Despite MMORPGs being one of the most saturated genres on the market there have been relatively few set in space. The ones players currently have access to are relatively old but seem to have weathered the test of time. Two of the most popular space MMORPGs still around are EVE Online and Vendetta Online. While these two might appear similar on the outside, there are quite a few details that makes one unique in its own right. EVE Online is a true point-and-click RPG while Vendetta Online combines sandbox RPG elements with twitch-based gameplay.
GAMEPLAY – EVE ONLINE
While both EVE Online and Vendetta Online feature sandbox style gameplay, it’s the expansive universe, and significantly larger player base, in EVE Online that gives it the win. In the past 24 hours there have been more than 32,000 players with a peak of 65,303 simultaneously on one server. With nearly 8,000 total systems and many more planets/moons there’s so much to explore in EVE Online that it could take years to see everything. After playing the game for two years myself, I might have seen half of High Sec and pockets of Low/Null Sec. In comparison, Vendetta Online has 30 systems, albeit each with a large grid of sectors, but it simply pales to EVE in sheer magnitude.
When you have a game that depends on its players to create virtually everything in the game size does matter. EVE Online has a bustling, self-sustaining commerce that has a true capitalistic market, and allows players to choose a wide variety of playstyles and jobs. Players can choose to be miners, fighters, mercenaries, pirates, explorers, traders, market exploiters, and the list goes on. You can also do a few of those things in Vendetta Online, but the scale is just not the same. The amount of control that players in EVE Online have over their own universe is immense and there’s little outside interaction besides the occasional invasion or event. This goes to the extent that players can take over entire space stations or build their own outposts, which can produce capital ships. There aren’t just a handful of Alliances with stations either, hundreds if not thousands of these player-controlled stations/outposts exist in the universe.
Not only does EVE Online have a more supported economy, but it also features some of the largest battles in MMORPG history. One of the largest ever recorded was The Bloodbath of B-R5RB, which took place on January 27, 2014 between Pandemic Legion and the CFC Alliance. After nearly 21 hours of fighting by 7,548 players the damages were catastrophic: 75 Titans, 13 Supercarriers, 370 Dreadnaughts, and 123 Carriers were destroyed totaling 11 trillion ISK (roughly converted to $300,000 in the form of PLEX). There have been many other battles like this and players looking for a small-scale skirmish can always find one. We recently looked at some of the highlights in EVE's 12 years of being online.
COMBAT – VENDETTA ONLINE
Even though EVE Online might feature some of the most renowned battles in MMORPG history, combat in Vendetta Online is simply more fun. This doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s for everyone, but twitch-based shooting makes the player feel like they’re more in control and actually piloting a starship; it’s the closest things to a multiplayer FreeSpace that we might ever get. One the other hand, many players joke that EVE is just a spreadsheet simulator in space and to an extent that’s true. Most fights are won before the battle takes place based on ship loadouts, player skills and proper course plotting. When the battle begins the actual skill is mostly based on the fleet commander’s calls and not necessarily individual players. If you want to play the hero, or villain for that matter, Vendetta Online’s combat system is more lenient for that style of play.
GRAPHICS – EVE ONLINE
Although EVE Online is technically the older game, it doesn’t look like it. Not even close. When I mentioned that Vendetta Online plays like FreeSpace I should have mentioned that it also looks like it. The 2004 game has not aged well, but the graphics aren’t so horribly rendered that they detract from the gameplay. While EVE Online launched back in 2003, it constantly receives visual updates that make the game gorgeous. One of its latest expansions, Rhea, implemented physically-based rendering, which gave ships a photo-realistic look. The amount of detail and texture quality on the ships in EVE Online are some of the best ever created; in Vendetta Online it looks like you’re flying a bus with wings. Normally it’s a little unfair to compare the graphics in two MMORPGs, but it’s an important detail since these two were released around the same time and the gap is so significant.
PROGRESSION – VENDETTA ONLINE
One of my biggest pet peeves about EVE Online is how long it takes to level skills and the way it’s done. Passively leveling is great if you don’t actually want to play the game or if you’re about to take a long vacation. However, if you’re spending a few hours playing every day you should be rewarded with some type of progression (other than monetary gains). In EVE Online, however, skill progression is entirely based on time and is not influenced by the player at all except for implants. Conversely, skills in Vendetta Online gain experience as you complete certain tasks or use specific weapons. Knowing Capital Ship Construction V isn’t going to be done for 3 months isn’t going to make me more excited for grinding resources.
SOUNDTRACK – EVE ONLINE
The musical score in Vendetta Online isn’t going to win any awards, especially with names like Ambient_1 and Serco_Home. There are 12 tracks in all and most of them have a very generic space theme to them. On the other hand, EVE Online has at least 74 original tracks with the original volume composed by Jón Hallur Haraldsson. Initially the game featured an in-game jukebox where players could create their own playlist of favorite songs. With the implementation of the Retribution expansion the jukebox was removed and replaced it with a dynamic sound system. Many players preferred the old system but, all of the songs are currently available on SoundCloud where even non-players can enjoy them.
VICTOR – EVE ONLINE
With its superior gameplay, graphics and soundtrack, EVE Online comes out on top and for good reason. There are many reasons why thousands of active players still logon daily to a twelve-year-old game. It’s addicting, gorgeous and the large-scale battles are simply overwhelming. If you can deal with the slow-paced, methodical combat and want a true sandbox experience then EVE Online is the game for you. Those looking for a more twitch-based shooter should still give Vendetta Online a chance.