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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

What EVE is

It's interesting, when one reads about EVE one sees many posts about what it is. EVE is a PvP game. EVE is an economic simulation. EVE is a sandbox. After much cogitation I'm going to throw in my own definition:

EVE is a wargame.

You're going: "WTF Let?" aren't you? Look at it. From a strategic wargamers point of view. It's got asymmetric warfare. It's got concentration of forces issue (very Napoleonic war type of issues that). It's got scouting and fog of war. It's got spies (it's not a question of are you paranoid, the question is are you paranoid enough?). It's got an economy and economic warfare. What? you thought it was for lols that IT (the ex-BoB dudes) is going after NC (northern coalition) moon towers?. If you look at all these things you see the makings of a kick-ass wargame of the first order. Some of this stuff is just not available to most wargames (the whole effective spying thing). It's like the worlds biggest 4X game where we're the ship captains. It's got Machiavellian politics the level of which would make any 100 year war leader pale. We've got raids (support fleet roams). We've got set piece battles (POS and Station/Sov fights). We've skirmishes (when one roam runs into another at what ever scale)

Heck, back in 1984 I read a little known science fiction book called Valentina: Soul in Sapphire. In one scene one of the main protagonists is recreating the battle of Jutland and playing over what the authors project the internet would be like. From what I can see the only thing they got wrong was the number of players playing. In the book the character is only playing against one other player. Based on gaming and wargaming at the time this is pretty good projection. In reality it lacked scope. We've effectively got the same sort of thing but instead of just one player against one other player it's entire hordes of players against other hordes of players.

The point is any long time wargamer will look at EVE and see all the elements that went into a great wargame. Once you've modified the hell out of it, turbo charged it and slipped vast quantities of beer into it (and possibly some hallucinogenics). It's one problem is that it's so big and the point of view of the individual player so small that it's easy to loose track of the scope of things. As pod pilots we're mostly grunts. FCs and Alliance leaders can see more of the picture but then again when you've got a game of Diplomacy going on with hundreds of other players large and small - no one has a clear view of what's really going on.

But at the end of the day, it's a wargame. Read up on your Sun Tzu and your Machiavelli.


Tom Hoffman said...


Benoit CozmikR5 Gauthier said...

Amen brother.

I hope all the noobs and carebears are reading and taking notes.

Kirith Kodachi said...

Totally agree. Twilight Imperium has nothing on Eve.

Toldain said...

Yeah, I've been thinking that myself. But "EVE is a wargame" does not preclude "EVE is an economic simulation" or "EVE is a sandbox".

Anonymous said...

I agree. I was reading some posturing on CAOD when it struck me how minor combat skills are for the [incorrect but for want of a better term] "end game" EVE.

Neither Bob nor Goons fell due to their combat skills. It is far more about whether management can recruit, motivate, get attendance, produce more than they spend and spy/counterspy well. It is nice if your guys can press F1-F8 more skillfully than the other side, but it is not the main thing. Although boy's egos being what they are, it is probably good management to assure all members that they are leet combat killing machines and The Enemy are noobs. But a Rifter online does more DPS than a Titan offline or stolen.

It is one of the coolest aspects of EVE. Some games try to be "heroic" . EVE is much more modern. If one side has more ISK/resources/people that is more important than who is the better warrior.

OkamiKurai said...

@Sally - Which is why I won't ever give up some of my games where I am the 'Hero'. Kinda going back to Letrange's comment on Tobold and gamer conditioning.

I want to be a hero, nay 'THE Hero'. I want my fantasy. Just not all the time.

Which is, while I will occasionally play WoW (yeah, yeah, I know the public stoning is a 3pm EST next week sometime) or whatever else comp or console, EVE is home.

It's kinda like my favorite science fiction and action books/movies that way. While I
sometimes even LOVE my John Woo type implausible and played out stuff, my favorites are usually more complex and realistic (or at least possess core elements of realism).

And EVE has an overall level of complexity that I dare say almost SHOULDN'T be tried by another game.

It's almost like I use other games to take a break from the reality that is EVE.....

...hmmm should I be concerned with making such a statement?? ^_^

Micheal Malone said...

@Let - Great post, I had never actually looked at the bigger scope, but you're right on about much of it.

@Sally & Oki:
I agree, the reason I enjoy eve is that complexity to it, I do however enjoy the fantasy of being the hero, the leader etc. I came from MUD's to MMO's via EQ & EQ2 back in the day. I had heard about Eve when it was in beta but never thought I'd be hooked by a space game... Look at me now, lol.