Tuesday, 1 January 2013

BB42: Final Result of the EVE Online Community Review


Like of jury of one's peers, some of the EVE blogosphere's finest scribes have passed judgement on the world's premier game of internet spaceships.

The Impossible Challenge

No single games journalist could reasonably provide an accurate and up-to-date review of any MMO - they are simply too broad in scope and content-rich for a complete appraisal to be made in the timeframe available to your average journo.

Moreover, amongst the entire MMO genre, EVE Online is probably the greatest challenge of all to review. Any sandbox gaming environment would be a nebulous concept to pin down, but the sheer variety of playstyle options and gameplay features that have grown throughout EVE's development cycle of well over ten years makes an all-encompassing review a seemingly impossible task.

The Dauntless Few

However, who better to take on the impossible challenge than a vibrant community of avid bloggers who are never shy of ripping into aspects of EVE Online when the mood takes them. By combining the knowledge and experience of a broad section of players, we have a pool of eclectic opinion from which to draw. Some have invested years in playing, others are relatively fresh to the universe of New Eden. Each plays the game their own way, mingling with the in-game communities of their choice.

This is the second such community review, with last year's effort soliciting 21 opinions which were distilled down through the Review-o-matic Bantertron supercomputer to produce a final score of 82% for the Crucible release period. Of course a single number is a gross and offensive simplification of the carefully weighed opinions of our reviewers, but sadly this is the internet and people like brevity. And numbers. Coz numbers are cool.

Before we commit the same numerical atrocity so we can compare and contrast to last year, let us first get an overview of the fine minds behind this year's carnival of opinion.



Jacabon Mere
Capital Storm Corporation
EVE Experience: 5+ years
Review Focus: General
Key Quotes:
   "...many aspects are still hampered by a clunky interface, unintuitive clickfests and many illogical processes that are simply annoying without adding any depth to the game."

   "Eve is one of the great pillars in the MMO genre and to date nothing comes close to the depth that it offers."

Full Article: The Five Year Re-Review

Scoring:
 Aesthetics 9.5/10
 Gameplay 8/10
 Innovation: 10/10
 Polish: 6/10
 Longevity: 9.5/10
 Social: 9/10
 Value: 8/10
 Conclusion: 8.6/10
86% (based on score average)



Harkconnan
Extra-Vehicular
EVE Experience: 4 years
Review Focus: Nullsec combat
Key Quotes:
   "Waiting for combat... It's kinda boring but also at the same time a good build up to fights... It's a bit like Corporate espionage mixed with cowboys and naval combat, but in space."

   "I am going to tell you now that I have done top level raids in WoW, and nothing, nothing compares to the thrill of PvP in eve."

Full Article: Harkconnan's Eve Online Review

Scoring:
 Starting assumption of mediocrity: 50
 Interface & Controls: +5
 Early game: +7
 Entry to 0.0: +5
 0.0 Life: +20
 Combat: +29
 Community: +10
 Average play session: +9.55
 Final Score: 130.55 out of 100
100% (Um, since Harkconnen's scoring system seems to have broken itself, we'll call that the maximum then, eh?)




Evehermit
Evehermit
EVE Experience: 6 years
Review Focus: Various solo - "Backwater Trading, PI, T2 invention and Manufacturing, Exploration"
Key Quotes:
   "While a steady stream of patches saw [client performance] improve somewhat... there didn’t seem to be anything new in game that was interesting, and overall it just lacked cohesiveness." [On the Inferno Summer expansion]

   "The sounds, appearance and effects look markedly better... the aggression system... is now more visible and easier to understand...Much shorter down times, much shorter session change timers, market order highlighting – just change after change that really seemed to add up by the end of the year"

Full Article: An EVE Year in Review

Scoring: "At the start of the year I would have rated EVE at around 68%.  By mid-year it was down to 45%.  But over the last 5 months CCP has managed to turn that around to finish 2012 on a high. So as of now, I would rate EVE at 85%."
85%



Corelin
Mad Haberdashers
EVE Experience: 5+ years
Review Focus: Multiplayer
Key Quotes:
   "If you haven’t played EvE let me tell you the multiplayer is completely pervasive.  You nearly cannot play the game in any way without affecting the experience of another player, or having another player change your experience."

