It has been said that a Massively Multiplayer Online Game like EVE Online cannot be accurately reviewed due to the vastness of the world and ever-evolving nature of the content. Nonetheless, as the final Blog Banter challenge of the year, twenty EVE players were bold enough to try.
Given licence to approach the review in any manner they chose, a variety of reviewing styles were employed by an eclectic mix of bloggers. One reviewer had less than one month's experience of EVE Online (welcome Moriarity Kanenald) and Keyanu of MuppetNinjas is so old he struggles to remember his account password. Many reviewers were primarily combat pilots, but industrialists, roleplayers, miners and alliance leaders were all represented.
Whilst there were some differences of opinion, there was a strong synergy amongst almost every review. Commonly recurring themes included the widespread condemnation of the ancient user interface and the universal celebration of the peerless metagaming community. Crucible was strongly applauded as a successful expansion and EVE's visuals were widely regarded as one of its stronger assets. Perversely, EVE's other pillar of success was its PvP combat, the activity that most discourages the enjoyment of the lauded visuals.
Also frequently noted was the difficult new player experience, although in many cases these were anecdotal experiences from veteran players, so it was unclear if the most recent revisions to the new player experience had been taken into account.
The Big Result
So can we divine a single, final metacritic-like score from the reviews? Would it be of any value? That, dear reader, is up to you to decide. However, through the magic of arcane algorithms and occult mathematics, approximately 65 years of EVE Online playing experience has united to provide a community-sourced score of:
>>> 82% <<<
But the review doesn't end there. Read on to find out the opinion of the players who most align to your style. Find out what they really thought and how they arrived at their conclusions. Or just find out who was foolhardy enough to take on this challenge.
As a side-note, I may have used some creative licence when describing the reviewing bloggers so some "facts" may be a little... unresearched. :)
Meet the Brave, the Bold, the Bloggers:
Diary of a Pod Pilot
In-game form: Since 2007 - Roleplaying Luminary, leader of prominent pro-NPC faction alliance. "Designated Station Pilot" and "Dairy Queen".
Real-life dirt: Long-time blogger, RP mover-and-shaker. Suspected Venutian.
Review: One does not simply review EVE, but can certainly make a decent try.
Review Approach: A sage and balanced overview of EVE from a veteran player.
Key Quote: "EVE Online is a pretty amazing and unique game with its own quirks and challenges. It’s got something for nearly everybody, and if it doesn’t, well who knows, maybe at some point it will. You’ll never know if you never try."
Scoring: None Given.
A Missioneer in Eve
In-game form: Since 2008 - Mild-mannered rookie-friendly veteran with a sideline in incursion-running.
Real-life dirt: Fiction-writing blogger with CSM aspirations.
Review: The Difference is...
Review Approach: An in-character discussion on the impact of a single-shard universe.
Key Quote: "This is a game where you make your own story and are the hero, antihero, or even villain. We don’t tell you a story . . . you become part of it."
Scoring: None given.
In-game form: Since 2006 - Wormhole explorer.
Real-life dirt: Respected podcaster and community hero.
Review: Title Analysis
Review Approach: A unique and cogent investigation into the meaning and motive behind CCP's choice of expansion title.
Key Quote: "By giving this mea culpa expansion the name Crucible implies to me that CCP saw the disgruntled players as an insurmountable obstacle they were able to surmount. I am not sure I enjoy that idea."
Scoring: Title Choice - 2/5
Sand, Cider and Spaceships
In-game form: Since 2008, Director of a 100-member PvP Corporation, Faction Warfare specialist.
Real-life dirt: "In real life, I'm Dave, 35 and a Brit expat living in the Middle East with my long suffering "Eve Widow" Debbie!"
Review: EVE Online Community Review
Review Approach: A broad overview zeroing in on Faction Warfare from the perspective of a new player.
Key Quote: "...when CCP gets something wrong the players do all they can to encourage CCP to put it right. With such a supportive fan-base, a company that actually listens to the players and fans and a constantly evolving and improving game..... I cannot see Eve Online going anywhere for a long time."
- Ease of Getting Into - 3/10
- Graphics - 8/10
- Gameplay - 7/10
- Community - 10/10
- Longevity - 10/10
- Conclusion - 38/50
Year of the Snake
In-game form: Since 2011 - Miner, Missioneer, writer of funny bios.
Real-life dirt: a.k.a. Cobalt Snake, an enigmatic gaming entity that seems to exist across multiple platforms.
Review: Challenge Accepted.
Review Approach: A focused look at gameplay, community and the Crucible expansion.
Key Quote: "In general, with some exceptions, the EVE community is comprised of cold, heartless, new-player-hating, meta-gaming bastards."
Scoring: None given
In-game form: Since 2008 - Combat Pilot, Low-Sec Piracy, has experience in corporation and alliance management and null-sec life. Spends much of his time moving assets from one end of the galaxy to the other.
