EVE Online: EXODUS
EVE Online has been live for 20 months now, so territorial claims and fleet battles are nothing new. However, despite not offering new civilisations or solar systems to explore, Exodus is a significant expansion that builds upon the solid foundations of the original game.
For starters, Alliances are now formalised structures that can lay official claim to sectors of space, and battles are far more manageable thanks to a zoomed-out Tactical Overlay that helps you judge the speed and direction of enemy vessels, as well as your own.
Moreover, the graphics have been improved no end, with populated planets that show signs of life as opposed to appearing barren, ships now explode rather than pop' and drones lurch about with menacing elegance rather than swimming like confused minnows. In short, the game looks even more stunning that it did before, the client code runs like a dream and developer CCP has been constantly updating servers in the quest to both eliminate lag and ensure that if you're playing on a 56k modem, you still have an enjoyable time.
The Promised Land
There's literally a ton of new content too. Battlecruisers have been introduced to bridge the gap between cruisers and battleships, while sleek Destroyers are now available, which should provide an effective deterrent against pirate interceptors and frigates. Plus, if you like to sit among asteroids and read a book while filling up your cargo hold with minerals, there are the new mining barges, a fleet of which can strip away a rock field in a few hours.
However, the biggest introduction are player-owned structures (POS) - deepspace mining installations that can be set up around certain mineral-rich moons by player-corporations, and then left to slowly suck away lucrative minerals. With enough money and pilots, you can fill up a small fleet of industrial ships with the required self-assembly packs, fly out into the back of beyond (taking care not to wander into any systems currently under dispute) and erect yourself a complex of harvesting arrays, silos, refineries, reactors, ship maintenance pods and all the required defence structures needed to keep pirates and trespassers at bay.
Here To Help
With all this talk of such high-level pursuits as fleet battles and deep-space mining, you may well be wondering what there is to look forward to if you're new to Exodus. It's true that the learning curve is as steep as ever for a newbie, and the first few hours will likely bewilder and confuse in equal measure, as you get to grips with the sheer vastness of the universe, the economy and using your ship and its modules.
Thankfully though, finding help isn't as much of a problem as it used to be. Just ask a question in your Corp chat window, and more often than not a friend will come to your aid. It's also worth mentioning that at long last, a full player manual has been created, which is worth scanning through before you commit to a subscription.
What's more, there are now hidden areas where you can gang up on NPC pirates - and these are for players of all levels. These Deadspace Complexes, situated in various parts of the galaxy enable players to club together for short missions - previously, unless you were going to play for at least two hours, it was hardly worth logging on.
So, if you've not tried EVE before and have a love of rich science fiction, stylish graphics and are prepared to have your mind stretched a bit (along with, occasionally, your patience), then Exodus may well be the game for you. There really isn't anything quite like it, simply because for all their self-congratulatory remarks about pulling in an obscene number of punters, no other online world is as large, as fully populated, or, as a consequence, quite so rich with opportunity.
Onward Christian Soldiers
When The Players Of Eve Go To War, The Whole Community Knows About It...
Every night of the week 10,000 people from across the world play EVE Online. Except on Sundays, when that number exceeds 12,000. Not a lot of people compared to the numbers that occupy their time with Everquest or World of Warcraft, but when you consider that in EVE everyone is part of the same evolving universe rather than forced to play across shards' that typically host no more than 2,500 people at a time, you soon appreciate just how unique EVE Online truly is.
By way of example, there's a formal alliance of player-run Corporations that has close to 4,000 ship commanders among its ranks, one so bold as to claim a portion of deep space as its own. Other alliances have made similar territorial claims and borders are patrolled with varying regularity. Needless to say, claims are often contested, pirate gangs turn up and fleets in their hundreds engage on a daily basis. Out there, somewhere, billions upon billions of kilometres away from the relative safety that Empire space' provides, thousands live and die with disquieting regularity.
Download EVE Online: EXODUS
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP