Eve vs Other Games
Eve Online is a sandbox
Eve Online is unlike any other game out there. It is what is called a sandbox. It is what you make of it, and you can do a WIDE variety of things.
The closest equivalent is Tarkov combat + Factorio building + Minecraft building cooperatively.
They also call this the Butterfly Effect. Your minor decisions have ripples in your own game play, which changes your interactions, your game play choices, and you end up doing different game play styles.
Note: Eve Echoes (A mobile game) is like playing solitares, while Eve Online (Only on PC) is playing No Limit Holdem in the World Series of Poker.
When I joined, I was trying to do mining, then I was doing ratting, then I was doing missions, then I ended up in a huge null sec conflict where I made a minor difference by damping out a guy who was killing us and I was hooked :D
So how does this compare to other games? I'll make some analogies to help newer players here. Thank you to Kapernic for this quote, 2023/05/01:
4X games (Civilization, stellaris, MOO, etc)
There are some similiarities here.
Eve Online players grow in power and spread their reach. They gather materials and use those to make bigger bigger ships.
However, the similarities stop in that you are one person in eve. And each other ship in space has to be flown by another account. While you can dual box in Eve, you often just get more people to help you accomplish tasks and take over space.
Escape from Tarkov
Similarities between tarkov and eve is pretty easy to lay out.
Tarkov drops all loot you have on you when you die. Same with Eve, even if it's only 50% of your loot dropping.
Tarkov takes a long time to join content, 5 minutes to join a raid, and upwards of 10 to get a good fight. Eve can take upwards of an hour to get a 'fight'.
Tarkov moves slowly. There is a lot of preparing and dealing with your gear. Eve Online requires you to have ships, the gear, and a plan.
... Till it doesn't. Everything in Tarkov and Eve happens in a couple seconds. It's 90% boring, but then SUPER fucking exciting all at once.
Tarkov skills progress slowly. It takes an entire wipe to get your strength to max. Eve Online has 37 years of skills.
Russian company believes in hard core mode. The Icelandic staff at CCP, the makers of Eve Online, literally made a song called HTFU, which stands for Harden The Fuck Up.
If you are new to tarkov, you cannot go to labs immediately solo. Eve requires similar preparation. You start out in frigates and get progressively better.
Just go click heads: Tarkov is easy. :D Just like eve. Just go solo them in a malediction.
Abyssals are pretty easy to explain in tarkov terms.
Level 0 is factory with a shotgun. Easy to get kills.
Level 1 is woods. Have know where the mines are, but doable!
Level 2 is interchange without killa. Lots of loot, some spooky stuff to be aware of.
Level 3 is oh shit it's killa. and you're middle of the escalator.
Leve 4 is an end of wipe double boss spawn.
Level 5 is farming labs with a pistol
Level 6 is farming cultists at night without a thermal. With a knife.
Differences are also very clear.
A tarkov fight maxes at maybe 8 people. I think in streets you could get higher, but it's mostly duos and trios, with the occational 'let's 7 man labs'. Eve is really hard to play solo, so most gangs tend to go 10 quick.
There is no cap in eve in number of pilots that can show up to help. If you are in Labs, you know you only have to kill raiders and a certain number of players. In Eve, that ship you are attacking could be bait and have literally 50 others behind it. or 100. You don't know.
Tarkov, you often don't know why you died. You can guess but it's often just random fire from somewhere. Eve Online, you can always work out 'this is where you fucked up'. It's great that way. :D
Tarkov has a cheating problem. Everything happens client side. Eve Online has botting problems but not that will get you killed. Cheating in eve is very hard because everything happens server side.
Honestly the closest similar game.
You have to learn to punch trees. If you try to skip this step and go straight to speed running strats, you're going to have a bad time. In eve, you will do the tutorial, the career agents, join a corporation, try to pvp in frigates and learn from there. If you try to go straight a high end ship, you will die.
There are a million things to do. Learning to do one thing well takes time. Building a slime farm takes real time. Building a t2 ship from scratch took me three weeks of work.
There are skill differences. Most of eve problems are all button pushing. You need to learn the mechanics of how to swing a sword properly, you need to learn when to get in there and scram things.
