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Naomi


EVE: The Second Genesis

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For the past month I've been beta testing a Space RPG/strategy and massively multiplayer online game (MMOG) called EVE: The Second Genesis, created by the Icelandic company Crowd Control Productions. What is it about Iceland and the creation of great beauty? EVE is certainly a drop dead gorgeous game. When most people see the screenshots they assume they're looking at cut scenes, but it is the actual gameplay. They possibly even exceed the graphics of Homeworld 2, which is impressive for an online game.



EVE is essentially a recreation of the old BBS games Trade Wars and the DOS game Solar Winds, both of which I've devoted far too much time to in the past. It is a space trading game with corporations and a stockmarket, agent missions, bounty hunting, trading in universal marketplaces, and fighting over resources. As corporations acquire more money and power they can begin to purchase their own starbases, manufacturing facilities, planets and star systems. New technology can be researched, patented and sold or licensed. Other players can work as mercenaries, protecting particular areas of space from enemy corporations and corporations can even declare war on one another, stealing starbases or whole planets from each other. You choose what kind of game you wish to play (are you a player-killer? merchant? trader? bounty hunter? etc.)

The universe is immense with 5,000 systems and a capacity of 100,000 players. I also loved the intuitive in-game interface, including a navigable 3D map of the current solar system which expands to show the entire universe.



"EVE is a world far away from mankind's original habitat, planet Earth. How far away, and where, no one knows. Humans got there through a natural wormhole, and gazing upon a sky never before seen, were completely unable to determine the whereabouts of this new world. From the system of New Eden, where the gate of EVE that once led to the old world lies, humans expanded in all directions at a great pace, exploring and colonizing.

Then, seemingly out of the blue, the EVE gate collapsed in an apocalyptic catastrophe of a scale never before witnessed by the human race, ruining the New Eden system in the process. Thousands of small colonies were left in isolation to fend for themselves. For millennia they endured on the brink of extinction and only a handful survived.

Of those surviving colonies, 5 were to rise up and become the major empires that hold between them the balance of power in the world of EVE today. These are: the Amarr Empire, the Gallente Federation, the Caldari State, the Minmatar Republic and the Jovian Empire, plus several small independent factions and states.

For more than a century the five empires have lived together in relative peace. They've strived hard to maintain this peace, as each of them realizes only too well the grave consequences of a massive inter-stellar war. Recent technological breakthroughs in FTL travel, and the ensuing increase in space travellers, has shaken, but not broken the fragile peace - at least not yet." - CCP



Avatar creation is also impressive, with four different races to choose from and extremely customizable faces, hair, clothing, tattoos, lighting, etc. - even the ability to morph and change facial expressions. I chose the Caldari race and spent over 30 minutes customizing my character. There are no levels, just skill based character progression.




Another addition to the already rich atmosphere of EVE is the beautiful ambient music composed by Jon Hallur, which I'll continue listening to even when I'm not playing the game.

I meant to take a screenshot of my character before "armageddon" (the day the beta testing ended), but we were away from home so my char is forever lost.

EVE went on sale last week, but I'm unsure if I want to buy it. Besides the cost of £30 plus a £10 monthly fee, I'm not convinced that it will keep me interested enough in the long-term and whether I want to devote so much of my time to my character. There is a reason why I never allowed myself to play EverQuest (EverCrack) and other similar games - they're too absorbing and time-consuming. There is a great world of fun and possibility in the EVE universe, if you have the time and money.

Pros: gorgeous graphics, intuitive interface, highly customizable avatars, immense universe, easy communication with other players, flexible gameplay, detailed history of the races, spaceships!, cute Icelandic development team.

Cons: easy communication with other players (like most online games there will always be an irritatingly immature element), you start off slow and a lot of mining asteroids is involved which becomes redundant very quickly, huge potential for "griefing" ("Actions purposefully taken to inhibit or ruin the gameplay of another person."), mining asteroids, no ability to land on planets as of yet (at least there wasn't in beta), exploration can become tedious, a numerous amount of bugs that I seriously doubt CCP were able to fix before launch, potential for lag, monthly £10 fees, if you are killed you have to restart from nearly scratch unless you have the money to buy clones, mining asteroids.

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Speaking of games I've come across a seemingly obscure bug in Neverwinter Nights. When I level up from lvl 14 to 15 my familiar, a panther, turns into a badger.



Orc, me, and... badger.

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There, that's all my current gaming geekiness out in one big post.
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On May 12th, 2003 07:48 am (UTC), atlaz commented:
But... but... but... it scampers so delightfully.
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On May 12th, 2003 08:36 am (UTC), nomi replied:
It does a cute scamper, shame it's so useless.
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On May 12th, 2003 08:21 am (UTC), andyroyal commented:
After playing Freelancer, I'm a bit skeptical about space trading games. Still, it may turn out that EVE, is the game that Freelancer should have been.

