After playing for a couple of months (not Steam version, because the Steam launcher was giving me troubles) I don’t recommend buying it at this time
— June 2014 — due to the overall impression I’ve got. Read the details below and be prepared if you want to buy the game.Preparations before playing
I know it is a game but if you don’t prepare properly, you will regret it. Or you will quit the game much earlier. A free trial for 14 days is available to anyone. Any Eve Online player can send you a link for a free trial for 21 days. You can choose to pay the subscription or enter the CD code from a starter pack at any time. Your trial time will not disappear. Your paid time will just be added to the trial time. So always start as a trial. No need to waste 14-21 days.PvP sandbox
It is a sandbox game. Unlike theme park games where gamers can interact with what developers have created to have fun, in sandbox games you have to create your own fun. The PvP (player versus player) component of the game clearly outweighs the PvE (player versus environment) component.Not a solo-friendly game
Choosing your race or bloodline is not very important. Stats are the same. Only for role players it is important. Caldari area has the largest trade hub in the game at the moment. You start the game as a member of an NPC corporation. You can join a player-run corporation at any time. Learning the game alone is difficult. Join the corporation Eve University or some other corporation that is friendly to new players. Having a mentor to ask stupid questions is very handy.Character attributes
Very important. A new character is given three character attribute remaps. You can use them to tune five attributes of your character in quite a wide range. Every skill requires a primary attribute and a secondary attribute. The amount of skill points you have in a specific attribute determines the speed of “learning” a particular skill. Benefits of the primary attribute affect the skill learning speed in full while benefits of the secondary skill give half as much speed. A new player gets two bonus remaps and one regular one. Once you spend them, your next remap will be available only one year after! These attributes are important only for learning. Nothing else.Skill system
Never train rank V of a skill unless it opens up another skill that you want. Rank V is designed for perfectionists only!
Unlike other games in Eve Online you cannot accelerate your character levelling by putting more personal time and effort into it. You can only install implants that give bonuses to your primary attributes. They vary from +1 to +5 attribute points. These implants speed up levelling. Implants + properly maxed attributes for specific skills are vital. Besides, if you buy any starter pack, you get a cerebral accelerator that gives a massive boost to attributes for a short time like 14 days (+9 to each attribute), 35 days (+3) or 7 days (+17 or 19, I don’t remember). The accelerator works for characters younger than the specified age. The effect will stay with you between the time you inject it and the time you reach that age. After that you cannot inject it.
Unless you are a genius and know the game inside out you must get the program EveMon to plan your character progression. Eve Online is spreadsheets in space and takes a lot of calculations. It is not for impatient people, who want to do everything the game has to offer in a couple of months. A properly skilled character can take a year to get.
One thing is good, however. The game has a skill queuing system. You learn skills while offline as long as your subscription time is paid. The queuing skill clearly outlines when your skills get learned.Security levels of solar systems
Every solar system has a security level. 1.0 is the highest one and 0.0 is the lowest one. The range from 1.0 till 0.5 is called highsec. In highsec space police (aka CONCORD) will interfere if you fire upon or get fired upon without a war declaration. In this space you are kind of safe. The range from 0.4 till 0.1 is lowsec. Police will not interfere although the personal security ranking of the player, who commits a crime, will drop. If it is too low, such players will be hunted down by police upon entering highsec space. 0.0 is the null security space or nullsec where no rules apply but what you make. Don’t go there unless you are prepared.User interface
The back end of the game is much more than what you are used to in any other game. You will see how much ISK (in-game currency) you spent or gained every time. You will be able to see every trade between you and some other character. Lots and lots of text. Lots of text as tutorials at the start of the game. Some people complain that it looks like you accept a lot of license agreements.Space simulator?
You cannot fly by using WASD. Double-click on empty space and you will fly in that direction. Or choose a marker from the overview (a list of objects that exist around you in outer space, five tabs max, mind-blowingly customizable), right-click and choose Approach or Warp or something. The game has a lot of right-click and choose an option stuff. Practically core gameplay.Graphics and sound
The game was released in 2003. It has been updated since but still doesn’t look too good. For instance, with all settings on max and shaders at low it will look its best. Music is okay but I wish it had soundtracks similar to music from The Swapper. Sound effects are nothing to write home about.Game development
The game development looks slow. CCP, the development studio, seems to pool all the human resources together and then use them on various projects when a need arises. CCP has a record of promising features and not delivering them. Coming from other games where every expansion offers a tonne of content, I cannot say that Eve Online expansions offer a lot. Probably because game developers don’t stick with CCP for too long.
CCP also seems to suffer from being too ambitious and from the lack of a clear and integral vision of how their games should develop. Google “CCP world of darkness” or “CCP Incarna” to learn about the game developer’s PR failures.Other players
They are the people you will interact with all the time. They can play the game for different purposes. Beware that scamming in the game is allowed. You cannot open a ticket and get anything restored. Read what you pay for carefully.
The veteran players of Eve Online consider the game a game for elite gamers and the attitude can be felt easily on the forums. In the game the attitude is mostly friendly. However, they expect those, who want to continue playing the game after trial, to put effort and time in learning the game properly.Those, who want to play it right now
Go for it if you have a buddy in a corporation that does a lot of PvP. You are likely to participate in fights from day one. You will lose your ships a lot but the corporation is supposed (ask whether your corporation does it) to reimburse newbie ships since they don’t cost much for veteran players unless you lose the ships in particularly stupid ways.
Go for it if you are reading the text much time later and the game has improved by a lot. The things I’ve learned about the new industry UI in Eve Online in summer 2014 is a promise of a better future.