You can setup minecraft to build things while you're away, Eve also can have that slower game play pace.
Minecraft rewards people who prepare. Eve Online punishes those who fail to prepare!
Minecraft can be pay to win. You can 'buy' diamond armor by having a friend help you, you'll do a lot better. But you'll just fall into lave and ask your friend for another half block of diamonds. So we say Eve Online is pay to lose, because any skill injecting almost always leads to failure.
They are from similar time periods. :D
Minecraft has limits on what you can do until you get into modding. Eve Online has a hundred things to do.
Eve is single shard. If someone else plays eve, you can go play eve with them. Minecraft has multiple worlds.
Minecraft peaks at around 200 people, but has gone higher. Eve Online has broken 6,500 players on a single grid. It regularly passes 255 people in a SINGLE fleet. This would melt most minecraft servers.
The server population of hypixel passes 200,000 players. But 99% of these players cannot interact. Versus Eve, any of these players can and will interact on a long enough timeline. And if you are doing the same things in the same areas, interacting in inevitable.
Minecraft is pay $20 own it for life. Eve Online costs somewhere between a random number between $6 and $20 a month. Which is dumb.
Minecraft modding extends out the game a lot, there are millions of them. Versus eve, you're always yourself, you're always the gear you have, and the game changes somewhat, but it changes for everyone.
Minecraft is maybe the best game in the world, and I highly recommend it. But I stop and start on minecraft, I have played eve steadily since 2005.
Eve is a hard game. You are playing against people on an unranked server.
If you think you can just jungle it up against a smurfed character, you're wrong. You will die, EVERY single time, and he won't get a scratch, while continuing to feed off your losses.
And it's not even than you're facing an unfair fight, you're facing an unfair fight against their entire team, everytime, and you don't even know how big that team is sometimes.
Your capacitor is your mana.
Your fit is your build.
Your fleet is your team comp.
If you go into an eve fight with tackle (rooting), that means that everyone can just run away. Every position is important in Eve too. We have support roles (links), have healer roles (logistics), you need a proper mix for a fleet. So you pick a role.
(Thanks to Market Barbarian for this and several other edits on this page!)
I don't know enough about Elite Dangerous to properly fill this out. So I've gotten a full write up from Hokaba Hanaya (with 5,734.5 hours!):
TLDR is Elite Dangerous places you in the cockpit of ships, EVE online makes you out more like the commander of a ship rather than the pilot.
In ED There are only 37 ships, and all ships are extremely modular, with every single ship theoretically able to do most things with varying efficiency. For example: an Asp Explorer (medium ship) is technically best suited for long range exploration, but can also be fit for combat, or mining, or hauling, or carrying ground vehicles etc. Eve has 400+ ships, with most being able to do one or two things.
Elite Dangerous has a fake economy, ships and modules have unlimited supply and may only change when a system's "Background Simulation" (BGS) state changes. The commodity market is entirely "stocked" by the same BGS system (i.e. you can't really stock or deplete a market without altering the BGS state). There's no such thing as industry/crafting in ED either. Mining is purely for profit, you can't use the ores to do anything other than sell to NPCs or players via fleet carriers. Eve Online has only certain things in unlimited supply like skill books and Blueprints and EVERYTHING else is created or gathered by the community.
Combat in ED is much more fast paced and reliant on pure player skill (i.e. control of your ship) than EVE. Ships are not innately bonused for certain weapons. Ammunition is extremely limited as you can't carry any in cargo and can only "craft" (synthesize) them using special materials that you gather from different sources. PVE is mostly you killing enemy NPC pirates one by one or in small squadrons of up to 4. Fleet fights are mostly non-existent as the servers cannot handle more than ~16 people (real people) in an instance Eve Fights are decided by how many people foremost, what they brought, and is much more rock scissors pewpew. Personal pilots can have a GREAT influence on a fight by no means dicates who lives and who dies. Eve fights can scale to 10's of thousands of pilots.
Exploration in ED is actually going to new and undiscovered systems and looking around and planting your name on planets and moons unlike EVE where it's basically looting with extra steps. Exploration generates "explo data" that can be sold to NPCs for a good chunk of CR (equivalent of ISK). Eve Online has a lot of systems to go to, but everything is explored, and honestly most game play is 'solved'. There can be dead systems.