  "Many things draw people into the game.  The story of it, the graphics, the hard-edged sci-fi element, the list goes on.  What makes EvE different is the community."

Full Article: Multiplayer

Scoring: None given.




Drackarn
Sand, Cider and Spaceships
EVE Experience: 4+ years
Review Focus: Factional Warfare and Piracy (PvP)
Key Quotes: 
   "Eve is still not an easy game to get into, especially with PvP. Don't believe me? Take a week old toon in the best ship they can fly and go looking for a fight in low-sec."

   "An amazing sandbox set in a stunning sci-fi universe where your actions can resonate through the universe."

Full Article: 2012 Community Review of Eve Online

Scoring:
 Gameplay - 9/10
 Graphics - 8/10
 Longevity - 10/10
 Ease of Getting Into - 4/10
 Sound - 7/10
 Overall - 38/50
76% (based on score average)



Mike Azariah
A Missioneer in EVE
EVE Experience: 4+ years
Review Focus: General (esp. PvE)
Key Quotes:
   "To review Eve without including its people is just plain wrong.  The PvE side of Eve has a few highlights but only when other folks are involved."
 
  "Eve is the toy drummer and we, the players, have drooled all over it and are now pushing the envelope and playing inside the box, outside the box, head in bag, stumbling about.  And laughing the whole time."

Full Article: OOC Soylent Green review of Eve

Scoring:
 Graphics - 9/10
 Sound - 7/10
 PvE Content - 5/10
 PvP Content - 10/10
 Support - 9/10
 Player Base - 9/10
 Future - 8/10
 Conclusion - 57/70
81% (based on score average)




Roc Wieler
Roc's Ramblings
EVE Experience: 6+ years
Review Focus: Graphical/Creative and General
Key Quotes: 
   "Small UI improvements to provide better interface efficiency, but overall it’s been a forgotten piece of architecture in 2012." [On Planetary Interaction]

  "Despite players always complaining how CCP goes from shiny to shiny, I have to admit, EVE Online is still the most damn sexy game I’ve ever laid eyes on."

Full Article: Eve Online 2012 Review

Scoring:
 Ship Spinning - 8/10
 Captain's Quarters - 2/10
 Noble Exchange - 2/10
 Planetary Interaction - 3/10
 Working in 3D: - 7/10
 Market: - 9/10
 Roleplay: - 3/10
 Music - 9/10
 API - 6/10
 Shiny - 10/10
59% (based on score average)



Kuan Yida
Random Posts from Auga
EVE Experience: 6+ years
Review Focus: Factional Warfare
Key Quotes: 
   "My corporation joined Factional Warfare back in June of 2008... Nearly four years later, the FW was unchanged and growing stagnant."
 
  "Honestly, I think of 2012 as the year Faction War was reborn. In fact, I think it’s improved to the point it may outgrow it’s britches again...  we are small-squad PvP elite."

Full Article: 2012: The Rebirth of Faction War

Scoring: None given





Kody Gloval
Electronics Evangelist
EVE Experience: 9+ years
Review Focus: General
Key Quotes: 
  "Missioning in Eve could be so much more. But instead we are left with a shell of any other PvE game. Yes, yes, I’ve heard it all before. The content is the players, it’s more than PvE, blah blah blah. My question for those (like myself) that love the sandbox…why can’t it be more?"
 
  "The community that has resulted from a unique sandbox that has evolved over a decade is…well…a unique community. There are a myriad of supporting activities with blogs, wiki’s, podcasts and all manner of ‘real world’ meet ups and of course the annual Fan Fest."

