Saturday, November 14, 2009

EVE Online vs World of Warcraft: The differences, by @tladb

This is a guest post by @tladb which was originally a comment on my original World of Warcraft and EVE Online comparison.


The biggest difference between the two games is the role of the players. In essence WOW is a solo game with the ability to join up with other players. EVE absolutely depends on the players to make the game.

In an extreme case if you were the only player on a WOW server you could arguably still have an interesting time just doing the quests solo and exploring the world. (Sometimes it feels like this in less populated areas in Azeroth now.) In EVE this situation would be pointless.

WOW is much more directed than EVE is sand-boxed. Basically all your activities in WOW are scripted by Blizzard. In EVE it is the players that direct the activities to a much greater extent. This means that after a new EVE player has finished the introductory quests it is up to them to find a role in the game. In WOW the NPC's will often direct you to the next area for quests. This may be the hardest thing to come to deal with. Are you going to be a pirate, a pirate-hunter, a miner or an explorer or even a corporation director, etc. In EVE these are all possible, but the player has to decide and then work out how to apply those skills. Especially since many of the occupations depend on other people.

This emphasis on player interaction is the major theme within EVE. The economy depends on other players not only in buying and selling basic materials and quest trash but also in making available important weapons systems. In WOW to get the best gear you need to get it from the NPCs either from instance drops (going into dungeons and killing the same NPC again nd again and ..) or PVP grinds.

In EVE, the items are player-built. So if there is a popular item in EVE not only will that be available at a price but in the supply chain to provide that many EVE players could benefit. Even at a relatively early level you could be part of that chain. There is also the point that making and trading items in EVE is much more involved and and potentially more interesting in comparison to WOW.

In WOW player guilds are much more casual with the more limited focus of providing a pool of players for raiding instances. There are no player stations in WOW, no pirate guilds or guilds in WOW with a bigger concept than just loot-runs. A WOW equivalent of a training corp like Eve-Uni for example would be completely baffling. I think it could be argued that the large majority of your enjoyment in EVE is determined by the corporation you join.

One big shock in EVE to WOW players is that getting killed in EVE is more than the two minute inconvenience it is WOW. Your ship, which you spent hours, days or weeks to acquire is lost. There is the possibility that you may have lost weeks of skill training time if you have not kept up to date your clone. Death matters. This is seen as a positive aspect for EVE players, otherwise they would not be playing; but for a WOW player it's a major change.

WOW has more of a physical presence than EVE. The places you visit are more visual so that just wandering around in WOW is interesting. Wandering into Ironforge, the strangeness of Sillithus, the workshow in deadmines, entering Outlands, just riding through Nagrand, the Deathgate sequence to name a few.

Visually space in EVE is a bit bland, there are better NASA pictures, however in EVE the sights need to be created by the players themselves such as the large fleets battles (using my imagination here).

Physically in EVE you are a ship and this ship can change depending on what you need to do so there is really no "you" in EVE. While in WOW you and other players have a visually existence. Neither is better but it is a difference perspective.

WOW has a better mythology and characters. Thrall and Arthas are two characters which I think should be in the literature canon. To interact with those characters really adds to the game and it is something that EVE does not have. If you have played Warcraft and then WOW it feels a big deal meeting with Thrall for the first time or following the Arthas story in Lich King expansion.

WOW is a more convenient game to play. A couple of examples:

In WOW you can send anything by mail. Horses, pets, money, food, complete suit of armors, anything. In EVE you can send money but everything else needs to be physically transported. You can buy an item on the market from a distant station but you need to fly to that station to pick it up. And warping is star-to-star, not instant warp to trade hubs which you can get in WOW. This is by design and provides a more dynamic environment for players; but it's still more inconvenient from a WOW perspective.

In EVE there is no user interface API which allows player add-ons. This is arguably a weakness of EVE. External applications like EVEmon, to help training, or Eve Fitting Tool, ship fittings, would be in game in WOW. Entirely different users interfaces are possible in WOW and not in EVE. It would be interesting and beneficial to see what a mod community should do.

