Please tell me I made the right move...
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Join Date: Dec 2007
10-08-2010, 12:31 PM
I have played Eve Online for years, and it is a very different experience.
Eve must be played for years before your character is able to become an expert at your chosen 'career', however the process of perfecting your skills is not exciting or rewarding. It is a background task that happens even without your involvement. Queue up training and wait for it to finish. Nothing you accomplish or achieve in the game has any impact on how proficient your character becomes.
The Eve Online mission content is perhaps the driest and least interesting part of the game. The Eve experience is based on superb graphics, extensive grinding, incremental and uninvolved character improvement, and pvp conflict that works on multiple levels, but rarely offers the feeling of actually flying a ship. Dogfighting is right out, with the computer doing most of the actual flying for you, while you select various settings instructing the ship how you want it to fly. 'Orbit the enemy at 2000 meters' is one such thrilling combat variable. You watch the ship respond to orders, rather than watching it respond to your constant input. This is probably realistic, but also less engaging.
Eve has the most robust and realistic market I have ever seen in any game, to the point where you can earn money in-game that allows you to play for free by purchasing time cards. The economy is almost entirely player based, which is quite remarkable.
The best content of the game is also almost entirely player based, so that if you don't engage in the player-vs-player experience, the game loses its most interesting dimension. You are left with a sophisticated market minigame, a mining/salvage/construction minigame, and a boring pve mission system. Without the element of warfare and resource control against other players, The game becomes little more than the most beautiful screensaver ever made. Even when involved in warfare, the battles are brief, intense moments of excitement followed by hours of relative boredom. It is possible to play Eve online while watching a movie or listening to an Audiobook without missing much of the game experience.
The player base on Eve Online is hardened, jaded, and entrenched. Some have invested literal years in the game, learning its nuances, training their skills, and amassing their fortunes. As a consequence, they are protective over their acquisition and contemptuous of new players who haven't 'done the time.' I can't imagine any game harder to get into and learn than Eve.
Star Trek Online must be played for weeks or months before your character is able to become an expert at your chosen 'career', however the process of perfecting your skills is somewhat exciting and rewarding. You do not improve yourself without personal involvement. Accomplishing tasks in game gives you the skill points you need to increase character proficiency.
Star Trek Online has an entire element missing from Eve Online: Ground missions and combat. Here, you have the interesting option of commanding crew members that you have chosen and trained in the field. It's nice to have an alternative entertainment option for when you feel like stepping out of the ship. This is an option almost entirely absent from Eve, though it is something they are working on.
The Star Trek Online mission content is less dry and more interesting than Eve Online, but it still needs some work. There have been rumors of adventure creation tools that will allow players to construct their own mission content. If this is true, and if the tool is robust, missions will become a centerpiece of the STO experience, and good mission makers will become sought-after mini-celebrities. This is a potential creative outlet that I haven't seen since the original Neverwinter Nights, and has the brilliant ability to largely relieve the staff of mission building responsibilities.
STO has one of the least robust markets that I have ever seen, and crafting is a bore. The lack of a faction/career primarily concerned with manufacture and trade is hurting the game. (A Merchant faction with Merchantmen ships and Ferengi Marauders, and the ability to craft unique equipment and sell across all factions is greatly needed and lacking in this game.) The 'market minigame' hardly exists and is barely worth playing at the moment. The lack of regional markets means there is no role for merchants moving product based on supply and demand, and in essence this game has the opposite of Eve's amazing market system.
It is possible to play and enjoy this game without engaging in pvp, but in an absence of end-game content, the end-game is essentially competing with other players in various pvp scenarios. This may change to some degree with the new rumored mission builder, but without the ability to earn skill points, and with equipment and money becoming less important as you become increasingly wealthy, the real end-game challenge will probably involve outmaneuvering, outflying, and outfighting rival players.
The player base on STO is still relatively fresh and eager. Mostly friendly, you should not be surprised to see players congratulate their opponents in arena pvp combat. Because end-game is lacking, there is a tendency amongst experienced players to socialize, set up fleets, and help new people as a way of staying engaged with the game. Because the game has no real mixed-rank pvp opportunities, experienced players are often anxious to help new players level-up so that they can contribute to the strength of a fleet in pvp action between admirals/generals.
CONCLUSION: At the moment, I consider STO more fun, welcoming and less complex (sometimes to its own detriment) and Eve Online less fun, welcoming, but more complex (sometimes to its own detriment.)