Great ideas, badly executed. It may be a niche MMO, but it feels like it is alienating much of that niche more and more
EVE is space-sim. Typical professions:
Ratter: You control ship (ugly ship), fly around, blow stuff up, get money, buy bigger ship, repeat.
Miner: You control ship (still ugly ship), fly around, mine asteroids, sell ore for money, buy bigger ship, repeat.
Trader: You control ship (very ugly ship), buy low, sell high, get ganked by bandits, buy new ship, repeat.
Mission Runner: You control ship (you get the drift), take missions from NPCs, kill targets, get reward, buy bigger ship, repeat.
Researcher: You take research missions from NPCs, and get nothing. This job is currently broken.
Manufacturer: You make stuff, sell them. Repeat.
Scammer: You do false advertisements to scam people into buying the wrong item. You worm your way into gaining trust and steal their money. Repeating is difficult since people now know who you are, but thanks to the ability to create alts, you can simply start over with a new name, new body.
Pirate: You sit at chokepoints all day shooting at passerby and loot their wreckages. You attack anyone you can extort money from. Optionally you can post on forums about how 1337 you are and how your sociopathic tendencies are cool.
Experience in EVE is mostly dependant on the age of the character and not on player effort. Levels are in terms of skills, and typical skills help characters in piloting ships, firing weapons, perform research (dysfunctional), or making items.
What is superb:
The market EVE has perhaps the most sophisticated market system, this is probably the first thing that anyone notices about this game. You can check regional prices, set buy or sell orders, check price trends in graphs. Players can make a living off of margin trading due to regional pricing differences.
What is good:
The brutality In EVE, dying (losing your ship) is rather harsh by many MMO standards. Losing a ship does not necessarily mean player death, and the latter can incur experience loss but is easily avoided with prudence; however, losing a ship is almost always a very expensive ordeal. There is insurance for the ship loss, but the modules (weapons, armor plating, and an assortment of other cool toys you mount on your ship) are usually the most expensive items, and not insurable. This will make everyone careful to avoid mistakes, as stupidity and carelessness are often punished.
What is interesting:
Skills: Skills in EVE are trained passively with little active player intervention. This means that your character improves while you are logged off and not doing anything. Arguably this is good for those who don't have a lot of time to play because it still allows advancement; OTOH this is very frustrating because skills take longer and longer to train and it is more and more frustrating waiting for the each skill to finish, and there is not much you can do to speed things up. As an example, I need to wait three weeks in order to be able to pilot my new ship and use the appropriate weapons just to be borderline effective, and I am just one month old. Some skills take as long as 60 days to level up. Due to this passive system, there is also no hope for anyone new to ever 'catch up'.
What is bad:
1.) Steep learning curve: EVE is not at all intuitive, and the tutorial takes up to four hours to complete. You will find yourself spending many, many, many hours asking in-game questions and browsing forums and reading player-written guides. If jumping in and having fun is your goal, EVE is too complex for that.
2.) Slow pace EVE is very slow paced; even after 1 month of non-stop training, albeit passively, there is no way anyone can hope to jump into PVP and have fun. The fact is that there are thousands of players out there with better skills and can afford to use better toys (waiting to kill you) is discouraging to new players, and since every piece of training takes a certain amount of time, you certainly have to 'do the time' before you can have fun. If waiting three months before you can have fun in a game doesn't sound hot for you, don't try EVE. 3.) Lack of single-player content You'd think that, with the slow training pace and the amount of time that it takes to get yourself oriented, there should be enough single-player content to keep you occupied and happy until you are able to experience the joy that is PvP; you'd think that, but you'd be wrong. Like many of its failing MMO brethren, EVE's missions are not only repetitive, but are down right predictable; there is no variablity to missions - you can expect the very same the next time. Soon, collecting money becomes the only goal in playing the game while you wait for the training to complete.
4.) Meaningless travel EVE is filled with this, and it is slow. If you want to browse the internet, check your emails, do your laundry, ready the news, tidy up your room, go grab a burrito, you can do it while you move around in EVE. Yes, it is that slow and boring.
5.) Mediocre community On first glance, EVE has the most mature player community. On closer inspection, you should realize that although EVE has a higher percentage of mature players, you will also encounter some of the most selfish, egotistical, sadistic, and paranoid behaviors in this community. It can be a novel experience, but it gets old rather quickly. If you want to retain your faith in humanity, don't visit the forums (on any game, for that matter).
6.) Sociopathic behaviors and paranoia The game does not promote group play. Scamming is allowed, ganking is allowed, and theft is allowed. Law enforcement is laughable, punishment is light. Thus, we have a system where trust among players is tentative, and sadistic, sociopathic behaviors are promoted as ways to achieve either quick material gain or self gratification. It is interesting, but no more than that.
7.) Graphics & sound Very retro. Feels like 1998 again. Ships are ugly and looks not customizable.
8.) Very limited player interaction. No avatars, you will only see other players as icons, or ugly ships if they are outside. Due to scammers and game mechanic exploits, many players are reluctant to help. Due to the lack of promotion of team play, vastness of space, and slowness of travel, making friends is difficult, and keeping friends harder. What is awful:
The interface for EVE is horrible: - Most of the shortcut keys are disabled, and everything is clickety click click. - Menus everywhere. - No adjustable fonts; default font does not adjust to resolution, and looks monospace. - No tutorial for the interface (yes, it needs a tutorial, it is that bad).
One sentence summary: EVE is just a spreadsheet with 20th century graphic tac-ons; move along.