Eve Online, MMO development, Intermittent Reviews

I’m told this game is a year old now, and it has an upgrade coming this November that looks pretty good, so even if it isn’t dominating the market, it isn’t dead, either.

This game did not get great reviews when it first came out. They’ve worked on it consistently since and I just started playing it a month ago, it’s very impressive. I don’t care for PVP so a game has to be good to keep me despite open PVP.

Games are reviewed like movies, books and albums in that a completed game is reviewed as it is expected to be played by anyone who comes in contact with it, but MMO games can go through marked changes. Should they be reviewed like TV shows? Pilot, midseason, end of season, etc?

Some sites/magazines do this already, but I was wondering if it was even worth it. Do those reviews get read at all?

Anyway, Eve-Online. Beautiful graphics. Very complex gameplay. Semi-skilled combat. Requires Quicken. The skill development is kind of weird, in that it occurs seperately from the actual game, you just kind of click what skill you want and then go do stuff while the timer runs, your actions don’t effect your skills at all. There’s a lot of british players so the timing of play is a little weird.

Anyway it’s a decent game and it’s free for 2 weeks over at mmorpg.com, so try it out. Other items of interest: the game is developed in Iceland(?), it’s written in Python, which is so easy to write I use it as a scripting language at work. It shows in the game, which is so light I can run 4 clients on the same workstation.


Actually, EVE isn’t much different now from the way it was at launch (or even in beta). The not-so-whoopee reviews had more to do with the reviewers’ distaste for the type of game it is than with its quality. It’s been impressive from day one, if you like what it does.

I’m not sure why its being developed by Icelanders is so interesting. The only impact I can see that it’s had on the game is in the visual appearance of the characters. They have that sort of cyber-alien-cum-Bjork look that Slavs seem to go for. Beyond that, the game could’ve been written in California.

I agree it’s a good game, though. People who think they might be interested ought to give it a shot.

I’m downloading for the trial now. Anything I should know?

Several years ago (I probably also mentioned it here) I was pushing new reviews of VSOGs at each expansion, assuming expansions to be about yearly. What should really happen is that a reviewer plays the game semi-regularly, and whenever he feels substantial changes to the game have been made he issues either an entirely new review or modifies an existing review with the new information. Very much a dynamic, changing review. As the game changes, so should the review.

It depends on the game – we’ve run a few followups that have gotten all sorts of traffic (Galaxies, for one), while other games seem to inspire a big “meh” from readers.

I’m going to disagree here. Eve was a buggy mess when it came out. The autopilot needed constant babysitting, you lost more ships to CTD bugs than anything else, travel time was horrendous, loads of totally overpowered ship setups, filled will exploiting insta-ganking pirates in ‘safe’ space. I didn’t last long at all. It’s been well polished up now, like night and day for this subscriber.

To the OP, you might be interested to know PC Gamer UK ran an 8 page spread about Eve this month, and the UK paper mags in general often revisit it in their online sections. Eve went down pretty well in this country.

Wow, I didn’t know that. I wonder to what extent they use Python. One would think that at least the graphics engine is written in C++. If it uses something like PyOpenGL then I’m mighty impressed. :)

Don’t say “you” lost more ships to CTD bugs than anything else as I never lost a single one :) I also never met a pirate in safe space. You’re right about the autopilot/travel time thing, however. I had forgotten about that. The devs’ improvements there have made a huge difference in the enjoyment department, so I stand corrected.

The idea of reviewing reviews is not a new one, and, like sluggo says, has been done off and on by some people. IIRC, CGM had an issue last year that revisited most of the MMOGs and re-evaluated their original scores. A very interesting read.

Some of this ground is covered in editorial comments on games, reviews of expansions or previews. These don’t have the same weight or inherent value of a new review, of course.

Reviews are a snapshot in time for all games, though, not just MMOGs. A lot of games get better in their patched form - especially if bugs and balance are the major problems. And you couldn’t just review the MMOGs that got bad initial reviews, could you? Wouldn’t you have to take another look at Everquest and DAOC? As the giants keep pushing the goalposts, would the minor players look all that much better, comparatively speaking?

This would, ideally, also require a reviewer who has spent quite a bit of time with the game pre and post update/patch/expansion so he/she can determine if the MMOG has gotten better, worse or neither.

