Friday, July 09, 2004

yeah yeah yeah

I know, I'm late. Whatever and happy late Independance Day. If not for those brave Minutemen and the help of the French Navy over 300 years ago, we might not be sitting here today...Well, we probably would, only we'd be buying games in Pounds and not Dollars.

So where have I been these weeks? Well, for one thing I did download a 14 day trial for a MMOG known as EVE Online. It is a space-based game, sort of like Earth & Beyond (which I played for a month last year). It was a blast at first, but eventually it gets rather mundane. Pretty much in the game you start out with a crap spaceship. Then you mine asteroids. Then you sell the minerals. Then you mine some more. Repeat until you can afford a bigger and better ship, equipment, etc. You also need skills to use bigger ships and equipment. Skills take FOREVER to research. In Real Time Strategy games, the research may be like a minute or so. In EVE, the quickest you'll ever hope to research is 20 minutes. Every level a skill is attained, the longer it takes. One of the highest skills there is takes 52 days!

EVE has profession choices. You could be a miner, as stated. You could also do missions for one of the dozens of corporations that litter space. These missions are usually "take this random junk to a random space station." Or you could be a fighter, choosing to fly out and battle space pirates (or be a space pirate). Of course, most of the time you'll probably end up mining no matter what you choose to do in the universe.

One thing you should note is that the world of EVE is HUGE. It could take over an hour just to look at everything on the game map. The EVE Universe is split into many parts. The universe as a whole is split into many regions, which are then split into constellations, and then into solar systems. There are over a dozen regions, dozens of constellations, and hundreds of solar systems. Within each system are planets, moons, asteroid belts, space stations, and other random junk. Moving around is pretty straight forward. You right click, select where you want to go from a drop down menu, and let your warp drive do the rest. It's safe to say that the game would not work at all without warp, as the universe is so huge that just moving from planet to moon would take probably over a day or real time without warp drive. One that thing that I found disappointing is that you can't visit the surfaces of any planets like in Earth & Beyond. The planets and moons only seem to change size and distance when you warp to them or away from them, otherwise they remain stationary. Which is odd as the maps show the planets and moons orbits. Another thing I noted is that unlike Earth & Beyond, the warp drive only works when you set a destination more than 150 km from your ship, where in E&B you can start warp anytime you want.

Inter-region travel is also straightforward. Linking solar systems together are Stargates (not those Stargates). Huge floating space station like structures that appear to dissolve your ship into pure energy, and then shoot it into the neighboring System. Moving between systems is called a Jump. Some missions may require you to jump through many systems. I saw one mission that had you fly across 103 solar systems! Of course, its all made easier by the map. You simply open the map of the universe, where you can select any solar system to be your destination. Once back in the game, you can turn autopilot on and your ship will automatically fly to the next Stargate and activates it. So pretty much you can walk away and let your ship do its thing.

There are many ships in the game. You start out with a frigate, which is a basic mining/travel ship. You can also get Cruisers, which are more combat oriented. The big momma jomba in this game is the Industrial Ship, pretty much the Enterprise of EVE. Each of the four races in the game has a few different Industrial Ships to buy. Industrials Ships have huge cargo room, lots of places for weapons or mining guns, and are downright tanks. Most people with Industrial Ships park them in an asteroid belt, set their ship to mine, then walk away or do something else (the game runs in a window by default). There is also a little Shuttle, which has no cargo or weapons room and is built mainly for speed. You would only use Shuttles when you need to travel to another station to pick up a new ship you bought there.

Ok ok ok, thats enough EVE for now....catch up with you guys Monday then...

Drakk out..


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