Full Article: The Capsuleer Experience

Scoring:
 Graphics - 8.5/10
 Sound - 7/10
 PvE Content - 3/10
 PvP Content - 9/10
 Support - 7/10
 Player Base - 9/10
 Conclusion - 43.5/60
73% (based on score average)




Mabrick
Mabrick's Mumblings
EVE Experience: 4+ years
Review Focus: Metaphorical
Key Quotes: 
   "As fundamentals atrophied, unforced errors eliminated any chance of a playoff berth in 2011. For the first time in eight seasons EVE Online had a losing record... It was time to rebuild."
 
  "Many long time fans had become disillusioned and left for other teams in other stadiums. Now they are back but fickle as ever. Furthermore, many seats are still empty. Even the best of the old seasons had only ever filled half the stadium. Attendance continues to be a problem for this team."

Full Article: It was a Rebuilding Year

Scoring: None given




Helena Khan
Aggressive Logistics
EVE Experience: 4+ years
Review Focus: General
Key Quotes:
   "My one concern at present is the potential for real homogeneity if all the hulls end up having exactly the same fits in game... There is a potential for a loss of individuality between the factions if the ships are almost identical." [On CCP's recent 'tiericide' efforts]

   "One tick in CCPs favor however, is the overall move towards lessening the differences between hardcore PvE and PvP ship fits. Anything where the game itself encourages players to learn about the harder end of the spectrum so they don’t pop like an overgrown soap bubble the first time they hit low sec is a good thing."

Full Article: Is Eve the answer?

Scoring:
 Interface Use 8/10
 Interface Complexity 2/10
 Ships 9/10
 Flight Dynamics 7/10
 Graphics 9/10
 Audio 6/10
 Complexity 3/10
 Missions 6/10
 Scanning/Exploration 7/10
 Social/Collaboration 9/10
 Overall: 8/10
66% (based on score average)




Sugar Kyle
Low Sec Lifestyle
EVE Experience: 1+ years
Review Focus: Low sec
Key Quotes:
  "A year ago I was in a badly fit Myrm, in tears of frustration as I struggled through Level 3 missions.  A frustration so intense that it has created a loathing for mission running that I cannot shake."

  "For me, it was a good year full of good things.  Highlights and low lights and small things and large.  All of them have been worth the time and effort and I've enjoyed it all tremendously."

Full Article: My Year in Review

Scoring: None given




Rixx Javix
Eveoganda
EVE Experience:  4+ years
Review Focus: Low Sec Combat Pilot
Key Quotes:
   "Those people in the picture ain't crazy, they are just insanely happy about Eve Online: Retribution. And those other recent expansions that didn't have the name Incarna attached to them!"

   "Retribution has fit into my play-style perfectly. I am having my best month EVER in Eve simply because of the changes made in Retribution. So yes, I am proudly biased."

Full Article: Eve is 1000% Better Now

Scoring:
 Ships 350% better
 Environment 450% better
 Everything 200% else
100% (because that's as high as percentage scores should go, even if you try to break the system with outrageous scoring mechanisms. Into the Naughty Maths corner you go Mr. Javix.)




Ardent Defender
Ardent Defender
EVE Experience: 2+ years
Review Focus: High Sec/PvE/Trading & Industry
Key Quotes:
   "I believe here is an area that CCP has failed to greatly improve though neglect over the years. Overall R&D is a knowledge Intensive sector of EVE, often tedious and time-consuming." [On Research & Development gameplay]

  "To me the Market place in EVE Online is the real backbone of EVE which covers all regions of EVE as well Sub-Regional Markets via all its Station System Markets across an entire region."

Full Article: Trying to Review EVE Online, Are you Kidding Me?

Scoring:
 Early career - 8/10
 Missions - 6/10
 Making Friends - 3/10
 Graphics - 9/10
 Celestial Environment - 5/10
 Spaceship Design - 7/10
 Avatars - 10/10
 Avatar Environment - 1/10
 Trading - 9/10
 Manufacturing - 8/10
 Research & Development - 8/10
 Invention - 9/10
 Social - 8/10
 Overall - 8/10
70% (based on score average)



Aiden Mourn
Finders & Keepers
EVE Experience: 4+ years
Review Focus: The HTFU attitude
Key Quotes: 
   "I fell in love with the dark of Eve; that cold, brutal, backstabbing, immeasurably complex and viciously unforgiving game that back in 2008 told new players to quite literally “harden the fuck up” or get out. That mindset has regrettably, and yet not so unexpectedly, taken its final bows in favor of expanding the reach of the game as a whole to a larger audience."

