Sunday, February 6, 2011

You want Hardcore? WoW's Not Hardcore...

Fun Fact: This is what the Exodar looked like before Velen crashed it.

EVE Online: Now that's Hardcore.

Every now and then I read about other MMOs out there, and I always pause whenever I see EVE Online in the news. It kinda blows my mind what passes for "fun" in that game and sure enough, when I read in, I end up shaking my head in shock and disbelief at what you have to be prepared to lose anytime you log into that game (although, apparently you can often lose even more if you don't log in).

To fill in some missing details: EVE Online is an MMO in which you basically pilot spaceships about interstellar space. It is almost entirely a PvP oriented game, in which the players battle each other fairly relentlessly.

I gave the game a try once and on the beginning stages, the player's activities include gathering resources the make bigger ships (otherwise known as "mining") and doing some simple bounty-style quests for cash. All things considered,  I didn't find this terribly fun.

Oh man, did I get the wrong idea. In the past year or so I have read repeated articles about the most hardcore player activities that just make me terrified to even think about setting foot in this game again.

Somethings that I have learned since then:
  • The makers of the game stop at allowing exploits, but frankly encourage any sort of treachery, piracy, double-dealing or espionage one can come up with. You can find backstabs and double-crosses in EVE that make the Horde vs. Alliance seem like the Smurfs vs. Gargamel.
  • EVE has a guild system based around corporations and syndicates... except that these become many factions and have organizational structures and management that many multi-national companies would be envious of. To get anywhere in this game, you have to play the syndicates game.
  • Anything you acquire can, and will likely, be taken away from you. Rival player syndicates can swoop out of nebulae, disable your ship and loot it. This is why you need your own syndicate: for protection.
  • If the pirates are not careful, they might blow up your ship while trying to disable it, and you'll lose the cargo, and the ship-- permanently.
  • EVE has a couple of different types of currency including one called SDK, which is basically play time that you would usually pay real money to acquire. However, this SDK must also sit in the hold of your ship and can be taken/destroyed by pirates. There was a case in 2010, in which pirate players blew up a ship carrying over $5000 worth of SDK... that's $5000, as in real, U.S dollars.
  • This past year also featured a fairly significant scandal in which a  GM passed strictly-limited capital ship blueprints to syndicates they favored. The whole thing was uncovered by a player who gets paid in-game currency to infiltrate the message boards of rival syndicates and report back on the secret plans he finds there.

Today's news was about the start of a kind of PvE encounter in which groups of players form up to stop marauding invasions by something called "Sansha Kuvakei" (ed note: I looked it up, and Kuvakei is an NPC with a big chip on his shoulder. I guess he's a bit like an Arthas of EVE Online.)

Most would liken this to a raid in WoW, apparently. With the following exceptions:

You don't go to the Sansha Armada... it just pops up somewhere, with little warning and starts destroying stuff. To put this in WoW terms: It's a little as if full-blown, ICC-end-boss Arthas suddenly dropped into Westfall on the back of Sindragossa with a full complement of frostwyrms, skeletons and zombies being marshaled by Lord Marrowgar, Lady Deathwhisper and Deathbringer Saurfang,  all at the same time.

The Sansha Armada kills anything vaguely NPCish, and the unlucky lowbies (well, they destroy the lowbie ships, anyway) who happen to be there and then razes all the structures. If somebody comes to challenge him, that might be a good thing...

But, this isn't an instanced fight. It's out in the open where anybody can turn up. Usually two or three different syndicates show up to fight the Sansha Armada and end up fighting each other as much as the bad guy.

I had heard stories from BC and Vanilla WoW about the world bosses occasionally appearing, and multiple Horde and Alliance guilds all swooping in at once. Since, one raid or the other would tap the boss, hard losers would try to sabotage the guild with the tap, either by engaging in PvP, or else training other, outside influences on their fight. I always imagine Doom Lord Kazzak must have been highly amused at seeing the mortals scurry around, fighting with each other and then a Fel Reaver shows up, having been kited in by some douchebags.

"This," he would think, "is the chaos wrought of the Burning Legion."

So, I don't know, I don't think I have any point other than "hardcore" is a pretty relative term. And I just like the image of the Scourge launching a surprise attack on Loch Modan!


  1. Got back into EVE not so long ago (mainly cause work sched wasn't WoW friendly) and remembered quickly how peaceful WoW is even with ya PvP flag on.

  2. I have played EVE for almost 7 years and what got me more and more in WoW was that you simply cannot log into EVE for a "little" gaming.

    EVE is hardcore because you have to have an economic backbone and defending your or trying to destroy that of the enemy often involves "camping" in groups of up to 1000 (onethousand) and more players for hours!

    i loved it while i still could afford the time to really play EVE but now WoW just offers more fun for the time i invest.

    But yes, in guess in some aspects of the game EVE makes WOW look like kindergarten.