Saturday, April 26, 2008

EVE: Marb Pelico the Underachiever

It started well, I had my bio all worked out.

Marb Pellico is not a corporation man. He has little desire to fly big lumbering Capital ships. He has opted for the life of a space faring tramp, a laid back vagabond flying a beat up ship from system to system picking up odd jobs. He does his best to stay just the right side of the law, more out of self preservation than altruistism. He earns his living through (mostly legal) trading and if repair bills need to be paid he volunteers for the occasional pirate hunt.

Marb is always looking out for the one big deal that will put him on easy street but his reluctance to think through the consequences of his actions have led him into many close scrapes. He generally to escape with his skin if little else. While his ship might look like a flying scrapheap it has a few surprises in store for any pirate who thinks to get a jump on Marb. His skills are good enough to hold his own in a fight but Marb remains a firm believer in the "He who fights and runs away" school of combat.

Financially he just about pays his bills but that one big deal just never seems to work out for him. It is clear to every one but Marb himself that he never will get to retire to the private pleasure resort on Palnaris that he is always talking about.

One week into my EVE trial I realised that Marb had achieved everything I set out for him to do. He has a collection of tech 1 Frigates and the skills to fly them. He has found a couple of lucrative trade runs. He can handle any of the level 1 frigate missions. He has enough cash to buy anything that he has the skills to use.

Sure he has only experienced a tiny fraction of the incredibly complex world of EVE. He has never risked his neck in 0.0 space, he has never even engaged in pvp combat, he has never joined a proper corporation, he has barely scratched the surface of Eve's magnificent economic simulation, he has never flown anything bigger than a Frigate. He has just done everything I set out for him to do.

I really hadn't expected him to get so far so quickly. Earning money in particular has turned out to be a lot easier than I expected. I wonder if it was always the case or if this is just the effects of Mudflation.

Now I am at a loss as to what to do next. Clearly I was under ambitious in setting goals for Marb. I have trained him up to fly destroyers but I am not sure a destroyer fits into the image I have created for him. There is an array of advanced "Tech 2" frigates to work up to but they all fill specialised combat roles and don't fit with my Space Tramp vision at all. The only Tech 2 ship which makes sense is a blockade runner (a kind of freighter with a few survival tricks up it's sleeve). Earning the cash and skills to fly one of those would certainly keep Marb busy for months but I'm not enthusiastic about it. I can't get over the notion that flying a very expensive ship which is specifically designed to ferry valuable cargo through dangerous regions of space is the Eve equivalent of wearing a "Come get me" sign.


Anonymous said...

Not been too worried about following any path in EVE. Am going to see where the chips lie at the end of the trial.

Are you involved in a corp. yet?

mbp said...

No Corp yet DM. I know MMORPGS aren't meant to be played solo but for some reason I don't quite feel ready to get back into guilds/corporations and stuff yet. In any case I will wait until after I subscribe. I think I will definitely sub for one month after the free trial. Still not sure if I will make it a long term sub though.

By the way with regards to your own free trial evaluation. You may not have noticed that certain skills cannot be trained during a free trial. I tried to train an industrial (transport ship) yesterday but couldn't. I think this is partly to keep a carrot for people to subscribe but partly to prevent players using free trial accounts to abuse the system.

Anonymous said...

No I hadn't noticed that yet mbp...interesting though & will have to add it into my next post.

Do you think the trial gives a new player to EVE, enough to want to subscribe?

mbp said...

Hi DM. Eve is a complicated game so I think a fairly long trial period is probably essential to give people a flavour of he game. I wasn't overly impressed with the tutorial. I managed to break the sequence a couple of times and although I managed to get back on track it was a bit off putting. Mind you if you are th esort of player who needs to be spoon fed in the tutorial then Eve probably isn't the game for you.

On the positive side I must say that the starter zones feel much more alive than I expected from a game that is so old. Unlike other MMOs all the action moves on to the end game after a few years Eve feels like a game you can still enjoy at any level. This is probably a key factor in Eve's ability to keep on growing so long after launch.