There are gamers who play MMORPGs for fun and camaraderie and then there are EVE Online players. It’s not that the game isn’t fun per se, it’s just that it’s one of the most complicated sandbox MMORPGs out there. It has even earned another nickname in the gaming community, “spreadsheet simulator” because of how much number-crunching one needs to play the game efficiently.
By that kind of learning curve, most newcomers will be intimidated. However, knowing what to expect in EVE Online is one way to avoid getting swamped with layers of information and starting out weak. Thankfully, the game is more accommodating than ever and it’s high time to learn what the game has to offer before diving in.
10 Bigger Isn’t Always Better
EVE Online immediately sets itself apart from other MMORPGs by giving the players no formal direction in which path they can take. So if players commit to getting the best of the best, as in the largest ships and the most decorated officers to pilot them, then it’s on them if that ship gets ganked.
Treating EVE Online like any other MMORPG is not the best way to play it. Grinding towards some materialistic goal might give players a sense of purpose, but it’s not the be-all, end-all play for EVE Online since most of the player’s inventory can be stolen. It’s best to leave that sort of mentality in other more conventional MMORPGs.
9 Be Prepared For PvP
One of the reasons why having the best stuff in EVE Online doesn’t always work out in the players’ favor is due to the PvE and PvP being interconnected. Most players can and will attack anyone unprotected or open and inter-player piracy is a common occurrence in the game.
PvP also isn’t just limited to ship-vs-ship combat. It exists at the macro-level as well, such as market maneuvers and recruitment drives since players control the in-game politics and factions. Even if players choose to be neutral, chances are, they’ll still get involved one way or another. It’s best to join a corporation.
8 Joining A Corporation Is Better Than A Tutorial
Here’s where EVE Online shares some similarities with other MMORPGs. The “guilds” or “clans” in EVE Online is called a corporation. The difference is that corporations can become powerful enough to have their own territory, influence, or market dominance.
There are countless numbers of them in EVE Online since they’re formed up by the players. Newbies will do well to join one of them even as a stepping stone since corporation members will happily help their own from giving advice to coming to your aid. It’s by far the best way to learn the drops and the political situation in EVE Online.
7 Scamming Is Part Of The Player Economy
EVE Online prides itself on giving so much liberty to players that even bullying is allowed, as long as there is no profanity. As such, griefing, stealing, lying, being toxic, and even scamming is a regular part of the player economy.
Some players even go low enough as to state the chat that they lost all their items and are in need of some in-game money. That’s why staying vigilant and making some knowledgeable friends in your corporation of choice can insulate or protect you from these shady but allowed annoyances.
6 The Community Is Mostly Serious
This is why some players also resort to scamming others for in-game money. EVE Online is considered by many as a serious game. It’s an ecosystem where players spend real-life money, invest time and emotions, and learn many things just to excel or crush their competition in-game.
Expect the community to be serious and more mature compared to other MMORPGs, even the underrated ones. The learning curve alone should discourage the relatively immature and impatient players, leaving behind persistent and typically clever individuals, most of which want to be better than the rest.
5 Expect Cutthroat Behavior From Others
Out there in the harsh cold and vacuum of space, only the laws of science exist. Hence, players can practically sum up the PvP experience in EVE Online as “everyone-vs-everyone.” There are safe areas near stations, but don’t count on those NPCs coming to the rescue.
While out there in the open, expect to get robbed or attacked by anyone. This is allowed in EVE Online, making revenge a common story or motivation in the game. That’s another use for corporations: protection from this environment to a certain extent.
4 There Are No Levels In The Game
Progression is something important in most MMORPGs, but EVE Online is unlike any other in its genre. It has no levels. Instead, players can measure their progress with skill points, and even that only measures how many minutes you spent in developing certain disciplines.
Players can measure their progress with how awesome their armada is, how imposing their battleships are, or even how much wealth they have. Seeing as they can also lose everything in the blink of an eye with a simple misfortune, it’s an arbitrary gauge at best. Again, don’t look at EVE Online through the lens of a fancy, story-based MMORPG. It’s its own game.
3 It’s A Sandbox Game
Speaking of having no levels, what exactly is the goal in EVE Online? Well, that’s up to the players, honestly. There is no overarching sci-fi show plot nor lovable characters to root for while grinding. Players make their own story. The game merely provides the backdrop for that.
That’s why a player’s goal can be anything in EVE Online. It’s an open-ended experience with an imaginary endgame. That endgame might be claiming the most territory as a corporate leader or amassing the most wealth possible. A player’s goal could even be getting revenge on the very first player who scuttled their newbie ships.
2 The “Free” Version Is Mostly A Trial
Now for the important meta-questions for EVE Online: the price of admission. Apart from time, players can pay a subscription, but another option includes going free-to-play. The community is then divided into “Alpha” and “Omega” players with the latter being the paying subscribers.
What can the Alpha players do for free? They earn access to some of the ships, some of the skills, a slower skill training rate, and many other impediments that will slow down progression. Alpha players can still join PvP but shouldn’t expect to get the definitive EVE Online experience. It functions more like a trial version of the game, and the general consensus of the community is that being an Omega player is better if one is looking to play long-term.
1 You Can Still Play Free Forever
Players can still opt to be frugal with their real-life money. There is a way for Alpha players to become Omega players in EVE Online without paying the $15 per month subscription fee, and that would be buying an in-game token called PLEX. This is a 30-day Omega player pass that costs millions or even billions of ISK (in-game money) depending on the economy.
Theoretically, free-to-play players can grind for ISK to purchase PLEX and not spend a single real-life cent but this can cause burnouts. After all, EVE Online Alpha players are too limited in their actions. It’s up to the players to see which option is worth more to them, making it, essentially, time vs. money.