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EVE Online: Sandbox Fun

November 14 2009

EVE Online: Sandbox Fun
by Lodur

This review of EVE online is brought to you in care of Vricrolatious (Vry-crow-lay-tious) Member of The White Rabbits Corp. My name is Joe.

Story of EVE:

EVE takes place in a cluster of stars far from mankind’s original habitat, planet Earth. How far away, and whether or not that cradle of civilization still exists, is a mystery. Humans arrived through a natural wormhole and, gazing up upon an alien sky they had never seen, were completely unable to determine where this new world was located. From the New Eden solar system, where the gate of EVE once led to the old world, humans expanded in all directions at a furious pace, exploring and colonizing rapidly.

Then, unexpectedly and seemingly unprovoked, 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 complete isolation to fend for themselves, cut off from the old world. For millennia they endured, clinging to the brink of extinction, and only a handful managed to survive.

Of those that lasted, five were to rise up and become the major empires that, between them, hold the balance of power in the world of EVE. Today, they are known as the Amarr Empire, the Gallente Federation, the Caldari State, the Minmatar Republic, and the Jovian Empire. Additionally, the world is full of several small, independent factions and states.

For more than a century, the five empires have lived together in relative peace. They’ve continually strived to maintain this peace, as each faction 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 travelers, have shaken, but not broken, the fragile peace… at least not yet.

What is eve?

EvE is a sandbox in just about every sense of the word. You do what you want.

Industrialist, market trader, drug lord, pirate, be a member or the leader of a vast empire in space you control or just stay in empire controlled space and run missions for the npc corporations

No one holds your hand, so there is no set path.

There is no safe space, only “safer” space. The Higher the security level of the system you’re in, the “safer” you are.

High sec space is from 0.5 to 1.0, then there is low sec which is 0.1 to 0.4 and finally null sec, or 0.0

All of 0.1 to 1.0 is controlled by NPC Empires, whether it be the 4 Major playable races or Concord, the non playable Police Force
-0.5 to 1.0 is protected by Faction Police and Concord, but that doesn’t make it safe. Much the real world, people still break the law. It’s not uncommon to see someone attempt to destroy someone’s else ship while they’re both in high sec. If this act is unprovoked, Concord will come to the location to “take care” of the issue. The aggressor’s ship is destroyed near instantly and they take a security status hit. . If the attacker gets away from Concord, which shouldn’t be possible, it’s considered an exploit.

Sanctioned high sec combat comes from a few things. First of which is when you’ve had War Declared against you, or War Dec’d. When at war, you can be fired upon or can initiate fire on someone in any portion of space, providing both parties from the opposing corporations have agreed to war. Also, if you have kill rights, or someone has kill rights on you, can result in sanctioned combat in high security space. Kill rights come from one party taking the loot off the wreck of a ship that someone else destroyed (15 minutes to enact revenge) or if at some point another party has destroyed your ship, you have several days to return the favor.

Low sec, 0.1 to 0.4 is another story. There are no NPC “guards” to protect you. You’re only defense in most cases is being smart and making sure your ship is fit correctly. Low sec is said to be more dangerous than 0.0 as it’s where all the people that want to cause trouble go. You can be attacked, or can attack, at any time in low sec. You’ll take a hit to your security status for an unprovoked attack and enough of those can actually lower your status enough where entering high sec may be dangerous to you.

There are good things about low sec though. For instance, there is better ore in the asteroid belts and it gets better the lower the security level of the system is. Those belts also have NPC pirates that appear and their bounties get better the deeper you go into low sec. Killing those NPC ‘rats will also help your security status.

You can also anchor a POS, or Player Owned Structure, in low sec. You can do this in high sec as well, but there several modules that can only be anchored and brought online in low sec and in null sec. Most high sec POS are research labs, private production facilities or mining drop off points. Again, sandbox.

0.0 space, for the most part is up for grabs and can be controlled by Alliances. There are a few regions that are operated by NPC corps, but that doesn’t make them safe. Now, in a lot of cases null sec space is actually safer than low sec space. The reason being is that large, and small, alliances control vast portions of null sec space. If you’re in the alliance that holds the portion of space that you reside in, it’s for the most part, pretty safe. Alliances do whatever they can with the tools that CCP gave them to make their “home” safe. The current system for controlling space though is being wiped out when the latest expansion comes out, Dominion, and a new system is being put in place.

CCP is trying make it harder, or at least more expensive, for alliances to hold huge amounts of space. They’re trying to make it easier for the smaller, more casual groups to get their foot into the 0.0 door, so-to-speak. Don’t really have the details on this yet, what they’re provided so far is still “subject to change.”

