Game Access: All About EVE

I’m a sci-fi geek. I make no allusions toward otherwise. I adored Star Wars until Lucas went insane and wrecked it. My girl and I fell in love watching Battlestar Galactica and Doctor Who. I own Firefly the complete series on DVD. I read Ender’s Game in a crazy three-day marathon. I’ve seen A Scanner Darkly sixteen times, five in the theater. That’s right, I’m a lunatic. As far as Mac gaming goes, however, sci-fi pickings have been historically slim, especially for SwitchXS users. There’s Starcraft, then we have Starcraft. We also have Starcraft – oh, and Knights of the Old Republic. Now, though, we have a brand-new contender, EVE Online.

EVE Online is the most recent massively multiplayer online game (MMOG) to hit Mac OS X. Set in a vast online universe, EVE promises players an enormous variety of gameplay options, giving no two players the same experience. So, what does that mean exactly? Well, in EVE, players take on the role of pilot at the helm of their very own starship. Players can command anything from small scout ships, to industrial mining frigates, to deadly battlecruisers. There are endless ways to live in the world of EVE. For instance, one can journey the galaxy smuggling contraband from one sector to another, mine asteroid fields for profit, or even play the outlaw, killing other players in cold-blood. The depth of EVE is absolutely amazing; there’s definitely no questioning it. Yet, gameplay aside, is it playable for SwitchXS users? Short answer: definitely! Even KeyStrokes users should be able to get in on the action.

XS and EVE

First, players will need an Intel-based Mac, as EVE Online is not a Universal Binary, nor will it ever be. Save for a MacBook or Mac mini, any hardware should run the game nicely. Next, players will have to play in window-mode, which is accomplished by pressing Command+Return just one time. EVE Online isn’t a "twitch" game; it’s not about how fast one can hit buttons. While the game has some shortcut keys, it is truly a mouse-based experience, as the mouse is required to perform most commands, with the keyboard mainly reserved for interface shortcuts and in-game chatting.

Speaking of chat, EVE Online offers a multitude of opportunities for individuals to interact. For new players, there’s a huge chat channel where experienced Game Masters answer questions and offer advice to rookie pilots. Players can also band together in fleets to complete missions or simply wreak havoc on other pilots. Additionally, it is possible for players to form large Corporations, which are groups working together to trade goods, research technology for sale on the open market, dominate through military action, or do anything else for profit. Corporations can even own their own space stations to serve as bases of operation.

As mentioned, everything from combat to asteroid mining is handled entirely with mouse clicks. Players choosing a life of combat should be able to scan at a minimum of 17 steps per second or be fairly proficient with a mouse. While one’s ship is steered by its on-board computer, the player still has to issue commands. In combat, this involves clicking targets, locking on weapons systems, issuing the order to fire weapons, or warping out of situations that get too dicey. While mainly about planning, strategy, and choosing the right ship with the right equipment, there’s still a certain degree of urgency in combat. As a SwitchXS user, I lean toward ships employing long-range missiles and try to hit hard and kill quick before the need to issue commands becomes too frantic; however, players who build their characters more toward scientific research or dominating EVE’s player-driven economy will require far less "clicking under the gun." For example, industrial miners will simply want a ship that can quickly evade attacks, thus protecting their precious cargo. In my opinion, players focusing on commerce should be able to scan at around 14 steps per second. EVE Online is extremely flexible, allowing a player to perhaps begin as an economic tycoon, only to branch out into the role of a hired gun. It can change as one’s proficiency with their assistive technology evolves.

EVE Online, available for download at www.eve-online.com, costs $19.95 and includes the first month’s subscription, after which it is $14.95 per month. For those who like to try before they buy, a 14-day risk-free trial is offered. Remember, EVE Online is constantly growing, a game that never ends. Aside from fine wine, Doctor Who, and the love of a good woman, what could be better than that?

Mike Phillips

EVE is available for Mac OS X, Windows and Linux.


To see Mike dish out some pain in Unreal Tournament 2004 and World of Warcraft, check out this YouTube video:

To view or download a high resolution version of the video go here.

P.S.

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