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Mars Needs Women...

Company: CCP Games
Product: EVE Online

It's been quite a while since I've visited EVE Online. I was there at the beginning, and checked it out again for the Eve Online: Exodus update, but then I moved on to other games that I had to review and never, sadly, found the time to get back to EVE. Last year, in fact, CCP wasn't even at E3, so I didn't even get any updates there.

This year, CCP is showing at E3 again, showing off some updates to EVE Online, as well as an upcoming console game, Dust 514, which will not only take place in the same universe as EVE Online, but will actually have interaction with EVE Online, such that the console-based third person shooter will play out the battles ordered by player-created and player-controlled corporations in EVE Online, and the results of these battles in Dust 514 will determine the outcome of those operations in EVE. This sounds quite exciting and will be a previously unheard of level of interaction between a PC game and console game... especially given that it's two different games that aren't even the same genre.

So, in order to prepare for my upcoming E3 appointment, I started up a 14-day trial account in EVE Online to get a feel for it again. I was a bit lost at first, having some bad luck in choosing missions and not realizing what skills I had to have to be able to use some things I bought, and such, but I was still amazed by the beauty of the visuals in the game. And, rather than mining or starting a military career, I decided to go for a Han Solo-type character, concentrating on smuggling, ahem, transporting things from here to there for a profit.

There is some really good money to be made in the transporting business in EVE Online. You have to stay aware of whether your routes are going to take you into low sec (low security = dangerous) areas or not, and make sure you're ready for the consequences, if so, but there can be a nice profit to be had when Isendeleik VIII needs Janitors, Ammold V needs tobacco or, well... Mars needs women. Trying to determine what the most profitable trade (within your "comfort zone") can be a complex matter, but there are some helper applications and websites created by fans of EVE Online that can help out a bit. In particular, I found NavBot to be easy to use, helpful, and its interactions feel similar enough to the in-game NPC character interactions, that it works as an extension of the game, as if it were an on-board trade route A.I. computer system. Possibly best of all, it's open source on SourceForge, so if you're a programmer and you have ideas to improve on the project, you can actually play around with the code and try your hand at making it better. I can't make any guarantees on NavBot's behalf, but I found it to be quite useful during time with it so far. Truly, though, NavBot is just one example of the large and supportive fan following that EVE Online has. I am anxious to see if this fanaticism carries over to Dust 514, and if so, how.

Check back for coverage from E3 for updates on EVE Online, Dust 514 and just how they will interact.

-Geck0, GameVortex Communications
AKA Robert Perkins

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