EVE Evolved: Three years of EVE Evolved

A few days shy of three years ago, I joined Massively and published the very first edition of this column. Since April 27th, 2008, EVE Online players have received their weekly dose of EVE Evolved every Sunday at 6 p.m. EDT. I still remember the first few articles as if they were published only a few months ago, and three years on I'm almost surprised that the column is still going strong. I often worry about running out of ideas, but as the column's name suggests, EVE is continually evolving and providing new things to discuss. The column now houses over 150 articles on a huge range of topics, from in-depth multi-part guides drawing from first-hand experience to expansion speculation, opinion pieces and even stories.

As usual, I'm celebrating the anniversary of the column by running a competition for readers. With the column's readership having grown a lot over the years, I'll be expanding the prize pool this year by giving away three massive mystery prizes worth over 500 million ISK each to three lucky entrants. To enter, all you need to do is leave a comment stating what your favourite EVE Evolved article this year was, what topic you'd like to see covered in a future edition of the column, or what in-game player or organisation you'd like to see featured in an EVE Spotlight interview. You will need an active EVE account to claim the prize, but there's no need to post your character name here. The winners will be contacted via email and their names will be announced in this post on Sunday the 1st of May.

UPDATE: Congratulations go to Uniqdragon, mdubs28 and Thorium88, who will be contacted via email to arrange receipt of their prizes.

In this week's retrospective EVE Evolved, I look back at some of the highlights from the third year of the column.

Contest entry guidelines:
  • Each entry may consist of one explanation of which EVE Evolved article published this year was your favourite and why, as many ideas for future columns as you like, and as many suggestions for people to interview for EVE Spotlight as you like.
  • You don't need to include all three of the above-mentioned things in your entry but a separate prize will be given out for each category, making it advisable to include all three!
  • If you're stating which article this year was your favourite, please be sure to explain why you liked that particular article. The first winner will be randomly selected from everyone who does this correctly.
  • Suggested column topics should be ideas that I haven't really covered before. Before submitting your idea, take a look back at previous entries or do a quick google search. With over 150 articles, your suggested topic might already be in there somewhere.
  • If you have more than one idea for a column topic, feel free to make multiple suggestions. The second winner will be randomly selected from a list of the ideas I think are definitely worth writing about.
  • Suggestions for people to interview for EVE Spotlight should be players who have made a significant contribution to EVE or developers at CCP you'd like to hear about. The third winner will be randomly selected from everyone who makes a good suggestion.
  • Although people without an EVE account are welcome to suggest ideas, entrants to the competition must have an active EVE account to accept the in-game prize. If you wish to make a suggestion without entering the competition, please say so in your comment.
  • The deadline for entering is Friday, April 29th at 8 p.m. EDT.
  • The winner's email address will be looked up and he or she will be contacted to arrange receipt of the prize. Please don't write your email address or EVE account/character name in the body of your comment.
  • Each of the three prizes will be worth over 500 million ISK and will be revealed when the winners are selected.
A year in review: Stories of theft and deceit

Late last year, a real-life friend of mine who's as mad about EVE as I am told me an awesome story. It turned out that a friend of his from an old faction warfare corp had become something of a thief and a scoundrel, getting into all kinds of mischief. Wishing to be known only by the pseudonym Scott, the thief allowed me to tell the story of his first corporate infiltration and the chaos that ensued. We spent weeks discussing the story, and it was incredibly fun to write up and dramatise Scott's actions. The story was finally released in two parts under the name Death of an Industrialist and was a huge hit with other EVE players.

Following the success of Death of an Industrialist, I begged Scott to let me tell another of his stories. The Apocrypha expansion was in full swing at the time and Scott was looking into ways he could take advantage of wormhole space. Eventually, he got back to me with the incredible story of a massive heist he'd just pulled in a class 4 wormhole system. Once again, this was incredibly fun to write about and offered a lot of creative freedom in how I told the events. Published in two parts as The Great Wormhole Heist, this story has occupied the past two weeks of the column and has seen a fantastic reception by readers.

A year in review: Guides

Guides have been a staple part of the EVE Evolved column since the very beginning. Usually taking up several articles, they offer a comprehensive insight into an area of EVE. Although I've written countless guides over the years, people occasionally surprise me by suggesting an obvious topic I've somehow missed. This year, I wrote a three-part guide to mining, covering everything from the basics and advanced tips to efficient mining and how to get the most out of your ore. In a two-part guide to ratting in asteroid belts, I looked at ratting strategies and gave some vital tips on staying safe while ratting in nullsec.

This year's biggest guide was probably the three-part look at EVE's exploration system. The first part covered the basics of scanning for sites, what ships you'll need and how to start your career as an explorer. In the final two parts, I delved into the different types of site and loot available and gave some top tips I'd learned from experience. The most recent guide to hit the EVE Evolved column is my two-part look at incursions, in which I looked at fleet setups for tanking the Sansha sites and combat strategies for taking Sansha's minions down. I also looked at preparing for the Incursion expansion just before it went live and gave my first impressions of it a few days after its release.

A year in review: Opinion pieces

Opinion has always been a big part of what makes EVE Evolved what it is. While guides and factual articles are often very useful, nothing starts a good discussion better than an opinion piece. My favourite piece this year was probably What not to expect from EVE Online, which explored the common misconceptions new players bring with them to EVE that may stunt their enjoyment of the game. In an effort to get more new players off to the right start, I also wrote an article on how EVE doesn't really take off until you get into a corporation with solid goals and try PvP.

To help ease player transitions into a PvP play style, I wrote a guide for new players on getting into PvP from day one of a free trial and another for older players on preparing for the switch to a PvP playstyle. Not every opinion piece I've penned this year has been positive, such as my views on the dissent in the EVE community following the June CSM summit and my critical look at what EVE Online could be if developers iterated on features. Other opinion pieces of note this year included a look at EVE's living storyline and a roundup of all the top EVE news stories of 2010. Most recently, I looked at how power players affect EVE's player retention and what the Incarna captain's quarters could do for EVE.

Summary

This year has seen a ton of new topics hit the EVE Evolved column, and I'm pleased with how each of them has turned out. The year was made extra special by the creation of the Massively Mob corp to help get new players into EVE. Unfortunately, I found out the hard way that I wasn't really cut out to lead a corp of 200 players and that high-profile corporations must be PvP-oriented if they want to defend themselves. Other highlights of the year have included the Sansha abduction live events leading up to the Incursion expansion and a soul-searching exploration trip I took around New Eden. I've had a great time writing about EVE this year, and I hope you've had just as much fun reading about it.

Brendan "Nyphur" Drain is an early veteran of EVE Online and writer of the weekly EVE Evolved column here at Massively. The column covers anything and everything relating to EVE Online, from in-depth guides to speculative opinion pieces. If you have an idea for a column or guide, or you just want to message him, send an email to brendan@massively.com.
This article was originally published on Massively.