By Xercodo 1 Comments
So I think I'll start this one off using The Butterfly Effect. (I'd like to point out that the bit at about 0:45 is real gameplay and that yes, the galactic map is that big)
EVE truly is a massive sandbox, but as you have likely heard it also is a dark and ruthless place. I like to think that EVE provides more real life references than anything you'll ever experience. Economics, scams, politics, harsh realities, deep friendships, epic betrayals. It's all there. But before I start jumping into the endless possibilities I'll line some more of the technicals of EVE for the truly clueless.
EVE is a subscription based MMO that is based in a galaxy refered to as New Eden to which we arrived from Earth via the EVE Gate, a natural wormhole that was discovered and everyone went to colonize. There are no "aliens" (though some might describe the Jovians as alien) and every one is a human character referred to as a capsuleer. We are called capsuleers because we do all of our ship piloting via a pod that we're jacked into like the Matrix. All capsuleers are fitted with special neural implants that allow our consciousness to be transported at the time of death so that we my be cloned and continue on; we are immortal.
The game is all on one single sharded server called Tranquility (TQ for short) and has seen never ending growth since 2003 (literally like a perfect 45 degree line going up for 9 years straight) and has continuing updates and bi-annual expansions (that are all free with having any account, since the game is all on one server everyone always plays the same version). It has a completely player controlled market and has heavy consequences for death (Your ship is gone, and you can kiss your modules good bye since any that survived were likely looted, you have to go buy it all again) and the majority of the game is PVP-centric is some shape or form. Even mining (either "Mine that rock before he does!" or "They keep mining OUR space, let's higher to mercs to kill them all").
EVE is a complete sandbox that lets you do damn near anything (not as Sandbox as Minecraft or SecondLife mind you, but still pretty damn freeform). There is no defined career system at all, meaning that you can do any activity you want whenever you want (provided you have some skills trained to do it). There is no being locked into a "healer" class or "tank" class or anything like that. Even the race you pick has no effect on what you are able to do. Every character that has ever been created is just as capable to of flying any ship or doing any activity as anyone else, it just takes the skill training to do it. Character progression is based on skills that train based on a real-time timer that simply ticks away. These skills can take months to train (either a string of lower end skills or a single large skill) and to train every skill to its max will literally take over 20 years. The good news is that they continue training while you are offline and there is a skill queue that lets you queue up any skill that starts within 24 hours. The great thing about this skill system is that it frees you to do anything you want. You don't have to mine to improve your efficiency, you don't need shoot guns to gain accuracy, or travel a lot to get better speed. You can just go dabble in all sorts of other professions and activities while you wait OR you could even not login at all at play another game or go to the store or something. It makes EVE MUCH more casual player friendly.
The scale of EVE is huge. All of the solar systems are real life scaled with celestial objects like planets and moons and stations being measured in AUs from each other (Astronomical Unit, the approximate distance from the Earth to the Sun, about 150 million kilometers) and the solar systems are light years apart (though much closer then would be in real life). Thankfully, we have warp drives that propel us at speeds in the unit of AUs per second and have stargates and jump drives to send us between systems. Along with the size of the systems themselves the galaxy/universe map is pretty damn big too. Over 5000 solar systems in known space and 2500 solar systems that are in unknown space (no these can't be added to the known space map, they are unknown forever) that are only accessible via wormholes. There is no instanced areas other than the environment when your docked, so when in space someone can always reach you (good thing to bring friends, bad thing if someone is out to kill you).
The gameplay itself is all third person and is done via indirect control, meaning there is no controlling of a ship via WADS or manual flight or aiming of guns, so you are mostly pressing a button to tell the ship to orbit a target or to approach it. You can however move freely by double clicking in a direction on the screen and the ship will move that way forever until told to do otherwise. Even though the vast majority of the game is in spaceships (about 98% of it I'd say) there IS a little bit of character avatar stuff. We only recently got this (summer 2011) so it's only within the confines of our Captain's Quarters for now with no multiplayer interaction on the character level. (Don't worry, they're working on it and we should have physical corporate offices, and bars to visit and stuff like that in the next couple years.) But despite it's restrictions the characters are very highly detailed. So much so that the character system was used by a fashion designer for a virtual catwalk of his clothes.
The game features a very rich and diverse backstory with articles that stem back to the main themes of the 4 main empires, the development of pod technology, some of the science behind FTL (faster then light) travel and communication and the neural biology of the implants. It has stories about the camera drones we use, the origins of the NPC corporations, the story behind Quafe (pronounced Kuh-way-ff), the universe's most popular soft drink, and even the story of the woman whose voice we all hear when the ship says "Warp drive active...". There is definitely quite the RP community with their own forum section and channels in-game. They usually make use of the "VR" system for most occasions (Virtual reality systems, pretty much the Matrixs but without real death, it essentially allows players to RP in remote locations that they aren't really at and yes VR tech is part of the cannon too).
To top it off the game features top end graphics that don't require a super computer to play.
Well damn... That's pretty much all of EVE there...but not quite
I still haven't told you any of the things you can actually do :P
But since that was a fuck ton of typing I'll just leave this here.