At the behest of a friend, I tried Eve Online.

Eve is dense and slow. It feels like playing a spreadsheet from the get-go, as character creation is far more complex than someone who just started playing the game five minutes ago can possibly understand. What did my final stats mean? No idea! What were my final skills? No idea! What can they be used for? No idea!

It took about two and a half hours to get through the tutorial – and you must go through the tutorial. No, the game doesn’t make you, but if you don’t you won’t have any idea what the hell is going on.

Those two and a half hours were probably the least fun I have ever had playing something that presented itself as a “game”.

For one thing, you have no direct control over your ship. No joystick control here, no. No fancy flyin’, just right-click a point in space on the convenient list and choose “Approach” and you’ll fly there. That’s it.

Combat? As far as I can tell, it’s fully automated – and it’s standard MMO combat dressed up in sci-fi trappings. To fight you fly towards an enemy, lock on target and turn on your gun. If your ship and equipment is superior to his, you win. If not, you lose. That’s it.

Travel in the Eve universe is even worse. Imagine having to endure a gryphon ride in World of Warcraft every time you change zones. That’s how Eve is. I began to groan every time I was given a mission that required me to fly to a new solar system because I knew I’d be sitting there doing nothing for ten minutes while the autopilot flew the ship.

I gave this game two and a half hours to present me with something exciting or compelling and it completely failed. I’ve got thirteen days left on my trial, and I would rather work on Planitia than play this game again.

Dear God in heaven, first we lose Privateer Online for Earth & Beyond and now this? Can nobody make a real massively-multiplayer outer space combat/trading game? Is it just not possible?! That’s the MMO I really want and nobody will freakin’ make it! Why?

(Sorry Nathan.)

EDIT: Okay, what did I like about Eve?

I liked the fact that it wasn’t Yet Another Fantasy MMO.

I liked the fact that the entire game takes place on one server. When you meet another Eve player in real life you can actually find him in the game guaranteed because there’s only one server.

I liked the fact that the client is only about 700 megs in size and there’s no significant patching after installation before you can play.

The game is quite pretty.

Nathan pointed out to me that the density and pace of the game keeps out the 1337 kiddies, and this was borne out in my play experience last night. I didn’t see any chat in any of the channels that wasn’t mature and on-topic.

If everything took about half as long to do as it does in Eve then I would probably love it.