   "...part of the “avoiding Bitter Vet Syndrome” routine my therapist has me on... Eve is a game, and if you aren’t having fun, you’re doing it wrong. CCP, you’re doing it right; so so right. Thanks for that."

Full Article: The Road More Traveled

Scoring: None given




Morphisat
Morphisat's Blog
EVE Experience: 6+ years
Review Focus: Exploration
Key Quotes:
   "As with most things in Eve, it takes a while to get things done... it can be frustrating on some of the harder sites that just don’t want to be found and you’re stuck at 93%"

   "Exploring and finding sites can be very rewarding. With some luck quite a few isk can be made, once you leave hisec."

Full Article: Eve in Review - Exploration

Scoring:
Learning Curve 3/5
User Interface 3/5
Longevity 5/5
Overall 4/5
75% (based on score average)



Urziel99
Urziel's EVE Chronicle
EVE Experience: 2 years
Review Focus: General
Key Quotes: 
   "The new player experience has received a great many facelifts in the last year including buffed rookie ships, a more interactive tutorial as well as an improved mission interface."

  "Most people scoff when they hear eve is almost 10 years old now, but then you tell them about the 18 free expansions since launch and show them videos. Eve looks great for it's age, something that other games should take notice of."

Full Article: Reviewing Eve, again.

Scoring:
 Challenge: 10/10
 Graphics: 9.5/10
 Community: 12/10
 Complexity: 8/10
 Overall 9.75
99% (based on score average)



Harrigan Vonstudly
Gun Turret Diplomacy
EVE Experience: 4+ years
Review Focus: Low sec/null sec combat in Retribution
Key Quotes: 
  "I give my game play for the first 9 to 10 months of 2012 a 2 of 10. I give Eve a 5 of 10. That's 50% for Eve. I just lost interest. Low sec was still just shitty old low sec."

   "It wasn't Retribution that brought me back full bore to Eve. It was winter. But, with winter came Retribution. And with Retribution came glory."

Full Article: 2012 EVE Online Review; Harri Style

Scoring:
 Tiericide - 10/10
 Destroyers - 8/10
 Crimewatch - 10/10
 Tracking Camera - 7/10
 Safety feature - 0/10
 CCP - 9/10
73% (based on score average)



Orakkus
2nd Anomaly From the Left
EVE Experience: 7+ years
Review Focus: Lore and Retribution
Key Quotes: 
   "Of any game, Eve Online has the most potential.  But it also has disappointed and has done things the hard way."

   "Retribution was another significant step in making all of Eve Online better. Eve Online overall has stepped up its game and it is more than just a simple Indie title now, it is a major contendor in the MMO world for the title few developers even dream about… longevity."

Full Article: Eve Online Review - Retribution.. or Deliverance

Scoring:
 Game Lore - 5
 Meta Lore - 10+
 Gameplay - 8
 Graphics - 11/10
 Community - 9/10
86% (based on score average)


Lukas Rox
Torchwood Archives
EVE Experience: 7+ years
Review Focus: Crafting (Industry)
Key Quotes:
   "Crafting in EVE Online is great, but at times seems a bit overcomplicated, especially when looking at Tech II and III production chains, which are quite long and require several stages."

   "Large scale operations in corporations like Aideron Technologies is basically a clickfest... Science and Industry GUI requires a serious rework to reduce the amount of clicks substantially."

Full Article: Review of Crafting (industry) in EVE Online

Scoring:
Crafting system design - 90/100
Crafting system implementation - 65/100
Total - 77.5
78%


The Final Result...

Of the 20 submitted reviews, 15 of them included some numbers for us to feed into the Bantertron Megacruncher.