EVE and WOW are two very different games with different objectives and quite different ways to play so it is not a question of better but what can you enjoy doing.

The opinions shared here are those of its author and not necessarily mine. /CrazyKinux


Rayne Stryker said...

Well put. I spent two years in WOW, and have now been in EVE almost a year. I enjoyed WOW, but am more caught up in EVE. Not claiming it is better, but it seems to feed my group interaction inclinations.

Anonymous said...

Ok, lets be a little careful here. Bear with me. I was a long time player of WoW, and have been playing Eve for the past several months. There is so much hate and false impressions of WoW in the EVE community, I feel compelled to comment.

First, WoW IS NOT a solo game. All the solo activity you engage in for leveling, gearing, and preparing for raids, instances, and battlegrounds. These are all activities done with other players. I would say that WoW has is best content in the PVE portion of the game, while Eve shines as a PVP game. As a matter of fact, even gear obtained from PVP in WoW is best suited for PVP situations, and in many cases is not well suited for end game raiding. In PVP in WoW is not particularly interesting, as it has no crosstalk with the rest of the game. Not so in Eve.

But lets be clear. Eve could learn a few things from WoW. Eve definitely needs to make the PVE content of the game more interesting. There is so much fear that strong PVE content turns people into carebears. I don't agree with that. People usually find themselves trying out many parts of the game. And inevitably, some of those individuals will become ruthless PVP'ers.

And finally, the reason I put WoW on ice is that I got tired of the obligation of raiding, the relatively uninteresting world of Azeroth, and a game overtaken by 13 year olds playing deathknights. But as I said, there are many things WoW does well. Don't just categorically hate everything the game does. And boosting PVE content in Eve isn't turning the game into "spacewow."

Anonymous said...

^^ Sorry about the typo's in my previous response. I was in a rush, and had some place to be.

Few other comments. There is no doubt that Eve is a player-driven game. All of the most interesting content is "player-created." At least that's my sense after being in the game the past few months. But unfortunately, that can lead to a somewhat random, and heterogenous player experience. Again, having stronger PVE content would fill in those gaps.

Now, things I love about Eve:

- I love the complex and sophisticated social and political fabric of New Eden.

- I love Eve lore. I never found WoW lore the least bit interesting.

- I love the cold, ruthless nature of the game. The fear and anticipation of accepting missions sending me into low sec space is thus far has been really fun. I can't wait to experience even more game content.

- I love knowing that your actions have consequences.

- I love the graphics. I rapidly grew tired of the "Tonka Toy" WoW graphics.

- I appreciate the maturity and intelligence of the gaming community. Although I do get the sense that the Eve community can be quite fickle, and dogmatic (especially after reading many blogs, and listening to several podcasts).

- I love knowing that this game has endless possibilities, even if CCP's resources are limited.

- I love knowing that the player base has a say in the evolution in the game. Even if that runs the risk of having some rigid, entrenched veteran players wanting to narrowly define what the game's player experience should be. I implore the veteran players to keep an open mind if you want the game to have significant growth.

Maria Wingtips said...

I really wouldn't know about WoW, as I haven't played it, but I do remember my first flights through New Eden, and how beautiful I thought it looked! I have never thought of Eve's graphics as 'bland'.

Powersurge said...

I'm surprised that one of the most outstanding differences has not been mentioned - EVE is unsharded. You don't play in one of many identical universes, you play in _the_ EVE universe, and anything significant enough affects all players. In most other MMOGs, whatever you achieve goes completely unnoticed by the vast majority of players and is totally irrelevant on all servers but the one you play on.

After three and a half years in EVE, I cannot imagine that I could ever motivate myself to play a sharded game, because the immersion simply can't be the same if the reality you live in is not "the real thing".

Rayne Styker said...

Geez. I hope I didn't come off as hating WOW. I actually still love the game. I just hit a point where I could not commit to the level of commitment necessary to raiding.

Yes, I wanted to raid, but did not have the time anymore.