Ahhhh, the Neverwinter Nights badger.... it's been a while since I've seen him. When I was working on my own module, I tried a script which got some people to do a weird ritual thing and summon a demon. My flatmate said he'd be well impressed if I pulled it off and I did, except instead of a demon I summoned an insanely violent badger. It happens whenever the tag or whatever it's called is messed up, I guess they messed up the tag for a level 15 panther. They seem to do patches every couple of weeks, so if you post something on the messageboard it'll probably get sorted out quite quickly.
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On May 12th, 2003 08:49 am (UTC), nomi replied:
I thought Freelancer was pretty bad for the most part. EVE is definitely a superior game, although I'm not sure if it's superior enough. As I only had a month I didn't get a chance to fully experiment with corporations and trading.

The thing is with this badger is it isn't even "insanely violent". It's just... a badger. 6 hit points, -1 strength, -2 dexterity, -4 intelligence, -2 charisma (they could have at least given me a charismatic badger) and it won't even follow me. Although I can possess it and make it scamper ridiculously.

I installed the latest patch last night and it still turns my familiar into a badger. I'm going to try loading an earlier saved game and hope that when I level up that it works properly.
— On May 12th, 2003 09:03 am (UTC), andyroyal posted a reply · Expand
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On May 12th, 2003 08:24 am (UTC), savonarola commented:
we don't need no stinkin' badgers!
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On May 12th, 2003 09:05 am (UTC), nomi replied:
Badgers, to god-damned hell with badgers!
— On May 12th, 2003 02:14 pm (UTC), steveeeee posted a reply · Expand
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On May 12th, 2003 10:09 am (UTC), pry commented:
Everquest was/is a slightly scary game. I played it with a group of friends a few years ago. Must be about 3 now. If I think hard enough.. and it doesn't take much thought, I can still hear the ambient sound the forests made in that areas we used to "hunt" in and I can still see most of the game world we explored in my mind. That's no big deal but there is something about Everquest that just.. unnerves me, even now.
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On May 13th, 2003 10:49 am (UTC), nomi replied:
There are a few games like that for me. I recently started re-playing System Shock 2 and even though the graphics are becoming slightly dated the atmosphere still manages to get my adrenaline going.
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On May 12th, 2003 10:55 am (UTC), heuteistmeintag commented:
i've been staying away from evercrack and other online rpgs for the same reason, although when i think about it, i don't think i'm the type to get sucked in. i usually go on the computer, get my fix with some action games, and get off the computer. i hardly play any computer games nowadays, and i even sold my playstation and xbox...



anyways, i downloaded a couple ambient tracks from Eve....very interesting.

i'm gonna go get a bottle of red wine after work and burn the tracks onto a cd. at 2 am tomorrow morning, i'll get up, go to the living room, pour me a glass of wine. turn off the lights, shut the curtains, and crank that ambient CD on the home stereo while i relax on the couch with my wine

i figure i'll have 3-4 minutes of something akin to a religious experience before the neighbours call the cop on me...

wait, i better lock my roommate in from the outside too
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On May 13th, 2003 10:58 am (UTC), nomi replied:
I don't play as many games as I used to. I used to be heavily into the gaming community and industry, but I've faded away from it in the past 5 years. It usually takes an exceptionally good game to keep my interest nowadays.

I'm hoping that you mean you usually go to bed at 2am, not that you're setting alarm for 2am to listen to the CD.. otherwise that would be a bit fucking weird. ;)
— On May 13th, 2003 11:01 am (UTC), heuteistmeintag posted a reply · Expand
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On May 12th, 2003 03:47 pm (UTC), scandal commented:
i've been sooo tempted to buy NWN, but i probably shouldn't.
We are such addicts when it comes to RPG's it's scary.
EVE looks awesome, but i don't think i could ever play
anything i'd have to pay for more than once.
(i come from a MUD culture where everything is
supposed to be free!!)
[User Picture]
On May 13th, 2003 11:06 am (UTC), nomi replied:
NWN is one of the best pc games I've played in the RPG genre.
Since it's a genre you like, I would highly recommend it. It's also
a game that's fairly easy to leave for a week and come back to without
having to spend too much time remembering what the hell it was you were
doing.

Yeah, the monthly fee is the biggest turn off for me. I understand the
need for it and if I had the money to burn right now I'd do it, but I
don't so I won't.

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On May 12th, 2003 06:20 pm (UTC), m00t commented:
eeeee! I didn't know you were playing EVE! I was beta testing it too... it does get slow sometimes though

*hugs*

ttyl
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On May 13th, 2003 10:51 am (UTC), nomi replied:
I wish I had known you were playing EVE too! What race were you? Did you buy the game?

