One of the oldest games still active today. If you've never heard of EVE Online then I don't know where you get your gaming information, but you should ask for your money back. EVE is a space sim, much like No Man's Sky, but without being able to land on a planet.
And, it's free. As of sometime in recent history. The game used to run on a monthly subscription model, but this was later reviewed to be no longer viable. This doesn't automatically mean the game is dead or dying, it's just a different audience than it used to have.
No Man's Sky has you happily hopping around planets, scanning new things and fighting the occasional sentinel. EVE has you battling large scale space battles with hundreds of other players. NMS is pretty much zero PvP, while EVE is 99% PvP. You will get killed, you will be hunted and you will make enemies. That's not something suited for everyone, especially in a time when most games focus more and more on the casual gamer.
Eve has one of the most advanced character creation modules I've seen so far. In such a way that even Cyberpunk 2077 feels lacking and basic. Alternative character creation video here, both male and female body customization.
You create you avatar (or, pilot) as a representation of yourself or anyone you want to be. The editor is great for just posing and taking screenshots to use in other games or even forums. Normally your face is the only thing other pilots will see, but you also have a crew quarters aboard a space station where you can walk around.
It's well worth noting this game is from 2003, and has had several graphical overhauls. It's downright beautiful, even compared to most modern games from 202x. If you have a good graphics card it's a great way to produce insane space backgrounds / wallpapers.
The game puts you in the deep end of the pool pretty quickly, and the interface is anything but simple. If you prefer solo play - there's plenty of it to be had while exploring, mining or working the market. Space is big, and you can get lost in it quite easily. You will eventually run into players however, as it's an integral part of the game no matter what your preferences are. PvP is inevitable much like death and taxes. EVE is at it's core a player run game and trying to stay solo is like swimming against the stream. You either get with the flow, or have a bad time.
Skills and craft
As a free player you'll be restricted to a limited set of skills and ships. Not to worry, there's still a LOT, and it's recommended to start out as a free account either way. It takes time to learn skills - real world time. At the least, the skill training of your pilot will continue even while you are asleep.
The skill tree is pretty big, and it'll take years to actually learn everything. Most pilots choose to focus on weapons and a specific ship of their choosing. You can have multiple characters on your account so choosing different skill trees for each of them is a good way to ensure maximum versatility.
Player versus Player
EVE is famous for it's PvP. Hundreds, even thousands player real time simultaneous space battles are part of it's history. These battles will ensure the destruction of many ships with a converted real money value reaching in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. More on that later.
PvP is where EVE shines. As mentioned, solo is possible - but just not recommended. Going into the deeper territories known as "nullsec" means you are open and vulnerable to other player pirates. You'll be killed for your cargo, or just killed because the other player is bored. Thus, having either a big ship with a good few guns - or a party of other players while exploring dangerous territories is highly recommended!
There's a wide variety of weapons available to specialize in - ranging from plasma guns, rockets, lasers to mini drones. As with every weapon and ship your skills will help improve their effectiveness. More damage, better shields.
Death at least is always likely with every portal jump. But death is not the end. You'll be able to "back up" yourself at a cost. This ensures your skills are not lost, even though your ship will be destroyed. Make sure you keep a spare ship, and never fly anything you can't afford to lose.
Running the Market
Nearly all items are tradeable. In fact, there's very little that can't be traded, given or simply stolen from other players. The fun bit is the economy. Items have a value based on supply and demand - you can make an absolute killing by starting a shipping line. Delivering goods from one space station to another. Anyone need a specific ore? Either mine it, or buy it cheap. The tricky part is delivering it. Because yes - you need to either deliver it yourself, or your client has to come pick it up. No intangible goods in EVE other than money (ISK). If you buy a ship at space station A, then that's where your ship will be. Do you need a new ship at space station B, then tough luck - you'll have to load it up in a freighter and ship it there, or fly it yourself. This brings risks obviously - pirates love to prey on hapless merchants. There have been plenty of reports of players losing hundreds, even thousands in real world value to pirate destruction. Always be prepared.
EVE is free, up to a point. If you enjoy the game there's starter packs ranging from bronze up to platinum with added perks, omega (unrestricted) game time, ship skins and in-game currency.
EVE Interstellar Kredits is the main currency that all players use in the game. Aside that there's PLEX, which is the so called premium currency that can be used for special items, Omega (unrestricted) game time, or trading.
You can buy and sell either, and there is always a demand for both. Thus you could in theory mine an asteroid and grow your wealth in game, then buy unrestricted game time using that wealth. Or, you could trade the ISK to another player and get PLEX from them after they buy it with actual cash. Yes, you can play the game for free - in much the same way as though someone was paying for it. A good pirate could rob a merchant carrying several thousands worth of PLEX and buy himself a haul that would have been worth as much as a new PC with the money he stole.
Obviously such cases are rare - but very possible. Sadly it's against the end user agreement to sell your PLEX or ISK to other players for real life money. But ISK does have a real world value to most players - which is why the value of a ship can be expressed in either ISK or dollars.
A few years back a player was flying a gold magnate ship, worth several trillion ISK (several thousand dollars worth), and got killed. The ship now destroyed, and the player devastated. The pirate? Fame and glory, bragging rights beyond any other. As well as a new enemy for life.
EVE Online is available on Steam, or through a standalone installer.
Release date: 6 May, 2003
Minimum system requirements: Windows 7 or higher - 64 bit. Intel or AMD dual core 2 GHz CPU, 4 GB ram, 23 GB disk space, AMD Radeon 2600 XT or Nvidia geforce 8600 GTS, high speed internet.
i love that character creation :D
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