Real-life dirt: Prolific blogger and curator of the Blog Pack. Draws pictures occasionally.
Review: The Rollercoaster Thrill Ride that is EVE Online, with Cookies.
Review Approach: If Radiohead wrote EVE reviews, this would be it. A casual ramble through the mind of a seasoned EVE player.
Key Quote: "It is a deep, dark, complex universe that is hard to have fun playing and will probably kill you dead... I can highly recommend Eve Online."
- Unlimited stars for potential.
- 4 out of 5 stars for reality.
In-game form: Since 2011 - "I have only been in game less than a month and I am a complete nubbins." Still in NPC corp.
Real-life dirt: A newcomer to the EVE metagame, he has yet to let his mask slip.
Review: Reviewing Eve Online
Review Approach: A refreshing view of the bewilderment that is a player's first month in EVE. Moriarity shows remarkable awareness and nous in his early assessment of life in New Eden.
Key Quote: "My only qualifications are I am fresh to the game and so probably know a lot less than others... Eve is nothing like opening Pandoras Box. When you play it you are in the box, the box is firmly closed and you are not getting out."
- It is sexy 10/10
- The 'Community' 9/10
- Backstory 7/10
- The 'Sandbox' 6/10
- Overall 8/10
In-game form: Since 2004 - "A low-sec dweller whose sole aim is to try to ruin people’s day."
Real-life dirt: Tireless humanitarian, charity-worker and nun.
Review Approach: Like if your Grandad wrote a review about remembering when this was all fields. Except it's a review of EVE.
Key Quote: "I go back to the time where afterburners were stackable, battlecruisers wern’t invented nor MicroWarpdrives and torpedo’s could be fitted to Kestrels... EVE Online has gotten a hell of a lot easier for new players with the generosity of skillpoints, the availability of PLEX and the availability of good starter corps out there. There has never been a better time for a new player to sign up."
Scoring: None given.
In-game form: Since 2006 (intermittently), Industrialist, Economist, POS jockey.
Real-life dirt: "Father, husband, community volunteer, business professional, small business owner, and gamer."
Review: That's Not a Moon!
Review Approach: A measured look at several aspects of EVE Online, from industry and player housing to PvP and the metagame.
Key Quote: "Bigger, more deadly, deeper, and with longer-lasting implications than any other game I’ve ever heard of. When a game comes along that deletes your account and steals your car when you die, I’ll concede the point."
Scoring: None given.
The One That Writes
In-game form: Since 2006-2011. Currently unsubscribed but still flirting with the metagame.
Real-life dirt: "Hello. I am Karen. I like gaming, tech, sci-fi and fantasy. Sometimes I like to write."
Review: Community Review
Review Approach: A comparative review looking at two opposing player experiences.
Key Quote: "Eve Online... is the playground for minds that think out of the box and it offers an incredible level of immersion."
Scoring: None given.
Living a Lie
In-game form: Since 2009 - Combat Pilot, Faction Warfare, Roleplayer
Real-life dirt: Roleplaying owner of XX chromosomes who can explain "icly" and "oocly" through the medium of blogs.
Review: Why EvE Wins.
Review Approach: Roleplaying-focused comparison to World of Warcraft (with just a touch of bias).
Key Quote: "There are many reasons why EvE Online is simply the best MMO there is... one server, learning skills via time instead of grind, and well, it's spaceships. RP on EvE is far superior, so if you're playing WoW, quit and RP on EvE..."
- World of Warcraft: 0
- EVE Online: 10
2nd Anomaly From the Left
In-game form: Since 2005 - Former member of veteran combat corporations such as Noir. and m3 Corp, FC, PI, probably experienced in other two-letter acronyms as well.
Real-life dirt: A mystery. Blog history back to March 2010. Few RL references.
Review: A Way Forward (Revised)
Review Approach: A veteran's look at the newest content and the impact new changes have had on game balance.
Key Quote: "Crucible brings back the ability for the smaller fleets to operate as they once did, without the spectre of some supercapital ship dropping on them and wiping them out."
Scoring: None given.
Rollins' Ride in Eve
In-game form: Since 2009 - Incursion runner, Missioneer, recent convert to PvP.
Real-life dirt: Errant son of former rock hellraiser Henry Rollins (maybe), just finishing high school.
Review: The Game Outside Eve Online
Review Approach: An account of personal experience of the early days of playing EVE Online.
Key Quote: "Its a pretty solid game. Its certainly still a work in progress, and Crucible has been a fantastic step... Its a full immersive simulation in an alternate universe, and it can be so addictive it should come with a warning label."
Scoring: None given.
In-game form: Since 2005 - Industrialist, Covert Operations, Combat
Real-life dirt: A throughbred technogeek and a native Polish speaker, Łukasz Poźniak writes a blog in English because he's too clever for his own good. ;)
Review: EVE Online Review
Review Approach: As much a guide as a review, this is a great article for rookie players considering their options.