*love* :)
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On May 13th, 2003 10:54 am (UTC), nomi replied:
I hadn't heard of JumpGate, which seriously surprises me. Is it any good?
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On May 13th, 2003 08:20 pm (UTC), citizenkafka commented:
Geeks unite!
I had no idea that you were a geek! I thought you seemed pretty cool before, but I'm blown away.

I'm a professional geek. I do usability work for Microsoft's Games Studio, for both PC and Xbox titles. For the past 3 years, all I do is re-ask and re-answer the questions: What is fun? What prevents people from having fun? It's a very unique job.

In fact, I was in Manchester, Eng. last year for a game-related confrence.

I'm also in the EVE beta. One sexy looking game! Some visuals in it remind me of David Lynch's version of Dune. I think you did a good job of summarizing the game. I think it's got some serious usability issues and a steep learning curve, but good potential as well.

Have you tried Planetside? It's more of a FPS than other MMORPG's - which could be good or bad, depending on what you like about MMOROPG's.

I also have re-played Neverwinter Nights many times. Love that game.

This game is just being unveiled at E3 as I speak- but there is a new MMORPG that is scheduled to come out in a year and a half- called Mythica. I'm excited for that one- it will have some really new kinds of features (can't talk about them too much!). It's far better than MS's other MMORPG, AC2.

Glad to hear you're a big geek like me :) We should play online sometime!

K

[User Picture]
On May 14th, 2003 05:01 am (UTC), nomi replied:
Re: Geeks unite!
I'm probably too geeky for my own good!

That's so cool, I saw in your user info that you worked in computer/console gaming and I wondered what it was that you did.

all I do is re-ask and re-answer the questions: What is fun? What prevents people from having fun?

That sounds like the kind of game industry job I would enjoy, although I know even professional testing can get redundant at times.

What games-related conference did you go to in Manchester? Have you ever gone to ECTS in London?

I'm also in the EVE beta.

I wish I had posted about being in the EVE beta before it shut down, I had no idea anyone on my friends list were also involved. Have you continued to play the game? I was surprised they actually released it on time, especially considering how many bugs were still lingering when the beta ended.. but I suppose that's how game development tends to go these days.

No, I haven't tried Planetside, but it looks interesting.

NWN has become one of my favorite RPGS, but I think Planescape Torment still remains my top fav. I just did a search for Mythica on google, but I couldn't find anything. Is there a site for it?

Yes, we should play online some time! :)
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On May 14th, 2003 01:37 am (UTC), steveeeee commented:
have you seen this?
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On May 14th, 2003 04:31 am (UTC), nomi replied:
lol! badgers are vicious little beasts. or maybe it's all part of a wider evil badger conspiracy.
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On June 23rd, 2003 10:31 am (UTC), gulch commented:
Games.... nggggggngnnnggg.... JUST SAY NO kids!

I more-or-less kicked my gaming habit a few years back, but it's been creeping back lately. I'm also a bit of an RPG/strategy-type nut, sadly I only like the type of game that seems to take 1-month+ solid time to complete. Games... or life? Wadda choice.

Anyway, I started playing Morrowind - Elder Scrolls III recently. It ate a big chunk of my life. It rocks, very much so. I'm worried now... NWN sounds like it might be fun... last thing I want is to see a big chunk of my life go that way too. Think I'm gonna have to install some kind of anti-gaming lock on my PC.
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On June 25th, 2003 04:42 am (UTC), nomi replied:
hehehe I have "lost" so much of my life to games I'm ashamed to admit it at times. But I really enjoyed my time playing them, so I suppose it isn't too much of a waste. I've cut back considerably, to usually 30 minutes a day or less. In the height of my gaming days, around age 17, I would game with friends in Victoria, B.C. for over 24 hours at a time on weekends or school breaks. Only stopping for biological necessities (apparently sleep wasn't one of those).

I've heard good things about Morrowind, I haven't tried it yet since I'm already playing NWN and re-playing System Shock 2. Although I've had to give up on SS2 because our monitor is dying and it's getting too dark to see anything!

NWN is one of the most graphically breathtaking games I've ever played. I have a few complaints about the gameplay, mainly that it can get too repetitive at times. Right now it's become too easy for me so I think I'll have to bump up the difficulty level.

What games in particular have you really enjoyed? Do you ever play games online? I'd like to start gaming against friends online again, it's been a long time.

Did you know that Max and I had never met if it weren't for the pc game Half-Life? It's a strange world sometimes, or rather most of the time. :)
— On June 25th, 2003 05:25 am (UTC), gulch posted a reply · Expand
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