A package arrives in the mail today in plain brown wrap, taped up enough to be air- and watertight, bearing a return address from Reykjavik, Iceland, home of EVE’s producers, CCP.
The latest issue, #005, of E-ON magazine is in my hot little overseas hands. E-ON is the official quarterly Eve Online magazine with over 75 pages of exclusive articles, artwork, and fiction all beneath the glossiest cover this side of 50 Cent’s diamond-encrusted medallions. The horizon of information contained therein is enlightening. There’s something for players at every stage of their EVE development: Basic mission running, advanced moon mining tips, ship profiles, player profiles, developer interviews, and even coverage of EVE’s official collectible card game (think Magic: The Gathering. With capital ships.)
I have to admit, it’s surreal flipping through a magazine with advertisements for actual player-run corporations.
Subscribing to a full year of E-ON doesn’t earn you any expected discount, but the content does pay out its $14.95-a-pop price tag. Indeed, there’s a library of more up-to-date information on EVE’s website, but for those of us that still harbor a respect for the printed word, you won’t be disappointed in the least. CCP obviously puts E-ON through the proofreader grind a couple more times than their online content as well.
I disseminate DigitalCommunist’s profile of the Caldari Manticore stealth bomber to the rest of the Card Sharks. Impressed with the info, a dedicated cadre of players shifts their skill training to focus on the electronic warfare-centric design. Our resident PvP expert sniffs his nose at the outlines, pointing out one or two minor points omitted from the article, but doesn’t have any major complaints considering the profile’s 375-word limit. (The stealth bomber platforms from each of the other three factions are covered in similar depth.)
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CCP believes that the best way to introduce new game content is to do so incrementally -- not in colossal expansions -- so that the inevitable bugs can be singled out and zapped under manageable circumstances. A well-wrought strategy, considering CCP’s exponentially ambitious plans in the making.
And even though EVE tosses you a bone, letting you gnaw on a piece of storyline every sixteen missions, the lasting and meaningful content emerge from the players themselves. With the gaming world’s largest supercomputer keeping the single-server universe afloat, and with a subscriber base that has continued to multiply since its inception in 2003, EVE is still the hardcore sci-fi gamer’s MMO of choice. The wide open gameplay is already so unfastened it makes titles like Grand Theft Auto feel like a diagnosis of claustrophobia. And all the while, CCP’s ruthless expansionist regime pushes out EVE’s borders and gameplay in ever-increasing directions.
Even with a graphical upgrade in the works (which, frankly, is baffling since the artists treated every square inch of the universe like the Sistine Chapel) you can put good money on the idea that EVE will, in the very least, outlast the next two presidential elections. For those that sample the structure and concepts therein and actually get it, there is nothing comparable to it today. And it is -- let’s all say it together -- the best MMO on the market.
More On:EVE Online
Companies: CCP Online
A robust tutorial. Classless character builds. Overwhelmingly open-ended gameplay. Ship designs you’ll need to wear a bib for. And a breed of PvP that’ll make adrenaline junkies sign up for rehab. Sci-fi worshipers: This is your Mecca.
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