In order to arrive at a single result (as shown beneath each entry above), each reviewer's scores were distilled down into a single percentage so an overall average could be calculated. In the case of those hyperbolic enthusiasts who broke the 100% maximum, their scores were taken as 100% in order to keep things within the realms of sense and away from some kind of quantum scoring paradox.

Before we divulge the final result, some factoids for you:

The highest scores given were by Harkconnen and Rixx Javix, each with 100% (or pre-adjusted: 130.55 out of 100 and 1000% respectively). The lowest average score was from Roc Wieler with 59%, with his review focused on the more esoteric elements of EVE.

We had 7 returning reviewers from last year and 13 entirely fresh opinions, who between them brought over 93 years of EVE experience.

And the final result vomited forth by the arcane number-butchery of a group of mathematically unqualified wordsmiths?

>>> 80% <<<
[Highlight above]

The Inevitable Conclusion

So despite all of the improvements from the Inferno and Retribution expansions, the total average score came out at two percent less than last year. After reading through the reviews, I was honestly expecting something a little higher. To be fair, the idiosyncrasies of the individual scoring systems chosen by the banter contributors may have muddied the waters. I suppose it's all part of the charming nonsense that are the Blog Banters.

On reflection, rather than a jury of one's peers, I think this process has been more like asking mental asylum residents to be food critics for a day; "It tastes of hedgehog!", "My shoes hurt!", "Flibbedy-bobbedy-boo!", "Look, I'm a hairy fairy princess!"

Blogger sanity debates aside, in general there seemed to be a significant amount of good will toward the changes brought about by Retribution and the broad focus on iteration and refinement that has occurred over the last three expansions. That said, scattered amongst the largely positive comments about the post-Incarna improvements, there were the occasional grumbled words and phrases like "stagnation", "no new features", "complex UI",  "lack of content", "repetitive" and "null-sec mechanics" which perhaps might give a clue as to why the numbers didn't reflect a more positive leaning.

There is a general consensus that things are moving in the right direction, with the streamlining and modernisation of some archaic UI elements working well with wholesale revisions of existing gameplay systems. Factional Warfare and the Bounty System are both highly regarded as triumphant and central to the revitalisation of associated playstyles. Graphics were universally identified as being exceptional and sound was widely accepted as having seen improvement, but with room for more.

But with a singular focus on iteration, rumbles of dissent can be heard from quarters not well-serviced by CCP's current development choices; those who have to wrestle with the clumsier UI elements like the overview, corporation interface and R&D windows, those who held hopes for avatar-related gameplay and those who desire new PvE content.

80% may be the key number, but as with all things EVE, the reality is far more complex. In any case there you have it, the final results of Blog Banter 42: The 2012 Community Review of EVE Online. I hope you enjoyed it.  Thanks you very much to all contributors and I hope to see you all again next year.

7 comments:

  1. Wow this must have been a lot of work. Thanks for putting it all together :).

    ReplyDelete
  2. Very nice.

    Rixx has extra percents left over so that fills my quota. <3

    ReplyDelete
  3. I still say my 900% remaining percentages should have been used - so that's a cum score of 980%!!! Woot.

    In all seriousness for a moment, Retribution is like playing a whole new game for me. So I'm pretty excited about it.

    Viva La Eve!!

    ReplyDelete
  4. That was one hell of a Review and well put together! It was quite a good entertaining to read with funny pictures as well and a great post all around.

    Even learned a few new words for my vocabulary. It was interesting to see based on the Banter than the vast majority were all over 4+ years, many 6+. Wonders where the rest of the younger crowd are at, I guess I'm still apart of it.

    ReplyDelete
  5. "The lowest average score was from Roc Wieler with 59%, with his review focused on the more esoteric elements of EVE."

    There I go, being the cynic again. Ah well, someone has to do it.

    Thanks for putting this together.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Roc, as a fan of the more fringe elements of EVE, I think I'd be inclined to agree with your score over the more generous ones. I'm glad you contributed, you represented my interests.

    ReplyDelete
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    ReplyDelete

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