Evolution of the MMO: EVE Online
MMOs, or, Massively Multiplayer Online games, have become a large part of many game players’ lifestyles. Hundreds of thousands, even millions of people buy a single game in order to be able to play with millions of other people, either cooperatively, or competitively. Most MMOs are created for the PC, and range from free-to-play, buy the game and play free, or a monthly fee to play. MMOs include everything from role playing games, to racing games, even to rhythm games. Every day the MMO industry is growing, with new and unique ideas coming from every direction.
One of the most noticed, yet unnoticed MMOs on the PC market is EVE Online. If you tend to frequent video game related sites, many times you will see a banner for EVE Online sitting there in it’s advertising area, and most likely it will be for their free 14-day trial that they offer. Yet, either most people do not click on the banner, or they sign up for a trial account and soon after walk away from the game. While EVE is still a popular game among it’s current players, and growing, it’s just not on the radar as much as some MMOs tend to be, and they can’t boast a number of players amount. CCP Games, developers of EVE, pride themselves on a great deal of unique stats that happen due to their highly successful space-based MMO. First of all, EVE is set completely on one single server, named Tranquility. There are no separate servers, for the main game, so you will never not be able to find someone else in the same world as you are. Of course, there are hundreds and hundreds of systems in EVE’s space, so most likely you won’t find someone of another race in the game unless you go on a pretty big adventure across much of space. Due to the fact that EVE is based on one server, they count their popularity on their PCU, or Peak Concurrent User amount. This weekend, during their sixth Alliance Tournament, they broke their record for the third time this year, hitting an amazing number of 51, 675 pilots online at the same exact time.
EVE is constantly evolving. In the next month, EVE will be launching it’s tenth free expansion upon the inhabitants of New Eden, called Apocrypha. This expansion will introduce the next step in being able to freely do anything you can imagine in space. Apocrypha will add in wormholes, which, when flown through, will take the player into an uncharted piece of space, not on the map at all, where a new race of NPCs will be awaiting them. This is also the start of CCPs newest AI. CCP Games has been working on a new, smarter AI, which will not just fire on the first person they see, but rather use strategy, such as firing at the ship who happens to be helping another, to fight you. While this is just being introduced strictly within the wormhole regions of space, CCP has said that, depending on how well it works, they may consider adding this new AI into the old areas of space. In the coming years, CCP expects to grow EVE even further into the realm of universal engagement. Developers have already shown off footage of being able to leave your ship when in a space station and being able to converse with other pilots, enter player-made shops and bars, etc. Being able to walk inside of a space station will add a new element to the game, because at the current time, you are limited to only being able to be inside of your ship to do anything in the game. After the release of walking in stations, hopefully by the end of this year or early next year, they plan on adding the ability to be able to walk on planets as well, a very large step in their current gameplay style.
EVE has always been that one game which has pride in itself of being able to do anything you want in space, and with their current philosophy, and hard work, they will continue to expand space to make it more interesting, and allow you to be whomever you can imagine. Of course, the developers at CCP can only do so much, while the players also contribute to the game. Recently, one of the largest alliances in the game, the Band of Brothers, or BOB, was disbanded by spies who infiltrated the corporations within their alliance long ago. The spies gained the trust of a few of the corporation’s CEOs, then cleaned out the corporation hangers and funds, and disbanded the massive alliance. By doing this, the systems that BOB currently owned became vulnerable to attack, and the opposing alliance of Goonswarm, said to have been behind the plot, moved in to take some of the space previously own by the BOB alliance. This has caused much a stir in the EVE community, as BOB owned some very large and very important systems within the world. By this happening, it also proved that this game can be more than just flying around and shooting at other players or NPC ships. This game has it’s own economy, it’s own metagame, and is it’s own world, in which anything can happen, just like the real world.
While CCP continues to create more content for the game, players continue to support them. EVE Online is a monthly pay based game, at the nearly standard rate of $15 a month, or less if you purchase more game time up front. Also, game time can be bought and sold in-game for in-game money, called ISK, which ironically is also the name of the currently used in CCP’s homeland of Iceland, the Iceland krona. As the game continues to grow, the number of players must grow as well, or there will be an issue in the amount of people found in the amount of space given. I will cover this in another entry in the near future. For now, EVE Online is a massively close community, and will continue to be as they continue to release more free content for players to use and explore. I expect to see another spike in users when the Apocrypha expansion is released, but I have a feeling that the majority of people won’t return until next expansion, introducing walking in stations.