In EVE, I have put behind that desire, and am being much more casual. Could I have done that in WOW, sure, but I did not. I think both are great games for their differences and similarities. They could both learn from each other, but I don't believe either needs to exactly copy the other either. I have many friends that play both regularly and wouldn't swap either.

Anonymous said...

Rayne, I wasn't trying to imply that you hated WoW. But I do think there is a pathologic anti-wow contingent in Eve. It's certainly not all Eve players, but there are a significant number are out there.

Like I said, WoW does do some things very well. Having something similar in scale to at least 5 man instances would be amazing for Eve. Not necessarily to copy the WoW recipe, but to have some type of epic PVE event that could be shared with a small group of players. Too many Eve players who haven't played WoW don't realize that PVE content can actually be challenging, and require a ton of skill. That's why there is so much reliance on PVP in Eve.

About the single shard; I absolutely agree with how this takes the gaming experience to another level. Before playing Eve, I did a ton of reading and learning about the game, and the issue of single shard kept coming up. I was under the impression that it wasn't as big of a deal as the boosters were claiming. Boy was I wrong. It really creates a much more engaging world, and makes way for in game celebrities. I love knowing that I am playing on the same server as all the blog authors and podcasters that I follow. Also, huge events (like the BoB defection, or hackers causing the short lived CVA dissolution) could never happen in another game.

Anonymous said...

Nice article, too bad the blog owner has fallen in quality of content.

So, Crazykinux, your blog has become so lame that you have other people writing your posts for you?

How pathetic. It's a shame really. The person who is supposed to be the "elite blogger for EVE" and this site has turned into a crappy piece of marketing fluff.

How pathetic.

Helicity Boson said...


Wow = theme park with rides you go on.

Eve = playground where you need to make your own games.

Rayne Styker said...

To the anonymous poster who has blog content issues:

I notice that you did not post with any kind of identifier. Just, FYI, this degrades the strength of your censure of CK. People who flame and don't identify themselves are typically trolls.

If you are not trolling, identify yourself and lets have an intelligent discussion regarding the subject, instead of this drive by flaming.

Oh, and to head you off, no, I am not CK or an alt, fact is, I believe we live something like 2000+ miles apart. However, I am intolerant of flamers that don't have the backbone to identify themselves when they flame.

Anonymous said...

I'm not trolling, I just am too lazy to create a ID. My Eve in game name is Dunna Mek. And I'm not trying to flame, I just want to stop uninformed criticism of WoW.

To Helicity, yes, WoW is more like a theme park. But throwing a slide or a swing set in the sandbox isn't turning it into disney world. It doesn't make it any less of a sandbox.

Myrhial Arkenath said...

Helicity summarized my thoughts there.

I've always found the discussion of "EVE > WoW" a little silly. They are vastly different, and both are great at what they are. It might just be that one of both isn't your game. Doesn't make a game worse or better.

tladb said...

I probably should have explained the context more in the opening paragraphs.

This is not a comparison review of EVE v WOW but rather some ideas on how new players coming from WOW may find EVE different.

I don't think the simple thoughts of Helicity really explain much on how the difference on how the game is played.

Points not specific to the point to the article but they were raised in comments.

On actually playing WOW - I did it for 5 years. Many of which were with my son and we had some great times. I will try the new expansion.

I do not understand the purpose of the ad hominem attack on CrazyKinux for having additional writers to his blog. I really like the guest spots on Ship setups.

I think expanding PvE in EVE would be beneficial and 5 ship instances could be part of that.

On the single shard - isn't there a second shard for the Chinese? If there where 10 million EVE players there would need to be more shards just to handle the load.

Matt said...

I can't comment on gameplay vs gameplay as I've only been playing EVE for a few weeks (see my blog).

But in those few weeks I can see that generally the players are a LOT more mature than on WoW, I did 3 years on WoW and find that people are easier to speak to and it creates more of a stable environment to game in. The community side of things matters to me personally just as much as gameplay.

CrazyKinux said...

@Matt - That's very true. I think that the learning curve and actual structure of the game (sandbox vs theme park) have a lot to do with it as well.