It’s still a good idea, though. I doubt that we need entirely new reviews, though. Capsule reviews of what is new and worth seeing in the online worlds would do the trick.

Re EVE, I have friends who play it religiously and have no complaints. I find their fascination with mining ore for five hours perplexing.


I’m pretty sure they just use Python for scripting, in that respect probably not much different from any modern game that uses scripting to let designers code gameplay.

Anywho, my beef with EVE IMHO is that once all the dazzle wears off there is it offers very little actual play per unit time spent logged in. You spend 90% of your time doing absolutely nothing! Even killing ‘rats’ gets really dry after awhile. The PvP reminds me of old skool UO, where grief tactics rule.

The game has some many of the right ingredients, its just using the wrong recipe.

One daydream feature that would have me running back to EvE would be the addition having personal fleets and fleet management a la X2. Then you would spend most of your time managing your fleet and ordering them around while you prance around in your flagship. In addition, you would populate the world with a significant amount of PC generated traffic, which would make things like fighting over resources, disrupting trade routes and other corp vs. corp engagements much more meaningful.

You can say what you want about EVE but at least it managed to make me play past the first hour on the trial…No other MMORPG managed that for me :)

Very pretty game, and interesting economics. I earned a million or two by spending a few minutes in a shuttle ferrying certain skillbooks to the newbie school and putting them on the market for about 1.5 times their worth. Why do that? Because as a newbie who made bad choices at character creation I didn’t have the skills to do much of anything(skillbooks being weightless was a very important point here.) Not sure if this is bad or good game design. Maybe a little of both :)

I’m the one who uses python for scripting. I knew it compiled into C runtime, but I don’t spend a lot of time in that end of the pool. Apparently some guy optimized it for running tons of little apps at once, all chatting with each other. The market plays like that’s the case, it’s the graphics that made me wonder how they pull it off, they’re too good.

Anyway if you program or script python kicks some ass. I’m a perl guy so I can tell for sure it’s a useful replacement for that, but the code isn’t so messy and even some of the semiliterates in my userbase can read it. It has some interesting interaction stuff for R and orange, so I’m working with it for the statisticians. I’m also told it compiles into java so it’s useful for that, too.

However, there are a lot of libraries for games and I haven’t tried them out, but if they’re anything like the stuff I’ve used so far, they’d be worth looking at.

By itself, it’s not a story when a game is made in the US, Britain or Japan, an MMO in Korea or something, those are all ‘Dog Bites Man’. A game developed somewhere else is a story, however. Especially one as labor-intensive as an MMO. Iceland isn’t exactly known for games.

I could tell the game was european when I first played it, the music is a dead giveaway. It’s mood-appropriate techno that references various films and sounds you’d associate with deep space. It doesn’t suck, but it’s not something an american company would be caught dead using. Given the number of british players I figured there were some E-riddled game devs in London with German musician friends who’d put all this together.


Python is pretty cool, and if you already know a programming language, its pretty straightforward to learn. Cleaner, easier to understand syntax than Perl, and just as powerful, IMO. And yes, if you use JPython, it will compile into java.

As an aside, using this simplify content creation has got to be a big boon for the dev team. I remember several Earth and Beyond dev chats that mentioned very clumsy tools that hampered what could be done in an update cycle (and, as more people got reassigned from E&B, even further limited what could be done). Having tools that can do a lot of work in the background can be a “force multiplier”.

Also, I’m surprised that no middleware company has made a “tool set” (for lack of a better word) for MMOG’s. Some off the shelf, semi- to fully-customizable content creation setup. If someone were to do that, it could speed up development and lower costs.

Not to sound like a troll, but EVE bored the hell out of me. In playing EVE, it reminded me of why I was also bored with Earth and Beyond, yet why I still continue to play Jumpgate to this day…there’s no real skill involved. I find the whole “point-click-mine” or “point-click-dock” thing so terribly dull.

There are parts of EVE I am absolutely in love with, but I think only the most diehard would argue that it can often be terminally boring. It’s like playing Trade Wars 2002, except instead warping just printing a new line, you actually have to fly through every fucking sector.

If they built a dogfighting sim on top of all of the intricate trading and such, I’m not sure they could pull me away.