Now i know this is a dangerous question to ask. There’ll be proponents of both games and some others might point out that the true question would be “Star Citizen or Elite: Dangerous”. But that’s not the question i was facing yesterday, when a sudden urge to explore space grew and i needed to decide whether firing up E:D or resubscribing to EVE would be better suited for me.
Now, there are articles by others who list the differences between those two games in an objective manner- i can recommend Elite:Dangerous is not EVE by EliteNinja if you’re looking for that kind of thing. I’m taking a more subjective approach to show why i decided to play Elite: Dangerous as my space sim of choice for now.
Elite: Dangerous is not an RTS
See, i like EVEs approach. But i prefer the first-person-actiony-stuff from E:D, because it offers the opportunity to improve my skills over time. When i completed the first training scenario, where you shoot some toxic barrells in space, i was flying like a mad, drunk monkey. Later, when i started the “real thing” i was already somewhat capable of interpreting the radar and moving my ship. Now, i didn’t meet anything when i played (in Solo mode) and it was for the better, to be sure, but still, i felt like i was improving- without skills, levels or stats. It was my ability to play that was improving.
Also, it is new (and shiny)
The second most important reason i chose E:D was that it is new. Most of us like to read about exciting EVE news and think about how great it is that a game is able to deliver experiences like that. EVE is about the only game that does that right now and maybe even in the future. But there is the possibility that E:D also shapes up like that, given time (and money)- and this time, there’s the opportunity to be there when it begins.
The social experience
E:D is not about the PvP; in fact, you can play Solo, but you’re still not playing alone. The market, the political structure of the systems etc., everything is influenced by all players. Sure, technically E:D doesn’t count as an MMORPG in a sense we are used to, but i think if thousands of players influence whether a certain trade is profitable or not, they influence my gameplay in a much deeper way than all the other players in the normal themepark MMORPG. Of course i can see them in WoW et al, but usually, they won’t impact me in any way. In E:D, other players have an impact without necessarily involving pvp.
It’s not only about the players
EVE is great because it’s player-run. There are NPCs, but from my understanding, they don’t change the course of the universe. Today i read the interview with David Braben over at mmorpg.com, and here’s a snippet i found to be very interesting:
There was a rebellion in a city where the Federation has raised taxes, and the rebels are objecting to this. They want to secede, they want to become independent. During the beta, lots of the backers were supporting the rebels. They were running guns and supplies to the rebels and fighting for them—the Federation brought in a big battle cruiser—until the rebel leader made a speech saying “Comrades, excellent, we’re winning the battle against the Capitalist oppressors!” And it was very clear from his language that they were Communists. Now, everyone knew they were Communists, but they hadn’t really realized the connection. After that, all the backers started supporting the Federation.
Somehow, the players influenced things. But the NPCs influenced the players, as well. I didn’t know E:D intermingled these things in such a way, but it does, and i like it very much.
400 billion stars
This is endless. Even if E:D might have 1 million players, the galaxy won’t be mapped out and “won” in a few days. So here’s an opportunity to play, explore, trade, in a vast “world” where travel matters and markets are regional/local. I always wanted to see stuff like that in fantasy mmos, but none have managed to realize this to its full potential. Great to see it in a space sim.
Of course, there are other reasons for choosing E:D over EVE, but these are the most important ones. Can’t wait to explore the galaxy!