I currently have accounts active in three MMO’s.  Aside from EVE, I also play Last Chaos ( ) and Dungeons and Dragons Online ( ).

Last Chaos is a somewhat boring and visually underwhelming game that requires far too much repetitive grinding – but I keep an account because it is simplistic enough for my 5 year old son to navigate around in while I watch.

DDO is prettier and a bit more complicated than LC, but there are pretty much set builds and paths you should follow to achieve what you want in game, and your characters are a lot less effective if you step off those paths.  You are forced to join Guilds or PUGs to progress at the higher levels though, so it really doesn’t suit solo play.  You are also forced to grind quests and Raids for crafting ingredients, but otherwise there are generally enough options to go from 1st to 20th without getting too bored.  Its complexity is in getting the very best mix of equipment, buffs, enhancements and feats for your chosen character – although many of these are mapped out for you on forums and enthusiast websites.

What is interesting – and I have touched on it before in EVE, is the elitism in DDO.  It is a relatively simple game that just about anyone can be effective in with a little effort.  Sure some people carry around a perfect set of named, Green Steel and Elite equipment, but it doesn’t take much more than the ability to read and a silly amount of perseverance to get to this sort of “end game”.  And yet, people seem to have a heightened sense of what achieving that actually means.  If you are in a public raid or questing group, there can be very little patience for newbie questions or mistakes.  At the first sign that not everyone in a group is 100% competent, it is surprising the number of people who quietly drop group.  They don’t’ want the hassle.

Last night I was one of a pair of experienced healers in a Shroud run.  We were beating on Harry during the daily services restart, and lost several fighters while our heals simply lagged out.  Sure enough a number of people in the raid (who did not know us / had not run with the guild before) let loose with snide comments about our level of fail.  It is a pity you can’t exclude people from mass cures…

While EVE has more than its fair share of similar players – on a day to day basis the people you interact with seem more flexible and friendly.  I wonder if it is because the game is hugely complex, and there is no clear blue print to reach a common end game.  You can come up with your own unique skill plans and ship fittings, and be surprisingly effective.   There is also no single “I win” button – but if you think you find it, there will be someone who comes along and teaches you the counter for it.  In EVE, you are pretty much all in the same boat.