The basics

There are no levels that a player needs to get to, only skills. CCP didn’t put levels in EvE because they didn’t want to make players grind up to a certain level to use items. If you want to use something, you learn the skills for it, which are trained in real time. Certain skills require other skills first, but as long as you have the money and the skills, you can obtain any item in game. Now, with the skill being trained in real time, you don’t actually have to be online to learn things. You set a skill to learn, or add a few to the queue, and those skills will train whether you’re online or not.

Every skill has a rank and a level. The higher the rank, the longer it will take to learn each level of that skill. There are five levels to every skill, with each level giving a bonus in one or another. Certain ships get a bonus per level of that ship’s skill, so if you get a bonus on a battleship per level of that battleship’s skill, the higher the level, the better the bonus. Certain items work the same way as well, the higher the level, the better the bonus. In other cases, skill bonuses affect an entire group of items or it may be something that causes all of your ships to have better shields and the like.

There is a set of learning skills and advanced learning skills, they help with your attributes, (Charisma, Intelligence, Memory, Perception and Willpower.) You can also get implants for each of those and they range from a +1 to a +5 attribute enhancer. Skills use a primary and secondary attribute to calculate the length of time it takes to train something. Higher Perception and Willpower allows a pilot to learn spaceship command and missile skills faster for example.

Any item can be obtained by any player, but only if they can afford it. There are no raids or dungeons, but there are complexes that can be run to obtain faction loot. Faction loot, I suppose would be like WoW’s raid loot. It’s the best there is..

Tech 1:
Tech 2:

Tech 1 items, which was the highest level of item there was when the game launched, now has four tiers of items… for the most part. There is a Tech 1 item and then there are usually several versions with actual names on them that can be as good or just below Tech 2 items. This works out great for people that haven’t trained enough skills yet to use a Tech 2 item. Tech 1 items are player made or NPC drops. Named items drop from NPCs, other players or at this point, can be bought on the market

Tech 2 items are superior to their Tech 1 counter parts with better stats, but in many cases have higher fitting requirements. Tech 2 items do NOT drop from NPC ships, but can drop when a player is destroyed but are built by players.

Faction items can be obtained several ways. First off, NPC’s drop them in complexes. You can also purchase them from that faction with loyalty points (LP’s) if you have them with that faction, though, not all items can be obtained this way. If you can’t run the complex (in Alliance controlled space) or don’t have the LPs, you can also buy the items from other players through the contract system, but then it gets REAL pricey.

Any item that is owned by one player can be traded or sold to another player, the only restriction is whether or not the accepting player has the skills to use the item or pilot the ship, but they can still take possession of said item. These items can also be obtained when you destroy another player’s ship. The ship leaves a wreck and in that wreck you may find loot. That loot consists of what the opposing player had fitted to his or her ship. To the victor go the spoils.

You want a ship? You learn to fly it and get the money (isk) and buy it. You’ll also need the support skills to fit that ship correctly. You want to fly a battleship? You need a few levels of frigate and cruiser to get there, but at that point you probably can’t arm it or fit it, so you need those skills too. But as long as you can afford them, just buy the skills and train them… problem solved.

There are four playable races. The Caldari, Gallente, Amarr and the Minmatar. There is also a fifth race, The Jove, that were meant to be playable, but were never included.

Each playable race has 3 blood lines (and the two sexes) to choose from (game launched with 2 each, but added a 3rd prior to the launch in China)
Bloodlines only impact a few things, looks and basic attributes.

Each race has a racial spaceship command skils:
Frigate, Cruiser, Battleship, Industrial, Freighter, Dreadnought, Carrier and Titan. (Do not log into the site click the 4 links that the provided link gives you. Just easier if you read the overviews instead of me typing it up.)

There are no classes. This goes back to no hand holding. The only classes you need to worry about are ship classes and even then, you can use any ship for just about anything. Sure, certain ships get bonuses for certain tasks or modules, but that doesn’t mean you can’t fit other parts to them. Destroyers are commonly used as salvage boats. They have 8 high slots, which means 4 tractor beams and 4 salvagers and they ample room in the cargo hold with a few mods to make it bigger. This wasn’t their designated purpose, but this what EvE is… do what you want.

Servers or shards?
There are no actual shards for EvE. When I logged in to check my mail before typing this up, there were 45,000 people logged in and they’re all on Tranquility (TQ,) the global server for EvE. There are a few other servers, but only other live server and that’s in China. CCP built a server in China when they launched there, but that was due to Chinese restrictions on the internet and internet gaming and because they weren’t 100% certain that TQ could handle that type of influx at the time. There are two test servers as well, Singularity which is a “live” test server the players have access too and where content is pushed out prior to launch and Multiplicity, which is an internal test server that players do not have access too.

All expansions for EvE are free. CCP usually drops two a year. In essence, all they are content patches, but they’re usually major enough that you can refer to them as Expansions.

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