For the past several days I have been trying out a game called EVE Online. It’s an MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game), which means that instead of playing the game by yourself on just your own computer, you log into a server and play with all the thousands of other people who also own the game.
As you can see from the screenshot, this is a very pretty game. That’s what first got me to download and play the game under a free 14-day trial period. The graphics on this game are phenomenal. The style of the game reminded me of Homeworld, an excellent 3D space-based real-time strategy game I played several years ago. It’s obvious that the developers have taken a lot of time to make this game look as good as possible.
Like most MMORPGs, there is no real goal to the game. Rather, you choose your own goal. Players can become better fighters, miners, researchers, CEOs, or even artists. Alternatively, they can work to improve their company or even just make friends with other people in the game. It’s very deep; there’s a lot of neat stuff to explore.
The problem with this game, as with other MMORPGs such as World of Warcraft and Everquest, is that the games are huge time sinks, much more so than with traditional computer games. It’s easy to get obsessed with completing just one more mission or learning one just more skill. Also because the games encourge players to build communities with other players, people can end up spending much longer in the game world than they would if they could just save and go do something else.
The other problem with these games is the financial cost. Traditional PC games cost between $40 and $50; MMORPG’s generally operate on a subscription model. EVE Online, for example, costs $15/month. It’s not a bad deal necessarily, because you get both constant updates to the game (both bug fixes and new features) and high-quality connections between you and other players, but it’s still much more expensive than a traditional game.
EVE Online is a fun, high-quality game with few bugs and excellent graphics. However, because of the high price in both time and money, I don’t plan to renew past my 14 trial period. Life’s too short.