questions, I have what I would consider a good grasp of everything about the game.
posted by arimathea at 7:00 PM on March 3, 2010

I'll second what elway said. Give World of Warcraft a try. It's always been friendly to solo players, though of course there is a lot of "social" content.

Recently Blizzard implemented a revision of the LFG tool, making it a Looking for Dungeon tool that pools up Pick Up Group players from different servers in an instanced dungeon. It's waaaay cool and easy - I am doing content that way that I would never have been able to do with my career and family. Wait times are between 5 and 15 minutes. Try doing that even with a raiding guild. I always hated sitting around for 45 minutes while we tried to find people, even though dozens had signed up for the raid. (There is also a LFR tool for big raid instances, though of course wait times vary wildly)

In addition to that, Blizzard has trended more and more toward "winged" dungeons or instances that can be done in discrete segments. No more grinding the entire dungeon to get to the last boss, only to have everyone bail after the first wipe, because it's 1 a.m.. Each wing has it's own boss and mini bosses, and some dungeons can be run in a half hour. A HALF HOUR.

The cool thing is that even if you don't get the dropped loot from the LFD/PUGs, you can accrue enough tokens to buy top of the line armor sets - so if you are one of those unlucky types that runs X boss 200 times and never ever saw The Pants of Unattainability drop except the one time when that stupid huntard rolled Need on them despite the fact they were plate...well, you know what I mean.

One fun thing in WoW is the achievement system. You can do silly stuff like run around and /love various ambient critters - squirrels, rabbits, sheep, etc. - once you get all the critters on the list, you get a little *ding* achievement award. Some achievements add up so you can qualify for pets or titles. Or you can try and get unusual achievements...there are literally hundreds of them.

With WoW, you can log in for 15 minutes and run a quick daily quest for cash if that's all you have time for. And of course there are the Battlegrounds - they finally put a timer on Warsong Gulch so it cannot run longer than 20 minutes or so. Woohoo! The other BGs run quickly as well.

Yes, I am a fanboi.
posted by Xoebe at 5:38 AM on March 4, 2010

Best answer: EVE is exactly what you're looking for.

It runs just fine on my three and a half year old macbook pro. It has a probably more well-developed economic game than any other offering out there this side of the stock market. It plays very well as a single player game. And best of all, if you play for a few hours, then take a week off, your character can keep improving during the time you're not playing, so that when you come back you have new toys to play with.

If I can self link, I just started posting a set of short intro-to-EVE essays over at
posted by 256 at 6:57 AM on March 4, 2010

« Older MMB behaviour on Google in IE8 is erratic!   |   Music for a juggling act? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.