ED also has sort of a defined "endgame" moment. When you've fully engineered the "big 3" ships (Anaconda, Cutter, Corvette) and any other ships you want to engineer, bought a fleet carrier and made enough money to keep it running for a year+ you ...pretty much reach the end of useful content in the game. It's one of the reasons why many people slowly "wean off" ED over time. Eve Online has a couple end-game ships like titans and supers, but they are only really usable by the huge null sec blocks.
ED has an engineering (think...slightly like mutaplasmid system). You basically unlock certain engineers, and bring modules you wish to engineer to them. But its much more predictable than mustaplasmids. You basically turn in certain items for the engineer to improve one aspect of your module for some penalties. For example: a shield generator can obviously be engineered to have higher shield strength, or faster recharge time, or better thermal/kinetic resistances etc. Each time you press the engineer button a random "roll" is done that improves the module's primary stat by a certain % (but will never degrade it). Eve Online has the ability to modify certain gear to make it better than the stock gear. They have a meta system as well that has gear that is better at different things.
ED also has its token aliens (called Thargoids) that you can fight with (called AX combat). Fighting thargoids is ED's equivalent to high class WH PVE in terms of preparation and difficulty in the context of both games, but it's not nearly as profitable (relatively) as EVE's PVE. In general safe activities like mining and trading in ED are the most profitable shit you can do. Eve Online has wormholes that act somewhat like subcombat, they may or may not be there! But then you don't always know what the enemy is bringing. And the PVE there is really challenging and GREAT money. Trading in Eve Online is great money, but hauling and mining is conditional.
ED's ships also feature a "rebuy" system. Every ship by default is 95% insured for you so when you go boom, you need only pay 5% of the ship's buy price (including module cost) to get it back, including any modified (engineered) modules. You will respawn at the last station you docked at prior to you going boom. Eve Online insurance is crap in comparison. You can insure a ship for 'platinum' (only do that) and you get paid for the mineral cost. If you are using a T1 ship, you might pay 13 mil for the ship, insure for 4 mil isk, and get paid back 10 mil, so you lost 7 mil in that transaction, but hey got to fight. :D you get none of your modules back.
Easy, factorio is harder. Because it's more effort and there is no 'perfect' setup, you can constantly grow and evolve the base.
Eve Online's PVE challenges are set in stone they are so solved. This is a 'solved' game for PVE. Everyone knows how to do PVE challenges, and while there are always interesting new ways, it's sad when 'just use an ishtar' is the solution in eve.
Factorio has no PVP. So not a good comparison.
No Man's Sky
Honestly one of my favorite games. :D
The exploration aspects of NMS give you multiple near infinite galaxies to explore. Eve Online is much more limited in scope.
NMS makes it VERY hard to interact with people. Eve forces you to!
NMS crafting system is very short, you take these three things and hey you have this other thing. Eve can require up to like 30 things to build one thing.
Acquiring things in NMS is easy. Eve is hard.
NMS makes it easy to build a base and yo ucan explore a big chunk of the game in under 10 hours. The Eve tutorial takes between six and nine hours.
You're kidding right?
This is a tech demo. Eve Online is a full sandbox.
Sorry friend, Star Citizen is crap. :D
Okay fine. Eve Online has crafting, customization, controlling empires, mass space combat, small gang combat, 8k systems on a single shared server, the ability to put 6k in a single location, can scale in way that is hard to imagine, and is pay to lose.
Star Citizen has problems with going through doors if you pass six people in a single system. and is pay to win.
I hope that Star Citizen will some day be a good game, and I would have rather see CCP get that half a billion dollars.
World of Warcraft
This one is hard for me to write.
World of Warcraft is a set piece, designed by a company, this happens then this happens, tons of care and thought.
Eve Online is a series of mechanics, stacked on top of each other, and then the players just find a way to make it work.
World of Warcraft, all gear is dropped by mobs or made by set designs. This gear operates independently.
Eve Online, all gear is dropped by mobs or made by blueprints. This gear requires other gear to operate well, and can vary on situation a lot.
World of Warcraft PVP is not that engaging because there's no real loss.
Eve Online means you lose everything you were risking to beat them.