Key Quote: This challenge, the emotions connected to it, and the choice to make what you want make it a game you can play for years.
- Character advancement: 8.5/10
- Character professions: 10/10
- Player vs Player: 9/10
- Player vs Environment: 9/10
- Crafting: 9/10
- Visuals: 9/10
- Music and Sound: 8.5/10
- FINAL SCORE: 9/10
Rants from New Eden
In-game form: Since 2010 - Combat Pilot
Real-life dirt: Another internet enigma. Probably human.
Review: Attempting the Impossible
Review Approach: A general review tailored specifically for the MMO format.
Key Quote: "So, we have a ourselves and MMO that struggles to let you in, with its many challenges, like skill training, bad UI, and so on... Yes, this is EVE, the second job you are charged for... If I must summarize EVE in one word, what would it be? I'll probably go with internetspaceshipnerdgasm."
- Atmosphere 70%
- Presentation 80%
- Scale 90%
- Entry Barriers 50%
- Longevity 90%
- Synergy 95%
- Community 90%
In-game form: Since 2007 - Combat Pilot, Incursion specialist, Null-sec Alliance member.
Real-life dirt: Former video game reviewer, current Robo-blogger.
Review: Objective(?) review of EVE Online.
Review Approach: Five thousand word megablog with analysis of broad aspects of EVE Online.
Key Quote: "...those that can accept EVE's limitations will find one of the best, if not the best, true multi-player MMOs out there, and its deep gameplay and rich environment will keep them immersed for months or years at a time."
- Interface - 4/10
- Game-play - 7/10
- Story - 8/10
- Graphics - 9/10
- Sound - 6/10
- Multiplayer - 10/10
- OVERALL - 8/10
Through Newb Eyes
In-game form: Since 2010 - Previously a high-profile member of a hi-sec PvP corp, currently exploring wormholes.
Real-life dirt: Blogger and tweeter with an affinity for the colour red.
Review: EVE is what the player makes of it.
Review Approach: A rookie-centric view with a look into the many ways to fund the first few weeks of combat, from conventional (missioning) to corrupt (scamming).
Key Quote: "I’ve heard many a reviewer call EVE boring – if you find EVE boring, make something up to do. Go shoot someone. Go scam. Go scan down and salvage people’s missions. Go mine. Build a ship. Explore a wormhole. Infiltrate a corp and steal everything. Make EVE exciting. This game is only as good as you make it."
- Graphics – 9/10
- Sound – 7/10
- Gameplay – 9/10
- Lifespan – 10/10
In-game form: Since 2006 - Suspected carebear with a hair trigger. Will pay ISK for nonsense poetry.
Real-life dirt: Podcasting guru, Northerner (subspecies: Geordie), adopter of two lovely children.
Review: Eve Online Review December 2011
Review Approach: Broad strokes discussing the evolution of EVE Online, the dramas and the developer/player relationship.
Key Quote: "Overall, I think now you will see a game backed by a company willing to improve the core product - which can only be a good thing."
Scoring: Overall totally subjective score: 4/5
Urziel's Eve Chronicle
In-game form: Since 2011 - Sov-warfare refugee, high-sec miner, null-sec PvPer.
Real-life dirt: US truck driver and MMO veteran.
Review: Reviewing EVE Online
Review Approach: The EVE experience viewed from a conventional angle from the perspective of a fresh player.
Key Quote: "Failure has real consequences, so caution and paranoia are handy skills to have... Only one rule works in Eve: Trust No One."
- Challenge 10/10
- Variety of Content 8/10
- Graphics 8/10
- Complexity 10/10
- Overall score 9/10
Gun Turret Diplomacy
In-game form: Since 2008 - Combat Pilot, Small-gang PvP.
Real-life dirt: Child of the sixties. Shy and retiring Twitter Tweetfleet regular. Consumer of tasty beverages. Like Indiana Jones, named after a dog.
Review: The Entire Wormhole That Eve Is.
Review Approach: A look at the state of EVE Online through the eyes of a non-gamer, following the introduction of wormholes in 2009.
Key Quote: "The wormhole in Eve, that is Eve, represents the unknown. It represents different. It represents new. It invents. It reinvents. It encompasses our real life in to a virtual life that may very easily be mixed up with and confused for what is real and what is not."
Scoring: 10 out of 10.
In-game form: Since 2008 - Rooted in Royal Amarr Institute NPC corp.
Real-life dirt: Collects and dries exotic vegetables.
Review Approach: A uniquely original approach, look at the people you might be flying alongside.
Key Quote: "Choose any area of the Eve universe you like and you will meet the most incredibly surprising people. Executives will laugh along with factory workers, Uni students with retirees, business owners with the unemployed"
Scoring: None given.
Thank you all for taking part and a Happy New Year to EVE bloggers and readers everywhere. May 2012/YC114 bring you good luck and good loot.
Mat "Seismic Stan" Westhorpe.