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A new galaxy of gaming

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A new galaxy of gaming


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Hyper-realistic graphics plaster the sides of the EVE Online website, drawing the eye of online video game addicts looking for their next fix. From the small, intricately detailed spaceships that look like they could crash land into the Tam arches to massive nebular clouds straight from the Hubble telescope, the makers of EVE, Crowd Control Productions (CCP), outdid their competitors on the visual aspect of gaming; the detail and realism of their constructions rival those of professional artists. By creating a massive contiguous spacescape where anyone can fly their spaceships anywhere, CCP has built a virtual world unlike any other. They’ve made more than just a game; they’ve designed an entire galaxy.

Like most multiplayer online games, you create a character when you start. Of course, you spend your entire game career flying around in a spaceship, so it hardly matters what your character looks like, but it is still important to have the option to make your character truly yours. First you determine the common information, like place of origin (which massive intergalactic empire you sprung from), name, and general looks. Where this game differs from other massively multiplayer online games (MMOs) is in the level of customizability of your physical figure. Click on the avatar’s face, and the cheekbone becomes highlighted. Drag it up, the bone moves. Down, it moves again. The EVE character creator literally lets you sculpt your in-game self to look exactly how you want it to.

While some people might enjoy personalizing their characters, I prefer the more nitty-gritty aspects of gaming, so I rapidly clicked through the creation screens leaving my avatar fairly mundane.

I was suddenly thrust into the vast, glittering expanse of space. A window popped up, calling my attention to the asymmetrical pear-like pod in the center of the screen which, I was then informed by the tutorial, contained me inside it. It was at this point that I really pitied the people who spent hours on their characters, making them look exactly like themselves or their favorite celebrity.

Combat in EVE is a complex yet rewarding task, challenging the skills of even the most ardent players. There are no protected zones, only areas where the “police” will pursue you if you attack another player. Massive corporations, much like guilds or clans in other games, wage war with ships ranging from a few hundred meters in length to others half the size of our moon. The most established corporations rule vast tracts of space and have navies thousands in number. Their leaders have played this game for years, fine-tuning their reflexes and skills.

A ship is nothing more than a skeleton. It has no guns, hardly any armor, and can only trudge along from place to place. Modules, additions to your ship, allow players to customize their ships with exceptional flexibility. There are thousands of unique modules, varying from simple electron blasters to quick mircrowarpdrives that increase the speed of your ship. This outstanding variety has spawned an entire community whose sole pleasure in EVE is testing and experimenting with different setups.

In most roleplaying games, abilities are earned by practicing and gaining experience until one levels up. In EVE, one simply chooses what to learn. While those skills are being trained in the skill queue the player can do whatever else they want, even go offline. That’s not to say that veteran players are automatically better than any newbie, since the 28 years of skills EVE offers does not only recommend specialization, it demands it. A new player could easily focus on a single aspect of EVE and surpass most older players in a relatively short period of time.

With its stunning visuals, elegant combat system and immense flexibility, EVE attracts tens of thousands of gamers at any given moment. The game even holds the record for the most simultaneous online players. I could fill up the entire Tam News with articles praising EVE and still have plenty to say. The player-driven economy, hundreds of unique missions, elaborate mining system, and potential for massive player versus player combat allows for nearly infinite options. For casual or hardcore gamers, EVE is well worth at least trying out if not sticking with.

 

Written by Nick Sullivan Friedman. This article originally appeared in the April 2011 issue.

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A new galaxy of gaming