Sci-Fi Sandbox Showdown Contender – EVE Online

EVE Online, current king of the sci-fi space sim. But how long can it hold on to its crown?

Contender: EVE Online

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Developer: CCP Games

Current Status: Reigning sci-fi sandbox champion

Release Date: May 2003

Key Facts:

  • 450,000 active accounts
  • Winner of over 50 prestigious gaming awards over the last decade.
  • Has shown year-on-year subscriber growth for almost its entire ten year existence.

Background

EVE Online is the current, undisputed king on the science-fiction sandbox MMO. Launched in 2003, it has had a nearly a decade of iteration and expansion to give it unparalleled depth and a huge head-start over any new development.

A modest launch saw EVE Online deliver a ground-breaking open world environment with content and economy almost entirely driven by players. The game universe existed on a single shard comprising 5000 star systems, each with celestial bodies, stations, asteroid belts and unique sites. Released around the same time was a similar spaceship MMO called Earth & Beyond, however that game closed down two years later whilst EVE Online absorbed its player base and saw increasing subscriber numbers year after year.

Strengths

  • Twice yearly expansions for a decade has seen gameplay options broadened and refined.
  • A fiercely loyal community and a unique player/developer relationship.
  • Fantastically deep and well-realised universe, brought to life by real player integration with unprecedented economic, political and military freedom.

Weaknesses

  • Infamously steep learning curve and sustainable gameplay almost entirely dependent on player interaction and effort.
  • Wayward development strategies of the past have left some features in a less than desirable state and older gameplay and UI elements are showing their age.
  • Brutal nature of the PvP with real loss can be perceived by some as unfriendly or even an accepted griefing culture.

Summary 

A well-established dark and brutal spaceship PvP environment which is firmly dug into its niche. The harsh and unforgiving nature of the gameplay may not appeal to all comers, but there is no denying EVE Online’s staying power and its ability to adapt.

[Back to lead article] — [Next Contender]

 

Article Index

Page 1: Sci-Fi Sandbox Showdown: The Battle for the Stars
Page 2: Contender – EVE Online
Page 3: Contender – Elite: Dangerous
Page 4: Contender – Star Citizen
Page 5: Conclusions

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Author
Mat Westhorpe
Broken paramedic and coffee-drinking Englishman whose favourite dumb animal is an oxymoron. After over a decade of humping and dumping the fat and the dead, my lower spine did things normally reserved for Rubik's cubes, bringing my career as a medical clinician to an unexpectedly early end. Fortunately, my real passion is in writing and given that I'm now highly qualified in the art of sitting down, I have the time to pursue it. Having blogged about video games (well, mostly EVE Online) for years, I hope to channel my enjoyment of wordcraft and my hobby of gaming into one handy new career that doesn't involve other people's vomit.