Pace is the trick.

8 02 2012

I am perhaps now what you might deem an odd duck. The black sheep of the MMO blog-o-world. The weirdo, to be more plain. I’m still a big fringe (the polite way of saying “entirely unknown”) so I think I’ll get away with what I’m about to say.

I very much enjoy both Star Wars: The Old Republic and EVE Online.

It doesn’t sound weird to me, but when you consider the flaming tar-filled line in the sand between Sandbox and Theme Park players, it’s borderline sacrilege.

Let’s run a comparison.

  • One is too hardcore, the other holds your hand too much.
  • One is too frustrating, the other is too unrealistic.
  • One is a pretty Excel spreadsheet…the other presents identical stories to different people as if it’s only theirs.

I am of course talking about Master of Orion 2 versus Super Mario Bros. 3.

Now back to EVE and TOR.

They’re remarkably different games that fill remarkably different niches; genres that are distinct from one another and – frankly – criticisms leveled at one from the stance of the other camp really do boil down to MoO2 vs SMB3. Some like number crunching…some like racoon tails. And that shouldn’t seem weird. If it does, let’s look at how this fringer here manages it.

Why I like Star Wars: The Old Republic

PI enjoy the story. I have done every last bit of quest content I’ve come across on my Jedi Consular; every side quest, every bonus series…all of it. I’ve run a handful of instances and 4-player heroics…enough to know that I very much enjoy the Jedi healing game and I look forward to the “end-game” where I run a few instances a week with my friends while we wait for more story content.

The game is beautiful. The music is fantastic. I have abilities on long cooldowns that both save my butt and kick off crescendos in the score. My Jedi is made out to be an epic bad ass paragon; I haven’t felt this awesome about a toon since John Shepard. He’s a hero and I really believe that as I play.

I enjoy the space battles because, frankly, they are easy, fast-paced, and have some great music. I loved the X-wing VS Tie Fighter games as a kid, but I still love 1941. Seriously, how could you not like that style game? Didn’t you play River Raid growing up? Well, now you can play it again as a daily mission and make boatloads of in-game credits for it. Best model for a daily quest ever. Screw running around Icecrown killing the same stupid zombies over and over. Screw it hard.

Nobody has to click on my light well, I  never go out of mana, and I have a lightsaber.

Why I like EVE Online

You cannot rush this game.  There’s no rolling a Paladin, blitzing her to max level, and grinding her entry-level raid gear over a two week sleepless vacation. EVE is a game that rewards planning and patience, and it punishes rashness and lack of research in very hard and very real ways. A game with this design that is this old has a remarkable player base. Even the jerks seem to be patient in their own ways. (At least, the truly dangerous jerks are patient.)

If you rush up to a big fancy ship and launch it without a clue, odds are  high you’ll lose it and be really unable to replace it financially (talking in-game money here). I think I really realized and began to adore the pacing in the game when I really got into EVE Mon: it showed me that it will be – easily – three to six months before I can fly the ships I want to. Covert Ops ships will take me a  minimum of three months…and that’s if I neural remap (something I’m very adverse to doing) to shave off a week. I’ll probably save the remaps for a lot of level Vs. As it is I’m a salvager/explorer wannabe which means my Gallente covert ops ship is not for me (two high slots, pssh) and so I’ll be training up Minimatar for an ugly but speedy Cheetah. That only puts me two days behind that schedule (to train Minimatar Frigates 1-4).

It’s not like I’ll be idle during that time; I can easily fit super cheap and easy to replace T1 ships for tackling and ECM; perhaps even shooting. And I’m really enjoying the whole marketing thing (I’ve actually managed to corner a little market already) and so I’ll probably tough it out and train up my basic marketing skills to 4 and 5 (using implants to help) while I figure out the best way to get myself into a Sin Black Ops ship (six to ten months into the future).

This may be the first game I ever pay for a bigger-than-a-month sub.

Beyond all the planning (which caters very well to the spreadsheet junkie in me) I love the ship customizations, the utter lack of “class pigeon-holing”, and the diplomatic and territorial struggles that the game not only supports but encourages. I enjoy the deep space probe mini-game, the whole target-locking thing…really the entire UI is awesome and really gives me that “I’m in space” feeling (minus the lack of gravity in my chair).

Since it will be months before I can fly as a scout I see no reason to rush anywhere. I log in because I want to, not because I feel I have to.

The Balance

So far it’s favoring EVE, but only because I’m well ahead of my friends in TOR and there’s no reason to wrap up my story and hit 50 while they have more ground to cover. I’m in a great guild in TOR, full of like-minded peeps (all casual, most married, all happy…the guild leadership has been tied together for six years) and things are looking up there. I’m honestly excited to get to 50 and run flashpoints and ops with them all. Get my heal on, as it were.

I got into EVE University and so far it’s as-advertised; people tirelessly answer my rookie questions, are very polite, and quick to offer assistance. If this keeps up, I’ll build them a Titan. You know, after a few year of dominating the market. (It’s about long term planning!)

For the foreseeable future I will play both games. They’re both awesome for very different reasons. Star Wars you can jump right in. EVE I recommend at least 30 hours of focused reading and studying on it before trying it out. That’s what I did.

Very different games.




2 responses

8 02 2012

Good post, I’d totally forgotten about 1941! 😉

You’re reasons for playing SWTOR mirror my own to a great extent. Personally I’ve never played Eve though I do enjoy reading posts about it. However as games they have equal validity, vive la difference!

8 02 2012

I love 1941. It’s one of three reasons fighting with MAME is totally worth it at times. (The other two reasons being X-men and TMNT, of course.) When I found out they’d included it as a mini-game in TOR, it was like discovering somebody had smeared cream cheese frosting all over my German chocolate cake slice.

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