Developer: CCP Games
Online - 03/10/2009
N Amer - 03/10/2009
EVE Online: Apocrypha Review
EVE Online is one of the rare gems in the world of massively multiplayer online gaming. The game runs off a one-server world, successfully combining instanced Player-versus-Environment zones with the threat of low-sec space where you run the risk of being ganked the moment you jump into the zone (a Player-versus-Player) environment, with a social element that brilliantly conceived.
Where else but EVE will you find a game where a strategically place betrayal from one corporation to another (much like what transpired recently) can dramatically alter the social landscape?
Before delving into what Apocrypha (the 11th expansion or content update since the launch of the game in May 2003) brings to the world, perhaps a bit of a background on the game is necessary first – if for no one but those unfamiliar with the title. EVE Online is developed by CCP. It was available only as a download by the developer but Atari has come onboard and that partnership has resulted in boxed editions of the game hitting store shelves. This game works off one server and it has a bit of a learning curve … Ok, it has a big learning curve … All right, this game caters to those who don’t mind investing a ton of hours in skilling up their character (three per account), are not afraid of a little PvP action or flying through zones where you can be attacked by other players in the blink of an eye. It takes place about 21,000 years into the future with races all with distant links to humanity as we know it now. You don’t get out and walk around planets or space stations – not yet anyway – but rather all that you do is controlled through the pod of the spaceship you pilot. There are different classes of ships, from small fast fighters to big battlecruisers as well as ships outfitted for resource collecting. Crafting is part of the game, as are the clan system, which is known as corporations.
When you skill up, that means you train skills, which take real time to learn. This can be a matter of hours for the introductory skills, or it can be days (or weeks) for the better skill sets (like learning to fly bigger ships, or equip better weapons or armor, et cetera). You take on missions, set waypoints to the quest zone and auto-pilot there (much easier than trying to manually fly through several systems).
The game has seen a graphical upgrade that maintains its placement among the more stunning visual treats in the realm of MMOs. However, in Apocrypha, even the graphics were not immune to some tweaking. The effects in the game have been given a makeover, creating more stunning visual effects. If you have the system and the monitor capable of high-end graphics, this is a treat that may leave you a little slack-jawed on occasion. When EVE upgraded the graphics with the Trinity expansion, players had the choice of using the premium (new) client or the older graphics client. No longer – this is premium all the way.
There are four new ships (strategic cruisers that – like most of the ships of EVE – are customizable), but some of the more significant changes have occurred to attribute points and skill training. Players can now reset attribute points rather than be stuck with choices made while learning the nuances of the game. As for skill training – well, it used to be that you could only train one skill at a time and once it was finished training, you had to be in the game to set the next skill. Since some of these skills could take a while to train, you had to take the time to log in and pick the next skill, if you could spare five minutes here or there. Now there is a skill training queue that allows players to select several skills (within reason) and queue them up to begin training automatically. This essentially means that the world progresses even if you are not physically in it (which it did anyway, but now you can progress with it even when offline).
There are new tutorials as well, and the learning curve has been eased a bit to be more inviting. Geared more towards newer players is the Epic story arc that allows players to cruise through several factional regions in the game and upgrade as they go.
Also new are the wormhole anomalies. Riding into a wormhole is a bit of a risk. While thousands of new systems have been added, there is the chance that you may jump into low-sec space (each sector in EVE is rated in terms of security; the low-sec spatial areas are not patrolled by the police force of this universe and thus players can fall prey to other players – hence the term low-sec, meaning low security and a PvP zone).
Apocrypha makes EVE Online a more accessible game for new players and that is always good. What the dev team has managed to do here is to create that accessibility without dumbing down the game. This is still a title that players will need to spend time in to not only skill up but to continue find the ship type and the battle tactics that suit them.
The idea behind any expansion or graphical upgrade is to take the existing game content and make it better. Apocrypha does precisely that. It adds a lot more regions to the game and makes new players feel infinitely more welcome in this amazing universe. The community is still as fanatical as ever, but that’s a good thing. Two things, though, are certain – EVE Online is a great sci-fi MMO, and Apocrypha enhances the experience. The community has been growing and with the new player tutorials and guides found in this expansion, the jumpgate is open to welcome more players and grow the game.
Review Scoring Details for EVE Online: Apocrypha
Anything that eases the learning curve has to be good. The game still takes a bit to be comfortable with, though, but once you understand the nuances of the game, it is quite enjoyable.
New effects graphics pop the visual experience even more. Crank your graphics if you can and enjoy the ride.
It is solid, but not something you will want to crank your speakers for. Put in some Holst, like “The Planets” for background music.
New territory it always nice and the way the game is catering to the new players is long overdue.
The game sparkles because of the player-based social element. There are some players who might not be as friendly, but there are channels dedicated to new players and the questions they have. One can usually find all the answers for the questions they have.
While a lot of the content is geared toward new players, there is still a lot of new territory here for long-time EVE players to explore. The new effects are very nice and EVE Online is still a stellar visual experience.
EVE Online: Apocrypha Comments
GameZone Review Detail
EVE Online: Apocrypha brings more territory to discover and explore and a softer learning curve
Reviewer: Michael Lafferty
Review Date: 04/10/2009
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