Sunday, July 22, 2007

Space: The Final Frontier?

No, not in this game, anyway. With the coming of walking in stations, EvE is not going to be expanding outward as much as inward, giving pilots a more human presence outside of their ships, with more than just a headshot icon to represent their human aspects. It's an interesting concept, and one I think is inevitable in order for this game to really add a new dimension to it. Not only that, but it seems to be an absolute prerequisite in order to stay competitive with what's coming soon in the MMORPG market.

Star Trek Online has posted its first devblog and the screenshots are absolutely stunning. This game will have planets that can be landed on, with terrain that's as just as realistic as you'd expect. It seems that right from the very start STO will offer players much more human-oriented experience than EvE currently does, which seems right in concert with what ST fans have come to expect in all aspects of the Trek legend.

Right now, EvE is more about the greater universe and the various ways to manipulate it, with the true human element of the game being the interaction between the players themselves, rather than the characters. Right now, that's limited to text or audio chat, while the true in-game player-to-player gameplay interaction really isn't person-to-person but ship-to-ship.

In some ways, I think this is kind of unique and interesting, but in others, maybe not so much. There's a certain detachment that comes with the lack of a real in-game human element, something that it appears STO will have in abundance. If you're an EvE loyalist as I am and expect to continue to be one for a long time, be afraid, be very afraid...if the actual game is even half as good as what's been released so far, STO is going to kick major ass.

EvE does have certain major advantages, of course. For one thing, it's long past the beta stage...the game has evolved into one with major political players, alliances, wars, a depth that seems absolutely unequaled in other games. It's going to take a significant amount of time before STO even approaches that level. And yet, it's Star Trek, and that might well make all the difference. Even so, STO is still in fairly early stages of its development, so by the time it does actually debut EvE will be even further evolved than it is now. It's also interesting to note that comparisons between the two games have already started in the gaming press, with EvE apparently being held up as the standard by which STO will be judged, as well it should be.

It's clear to me, and probably to CCP and anyone else involved with EvE in any capacity, that STO, when it finally debuts, is going to exceed EvE's playerbase in size faster than you can say "Engage!". That much, I think, is pretty much a given. The real question is whether EvE will survive it and for how long. Personally, I suspect that if STO draws the same kind of playerbase as WoW does, New Eden will continue to be a safe(r) haven for more mature and sophisticated sci-fi MMORPG players. If that's the case, chances are everyone wins.

Fingers crossed...

1 comment:

Nuyan said...

Hmm. I can see a space MMO hurt Eve for a while, especially when they make the actual gameplay more "fun" that Eve. Eve is awesome and I doubt there'll be a game anytime soon (except Darkfall Online perhaps then) that will give the same amount of freedom, but I can see other games being more "fun" in combat that is very mouse-orientated in Eve.

Haven't really followed Star Trek Online and I'm not a Star Trek fan. There's [url=http://www.jumpgate-evolution.com/]Jumpgate Evolution[/url] aswell, which might become a very good game. I heard it has more 'arcade' combat too with use of keyboard (or joystick even) to fly.

We'll see. Eve is very developed and the graphical update that should come out end of this year looks amazing, so does walking in stations. I'm curious about the other plans and Factional Warfare. A new MMO might hurt the ammount of Eve subscribers for short time, but I think that in the long run Eve will only grow because of it.