Eve Online Expansion: Empyrean Age

Imagine Earth in the future. Overpopulated, over industrialized, and in need of expansion. Humans seek out new worlds to explore in hopes of founding colonies and new opportunities. Corporations rule any sense of governing bodies over the race, and greed takes priority over common sense.

Now imagine even further, a wormhole opening up near Earth, and on the other side is a galaxy filled with gorgeous inhabitable planets just begging for our colonization. Tests confirm that the wormhole does indeed appear safe, and ships filled with scientists and colonists, sponsored by Earth’s major corporations start heading through the wormhole to this system named, “New Eden.” Then, without warning the wormhole, or gate, known as “Eve” collapses. Colonists are left without a clue where this strange system is, or any idea how to get back home. This is the story behind Eve Online, one of the most popular MMORPG systems online to date.

And, despite what some die-hard World of Warcraft fans might have to say, the largest MMO in existence. Eve Online is a space odyssey featuring thousands of systems to explore and limitless possibilities. You can earn a living in the Eve Universe by trading, pirating, mining, fighting, building, researching, and more. PVP is open and quite active, though there are designated systems that are more safe than others, with heavy NPC policing to keep would-be pirates from causing trouble in high-security sectors.

And now, Eve Online has released their eighth expansion, Empyrean Age. In the latest installment, the universe of Eve Online has gone to war, with the four major states breaking their long-standing treaty and going to war with one-another. This makes life in the universe very interesting, and exciting. As I’ve played during the new expansion, I am not seeing direct signs of the war myself, though as the story unfolds the player base has been assured that they will determine the outcome, and not a prefabricated script written by a team of super nerds within CCP.

Unlike most MMOs, the expansions on Eve as well as the client are free, and do not add on to your monthly fee. This allows Eve Online to offer a free 14 day trial where you can experience the game without having to miss out on expansion material. If you played eve more than a year ago, you may be amazed at the new “premium” graphics content added within the past year. All of the 3D models and textures have had a major overhaul, giving the client a very realistic upgrade while leaving the classic version available to players with slower systems. I found that Eve runs great even on integrated video on a budget laptop, though a high-end system will certainly have a lot to give in the way of performance and graphics options.

With every positive, however, there is a negative. Eve Online is a community-driven game, and as such can be quite boring if you choose to play it solo. Mining alone is a very tedious and quiet process with minimal entertainment value. I usually mine while reading a book or writing articles such as this one. The game also goes down for one hour every day at 6:00am CST for maintenance, leaving you out of the game until it comes back up usually an hour later. Pirates do roam the stars and can attack you at any time, though less often in policed high-security sectors. It also takes months to become “powerful” as skill training is done in real time, with some skills taking 30 days to reach the next stage.

Overall, I’d say Eve Online has come a long way since its early stages, and brings a very unique MMO to the gaming community. This is a thinking game, as each decision you make regarding your character’s skills and career will have impact on how you are able to spend your time in the Eve Universe. Skill training is done in real time, and not by level or experience gained from combat. Some players never enter in to combat and enjoy a life as a trader, hauler, builder, or player merchant. Then again, with war around the corner, there is no telling what’s in store.

Eve Online: Empyrean Age gets a score of 8.0.

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Ryan Matthew Pierson